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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

High School Suspect In Court Today; Ohio School Shooting; Will Your Water Bill Triple?; Primary Day in Arizona and Michigan; 2nd Death in Ohio School Shooting; Kenseth Wins Rain-Delayed Daytona 500

Aired February 28, 2012 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Very good morning to you. It is one minute past 6:00. That's like the top of the hour. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z. It is 6 a.m. in the east so let's get started.

BANFIELD: The accused Ohio school shooter is due to appear in court later on today. Later on in this hour, you will hear from a student who was grazed by one of the bullets but survived.

SAMBOLIN: Delayed twice by rain, and then two hours by fire. It was a flaming wreck at the Daytona 500, but the winner crossing the finish line just a few hours ago.

BANFIELD: And does it feel like forever ago since there was a primary or caucus? Well, fear no more, folks. It's decision day in two states, Michigan and Ohio, a whole lot of delegates up for grabs.

Rick Santorum is doing something a little different. He's reaching out to Democrats. Yes, Democrats, asking them to do him a solid and vote for him against Mitt Romney.

SAMBOLIN: First, high gas prices, now water? A shocking new report about the nation's crumbling drinking water system. Just what you want to hear. Your bills could actually triple to cover all of the repairs there.

There will be no classes this morning at Chardon High School. Instead, grief counselors will be at the suburban Cleveland school helping students and teachers cope with the tragedy that is incredibly difficult to accept.

People gathered last night for a prayer vigil trying to make sense of the horror that unfolded early yesterday morning. We also now know the identities of the four wounded students. They are 18- year-old Joy Rickers, 17-year-old Nick Walchak, 17-year-old Russell King and 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin.

BANFIELD: The suspect has been identified as T.J. Lane and he is expected to make an appearance later today in court. He actually attended a nearby school for at-risk kids.

And recently he posted a rant on his Facebook. It read like this. Feel death, not just mocking you, not just stalking you, but inside of you. Shooting rampage in the cafeteria left one student dead and four others hurt. Here's how it unfolded on emergency dispatch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Attention, Chardon Rescue. We have an active shooter at the high school. Repeat, active gunshots at the high school. Chardon we have three students down in the cafeteria at this time. We still don't know where the shooter is. Also, there is a fourth one down in room 200.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Authorities sprang into action very quickly there. This student, Nate Mueller, was slightly wounded. A bullet nicked his ear. He knew T.J. Lane and the other victims. Soledad O'Brien spoke with him last night about what he witnessed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATE MUELLER, VICTIM (via telephone): His first shot, made me look. His second shot, I watched him take, which hit somebody behind me. And his third shot hit me as I was turning away.

His face was expressionless. It was -- I can't even explain it. It looked like he was on a mission and he knew that he was about to do it and he was -- I think he was a little distant from himself.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tell me a little bit about him.

MUELLER: He is a quiet kid. In the past, but back in middle school he was always really nice and funny. And he was like one of us, one of the guys. And he was just a normal kid and we all liked him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: We all liked him, Nate Mueller says. Our Ted Rowlands is live in Chardon, Ohio for us this morning. You know, Ted, you and I have been through this routine a lot, responding to schools where's there have been shootings.

Children hurt, children injured, children killed, but rarely do we hear other students describing alleged shooters as a nice guy, a good guy, someone I really liked a lot.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, the one theme that we have heard is that he's been quiet and maybe had a change in behavior, which we've heard before with people.

But the idea, you're right, that everybody out there talking about his behavior always throws in, nice guy, really quiet, but really nice. I mean, he seemed to have a good heart.

We heard from his lawyer last night, as well, that's sort of the same thing he is giving out to the public. Saying the family is absolutely shocked. Take a listen to what the lawyer said last night about T.J. Lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any idea why this happened?

BOB FARINACCI, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING TJ LANE: He's -- let me say this. He's a very confused young man right now. He's very confused. He's very upset. He's very distraught himself. This is a very scary circumstance that I don't think he could have possibly even foreseen himself in the middle of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was his state of mind when you spoke to him? What is he like now?

