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Huntsman Endorsed By Boston Globe; Romney Snubbed By Globe Again; Santorum Stumbles In New Hampshire; 8:30 AM ET: December Jobs Report; Colombia to Hand Over Deported Teen to U.S.; Van Der Sloot Murder Trial; Interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell; "Boston Globe" Endorses Huntsman; Virginia Urges "Loyalty Oath"

Aired January 6, 2012 - 06:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. It's 6:00 in the morning. Get yourself out of bed, and if you're in L.A., go to bed. It's 3:00 a.m. It's an EARLY START.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's enjoy that cup of coffee, right? I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z.

BANFIELD: On the A part of it, the Ashleigh, the Zoraida, it's really cute. Sorry, I just had to bring that up.

There's a lot going on. If you were sleeping through the day, Jon Huntsman got a big endorsement in the battle for New Hampshire, and it is a weird endorsement because it comes from the newspaper where Mitt Romney used to be governor.

SAMBOLIN: And have you heard about the Air Force sex scandal? Three cadets are charged with sexual assault, and you know, a total of 65 sexual assaults reportedly were made involving cadets, 2009, 2010. These numbers are going up still yet.

BANFIELD: Always been a controversial issue and not sure there's an answer coming anytime soon.

Also want to let you know that Penn State may come out with a big announcement on who's going to replace Joe Paterno as head coach of that team. So we're keeping our eye on it for you.

SAMBOLIN: And Christine Romans has been keeping her eyes on this. The big jobs report for December, it comes out today. She is calling it the big granddaddy of them all and she got some bells and whistles to show us what it means and perhaps what it means for Democrats.

BANFIELD: Christine Romans, mayor of the morning, we'll call her. I love her. I think I maybe the only one who falls for her, but I really think she is.

So, wow, can you believe Jon Huntsman, that itty-bitty state of New Hampshire. He's been putting all his eggs there and it's at least paid off in terms of the big endorsement that he got from the "Boston Globe."

For vision in national unity, Huntsman for GOP nominee screamed the headlines to everybody in Massachusetts next door, but also that's the second heaviest read paper in New Hampshire.

So it's a big, old deal for Mr. Huntsman who really kind of expects to pull New Hampshire off. The "Boston Globe" editor spoke to our own Erin Burnett last night.


PETER CANELLOS, "BOSTON GLOBE" EDITOR (via telephone): Huntsman has been bolder in the campaign. You have a real sense where he would take the country. He's engaged on the issues in a much more forceful way than Romney has.


SAMBOLIN: It's really important time for him, because he's only been polling in the single digits despite putting out all of this effort. They're kind of ignored Iowa and even dissed Iowa and yet didn't do so well getting up in the polls early on before the campaign. But he does say he believes his message is taking hold.


JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The establishment is teeing up Mr. Romney at the choice for the Republican Party, and I say, the people of New Hampshire will not be told for whom to vote.


BANFIELD: I love how every state says, we won't be told how to vote. I'm not sure I know a state that likes to be told how to vote personally.

Weighing in on this, Democratic strategist, Kiki McLean, one of my faves, live from Washington, D.C. this morning. Good morning, sweetheart.

KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good morning, Ashleigh. How are you?

BANFIELD: Also, conservative commentator, Lenny McAllister. I'm just awake, as you can probably tell from my tone. Lenny is live from Jacksonville, Florida. Lenny, you are moving to a different location every day. What is with you?

LENNY MCALLISTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: I'm trying to keep up with Matt Lauer, "Where in the World is Lenny McAllister."

BANFIELD: You were doing some frequent flying, my friend. And our CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser live from Manchester, New Hampshire.

Paul, I love the fact that you actually got out of the political center in D.C. This must be great for you being on the road. You don't have to stay cooped up in that little mushroom zone anymore, right?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, I won't see D.C. for a while. Iowa for two weeks, New Hampshire -- I'm not going to see my family for weeks.

BANFIELD: It's going to get old soon. Trust me, my friend. I've spent a lot of time on the road.

All right, let's get to the business of all of this because there's a new poll that I can read for you because every poll seems to be so outdated. So when we get a new one, we're really thrilled.

Here we go. New Hampshire tracking poll, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Romney coming in at 41 percent. Ron Paul straggling away, way below at 18 percent. Rick Santorum, boom, boom. It wasn't such a great bump, bump, was it from Iowa? He's at 8 percent and then there are all the others.

You almost want to call them also-rands? But I think it's unfair at this point because we still have four days to go. So let's start with you, Paul Steinhauser.

I get it. I get it that this looks like a runaway state for Mitt Romney, but what does it mean for -- what does it mean for Jon Huntsman? If he doesn't pull it off in the place where he expected of any of the states he was going to pull it off, is this the end of the road, his last stand?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, real good question. You know, I guess, New Hampshire, the battle here is for second place. We all know Romney is probably going to win here. If he doesn't, it's a huge, huge story.

So it's the battle for second. Whoever gets it is going to get a lot of momentum going into South Carolina. I was talking to some Huntsman aides last night here at the hotel where I'm staying and asking them just that.

