CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

CIA Foils Airline Bomb Plot; Saudis Responsible For Bomb Tip; Clinton Warns Pakistan; Homeless Man Beaten To Death; Primary Day In Three States; Tennessee Mother, Daughter Dead; Santorum Backs Romney; Clinton Warns Pakistan; "New" Al Qaeda Bomb In Foiled Plot; Kids Strapped To Car Hood

Aired May 8, 2012 - 05:59   ET

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


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

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're bring you the news from "A" to "Z." It is 6:00 a.m. in the east, just about here, so let's get started for you.

We have new details this morning about how the CIA stopped an al Qaeda plot to blow a passenger jet out of the sky around the one-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death. And new fears about whether the bomb may have been undetectable. A senior administration official told CNN that the intended user of the bomb is not a threat anymore.

A U.S. counterterrorism official says the explosive device is similar to the one that was used by the so-called underwear bomber back on Christmas day 2009.

Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon. First of all, what can you tell us about this bomb because it sounds very scary that it's undetectable by security?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's what the FBI is trying to analyze right now, Zoraida. What the bomb is actually made of, the device that that they possession of and just how undetectable it might be.

Let me just jump in for one minute, however and say that our Nic Robertson in London is now reporting that the Saudi Arabia was the source of the tip about the device, the plot, this whole effort to try to put another bomb on an airliner bound for the United States.

By all accounts, the FBI says it has got the device in hand and so it's looking at it. This is something that al Qaeda in Yemen, AQAP, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has tried before, to put these types of low metal content, no metal content devices on planes bound for the United States.

You remember the underwear bomber, the plot to put these types of devices in printer cartridges, things that are very difficult to detect by these x-ray and screening machines. They have the device. They're not saying what happened to the person that may have been the so-called bomber planning to use it -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Do we have any more details about that device? What it looks like? We know -- we're hearing that perhaps it's undetectable, but what else do we know about it?

STARR: The FBI is not saying very much about it. I think it's worth point out that behind the scenes what's pretty clear is the person they're really looking for is a man in Yemen named Abraham Al- Asiri.

He is the guy who is said to be responsible for previous devices like this, the ones we just mentioned and another attack that took place, in fact, inside Saudi Arabia aimed at a high level Saudi official, but wound up killing the bomber's brother.

So they are really focused now on trying to make sure they've wrapped up everything associated with this particular plot and stepping up what they can do to go after al Qaeda in Yemen, find Asiri, get to him and also really go after that al Qaeda organization.

It is al Qaeda in Yemen that has been able essentially to reach out and touch, thankfully not successfully, but reach out and touch the United States, to be able to launch these types of threats against U.S. airliners -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And the reason that they know the association, was it a fingerprint that they had before on a bomb previously, was that it?

STARR: I'm not familiar with that, but they do believe, the U.S. intelligence community has long believed and it has some pretty strong indications that this man, Al Asiri, is the expert behind all of this effort to a large extent with al Qaeda in Yemen.

He's really according to U.S. intelligence community, one hates to use the phrase the master bomb maker, but by all accounts he really is. He is working on perfecting this notion of bomb devices essentially improvised explosive devices that are very difficult to detect by airport security.

It's a real cat and mouse game. Get the technology better, the detection technology better in airports around world and stay one step ahead of the terrorists -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Very scary stuff. Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for us, thank you very much.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is wrapping up her visit to India and she's also weighing in on the foiled al Qaeda plot to blow up the U.S. bound passenger-jet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The plot itself indicates these terrorists keep trying to device more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people. And it's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Jill Dougherty is actually traveling with the secretary of state and joins us live from Delhi, India. What else can you tell about this?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the secretary was briefed about this. It happened pretty much as she was about to leave India. She's been going on a long trip going to China, to Bangladesh and here to New Delhi.