FARINACCI: Very upset, very scared and extremely remorseful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: So Ashleigh, what we don't know is what triggered him to do this, to act out in this way. We do know that he has had problems at home. He's grown up in a very difficult household.

His father has been in and out of jail accused of beating his mother. Both of them have actually been charge with domestic abuse towards each other.

So his life has been chaotic. Kids talk about that as well. But you're right there's a lot of shock because he didn't seem like a kid that was capable of doing that.

BANFIELD: Not exactly sure, Ted, what that lawyer was doing and what kind of groundwork he was laying for any sort of defense for this young man. He's supposed to make a court appearance today.

But I am a little confused as to why this young man was at Chardon High School when he actually attended Lake Academy. Why was he at the school in the first place?

ROWLANDS: Well, we don't know specifically if he took a bus from Chardon to Lake. Let's set it up, Lake Academy is for kids who are having trouble. It's an alternative school here who feeds from Chardon and other communities.

He was attending this school. We don't know how long he had been attending the school. We do know that he had some problems with attendance, with truancy. That's one reason why you end up over at Lake, others are emotional problems or drug problems.

We don't know specifically why he ended up there, however, we do know that he was a member of this community in Chardon and his presence at the school didn't raise any red flags. BANFIELD: So interesting. Ted Rowlands for us live this morning in Chardon, Ohio. Thank you for that.

SAMBOLIN: And let's bring in Craig Scott. He's a survivor of another tragic school shooting, Columbine High School, that was April 20th, 1999. Thirteen people were killed there. Two dozen injured.

Sadly, his sister, Rachel was among the dead. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it. When Columbine occurred, you were about the same age that the kids are right now. What were your first thoughts when you heard about this tragedy yesterday?

CRAIG SCOTT, COLUMBINE SURVIVOR: My first thoughts were -- were just shocked and sad like everyone else. I -- I travel and speak in schools. And so I hear a lot of stories from students about things that they're going through today, and so it's just -- it's just another sad story.

SAMBOLIN: When you hear everybody talk about TJ Lane now, we've heard a lot of the students say this was a normal kid, just like me. We're shocked by this happening.

When you go out and talk to students at other schools, what are they saying at the behavior of some kids that perhaps they're uncertain whether or not they would commit a crime?

SCOTT: Yes, they could never know ahead of time when -- you know, when a student is going to act out like this and so what I'm when I'm sharing in schools, I don't try to focus out on singling out on any kind of potential shooter.

Rather, I focus on the culture of the school as a whole and things that they can do to be a better school, be a better community, and what I do is just simply share a story that inspires more kindness and compassion within the schools.

SAMBOLIN: There were some reports yesterday that perhaps TJ Lane was a victim of bullying at the school. Do you deal with that when you talk to the students?

SCOTT: I do deal with bullying and I believe that an antidote to bullying is kindness and compassion. No student wakes up in the morning and thinks that they're a bully. No one classifies himself as a bully.

And it's really getting them to think about how do they treat each other and how that plays into their character, the legacy that they leave behind.

And, you know, one thing that upsets me sometimes is that there's kind of a formula that's been painted in the minds of a lot of students today.

And that is if you're bullied an option is to either hurt or kill other people or kill yourself and that's just really not acceptable. That's not being bullied is not an excuse to take someone's life.

And so, you know, I feel for students when they're bullied but I don't -- I don't sympathize for them when they take violence into their hands as a solution, you know. It's not -- it's just --

SAMBOLIN: It's not an option.

SCOTT: It's sad that that's a formula that -- right.

SAMBOLIN: Craig, you lost your sister. There has been one fatality so far here, one -- several victims but one fatality. How do you cope with that as a school, as a family, how do you move on?

SCOTT: You know, we know that they lost Daniel. I think the biggest thing they can do is be there for each other during this time, tell each other how much they care, appreciate, love one another.

It's so important that they hold on to the good memories, you know, the family, the good memories they had with Daniel and, you know, I think that they -- if they focus on the right things, especially early in these days, if they focus on the right things that they will get through this.

They can even come out of this situation stronger, feeling more purposed, and even a better school.

SAMBOLIN: I just have one last question for you because apparently he tweeted yesterday before this that he was going to bring a gun to the school.

