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Zimmerman Raises $200,000 Donation; Racist Tweets From Fans; Secret Service In El Salvador; Battle Over Cyber Bullying; Philly Transit Workers Win Jackpot; Space Shuttle & Skyscrapers; Saints Eavesdropping Allegations; John Edwards' Trial

Aired April 27, 2012 - 05:59   ET


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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida is off today. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east. Let's get started.

BANFIELD: And our top story, this one --


BANFIELD (voice-over): Some new exclusive details in the Trayvon Martin case. did George Zimmerman's legal team mislead the court about his finances?

ROMANS (voice-over): Sickening surveillance video. A thief targeting two elderly women. Find out what he was after and what came up -- what happened to him, coming up.

BANFIELD: And also, it is always sunny in Philadelphia, even underground. Philadelphia transit workers just hit a huge jackpot. So, good luck with your train showing off today.


ROMANS: Up first, the six-figure bombshell that land George Zimmerman back behind bars. Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara telling Anderson Cooper he found out his client raised more than $200,000 in online donations.


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: I asked him what he was talking about with his Paypal accounts, the accounts that had the money from the web site he had.

There was about $204,000 that had come in to date. I don't think Judge Lester is going to believe I misled them. I told them what I knew at the time, which is exactly what I was aware of.


ROMANS: Martin Savidge live in Atlanta this morning. Martin, there's a hearing scheduled for Zimmerman this morning. Some legal analysts, Martin, say the judge could send him back to jail.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESONDER: That's a possibility, Christine. I mean, this really was a surprise to many people because it was just a week ago that Mark O'Mara was arguing that his client had no money and not only did George Zimmerman have no money, his wife wasn't working and that's why the bond was set low.

It was $150,000, but it could have been higher. The state was asking for $1 million and now it comes out there was $200,000 apparently sitting in Paypal account that was opened to George Zimmerman. That may get the judge upset. We heard about that from Mark Geragos last night on "ANDERSON COOPER." Listen.

Well, I guess we won't listen to Mark Geragos, but anyway the argument is the judge could say how come we didn't know all of this money that was available? Who did know? That was the question.

Was George Zimmerman aware? Maybe he was in the dark as to how much money was raised on his behalf or family members that should have been questioned. Remember, the prosecution was asking his mother, his father and his wife about was there any funds in any kind of account raised online. They all said they didn't know.

ROMANS: Wow. All right the judge ordered the criminal complaint to be unsealed. How significant is that and what do we expect the criminal complaint will tell us?

SAVIDGE: Well, this is again sort of looking into the past of George Zimmerman. We expect that there will be information pertaining to the 2005 arrest, when he was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement officer, were there other charges against him, other potential crimes?

We don't know. We're going to look. How much information is deducted, in other words, not released? That was part of what the hearing what supposed to be about today. However, you can expect it will be dominated by the bond money now.

ROMANS: Yes, it sure will. All right, Martin Savidge, thank you so much, Martin.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome

BANFIELD: It's 2 minutes now pass 6:00. The government's center witness facing relentless attack on the stand from John Edwards' defense team.

Former Edwards aide, Andrew Young, testified for the fourth straight day and admitting he used much of the nearly $1 million in campaign supporters' money to build his dream house in North Carolina.

And in fact not to cover up an affair that Edwards was having with his videographer, Rielle Hunter. Still it's Edwards is facing up to 30 years behind bars if he's convicted on all six counts of campaign finance violation. ROMANS: Ugliness coming out from Boston Bruins fans ugliness after the team was eliminated from the playoffs. The series clincher was scored by Joel Ward of the Washington capitals.

Joel Ward was born in Toronto to parents who migrate migrated from Barbados. Joel has never experienced racist remarks in his four seasons in NHL and wasn't planning to let a few hateful twitter posts ruin the biggest goal of his career which should be the focus, the biggest goal of his career.

BANFIELD: Great sportsmanship and a classy guy.

Also in the news, the investigation into the Secret Service that started with alleged prostitutes in Colombia now expanding elsewhere. All of this after a report that agencies also paid for certain favors from strippers before President Obama visited El Salvador in March of last year.

Affiliate KIRO in Seattle broke the story and spoke with an alleged eyewitness who says the agents told him, "It happens all the time."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conversations I heard, they bragged about it, how good was the night, I heard that more than once.


