I landed in Austin, TX late last night, here for South by Southwest. We're doing our show live this morning from the CNN Grill. This afternoon, I'm moderating a panel around my Black in America doc that focused on Silicon Valley and opportunities for African Americans.
I'll confess...I watched an episode of ABC's "Revenge" before I went to bed. This is my new favorite show but it airs so late that I have to download the epsiodes to watch them in bulk. I'm SO tired–but its so worth it.
In this particular episode, Emily Thorne contines to exact revenge on the Grayson's–the family that caused her father's unjust incarceration and eventual death. It's all unravelling for them, in the episode called "Perception."
Our focus today (without the unravelling and incarceration!) is also perception, as we wait for the latest unemployment numbers to come out. Estimates run in the 200,000 range, which would keep the unemployment rate stable at 8.3 percent. Christine Romans is standing by to crunch the numbers for us, and then we'll talk perception–what do these figures mean politically for President Obama? Or the GOP candidates who continue to bring their message to their supporters (and the media trailing them) about jobs and the future of the American economy? I'll talk to Austan Goolsbee, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama Administration right after the numbers are released.
I'm snarfing down a bagel with cream cheese as I type this: it's a bit disappointing. We New Yorkers have the best bagels and this one is squishy. Might as well call it a kaiser roll. But I'm excited to talk about SXSW with Louis Black, who is a co-founder of the music/film/tech festival that now draws approximately 30,000 people every year.
We'll also hear from the great Deepak Chopra and his son, Gotham, who spent a year chronicling his dad in the new movie "Decoding Deepak." Deepak says the movie, which is premiering at SXSW on Sunday, is about "my son's attempt to unravel the mystery of who I am, but it's also an attempt to unrwap who he is." That should be fun.
This is the first time I'm traveling with our producer Maral Usefi–and she is the cheeriest person in the morning! It's sickening! No I'm kidding.
Since it's Friday, we're going out for cosmos right after the show, celebrating 10 weeks that "Starting Point" has been on the air!
I started the morning chugging diet Snapple that bought from the 24-hour deli around the corner from my apartment. I love that lots of places are open in the middle of the night in NYC.
I came in extra early today - 2am - to sift through the exit polls from the overnight voting in the Super Tuesday primaries, especially in Ohio since that was the squeaker.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/03/07/jackson.note.revised.jpg caption="The note Jackson left for me in the morning."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/03/07/soledad.photo.back.jpg caption="This was the note I wrote him back."]
My 7-year-old Jackson left the cutest note outside my bedroom door last night. He's was psyched to watch Anderson and Wolf and the magic wall (I think this is odd, he's seven). He treats these primaries like football games: there are clear winners and losers and he doesn't care all that much about the analysis. We will focus on analysis though:
CNN declared Mitt Romney the winner in Ohio at 12:33am today, with 99% of precincts reporting. Ultimately about 12,000 votes stand between Romney and Rick Santorum.
For clues to Romney's victory, look to the same categories that have consistently supported him. He wins with liberal and moderate Republicans. And with people earning more than 100k. For Santorum, he too seals the deal with people he's already sealed the deal with–look at exit polls among those who describe themselves as extremely conservative and those who are Evangelical.
There seems to lie the problem: As Ron Brownstein points out in his excellent summation at the National Journal both candidates need to expand into a broader pool for definitive front-runner status.
This morning we'll talk to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who surely will highlight the tremendous lead Mitt Romney has in delegates. But the energy of the voters is a critical measure in a general election, and harder to measure too. GOP turnout so far is down 9% - thats a number we'll discuss today too.
I'm sitting typing this while in hair and makeup. (An aside, hard to type on the blackberry while someone is trying to do your eyeliner. Would one day be fun to do a show with no makeup and in sweats with hair in a scrunchy, but I digress) Our panel is terrific this morning: Newark Mayor Cory Booker will join me, former Romney debate coach Brett O'Donnell and National Journal's Ron Brownstein. Maybe hizzoner Booker wants to give up politics and co-anchor the morning show with me? The hours are bad and the coffee's terrible, so what's not to love?
Music this morning, chosen by my 11-year-old Sofia: The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar"! We're live at 7am. Tune in.
I overslept this morning and I hopped in my car–late! At 3:04am. My driver Miguel says "I have a surprise for you"...which is sort of a terrifying thought at 3 in the morning. But he hits play on his iPhone and suddenly I'm listening to the Cuban singer Rolando Laserie singing "Hola Soledad." Think we'll feature THAT this morning on Starting Point's Playlist!
Last night was a late one. I got home at 7p after an all-day shoot on kids and race for Anderson. (Yes, hello, 16 hour day!) It was an amazing story, but I was tired and I had a mound of 5th grade homework to eyeball.
Monday was a crazy day: My daughter had a fever while I was on the air, so I was emailing to try to get her pediatrician Dr. Edie to see her. Today of course is all about Super Tuesday. Talk of a brokered convention has died down, and now it's about looking at the other guys. What's the Gingrich strategy for Super Tuesday? Does it all rest with Georgia? Santorum had a rough weekend, struggling through an interview on Fox and backed off of his "snob" comments. Will it hurt him?
This morning, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) are back and will talk about Mitt Romney's efforts today, since they are both Romney supporters. We'll also shake our heads at Rep. Chaffetz's dusty old cd collection (or is it a record collection?). Devo? Seriously? I owned that in 9th grade.
Today, we'll also dig into what exactly happened in Cairo to Sam LaHood, who was among 19 Americans and 43 NGO employees facing criminal charges of using illegally obtained funds to stir up unrest. He's now out of Egypt and safe in Washington D.C.
Also we're talking football (me talking sports usually makes my husband cringe) because I find this bounty for injuring players fascinating. Players seem to think it's part of playing hard. I'll talk with former Buffalo Bills safety Izell Reese around 8:15am. He says hitting hard is part of his job and it's a physical game, but it's hard to draw a line between an intentional hit and a hit as part of the game. Should be pretty interesting.
I'm off to do some more reading before the top of the show. Join me 7am Eastern on CNN.