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Obama Kicking into Campaign Mode; Montreal Mayhem; New Hope In Madeleine McCann Case; Too Painful Testimony

Aired April 26, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z.

It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get started.

BANFIELD: From slow-jamming the news to trying to rock the youth vote again. New details about President Obama's first official campaign rallies set for 2012 and his strategy to recapture college kids.

SAMBOLIN: Bottles, rocks, tear gas and booms in the background -- things getting ugly in Montreal during a wild student protest.

BANFIELD: Fast and Furious. New video of the so-called death race on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. The police were allegedly leading.

SAMBOLIN: But, up first, the White House is ready to kick the reelection campaign into high gear. The president and first lady will hold their first official campaign rallies of the 2012 next week in the key battleground states of Virginia and Ohio.

If the president's two-day, three-state college swing this week is any indication, the administration is trying to stir up a youth movement. It's using the federal student loan issue to do it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress needs to act right now to prevent interest rates on federal student interest loans from shooting up and shaking you down. I want all of you to be rich. I want all of you to be successful.


SAMBOLIN: Dan Lothian is live in Washington, D.C.

And, Dan, we know in 2008, he had the youth in record numbers. Other than that the federal student loan program, anything else he's working on?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, you know, what you see from the president, is he's talking about what his administration has done over the last three-plus years to help young people and you hear him talk about Pell Grants, about streamlining the process for students in getting loans.

And you know, I think what's interesting here. You look back, it wasn't too long ago that many people thought that young people, while they could get energized around campaigns, on election day, they didn't show up in big numbers. But what we saw in 2008 was a big jump of about 2 million new young people showing up to the polls compared to four years prior to that in 2004. And they were really at the heart of president's campaign, that grassroots effort.

And the exit polling showing that the president got 66 percent of the vote then compared to John McCain's 32 percent of the vote. So, that's why he's pushing hard not only to recapture some of the glorying get those voters who are four years older, or almost four years older, but also go after those who weren't old enough to vote at the time.

And, you know, Mitt Romney is also going after the group but there's a wide gap according to the most recent CNN/ORC polls showing that President Obama in a hypothetical matchup leads Mitt Romney among 18 to 34-year-olds, 64 percent to 32 percent.

Mitt Romney, that's why you see him this week also agreeing with the president on the issue of making sure that those federal student loans stay at a low level so that they can afford it, but that's where the similarities end. Mitt Romney going after the president, telling young people that it's because of the president's lack of leadership that the economy has not turned around, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: That is quite a commanding lead there.

Let's switch gears, though. The RNC isn't too happy with the president's recent events and now they've actually filed a complaint, saying that President Obama is misusing taxpayer money. Tell us about that.

LOTHIAN: That's right. You know, the RNC has been criticizing the Obama administration for all these various tips, that are usually to battleground states, where the administration says that these are official trips, but they have this feel of a campaign. And so, the RNC always sends out press releases saying, look, you know, this is a campaign event at taxpayers' expense.

Now, you have the chairman of the RNC asking the Government Accountability Office for an investigation, writing in part in the letter, quote, "Throughout his administration but continuingly in recent weeks, President Obama has been passing off campaign travel as official events, thereby allowing taxpayers rather than his campaign to pay for his reelection efforts."

This is not anything new here. Other presidents do the same kind of thing. There's always that balance between what the campaign pays for and what is paid for by taxpayers. And, you know, the White House and also the campaign saying that they're following a formula. They're following the guidelines here.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dan Lothian, live in Washington for us -- thank you.


BANFIELD: It's four minutes past 5:00 on the East Coast.

Student protests in Montreal turned ugly last night.


BANFIELD: That's exactly what it looks like. Police just pepper sprayed that cameraman and his camera as he was trying to actually get video of this arrest. Riot police were called in as 11,000 students who were protesting tuition hikes started to get rowdy. They were throwing rocks, they were throwing bottles, they were setting off fireworks.

Police declared it was an illegal assembly over a loud speaker, they did it. And they reportedly arrested more than a dozen people.

SAMBOLIN: The Supreme Court is shaking up the immigration debate. Justices seem to be siding with Arizona in the fight over its controversial immigration law. The federal government is arguing that states don't have the authority to enforce immigration matters.

The case was criticized by the high court yesterday with even President Obama pick, Justice Sonia Sotomayor saying the fed's case was, quote, "not selling very well."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says even if the court does not side with her state, she is not backing down.


GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I certainly would talk to my legal counsel and see what our other avenues of approach would be. But you know, I'll cross that bridge when we get there. And who -- I don't think we're going to have to do that.