BANFIELD: CNN cannot independently confirm those allegations. The Secret Service responded to the report saying they are following up on these allegations, quote, in appropriate matter.

ROMANS: A battle over cyber bullying, a 14-year-old middle school student is suing two of his classmates for libel accusing them of bullying her on Facebook.

The 14-year-old Alex Boston says the students created a phony Facebook page with her name and information on it. They allegedly doctored a photo of her to make her appear bloated, posted derogatory payments suggested she smoked marijuana.

Boston and her parents filed a police and now she's seeking a jury trial and asking for unspecified damages. Later, this morning on STARTING POINT, the Boston family is talking live to Soledad O'Brien to tell their story.

BANFIELD: It's 5 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. If the buses and trains in Philadelphia are running a little slow this morning, here's why. Forty eight city transit workers just hit it big, folks, they scored the jackpot Powerball lottery worth $172 million.

They are employees of Septa and they range from janitors to accountants to managers, all pooling their money for quite some time now and that jackpot win is creating a heck of a buzz in that building.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 1:00 this afternoon, this buzz went through this 20 story office building. Did you hear? Did you hear? Is it a rumor and then people started fessing up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody's like excited. Everybody's like, they can't believe it. You know, it hit right on the 11th floor.


BANFIELD: Yes, they're excited, but the 11th floor has decided that they'd like to remain anonymous for now.

ROMANS: Good for them. It's always better if you remain anonymous.

BANFIELD: Call Christine Romans, she has great advice for lottery winners.

ROMANS: Rich people grow their money, they don't spend it. Don't spend it, grow it.

BANFIELD: The statistics on lottery winners who lose it all in five years is of the rails.

ROMANS: Ahead on EARLY START, the space shuttle and skyscrapers, shuttle enterprise a loop around the big apple, we're live from D.C.

BANFIELD: And maybe Michael Jordan might not want to talk a whole lot right now because he owns the worst team ever. I hate to even say it, folks. You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: A beautiful shot of New York City, and not just any shot of New York City. That is the intrepid, and you know why that's so significant because after today, all eyes are going to be watching the intrepid for when the space shuttle "Enterprise" arrives and gets parked on top of that museum.

It will be a fabulous thing for to you visit. It's sunny in New York today, 56 degrees and the intrepid looks beautiful.

ROMANS: It sure does. All right, it's 10 minutes after the hour. Time to check the stories making news this morning. A big development in the Trayvon Martin case. It turns out shooter, George Zimmerman has raised more than $200,000 in online donations for his defense, but the judge didn't know that when he set bail.

The judge thought he was indigent, didn't have any money. Legal experts say when the judge was told about the cash he could revoke Zimmerman's bail. BANFIELD: Osama Bin Laden's three widows and two daughters are out of Pakistan and now deported to Saudi Arabia this morning. They've been under house arrest for being in the country illegally. Bin laden was called in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid on his Pakistani hideout almost one year ago.

ROMANS: Nine thousand U.S. Marines are shipping out of Japan, part of a deal the U.S. made with Japanese officials. These Marines were stationed at a base in Okinawa. Residents wanted them gone angry over criminal activity, including the rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl by three Marines.

BANFIELD: This one from the, are you kidding me file. Take a look at your video, the guy particularly on the left on the scooter two elderly sisters thrown to the ground after he snatched one of their purses.

An 84-year-old woman was helping her 96-year-old sister onto the wheelchair ramp of a bus in Boca Raton, Florida, when this happened. Both of the women were indeed hurt from the fall.

The 96-year-old broke two ribs. The purse itself was filled with more than $1,200 in cash and $6,000 in jewelry, but here might be the bright spot. That 19-year-old suspect was caught.

He was arrested. He's facing charges of robbery and aggravated battery and all of this, police say, because his own father turned him in on his birthday. So there's that.

ROMANS: Bernie Fine has a new overseas job. The former Syracuse assistant basketball coach is now a consultant for an Israeli basketball team. He'll be advising on coaching and personnel issues, but won't be traveling abroad.

He'll the work from home. Fine was fired from his job at Syracuse after 36 years and still being investigated for alleged child abuse.

BANFIELD: A 13-year-old boy kicked off his field hockey team because he's too good. Yes, you heard it right. He's too good. Southampton High School on Long Island told Helin Cularo that he could no longer play with the girls.

