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High Hopes For March Employment; Audio Tape: Zimmerman Said "Punks"; "Stand Your Ground" Controversy; GSA Video Jokes About Government Spending; Obama: Women Should Be Admitted To Augusta; Student Falls Overboard; Olbermann Slams Current TV; Manufacturing Jobs Drives Economic Rebound; NFL Bounty Scandal

Aired April 6, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Good morning to you. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: And I'm Christine Romans in for Ashleigh Banfield this Friday morning. She's on assignment. It's 6:00 a.m. now in the east. Here's what's coming up this hour.

SAMBOLIN: The president looking for an election boost, America looking for a better sense of security, right? When the huge jobs report from March comes out in just a few hours from now. We'll talk about what you can expect.

Ghost busted. New video of the Coast Guard blasting a Japanese ghost ship that was drifting off the coast of Alaska. Take a look at the pictures there. It has been floating since the day the tsunami hit more than a year ago.

Oops, they did it again. The agency in charge of buying the government's big-ticket item makes a joke about lavish spending in a new Web video. This coming right after, we found out, it blew almost $1 million on a Las Vegas conference.

But up first here, "Minding Your Business" with a focus on the missing piece of the recovery. The critical jobs report from March is due out in about 3 1/2 hours at 8:30 Eastern Time. A report with potential to shake up the 2012 election.

Christine will tell us what we can expect today.

ROMANS: We can expect some jobs, 200,000 jobs, Zoraida, for the month of March. Those are net jobs. This is a very dynamic labor market.

Right there people are losing their jobs and getting their jobs every day, on balance, we expect the government to say some 200,000 jobs were added to the economy in the month of March and here is the trend.

And the trend, Zoraida, is really important because after a kind of a slow start in the summer, we have seen the trend continue of increasing jobs and we've seen the private sector growing jobs even as you've seen layoffs in the government and that's an important trend to continue that the private sector is starting to add jobs.

I want to take it further out because the jobs report is a really political number these days because it's, you know, an election year and there are those who are saying that this jobs growth has been too slow.

And there are others who are saying, no. It was the previous administration where all of the big job losses began and this administration has just been trying to heal things.

A little looks like, 2008-2009, when there was a handover from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, when all of those jobs were being lost and we had some jobs gains because of the census and stimulus these three months here.

And then it was a slow, slow build, but now we've got this history here of a few months of 200,000 plus jobs created. It's what you want to see. The unemployment rate could be about 8.2 percent.

Zoraida, you heard Greg Valliere say a little bit earlier the (inaudible) we had on last hour, he thinks by the election you could have the unemployment rate maybe below 8 percent so slow healing in the labor market is what we want to see.

It's a big political story. But most of you who are watching right now don't care about the politics of it, right? You care about whether you, someone in your family, it means you're going to be able to get a job.

We're going to bring you those numbers when they happen and instant reaction live at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on STARTING POINT. Zoraida, I'm going to be really careful to go into those numbers to tell you where there are jobs being created, how much money those jobs pay, what parts of the country.

SAMBOLIN: That's really the bottom line. Thank you, Christine.

It's one minute past the hour here. Did George Zimmerman use a racial slur moments before shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin? Zimmerman's father and his attorneys insisted he did not.

And they may have science on their side now. A renowned forensic audio expert analyzed the 911 recording, separating Zimmerman's voice from the cell phone interference and he says Zimmerman used the word "punks" not the racial slur that's drawn such outrage.

We put that portion of a tape on a loop so listen for yourself. It's kind of hard to hear because of the beep. Trayvon Martin's family claims the neighborhood watch volunteer racially profiled his son because he was black. Zimmerman says that he acted in self defense. No charges have been filed.

Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law is at the heart of the Trayvon Martin case that says you have the right to kill if you feel that your life is being threatened. The law prevented police from arresting George Zimmerman as well.

A task force evaluating the self-defense statute held its first meeting last night. It is headed by Florida State Senator Chris Smith. He talked to CNN's Erin Burnett last night about their goal.


CHRIS SMITH, FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: We're looking to modify the law. I think the law is being misused, but it is -- -the premise of it is something that Floridians believe in. But it's being misused and misapplied so I think we need to clarify the law more.

And especially send a signal loud to people that this is not what we expect of Floridians. We don't expect you to be the aggressor. We do not expect you start the fight and then avail yourself of this law and hide from prosecution.


