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FBI Investigates Two Air Scares; Gun Parts Found Inside Stuffed Animals; FBI Investigates Two Air Scares; Obama Still "Evolving" on Same Sex Marriage; HIV Drug May Prevent Infection

Aired May 9, 2012 - 05:59   ET


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

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you're with us this morning. We are bringing you the news from "A" to "Z." Six a.m. on the east. Here's a look get started for you.

BANFIELD: And why don't we start with this one? It's a big one. Up first, the longest serving Republican in the United States Senate, probably out looking for another job this morning. He is Indiana's Richard Lugar. You recognize him. He was sent straight into retirement after losing a Republican primary battle last night against a backer of the Tea Party.

Lugar served six terms in the Senate. And if you do the math, that is 36 years.

CNN's political editor, Paul Steinhauser, is live in Washington this morning. Paul, this is one that everyone was watching. It's not like it wasn't expected. Polls going in show that he was in big, big trouble, but does it speak bigger volumes about where this electorate is at right now?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, especially the Republican electorate. You know, this Republican Party has definitely become more conservative over the last couple of years, and this is a sign of it. And Richard Lugar, I guess, didn't change with the times.

Listen, Tea Party groups in Indiana, local Tea Party groups, have been targeting him for about two years now, and they got a lot of support over the last year or two from some of the larger national Tea Party groups. They were upset with Lugar, with his votes in support of the auto bailouts, his support of the Wall Street bailouts, and support of the President Obama's Supreme Court justices.

But it wasn't just about the Tea Party movement. Listen, 36 years, as you said, that is a very long time. A lot of people in Indiana said, you know, it is time for somebody new. And the residents he didn't help either. He hasn't owned a home in Indiana in many, many years. He lives here in the D.C. area. Take a listen to what he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DICK LUGAR, (R) INDIANA: We are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right now. These divisions have stalemated progress in critical areas. But these divisions are not insurmountable. And I believe that people of goodwill, regard as a party, can work together for the benefit of our country.


STEINHAUSER: (INAUDIBLE). He is not the only moderate Republican who will not be in the Senate next year. It's going to be a very different Senate. Olympia Snowe of Maine, Joe Lieberman, the independent senator from Connecticut, and two moderate Democratic senators, Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson, all deciding not to run for re- election.

So, the partisan Senate could be even more partisan next year. Here's what "USA Today" says about this, an interesting editorial this morning. "At a time when power is divided between the parties, solving problems requires workhorse lawmakers willing to reach across the aisle. Lugar lost of tracks further from that dwindling band and sends a troubling message that consensus building will be punished."

A good point and more troubling, as you can say, ahead in a more partisan Senate next year -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Paul, bipartisanship now just sounds like a bad word.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, for those on the right and the left, it is. And remember, in the primaries, those on the right and the left dominated. It's only in the general elections where the people in the middle, really, can make the point.

BANFIELD: Let me switch gears a little bit and actually not that much because it looks like, again, a real intractable message in North Carolina. A ban, a constitutional ban passed in North Carolina. That's North Carolina. The rest of the country feels a little differently if the polls have any indication, but what does this mean going into November?

STEINHAUSER: It's very fascinating story. You're right, amendment one which changes the constitution of North Carolina to define the marriage as between a man and woman, but it has wider range of implications. Civil unions, domestic partnerships in North Carolina also now illegal with this new amendment which passed overwhelmingly by more than 20 points.

But you're right, nationally, gave same-sex marriage a slight majority do appear in most polls to support same-sex marriage. It puts President Obama in a bind, of course. We saw what Vice President Biden said the other day in support of same-sex marriage. The president has not gone that far. He supports civil unions, but he says he's evolving on the issue.

And remember, North Carolina, important battleground state. President Obama won it four years ago. It is going to be tough for him to win it again. And this is a barometer, I guess, you can say, this vote that it's going to be even tougher for the president to win North Carolina -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Well, it'll be fascinating to see how the message is shaped leading up to November. Paul Steinhauser, good to see you. Thanks for getting up this morning.


SAMBOLIN: It is three minutes past the hour.

The FBI investigating two different air scares this morning to find out if they're actually linked. Both were Southwest Airlines flights from John Wayne Airport in California to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. The FBI says one of the flights was searched in California before takeoff.

Officials cleared everyone off the plane and brought in the bomb squad and bomb-sniffing dogs. Another flight was searched in Phoenix after it landed. Both planes were eventually given the all-clear.