What do you need to do? If he needs to finish in second, if he needs to crack 10 percent, what is your goal here in New Hampshire that allows to you move on South Carolina where Huntsman has spent a little bit of time.

However, he's basically living here nonstop, but he does get down to South Carolina. Unclear exactly what he needs to do. He knows he's not going to win here. He would like to do second place.

If he's under 10 percent though -- I don't know how he goes on if he's under 10 percent here in New Hampshire.

BANFIELD: We'll have to watch those numbers clearly. I'm really curious to see how Governor Romney is going to do because he hasn't really broken above the 25 mark and yet he's polling at 41 percent in Massachusetts at this point. I want to show you two "Time" magazine covers, one from a month ago and one from this week. It was very, very clever of that magazine to do this.

Take a look on the left. Why don't they like me? And then this week, after Iowa -- so, you like me now? Kiki Mclean, weigh in on this. I like to say, yes, that's a great headline, but then yesterday outcomes the "Boston Globe" saying, we're not so keen on our former governor.

MCLEAN: Yes, you know, it's kind of interesting because when you pair that up with, you know, I don't know what the strength of one editorial has even from the "Boston Globe." But it's almost like you said what it doesn't say.

And then you look at the history of New Hampshire as having favorite son. There's almost kind of a favorite son moment here. So kind of doesn't matter what Romney gets because I'm not sure it does him a lot good.

But underneath all of this what it demonstrates is frankly kind of what Newt Gingrich has said, which is the Republicans and conservatives just don't feel confident in what they're going to get with Mitt Romney.

That's why they're not willing to coalesce and go there. That's a problem for him in the primaries. That could also be a problem for him as a nominee. People look up and say, well, you know, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had a protracted fight up until the end.

But the difference there was, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were bringing lots of new participants to the game, new voters. You're not seeing that in the Republican primary and at the end of the day, that's not helpful for nominee.

BANFIELD: OK, Lenny McAllister, I want your ears tuned very, very closely to these next few pieces of sound I'm going to run for you. It essentially lines up a not so comfortable part of the day for Rick Santorum as he was stumping through New Hampshire yesterday. He got booed as he was leaving a stage at a college event. Take a listen.

This after a, you know, sort of pitched conversation back and forth about gay marriage and his staunch position against it. And then look at this. This is at a diner.

That's not good. No, that's not good. That was a place where Mr. Santorum was supposed to be. Where is the bump, Mr. McAllister? Where is the bump from Iowa for Rick Santorum and why is he getting this kind of a reception?

MCALLISTER: Well, the bump came when he got over $1 million in fundraising from Iowa Tuesday towards the rest of the week. However, it seems to be a prerequisite for Republican candidates that are nominated or deemed the frontrunner in this process to stick their foot in their mouth at some point in time immediately after getting that frontrunner status.

Rick Santorum has done the same exact thing. If you look at the debates and the back and forth he had with the college students, there's no way to come out of that situation and look good if you're trying to be fighting with these college students.

You're trying to shove your far right wing Christian conservative points of view on people that you know are moderate. He should have taken a better messaging towards this. If you look over the last 72 hours, he's defended earmarks, doesn't endear them to the Tea Party.

He's insulted blacks, doesn't endear them to diversity and now he is insulting the moderate base. It's not going to endear him to the people in New Hampshire -- those three things right there.

BANFIELD: But it will endear him to the Evangelicals. I just had that very strong feeling. Panel, Kiki Mclean, Lenny McAllister and Paul Steinhauser, thank you all for getting up early and being so smart.

MCALLISTER: Thank you.

MCLEAN: Thanks. Have a good day.

BANFIELD: And it may sound like they're not smart when they take that long to answer me. It's because we have a very big delay with all of our ground crews all over the place and satellite trucks going bananas.

So they're great group to get up that early. For the best political coverage on TV, make sure you keep it here on CNN, 7:00 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," with Soledad O'Brien.

Eric Frendstrom, the senior adviser to Mitt Romney is going to join her and at 8:00 a.m., the "Boston Globe" editor, Peter Canellos is going to talk to Soledad about that big Huntsman endorsement.

SAMBOLIN: So we are expecting some good news about the U.S. economy this morning. I know Christine is because she is psyched and you've got the magic wall to tell us all about it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Relatively good news because we're talking about six months in a row potentially of 100,000 jobs or more created. We haven't seen that since 2006.

Think of that. We haven't had six months in a row of 100,000 jobs created since 2006. If economists are right that happened in December.

SAMBOLIN: You say that with caution, don't you?

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely. We're still in a very, very big hole from all the jobs that have been lost. So we're slowly climbing out of it. BANFIELD: Whoa, whoa, wait. You say that. I also hear in the last six months, I keep hearing these reports of more unemployment, you know, filing. So I don't really understand how that works.

ROMANS: Well, every week we have hundreds of thousands of unemployment filings and even in a good economy, you have a few hundred thousand jobless -- because with such a dynamic economy, people are falling in and out of all the time.