Because he advanced skills that he learned in Ireland where the sport is much bigger and that apparently gave him an unfair advantage. The school ruled the 4'8" kid is a physical threat, even though he's in eighth grade and already plays on varsity.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It means everything. I play a lot of sports but none of them compare to how I like field hockey. It's so much fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BANFIELD: The school took potential bullying into consideration since it's an all girls sport. Keeling was the only male high school field hockey player in all of Long Island. His parents are appealing this ruling.

ROMANS: I don't get the bullying.

The greatest player in NBA history the proud owner of the worst team of all-time, Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats ended with a 104-84 loss to the New York Knicks and finished the lockout shortened season with the worst percentage in NBA history. The bobcats won only nine games and lost 73. For a guy everything he touched turned to gold, it's been tough in the office.

BANFIELD: A lot people say because a lot of people won't tell him no or won't disagree and give him better advice than his own, because he's paying the bills. You hear that a lot in other things other than sports.

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

ROMANS: An update on a controversial story we first brought you yesterday. A Florida mom dying of breast cancer now has approval to use a new drug not approved by the FDA. She's expected to get her first dose today. The 45-year-old Darleen Gant posted a YouTube video pleading for access to this drug. The FDA is in the process of approving it but Gant feared she would die before the approval happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that there are drugs being held up in trial is for women with my particular cancer, (INAUDIBLE) positive, that trial has been going on for years. One of my best friends, Annie, died, waiting to get in the trial.


ROMANS: The FDA is expected to officially approve the drug in early June and she is going to get a dose as early as today.

BANFIELD: Fifteen minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

The 6-year-old boy has been arrested and facing criminal charges, 6 years old. The allegation? That he kicked his school principal. The 6-year-old has also been charged with battery. Police say he threatened to hurt the principal and another staff member last Wednesday at Hendricks Elementary School in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Police also claim that the child told him that the devil made him do it. He's 6. The principal saying this is not an isolated incident for the boy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the big picture I have to look at learning environment, I have to look at school safety. I don't get into elementary education because I want to see bad things happening to small children. You know, I love all the kids and this student is a good student, just having some difficulties.


BANFIELD: Well, that student has also been suspended from school, that happened recently, because apparently biting incident and an alleged hitting of a staff member as well.

ROMANS: All right. Election year politics: the story of student loans, both parties are talking about it today. Coming up, I'll tell you the one thing you can actually do about it.

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. Nineteen minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

A majestic site headed for New York City this morning, that is if the clouds break up. We're really hoping for good weather because the space shuttle Enterprise is making its final trip, hitching one of the piggyback rides on a 747 and heading to its brand new home on the deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum here in New York City.

The shuttle is going to fly over several of New York City's spectacular landmarks before it touches down. It is set to take off from Dulles airport in D.C. -- close to D.C. anyway -- at 9:30 Eastern this morning.

That's where our from Athena Jones is standing by.

I'm going to hype this up because it's awesome sight to see the piggyback and now Athena to see that piggyback with the backdrop of Manhattan, it's just -- it's awesome.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know, you guys are lucky. I'm kind of jealous here. But the good thing is that now that it's brightened up, you can see -- I believe you can see right behind me the shuttle Enterprise that's already mounted to the jumbo jet, the 747 that's going to carry it up to New York. It's the same jet that took the Discovery here from Florida a couple of weeks ago.

And so, just about after 9:30, you're going to see the Enterprise go up there and take off. We're not going to get to see the spectacular sights that we saw in D.C. in terms of flying by the monuments here. But you're going to get to see a lot when it gets up there.

I should mention the Enterprise was the first shuttle but never flew in space. Instead it was used for a whole bunch of flights, test flights, other kinds of tests, landing tests, over the course of the two years after 1976.

You know, 9:30, the flight is going to take off, head of to New York. It's going to pass the Statue of Liberty, go up the Hudson River, past the Intrepid, which is its future home, as you know. It's going to circle around, passing Yankee Stadium, Brooklyn Bridge and then landing at JFK, where over the next few weeks, it will be demated, put on a barge and carried over the Intrepid where they're going to build a huge pavilion around it. So, it's certainly going to be a big attraction and that you guys are going to get to see great sights along the west side today.