SAMBOLIN: The question is, can you tweak that law? At least 20 other states have similar stand your ground laws. Florida State Senator Chris Smith will join us live here on EARLY START at 6:30 Eastern Time.

ROMANS: Another embarrassment for the General Services Administration. That's the agency in charge of buying the government's big ticket items.

The head of the GSA resigned this week after details came out about a lavish conference she held in Las Vegas featured among other things a clown and a mind reader and I guess, $7,000 in sushi, among a lot of other big ticket items.

Now a new web video has surfaced from competition that was held at that conference that shows another GSA employee joking about, joking about excessive government spending.

OIG investigation, Office of the Inspector General, talked about the top hat awards in there. The video mentioning the top hat awards, an awards program for GSA employees gave out $200,000 worth of taxpayer-funded iPods, electronics and gift cards to entry level government employees.

House Republicans plan to hold a hearing on the GSA later this month. It comes at a really terrible time when you are trying to squeeze out government spending, waste, fraud and abuse as the administration says it is. The Republicans are saying, look, we've got government is too big, spending too much money, borrowing too much.

SAMBOLIN: The timing is horrible and his choice of what he chooses to rap about also not very bright.

All right, 5 minutes past the hour. The men-only membership policy at Augusta National has become a talking point in the presidential campaign. As you probably suspected it would.

Augusta has traditionally offered club membership to the chief executive of IBM. They are a major tournament sponsor, but IBM's new CEO is this woman right here, Virginia Rometty, a woman.

White House spokesman, Jay Carney says President Obama believes the club needs a course correction.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's answer to this question is yes. He believes his personal opinion is that women should be admitted. I happened to have a discussion with him about this so I know that that's his answer.


SAMBOLIN: So do Obama and Romney ever agree on anything? They do on this one. They agree that the Masters should admit women members. He said that if he was running the place, women would be allowed in.

ROMANS: I cannot wait to hear from the IBM CEO if she chooses to speak about this, you know. I can't wait to hear what she's going to say about it because it's such a rarefied world to get to the top of the company like IBM, you know. I mean, these doors are just starting to really open for women like Virginia Rometty, but not the doors of the Masters.

SAMBOLIN: I hope they do, right? Keep it low key, but let it happen finally.

ROMANS: New video of the Coast Guard blasting an empty fishing vessel that was swept away in the Japanese tsunami more than a year ago. This so-called "ghost ship" floating around -- the Coast Guard said it posed a navigation threat for other vessels in the area and had to be sunk.

SAMBOLIN: And still ahead, Keith Olberman and Current TV going to divorce court of sorts and we are talking some serious money here.

ROMANS: Yes, the chandelier himself. The most trusted man in the life of first lady Jackie Kennedy and it wasn't JFK, her bodyguard, the Secret Service assigned to Jackie speaking to Piers Morgan about that day, the day the president was killed.

Details we have never heard before. He talks about the bond he has with her because they both were right there with the president in his last moment.

SAMBOLIN: And this will straighten out your perm. A car comes crashing through the hair salon. You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: It's still dark in Washington, D.C., only 43, but later it will be sunny, 62. I mean, I don't know, the government, at least the Labor Department's open. They're going to be releasing the jobs report at 8:30, but probably everything else is closed for Good Friday.

SAMBOLIN: All right, it is 10 minutes past the hour here. Time to check the stories making news this morning.

We will get that all-important March jobs report 8:30 Eastern Time. I know you can't wait. And if the experts CNN talked to are right, America's workforce could be in for some pretty good news.

The economists predict the economy will have added $200,000 jobs in March. They also predict the unemployment rate will drop slightly to 8.2 percent. Where can you find those jobs? Christine Romans is going to tell you.

ROMANS: And you wouldn't believe how beautiful the tables are, you can look at the average hourly earnings -- lovely data.

SAMBOLIN: A forensic audio expert says George Zimmerman used the word "punks" and not a racial slur during a 911 call before he shot Trayvon Martin. That tape could help determine whether it was self- defense or a hate crime. Martin's family claims their son was racially profiled.

ROMANS: The search for a college student who fell overboard into a river in Alabama is expected to resume within the hour. The male student was attending a sorority property on the "Bama Belle." Alcohol was being served on this sorority party. It's not clear if drinking played a role in the accident, but he fell over and they'll start looking for him again within the next hour.

SAMBOLIN: Keith Olbermann is suing his latest former employer. He's asking for $50 million to $750 million in a breach of contract suit against Current TV.