BANFIELD: Drones, an undercover agent, an undetectable underwear bomb, and the Saudis to put it all together. And it's a search that's far from over. It is a thrilling story of a busted terror plot and is still unfolding this morning.

Our Fran Townsend, a former Homeland Security official, has now confirmed that the would-be bomber in a thwarted plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner was actually an undercover agent working with Saudi Arabia and who infiltrated al Qaeda. The device that they were going to use was similar to the one that was used by the so-called underwear bomber back in 2009, but this one was more sophisticated.

Over the weekend, the U.S. drone strike in Yemen took out a key leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, Fahd al Quso, believed to be involved in the planning of the attack. But the terror group, expert bomb maker is still out there on the loose.

Congressman Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told Anderson Cooper that all of these leaks that were coming out in the press could actually jeopardize the search for that man.


REP. PETER KING, CHAIRMAN (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I've been briefed on this. And as far as I know, this has not been in any way declassified by the CIA, by the administration, and it's really, to me, unfortunate that this has gotten out because this could really interfere with operations overseas.


BANFIELD: Well, that brand new al Qaeda bomb is now safely in the hands of the FBI investigators at the lab in Quantico, Virginia. That's where the analysis will take place.

SAMBOLIN: And quite a surprise for airport screeners in Warwick, Rhode Island. Parts for a 40-caliber handgun were found inside three stuffed animals in a carry-on bag. A father traveling with his four- year-old son said he had no idea the gun components and ammunition were inside the toys.

Police investigating the incident say it appears to be the result of a domestic dispute, but they gave no further details.

BANFIELD: The hunt continues this morning to arrest a kidnapping suspect and also to try to save these two young girls, 12-year-old Alexandra and eight-year-old Kalia Bane (ph). Authorities released surveillance video of the suspect, Adam Mayes, just days after they say he abducted Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters.

Sadly, the mother and the oldest daughter were found dead in the suspect's backyard in Mississippi. Police have now arrested Mayes' mother, they've arrested his ex-wife, and they're accusing both of those women of helping in the aggravated kidnapping. The suspect's former sister-in-law spoke exclusively to Anderson Cooper last night.


COOPER: If Adam is guilty of these crimes, do you have any idea why he'd do this?

BOBBI BOOTH, SISTER OF TERESA MAYES: No. I don't. I've known Adam for at least 25 years. And he's always been weird and unusual. And when I say weird, like listens to different types of music. He's just a different type of person altogether, the whole family is. But I never dreamed he would do something like this.


BANFIELD: The FBI is now offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to Mayes and leading to those two girls.

SAMBOLIN: Joran Van Der Sloot intends to fight efforts to extradite him from Peru to the United States. Right now, he's serving a 28-year sentence for killing a Lima woman he met in a casino. He is charged with extortion and wire fraud in the United States in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teenager, Natalee Holloway.

BANFIELD: Hey, better log on and check out your Twitter this morning just to make sure that you, in fact, are still in control of your own account, because hackers claim that they broke into 55,000 Twitter accounts and posted the passwords online earlier this week. Twitter confirmed the hack attack, said it's taking action, but also suggested that this wasn't as big deal as the hackers are making it out to be.

Pointing out that half of the accounts that were stolen were just plain old spam or they were already suspended accounts, and that only a tiny percentage of the site's 140 million active users were affected. However, best advice as always when this kind of thing happen, change your password just to be safe. SAMBOLIN: Eight minutes past the hour. Flames getting dangerously close to homes in L.A. County. People told to get out with less than half of a huge wildfire under control.

BANFIELD: And they wanted a memory that would last a lifetime, and boy, did they get it. Take a look. Group of teenagers all dolled up for the prom, lining up on a Rickety Pier (ph) for a photo. I think you know where I'm going with this, but you will see what happens next in just a moment.


BANFIELD: It is 11 minutes now past the hour. Let's get you up to date on the top stories. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning again, ladies.


ROMANS (voice-over): North Carolina is amending its constitution becoming the 30th state to ban same-sex marriage. Amendment one passing easily last night with 61 percent of the vote. The state's constitution will now read, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.

Mitt Romney's inching closer to Republican nomination, sweeping primaries last night in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia. He now has more than 900 delegates with 1,144 needed to clinch, of course. Romney capturing Indiana with 65 percent of the vote, West Virginia with 70 percent of the vote, and North Carolina with 66 percent of the vote.