And you know, there are some things that have been posted on Facebook, some rants and raves. In part, it reads, feel death, not just mocking you. Not just talking you, but inside of you.

When you read something like this, when you hear something like this, from a student's perspective, is this something that you would alert authorities to or that you recommend they go to the school and say, listen, I read this and I'm really concerned about this student?

SCOTT: You know, probably the biggest people that can reach out to a person like that when they write something about death or something so dark, because there's a lot of students that will write something like that and never do anything violent.

The biggest thing is that the people that know the person, to reach out to them, to not just ignore it, but to respond and to be there for that person. I remember the two -- one of the shooters at Columbine -- that writing reminds me of what the shooters wrote in their journals, the shooters from Columbine.

I remember one of them wrote, if only you were nicer to me. I think about if people had reached out to the two shooters and really spoken to their lives with some more truth, with some more love, I do believe that if more people were to reached out, it could have changed things.

And so it's -- I don't feel it's always up to authorities to always correct every problem. You know, sometimes you need friends to say something to -- you know, to TJ when he was -- when he would write something like that.

And combat that with shedding a little bit of light and maybe saying something a little more -- with a little more life.

SAMBOLIN: OK, Craig Scott, thank you. Thanks for being an advocate. We appreciate it.

And at 6:30 today Eastern, we'll be joined by Jesse Cline, author of the book "The Bully Society, School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools." She says guns in our schools are not the problem. It is the culture in our schools.

BANFIELD: It is 14 minutes now past 6:00. Still ahead, Rick Santorum reaching across the aisle, you might say, asking Democrats, yes, in a Republican primary, he is asking Democrats if he can give help a leg up, give him a hand, help him beat Mitt Romney in Michigan. We'll explain what that's all about.

SAMBOLIN: And did you see this? The Daytona 500 fireball, there it is. Two hundred gallons of fuel spilling right on to the track. One of the most bizarre crashes in NASCAR history.

But first, let's get a quick check of your travel forecast with Rob Marciano. Good morning to you.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning.

That jet fuel fire coupled with the rain before plagued the Daytona 500 from the beginning.

All right, from Chicago to Minneapolis, we're looking at this storm that's coming together. Most of the snow will be north of Chicago, maybe even north of Minneapolis. A strong storm now coming out of Southern California and that will create blizzard conditions in some case across the Northern Tier.

Severe storms for today across the Central Plains. There's your blizzard watch and warnings are now posted for the Dakotas. And also, this will be stretching in the northeast come tomorrow night into -- into parts of Wednesday with a potential for a wintry mix, mostly north of New York City.

It's the update weather-wise. EARLY START is coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It is 19 minutes past the hour. Time to check stories that are making news this morning.

The FBI is searching the home in Ohio where accused high school shooter T.J. Lane lives. He is expected in court this afternoon. Police say a teacher chased him out of Chardon High School after he killed one student and shot four others. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling him a hero.

BANFIELD: Also making news today, it's primary day in Arizona and in Michigan. The voting will begin in Michigan in just a little under an hour. With the most recent polling there showing that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are in a virtual tie.

And this is weird. The Santorum campaign has been rowboat calling (ph) Democrats, Democrats in Michigan, asking them to come on out in the open primary and lend their support to him so that they can trounce Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney (INAUDIBLE) calling that a dirty trick.

SAMBOLIN: A United Airlines plane makes a belly flop landing on the runway in Newark International in New Jersey. The pilot was forced to make that emergency landing into a bed of foam when the plane's front landing gear collapsed. Sixty-nine passengers, four crew members used those emergency chutes. They all got out safely.

BANFIELD: And still ahead, why you just might want to start skipping that daily shower. Every other day, twice, three times a week.

SAMBOLIN: My kid already does that.

BANFIELD: Kids, don't listen to the TV right now. But really, folks, you could have your water bill tripling in the coming years, and we're not kidding here. It's an important information we've got ahead for you on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: We are "Minding Your Business" at 24 minutes past 6:00.

I wish I could suggest drinking gasoline, but apparently your water is going to get more expensive, too. There's no escaping --

SAMBOLIN: I thought, where is she going with this?