BANFIELD: I'm listening to the air traffic in your backdrop as you're giving the live report and all I think of is for anybody who is watching right now who has a flight out of JFK this morning, you have a first class ticket.

Athena, they are actually being very specific about who's allowed to be in certain viewing areas from your location down in Washington and then also up at JFK, except for actual flying passengers.

JONES: Well, sure. I mean, I imagine being about to take off we've already seen flights take off. We've heard from the flights take off and land over here. This is very, very busy airport, we're looking at the terminal here, where you see people coming to take off.

And so, they're going to be closing down the air space when the flight does happen. But until then people coming in and departing are going to see quite a site.

But like I said, I don't know if anything compares to what you guys get to see up there in New York. I mean, it doesn't happen often and certainly to see this giant 150,000 pound shuttle attached to this huge jumbo jet flying pretty low up the Hudson River, so it's going to be pretty spectacularly later on.

BANFIELD: And anybody who's thinking great, I'm going to book my trip to New York so I can go to the aircraft and see that, they've got to wait a few months.

JONES: That's right. It's going to take a few weeks. They're going to take this JFK. There's going to be a private ceremony there today. So, you know, we get to see, you guys will get to see it pass by.

But once it gets to JFK, there's going to be a private ceremony, they're going to demate it from the jumbo jet using special cranes, put it on a barge, take it over, carry it over to the Intrepid and the whole pavilion.

Right now, the museum says maybe mid-July is when all of that will be ready for public viewing in terms of the new pavilion. But certainly sometime this summer. We know the Intrepid, this aircraft carrier, was used in World War II and it's gotten lots and lots of visitors, over 10 million over the last couple of decades, probably a lot more once this Enterprise is there and ready to go.

BANFIELD: I know a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old and a mommy who works on TV who will be one of the first visitors.

Athena, thanks. Have fun this morning as you do this assignment.

JONES: Thanks.

BANFIELD: It's 24 minutes now past 6:00.

We're minding your business as well with the expert.

President Barack Obama back on the campaign trail, talking about something that Christine has been talking about: student loans. He's on his way to Georgia to talk with troops and veterans with dire warnings about the risks of taking on student loans, especially from predatory educational institutions.

ROMANS: Plus, there's a vote in the House about whether to raise interest rates on student loans and agreement between Governor Mitt Romney and the president that those interest rates for subsidized loans should not be raised. The core here is this concern the U.S. is falling behind in education innovation, the middle class is shrinking.

And the president's chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers yesterday, Alan Krueger, he talked about the importance of out-educate so that we can out-innovate and stay on top.


ALAN KRUEGER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: And increasingly high-tech, knowledge-based economy, we simply can't afford to fall behind other countries in education. Yet that is what has happened in the U.S.


ROMANS: Bottom line, though, is that so you don't fall behind in education, you got to pay, take out a boatload of loans, right? And there aren't really jobs on the other end. So that's the squeeze a lot of middle class families are in right now. And Pew has an interesting study about how student debt is affecting families.

It's harder to pay the bills to make ends meet. Harder to buy a home. People are even saying, Ashleigh, that they have delayed marriage and starting a family because of student loans. This is what Mark Kantrowitz. He's basically the expert of student loan debt. This is what he says about how it limits their choices.


MARK KANTROWITZ: You're still going to be paying back your own student loans when your children are enrolling in college. You won't have saved for their college education. You'll be less willing to borrow for their college education because you'll be up to your eyebrows still in debt.


ROMANS: So, even with low interest rates, if government decides to lower the interest rates, even with lower interest rates, you still could be up to your eyebrows in debt so be careful of the debt you're taking on in the front end.

BANFIELD: So, you're busy with your show for tomorrow "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," 9:30 Eastern here on CNN in the morning.

But you're talking about kids of a different age and the financial issues related to kids especially special needs kids.

ROMANS: Special needs kids. We have a woman on, both a mother of a special needs child and also, she represents families to make sure that you're getting what you need for your kids in the public schools, how to be an advocate, trust but verify. That's what she says.

BANFIELD: Trust but verify. Heard that one. I think that was Reaganesque.

Also, we have this awesome new thing because she's see smart and has such great advice, we want to leave you with the one thing you need to know today. And we want to do it every day and we're kicking it off today.

ROMANS: We are and we're going back to student loans here. I want to be clear the left says you should, we should forgive all student loans. The right says it's your fault that you're in the student loan debt.