A wall of fire now threatening homes in Los Angeles County. Dozens of people in the Acton Area forced to leave their homes. Fire officials working through the night to get to the hot spots. So far, more than 120 acres have burned. Crews have now contained about 40 percent of this blaze, and so far, thankfully, no injuries reported.

The Food and Drug Administration taking steps to protect kids from excessive radiation in common medical tests. New guidelines would require scanner devices to be designed with at least four child settings from newborn to age 12. The use of CT scans and other medical imaging has, of course, soared in recent years.

And a night to remember for Texas Rangers slugger, Josh Hamilton. He belted four home runs, all of them two-run shots against the Baltimore Orioles. Hamilton is just the 16th player in major league history to do this, the first since 2003. Hamilton went five for five with a career-high eight runs batted in. His 18 total bases is an American league record.


ROMANS (on-camera): Congratulations.

And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or on your mobile phone, just go to -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Christine.

All right. So, let's get a quick check on today's weather. We've got a bit of a soggy start to the day, Rob. How's the rest of the country?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the east coast is pretty much all wet, all showers all day. Good morning, Zoraida. I want to start you off with what we talked about last hour, which was the last 12 months. It's been the warmest on record for the lower 48. In April -- January to April, the warmest start that we've seen, so far. So, that's no joke about that. As far as the rest of the country is concerned, another tidbit for you is that we have the second hottest summer, you may remember that.

And the fourth warmest winter, and, well, the past couple of weeks really or at least the last week has been kind of a gloomy start to May for folks in Boston back through New York and Philadelphia, and you're kind of seeing that right now. Slow-moving front pushing across the east coast and Atlanta back through Jackson.

Also, the southern half of this thing is moving even slower. A little wave will develop along, and so, the threat for severe weather, the Delmarva back through the Gulf Coast later on this afternoon. Temperatures will be cooler behind the front. Fifty-six degrees in Chicago, 80 degrees in Memphis, 71 and little bit soggy in New York City.

And I want to keep you up to speed what's going on. The sun -- we've got a big sun spot that is rotating around and about to face earth. And this thing could -- hasn't yet, could release the CME that could result in some action here as far as geomagnetic storms. We'll let you know when that happens.

When a big old black blob gets pointed this direction, we get nervous. I want to give you a heads up.

BANFIELD: The sun spots look like a black blob. When you see those pictures of them, they look awesome.

MARCIANO: Yes. It is awesome.

BANFIELD: Yes. All right. Rob, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

It's 15 minutes now past 6:00.

And there's a brand new study that reveals we're all a bunch of big old narcissists.

Harvard scientists found volunteers who were apparently willing to give up free money to talk about themselves, instead of answering questions about other people. So that study might be shedding some lights on why sites like Twitter and Facebook are so incredibly popular, where we just brag and brag and brag and show our best kid pictures and all the rest. Forty percent of our speech apparently is devoted to telling other people what we think or what we feel.

And brain scans apparently show that talking about ourselves triggers the same sensation of pleasure, as do food, money, or sex. Just talk about yourself and you'll be set for the day.

SAMBOLIN: Just learned something today.


SAMBOLIN: Sixteen minutes past the hour. So you spend the entire day getting ready for the prom night, like the hair, the make- up, the mani, the pedi, the whole thing, and this happens.

A group of friends decided to take pictures of before the prom on a pier. And you guessed it -- they plunged into the lake after it collapsed. The soaked kids used so many hair dryers in a house simultaneously they blew a breaker. They did make it to the dance we're happy to report.

And look at that -- and the only guy who grabbed his date and saved her from taking the plunge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just grabbed her and managed to keep my feet on the beams without falling through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like a half hour of blow drying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had tuxedos in the dryers. We had prom dresses in the dryers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the memories.

BANIFIELD: And the hair.


SAMBOLIN: You know what, Christine Romans was on the sidelines and she said do you know how much money went into that lake?


BANFIELD: Look at the looks on these faces. The poor girls, they really take the time, like the hair, the make up, the dress. And those dresses are hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

SAMBOLIN: Well, those tuxes also. You know, they don't do well with water.

BANFIELD: No, I'll tell you what.


BANFIELD: Here's the deal, the upside is you are famous. You're on national TV. What other prom group gets their picture on national TV. There's that, I don't know.

So, here's something that's probably going to maybe not shock you, maybe it will: the fattening of America. There is a brand new study on how the entire economy of this country is geared towards making us and keeping us fat.