When she was talking about that, it reminded me very much, Zoraida, of almost every stop the secretary talks about terrorism. It's a very big subject, as you can imagine, in this part of the world and here is what she said in a broader sense about the threat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Terrorists in Pakistan have killed more than 30,000 Pakistanis. So it's very much about the people of Pakistan and their right to go to a market or go to a mosque, to live their lives. And we need stronger, more concerted efforts on behalf of governments and societies against the scourge of terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: So that is what she's trying to do, in fact, on this trip, a lot of the security and trying to bring these countries together in some cohesive form so that they can fight terrorism -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And I know that you sat down and had an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Clinton. What did she have to say to you?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, the two subjects that we got into primarily were China, Mr. Chen, who is still in the hospital, and whether he will be able to get out to the United States.

And she was pretty circumspect in talking about that, but made it clear that the United States expects that to happen. And we also talked about a subject that's hot here in India, and that is the Iranian oil sanctions.

Because India is being asked by the United States, as are many other countries to cut back on imports of Iranian oil and the Indians are not happy about it because their economy is growing very fast.

So it's a hot button issue, but it's very important. And she said that they are hoping that they will -- they expect they've done a lot and hope they'll do more. SAMBOLIN: I know you had a lighter moment with her as well. Can you share that?

DOUGHERTY: Yes. Well, we talked a little bit of that, if you can imagine this, hair and makeup, which is a big subject for Hillary Clinton over the years. And we're going to get the sound, we're editing it so we'll get it soon.

But essentially what she said is, look, I am at the stage in my life where if I don't want to wear my glasses, I'll wear my glasses and if I don't want to wear my makeup, I won't wear my makeup. So basically she's saying let Hillary be Hillary.

SAMBOLIN: She's earned it. She's earned it. Jill Dougherty live for us, thank you very much.

And coming up at 7:00 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," Congressman Peter King, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee joins Soledad O'Brien live.

BANFIELD: It's 7 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Two police officers in Fullerton, California, are facing criminal charges this morning for the beating death of a homeless man that was captured on video.

At a preliminary hearing yesterday spectators were shown some pretty graphic photos of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas after he'd been beaten by officers last July.

The mentally ill homeless man died five days after that incident. Two officers, 10-year veteran Manuel Ramos and Corporal Jay Cinelli face charges ranging from second degree murder to felony use of excessive force.

Here are some of the videotapes from the night of the beating and we do want to warn you, you might find some of this disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground, get on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, dude. I'm sorry, dude, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you saying?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Again five days later, that man was dead. Both officers have pleaded not guilty. The Orange County coroner listed Thomas's death as a homicide.

SAMBOLIN: It is primary day in three states with the Republican nomination all about decided a ballot measure in North Carolina and a six-term senator from Indiana are getting a lot of the headlines this morning. Voters head to the polls this morning, in Indiana, West Virginia and North Carolina. Mitt Romney needing just over 300 more delegates to officially now clinch the nomination.

In North Carolina all the buzz, however, is about Amendment One. It would change the state's constitution to read, quote, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be recognized."

Evangelist Billy Graham has taken out a full page ad and 14 North Carolina newspapers supporting the amendment. Former President Bill Clinton recorded a robo call opposing it.

And in Indiana, the Senate's longest serving Republican may not survive a primary challenge. The six-term Senator Dick Lugar trailing Tea Party-back State Treasurer, Richard Murdoch by double digits in the polls.

BANFIELD: At 8 a.m. Eastern on "STARTING POINT," make sure you tune in because Senator Dick Lugar is going to join Soledad O'Brien live to talk about this uphill battle that he's facing today. That he is not had to face for a long time.

SAMBOLIN: And with very little fans here and even less enthusiasm Rick Santorum is finally endorsing Mitt Romney for president. After meeting with Romney in Pittsburgh that happened last week Santorum just released an e-mail to his supporters.

Saying he now has a better understanding of where his former rival stands on conservative issues and here's the key passage in that e-mail, quote, "Above all else we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy."

"It will require al hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this, the most critical election of our lifetime."

BANFIELD: It's 10 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast and still ahead on EARLY START, a knife attack that's caught on tape, but there's something else, she is stabbed, that mother.

But look, there's a little girl in the middle and watch what the mother does. She's catching more heat than her attacker at this point. Find out what happens next.