BANFIELD: Yes. She's just a loony at this hour of the morning.

Apparently you can expect in the next few years that your water bill could double, maybe even triple in the next couple of years because a series of projects to expand and repair our dilapidated drinking water system across the country is going to be started. And guess who's going to foot a big portion of the bill?

SAMBOLIN: All of us. Hello. Alison Kosik is here for Christine Romans

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Bringing the big news.

SAMBOLIN: I was going to say from gas to worse? KOSIK: Right.

SAMBOLIN: From gas to worse.

KOSIK: But you know, you think about it, we turn on the faucet to brush our teeth, take a shower. We don't think about where the water is coming from, right?

But there's this whole series of pipes that pumps under the ground that we don't think about and they're getting old. Did you know that 30 percent of those pipes and pumps that are across the country are at least 40 to 80 years old? So this is why you can expect that you're going to see costs go up.

So meaning, between 2011 and 2035, expect to see at least a trillion dollars try to be put into improving the infrastructure across the country. Currently, the average household pays about $335 a year for their water bill.

But guess what? That can go up to $550 a year, especially if you live in rural communities you're going to pay more. Those bills could jump more because the population is less and so more -- they have to contribute more. And that money is really needed because it has to go into repairs and expand this infrastructure for the growing population.

And it has to happen because what could happen it could lead to poor water quality, more water main breaks. Did you know that there are at least 300,000 water main breaks a year in this country already because these pipes are so old? So this is a huge issue because we use water every day, don't we?

BANFIELD: And the lead also in a lot of those old pipes I would assume is the problem.

KOSIK: Yes. I mean, you know, the lead you wouldn't necessarily see as much of a problem. I think the bigger problem is if we see these water main breaks happen, sometimes, you know, bacteria can get into those -- those pipes and that obviously can be a problem.

Also, I have to mention, if you live in the South and the West, you're likely to be hit the hardest with these bills. Your bills can go up to $700 --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my God.

KOSIK: -- within the next few years because that is where a lot of the investment is needed to expand that infrastructure. They're seeing more extended population, as well. So it's just, you know, all about keeping up. And just like anything that you have to maintain, these pipes have to be maintained as well.

BANFIELD: But you did say this is between now and 2035. So we've got 24 years to stomach this trillion dollar problem, right?

KOSIK: Along with the gas prices, right? SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's the problem.

BANFIELD: Of course. You're just full of good news this morning.

KOSIK: No problem.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Alison. We appreciate that.

Still ahead, we're keeping an eye on the top news story of the day. The Ohio shooting suspect in that school is going to be heading into court. But guess what, his friends say he was a victim of bullying. So we'll speak with a bullying expert on just what's happening in our classrooms. There's something you can do to try to stop it.

SAMBOLIN: And it is a big primary day. Michigan and Arizona up for grabs. Why Democrats are trying to help Santorum win in Michigan or at least he would like them to.

You are watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you are with us this morning.

It is time to check the stories that are making news this morning.

People gathering and praying for the victim of a deadly high school shooting in Ohio. The suspect teenager, T.J. Lane, 17 years old, there's a picture of him there. He is due in court today.

Polls are opening up in about 30 minutes in Michigan. Today also primary day in Arizona. And Santorum is making an aggressive final push yesterday. He is now backing of a bit on his suggestion that high gas prices caused the great recession of 2008.

And a stranded Italian cruise liner carrying 1,000 people, including eight Americans, is now being towed to land by a French fishing boat. The Costa Allegra got stuck in pirate infested waters off the Indian Ocean after its engine caught fire yesterday. Everyone is OK.

BANFIELD: It is now 31 minutes past 6:00. And what seems to be a familiar pattern. We hear this a lot on the news -- there is a school shooting and the alleged perpetrator may have been bullied.

In the latest case in Ohio, one of T.J. Lane's friends described his life at school. He is the suspect in this latest shooting. And the friend said that kids would make fun of him all the time in class, in the halls.

Jessie Klein is an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Adelphi University. She's also the author of "Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools."

Jessie, thanks for being with us.