SAMBOLIN: And for an expanded look at all our top stories, head to our blog,


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 21 minutes past the hour.

It may look like an ordinary soccer ball, but it generates energy while you're playing with it. Two Harvard grads harnessed the power of play in today's tech-novations.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Kick a soccer ball around, turn on a light.

JULIA SILVERMAN, UNCHARTERED PLAY CO-FOUNDER: The socket is a soccer ball that doubles as a portable generator. When you play with the ball, it actually harnesses the energy from play.

SAMBOLIN: Created by two Harvard grads, the socket provides a power source for people in developing countries. It's a simple design based on high school physics.

JESSICA O. MATTHEWS, UNCHARTERED PLAY, CO-FOUNDER: We essentially have a stripped down gyroscope inside of the ball that also harnesses the kinetic energy that generates while the ball's rolling.

A motor then powers a battery that stores that power. You can power a lamp, a cell phone charger. We've been prototyping things like hot plates, water sterilizers.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty minutes of play gives you about three hours of power depending on the device. The balls are being donated and distributed by NGOs in places like Mexico and South Africa.

SILVERMAN: It's an energy source, but it's also a source of empowerment. It's based on a sport that is so loved and grounded in the issue of energy which is so critical to everyone's lives.


BANFIELD: Such a great idea. Just awesome.

All right. So, we're minding your business this morning. And if you're feeling a little overweight out there and feeling like the whole world is against you and it's a struggle to get your weight under control, guess what? It may not be entirely your fault. And yes, you may be set up to fail.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans has more for us this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's true. I learned a new word this week obesogenic.

BANFIELD: Obesogenic?

ROMANS: This is what the Institute of Medicine is talking about when they talk about out society, our obesogenic society.

All of these different factors are lying around you to help make you fat. Now, will power has a role here, but there's a reason why will power alone doesn't work for some people and it might just be that in the entire society around us is geared toward making us consume more calories.

And this is what they found. The Institute of Medicine report found that we need to consider some really big changes, a lot of them together to try to fix and reverse obesity. How about farm policy that doesn't favor fruits and vegetables right now, but favors things like corn, wheat, and soybeans, things that go into processed foods that have more calories, right?

Consider make a tax on sugary beverages. Every time this has come up, Congress has not gone for it. They've gone with the lobbyists who say, no, don't tax out anymore.

We should fight obesity at school age, because here's why -- in 1977, a child age two to 18 consumed about 1,800 calories a day. By 2006, a child age 2 to 18 was consuming 2,000 calories a day. Only 4 percent of American elementary schools have phys ed.

Let me say that number again, 4 percent of American elementary schools have phys ed, and they're consuming too many calories in school.

So the Institute of Medicine coming out and saying in this exhaustive report, 500 pages almost, saying that our society is obesogenic. The economics of American society favors consuming more and cheap calories and that there are a lot of things we have to do -- sidewalks, for example. We don't have enough sidewalks to encourage people to walk.

BANFIELD: Too many escalators.

ROMANS: We don't focus on obesity in schools where it's cheaper to pay for it, we focus on it on the back end. CDC said yesterday, what, a half a trillion dollars more in health care costs conservatively because you're going to have up to 42 percent of Americans obese by the year 2030.

So, this isn't a lecture. This is a really fascinating look at a lot of different pieces that have to come together that society has to do the reverse.

BANFIELD: But then you get the critics who say, look, I don't want to live in a nanny state where you tell me I can't bring cupcakes to school. And that is an honest and understandable point of view when it comes to issue.

ROMANS: And that is the way Americans in general feel. Don't tell me what to eat. Don't tell my kid what to eat. You teach them reading, writing, arithmetic.

SAMBOLIN: Maybe --

ROMANS: It's your personal choice to go some place and get a blooming onion that's 1,100 calories, the government shouldn't be involved --

BANFIELD: Aren't they more than that?

ROMANS: Eleven hundred, I don't know.

BANFIELD: I was going to say they're 1,100, I'm out there right now. I think they're like 3,000 or something insane.

ROMANS: But it's really --

SAMBOLIN: I think you need to talk about the health, right? I think that's a really good way to tackle.

ROMANS: And we all pay for that. We pay for that higher insurance premiums., you pay higher Medicare costs. As society we pay that. A fifth of all medical spending right now is obesity-related.

BANFIELD: Yes. Diabetes and things.