SAMBOLIN: And the search for the person who murdered an elusive white buffalo. The reward is now growing. We're going to give you more details on that. You are watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 14 minutes now past 6:00. The search for a Tennessee mother and her three daughters who disappeared nearly two weeks ago has taken a rather grim turn.

The FBI says that the bodies of 31-year-old Joann Bain and her 14-year-old daughter, Adrienne were found in the backyard of a Mississippi home this past weekend.

Authorities are still searching for Joann's other two daughters, 12-year-old Alexandria and 8-year-old Kyliyah. And for the man suspected of kidnapping them all, they're also searching.

He is a family friend named Adam Mayes. Those bodies were found in a shallow grave at his home. CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Atlanta with the details.

So take me a little further into this because I know they're not telling us all the details, but what are they telling us about how this mystery is unfolding?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Ashleigh.

This is one of the stories that you hope viewers pay close attention to. The lives of two young girls may literally hang in the balance as a result of what the audience may know.

Let's it back to April 27th, that's when Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters vanished. Their disappearance reported by her husband. Now, initially, it appears that investigators thought she might have run off with another man, that man being Adam Mayes.

However, a couple of things began to develop, they found her vehicle abandoned at the side of a dirt road, not good. They interviewed Adam Mayes. He gave police some rather conflicting information. They wanted to interview him again and Adam Mayes had vanished like the mother and three daughters.

They went to his property in Mississippi and began searching there and it was over the weekend. They made the discovery of the shallow graves. It wasn't until last night that federal authorities released the identity of who was in those graves, 31-year-old Jo Ann Bain and her oldest daughter.

Which means there is a 12-year-old and 8-year-old believed to still be in the custody of Adam Mayes and they are thought to be in extreme danger, there is a major manhunt under way in western Tennessee with federal heavily armed agents, as well as local authorities, stopping cars, manning checkpoints, trying to find the man and these two young girls.

So, that's where it stands right now, Ashleigh.

BANFILED: So, Martin, if they give us conflicting reports about this man Adam Mayes and the Bain family, saying they were family friends and yet he's extremely dangerous. Are they giving us further details about what kind of a relationship he had with this family?

SAVIDGE: It's not coming from authorities. The information we're getting is coming from neighbors and people who knew the family.

And it's clear Adam Mayes was a close family friend of the Bain's for years. In fact, he was in the Bain's family home the night before the mother and daughters disappeared. Apparently, helping them pack for what was intended to be a move to Arizona.

The aunt of Jo Ann Bain was on HLN last night. She talked about what may have happened next. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEVERLY GOODMAN, JO ANN BAIN'S AUNT (via telephone): The only thing I can come up with is that Adam had a gun. He always had a gun on him, and I think he went in and got one of the children, one of the girls, and held a gun to the girl's head and woke Jo Ann up and told her to come on or he would kill them, and not make a sound, not wake anybody up, and they would just all leave together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Take a good look at Adam Mayes there. It's possible he has altered his appearance.

Authorities certainly believe the children's appearance has already been changed, that their hair has been cut shot and that possibly may have been colored all as part of a way to keep them under his control.

But again, we're talking about a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old little girl, their mother and older daughter has already been murdered. And police are fearful for their fates as well.

BANFIELD: It's a horrible story.

Martin, thank you for getting the details for us this morning -- Martin Savidge live in Atlanta.

SAMBOLIN: It is 17 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up-to-date on other top stories.

Here is Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, ladies.

New details this morning about how the CIA stopped an al Qaeda plot to blow up a passenger jet bound for the U.S. A senior administration official telling CNN that the intended user of the bomb is, quote, "not a threat anymore," but would not elaborate on whether the person is dead or in custody.

The FBI now studying this sophisticated metal-free device -- a detective that may have been undetectable at airports.

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, releasing surveillance video that shows a woman being confronted at knifepoint while her 4- year-old daughter is there with her. But check this out - after refusing to give up her purse, the woman runs away, leaving the daughter there. Luckily, the young girl was able to get away, too.