The network is firing back accusing Olberman of sabotaging his own show including failing to show up for work. In a statement Current said, quote, "We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process he's actually required to show up."

ROMANS: He told David Letterman that he was like a, what, a $10 million chandelier. They didn't build a house around the chandelier and he made mistakes going to Current TV, but then also released --

SAMBOLIN: That's quite a statement.

ROMANS: I know and other e-mails that were floating around showing that he didn't want to come to work when it was the day before Super Tuesday and his bosses were like it's the day before Super Tuesday. It's really an important day. So clearly --

SAMBOLIN: He was saving his voice?

ROMANS: Not a happy marriage. The author of the bestseller "Three Cups of Tea" has reached a settlement deal with authorities in Montana. Greg Mortenson is accused of misusing funds from the charity that he helped create. A charity called "The Central Asia Institute."

He's now agreed to pay the institute more than $1 million. Mortenson has also come under fire for allegedly fabricating details in that book.

SAMBOLIN: Witnesses say this looked like a bomb went off. It is a beauty parlor in North Carolina. A driver who suffered an apparent medical emergency plowed right through the building.

Luckily that accident happened before dawn and no one was inside. The driver suffered only minor injuries. The building had to be condemned.

ROMANS: OK, this is a story of the tornado and the wedding dress. A farmer in Kentucky hopes the internet can help him reunite a bride with the wedding dress he found on his farm.

This dress was still on a hanger. It showed up on John Trapp's fence in the day after the deadly tornadoes in early March. He's now enlisted the aid of Katrina Payne, who runs a web site called "Saving Memories."


KATRINA PAYNE, SAVING MEMORIES: Maybe that will be great to reunite that with the lady it belongs to.

JOHN TRAP, FARMER: Maybe I'll bring a little of joy to somebody to get something like that back.


ROMANS: So far no one has come forward to claim this dress, but they're hoping, Zoraida, all the traditional publicity will solve the mystery.

SAMBOLIN: It's so nice of him to want to do this, right? He could have just thrown it away.

ROMANS: Well, sometimes you look for that little piece of hope after you've lost. You know, tornadoes are indiscriminate and so scary that, you know, it's nice to see the community come together.

SAMBOLIN: I hope they do. So for an extended look at all of our top stories, head to our blog start.

ROMANS: All right, new revelations this morning from a former Secret Service agent who was Jackie Kennedy's bodyguard. Clint Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy's side throughout her time as first lady.

Fifty years later, he's now breaking his silence in a new memoir.

Last night, CNN's Piers Morgan asked him about that day, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.


CLINT HILL, FORMER JACKIE KENNEDY'S BODYGUARD: That never really leaves my consciousness. The sight of that is always in my mind. It's one of those things that you just will never be erased. It's a tragic moment in history, and it's a magic bond, that Mrs. Kennedy and I shared, being there, witnessing the event that occurred.


ROMANS: I've been reading this book, she really trusted this man. Clint Hill's book is titled "Mrs. Kennedy and Me." And Clint Hill will be Soledad O'Brien's guest at 7:50 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We're now hearing from the pilot who helped an 80-year-old woman land a plane after her husband collapsed and actually died at the controls. This is actual video that a person took as 80-year-old Helen Collins was landing.

Here is the important information, folks, she is not a pilot. She radioed for help telling responders she was out of fuel and her light engine was out. They sent a wing man to help her.


AIR OFFICIAL: Hi, Helen. This is Cathy.

HELEN COLLINS, 80-YEAR-OLD: Hi, Cathy. Hell of a place to be.

You better get me in there pretty soon. I don't know how long I'm going to have gas.

AIR OFFICIAL: OK. Helen, we're going to launch another aircraft that will come up and it will fly right next to you and give you instructions.


SAMBOLIN: The pilot who assisted Collins spoke to Wolf Blitzer, who was filling in for Anderson Cooper last night on "A.C. 360."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a hero in my book, she did exactly textbook for a very, very low time pilot or non-pilot I should say performance. It was just outstanding how she kept the aircraft under control at all times and stayed with us. Never gave up, and that's the secret of success in aviation.


SAMBOLIN: And she kept her cool. Collins suffered only minor injuries.

ROMANS: Wow. All right. Coming up as we wait for the March jobs numbers, evidence that manufacturing jobs -- OK, a few of them, might be coming back to this country. We'll have that story for you.