SAMBOLIN: Meantime, protests against the law are heating up in Arizona. Nine demonstrators were arrested in Phoenix yesterday. The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision this summer.

BANFIELD: It's a nice morning conversation for you. Are strippers and prostitutes part of the culture in the Secret Service? Hmm.

Scandal that erupted in Colombia at a hotel is growing this morning. There's a brand new report out from "Cairo News" in Seattle and it's quoting the government contractor who works with the Secret Service advance team in El Salvador, not Colombia, El Salvador, prior to President Obama's trip there in March of 2011. That source is saying about a dozen agents, as well as the military personnel got, quote, "wasted at a strip club there" and then paid extra to go to the VIP area to do a little extra with some of the strippers.

This all comes a day after the secretary of homeland security and that's, of course, the department overseeing the Secret Service now, that secretary was asked if anything like this has ever happened before. Have a listen.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHIARMAN: To your knowledge, is this the first time something like this has happened?

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There was nothing in the record to suggest that this behavior would happen.


BANFIELD: Well, Janet Napolitano might have to change her tune now because all of these reports are coming out, and it follows a similar "Washington Post" report that quoted an unnamed agent, several of them actually, who talked about another incident in 2009, a visit to Buenos Aires, when members of former President Clinton's detail went out for a night of partying at -- are you ready -- strip club.

Secret Service tells CNN it has no comment on the story. But one source says reaction by our leadership speaks for itself.

SAMBOLIN: Seven minutes past the hour.

Two current and two former TSA employees have been arrested in a drug and bribery scheme at Los Angeles International Airport.

The screeners are accused of allowing large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana to pass through x-ray machines at security checkpoints in exchange for cash payoffs. One drug courier is already in custody and another is expected to turn himself in today. The current and former TSA workers face life in federal prison if they are convicted.

BANFIELD: To the courtroom now. Government star witness in the trial of John Edwards is facing some tough cross-examination from defense lawyers. The former senator's ex-aide and confidant, Andrew Young, was on the stand for a third day yesterday. Defense went at him, accusing him of lying about his ex-boss and trying to profit off of his downfall. Edwards, for his part, left the courthouse smiling and have a listen to what he told his daughter.




J. EDWARDS: -- in more ways than one.


BANFIELD: Sun's out there in more ways than one he says.

Andrew Young is scheduled to return to the stand for more of that blistering cross-examination this morning.

SAMBOLIN: New video this morning of the so-called "Death Race" caravan that got two New Jersey state troopers suspended. They allegedly escorted dozens of really expensive and really fast luxury cars on a dangerous 100 mile per hour run to Atlantic City. This was last month.

Former New York giant, Brandon Jacobs, was reportedly behind the wheel of one of those cars. An attorney for one of the officers says the whole incident is being exaggerated. He even suggested to us that the troopers were just doing their jobs.

BANFIELD: And like the graphic said, this just in. At nine minutes past 5:00, are you ready? Gas prices just keep on dropping.


BANFIELD: Nice to bring you this news.

Yes, AAA just posting it on its Web site, that the new national average for a gallon of gas stands at $3.83 a gallon. So, fill her up folks.

SAMBOLIN: We were like $3.98 or something not long ago. That's nice.

BANFIELD: Yes. And 20 percent higher than the start of the year. So, that's over the last 24 hours. Ten days straight if you're doing the math, it's fun to count day by day. We're going to see what happens as it gets closer to the busy summer driving season.

Do you know that called memorial trend?

SAMBOLIN: They said they've already done that, right? So, they've already changed their gas, saying it's going to be fine.

BANFIELD: Every single year close to Memorial Day you're planning that trip to go see grandma or grandpa, prices are going to go up. But anyway, fill 'er up.

SAMBOLIN: Ten minutes past the hour.

Next on EARLY START: firefighters in Kansas dealing with one very, very explosive situation. A half-ton propane tank catches fire.

BANFIELD: And Capitol police are investigating a credible threat against that man. And you know him well now. He's making waves. Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Who's after him and why?

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: It is 13 minutes now past 5:00. That's a really good time check the top stories making news this hour.

SAMBOLIN: It is, indeed.

You probably didn't see this coming. The U.S. Supreme Court appears to be backing Arizona in the case against its immigration law. Even President Obama-appointed justice, Sonia Sotomayor, saying White House arguments are, quote, "not selling very well."

The high court is deciding whether states have the authority to enforce immigration matters. And that ruling could affect laws in other states well. A final decision is expected in the summer, they say perhaps in June.