Now we're slowly seeing net job creation each month. We will continue to have jobless claims even in a booming economy. We have these jobless claims, but we're slowly crawling out of this hole.

BANFIELD: Let's see.

ROMANS: Let me show you. OK, I'm just going over to the magic wall, the John King magic wall. OK, this is what 2011 looks like. So this is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 months above 100,000 job creation, if economists are right. This is still a forecast.

So we're not really sure. Remember in the middle of summer, we're talking about double dip recession. What's going on? It looks as though things have cemented here in the right direction over the past few months.

Let's talk about how this is a political story as well. Because you are hearing over and over about how President Obama killed the job market and killed the American economy. When President Obama took office, this is what happened.

These months was what happened in the aftermath of the financial crisis that started before President Obama took office so this is that wreckage of the financial crisis.

And then things got better because of stimulus and they got better because of you know, census hiring and then it looked very sketchy again for a while. But now slowly but surely, things have been moving in the right direction, and there you go.

That is what we're expecting for the month of December. So what does that mean? Well, it means if you're newly unemployed, it's getting a little bit easier to get a job.

It means if you're long-term unemployed and there are 5.7 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer, that is a big number. If you're a long term unemployed, it is still the same old bad job market.

SAMBOLIN: Do we know what kinds of jobs are being created?

ROMANS: That's a good question. A lot of retail jobs, service sector jobs, low-wage jobs in many cases, but small businesses and midsize businesses are starting to hire again.

It's not necessarily the big multi-nationals, about the money that's sitting in the bank. They're stretching it out of their workers, right, the big, big companies.

It's small and medium sized businesses who are seeing things get a little better and they can't go on anymore without hiring. Holding out as long as they can because they are worried about the economy, but they're starting to do better.

BANFIELD: Can both parties grab from that? More money for job creators --

ROMANS: I can't wait to put them side-by-side. You can see, you know -- what they'll do is, the Republicans will say, the president's trying to take, call this a victory.

We still have who too many people out of work and that's true. The White House will say things are slowly healing and we're going in the right direction. Let's not do anything to get in the way of the slow, but steady job creation --

BANFIELD: I want to see the graph, who wins, Christine Romans. All right, the mayor of the morning. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: It is now 12 minutes past 6:00 on the east. So at this time, we like to give you an early start to your day by alerting you to news happening later today.

We're not just on the news. We're getting ahead of the news so you know what's going to be big tonight and here's what's going to be really big.

Joran Van der Sloot is going on trial today for the murder of that young woman in Peru. Van der Sloot's lawyer says he admits to the killing of Stephany Flores, but says it wasn't premeditated. Of course, Van der Sloot was arrested in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, but he was never charged with that.

SAMBOLIN: And with just four days to New Hampshire, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich, will all be in New Hampshire trying to chip away at Mitt Romney's lead there.

BANFIELD: And as for Mr. Romney, Governor Romney, he is holding a rally at a peanut warehouse in South Carolina in about two hours. And today at noon, a brand new CNN/ORC/"Time" poll of the race in South Carolina is coming out. We're just so excited.

The others are outdated at this point. It's the first poll of the state since early December when it was, remember, Newt Gingrich with the very, very big lead.

SAMBOLIN: And complaining about the cold temperatures, but it's kind of toasty warm in the Midwest especially for this time of year. Right, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unbelievably so. Records falling across more for the past couple of days and that heat, guys, is moving off to the east, but there's a little bit snow across the northeast right now.

But that's actually a warm front so temperatures are going to rise from the 20s and 30s into the 40s and 50s before too long here with this system as it makes its way towards the east.

Check out some of these numbers. We showed you the records across parts of the Midwest yesterday. Look at California, 89 degrees, El Cajon 88, Escondio 85, San Diego and Los Angeles also seeing record high temperature of 83 degrees that coupled with big surf, big waves coming out.

I bet there were some folks in the water. New Year records for Lincoln and Omaha. All of these is heading as mentioned off to the east. Today's high temperatures are going to be balmy. You can't find a temperature that in the 30s for daytime highs today.

So nearly nationwide we're looking at this record heat, but especially across the Great Lakes and into the east. That's where this bulge of warm air is moving, 15 to 20 degrees above average over the next couple of days.

You know, now, yesterday, guys, Zoraida's family came in and I had the pleasure of meeting them, especially Nikko and Sophia.

SAMBOLIN: You are such a doll.

MARCIANO: I don't want your kids to feel left out. So on behalf -- on behalf of the Southeast Bureau and the weather team, those are for your two little ones.


MARCIANO: Yes. Open that. That's a cute one --

SAMBOLIN: Look at that.

MARCIANO: -- right there --


MARCIANO: You know.

BANFIELD: That's very sweet.

MARCIANO: Now, as if Nikko and --


MARCIANO: -- Sophia didn't have enough schwag, just a couple more things for them.

SAMBOLIN: Rob, you're such a doll.

MARCIANO: They are literally walking out of here with arms full of Severe Weather gear.