I'm going to tell you right now. It's an investment. Don't mess up the investment by taking out too much debt in the front end and -- make sure -- make sure that you're choosing a career that will help you pay off that debt.

BANFIELD: And you know what? That's the one thing you need to know today and you'll get one of those every day, because we love her.

Twenty-six minutes now past 6:00.

Spy-gate -- spy-gate II is casting a shadow over this year's NFL draft. The Saints general manager now responding privately to a report that he had the Superdome bugged, that he could gain an edge. We'll talk about it.

You're watching EARLY START.


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

And it is time to check stories making news headline this morning.

We start with this one. The man accused of killing Trayvon Martin has raised more than $200,000 online. But that could land him right back in jail, ironically, after his attorney told the court that his client was hard-pressed to pay his legal bills.

The United States military is announcing it is removing half of its forces from Okinawa. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that roughly 9,000 marine are going to move to Guam in a deal with Japan as part of a move to reduce the military footprint and ease tension with the locals. The U.S. military's had an almost continuous presence on Okinawa since 1945. In fact, much of the U.S.'s assistance from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami was launched from that base. That said, the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. service members back in '95 still has left many people there angry.

And space shuttle Enterprises, the first space shuttle prototype will make its final flight today over New York City. Feast your eyes on the sun on the live pictures out of Washington's -- that's Dulles Airport, and it's getting ready for takeoff, that 747, doing the piggyback today.

It is such an excitement time because it's going to be a flyover of the Big Apple, before it ends up at Kennedy Airport, where anybody flying this morning, you're going to get a firsthand view of this. Ultimately in a couple of months, it's going to land, does not land -- but it will be put on the deck of the USS Intrepid, the museum floating on the Hudson. So, a great trip to make to New York and something to see for everybody.


ROMANS: Thanks, Ashleigh.

Round one of the NFL draft is in the books but the clouds surrounding the New Orleans Saints is also making news this morning. The team's general manager, Mickey Loomis, finally responding to an ESPN report he had the Superdome wired to eavesdrop on opposing teams.


MICKEY LOOMIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS' GENERAL MANAGER: I have never listened to an opposing team's communications. I have never asked for the capability to listen to an opposing team's communications. I have never inquired as to the possibility of listening in on an opposing team's communications. And I have never been aware of any capability to listen in on an opposing team's communications at the Superdome or at any NFL stadium.


ROMANS: Coy Wire is a former linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons.

Good morning, nice to see you.

COY WIRE, FORMER ATLANTA FALCONS LINEBACKER: Good morning, Christine. Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: You know, so do you think that Loomis' denial will be believed, that they're going to put this whole thing behind them or are we going to see these repercussions and these continuing questions from the whole bounty scandal?

WIRE: You know, I think you have to take the guy at his word. I really don't see the benefit to -- it wouldn't behoove him to listen to an opposing team's side line. It's not that -- he's not the one making decisions, making play calls that would affect the game anyways. So, I really think that you have to believe him that he didn't do the things that he is allegedly done.

ROMANS: You know, Coy, we're waiting for the players to be punished for the bounty scandal. You said when you were on the Buffalo Bills, you and fellow players pooled money to reward teams for big hits. Tell us about that and if the culture of football is changing because of all of this.

WIRE: Well, pay-for-play is normal across the league. You have guys who reward each other financially, you know, little side pots for interceptions, touch down. It happens on the golf course, make this on the green, you have a nice shot, we're going to give you $20. It happens in sports.

I think where the line went too far, especially in the case in New Orleans where there were set bounty amounts for certain players and names. There were a list of people that were targeted and they were going to be rewarded for injuries, big injuries and all that we know now concussions and the long-term adverse effects of playing the game, we just can't allow that type of behavior to go on anymore.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the NFL draft. Fellow Stanford alum Andrew Luck is the first pick. You know, I spoke in December with Robert Griffin III. Really nice guy, great guy, something he might be a better long-term bet. What do you think?

WIRE: Well, you know, it's tough to say. They're both so talented but they're talented in different ways. I have to stand behind my Stanford alum fellow, Andrew Luck. He is an incredible, phenomenal athlete. He has all the physical abilities, but his intangibles are absolutely incredible and he's going to be a great addition, if anyone can fill the big shoes of Peyton Manning has left behind, it's going to be Andrew Luck of the Stanford Cardinals.