SAMBOLIN: And the coach at the center of the NFL bounty scandal caught on tape calling for players' heads. Have you heard it? Now, many are asking if he'll ever coach again at any level.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: Did you say Louisville or Louisville?

SAMBOLIN: Louisville. We were just discussing this. What do you say, Louisville or Louisville, Kentucky?

ROMANS: Louisville.

SAMBOLIN: There you go. You have it all.

Good morning to you, Louisville. It is 40 degrees right now. Later, it's going to be sunny and 65 degrees.

ROMANS: Good morning, Kentucky.

Welcome back to EARLY START.

In just a couple hours the government releases its most important monthly reading on the economy, the jobs report for March.

We're expecting another dose of good news.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Manufacturing has been leading the overall recovery. Case in point: a G.E. plant in Kentucky. CNN's Money Poppy Harlow went there to see firsthand.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: For years, this G.E. plant in Kentucky was shuttered, completely closed down. Not anymore, they're making water heaters and refrigerators. And just recently, G.E. posted 230 job openings here, 10,000 people applied in just six hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that I have at least 10 years to offer, and I will be able to retire with dignity, you know, as a blue collar worker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the people see this product we're making here, this refrigerator and how good it is and the quality that's in it, we're going to sky rocket.

HARLOW (voice-over): Just a few years ago, G.E.'s appliance business was on the table to be sold or spun off. Today, G.E. is investing $800 million in it, here in Kentucky.

Why? Rising labor costs in China and elsewhere abroad, along with union agreement to cut starting wages.

(on camera): Your union made concessions. You greed to lower paid to get a job like this. Is this the right thing to do? Is it worth it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely, because that's what's great in having a union, once you start to manufacture and produce and make a quality product, then when the time comes around and G.E. receives the profits from our labors, then Jerry can go back to the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to do what we had to do to get jobs in here.

HARLOW: Or the jobs would go away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would have went away, yes, I feel pretty confident in that.

HARLOW (voice-over): G.E.'s CEO Jeff Immelt heads President Obama's job council and had come under pressure to hire more workers in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They wouldn't do it if it didn't make business sense.

HARLOW: Some would say, look, it's an image play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've worked for G.E. for 23 years, and G.E. is going to perform and we're not just going to make products for the sake of making products. We're going to make money.


HARLOW: This is a good thing on a small scale. This is jobs, manufacturing jobs in America, but it's all relative. You have to keep in mind that since 2000, the United States has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs alone.

As for what it takes to get a job at a plant like this, what I found very interesting, it's not any more just about being able to put the parts together and be on that assembly line. It's about innovation. It's about saving costs on the factory floor and that's what stood out to me, they have thousands and thousands of applications for just a few money jobs, they're looking for people that can raise the bar and save them costs, skilled manufacturing.

And, of course, Christine and I always talk about it, engineers.

ROMANS: Right.

SAMBOLIN: When we were looking at G.E. specifically, they actually employ more people outside of the U.S.

ROMANS: Their growth is coming from the rest of the world. When you see them, it's almost like man bites dog story when you see them growing in this country, because for them, so much of their growth is overseas.

HARLOW: It is. And this is why Jeff Immelt, its CEO, has come under so much pressure and criticism frankly as head of President Obama's jobs council. Many have said, why aren't you creating more jobs in America?

When you look at G.E.'s numbers, as of their last annual report, 170,000 jobs outside of the U.S., 131,000 inside the U.S. There's been a gradual progression to jobs outside the U.S. They are bringing some of these back to the United States.

I would say, though, I sat down with Jeff Immelt a few months ago and he told me, look, this is a global company. He said, "65 percent of our revenue is outside of the United States."

ROMANS: Sixty-five. Wow.

HARLOW: We're going to continue to globalize. And, ultimately, as you know, Christine, a company is responsible not to the public but their shareholders.

ROMANS: Not even to the president. I mean, he sits on the president's jobs council, but he doesn't answer to the president. He answers to his shareholders.

What's interesting, too, I think as you mentioned in the break, about gas prices. So, gas and oil prices have been rising. Big appliance like a refrigerator they're making at this plant. So, if you're going to sell it in the U.S., making it in the U.S. makes sense, but smaller appliances still cheaper to make someplace else.

HARLOW: I talked to one of the guys in charge, though, of the plant. And I said, all right, you're making the big ticket items. What about microwaves? What about air conditioners? He said, right now, it doesn't make any business sense to make those in America. We'll keep making all of those pretty much over in Asia.