SAMBOLIN: They were. I took pictures and I'd posted them. They had such a great time and thank you.

BANFIELD: This could fit me.

MARCIANO: There you go.

BANFIELD: I'm just kidding. I'll give it to them.

SAMBOLIN: I've got to tell everybody Rob was such a doll.


SAMBOLIN: My kids are in Connecticut -- that's where you're from. And so it really helped for you to talk to my son and kind of make him feel that he's going to be OK there, even though it's different from Chicago.

MARCIANO: Well, when I'm back there, I'll show him my old stomping grounds.

BANFIELD: Come to dinner.

MARCIANO: Welcome to Atlanta. Sounds good.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It's a dinner here (ph).

BANFIELD: It's a date. It's a date with Mr. Dreamy and his family. See you, Rob.

MARCIANO: See you, guys.

BANFIELD: It is now 16 minutes past 6:00 on the -- on the East Coast. It's 3:15 and bedtime for you on the West Coast.

We're getting you the news this morning making top headlines. "The Globe" -- "The Boston Globe" has done it again, bypassing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and instead endorsing another Republican Jon Huntsman. The State's largest newspaper says Huntsman gives the party an opportunity to, quote, "renew itself."

And if you remember, four years ago, "The Boston Globe" chose John McCain over Romney, too.

SAMBOLIN: The Air Force charging three of its cadets with sexual misconduct including one that is accused of rape. All three attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but were reportedly involved in separate incidents over the last 15 months.

BANFIELD: We could also learn later today that Penn State has brand new head football coach to succeed Joe Paterno. "New York Times" is reporting that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien interviewed with Penn State officials yesterday about that position.

SAMBOLIN: And still ahead, a new development in the girl that was deported by mistake to Colombia. We've got some developments on that. BANFIELD: Actually kind of good news. She doesn't have to stay there the rest of her life. She can come back and get her USA citizenship.

And also, a kind of a weird story out of the French Quarter of New Orleans. If you're under 15 years old, don't be out after dark. Curfew's coming. So why are some people saying this is racist?

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: So it is 20 minutes past the hour. And we're getting an early read on your local news that's making national headlines.

This morning we have papers from New Orleans and from Billings, Montana. We're going to start with Billings. So "The Billings Gazette" to be exact. That's a picture of a Corgi there. Dave Gaillard was killed Saturday by an avalanche while he was skiing with his wife. His dog, Ole, which is -- this is not his dog. This is just a picture of the breed. It was buried with him and folks presumed it was dead. So Ole somehow survived. He actually walked four miles back to hotel where the owners were staying.

He was reunited with his family. They say they really, really needed this, and, I mean, here's the big deal with the story, right? That breed of dog has very short legs. And it had to dig out of that avalanche and walked the miles to the hotel. They didn't know how it happened. It's certainly called a miracle. They are just so delighted because the wife, who survived said I really needed this.

BANFIELD: I mean, it's a good end to a very sad story.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, terrible.

BANFIELD: And you kind of wonder, how did anybody miss that the dog, you know, was at least close enough to the surface from the avalanche to be able to get itself out or maybe he got himself before the rescuers got there?

SAMBOLIN: They're not sure. That really was the big mystery.

And, you know, the wife said that her husband knew the avalanche was coming, told her to get away and go by the trees. So he saved her life also. Incredible story.

BANFIELD: You know, I learn how to avalanche search and rescue, because I do a lot of helicopter skiing and I wear this --

SAMBOLIN: I don't know how do you do that.

BANFIELD: -- I love it. It's one of my favorite things to do. When I go helicopter skiing I have to wear a beacon. So that if I get buried in an avalanche, it will transmit -- beep, beep, to the rest of my party and they'll come digging with their ski polls to try to find me. SAMBOLIN: If there is anything I would have to do I have to wear a beacon like that to be identified, I'm not going to do it.

BANFIELD: I never thought of that. I think maybe you're right. Maybe I shouldn't be doing that anymore.

Let me take you to the New Orleans "The Times-Picayune," shall I? Because this newspaper has a great story today about a curfew on Bourbon Street and not just Bourbon Street, the whole French Quarter. The City Council there voting six-nothing to get a curfew in place for 8:00 at night for anybody 16 and under, but just on the French Quarter, not city wide. They are thinking about the city-wide curfew.

And here's where it gets weird. African-American leaders are saying that French Quarter thing is a racist ploy so that police can profile young black males. But in the same breath, they're then saying but we want to extend it city-wide.

So I think what they're saying is that all you care about are these business owners. You're not caring about, you know, the city and the safety of the city. You're just caring about the business centers and you're getting an opportunity to pinpoint the -- the young black males. But I still I'm not sure I can get my head around it.

SAMBOLIN: This happened in Chicago also. And it was the same argument was made that it was racist, but, you know, they slapped a fine attached to it as well. So if your kid is up after hours, you're going get fined.

BANFIELD: I'm all about the mom thing, race or no race, 15 years old, you get off the street --

SAMBOLIN: Get inside.