ROMANS: What's it like? You've been there. What's it like to be a college senior and hear your name called in the draft. It must be amazing?

WIRE: You know, Christine I'm getting goose bumps right now just remembering draft day. It literally is a dream come true. These guys have worked so hard, so long, put in a lot of hours, so dedicated.

And to have that dream come true is truly a surreal experience, happiness for these guys.

ROMANS: Let's talk about dream come true and happiness, because you have become a board member of Make-A-Wish. How has the NFL experience been important for you as you're going forward here?

WIRE: I'll tell you -- the NFL does a great job of teaching the importance of philanthropy, especially here in Atlanta with my experiences here and the Buffalo Bills, it was phenomenal. The difference that, the impact you can make on the life of a child I think now the players are really starting to understand that and they're taking seriously the role they play in the lives of our youth.

So, it's very empowering and it's fulfilling when you have a group of guys who know the importance they have in the life of a child.

ROMANS: And you know, that's the best of sports. And then this week, we saw the worst of sports, too. And this is the NHL, Joel Ward's amazing, amazing game-winning move and then the racist tweets that he got.

And I do not want to dignify those tweets by reading them but I will dignify Joel Ward who is remarkably classy about all of this, because it didn't even faze him. He said, "There's no lying about it, obviously, but I'm definitely the one black guy in a room with 20 white guys. There are definitely some cultural differences such as taste in music, but I've never heard anything derogatory." And he said he's not going to let a bunch of jerks or a few jerks on Twitter take away his really great night.

WIRE: Absolutely, Christine. I'm glad you brought that up, because I felt the exact same way. He handled this with such dignity. I can think of a lot of other people out there or professional sports players who wouldn't have handled it the way he did. I was so impressed with his remarks and he kept those ignorant people in the tiny -- very tiny box that they belong in. He's going to keep moving forward in a positive direction and congratulations to him and his team and the good things that are going on in their city.

ROMANS: I know. And I feel bad for real Bruins fans who are probably embarrassed by whoever these crazy people are who are sending these kinds of tweets. I mean, real fans who love their team don't promote things that are unsportsmanlike. That's just Pollyanna view.

Coy Wire really nice to see you. Nice to meet you this morning. Thanks.

WIRE: Thank you.

ROMANS: Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Joel Ward is the guy of -- he's guy of the week. How about that?

It's 37 minutes now past 6:00. Christine, thanks.

Joe Biden is in full attack mode and he's channeling Teddy Roosevelt to do so in bashing Mitt Romney. The vice president delivered a campaign speech on foreign policy at NYU yesterday and you go to listen to him framing the debate for the six month battle ahead.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Speak softly, and carry a big stick. I promise you, the president has a big stick.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive. We can't say for certain what Governor Romney would have done.


BANFIELD: Well, the Obama re-election machine certainly kicking into high gear. You're looking at president's new campaign web video. There's Bill Clinton, he's narrating it, talking about the president cool under fire during a mission to kill Osama bin Laden.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He had to decide, and that's what we hire our president to do. You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it.


BIDEN: And the web video debuted online just this morning. So there's your fresh look at it.

In the meantime, Mitt Romney apparently considering a cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live," a show that has consistently been skewering him, among others. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the Michigan win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michigan was just another case of voters taking a look at Mitt Romney and saying, eh, I guess.


BANFIELD: Romney's wife, Ann, is telling "Entertainment Tonight" as well at this time her husband finds the "SNL" skits about them very funny, even if they're not very accurate. She also says she is in favor of her husband doing the cameo.


ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: I think he should. I'll weigh in on that one, who knows when he'll do it or how, but, you know, I think at some point, I think it would be fun for him to do that.


BANFIELD: Ann Romney says if her husband agrees to appear on "SNL," she says she will do the show as well.

ROMANS: You really have to. I mean, this is a real way to get to young voters. I mean, it's part of -- I mean, you got to do it.

BANFIELD: You know what they say, well, they -- who are they? But they say --

ROMANS: They in quotation marks.

BANFIELD: Absolutely.

President Obama's secret weapon is Michelle and Mitt Romney's secret weapon is Ann. She's phenomenal.