ROMANS: Anyway, I'm going to tweet out this big report.

SAMBOLIN: I'd love that. I just love a copy of that. Thank you very much.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Christine. Good stuff. Very interesting.

It's 26 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

And up next, how North Carolina's new ban on same-sex marriage could wind up helping President Obama in the November election. Why, you ask? You'll find out in a moment.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Here's what's happening at just about half past the hour.

The FBI investigating two airline threats this morning. Possible bomb scares. Authorities searched two Southwest flights last night, one at John Wayne Airport in California, another after it landed in Phoenix. Both were given the all clear.

We have new information on the foiled plot to blow a U.S.-bound passenger jet out of the sky. Our Fran Townsend, a former homeland security official, confirming the would-be bomber was actually an undercover agent, working with Saudi Arabia who infiltrated al Qaeda.

And Twitter under attack. Hackers claiming they stole 55,000 accounts and posted them online. Twitter says they are looking into it, but close to half of the affected accounts are only spam or inactive. Nonetheless, you may want to change your password this morning -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Good advice. Thank you.

Thirty minutes now past 6:00.

And this morning, protesters in North Carolina are saying our fight for fairness is not over. This after North Carolina voters passed a strict amendment to their constitution that bans same-sex marriages.

It's called Amendment One and it also bans civil unions and domestic partnerships. And get this -- not just for gay couples, but straight couples in the states too.

Now, gay marriages were already illegal in this state, but now, it's officially in the Constitution. As the general election gears up towards November, a lot of Democrats are calling on President Obama to speak out in support of gay marriage. But so far, the president has been somewhat ambiguous. Take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions.

You know, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.

Everyone ought to be treated equally. And everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit.

As I see friends, families, you know, children of gay couples who are thriving, you know, that has an impact on how I think about these issues.


BANFIELD: Roland Martin is CNN contributor and also the host of "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

So, some folks, Roland, are saying the results in North Carolina, and it was overwhelming, by the way, I should say, 61 percent to 39 percent, in favor of banning a constitutional amendment -- banning same-sex marriage.

A lot of people saying this is a good thing for President Obama. Why?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Because you're looking at 12 competitive states. North Carolina, he won in 2008 by 14,000 votes, a huge turnout, and so it is still a swing state. He needs that state for his reelection efforts.

BANFIELD: But if you're ambiguous, don't you lose on both sides?

MARTIN: No, actually you don't. Because as a risk/reward in it. So, he's able to say look at my policies, look at what I've done against "don't ask, don't tell," look at defense of marriage act, look at all of these different issues, this is what I've done.

Sure, LGBT folks want him to go further, but he also has to recognize the hard core reality of politics. Look at Iowa, he wins Iowa in 2008. In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court says a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. In 2010, three of those justices thrown out of office. He's looking at Iowa also for 2012.

And so, hard-core politics -- that's what this is about. This is not about emotion, not about in terms of my moral perspective. It's not about any of those things.

BANFIELD: Oh, you and I could have a whole other debate on civil rights, right?:

MARTIN: No, the state president who was looking at it and saying, people say 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, but you can't ignore the 46 percent who doesn't. That's the battle right there.

BANFIELD: We actually just got some new polling out. It's not a lot different because you look at the margin of error, 3 percent.

MARTIN: Right.

BANFIELD: You've got 50 percent supporting the right to marry for gay people, given the right to marry and 48 percent not.

So within the 3 percent margin of error, that's a wash. It's happened. And when you have an ambiguous president taking it from his own liberal party that this is not -- and I want to read you something from "New York Times".

This is a fascinating comment in one of his commentaries. "If the debate is as black and white as many supporters of same sex marriage argue, then they should be much harder on political leaders who pretend that it's a gray area. Indeed, if you accept that framing of a debate, then you have to acknowledge that President Obama has spent the last four years lying to the American people about his convictions on the one defining civil rights issue of our time and giving aid and comfort to pure bigotry in the service of his other political priorities."

That coming from "The New York Times."

So he's being accused -- basically that the liberals are saying he's getting a pass. Getting a pass on his own party.

MARTIN: Here's the deal: that's what politicians do. Vice President Dick Cheney sat in the White House for eight years knowing full well he supported same-sex marriage because his daughter's a lesbian. He says nothing. President Clinton --

BANFIELD: Until, what, recently he came out and said I support that --


MARTIN: President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act while he was president. He knew exactly how he felt. But he saw the political reality.

