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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
April 27th, 2012
06:53 AM ET

Starting Point live blog for Friday, April 27th, 2012

This morning, "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" is live at 7am Eastern. Today, Soledad talks with panelists contributor Will Cain, political comedian John Fugelsang and Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill. Today's stories include:

* A senior administration official confirms the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She'll talk live with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning at 8:15am Eastern.
* Martin attorney says Zimmerman misled court about money, and judge could revoke bail at a hearing this morning.
* Watch live this morning: Space Shuttle Enterprise will fly from Washington, D.C. to New York this morning.

Share your comments in the section below. If you're not by a TV, you can watch us here at Let's get started.

[UPDATED 7:51am ET] BREAKING: Terminal 2 and Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is being evacuated, and all flights out of the airport have been grounded.

[UPDATED 7:32am ET] Yes, you did see a retrospective of Will Cain's beard.

Filed under: Live Blog
April 26th, 2012
01:59 PM ET

Rep. Schock talks about soaring student loans, says rising cost of college worse than actual debt

It's a huge issue to millions of young voters and their parents: Student loans.

The current interest rate on federally-backed student loans is scheduled to double - yes, double - on July 1st, when it goes from 3.4% to 6.8%, unless Congress acts fast.

Now why is this so important? Take a look at this.

Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that America's total student debt outstanding is around $1 trillion.
Compare that to outstanding credit card debt, which is around $800 billion. That may explain why both President Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are homing in on the issue.

This morning on "Starting Point," Romney supporter Republican Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) talks about the importance of easing the burden of debt on students. He says more important than managing the loans that students have to shoulder is to control the rising cost of education and provide job opportunities after graduation.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Cost of college • Politics • Student debt
April 26th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Dad explains why he wired his son, says he was heartbroken when listening to recordings of teachers talking about drinking, abusing kids

It's a story that's creating a national stir: A father in New Jersey planting a recording device on his 10-year-old son to spy on his teachers in the classroom.

Stuart Chaifetz became suspicious when administrators told him Akian, who has autism, had been acting out violently in school.
Chaifetz hooked up his son with a wiretap and that tape had stunning revelations.

With over six hours of recordings, Chaifetz says teachers and aides are heard apparently talking about alcohol and sex in front of the class, punctuated by yelling at his son to "shut your mouth."

The school fired an aide, but another teacher caught on tape was just transferred to another school.

Chaifetz explains why he was compelled to wire his son, and talks about the enormous public support he's received.


Dad explains wiring son to catch abuser

Dad Stuart Chaifetz on how he placed an inexpensive digital audio recorder in his son's front pocket to document abuse.


Dad: Blame tenure for teacher transfer

Stuart Chafetz expresses frustration that the teacher involved in abusing his son was transferred to another school


Public support for dad who wired son

Dad Stuart Chaifetz explains the outpouring of support for exposing the abuse at his son's school.

Filed under: Education
April 26th, 2012
12:48 PM ET

TIME editor shares new details on raid that led to Osama Bin Laden's death

It was one year ago on April 30th that President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks, had been killed by U.S. forces.

Now, even more details are emerging on the mission in the new issue of TIME magazine, out today. There's more information on Bin Laden's life and the 38-minute special operations raid that led to his death.

Time Magazine's Michael Crowley shares new information on "Starting Point" this morning.

Filed under: Osama Bin Laden
April 26th, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Actress/singer Lynda Carter on her return to music with her "Body and Soul" show and the legacy of 'Wonder Woman'

You know her as "Wonder Woman" – the amazonian superhero fighting the forces of evil on the TV series that ran from 1975 to 1979.

But now Lynda Carter is spinning her singing talent in a new show called "Body and Soul" this weekend in New York City. On "Starting Point" this morning, she talks about the legacy of her iconic role, and talks about returning to her true love – music.

Filed under: Entertainment
April 26th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Tareq Salahi defends his run for Gov. in Virginia, says he's 'in it to win it'

From the White House, to the Governor's mansion – this time, legally.

Infamous White House party crasher and reality TV star Tareq Salahi is running for governor in his home state of Virginia. But is anyone buying it?

Salahi talks about his bid for office, and Christine asks him whether his reality show antics and difficulties with his wife will affect his candidacy.

"I have passion for Virginia," Salahi says. "I've been living there my whole life. I'm excited about this. You know, currently, the Virginia attorney general has been making personal attacks against me and I said enough is enough."

Salahi is going through a very public divorce as well, filing a $50 million case against his wife Michaele and agencies he says owes him a significant amount of money. All this baggage won't deter Salahi from seeking office.

"I have a number of political things that I've been doing in Virginia for the last 15 years," he says. "People who know me prior to my wife know how serious and how much I love Virginia and how much I've been involved in Virginia community and Virginia politics. So those who knew me before I got married and before we did Hollywood things and television and TV shows and reality TV, know how serious I am."

Filed under: Politics • Reality television
April 26th, 2012
09:25 AM ET

New book examines America's shortcomings and social progress

Activist Kevin Powell discusses his new book "Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King " and explains why he thinks that it would be "tragic" if Arizona's immigration law was upheld.

Filed under: Immigration • Race
April 26th, 2012
09:18 AM ET

Arizona's immigration law ignites emotional debate across country

Jose Antonio Vargas, award-winning journalist who admitted to being an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times op-ed, discusses his opposition to Arizona's immigration legislation.

Filed under: Immigration
April 26th, 2012
09:01 AM ET

Sea Shepherd Society fights whale hunting in new Animal Planet series

Animal Planet's new five-part series, "Whale Wars: Viking Shores"  follows the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's attempt to bring to an end an ancient tradition practiced in the Faroe Islands called, "the grind," which is a method of killing primarily long and short-finned pilot whales.

Today on Starting Point, two men featured on the show, Captain Fraser Hall and First Mate Peter Hammarstedt, discuss their opposition to this practice and explain why it's significant for the Faroese people.

Filed under: Entertainment
April 26th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Starting Point playlist for Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today's Starting Point with guest anchor Christine Romans began with a pick from Jose Antonio Vargas' playlist: "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys. The song was a number one hit for the duo in 2009, and prompted Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg to release their west coast response song "California Gurls."

Kelly Clarkson's smash hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"  made Abby Huntsman's playlist this morning. The song has topped practically every chart around, including the Hot 100, Hot Pop Songs and Hot Dance Club Songs. Abby also picked Eric Church's top-ten country hit "Springsteen" and the Allman Brothers classic "Rambin' Man."

Kevin Powell's playlist pick today was John Mayer's Grammy-winning hit "Waiting on the World to Change." Mayer's new album Born and Raised is set to be released on May 22nd.

"Threadbare Gypsy Soul" by Pat Green made Will Cain's playlist this morning. Green also has a new album on the horizon: Songs We Wish We Written II, a followup to his 2001 covers album, is due May 8th.

Captain Fraser Hall and First Mate Peter Hammarstedt of Animal Planet's Whale Wars stopped by Starting Point today and brought along "Soul Meets Boy," a song by Death Cab For Cutie. The track, off of their 2005 album Plans, was their first song to chart in the U.S., peaking just outside of the Top 40.

Legendary actress and singer Lynda Carter visited Starting Point today. In honor of the one and only Wonder Woman, we played a few tracks off of Lynda's most recent album, 2011's Crazy Little Things. Up first was "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," along with "C'est La Vie" and "Jessie's Song," which she wrote for her daughter.

"Lover Come Back To Me" by Dinah Washington was John Fugelsang's pick today. We also played John Fogerty's "Centerfield" and One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."

For more information on our playlists and guests, follow Starting Point on Twitter: @StartingPtCNN

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