I think right off the bat, I'm getting a conflicting image of this alleged shooter -- one that this young man was bullied and another that this young man was a good kid who everybody liked. How am I supposed to accommodate for these two descriptions?

JESSIE KLEIN, ADELPHI UNIVERSITY: Well, things can be going on. I mean, students who are bullied aren't necessarily unliked. In fact, when I talk to kids across the country, almost every student had been bullied at some point. So many are very well-liked but they still get harassed.

This is what I talk about in the book, that there's really a culture of bullying in our schools that we need to address.

BANFIELD: Can I read you something on his Facebook page? We've been reading this all morning long, but I think it really is resonating with a lot of people, for two reasons. I'll get to that in a moment.

But first, back in December, this is what T.J. wrote on his Facebook page. "Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just talking you, but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you."

This is his poem. And I bet if you were to mine Facebook, you would see hundred of things just like that.

Is there anything to that that's different than some of the other kinds of dark poetry and dark comments that kids just make at this age?

KLEIN: No, I don't think so. That's part of what I try to communicate in the book, also. Schools is just one symptom of a culture of despair in our schools. Many students are depressed, many students are anxious, many are truant -- a lot turn to substance abuse, a lot cut themselves, a lot of suicides.

When you talk to students across country about what bothers them, they say pretty much the same things as many of the kids that commit school shootings. They talk about being called gay, girls talk about going called slut, they talk about being harassed. That there's just a culture of hostility in their schools and different students react to it in different ways.

BANFIELD: Jessie, this is so prevalent. I mean, we hear about this all the time. It's almost a part of passage that there's going to be mean girls and nasty talk and various degrees of bullying and then dark postings on Facebook.

And I think if you're a parent out there it's all extraordinarily perplexing. What are we supposed to think? And when are we supposed to suggest this one is the red flag, now I need to take action?

KLEIN: Well, I think it's very important to move from this idea of a student being a red flag and instead look at a school that's a red flag. That very often -- very often schools are cultures where people treat each other badly, where students feel that they can't tell each other secrets because they assume people will spread their secrets across the school. People feel they can't trust their school faculty, that they won't get supported.

BANFIELD: Doesn't it feel like the toothpaste is really out of the tube on that one, though? I mean, if we're talking about schools in general, these are cultures. I mean, these are -- these are societies that have grown and become what they are. Isn't it a bit much to sort of suggest the only way to fix this or to be on the lookout as a parent is to start overhauling every school that's out there?

KLEIN: I'm afraid I'm losing you. I couldn't hear what you said.

BANFIELD: I'm so sorry. We have a problem with your ear piece there.

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me OK now, Jessie?

KLEIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: OK. I just wanted to ask you quickly, you know, short of overhauling the entire school system and every single school that's out there that has become its own unique culture, I mean, this is pervasive, the way young people behave -- what can I do as a parent? What can I do to watch out for my little ones and offset for what might be coming their way?

KLEIN: I think -- you know, parents, school faculty, even students have a role to play in trying to transform schools. What I talk about in the book is that we need to move from what has become a bully society into creating various different forms of compassionate communities. Parents can be leaders, students can be leaders, school faculty can.

But we need to create environments where students do not tolerate anyone being hurt in their midst, where a school believes very strongly that they want to teach one another to be compassionate and to be caring towards each other.

BANFIELD: It is an altruistic ideal, but without question, it is an enormous ideal, and I hope we can get somewhere towards that end.

Thanks so much, Jessie. It's nice to have you here with us this morning. Sorry about the ear piece problem.

KLEIN: That's OK. Thank you very much.

BANFIELD: You did great.

KLEIN: OK. Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: You know, the young man who lost his sister said the same thing, you have to accept that responsibility for change.

BANFIELD: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: So, I hope it does work.

Six-thirty-six here on the East Coast.

Ahead on EARLY START: Arizona and Michigan primaries are today. Santorum has robocall asking Michigan Democrats to vote for him. Romney calls it a new low. Is it?

And a history-making Daytona 500. It was supposed to start on Sunday, you know, but it actually ended in the wee hours of this morning. Fiery highlights and the big finish ahead. Nobody was hurt there.