Are the waves changing? Yes, they are.

But here's the other piece. This is really going to come down to a constitutional question where the courts have to decide, because you can't have a situation where in some states, courts are making decisions then voter referendums. That's what it's going to boil down to.

The California proposition, that's the one that is likely going to go to the Supreme Court. It really will determine this very issue. You can't necessarily have voters making the call because, again, it's end ballot. In some places, it's a judicial call. Other places, it's a voter call. It's an uneven issue.

BANFIELD: I want to make sure that folks who are watching you and me and our conversation, you and I are having a political discussion of strategies, we are not having a philosophical discussion --

MARTIN: No, it's political.


MARTIN: And that's actually why the president is saying what he said. Remember, when he was senator, he filled out a survey, he filled it out where he said he supported same-sex marriage.

In 2008 campaign, the campaign tried to say oh, a staffer filled it out because his position publicly changed when he ran for national office.

So I'm not shocked that a politician would change on the issue.

BANFIELD: Shocked, right? I love you say change, he says evolve. It'll be fun to see if there's any evolution if we get closer to November.

MARTIN: I think November.

BANFIELD: You are adorable for waking up early and coming in to talk with us this morning.

MARTIN: I know. So, you're going to have to hook a brother up with some breakfast.

BANFIELD: Is that how it works? I've got coffee.

MARTIN: I'm going to do coffee.

BANFIELD: Roland Martin, good to see you.

MARTIN: Likewise.

BANFIELD: Thank you for coming in this morning -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It is 36 minutes past the hour.

And happening right now, we have live pictures of Queen Elizabeth. She's formally opening the new legislative session of Britain's parliament.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: A draft bill will be published to reform the water industry in England and Wales. My government will bring forward measures to modernize the pension system and reform the state pension creating a simple and sustainable foundation for private saving. Legislation will be introduced to reform --

SAMBOLIN: The queen actually traveling by carriage this morning from Buckingham Palace for this event. Her agenda focusing on kick starting the struggling British economy.

I wonder if they retro fitted those with shock absorbers to make --

BANFIELD: They should have. And the commonwealth probably paid for it. (INAUDIBLE) the queen this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And this morning in Russia, parades everywhere marking victory day. The anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, 14,000 Russian troops marching across the granite paving stones in Red Square, honoring those who died in World War II, and the 4 million Russian veterans who fought in that war and are still living.

BANFIELD: It is now 37 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

Got a high-speed chase to show you this morning -- yes, does that look like a street? No. Does that look like a driving track? No.

It is what it looks like, a horse track. Why on earth is that pickup truck doing this? You'll find out.

SAMBOLIN: But first, a quick check of today's weather. Mr. Rob Marciano in Atlanta for us.

Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. If they're running that track at Belmont, a little bit muddy right now.

Got some rain across the East Coast from Boston back to Providence, then New York back through Philadelphia, Baltimore and D.C. This slow-moving front will kind of hang around through a lot of the day and the southern part of it is going even slower. So, Atlanta back through Memphis, heading down towards Mobile, as well. Some of this will be severe as it pushes off to the East. Behind it, it'll be drier, some places cooler. Hot out in the desert southwest.

Fifty-six degrees in Chicago for a high, 80 degrees in Memphis, 71 degrees in New York City, keep the umbrella handy.

That's quick check on weather. EARLY START coming right back.


SAMBOLIN: It is 42 minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up to date on your top stories. Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning, ladies.

The FBI investigating two airline threats this morning, possible bomb scares. Authorities search two Southwest flights last night. One at John Wayne Airport in California, another after it landed in Phoenix. Both were given the all clear.

A warning. You might find this video hard to watch. Graphic footage of a hit-and-run in Buffalo. The driver plows into a group of pedestrians, slamming a teenager so hard, he slips head over heels.

The driver keeps going. He is eventually charged with assault, reckless driving, and fleeing from an officer. The victim suffered multiple injuries but has since been released from the hospital.

A potential shake-up in the Sandusky sex abuse case centering around testimony from the key witness Mike McQueary. The former grad assistant told a grand jury he saw coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a child in the shower back in 2002. Prosecutors now say that incident happened in 2001 and Sandusky's attorneys say they want the related charge dropped.

Meantime, court documents reveal McQueary intends to file a lawsuit against Penn State based on whistle blower protection.