BANFIELD: A cameraman caught in the pepper spray crossfire. Look at that. During a student protest in Montreal late last night.

Police were having to dodge bottles and rocks and reportedly arrested more than a dozen people in this melee.

SAMBOLIN: The Senate is willing to pony up $11 billion to help keep the U.S. Postal Service from shutting down thousands of post offices across the country. In a bipartisan 62-37 vote, the Senate Wednesday approved a measure that would allow the Postal Service to keep those facilities open and continue with Saturday delivery.

BANFIELD: U.S. Capitol police are investigating what they're calling a credible threat against Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio's name has been floated around as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket. A patrol car has been spotted outside of his home in west Miami and the threat was so credible that Rubio now has police protection in Washington and at his west Miami home.

For their part, authorities are not giving out any additional information on this.

SAMBOLIN: Firefighters in Kansas City, Kansas, have to deal with exploding propane tanks as they battled a two-alarm fire. This is right outside of a large warehouse. It all began when a 1,000- pound propane tank caught fire. Firefighters reported several explosions as they worked to try to contain those flames.

BANFIELD: Burger King is making a cage-free promise. The world's second biggest burger chain says by 2017, all of its eggs and its pork is going to come from chickens and pigs that are not living in cramped cages. Burger King says it is switching because more and more consumers are demanding products come from animals raised and treated humanely.

SAMBOLIN: That's interesting. And that's stressed out. There's a big argument about that. You don't want your animals stressed out when you're eating them.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog,

BANFIELD: It is still very early. It's 16 minutes past 5:00 on the East Coast. Let's get a check of the weather.

Look at that handsome man. I got you got the orange memo with your tie. It's Reynolds Wolf, in for Rob Marciano.

How are you?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Doing great. Good morning to both of you.

And we've got a rude awakening for people across parts of the Ohio Valley this morning, where we have some scattered showers and thunderstorms, actually thunderstorm watch that will be in effect until about 8:00 local time, south of Cincinnati. Also, along parts of 64, heavy rain coming down, and even more towards I-70. Would not be surprised if we get a little flash flooding through that region as we make our way through the midday hours.

Now, out to the west, a very different scenario. A little bit of rain along parts of the Sierra Nevada. But in the highest elevations, light touch of snowfall. Not expecting a great deal of now, but a dusting.

Now, we're going to switch gears a bit and go from the snow to the heat. We had plenty of it yesterday. Triple digits temperatures in Childress, Texas, Lubbock, even in Amarillo, where you see an asterisk by those cities -- that marks the all-time record for April where they got into, again, an incredibly warm temperatures, 102 in Roswell, Amarillo with 99, 95 in Wichita, but Childress with 106.

Another warm day expected and not only the temperatures are going to heat up but that severe weather possibility will heat in parts of the Central Plains and still back into the Ohio Valley, and into portions of the southeast, very breezy for you in spots. Like Atlanta. So, anyone trying to take off or land at Hartsfield, Jackson, may have a few delays.

High temperatures, as we wrap things up, 78 degrees your high in Kansas City, 54 in Seattle, 58 in San Francisco, 91 in Dallas, 82 in Atlanta. Wrapping it up in New York with 59 degrees, your expected high.

Let's send it back to you in the Big Apple.

BANFIELD: All right. Reynolds Wolf, thanks.

WOLF: You bet, guys.

SAMBOLIN: It is 17 minutes past the hour.

And we're getting an early read on your local news that is making national headlines. And this morning, we have papers from Washington, D.C. and Orlando.

Let's start with the "Washington Post." His mouth got him in trouble again. Infamous former D.C. mayor, Marion Barry, causing a diplomatic ruckus this time over comments he made about immigrant nurses. He said, quote, "If you go to the hospital now, you'll find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines. And, no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let's grow our own nurses, so that we don't have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places having to hire people from somewhere else."

Some people find that offensive, others not so much. But now the Philippines ambassador wants him to apologize. He says Barry is blaming Asians, and his comments are fueling racism, discrimination and violence.

Barry said he is not going to apologize. He says nothing is negative about his comments. But he did apologize over another outrageous remark that he got in trouble for bashing Asian-owned business as dirty.

So, I think it's on the heels of that, that people are finding this also offensive.

BANFIELD: I would say using the word scrounging around is offensive. There's no way to cut that really. I mean, you can't --

SAMBOLIN: I think his point was, if you're bringing in, particularly nurse, is what he was talking about. We have our own, let's grow them. But on the heels of that, when you combine the two, people are totally outraged about it.

