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August 16th, 2012
06:44 AM ET

Starting Point live blog for Thursday, Aug. 16th, 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, to talk about the latest on the wildfires in 13 states, new scrutiny on Vice President Biden's 'chains' remark and Soledad talks with the "Fierce Five" US women's gymnastics team after their amazing Olympics performances. 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
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. CJKatl

    Does it really make any difference? O'Brien is obviously toast as soon as a new leader is brought in to clean house at CNN. Her ratings alone are grounds for termination. Its only CNN's lack of leadership that is keeping her on the air at this point. Hopefully CNN will return to its solid journalistic roots. Please, CNN, get rid of O'Brien and return to having solid journalists reporting the news.

    For the record, CNN brings in just 191k viewers in the morning. Even HLN brings in more. Morning Joe brings in almost a half million, and fox brings in 1.2M. In other words, Solidad has one viewer for every eleven watching Fox. She barely has the equivalent of Metro Altoona watching. Clearly America has judged her a failure.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. CJKatl

    This morning, I just happened to turn on the TV to CNN, having not seen this show in a long time. WOW! Just WOW! If anyone needs an explanation for CNN's horrible ratings, this show would be a good start.

    Soledad doesn't listen to her guests. No wonder nobody important was on the show. Important people make time to go on Morning Joe to have an intelligent conversation with Joe, Mika and the others. Anyone who goes on this show knows they will be in the intelligence equivalent of playing ping pong with a paraplegic.The ill-informed but opinionated O'Brien seems glued to her prepared questions and notes, regardless of what the guest might say.

    This is seriously cringeworthy television. How can the once great CNN stand behind this. I'm embarrassed for Ted Turner, that what he built is now this shadow of itself. No wonder nobody watches.

    I travel the country, and see many small town local newscasts. Might I suggest CNN broadcast one of those instead of this drivel. With low production values and little budget for actual reporting, most of these newscasts are still a higher quality product than what I saw this morning.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ray Pearson


    Thank you so much for your aggressiveness is drilling down to the FACTS about the differences & similarities in Democratic & Republican position on Medicare with your interview this morning with the Congressman...notice I didn't say truth because it seems as if both sides have their own definintion of the truth. I have been anxiously awaiting for ANY journalist to get to the facts from party surrogates versus pandering to each side and allowing the regurgitation stale talking points that have no substance in order to "amp up the drama". I'm a Democrat, and proud of it, but I want the facts from each side, so I can make an informed decision before I cast my vote. I don't want to hear talking points, I really don't want to hear scare tactics, I want the DETAILS. Stay aggressive and be encouraged that, despite many of the partisan comments above, many of us who watch CNN are actually watching to get the facts uncovered through serious journalism and through the tough questions asked of both sides.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. sphs71

    Soledad is a fair and direct journalist that sticks to the facts. Her interviews with hard-liners like Sununu and Chaffetz who keep trying to throw mudd against the wall to see what will stick are great. She will not let them spread their foolishness on her show. I think she holds both sides accountable and she should be commended for her fairness. Keep up the good work!

    August 17, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. mike

    Get rid of obrian. she is way too biased.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Renata Kimmerly

    Why is Ms O'Brien so biased, opinionated and obviously a very angry woman hiding behind an insincere smile. Smug, rude, arrogant, are just some words that come to mind when she is on the screen. Gives a bad name to journalists. She s like a Rosanne of CNN – crass and rude. CNN ratings are plummeting – perhaps this is the reason.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gary P

      I watch CNN for being neutral...but the more I watch Solidad the more I can see her anger seeping thru for Republicans...her face tells a thousand words...she gets smug and the way she questions Republicans vs Dems...I am a self professed Republican yet at times I can't watch Fox News when they go too far...just as NBC goes to far on the left....but CNN has been the news station I turn to to reall see balance...If I want my Republican fix I can turn on Fox if I want to see what Dems are doing I go to NBC...but CNN you need to have true journalist who can act in the interest of good disclosure and not be smug....Solidad should go over to NBC where she is much better suited

      August 17, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Adrian

    It would be great if you could ask these pointed questions of Castellanos or any other GOP member........."In what specific way has the deficit harmed the American economy over the last four years? Can you name a specific business that has been directly affected by it, and how? Also, do you believe that the Bush Administration's deficit spending after the Clinton surplus was the cause of the near economic collapse of 2008? How did the Bush Administration's deficit spending directly cause the economic slowdown?"