It's 40 minutes now past 6:00. And coming up on EARLY START: The latest in a trial in the disgraced former Senator John Edwards. Why his former aide and confidante had a very rough day on the stand and maybe a few more to come, too.

First, though, quick check of the weather. Reynolds Wolf filling in.

What does the weather look like?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEORLOGIST: Well, it looks pretty good on parts of the Eastern Board. And in the extreme Northeast, up in New England, a chance of scattered showers. Breezy in parts of the Northeast, Rain through the Carolinas. And when you get back to the parts of Central and Northern Plains, you've got a chance of storms. The strongest storms through parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and back into Missouri, especially by later afternoon, large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.

As we wrap it up, your highs for the day in Seattle, 56, San Francisco, 63, 66 in Denver, 90 in Dallas, 82 in Memphis, 51 in Chicago and New York with 56.

We'll see you in just a little bit. But, first, take a look at the live shot that we have of the shuttle. It should be fun today.


BANFIELD: Oh, pretty sunrise shot over Raleigh, North Carolina. Sixty degrees right now. But you're expecting more of that sunrise to warm things up to 74 today. Good morning, Raleigh. It's nice to have you here with us this morning.

Hi, everybody. Forty-four minutes now past 6:00.

The prosecution's star witness in the John Edwards trial really taking a hammering by the defense on the stand. Andrew Young is his name. He was Edwards' former aide, and he had his credibility smashed and his motives for testifying against the former presidential candidate questioned pretty stridently in the courtroom.

Young admitted that he used campaign donation money for his own gain, and here's what he did with the money. He added a brand new pool and a theater to his home. Edwards, for his part, is facing 30 years behind bars if he is convicted on all counts of campaign finance violations.

Our Joe Johns has been in this courtroom for every day of this. He's live in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sometimes, I'm having trouble even realizing the story that I'm telling when I talk about this story, Joe, because it feels like Andrew Young should also be facing charges, but he is not. He is a witness and he's got immunity, and yet, some of the things he's admitting are awful.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're absolutely right. I mean, he is admitting a lot of stuff. He does have immunity, and I got to tell you, talking about the testimony just yesterday, what was it like? The word "excruciating" comes to mind. You know, it's very sort of painstaking.

He's actually a very good witness. You know, he went to law school here in North Carolina and a very good witness. Abbe Lowell, on the other hand, is a very sharp cross-examiner. And so, they've been going sort of it cross-purposes throughout this testimony.

But I think a lot of people have said Abbe Lowell has scored some points, particularly, when they talk about the money that came in that was supposed to go to Rielle Hunter, actually went into the dream home of Andrew Young that he was building here in North Carolina

So, they also released some exhibits. These are exhibits that the prosecution has already put into evidence, a lot of pictures, transcripts, that kind of thing, including pictures of some of the houses where Rielle Hunter, the mistress, actually stayed while she was on the run. She stayed, really, in several different places.

She went from like the New Jersey area down here to North Carolina all the way out to the west coast, Santa Barbara area. She was sort of all over the place. So, that gives you some feel, at least, for what's been going on this week, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So, while so many details are sordid, and as you said, excruciating for many, are we any closer with testimony or evidence inside that court room to an actual crime being committed, because that's really what's critical here, actual crime.

JOHNS: You're absolutely right, and it's a very noble case. Fascinating how many people from law schools come in to just watch, but the real question is whether John Edwards had criminal intent, intent to receive illegal campaign donations, and it's not clear just how far along the road they've gone.

I mean, Andrew Young is trying to make the case that, yes, he knew the stuff was coming in to try to preserve his run for presidency of the United States. But, so much of the testimony has been about Andrew Young and what he did. I think the prosecution still has a ways to go to actually make their case, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Well, if there's one thing that's been proven in that court room, so far, through admissions, is that there is some serious breaches in moral code with both of these characters. Joe, thank you. And good luck with today. We look forward to your reporting on it later on.

JOHNS: Thanks.

BANFIELD: All right. Christine, back over to you.

ROMANS: Thanks. Soledad is back. She joins us now with a look at what's ahead on "Starting Point."


ROMANS: You sound great. No problem.

O'BRIEN: DayQuil is your friend.


O'BRIEN: Thank you, Christine.

Coming up this morning on "Starting Point," we're going to talk about the six-figure shocker in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars online and guess what? It's a number the judge, apparently, didn't know about. He'll find out today at a hearing.