BANFIELD: You know, and maybe that's a real old school way of looking at things. But I'll tell you, when you look at the education stats these days coming out of different countries, we don't rate so well. Some of these other countries he says we're scrounging around for, actually have better educated people.

SAMBOLIN: Just a higher volume that we don't have as well.

BANFIELD: There's that as well.

Marion Barry, you have demons in your closet too. Maybe you should shh for a minute.

"Orlando Sentinel," let's take you there. This is really fascinating because this has been controversial. Why did that man have a gun the night he shot Trayvon Martin? Well, there's some new insight into George Zimmerman and why he had the gun.

"Reuters" investigating and finding out that apparently, Zimmerman and his wife were afraid of a pit bull that had been loose in his community. That pit bull had menaced his wife. It had been at him. He called the police several times about it.

And Seminole County animal services actually recommended that he go and buy pepper spray and a gun. The officer said, get a gun.

So what did he do? He did it. He completed the firearms training, and then he got a concealed weapons permit, and then he went out and bought that Kel Tec PF-9 9 millimeter handgun.

Fascinating information. Doesn't necessarily tell you what happened in those critical minutes in the investigation. But people eat up every detail about that story.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, indeed.

Twenty minutes past the hour here. Coming up, jobs and the race for the White House. Why some big CEOs can't wait for Election Day.

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Twenty-three minutes now past 5:00. So, get up, because you might be late for work.

We're minding your business this morning, as we like to do early in the morning while in the bedroom.

Corporate earnings continue to be a bright spot this week for the markets. Listen to tall the cheering. That's just the opening. The Dow and NASDAQ -- actually I think that was closing bell.

But the Dow and the NASDAQ ands the S&P 500 all making strong gains yesterday. Three arrows pointing up. NASDAQ gaining more than 2 percent alone, driven by those strong earnings particularly from Apple.

One blue chip stocks, Caterpillar, closed lower after revenues came in lower than expected.

Poppy Harlow is here, in for Christine Romans this morning.

And, Poppy, you interviewed the CEO of Caterpillar.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, last night after their earnings. It's interesting that they're on track for a record year, but their top line missed a little bit.

But, still, I think the story here is really strong earnings. The reason that you should care is this is the world's biggest construction maker. So, they've got a very good read on what's going on around the world in terms of manufacturing, mining, et cetera, especially here in the United States. They're extremely bullish.

Get this -- on the United States, despite the slow recovery. In fact, what the CEO told me is that the slowness we're seeing in China and Brazil is offset by strength here in the U.S.

Now, one thing that really stood out to me is how many jobs they've added. They've got 50 percent more employees now than they did in 2010, after a lot of layoffs they made in the recession.

But, he told me, Washington is key right now. The dysfunction in Washington is critical. I asked him about that. And what happens if we don't get cohesion in Washington.

Take a listen.


DOUG OBERHELMAN, CEO, CATERPILLAR: There's a lot of question marks about the U.S. And on top of everything, of course, this is an election year, the political season. The dysfunction is going to be almost paralysis the way I see it for the rest of this year.


HARLOW: Almost paralysis. The reason you care is because companies like that, the $2 billion already this year, makes more money and hire more if you had Washington working together.

So, of course, the question is: who does he want in the White House? I asked, would Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, arguably, in the White House make a meaningful difference to the upside for American business?


OBERHELMAN: I think for business, it would be a plus, because it would bring clarity and his policies are for a longer term clarity around what tax reform ought to be.


HARLOW: You guys know, I've heard this, we've heard this time and time again from these big CEOs and this is going to be critical heading into the campaign. You remember when I was in Davos covering World Economic Forum, the CEO of Cisco endorsed Mitt Romney, and you see these big business leaders coming out now. This is not an endorsement from Caterpillar, but clearly they'd like a Republican in the White House.

BANFIELD: I would like to know what he thought about the bailout stuff, you know? Certainly, his industry had been in the same circumstances, the auto industry.

HARLOW: I'll ask him next time, if they did need it.

BANFIELD: Say hi for me.

I always like to know what plays (ph) in Peoria.


BANFIELD: Thank you, Poppy.


BANFIELD: Twenty-six minutes now past 5:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

Coming up on EARLY START: the search for a little girl named Madeleine. Remember Madeleine McCann, missing now five years? Now, Scotland Yard wants the case reopened suggesting of all things, she may still be alive.

SAMBOLIN: A Tennessee high school student says she wasn't trying to offend anyone. She says she thought her prom dress was cool. Hear why her principal didn't think so and tossed her out.

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is time to check the stories that are making news this morning.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): There is new hope that Madeleine McCann (ph) is still alive. She would have been nine years old. Police say this is what she might look like, as well. We are trying or we're talking to a family spokesperson about this case.