    August 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. steve parker

    Soledad, you're a gem for the push back you gave to Sununu in your recent interview. You were far too gentle and kind. I'd have informed him that he wasn't on Fox news and that he wasn't going to use your show to run his poorly informed anti-Obama rant and that, along with his huffing and puffing he'd have to listen and then respond without shouting you down. Why does CNN allow such obviously self-enamored shills for the extreeme right wing to even get on the air? Doesn't anyone there at CNN instruct guests such as Sununu about how to comport themselves?

    August 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Nurseli143

    Just watched your report of what checking the facts yielded about Medicare vs. The spurious lies being spread by Sununu, Priebus, and Romney! Soledad you rock! You kept your composure Monday and now you have the last laugh – wish it was in a commercial!

    August 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. joe

    the segment on today's show about the atheist lawsuit to have the wtc "cross" removed from the the 9/11 museum was brought to my attention by the american atheist feed on my facebook page. this segment made me angry.

    i've had respect for soledad o'brien before as a newsperson, maybe i should no longer. if she and her group are trying to report, or even comment on, the news, they should be informed before they express an opinion on national tv. By the way she presented the "facts", i'm sure soledad doesn't understand the complexities of the public funding of the museum, nor that the "cross" became more than just an artifact of the day, but that it became an object of worship, unlike say a religious painting in a museum. people don't regularly kneel and pray in front of the artworks in a museum, as they are like to here. maybe they should have somebody who is informed, like a spokesperson of AA, talk to soledad and her group?

    my thought, not shared by AA, i think, would be to argue that the "cross" be kept at the site where it was while construction was going on, at st. paul's church a few blocks away, and a photographic display reside in the museum telling the story of the "cross' and where it can be seen. the church location gives tourists both the opportunity to see it as an artifact, and to pray to it as a religious icon. and no way violates the separation of church and state.

    also, in response to whoever the guy say that atheists are on the downturn, which he admitted he based on no facts, and soledad agreed saying "she didn't know that". maybe somebody should show him the studies that show atheism and non-belief are on the rise in america?

    i hope that this will be brought to the attention of soledad and her guests.

    August 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe

      i should also add that the tone of the segment was both dismissive and belittling of my atheism. it was offhand opinionated comments without any basis in fact. directed towards "silly atheists". i found this segment very offensive to me, as much as if it were directed to any racial or cultural, or any other, minority. it was more of what i would expect on fox news, than on cnn.

      August 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. aquaviva


    That's what professional journalists like Soledad "I don't think I show bias in my TV show" O'Brien do.

    It's not childish at all.

    It' not petty at all.

    It's very professional, right Soledad?

    The kind of thing we could expect from, say, Tim Russert, or Jake Tapper.

    You can trust this woman America.

    This Is CNN

    August 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. aquaviva


    I have a suggestion for a segment.

    You could do a feature on how a once great pioneering news channel completely squandered and destroyed it's name, brand, and subsequent ratings by

    1. Being boring
    2. Practicing Progressive Group-think among talent, writers, producers, etc.
    3. Having an OBVIOUS bias, all the while swearing to any that (still) listen that you're "independent".
    4. Hiring unqualified on-air talent (ahem) that viewers don't believe to be credible, lack "gravitas", or both.

    Here's some questions for ya'all.

    How many CNN talent, producers, writers,

    1. Legally own a handgun?

    2. Attend church or synagogue regularly?

    3. Have a family member or close friend currently serving in the military?

    4. Support civil unions, partner contract enforcements, hospital visitations, etc, but also support the traditional definition of marriage?

    5. Are unambiguously Pro-Life?

    6. Have voted, at least once, for a Republican for President at some point in the last 20 years?

    Now, ask yourself those same questions but try to answer as the "average American". 310 million of us.