The mother was stabbed in the collarbone trying to get into a store. She's OK. The attacker got away.

A roofer rescued after falling 40 feet into a vat of acid thanks to a co-worker who jumped into the acid after him. Fire officials say the man fell through the roof of a metal tube-making factory in New Jersey. Co-worker jumped into the waist-deep tank of acid, pulled him out with the help of three other workers. Apparently, steam from the acid had eaten away the roof.

The victim was air-lifted to the hospital with life-threatening burns and the hero also suffered severe burns to his waist and abdomen.

The reward keeps growing for at rest and conviction of whoever slaughtered a rare white buffalo calf in Texas, just a week before its first birthday. The white buffalo calf is revered by many Native Americans. The owner says someone came to his ranch last week while he was away and skinned the calf and its mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO LCIP)

ARBY LITTLE SOLDIER, RANCH OWNER: My people, my brothers, my sisters, are hurt for what has happened here on this ranch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There's now a $45,000 reward being offered for an arrest and conviction in this case. The odds of a buffalo being born white are 10 million to one.

McDonald's is asking bloggers to write positive posts about the chain. The company has reportedly thrown parties and given free gifts to about 400 McDonald's friendly bloggers. Reportedly flew 15 bloggers to its Illinois headquarters last year, putting them in a fancy Chicago hotel, giving them a tour of the facilities. Last year, the company compensated so-called mommy bloggers for writing about its new wholesome choices program for happy meals.

All right. If you're living the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or on your mobile phone. But please not while driving. Just go to CNN.com/TV -- ladies.

BANFILED: Or not while not walking near manholes.

ROMANS: Or you'll be on the show the next day.

BANFIELD: The fountains in the mall, remember the woman -- oh, yes, don't be doing that.

Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: But watch.

BANFIELD: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: It's 20 minutes past the hour here.

This is a head scratcher -- talk about the long arm of the law. A Wisconsin woman was just fired from her job because she shoplifted -- you understand that, right -- but it was 40 years ago. Yolanda Quesada has been a model employee to the Wells Fargo Bank in Milwaukee for the last five years. But after a background check revealed two shoplifting convictions in 1972, the 58-year-old was shown the door.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOLANDA QUESADA, FIRED FOR 1972 SHOPLIFTING CONVICTION: I think there's more important things in life than something I did 40 years ago. I did do the crime, and you know, I was, I had just come out of high school. Maybe the banks will change the way they do these things and give people consideration for their life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Wells Fargo says they're bound by federal law to let Yolanda go.

Yolanda says she wants her job back.

BANFIELD: That is a tough one. I mean the law is the law, and that is a heartbreaking story to see a woman like that.

It is now 21 minutes past 6:00.

Members of Congress are the defenders of the middle class, right? And many of them are also part of the richest 1 percent. Are you wondering who? Are you wondering how many?

Christine Romans is going to break down those numbers for you, after a very quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Twenty-five minutes past 6:00 in the a.m. on the East Coast. We're minding your business this morning.

A bit of a choppy day of trading to start of the week yesterday. The U.S. markets managing to recover those losses, though, that they were suffering early in the day.

SAMBOLIN: You see the top hat on the right-hand side corner? I'm watching now.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Top of the morning.

SAMBOLIN: The Dow closed lower, though, losing about a quarter of a percent. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 closing flat.

BANFIELD: Could have been worse.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Right. This morning's stock futures are down, ahead of the opening bell. But we're going to talk about other stuff.

I think this is going to end up being my favorite Christine Romans moment.

ROMANS: The 1 percent.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: We think about Congress as sort of the people, and when the people are talking about the 99 percent versus the 1 percent. It's surprising how many of them are one percenters.

ROMANS: Well, this is an amazing story on CNN Money and I'm going to tweet it out to you, folks.

But it's about the 1 percent in Washington. Do you know what the median net worth is of those Democratic lawmakers who are out there talking about fairness and sticking it to the rich people? The median net worth of those people is $878,500.

Republicans, though, have a little more money. They, on average, median net worth of Republicans in Congress, $957,500. And the rest of us is about $96,000.