BANFIELD: -- and get to bed. Because you're going to school tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: This was actually right up into the weekend that they implemented that.

All right. It's 23 minutes past the hour here. And for a Texas family, this indeed is the answer to their prayers finally. Fifteen- year-old Jakadrien Turner who ran away from home nearly two years ago and was then deported by mistake we're being told to Colombia will soon be reunited with loved ones. The girl's grandmother says she is relieved.


LORENE TURNER, DEPORTED GIRL'S GRANDMOTHER: Well, it was worth the wrinkles under my eyes and age. Look like I'm 80 now, but that's all right. It's OK. I'm not mad at her. I love her and children make mistakes.


SAMBOLIN: What a great attitude, huh?

CNN's Ed Lavandera is following this story for us. He's live in Dallas. Thank you for joining us this morning.

So I want to take a look here at the timeline, because this young lady, there's so many questions here. You know, she runs away from home. And then her family actually tracked her on to Houston where she worked at a deejay club under a different name. They tried to get help from authorities there, and that didn't work. Why did the police not get involved in this sooner, before this -- you know, she was deported to Colombia?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were following her -- they'd been working with police detectives here in Dallas, you know. Look, they were kind of frustrated with the response, at least that's what they've been saying. There are a number of people who have been working closely with them.

It's not exactly clear. I asked the family repeatedly. Saying, you know, when you kind of have an inkling that she was in Houston, why didn't you drop everything and go down there? It's been -- it's been a little difficult to get kind of an answer to that. I mean, they don't have a lot of money, and that sort of thing. So I think that was one of the issues, but, you know, there are people that were tracking them, and they thought they were tracking her to a --


SAMBOLIN: And like this on Facebook, this is how they were tracking her on Facebook, because she was actually posting when she ran away and she clearly didn't want to be found. I mean, I think -- I think we all would agree with that.

But she was a minor and, you know, then she gets arrested for a misdemeanor. She claims to be somebody else who happens to be somebody from Colombia, a woman from Colombia, who has a criminal record. How is it that at that point they did not know that this girl was not who she claimed to be?

LAVANDERA: Well, the problem with that is that, I.C.E. officials are saying that that's just not accurate at this point and essentially what they're saying is that she had given them a name of someone who was brand new to them, brand new to the system. So essentially when she gets handed over to Customs and Immigration folks, that this is starting a brand new -- a brand new slate, a brand new name, brand new birth date, brand new fingerprints and there was nothing to cross- reference her.

Some of the initial reporting suggested that it matched a criminal illegal immigrant that needed to be deported. But I.C.E. says that's just not true.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And when do we expect her to come back to the United States?

LAVANDERA: This is interesting. I don't -- I would imagine it might be today. There's also a possibility, and I guess we're going to hear some clear answers in the next few hours about, who's paying for the flight home? I mean, you know, if the U.S. government says, you know, you need to foot your own bill, that might cause some delays for this family -- for the family, because they don't -- they don't have -- they told me last night, they don't have the money to pay for the flight back.

So it might take them a little while to kind of figure out where to get that money from and get her back home. So we'll see how that plays out in the next couple of hours.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We're certainly going to continue to follow this story. There's some details that a detective told the family that perhaps she was pregnant as well.

So Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for joining us this morning.


SAMBOLIN: We appreciate that.

All right. Coming up at 8:00 Eastern on STARTING POINT. Soledad talks with this girl's mother -- Johnisa Turner, and she's going to talk as well to the family's attorney. So stay tuned for that. It's a very interesting story as it develops here.

BANFIELD: Awesome story.

And another awesome story that's on the radar today. You know the guy who's all along been suspected of Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba, Joran van der Sloot, also from Aruba. Well, he's not in Aruba anymore. He's in Peru in a jail awaiting trial. The trial starts today. Has nothing to do with Natalee. Instead, everything to do with another young lady who died. He's charged with murder and that gets underway later.

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Good morning everyone. It is 6:30. Get out of bed. Get going. Get in the shower.

Don't get in the shower. We got some stuff to tell you first.

I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Welcome back to EARLY START.

On the agenda in the next half hour.

BANFIELD: Someone named Joran van der Sloot, remember him, is going on trial in South America, for the killing of a woman who died in the hotel room and he says, OK, yes, I did it. Why is he saying he did it today if he's going on trial? We're going to talk to his former civil lawyer about that.

SAMBOLIN: And did you see the Casey Anthony video? This was all over the place yesterday. So, she never mentions her daughter there. Jane Velez-Mitchell is there and she's going to talk a little about this video.

BANFIELD: No, no. We're going to wake her up.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no, are we really?

BANFIELD: Poor Jane has a night time show.

SAMBOLIN: Does she know we're calling her?

BANFIELD: No. Again, full disclosure, we do ask way in advance, would it be OK if some day we give you a shout and join our early morning club, you know?

SAMBOLIN: You happen to have her cell phone number.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, Jane, if you're watching, here's your heads up.

BANFIELD: She doesn't get up at 6:30. Are you kidding me? She's a night owl. No way. She's probably get up at 10:00 if she could.