You're watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Good morning to you, Detroit. We're waking you up with '59 Sound, "The Gaslight Anthem."

And there's a reason why we wake you up with that because --

SAMBOLIN: Other than the fact that I love Detroit.

BANFIELD: Yes, it's a pretty shot, too. Look at that -- beautiful in the morning.

Fifty-nine is kind of like the magic number today. That's the number of delegates up for grabs in Michigan and Arizona as those two states go to primaries.

SAMBOLIN: And in just about 20 minutes, the polls open in Michigan. One hour after that, Arizona voters will begin casting their ballots as well with the four remaining Republican candidates battling for 59 delegates between the two states.

All registered voters are allowed to cast ballots in the Michigan primary, and Santorum is asking Michigan Democrats to back him today in a robocall.

BANFIELD: Huh?

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's talk about this.

Live from Washington, Democratic strategist Kiki McLean, Republican strategist Trey Hardin, and in Atlanta, independent political analyst Goldie Taylor.

Kiki, I'm going to start with you.

KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: OK.

SAMBOLIN: So, as we said, Michigan is an open primary. Santorum has got a little robocall playing in the state. We're going to listen and then we're going to talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president. This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Kiki, Rick Santorum is appealing to your people. Odd?

MCLEAN: Well, he's trying to. I don't know that he really did. I'm not sure that I found that a compelling voice message on that call. It was a little creepy, wasn't it?

SAMBOLIN: It was a little odd.

MCLEAN: Yes. I have to say, there may be some people who go out for sort of the sport of it. But I don't know that this makes a huge difference. I think the challenge that both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have are their own campaign. So, I don't know that this is going to have a real big impact and I think it's probably a little more stunt than it is active.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, Trey, I want you to weigh in on that because Mitt Romney is calling it deceptive and a dirty trick. What do you think?

TREY HARDIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, I don't think it serves any of these candidates well to cry wolf. I mean, all is fair in love and politics. And this certainly has been a tough race. So I think Mitt Romney should just focus on the task at hand.

But, listen, I don't think it says much about Rick Santorum's campaign. He has enough trouble getting votes in the Republican Party and among independents. So I'm not sure why he thinks he can -- he's going to be able to get Democrats.

But at the end of the day, election manipulation really does not work. It doesn't ultimately influence these elections.

It's -- it is, I agree with Kiki, it's more sport or stunt because the people's right to vote is a powerful thing. And they don't like it taken for granted.

SAMBOLIN: I hate the robocall, so it would just make me hang up.

HARDIN: Exactly. I think most people would have done that.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Goldie, we're going to switch gears here a bit. Religion is a big factor in both of the races today. Arizona has the seventh largest population of Mormons in the country. Michigan has a split between evangelicals and Catholics, it's kind of half and half there.

How much of a factor will that be in both of those states?

GOLDIE TAYLOR, INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in Michigan, you know, oddly enough, the evangelical community is not very large so much as it is very passionate and they will turn out today.

In Arizona, we've got a different story. We've got a very, very large evangelical and very strong faith community. And oddly enough, Mitt Romney is leading there, you know, by quite a bit.

But I think it isn't so much what Mitt Romney has done but what Rick Santorum has been able to do, you know, over the last several days, which is really give this race back. You know, over probably seven to 10 days ago, if you told me that Rick Santorum would win Arizona and Michigan, I'd say absolutely. But he really did, you know, give most of those votes back with some of the very unfortunate things he's been saying out there on the campaign trail. Thus, I think we're going to see Mitt Romney win it in Arizona and get very, very close in Michigan.

SAMBOLIN: All right. I want you all to weigh in on this next question because Arizona in particular, another factor in that area is race. In the 2008 general election, 16 percent of the electorate was Latino and, you know, we're talking about the Latino influence but it's very different from what it was in Florida where it was predominantly Cuban and Puerto Rican.

Here is where it headed in, it's predominantly Mexican. We got a lot of border issues in that state.

So, what influence do you think that will have on the outcome? And Trey, I'm going to begin with you there.