And down the stretch, he swerves. Police in hot pursuit of an alleged drunk driver on a horse racing track. Police say 28-year-old Martin McDonnell busted through the gate at Zia Park Casino in New Mexico, took his pickup on a joyride. Police set up a barricade after a few laps. They surrounded him. They say he passed out in the back of a police cruiser and later told them, you know, he thought it'd be cool to do a few laps, like a NASCAR driver.

A little bit of excitement outside a municipal building in Union, New Jersey. An 18-month-old black bear parking himself in the tree, took three tranquilizer darts to finally force him down, put him to sleep. The 186-pound bear was transported to a state park 35 miles away.

You can hear him snoring there, can't you?

And today's best advice take to work with you comes from Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. We asked him the best advice he ever received. This is what he said.


MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: I think to tell your authentic truth, you know, everyone is born an original, as Lincoln once said, but most die copies. We were born to be who we were born to be -- to be unique, to be authentic. And so, live up to your truth, to the best you possible. And that's one thing I try to do every single day is not to be a carbon copy of someone else, but to really boldly manifest my authentic self in everything that I did.


ROMANS: And there you. Take that to work with you, and think about it, ladies.

BANFIELD: That is awesome.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, "STARTING POINT": To boldly manifest my authentic self today.

ROMANS: Humbly.


SAMBOLIN: You do that every day.

O'BRIEN: Really? I was going to say I'm confused, I don't know what it means, but I'm going to boldly manifest my authentic self.


BANFIELD: If I want to throw a temper tantrum, I will boldly manifest that, because that is my --


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think the mayor was suggesting that --

BANFIELD: I think he was. (CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: I think he was. No, I think he was, actually. I said it before and I'll say it again. I think that man's going to be president. I really do. Cory Booker. Dead silence, but I do. I'll go on record right here.

O'BRIEN: It's a long haul to the next election --


BANFIELD: Soledad O'Brien, if you didn't already guess, here with a look ahead on what's going up on "STARTING POINT."

O'BRIEN: This morning, we're going to talk to Richard Mourdock. Of course, you know that he is the Tea Party backed state treasurer in Indiana, who just sent Senator Richard Lugar into retirement, has gotten a lot of national implications. We're going to talk about what it means to be a moderate Republican these days or maybe a moderate Democrat.

Also this morning, "Sister Wives." They started a new season, also have a new book out. The Brown family going to join us to talk about what's putting their polygamous lifestyle on TV has taught them and taught us, really.


O'BRIEN: So, interesting.

And Suzanne Somers is going to join our panel this morning. Got a new book called, it's "Bombshell." In the book, it promises explosive medical secrets that redefine aging, but I really want to talk to her about the thigh master.


O'BRIEN: Yes. Oh, come on. Raise your hands if you had a thigh master. Hello. Pete had a thigh master. Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Exactly. All that and much more ahead on "Starting Early." We're going to see you right at the top of the hour.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 49 minutes past the hour.

An HIV drug used for treatment could be used to prevent infection. Tomorrow, members of an FDA Advisory Committee will meet to talk about it. And here to tell us how this works is senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, I was reading through this, and I thought, my gosh, I hope people don't think this is going to give them a green light. Can you tell us about this pill? ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And Zoraida, many people hope that this won't give people a green light. Let me talk to you a little bit about this drug. As you said, it's been used to treat HIV, but then, they said, what would happen if we gave it to people who are kind of likely to get HIV before they get HIV to see if it prevents the illness?

And what they found is that when people took it every day, which is how you're supposed to take it, that it did reduce the chance that they would get infected with HIV. If they took it the way they were supposed to, the numbers were pretty impressive. Sixty percent fewer HIV infections or 60 percent lower risks of getting hiv.

Seventy percent, 80 percent, pretty high numbers, and that has a lot of people in the HIV and AIDS world excited, you know, to have some kind of -- to have this kind of prevention for HIV.

SAMBOLIN: Did they find any down sides when they were doing the study?

COHEN: They did find down sides. And so, I want to be very clear about this. There are so many down sides. In fact, that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been actively trying to persuade the FDA not to approve this drug. And let me tell you why. You'll notice I said if they took it the way they were supposed to, it worked pretty well, but here's the issue.

A lot of people didn't take it the way they were supposed to. It might have been because they were vomiting a lot. It's hard to take a pill every day that makes you vomit. Might have been that they had terrible headaches. There are those kinds of side effects, and then, in addition, there are bigger side effects.