So, we're going to wake her up. We're going to talk about something in the news, something that she's very passionate about. We'll see how passionate she can get when she's pulling up her BlackBerry on the bedside table.

It is 31 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast. Time to check your stories making top headlines this morning.

And there they go again. Folks at the "Boston Globe" endorsing Jon Huntsman, not GOP front-runner and former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. The "Globe" says Huntsman instead offers the Republican Party a chance to renew itself. But this is the second time in a row that Massachusetts' largest paper has done the big, old diss to their very own governor. Last time, they went for McCain.

SAMBOLIN: Three Air Force Academy cadets are charged with sexual misconduct, including rape, aggravated assault as well. Officials say the three were involved in separate incidents over the last 15 months.

BANFIELD: And like we mentioned at the top, we've got some big stories coming up. And this one could be one of the biggest. A 15- year-old who was deported to Colombia without the knowledge of her parents is on her way back. Fifteen-year-old Jakadrien Turner coming back. U.S. officials will be doing the handover sometime today with the Colombian officials. They've got some explaining to do on this one, folks.

But then, some explaining, too -- why did she lie when she was picked up as a runaway? Why did she lie and get them a fake name? And will she face any charges because of that?

SAMBOLIN: I think this girl doesn't want to be found. Interested in hearing from her as well.

All right. It is 32 minutes past the hour here.

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway goes to court but he's facing murder charges of a different woman. And so, we are going to talk now -- to Mary Arnold, and she'll give us some insight here. She's a former attorney, excuse me, for Joran van der Sloot, and she's joining us on the phone this morning.

If I can begin here with some legalese. If you could explain it to me because it says that van der Sloot was charged last September with qualified murder and simple robbery for Flores' murder. His lawyer says that he will accept the charge of simple homicide but not the aggravated charges.

What does this mean and how much time could he actually spend in prison?

ROSEMARIE ARNOLD, FORMER JORAN VAN DER SLOOT'S LAWYER (via telephone): Well, good morning. This is Rosemary Arnold. He's being allowed to admit to simple homicide by his lawyer, because he'll only go to jail in that case between eight and 20 years. He's avoiding the aggravated charges of premeditated murder which could land him in jail for an entire life.

SAMBOLIN: Are you still there with us?

ARNOLD: I'm still here.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So you got know Van Der Sloot pretty well when you represented him. What are your impressions about him? Because a lot of people find his very detached, smug, you know, kind of with that grin on this face all the time.

ARNOLD: Right. Well, I'm a lawyer. If I was a psychologist I'd say that he was a sociopath, a man without a conscience, because he doesn't seem to have remorse for anything that he's done.

Yet, again, with the Natalee Holloway situation, there really wasn't any proof that he did anything or had any involvement in Natalee's disappearance, and we have to understand with Joran, what he became as a young boy, 18 years old, if he became famous for the person who allegedly killed Natalee Holloway. And in that regard, you have to remember that the people in Aruba believe that he wasn't guilty. So he was somewhat of a hero, in their minds, being persecuted by the Americans for the disappearance of a woman, and he always claimed he was innocent.

When I was with him, I never found him to be cold-hearted or evil. He was always lovely and he was respectful, and he was intelligent. So, either he really didn't have anything to do with her disappearance, or he really was a sociopath who had no guilt and therefore no conscience and never manifested anything.

SAMBOLIN: And they're actually making that connection in this case? Right, that five years to the day of Natalee Holloway's disappearance is when this other young woman was murdered and that perhaps it wasn't premeditated. He was really dealing with all of the pressure and stress from that? How is that going to play out?

ARNOLD: Well, it seems to me that if he gets a fair trial, it should play out rather well. Not because of the whole connection to the Holloway situation, where they're saying, OK, he got upset because she saw something on the Internet then he killed her. You get upset and then you yell. But you don't get upset and kill someone.

But if you look at the facts, he's in a casino, and the guy's a compulsive gambler. So, he knows there's cameras everywhere and he leaves the casino with the girl, knowing he's being on camera. And then he takes her to a hotel where he's registered in his own name, and he walks right past the front desk with her and takes her to his room.

That, to me, is where you lose the premeditation, because why would you premeditate a murder and do it in front of all of those people like that? That doesn't make any sense.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it gives him a stronger argument.

So, van der Sloot here is still facing charges, extortion charges in the United States for trying to sell information about Natalee's remains to her mother.

Do you think that that case will ever see the light of day?

ARNOLD: Well, my gut tells me that in Peru, he's going to go to jail. I think that he's not going to get a fair trial. I think he's going to go to jail for a long time and I don't think he's going to make it here to be able to even fight those charges.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, we appreciate you joining us this morning. Rosemarie Arnold, former attorney for Joran van der Sloot. Thanks for getting up early with us.

It's great insight there. You know, this is a story that just never dies, right?

BANFIELD: I'm telling you, that was a disgusting and brutal murder. This is not just I snapped and punched someone. She was violently assaulted and left for dead.

SAMBOLIN: And her poor family, they'd like to see him behind bars forever.