HARDIN: Yes. It's a crucial voting bloc for Republicans and in general election, but today, in this primary, I'm not -- I'm not sure how much that vote will impact the outcome today. But there's no question that both candidates, I think, have been appealing to that -- to that group in Arizona.

I do think Mitt Romney has the upper hand on that front, and -- but you're exactly right. It's -- it's two different -- two different voting segments from Florida to Arizona.

SAMBOLIN: Kiki?

MCLEAN: Yes, you know, I'm from South Texas, so border issues and, you're right, with Mexican-Americans and that constituency are important.

But the border isn't -- border issue isn't just for the Mexican-American voting constituency. It's for the community as a whole. And I think Trey raises a good point, when you crunch numbers, how many of the Latino voters are going to participate in the primary today? I think that's questionable.

But, I think where the candidates have stood on this issue and the things they've said in this primary could have an impact in the general election. That's where I see -- I think you see more impact from this.

SAMBOLIN: Goldie, do you agree with that?

TAYLOR: I absolutely agree with that. I think that, you know, Republicans have really cast their lot with the Hispanic and Latino communities come this fall, you know, by the very, very rigid and -- you know, stances that they've taken on the boarder issues.

Rather than comprehensive reform, you know, they've been on a, you know, build a higher fence and electrify, it as Herman Cain used to say. And so I think it's going to be very tough for them to win back Latino and Hispanic voters outside of maybe the South Florida, very conservative Cuban community.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Kiki, Trey, and Goldie, thanks for joining us this morning. Appreciate your time.

HARDIN: Absolutely. Thank you.

MCLEAN: Thanks.

TAYLOR: Thanks for having us.

BANFIELD: OK, surprise, surprise, apparently a bunch of Democrats turned out in 2008 for Mitt Romney and he won that state.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Apparently, it happens more often, right?

BANFIELD: He shouldn't be so outraged today.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: All right. It's 46 minutes past the hour. Time to get your top stories in, and the suspect in the deadly high school shooting in Ohio is due to appear in court today. He's identified as teenager T.J. Lane. Police say he killed one student, wounded four others after opening fire in the Chardon High School cafeteria.

The classes there are canceled today. Counselors are on hand for the kids. More than 40 deaths have been reported in Syria this morning as Red Cross workers say they have been forbidden from helping the wounded civilians. (INAUDIBLE) an injured British journalist recently was able to escape Syria and get into Lebanon after he said the aide workers were blocked from helping him.

The Red Cross says it has also been barred from recovering the body of Marie Colvin, an American journalist who was killed in a shelling attack.

SAMBOLIN: And all cars will be required to have rearview cameras by 2014 so the drivers can see what's behind them. Federal regulator are expected to send the new rules to Congress tomorrow.

Every year in this country, over 200 people of all ages die from being hit by vehicles that are backing up.

BANFIELD: It is now 47 minutes past 6:00 in the morning, and I like to think that I'm a very hardworking person. I think my colleague is a very hardworking person. But there is no one, ladies and gentlemen, who works harder than this girl.

Did you just sleep here? I saw you on "ANDERSON COOPER."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, right under my desk.

BANFIELD: That is crazy.

O'BRIEN: It just seems to be so easy now. No.

BANFIELD: That is crazy. Soledad O'Brien --

O'BRIEN: No, I kind of got in the same -- in bed at the same time. You're talking, of course, last night I had a chance to fill in for Anderson, who is out sick. Or out partying. I don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: So they asked me to fill in for him.

BANFIELD: I think you got screwed (ph), girl.

O'BRIEN: I was happy to help out, and I know one day he'll come in early to help me out as well.

Listen, here's what's coming up this morning on "STARTING POINT." We're going to have the authors of the book called "The Jesus Discovery."

They claim they have evidence -- the earliest evidence of Jesus' resurrection, and the story behind their latest exploration is amazing. But what they found is even more amazing. We're going to talk to them this morning.

Plus, Phylicia Rashad is going to join us as well. Of course you know her as Clair Huxtable, but she's also the first African-American actress to win a Best Actress Tony Award. She's in Tyler Perry's new film, which is called "Good Deeds."