And horrific testimony too painful for Jennifer Hudson. The actress walking out of the trial of the man accused of killing her mother, brother, and her little nephew.

And do you ever wonder what they wear under that robe? Wonder no more. A judge under fire for snapping a shirtless photo of himself and firing it off in an e-mail to a married bailiff. Now, he's talking, and he may have one of those judge shows in the future, as well. The hilarious response is coming up ahead -- Ashleigh.


BANFIELD: All right. Thanks, Zoraida. It's now 30 minutes past the hour, and there is some new hope this morning in the case of a little missing girl named Madeleine McCann. She has been gone now for five years. Disappeared during a family vacation in Portugal when she was just beyond being her toddler years.

And now, Scotland Yard is saying they have reason to believe that she could still actually be alive. British police release a composite photo of what Madeleine might look like today. She would be turning nine next week. British investigators asking the Portuguese authorities to reopen their case as well.

A friend of the McCann family and a spokesperson for them, Clarence Mitchell, is joining us live now from London. Mr. Mitchell, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Can you tell me if you know or if the family knows, at this point, what exactly is it that the police have that lead them to think that little Madeleine might still be alive now five years later?

CLARENCE MITCHELL, MCCANN FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be with you today. The police are not going into any detail for good operational reasons, but they have made it clear, as you've just reported, that they have reason to believe there is evidence to suggest that Madeleine still is possibly alive, and that's fantastic news, because that's exactly what Kate and Jerry, her parents, have been saying over the last five years.

There's no evidence to suggest she's been harmed. On the contrary, there's everything to suggest that she may still be out there and able to be found, hopefully, safe and well. The police have said that there are 195 potential leads, nearly 200 potential leads in the material that they've been going through, the historic material.

And they're only a quarter of the way through that itself. So, this is all very encouraging for Kate and Jerry.

BANFIELD: As I understand it, Kate and Jerry, themselves, put the pressure on the British authorities to get cracking once again and they started this about a year ago. Are you talking about leads that have rolled in, in the last year that are fresh, new, and never before heard of or seen of?

MITCHELL: It's a mixture of the two. The 195 potential leads or investigative opportunities, as the police like to call them, are contained within the historic file, if you like. And that's something like 40,000 separate pieces of information, 100,000 pages. I mean, it's a mammoth task the police have got to go through.

But there is new information coming in all the time, tip-offs, potential sightings. That's all going into the mix as well. And the British police are saying that these 200 leads are historic, and there is new information which they're not specifying. What they're doing is getting it all into a fit state to pass on to the Portuguese police, and that's why the British are saying they should open the case -- re-open the case again in the Portuguese jurisdiction.

They are the primary -- they have primacy on the investigation over there. And hopefully, somewhere in all that information, there is the key to unlocking this. And the new picture you've just highlighted is critical to that. That's the girl that the police here in Britain believe people should now be looking for.

Not the younger girl, the younger Madeleine that became so well- known over the last five years from the early pictures --

BANFIELD: She was barely four. I think the early pictures on the left side of our screen, she was barely four, and she'd be turning nine next week. Mr. Mitchell, I want to you ask you. as a friend of the family, obviously, you're intimately involved with just how devastating this process has been, for any parent who loses a child, but particularly, for Kate and Jerry.

They were under such a cloud of suspicion. And as I'm looking, I'm trying to read between the lines of some of there comments about this new sort of development in the case. It sounds as though they are thrilled with what is going on, and for the first time, they are happy with the investigation.

Does that mean that they are working 100 percent in concert with the police and that the police are treating them as partners as opposed to suspects?

MITCHELL: Their suspect status, the so-called (INAUDIBLE) was lifted some four years ago by the Portuguese authorities who had examined the case exhaustively then, and it was lifted because there was no evidence against them, quite rightly. They were not involved in Madeleine's disappearance.

Now, the British police who've been working on it formally for a year with this review, investigative review, they made it quite clear yesterday that given the fact that they believe Madeleine is possibly still alive, Kate and Jerry clearly, by implication, were not involved in anything sinister.

And as a result, they have been kept fully informed. There is a family liaison officer working with them closely. They and the private detectives, they've employed over the years, are also assisting the police inquiry. So, this is very much a collaborative push forward now.

And Kate and Jerry feel that -- I mean, it should have happened years ago, but they feel that there really is momentum now, and they hope that the new image and the leads the police are following discreetly and privately will come together to find that one piece of information that could still lead to Madeleine being recovered safely.