BANFIELD: As with any of the Peruvian people, because he happened to have killed the daughter of a famous race car driver who's Peruvian. I mean, he's -- that attorney could be very right. He may not get a fair trial.

Thinking of trials, do you remember the Casey Anthony trial? How could you forget? Jane Velez-Mitchell was down in Orlando for the duration. This girl is like the energizer bunny.

And I can say that, because I know her personally and adore her. She may be tough talking on TV, but she is the sweetest, most adorable princess you'll ever meet, and I'm going to wake her up.

We're going to do the old wake 'em up call coming up after the break and Jane is probably very much asleep. She does late TV on HLN. We're going to find out what she thought about those unbelievable videos that surfaced online of Casey Anthony.


BANFIELD: Good morning, everybody. It's 6:41.

You're going to be late for work if you don't get moving, but not before you hear this. Because if you were watching your computer monitor any point yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we were. Yes. Pop up.

BANFIELD: Crept out, really, I was crept out by it. Up came the face of Casey Anthony with a brand new blond bob.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't recognize her at first.

BANFIELD: Hey, good point. Very good point, because a lot of news organizations weren't ready to say right away this is Casey Anthony. We all sort of thought it looks a heck of a lot like her. But maybe it isn't.


BANFIELD: We dialed her? Did we just dial Jane?


BANFIELD: Is Jane there?


BANFIELD: Jane Velez-Mitchell, it's Ashleigh and Zoraida calling you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good morning! Oh my gosh! You did wake me up.

BANFIELD: You're not allowed to talk like a sailor. You're live on TV.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I'm waking up every second and thinking of things that I won't say.

SAMBOLIN: You know what? I know that you just woke up, because you got a nice raspy voice for us.

BANFIELD: It's the Demi Moore sound. This suits you well, my friend.


BANFIELD: You know why I'm calling, other than we love you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, actually.

BANFIELD: Because this is your story, girl. You and I spent 80 days together. My longest date ever down in Orlando, Florida, with the Casey Anthony story and were you really big with this last night on your show, right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. Seriously, a team of Hollywood script writers locked in a room working overtime couldn't come up with these developments. It's truly -- yes, it's truly bizarre, and we were talking about, what does it say about our culture and our social media, that we sort of have come to this, were people who are notorious for certain things? She was found not guilty of murder, but, of course, many people still believe that she's responsible for her daughter's death.

BANFIELD: And then voted the most hated woman. I got something for you this morning. Are you ready?

While you were sleeping and we were working, we talked to Mark Littman on our show about an hour or so ago and I asked him what George and Cindy Anthony thought about the fact she didn't say anything in that video about little Caylee, about her family or anything. Do you know what he said, Jane?


BANFIELD: He said they were ambivalent. Do you believe that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they're happy that she's OK. They haven't seen her. Cindy wanted to be with Casey after she was acquitted and went to the jail, and Casey turned her mother away.

So, this is a mother who many believe lied on the witness stand to protect her daughter. This is a mother who sat there and supported her daughter, who accused her husband of molesting her. So, yes, they're ambivalent. They're happy they're daughter's alive and well and in one piece, but --

BANFIELD: And I'm talking to you about names --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She's alive --


BANFIELD: Names you and I talk about all the time, and I just forgot to mention, Mark Littman just happens to be the attorney for Casey's parents and her family but not for Casey. So, it was interesting to hear that.

Hey, Jane, thanks for doing this. And I'm glad we were able to wake you up. You're so smart and lucid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, I wanted to say one thing. I didn't know were you going to call me. I have shaved grown coffee for breakfast with soy milk. Shaved grown coffee is good for the migratory birds that are --

BANFIELD: You're such a veggie head. A total veggie head. Jane, love you. Thanks for playing along.

SAMBOLIN: Now, we know what else we can call her about, right?

BANFIELD: Veggie head?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. You never know. We have one of those stories.

All right. Forty-four minutes after hour. We're going to be right back with more for you.


BANFIELD: Thirteen minutes to the top of the hour until your bus leaves, so you got just enough time to check in with us on the big headlines making news this morning.


BANFIELD: His campaign may not survive New Hampshire, but Jon Huntsman is getting a big, old boost from the "Boston Globe" today. It endorsed the former Utah governor, and instead, snubbed the GOP frontrunner and the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. And you might remember, four years ago, that paper also bypassed Romney in favor of John McCain.

SAMBOLIN: Virginia's governor and lieutenant governor are calling on the state's Republican Party to do away with a loyalty oath for voters to sign in order to participate in the GOP primary in March. The ACLU has threatened to sue if that oath stays in place.

BANFIELD: And three air force cadets are charged with sexual assault. Officials saying this involves three unrelated cases during a 15-month period at the academy. That's in Colorado Springs in Colorado.