This drug they found that some people, not a lot, but some people developed liver problems or kidney problems. And so, some people might decide, you know what? I'm healthy right now. I don't want to take a pill that gives me serious kidney problems. I'm going to find other ways to prevent HIV.

You know condoms work. And so, some people might decide, along with their doctors, I don't want to take a pill that has these kinds of risks. I'd rather be faithful about using condoms.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, especially when you're talking about your organs. And I know what the HIV drugs, especially when they first came out cost was an issue. How much will this cost?

COHEN: You know, cost will be an issue with this one, too. This is going to be about $1,300 a month. And again, this is different from other HIV drugs. Other HIV drugs were being used to treat people who basically had a death sentence. I mean, choosing for an insurance company to say, yes, I'm going to pay because you're very sick and this is your only treatment.

That's one thing. This is different. This is prevention. This is a healthy person taking it for prevention. Who knows what insurance companies will do? They may well pay for this. But for people without insurance, $1,300 a month is, obviously, a huge amount of money.

SAMBOLIN: No kidding. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. I'm sure you're going to continue to follow this for us.

COHEN: I will.

BANFIELD: It is 52 minutes now past 6:00 a.m. And to call this next piece of video incredible would not do it justice. The story behind the wave, the surfer, and what happens next.

SAMBOLIN: And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch this any time on your desktop or on your mobile phone, just go to

BANFIELD: Just not while you're driving.

SAMBOLIN: Or walking near manhole.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. It is four minutes now before the top of the hour. Just enough time for us to take a look at what's trending on the interweb.

And this one is the biggest wave ever surfed, and it stands at 78 feet high. Got to see the video to believe it. Thank God, they got the video. There's Garrett McNamara (ph) catching the monster off the coast of Portugal last November, but it wasn't verified as the biggest wave until just this last weekend at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Guinness is expected to approve this record soon. But it's just great to look at it, in the meantime.

This beat a wave that was surfed back in 2008 by Mike Parsons (ph)by, are you ready? One foot. That's it. Just one foot, and he gets the record. There is a bit of irony, though, with this, because as you see, this tow-in surfing miracle. We've got a paddling surfing record, too.

He won Wipeout of the Year with this particular wave that he caught in Hawaii. Look at this last January. Oh, yes. I never know how they survive these, Zoraida. I mean, that's literally hundreds and hundreds of tons of water. And it is turning at such incredible velocity. I mean --

SAMBOLIN: And the board comes right down on him, right, or at least it looks like it.

BANFIELD: Well, I don't think they used the ankle strap for these guys just because it would be lethal (INAUDIBLE). We're not sure about that, but look at the other surfers, too. Granted, I'm sure that a couple of them are cameramen. They're getting the close up view of that.

Steven Samaniego (ph) is our producer who's nutty about surfing. Did you say they do have a leash or don't? Did have a leash. Could you imagine that thing flying around your head like tornado? Anyway, congratulations, Garrett, and eat your heart out Laird Hamilton (ph). You got another mission this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right. I want to change my name to Tyrannosaurus Rex. How about that? Something your five-year-old, perhaps, might say. Well, some people never grow up. The "New York News Times" reports that a 23-year-old Nebraska man -- do you have a picture of him -- has legally changed his name to Tyrannosaurus Rex.

BANFIELD: Oh, awesome.

SAMBOLIN: And T-Rex is official public filing -- that's not a picture of him. He says the dinosaur's name is just cooler than Tyler Gold. That was his old name. And he's sort of right. I mean, check out this from "Jurassic Park." He also says that as an entrepreneur, name recognition is important, and the new name will help him drum up business.

We don't know what line of work he's in, but, good luck to you, dude. I hated my name when I was growing up.

BANFIELD: It's tricky to spell, right?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. It's tricky to spell, it's tricky to say. But I never quite thought T-Rex or something like that. I thought Susan.


BANFIELD: Yes. Susan, Mary, Linda, right? My nickname when I was growing up, because again, I had the problem with Ashleigh. There were no Ashleighs when I was a little kid. My dad gave me a joke nickname that stuck until this day.

SAMBOLIN: Which is?



BANFIELD: My family calls me Freddie. Yes. Fred. I've been Fred all my life. Yes. How about that?


BANFIELD: But T-Rex, way to go. And you picked the right one, too, because T-Rex is the coolest -- that's EARLY START, the news from "A" to "Z." I'm Freddie Banfield.

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