In case you're wondering, the president's net worth is about $7.3 million. He's had a lot of money from book deals.

You want to know who the richest of the rich are?

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

ROMANS: OK, Jared Polis, $143 million. He is an Internet company start-up guru out of Colorado. John Kerry, $231 million. He's married to a Heinz heiress. Senator Bob Corker $59 million. And Representative Darrell Issa from California, he is the car alarm king, $448 million.

When you look at a lot in Congress, some had married wealth, some of them had inherited wealth, some of them had married people whose families created wealth through companies, some have started their own companies and are serial entrepreneurs.

But there's no question the people talking about the 1 percent versus the 99 percent fairness, taxes, income and equality -- these people ain't like you and me, folks.

BANFIELD: That's really amazing.

ROMANS: I'm going to tweet. It's really good CNN Money story.

BANFIELD: However, listen, for anybody throwing peanuts at the TV, isn't this the American dream? Is this what we're all striving for, to do well?

ROMANS: We've always chosen our lawmakers from wealth. I mean, you go back in time and I'm not a congressional historian. There are Rockefellers in there. There's always been a lot of --

SAMBOLIN: Yes, but when you're talking about the 1 percent, dogging them and all that.

ROMANS: It's keeping them honest thing. Know who they are, when you listen to them, just remember, you know, they're --

BANFIELD: But don't indict them.

ROMANS: They have no trouble paying the mortgage and might not have a mortgage.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine.

BANFIELD: If you're going to run for Congress, you're probably going to have to afford it, you probably have to make some money somewhere.

I applaud you. I applaud you folks on Capitol Hill. I just want you to get along for heaven's sake.

That's all I want. I don't care what your bank accounts make.

Twenty-eight minutes past 6:00 in the morning.

Ahead on EARLY START: a CNN exclusive, our Jill Dougherty on it. Check it out, she's got the exclusive, a sit-down with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We're going to take you live to New Delhi, India, for that info.

You're watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Nice to have you here with us.

Here's what's happening at half past the hour:

The FBI now analyzing a new bomb from al Qaeda after the CIA stopped a plot to blow up a passenger jet that was bound for the United States. New this hour, a source is telling CNN that it was the Saudis who provided the tip.

The device is similar to the one that the underwear bomber tried to ignite on Christmas Day of 2009. Officials say it also came from the same al Qaeda lab where that cheap bomber who's still on the loose was operating.

The Yemenis are apparently very upset reportedly that the Americans did not share information with them.

Also this morning, an FB I manhunt continues for Adam Mayes. He is suspected of kidnapping a Tennessee mother and three daughters. Authorities are confirming that the bodies of the mother and one of the daughters were found in the backyard of his Mississippi home in shallow graves. They say that Mayes is considered armed and dangerous.

Also making news, North Carolina voters heading to the polls today to decide whether they're in favor of a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage. It's called Amendment One and it would change the language to say marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that will be valid or recognized -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

It is 33 minutes past the hour.

It could be the end of the road for America's longest serving Republican senator. After 36 years in office, Dick Lugar has been to today's Republican primary as a prohibitive underdog, trailing his Tea Party-backed challenger, state treasurer Richard Mourdock by double digits.

Take a look at the ad that the Mourdock camp is running against the moderate Lugar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Since 1996, Dick Lugar has voted for the Brady bill, the bridge to nowhere, the DREAM Act, the TARP bailout, Sonya Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, raising the debt ceiling.

Dick Lugar, no wonder he's called Obama's favorite Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Boy, he's taking a lot of political hit.

CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser, is joining us now live from Washington, D.C.

We talked about those latest polls. It was an independent bipartisan poll. It was conducted last week. Ten-point lead is what they're saying Mourdock has.

Can Lugar somehow pull this off?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It's going to be extremely tough. Remember, there's going to be low turnout in today's primaries of the presidential race on Republican side is over. So, no, it does not look very good. You mentioned the poll.

Take a look at this. And it is from DePauw University and you can see right there, the 10 points that Mourdock is up. Now, look how it was in early March, you saw Lugar with a slight advantage but not a lot and the turnaround since them.