What will that mean for Zimmerman? We're going to be talking into a reporter who's been digging into George Zimmerman's background.

Also, a 14-year-old girl from Georgia bullied on Facebook. The school says, you know, our hands are tied, so she takes the matter into her own hands and decides to file a lawsuit against her classmates. We'll tell you what she's looking for there.

Plus, his fans know him simply as GSP. He's the guy you don't want to get mad. He is a mixed martial artist champion. George St. Pierre joins us with his incredible story about going from being bullied to becoming a UFC fighter. He's also pitching something for athletes to try to keep them healthy in the summer heat.

And actor, Tony Hale, will join us. He's got a new hit show. It's called "Beat" stars Julia Louise-Dreyfus as the vice president, and he is her body man.


O'BRIEN: She is hilarious. Everything she does, does really well. So, we'll talk to him about that. And of course, he was on "Arrested Development." He'll be back for another season. We'll chat about that as well.

All that ahead on "Starting Point" this morning. We'll see you right at the start of the hour.


BANFIELD: Fifty-two minutes --


BANFIELD: Whatever. We're eight minutes to Friday (ph). Yes. You know, we're really close to the top of the hour, so it's good time to get you caught up on those headlines.


BANFIELD (voice-over): A potential bombshell, too, in the Trayvon Martin case. The shooter, George Zimmerman, his lawyer is telling the news, and later, court that his client has raised over $200,000 in online donations for his defense. The trouble is the judge did not know that when he set bail for Zimmerman.

And a lot of legal experts are saying when the judge is told about that and all that cash, a little later on in a hearing, it could actually end up as a revocation of Zimmerman's bail

ROMANS (voice-over): Live pictures of space shuttle "Enterprise" at Dulles Airport. The first space shuttle begins its final flight in a few hours, a flight on the back of a 747 from Washington and New York. It's going to be kept at the intrepid air and space museum. A special flyover of the Big Apple before it lands at JFK. You can watch that live here on CNN later this morning.

BANFIELD: That's a cool flight, but this one was not a cool flight. Passenger on a Delta flight quarantined on a tarmac for three hours yesterday in Chicago after a medical scare. It turns out a Minnesota woman triggered this concern after returning home from Uganda. The CDC said the family member first reported that she might actually have monkey pox because of a rash that she had.

And monkey pox is a potentially contagious disease. It could be deadly, actually. And it turns out it wasn't monkey pox. It was bed bug bites. Scary enough, though, for the folks who had to look at images like that coming on board the plane.


ROMANS (on-camera): All right. Up next, air bear, the story behind this ridiculous, come on, show it to us. Yes!


BANFIELD (on-camera): Oh, we love that guy.

ROMANS: The young little bear, 200 pounds. You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Fifty-seven minutes now after the hour. Time to take a look at what's trending on the interwebs, and an adorable puppy named Cactus Jack has brand new home. Somebody rescued this sweet looking little puppy after it got stuck to a cactus, and the pictures tell the story.

Look at this. Seventy people who saw the pictures and heard the story threw their names into the Arizona Humane Society's Lottery, all of them hoping to take little Cactus Jack home and here is the lucky winner, Cactus Jack's new mom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This story just was heart wrenching, heartbreaking. But the thing that just drew my heart to it was the fact that he just kept wagging his tail.


BANFIELD: Sweet Cactus jack. Good luck in your new home, cutie pie.

ROMANS: Check out this awesome photo taken after police hit a bear in a tree with a tranquillizer dart. It wandered on to the University of Colorado, Boulder campus, spent about two hours hanging around before they decided, you know, time for this little guy to go. This little guys weighs almost 200 pounds.

Campus police say he landed safely. By the way, on some mats, they pulled from the wreck (ph) center. He's been taken into the mountain's higher altitude. They think he won't come back. It reminds us of this classic from the zoo in (ph) Montana back in 2003, the bear fell out of a tree after getting his own tranquillizer dart. Now, come on now, looks like a hard fall. We promise he was fine. He was fine. He was into the wild unhurt just a little bit later.

BANFIELD: They are so relaxed, I know. Wouldn't you be with a tranquillizer dart?

ROMANS: The headache later, you wouldn't believe it.


BANFIELD: No, I wouldn't know, Christine Romans. Happy Friday to you all. That's EARLY START, the news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

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