    See the difference?

    See the problem?

    "Ya'all" need to worry less about diversity in race and gender and more diversity in thought.

    "Ya'all" may or may not "look like America" but "ya'all" certainly don't think like America.

    And until you fix it, tweaking the edges, arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, hiring flashy "talent" (Tony B.) is not going to change the result.

    This Is CNN.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howard nix

      Soledad has sank to the bottom. She is now a mirror image of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz, etc. no one watches any of these due to their extreme bias. They all wet their pants when they see Obama. They didn't have hardly anything to say about the hate crime on a religious organization the other day. But flood the airways if it is against a black or liberal. CNN is guilty of hate speech against conservatives. Soledad has been made to look like a fool dozens of times in the last few weeks. Why does CNN keep her? Oh that's right they want their ratings at rock bottom.

      August 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Roberto Tellez

    I think what we are seeing now is a cloak and dagger approach by the GOP. Their arguments are that the President lacks ideas, the president is out of touch. I do not believe this to be true because the presidents ideas have all been tossed to the side by this GOP house of Reps, NO this TEA PARTY house of reps. They Hijacked our government and claim the uncertanty that has plagued our economy is due to the President. As much as I'd like to believe the GOP rheteric I cannot. Our country is being distracted no LIED TO. The GOP claims the president is to blame for the slow recovery we are having. This is false, yes I admit i do not have a background in economics but i do have experience in Government and the Constitutional law. If anyone has read the Constitution they would know theres a Seperation of Powers. Checks and Balances, the powers of the President have expanded and been decreased through the years but congress still has the powers of the purse and the power to WRITE law. the Executive branch on the other hand has the powers to enforce those laws and the judicial branch IE SCOTUS has the power to interpret and Deam laws Unconstitutional. My question is, how can the GOP claim the presidents in Action is the cause for our slow recovery. The President in the past after the tea party take over of the house has tried to work with them, but they have been combative at least while at the same time working against our constitution and in my oppinion the cause of our economic downfalls. They want our county to fail until november. simple. 10% approval rating of congress should be the rheteric we hear. vp biden is right, mitt romney wants to take the chains off of wall street, off of he banks, he wants to destroy the EPA and he wants do de regulate our economy and PUT THE CHAINS BACK ON US. shame on the GOP for turning this into race, I am a mexican/puerto rican hispanic american and i can see the GOP waving their left hand in the air and stabbing me with their right... and claiming that pain i feel in my gut is caused by the president.

    August 16, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mark Newsom

    First, thank you for your fairness in getting truthful responses on the Biden/Chains comment this morning. I doubt that Biden meant to offend anyone but I do believe that he was trying to appeal to a specific group and probably thought the comment was cool/cute/whatever. He even adjusted his accent when he said it in order to convey...well, something. It was like he was trying to sound like a stereotypical black gospel preacher. It’s sad that it actually did provoke the response he wanted. The larger point is that if a Republican had said the same exact thing and in the same way, everyone on Earth would have been screaming about it. This is the typical double standard that so many of us have come to expect. The scary thing to me is that this guy, VP Biden, the one that repeatedly make "gaffes" over and over, is next in line to be President. That is just plain scary. I believe he is probably a nice man with nothing but good intentions but any time he improvises, it’s a gaffe.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Daniel S

    Chain necklace???!!!
    Your actions speak louder than any words you have ever said.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  16. chuck thomas

    O'Brien, Are your chains today coded language?

    August 16, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ronal J Sopko

    Talk about a DOG WHISTLE !!!..Whats with the chains around Soledads neck ?????

    August 16, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Rob

    Again... Regarding the Biden comment:.....The candidates and reporting agencies are focusing on the phrase "Back in Chains" in stead of issues that are important to the country! I have heard very little on specific details on how we're going to balance the budget, or get out of debt, or bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. or a host of other more important subjects....

    August 16, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Seth Sharon

    I saw the video with you and congressmen Barbara Comstock. You should be ashamed of yourself. You give hispanics like myself a bad name.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse | Reply

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