You know, Zoraida, I've been talking to local Tea Party groups in Indiana for over two years now. They've been targeting Lugar since before the 2010 midterm elections. They have a lot of problems with him and his stances on the issues. They feel he's way too moderate for Indiana.

And also, the thing that's hurt him also as well in the last couple of weeks has been the residency, that he doesn't own a home in Indiana anymore. That he owns home here in Washington, D.C., area. So, it looks like it could be the end of the line for Dick Lugar who is somebody known as reaching across the aisle to work with the other side, especially on foreign policy achievements.

Take a look at this, though. If Lugar does lose, he won't be the only moderate who is leaving the Senate. There are a bunch of others that are retiring, including Olympia Snowe of Maine, the independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson, Democrats from North Dakota and Nebraska.

So, a lot of these senators who are able to reach across the aisle, work with the other side to get things done will not be there most likely next year.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, exactly what President Obama had wanted.

Al right. We're going to talk about a big endorsement for Romney last night. You're calling it a big endorsement. I'm calling it a little underwhelming. Tell us about it.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, because it came out around 11:00 last night from former Senator Rick Santorum. Of course, remember, he suspended his campaign for the GOP nomination back in April. He met with Mitt Romney last Friday, remember that 90-minute meeting in the Pittsburgh area.

So, he sends out this e-mail to supporters last night. You got to go 13 graphs down to see this, and it says, "Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious.

Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this most critical election of our lifetime."

There you go. You had to really read through the fine print to find that.

Two other things, though, Zoraida. He said that he's urging Governor Romney to put more conservatives on his staff and on his team. And he always says he's going to keep lines of communication open, but there was nothing in that email about the two men campaigning together. We'll see what happens.

SAMBOLIN: That was my question to you, do you think that will happen?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, it might. But, you know, remember , there is a lot of bad blood going back to the primary. Romney wanted his endorsement. Why? Because a lot of social conservatives, a lot of Tea Party supporters backed Santorum and not Romney in the primaries.

Romney wants to get his house in order as he takes on President Obama in the general, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: The question is, will it work? Thank you so much, Mr. Paul Steinhauser. We appreciate it.

BANFIELD: Thirty-seven minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

And coming up on EARLY START: a CNN exclusive, our Jill Dougherty sitting down wit Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, obviously after she sat down with that gentleman. She's going to join us live to tell us all about what the secretary said to her.

First, let's get a quick check of your travel forecast.

Rob Marciano is doing the job for us. Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, again, guys.

A slow moving system across the eastern third of the country and some heavy rain with that. Flood watches and flash flood warnings out for southeastern Ohio and western parts of western Virginia, including Charleston. Here's the rain plume. Most of it is north and west of the I-95 corridor. So, temperatures will be inching up tonight and tomorrow is when the rain will push farther to the east.

Texas, you're seeing some rain, some beneficial, some of it causing localized flooding. The slow-moving system will get out of this warm, humid air mess. It feels like June, doesn't it? We're getting some more May stuff behind this thing, with temperatures and humidity levels a little bit lower, 69 for the high in Chicago, 67 degrees in New York City.

You're up-to-date weather-wise. EARLY START is coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It's 41 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is wrapping up her visit to India this morning. She's coming down hard on Pakistan for what she says is not doing enough to combat terrorism.

She's also discussing China and the activist Chen Guangcheng in a wide ranging exclusive interview, a sit-down interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty, who is live now from New Delhi, India, where she's been following the secretary of state.

It's great to have you on to talk about your sit-down. And there are just so many topics. But, very first, we already heard from her in a public news conference on the bomb-making plot, you know, coming out of Yemen.

But I wanted to ask you first off the bat, Jill, about her private comments to you regarding this Chinese activist and the situation that America and China found themselves in over this one guy.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Right, and you know it really was quite dramatic, because the beginning of this trip, which lasted for about a week was in Beijing. Secretary Clinton was there just as Mr. Chen a few days after he had arrived and of course, all of the diplomatic drama happened while she was there.