SAMBOLIN: And Soledad O'Brien is joining us now with a look at what's ahead on "Starting Point." Good morning to you, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you guys. And "Starting Point," of course, just about ten minutes away. We're talking to the man who many are calling the Tea Party's new haymaker. It's Congressman Tim Scott. The road to the GOP nomination could very well go right to a district on his home trip in South Carolina. Plus, the race for the White House is no laughing matter, unless, it's hysterical. And that's because Mike Tyson's playing the part of Herman Cain. Have you guys seen this? This is so funny. The funnier GOP (ph) debate with the panel, and I'm talking about that all starts this red 10 minutes. EARLY START is coming back right after the break.


BANFIELD: Welcome back, everybody. 6:51. Rick Santorum did not have a great day on the stomp next. Not in Iowa anymore. This was a college event in New Hampshire in which he really got into it on gay marriage with one of the female students. Have a listen.


RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, anyone can marry anybody else. OK? So, anybody can marry anybody else. So, anybody can marry several people. Wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop. This is not participatory. We're not going to do this, OK? I'm going to ask a question.

If people want to respond, I'd be happy to call them. So, I'm just posing some things you need to think about. So, if everybody, everybody has a right to be happy. So, if you're not happy, unless, you're married to five other people, is that OK?


BANFIELD (voice-over): And that's how the event ended. Booing as he is signing the convention back drop and leaving the stage. He says he's not going to back down on this even though this is a state where you can legally be married to a gay spouse. He says, no, when it comes to kids, in any case. Americans deserve to know a mom and dad.


SAMBOLIN: And slightly awkward moment, maybe not slightly.


SAMBOLIN: Some of them were calling it slightly. Senator John McCain supporting Romney in an event in Charleston yesterday. We had an oops moment. Everyone is talking about McCain's slip of the tongue in South Carolina.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I am confident with the leadership and the backing of the American people, President Obama will turn this country around. We believe in America. We believe that our best days are ahead of us -- excuse me. President Romney. President Romney.


SAMBOLIN: That was really tough, and the two people had to come in from both sides to say, excuse me, sir --

BANFIELD: That was his wife and then also McCain like --


BANFIELD: Come on back, baby. You know, it happens. These are busy times, and he hasn't been on the campaign for a long time, right? He hasn't been campaigning.

Coming up, though, we're going to take you to the campaign live in South Carolina. Mitt Romney gearing up for an event.

SAMBOLIN: Romney campaign's senior adviser live on "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien as well. You are watching right now, EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. A popular TV commercial that shows a woman climbing to the very top of an extremely narrow rock formation has people talking online. Is it real? Is it real?

BANFIELD: Yes. Well, Our Jeanne Moos got to the bottom of it.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, when seeing is no longer believing, maybe you've seen this commercial and wondered if you can believe what you see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I use my Citi banking card to pick up some accessories. A new belt, some nylons, and what girl wouldn't need new shoes?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm close to the rock I really had in mind.

MOOS: The reaction online has been, this can't be real.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Citi's banking card.

MOOS: Thank you for making viewers physically dizzy and sick. I just can't help getting wiggy when she gets to the top, and the camera angle is pointed at her feet and all you can see is imminent death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's actually not very technically difficult.

MOOS: "It" is a rock formation called ancient art near Moab, Utah, but who was that hot ad girl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a camera on my helmet. So, it's me like looking at my feet as I walk.

MOOS: The feet belonged to Katie Brown (ph). She became one of the top female climbers after she began competing at the age of 15. Citi Bank hired her and Alex Hanold (ph) to do the commercial. You might recognize Alex from the jaw-dropping piece "60 Minutes" did on him. Alex is famous for free soloing, climbing incredible rock walls without ropes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no adrenaline rush. You know, if Get a rush, it means something has gone horribly wrong.

MOOS: In the Citi Bank commercial, the two climbers were using ropes and no one fell, though Katie says she has had a few scary falls, like this one shot by photographer, Carlos Mason (ph). Viewers of the commercial are almost as curious about the lyrics to the song.

(SINGING) somebody left the --

MOOS: Is it somebody likes potatoes? Somebody lego mayego (ph). No. Band called LP is singing --

(SINGING) somebody left the gate open

MOOS (on-camera): Coming (ph) give Katie credit.

(voice-over) For being honest about how it felt up there at the tippy top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little intimidating.

MOOS: The spot's even been parodied by someone using footage from a Swedish diaper commercial.

(SINGING) somebody left the gate open

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm close to the rock I really had had in mind.

MOOS: That high up, who wouldn't need a diaper?

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

(SINGING) somebody left the gate open

MOOS: New York.



BANFIELD: And that, my friend, is the formidable Jeanne Moos in Central Park. And we all know if it was the elevation of Central Park? Eight? SAMBOLIN: Yes.


SAMBOLIN: Not in a million years.

BANFIELD: I love that ad.

SAMBOLIN: Not in a million years.

BANFIELD: Love that ad.

Hey, everybody, thanks for being with us this morning. It's been really fun these last two hours.

SAMBOLIN: Ashleigh Banfield, Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien heading your way next.

BANFIELD: Hi, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Hi there. Good morning. That was at least ten feet in Central Park in that elevation.


O'BRIEN: Good morning, everybody.