She's going to sit down, talk to us about race, class, politics and everything else as well. That's straight ahead on "STARTING POINT."

EARLY START, of course, is back right after this commercial break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin, along with Ashleigh Banfield.

We have some very sad breaking news to report.

BANFIELD: We've been telling you all morning long that one young man was killed in the deadly shooting in Ohio with that school shooting yesterday. And we're sad to report that a second young man has now succumbed to his injuries.

His name is Russell King, 17 years old. And he joins Daniel Parmertor, 16 year old who died yesterday. Very sad news to report.

These four people had been in the hospital, these young people, battling their injuries. One of them had been in critical condition. Another had been stabilized. It's unclear as to the condition Russell King Jr. had been in before he died, but -- a second death now confirmed in the school shooting from yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: I can tell you as reading reports about this this morning, about this young man and allegedly some of the -- some of the students were saying that that young man was dating the former girlfriend of the shooter in this. So we don't know the details of this. Nothing has been confirmed.

BANFIELD: And yet somewhere along the line there had been a report that came out suggesting that it may not have been what led to this, but it is awful curious.

SAMBOLIN: No, no, no. But that was some information that some of the students were sharing. So --

BANFIELD: So sorry to bring that news to you this morning. But, again, Russell King, 17 years old, succumbing to his injuries and now the second to die in that deadly school shooting from yesterday in Ohio.

It's 53 minutes past 6:00. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: For the first time in the history of the Daytona 500, the winning driver crossed the finish lane on a Tuesday, not a Sunday.

BANFIELD: Or even a Monday, actually. And the race happened to be delayed twice not only by rain but also a bit of a mess on the track, you might say.

It started last night but it was marred by 10 cautions and then a crash, a very fiery crash, and not the kind you usually expect during a race. Look. Whoa, huge fireball. That's Juan Pablo Montoya slamming into a track-drying truck -- a track drying truck.

So they're just trying to fix the mess on the track and then that happens. He was OK. He walked out of that thing, if you can believe it. Said that his vehicle had malfunctioned.

Our Joe Carter is live from Daytona, Florida, where, I don't know, you've probably been camped out for a few days awaiting this race and you're probably a little sick of this assignment by now, Joe?

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was starting to think I was going to have to look for an apartment here pretty soon.

But, yes, last night was described by so many people, people that are very close to this sport, people that have been around NASCAR and racing, longer than I have been alive, they described it as the strangest, most bizarre thing they've ever seen.

With 40 laps to go, Juan Pablo Montoya basically loses control of his car. He said his transmission locked up and his car just darted to the right and ran into the back of the service truck which has got a jet fuel dryer on the back of it and 200 gallons of jet fuel inside of it. That of course spewed across the track, it ignited, causing a huge fireball.

It was absolutely insane. It took them two hours and five minutes to clean up. They had to use beach sand. They had to use Tide to get it all cleaned up.

Juan Pablo Montoya talked about it afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NASCAR DRIVER: I didn't think about a truck. I thought, I'm actually hitting the jet and it's not going to be fun. I mean, before the car -- before I got there I was thinking this thing is going to be on fire pretty bad, and it was.

GREG BIFFLE, NASCAR DRIVER: I don't think you could -- I don't think you could script anything any crazier than what happened tonight. It was a heck of a race. And what it all came down to at the end and the fire, I'm glad everybody was OK. It's just -- it was a wild night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: Matt Kenseth ended up winning the race at nearly 1:00 A.M. Eastern Time. I feel bad for Matt though because when people talk about the 2012 Daytona 500, they're going to say, oh, yes, the one with all the rain delays, the one with the -- the one that started on Monday, finished on Tuesday. Oh, yes, the one that had a huge, fiery crash. No one is going to remember it was Matt Kenseth who won, guys.

BANFIELD: Joe, are you kidding me? You feel bad for this guy. The purse is $19 million. It's a record purse in this race. I'm OK with this.

The headlines are just fine. And my friend, pack your bags. Don't get voter registration. You can come home now. Thanks, Joe.

Fifty-nine minutes past 6:00, which means that's it for EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

"STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien is here. Good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, ladies. And thank you very much.