BANFIELD: Clarence Mitchell, we do appreciate you coming on to talk to us and giving us this information. Our best is with you and all of the investigators trying to solve this case. It's really had some resonance here in the U.S.

MITCHELL: That's great news and thank you for that. I'll make sure Kate and Jerry are aware of that. Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thanks for being on with us -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It is 36 minutes past the hour. A Tennessee high school senior was banned from her prom last weekend after she arrived wearing a dress modeled after the confederate flag.

Texanna Edwards says she wasn't sending out any kind of message with the dress that she helped design, but the principal at Gibson High was not happy and told Edwards she would have to leave the prom. Edwards says she's confused, because she's seen other students wear rebel flag shirts, hats, belt buckles to school.


TEXANNA EDWARDS, WORE REBEL FLAG DRESS TO PROM: It wasn't done to offend anybody. It was done just for sole factor that I just wanted to wear a flag dress because I thought it was cool. CODY BEASLEY, GIBSON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I don't really see the point of not going to prom over that they wore in only prom (ph).

LASHANTAY BEVERLEY, GIBSON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Other people wear stuff to school every day with a symbol on it, but they don't get kicked out of school on a daily basis.


SAMBOLIN: And it wasn't the first unusual prom dress Edwards has worn. Last year, she wore a camouflage dress.

A Detroit judge could be in trouble for sending a shirtless photo to a female bailiff. Listen to this. Judge Wade McCree (ph) is not only admitting to sending the photo to the bailiff. He said, he also sent it to others. Judge McCree (ph) says he was only showing off his healthy physique, and none of the recipients complained.

He says, quote, "I've got no shame in my game." A close friend says the photo was just part of a friendly battle.


BERNIE PAVONE, FRIEND OF JUDGE: We have this little, I guess, battle between us on who's in better shape, and I'm ten years younger, but yet, I look like I'm ten years older. So, it was a great shot. He's in good shape. It was not sent out for any ill will or any wrong purpose.


SAMBOLIN: Hmm. Take a look at that. How do you feel about that? The photo was discovered by the bailiff's husband who called it inappropriate. Judge McCree, by the way, is also married.

BANFIELD: Yes. Those pictures usually end up in inquiries.


Do you travel the world and would you like to do it for free? Are you attractive? All right. I'm not kidding here. Take a look at this website, It's a new dating site for travelers to hook up with the rich.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On, there are thousands of frequent travelers who hate to travel alone. These generous travelers are doctors, lawyers, bankers, athletes, executives, entrepreneurs, and millionaires who are looking to travel with an attractive person like you.


(LAUGHTER) BANFIELD: Attractive person -- so, what if you're not hot? Well, don't worry. As Miss Travel says one man's ugly horse is another man's beautiful stallion, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone travels free. While it's charming, it's kind of gross. A little bit tacky, according to some or maybe not.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know.


SAMBOLIN: -- and I was looking at it, and at first, I thought it was a joke.

BANFIELD: It sounds like a joke.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh, this is serious. I can't --

BANFIELD: I think one of the commenters said, wow, traveling across the world with a stranger. What could possibly go wrong?



SAMBOLIN: It's going to be fascinating.

BANFIELD: You can't wait either, because at 6:30 eastern, guess who we got coming on live with us? That man right there on the left of your screen, Brandon Wade. He started it. He started So, he's going to answer some questions about what the site is all about, if there's anything wrong with it, or if it's just harmless dating?

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. Ahead on EARLY START, testimony too tough to bear for singer, Jennifer Hudson. Why she had to walk out of her family's murder trial. You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, New York. Good morning, Lady Liberty. That is quite a beautiful shot. It is 44 degrees right now. Later in the afternoon, however, we are going to have some showers, and it's going to 59 degrees. Yesterday, I asked Rob Marciano about the weather, he said, wait a month, it's going to get nice and warm for you.

It is 43 minutes past the hour. Horrific testimony just too painful for singer, Jennifer Hudson, at her family's murder trial. Hudson shut her eyes as the police officer described finding the bloody bodies of her mother, brother, and seven-year-old nephew. She walked out of the courtroom to avoid seeing the dozens of disturbing photos of the victims.

Defendant, William Balfour, reportedly wiping away tears as grisly images of the seven-year-old were shown. Ted Rowlands is live in Chicago with the very latest details for us. And I know that Jennifer Hudson was the one who actually identified the bodies in the morgue, but these were actually crime scene photos, right?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, today -- yesterday, there were crime scene photos -- I'm sorry. Monday, the crime scene photos. Yesterday, what they were were the coroners on the stand, and these were autopsy photos. They were very difficult to see in court. I mean, you could see the reaction in the jurors' faces, constant sniffling from the folks in the Hudson camp.