So, when I asked her whether or not China will follow through on its promise, it was a very nuanced but important sound, so let's listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that we're looking forward to welcoming him to the United States. He is still in the hospital, receiving medical treatment, some of which was recommended by the embassy doctors who examined him.

We remain in close contact with him. We know that Chinese officials have visited him in the hospital in order to begin processing necessary papers, and we're doing the same in order to prepare the way so that he can come here and pursue his studies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: And one of the other issues, of course, is that there is a smear campaign against Chen right now, and also some of his friends and relatives are being arrested, some of them have been beaten, and I asked the secretary about that.

She said that things like that are being raised, but again, very careful in saying only that we are looking forward to welcoming him in the United States.

So, you can read into that I think Ashleigh that the United States wants to make sure he actually gets out, obviously, before saying anything much stronger.

BANFIELD: And touch on me, if you will, Jill, about the secretary's stance on Pakistan. She had very hard words for Pakistan in terms of what they're doing to help combat the war on terror.

DOUGHERTY: She did. You know, it's a constant issue in relations between the United States and Pakistan. Is Pakistan doing enough to fight terrorism? We've had the issue of the drones, et cetera.

So she was pretty straight ahead that Pakistan does have to do more so that Pakistanis themselves, as she put it, can go to their mosque, can go to the market and not have to face wrath of terrorists.

BANFIELD: All right. Jill Dougherty, thanks very much for joining us.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It is 48 minutes now past the hour. Let's get you up to date on the top stories of the day. Christine Romans is following it all for us. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Ashleigh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): Signs that al Qaeda is adjusting in a foiled plot to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger jet. New this hour, a source says the Saudis provided the tip. The FBI now analyzing the bomb, the device similar to the one the underwear bomber tried to ignite on Christmas Day 2009.

Only this one, more sophisticated, possibly undetectable. No metal in this bomb. Officials say it also came from the lab of al Qaeda's chief bomb maker who is still on the loose, training other bomb makers and making new bombs.

A former speech writer for John Edwards is expected to testify later today in the former senator's corruption trial. Wendy Button is expected to tell the court Edwards admitted knowing about nearly $1 million in donations from wealthy supporters was being used to cover up his extramarital affair.

Two people are now in custody this morning in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for allegedly driving a car with four children strapped to the hood. Police arrested a man for driving, while intoxicated a woman was taken in for questioning. They say none of the four kids, age four to seven, appear to be injured.

And a set of rare prints from Marilyn Monroe's last sitting will be auctioned off today. Monroe posed topless for her final photo shoot. The pictures were originally taken for "Vogue" in 1962, just six weeks before Marilyn Monroe's death.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (on-camera): And today's best advice comes from long time women's activist and author, Gloria Steinhem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLORIA STEINHEM, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR: I think the best advice is that we don't know which thing we do matters, so, the art form is to behave as if everything matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Everyday, we're going to give you a little nugget, take it or leave it, when you go to work, but best advice today from Gloria Steinhem -- Ashleigh and Zoraida.

BANFIELD: Thank you. Can you tell me your grandmother's again?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: You have one mouth and two ears. Respond appropriately.

BANFIELD: I love your grandmother. Thank you, Christine Romans. Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look at what's coming up on "STARTING POINT." Busy day.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, STARTING POINT: Yes, yes. Yes. We're going to be learning a little bit more about how the CIA was able to stop that terrorist plot to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. Saudi intelligence providing that tip. We're going to talk about it this morning with Congressman Peter King. Also, CNN national security contributor, Fran Townsend, will join us as well.

Also, we'll talk to the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, you might remember. He was the driving force behind the so-called ground zero mosque. We'll get his very latest take on this terror threat.

And today could mark the end of a 36-year career, six-term senator, Dick Lugar of Indiana, is trailing in the polls in today's Republican primary against a Tea Party backed challenger. He's going to join us live to talk about what he thinks the future holds for him. Could it be victory? And what the future holds for moderate Republican?