And those are the jobs that probably aren't going to come back here. This is a good thing to see but its all relative. There are some jobs won't come back here across the border.

SAMBOLIN: I think it will be interesting to see which ones do, right? Everybody wants to know, where can I find a job?

HARLOW: Yes. And quality is key. If you make it here, you can see the profits.

ROMANS: Higher oil prices make sense not to ship something 15,000 miles to Peoria if you can make it in Kentucky, you know?

All right. Thanks, Poppy.

SAMBOLIN: It is 25 minutes past the hour. Up next, he was against Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law before Trayvon Martin. We're talking to a lawmaker who held a hearing on getting rid of that law, last night.

ROMANS: And busted, video of the sting operation that caught a former sheriff of the year -- sheriff of the year -- with men and oh, yes, a male prostitute.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: All right. It's 29 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. No, it's perfectly fine.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for Ashleigh this morning.

Some of the big stories we'll be talking about this half hour, taking a stand against "Stand Your Ground." We'll talk to a Florida lawmaker who is challenging the controversial rule at the center of the Trayvon Martin case.

Caught on tape, the former Saints coach at the center of the NFL's bounty program --


GREGG WILLIAMS, NFL COACH: Kill the head and the body will die. We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head running sideways.


ROMANS: That's right, that's the coach giving what it looks to be graphic instructions on how to hurt opposing players.

This might have been the worst April Fool's joke ever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy smolly, this is like way serious, way more serious than I want to get into.


ROMANS: Oh, yes, the prank that created a major crime scene and brought police from four different departments two days after April Fool's, by the way.

A $10 mistake turns into a $4 million windfall. Wait until you hear how lady luck shined off on a Florida lottery scratch player, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Can't wait.

All right. A movement this morning to overturn Florida's the "Stand Your Ground" law at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Florida Governor Rick Scott has pledged to convene a task force to look into the law.

But State Senator Chris Smith said he was taking too long and so, he put together his own task force. They held their own meeting last night in Ft. Lauderdale.

And Senator Smith joins us now this morning from Ft. Lauderdale.

Thank you for being with us this morning.

So, you met for three hours last night, we understand. You were on "ERIN BURNETT" actually as they were meeting in the background and you said that the panel members were looking at "Stand Your Ground" line by line. And they were going to come with action steps.

So, what's the outcome this morning, Senator?

CHRIS SMITH, FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: Well, we discussed some of those action steps near the end, and we've talked about the immunity parts of the statute as being a problem and to look at that, as well as other parts of the law. And what we did is give each other homework. We're going to come back within six days and everyone on the panel has homework to come back and after our discussion come up with some good points of how to amend the law, because I think we were all in agreement that people need the right to defend themselves, but we need to have people defend their actions when they take a life.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Before we talk about all those steps and specifically two key issues in, you voted against the "Stand Your Ground" law. This was back in 2005. You've taken a little bit of criticism because some people say the task force that you pulled together are actually like-minded people. So can you share with us who is on the task force?

SMITH: On the task force, we had four law professors. On the task force, we had about three states attorneys from the surrounding counties. We had public defenders who are in support of the law, and I even had public criminal defense lawyers who are in support of the law.

So, we had a very balanced and a very lively discussion, and it went late because it was a lively discussion between the prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. And so, even in the public testimony, half of the testimony was in support, as half of it was against it. So it was a great educational and lively debate.

SAMBOLIN: And this is really focused just on the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida, right? Because we understand that in at least 20 states they have their own "Stand Your Ground" law which is very different. Yours is probably the most aggressive, right?

SMITH: Yes, and what we found last night is that as we're focused on it, in a case in which someone dies, we learned last night this law is being used in a myriad of cases from domestic violence cases to even drug possession cases to a lot of other instances. And so, the law is kind of broad and we learned -- I learned last night as a lawmaker that this law that we passed in 2005 for someone to defend their life is being used in every -- in a lot of other courtrooms around the state in a lot of circumstances that we never envisioned.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, let's talk on a couple of the parts that you are specifically focusing on. I want to read from the law. And then you tell me what the discussion was last night.

First, immunity from criminal prosecution -- a person who uses force as permitted is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force.

What was discussed about this particular section?

SMITH: That is the only place in the law that we give such a blanket immunity, and the problem with that part of it is that now you're judged by an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge. And so, a lot of the participants on the panel talked about tightening that up a little bit. That you should -- a person should have to justify their actions maybe in front of a grand jury at least. Or not give such blanket immunity.