And as you mentioned, even the defendant, he actually showed the most emotion wiping away a tear at one point. Very difficult images to see, Zoraida, as you can imagine. Part of the case, obviously, to show the brutality, but especially, the photos of that seven-year-old little boy who was shot twice in the head.

It was just really heartbreaking to see. And before those witnesses took the stand, Jennifer Hudson and her sister, Julia, were told, in fact, a bailiff came up to them at one point just before one of the medical examiners took the stand and whispered to them, and they immediately got up and walk out of the courtroom, because obviously, they did not want to see that and endure those images.

SAMBOLIN: And what are we expecting in court today?

ROWLANDS: We're expecting more testimony from investigators. We got some of it yesterday, the folks that made the arrest on Balfour. We're expecting more of that and more about where exactly Balfour was before and after the murders took place. And then, we're also expecting to hear possibly today from the girlfriends of Balfour.

One of them, he tried to use as an alibi, and we expect that individual to take the stand as well, possibly, today or at least later this week.

SAMBOLIN: That's a very different picture we're seeing of Balfour there, the arrest picture versus the one that we have up right now. Now, Jennifer Hudson has famously said that wherever he was, she did not want to be. What about the relationship between the sister who was married to him?

ROWLANDS: Well, Julia Hudson, obviously, was married to Balfour against the wishes of not only Jennifer but the whole family. And, that is really playing out in the courtroom, too. You know, people are watching the relationship between where they're sitting and if there's any eye contact between them.

And I've been watching that a lot in the courtroom. Jennifer Hudson has looked over towards Balfour many times. Julia Hudson seems to be looking away from him and tries to avoid contact, eye contact with Balfour. When he walks in, Balfour usually scans the entire room and does look to see, apparently, if his family is there and if the Hudsons are there.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. Tough days ahead one would imagine. Ted Rowlands live from Chicago. Thank you very much. BANFIELD: Forty-six minutes past the hour. It's time to check the stories making news this morning.


BANFIELD (voice-over): The White House ready to ramp it up for the election effort, announcing the first of two official rallies of the campaign season, president and the first lady. That's significant. Going to kick things off a week from Saturday with two stops, two critical battleground states, Ohio and Virginia.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Perhaps, you did not see this coming. The U.S. Supreme Court appears to be backing Arizona in the case against its immigration law. Even President Obama appointed justice, Sonia Sotomayor, says White House arguments are, quote, "not selling very well."

The high court is deciding whether states have the authority to enforce immigration matters. And that ruling could affect laws in other states, as well. A final decision could come as early as June.

BANFIELD: A zoo owner in New Zealand had died after being attacked by her own elephant. It happened at the Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary near Auckland. Police say the former circus elephant named Mila became agitated and then wrapped its trunk around the owner, crushing her to death. Investigators believe that this was an accident.

SAMBOLIN: Rupert Murdoch rejecting accusations that he used his media empire to manipulate British politicians. We have live pictures of today's testimony right here. Murdoch testified at a hearing yesterday saying, quote, "I have never asked a prime minister for anything." The 81-year-old Murdoch continues his testimony this morning.

BANFIELD: Arkansas senator, Mark Pryor, is asking the FBI to investigate who auctioned off an internship position in his Washington office. The internship that the founder of "Girls Gone Wild" says he won.

That's why it's causing as big a problem, I'm sure, but the video mogul, Joe Francis (ph) says he bought the internship fair and square online and decided he wants to give the tries to the winner of his search for the hottest girl in America contest.

Senator Pryor's office says hey, we don't sell internships. Leading many to believe that he just might decide to defenestrate that winning candidacy.

SAMBOLIN: Defenestrate.

BANFIELD: That's the word of the day. And nobody is that excited. This comes courtesy of Chuck Daley (ph), our intern. To throw a person or thing out the window. Come on. It's a good one.

SAMBOLIN: To throw a person or a thing out of the window. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD (on-camera): Or a thing, exactly. Congratulations, Chuck. Thank you for providing that fabulous word today.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Forty-eight minutes past the hour -- 49 minutes past the hour here on the nose. In just over 14 hours, the Andrew Luck era begins. The NFL draft kicks off at eight o'clock eastern, tonight, in New York with the Indianapolis Colts expected to make the Stanford quarterback the number one overall pick.

Luck will be taping an appearance on the David Letterman show this afternoon and plans to meet Colts fans at a draft party in Indianapolis tomorrow night.

BANFIELD: You know what I like about him?