And, the air force standing behind their most expensive jet, the F-22 raptor, even though some pilots say it's not safe to fly. We'll tell you what's happening there.

If you're headed to work, you can follow us on our live blog at CNN.com/StartingPoint. We'll see you right at the top of the hour. Back to you guys.

BANFIELD: All right. So, if you want to -- thank you, by the way. I'll be watching, trust me.

If you want to snag a first class seat on a plane or a better hotel room, nicer car rental, don't want to pay top dollar, these are the kinds of tips we need in our lives, aren't they? Here's something that might give you the inside track, is it "Road Warriors" or is -- "Road Warriors." Here you go. Take it away.

ROMANS: All right. "Road Warriors," that's me. First off, "Road Warriors," be a member. BudgetTravel.com recommends signing up for loyalty programs and hotel and airline credit cards, take some minute, and it's usually free. Plus, you earn points when you spend. And even if you don't have a lot of mileage, just having that proof of loyalty may give you an advantage and some discounts.

The second tip, book hotels directly. Joel Widzer (ph), author of the "The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel," says you might get a better room that way. Plus, if you see a better price on a third party website, call the hotel and ask if they can match it.

Third tip, look at eBay. BudgetTravel.com says you can buy or bid on the site for hotel and travel upgrade vouchers often for a much lower price tag when the upgrade itself, but make sure to check terms and conditions before you buy. Those are our "Road Warriors" tips. Ashleigh and Zoraida, back to you guys.

BANFIELD: All right. Christine, thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-two minutes past the hour. Up next, the Pentagon snubs "The Avengers?" Why the military refused to work with the makers of the blockbuster comic movie?

BANFIELD: And if you're just heading out the door right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop, your mobile phone, or you can just go to CNN.com/tv and you can be all wireless and still up-to- date, just don't drive --

SAMBOLIN: Walk.

BANFIELD: -- or walk.

SAMBOLIN: But watch.

BANFIELD: Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It is (INAUDIBLE) past the hour. Time to look at what's trending on the web.

So, normally, the Pentagon is eager to help Hollywood produce blockbuster movies. Maybe eager, we're not sure. But the mega box office hit, "The Avengers" had no military backup. The Pentagon says it stopped cooperating, so apparently, they were cooperating early on, with Marvel Studios during the production because of the film's unrealistic portrayal of military bureaucracy.

Specifically, their issue was "The Avengers" fictional international organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. and its murky relationship with the United States. That's what they're saying.

BANFIELD: And here's one for you from Senator McCain. He's putting out the challenge to Sir Charles and he's doing it with the Twitter. McCain is firing back at Charles Barkley, because Barkley was talking trash about the 2012 election. It all went down when TNT showed this picture of Mitt Romney taken in the ballgame.

He was in the stands in Boston at the Celtics/Hawks playoff game on Sunday night and listen to what Barkley said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He's at the game in Boston tonight. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to beat you like a drum in November. Don't take it personally. You seem like a nice guy. You're going down, bro.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: He said you're going down, bro. You seem like a nice guy. Man! All right. Well, McCain has something to say. He tweeted a litter later on, and I will read for you. Ready? "Dear Charles Barkley --

SAMBOLIN: I like that he said dear.

BANFIELD: Yes. "Don't take it personally. You seem like a nice guy, but you're clueless,@mittromney wins. Wanna bet?" So, we'll see if the Twitter war is on between those two.

SAMBOLIN: And put a mortar board on the mop top. Legions of Twitter tweens congratulating Justin Bieber this morning after he announced that he is now officially earned his high school diploma.

He says he stuck to it for mom, even though it was doing school and work every day, you know, coming up with deep lyrics like "baby, baby, baby, oh" on top of all the reading, writing, and arithmetic, but congratulations. He's celebrating and everybody celebrating with him.

BANFIELD: Said there's about $10 million for each one of those baby.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: Baby, baby, baby. Just keep saying it over and over, and the money keeps rolling in. So, good on you there, Biebs. Nice work and congratulations. Good news.

Hey, thanks for being with us throughout the day. That's EARLY START, the news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN starts right now.