SAMBOLIN: So, would you remove immunity, then? And then if we took the Trayvon case and we applied it to that -- would that mean then that Mr. Zimmerman would have been arrested right away?

SMITH: Yes, he could have been arrested, and then possibly a grand jury he would be in front of, or at least have a trial to defend his actions. But that immunity statute not only in the Martin case but in many cases around the state have had people not even have to go in front of someone. It makes the police officer --

SAMBOLIN: I'm sorry, Senator --

SMITH: It makes the police officer op. The street --

SAMBOLIN: Go ahead. I apologize.

SMITH: It means the police officer on the street having to make these determinations of immunity, and that's the only part of the law. And we have police officers on the task force also that talked about this. A police officer on the street has to make a determination as to the civility, which is kind of tough for law enforcement.

SAMBOLIN: All right. There's one other issue is a use of force by aggressor, it says the immunity is not available to the aggressor unless the person reasonably believes that he or she is in eminent danger of death or great bodily harm, and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

What did the group decide there? Was it split?

SMITH: Well, in particular and I was surprised even some of the -- one of the criminal defense attorneys brought up getting rid of that unrest. If you're the aggressor, you go under a straight self- defense claim, so you can't get the immunity in other parts of "Stand Your Ground." That if you're the aggressor, just end it at that, don't get any exceptions.

And I was shocked the criminal defense started, OK, well, maybe that goes a little too far if you're the aggressor, because one person from the public talked about when does an aggressor become a victim? It's too hard to determine. That person especially needs to be in grant of a grand jury or need to have our peers look at that case.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Senator Smith, I've run out of time. It's been a fascinating dialogue with you. And in about six days, we'll hear what your recommendation is, is that correct?

SMITH: Yes, ma'am. I look forward to coming back and talking more about it.

SAMBOLIN: We look forward to it as well. Thank you very much.

Christine, back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Zoraida.

Still ahead the man in the middle of the NFL bounty scandal on tape calling for a quarterback's head. .


WILLIAMS: We're going to kill the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head.


ROMANS: Players paid to inflict pain and now this.

But first, let's get a quick check of your travel forecast with Alexandra Steele. She's in for Rob this Friday morning.

Good morning to you.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you. Good morning, everyone.

Well, I want to show you kind of the country, because, of course, it's a holiday weekend. Lot of you may be traveling. Good news if you don't like the heat, the heat we've seen for so long, pattern change coming, temperatures getting down to seasonal averages. The storms in the east finally moved out. Southeast, Virginia, Carolina seeing some rain this morning, maybe rain at Augusta this morning.

But by the afternoon it will clear out, dry as well in the Northeast, really the country on this travel Friday pretty quiet. Same scenario for tomorrow, Northeast beautiful weekend there. Southeast as well -- not nearly as warm as it's been.

Sunday into Sunday night, we're going to watch a storm system come into the Pacific Northwest, but Easter Sunday, a few rain showers in Texas, doesn't look like anything severe, maybe in northern New England. But the balance of the country going to see a beautiful three-day stretch and certainly after this week we could use it.

All right. Don't go anywhere. EARLY START has much more coming up after the break. Hope you have a great day.


SAMBOLIN: A look at your TV, folks, this is absolutely beautiful.

Good morning, New York City, Statue of Liberty.

ROMANS: I know.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-one degrees now, a little bit later, you already see it, the sun is shining. It's going to be 59 degrees.

ROMANS: I hope a lot of people are getting a three-day weekend, you know?

SAMBOLIN: Wouldn't that be lovely?

ROMANS: I'm told D.C. is actually open for business today. The jobs report comes out. I bet a lot of people are taking it off.

SAMBOLIN: Or leaving early.

Forty-one minutes past the hour.

Shocking new audio coming to light in the NFL's so-called bounty scandal. At the center of the storm former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, there he is there. He is serving an indefinite suspension for offering money to his players for hurting players on opposing teams.

ROMANS: And now, audio tapes allegedly of Williams could be the smoking gun some say could end this career.


WILLIAMS: Remember, whatever it takes, whatever it takes to get on that bus, drive back to that airport and get ready for the next one. Respect comes from fear. This is how you get respect in this league.


ROMANS: "Respect comes from fear."

Alina Cho is here with more on what is in the recording.

Good morning, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You couldn't have said it better, Christine, smoking gun. I mean, this is serious stuff.