BANFIELD: Apart from the fact that his name is Luck. That's always good --


BANFIELD: Apparently, he has a $10 phone, a flip phone.


BANFIELD: Yes. They call him a nerd. And he's proud of that. Loves his $10 phone.

SAMBOLIN: Stanford guy. Not surprised.

BANFIELD: He's going to be able to afford a phone company after what's about to happen to him.

SAMBOLIN: Good for him.

BANFIELD: OK. We love this one. At 5:49 on the east coast, this is a perfect time to tell you the story about the best in beards. I am not kidding. You got your handlebars, you got your octopus, you got your Santa Claus. I love it. These are all breeds of beards, folks.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BANFIELD: Represented at the International Beard Tournament. Yes, there is such a thing. This one was in Germany. There's very much a lot of growing interest in this competition this year. It featured 163 men from all over the world, and there were categories, too, like different categories of a beard competing. Apparently, at this contest, they were --

SAMBOLIN: How do you feel about facial hair? That's my big question for you.

BANFIELD: You know what, if you're Bradley Cooper, you can do anything you want.


BANFIELD: You can wear the handlebars. You can wear the octopus. You all are --



SAMBOLIN: Even the octopus?

BANFIELD: Bradley Cooper could wear a potato sack. It wouldn't matter.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

BANFIELD: Oh, I just think he -- he's OK.


BANFIELD: And George Clooney, not far behind.

SAMBOLIN: George Clooney doesn't have a beard, though.

BANFIELD: That's what I'm saying. He could wear the handlebar, he could wear the octopus.

SAMBOLIN: All right. 5:50 here on the east coast. Up next, boy, they really serve the burgers fresh at this McDonald --

BANFIELD: oh, gosh!

SAMBOLIN: A runaway cow. Apparently, stuff for take-out, maybe perhaps looking for its family.

BANFIELD: Runaway, runaway. You're in danger.

SAMBOLIN: You are watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 53 minutes past the hour. It's time to look at what is trending on the web. And what's a guy like you doing in a dive like this? A picture of President Obama with a totally stoked Colorado college student was exploding on social media. And check out the OMG face.

The woman named Madeline Starky (ph) posed for a picture with the president during a campaign stuff at a local pub known as The Sink. She snapped a picture, posted it on Twitter and on Instagram and it took off in a matter of minutes. It's not seconds.

BANFIELD: Best part of it, though, is like being covered up by our banner. What's wrong (ph) with their hands. See it?

SAMBOLIN: No, we're going to have much more.


SAMBOLIN: Madeline Starky (ph), she's actually going to join us live in the next hour to talk about meeting the president and her new overnight fame, what happened in the minutes leading up to that. It's really kind of a cool story.

BANFIELD: She apparently takes a bunch of pictures like that. Apparently, this is her thing. Oh, my gosh!

All right. So, this is the from the file of you, jerk. Give the kid the ball already. Cameras were at last night's Yankee Rangers game. Trained up in the stands as the worst people ever caught a ball. Are you ready? So, check it out. They catch it. Yey! How exciting, but look at the kid. I want the ball. I want the ball. I'm crying. I wanted the ball. Can I have the ball? No. I'm going to hold it out here.

No. I'm not giving it to you. I'm just going to take pictures, and I'm going to keep the ball away from the kid. And I'm like, what, the guy sent it up to the kid. Come on, already. Think they're going to update their Facebook with "OMG, caught a foul ball. Sent future adult to therapy." Are you ready for that? Look at this. Taking pictures of each other.

SAMBOLIN: Give that little boy a ball.

BANFIELD: Posing and then looking at their pictures. That poor little kid.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Maybe, he was looking for his family. Listen to this one. McDonald employees and Brush, Colorado got a huge surprise when a runaway cow decided to visit the drive through. Darcy, that's her name, had apparently escaped her pen and hoofed the half mile from the farm to the fast food joint.

But we doubt that she was having a Big Mac attack. Her owner called police who had to tell her oh, she's up at McDonald's. Go get her.

BANFIELD: How would you like to be the owner? She's where?



BANFIELD: In what condition?

SAMBOLIN: Look at her.

BANFIELD: OK. So, coming up, that was a moo. That was my best moo. It's such a pretty good moo, I have to say. I have been called a cow now and again. Share the thing when I was pregnant. Coming up, frustrated students versus the police. A cameraman actually getting pepper sprayed himself just for trying to cover the melee. Are you kidding me? All of this happened in Montreal. Clouds of tear gas, arrests, more of this wild scene coming at you in the next hour. You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Holy cow!