Remember, the allegation is that the Saints were offering to pay players to hurt other players from opposing teams. Now the evidence against Greg Williams looked bad to begin with. If it is him on the recordings it just got a whole lot worse.

Now, the recordings were made by a documentary maker. His name is Sean Pamphilon. And Pamphilon says that from the speech that Williams gave to his player the night before a big playoff game against the 49ers back in January. He said the speech was originally about 12 minutes long, but the audio he released is a cut down version about three or four minutes. And in the tirade laced with profanity, Williams reportedly gives explicit instructions on where to hurt players.



WILLIAMS: We hit (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Smith right there. Remember me. I got the first one. I got the first one. Go lay that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out. We are going to dominate the line of scrimmage and we're going to kill the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head.


CHO: That's right, the clip appears to be a reference to 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and what he's saying, "I've got the first one," he's allegedly rubbing his fingers together like this indicating that he will pay the money if they hurt him.

Now, here's a clip where running back Frank Gore is mentioned.



WILLIAMS: Kill the head and the body will die. We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.


CHO: Unbelievable.

SAMBOLIN: There's more, right? There's a how-to.

CHO: There is, and that part, it's all pretty incredible, in one exchange, he goes -- point by point, indicating the weaknesses of opposing players.

If you look at your screen we're going to show you on the left is Kyle Williams, apparently he has a risk of concussion. Michael Crabtree in the middle there, bad knee. And Vernon Davis on the right, bad ankle.

And so, apparently, Williams was saying to his players, listen, this is where you have to go after these players. And you heard him say, "Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die," something you heard over and over just in this three-minute clip.

ROMANS: Where do you think this stands in the investigation?

CHO: Pretty serious. Pretty serious. For now, Christine, the NFL has given Gregg Williams an indefinite suspension. He says he will not appeal that. Just yesterday the Saints' head coach Sean Payton appealed his year-long suspension for his role and the saints aren't the only team.

Now back in January -- you may remember this -- two players from the New York giants said that they targeted Kyle Williams, the same player we mentioned before, to try to take him out of the game, and if this is true, what it suggests obviously is a pattern in the NFL, and that means that the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a real big problem on his hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just putting up pictures of the players again. Because you know Kyle Williams, you know him very, very well, this must be difficult for the family and for the players who are watching this all unfold.

CHO: Yes. Full disclosure, here; I do know Kyle, I date his dad. And you know, I just want to point out that Kyle did suffer some concussions but he's gone through a lot of testing and he's doing incredibly well. But at issue here, I think, is what you just brought up, right? And it is the giants and how is it possible that this continues to happen and that they get away with it, right, because we have it. It's written. It's documented that they said that this is going specifically after a player because of some injuries from the past.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a big question. I mean, listen, I mean, I think the fact that it's coming to light and the fact that it's been out there now in the media, pretty widespread, and the fact that we're talking about it, hopefully means that there will be --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do they do this in boxing? You know, where you are your coach in the corner lets you know that someone's got -- is weak on the left, and you got -- does this happen in other sports? I mean, this is just rejected wholly now in hindsight in football?

CHO: I mean, presumably it does. The NFL though, boxing hasn't come out with audiotapes like this so far, you know, and so this is pretty serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the guys say they're -- you know, ready to play and you know, they know the ramifications of playing football. CHO: That's right. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Alina Cho. We appreciate it.

Forty-six minutes past the hour. Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look at what's ahead on STARTING POINT.

Good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, STARTING POINT: Hey, ladies, good morning to you coming up this morning on "STARTING POINT," you guys have been talking about new developments in the trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman now claims he didn't use a racial slur on that controversial 9-1-1 call.

We're going to talk this morning to the Martin family attorney, talk about the reaction to that. Plus last week we were talking about the documentary "bully."

You'll remember one of the kids in that doc, Alex Libby, who was profiled, day after day, beaten on the school bus. He's going to join us on the set this morning along with his parents and the movie's director. Now there's a new provision that will let more kids see this movie.

And a fascinating new memoir. It's called "Mrs. Kennedy and me" and it was written by the secret service agent who was in the motorcade when JFK was assassinated. His name is Clint Hale and he says he still feels guilty that he couldn't save the president. He reveals his personal relationship with Jackie Kennedy.

That story and much more is ahead this morning on "starting point." We'll see you in just about 10 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa! Good morning, Washington, there's the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 42 degrees right now. But you know what? It's going to go up to 62 today, it will be a sunny Good Friday in the nation's capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very nice, 15 minutes past the hour. Time to check the stories that are making news this morning. We will get that all-important March jobs report at 8:30 Eastern time this morning and economists predict the economy will have added 200,000 jobs in march. They also predict the unemployment rate will drop slightly to 8.2 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Santorum meeting with conservative leaders in an effort to bolster his faltering presidential campaign. The presidential primary later this month could be do or die for ricks. A spokesman says they're going to ratchet up calls for newt to drop out of the race and get behind team Santorum.

Kids in California will still be able to get toys with their happy meals. A judge dismissed a proposed class action suit that claimed McDonald's was using toys to market unhealthy fast food to children. McDonald's says the suit was about merit and detracted from the issue of kids' health and nutrition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the unhealthy fast food that attracts people to the unhealthy fast food, because it tastes so good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Facebook likes the NASDAQ. The technology- heavy index has reportedly been chosen as the home of the most hotly anticipated IPO in years. Facebook's initial public offering is expected to raise as much as $10 billion, which would value the social network as much as $100 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. All right. . A prank that didn't go as planned, four police departments respond to a murder scene, a supposed murder scene, where the evidence tastes like ketchup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't do this at home. Really bad idea. You're watching EARLY START.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, a fake murder scene, all too real for a couple of pranksters in Michigan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought we'd play a little joke on them, a little April Fool's joke two days late.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man and his girlfriend used ketchup blood, they cut bullet holes in his shirt, they used mushrooms -- that's actually pretty -- that's a pretty good idea -- they used mushroom as fake flesh to fool two relatives who were coming to visit. But when the guests arrived they ran from what really did look like a murder scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they seen me, they were gone. They headed for the door. We thought they were going to be in the -- come back in. They didn't come back in. They left, called the police.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police, of course, arrived at the house. That's when the embarrassed pranksters, who have since realized the error of their ways, they say the fake murder scene. Then it got really crazy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And get my -- turn around, get my hands up, walk backwards. Down on the ground! It would be nothing I'd try again, not in the near future.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My grandpa used to have a phrase when something was just ridiculous. He would say that's a slow way of serving the Lord, that's a slow way of serving the Lord. The couple was taken into custody, no charges were filed after the truth came out, though. We don't know what happened to the relatives, but we're glad no one had a heart attack.


All right. Turning on the Web this morning, a waitress gets a tip that is so big police thought it had to be illegal. Stacy Knutson of Morehead, Minnesota, she's a waitress at The Frying Pan. She's a mother of five. Well, someone left a takeout bag on her table. So she runs out to the car. But the customer says, hey, keep it. Guess what was inside the bag -- $12,000. Police seized the tip. Why? They claimed it has to be drug money. She sued to get it back. They offered her a $1,000 reward. Then they returned it after an investigation. The waitress says she thinks the money was an anonymous gift from someone who knew that her family was in a severe financial bind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, wow. I really love that story.

Also watching a really cool story today about -- trending about the heavy in heavy metal. Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall amps, 88 years old, he died you know, a ripe old age after basically helping rock 'n' roll become rock 'n' roll, making it sound louder, fuzzier, America drifting into the fog -- remember the late '60s?. It wasn't loud enough, though, for Nigel from "Spinal Tap."


NIGEL: As you can see --


NIGEL: -- the numbers all go to 11. Look, right across the board, 11, 11, 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And most amps go up to 10.

NIGEL: Exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?

NIGEL; It's one louder, isn't it in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyway, Jim Marshall really changed -- made rock really what it is. Everybody famous you can think of who touched a guitar used a Marshall amp. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Hope springs eternal on opening day at Wrigley Field. Did you see this? the Cubbies' number one fan, Bill Murray, look it up. Whoo! He's going to be out of breath, had a spring in his step. So instead of just tossing out --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- he's a huge one. He took a lap around the bases, ended with the most awkward slide ever, Mr. Murray. The Cubs ended up losing to the Nationals 2-1.


ROMANS: Says the White Sox fan over here.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I've been to one game, I went last year. What was it, Crosstown Classic actually. It's a lovely field. Needs a little bit of work.

ROMANS: I love even though that you're a Sox fan and you love me that I'm a Cubbies fan. So (inaudible). We'll be OK.

SAMBOLIN: All right. That's "EARLY START -- THE NEWS FROM A TO Z," I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans in for Ashleigh today. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.