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Obama Backs Same-Sex Marriage; Obama And The Black Vote; Search For Missing Tennessee Sisters

Aired May 10, 2012 - 05:00   ET


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

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for being with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z.

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

BANFIELD: And let's start with this, up first, President Obama hopping off the fence, folks, and right into the political frying pan. All of this with the historic endorsement of same-sex marriage.

No sitting president has ever done what Barack Obama did yesterday during an interview with ABC News.

Here are the words that touched off millions of lives across the country and may have just redefined the race for the White House.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.


BANFIELD: Pretty strong words. Pretty clear, too.

Dan Lothian is live in Washington, D.C. with us this morning.

It took a long time for the president to evolve to this position. But why now? And why this way?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, the president had been under a lot of pressure to really state his position on this. And some top members of his administration over the last few days had come out and made their positions clear. And so, the president finally came around on this after almost two years. He said after talking to his friends, his daughters and the first lady.


OBAMA: Me personally, it is important to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): President Obama made the announcement Wednesday in an interview with ABC News, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support same-sex marriage. His remarks come on the heels of North Carolina passing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and Vice President Biden's public support on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual, men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.

LOTHIAN: Mitt Romney reiterated his long standing position on the issue after the president's interview.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's my own preference.

LOTHIAN: Mr. Obama once opposed same-sex marriage but says his stance on the issue evolved after conversations with the first lady, his daughters and friends.

OBAMA: I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly, and equally.

LOTHIAN: In 1996, then Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama supported marriages for same-sex couples. In a questionnaire for a gay newspaper, he responded, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." By 2004, the political climate was demanding clarity. In a debate, Obama clarified.

OBAMA: I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.

LOTHIAN: That was before this, his 2004 convention speech.

OBAMA: We coached Little League in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states.

LOTHIAN: And then once in the White House --

OBAMA: 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.

LOTHIAN: With the nation split on the issue of same-sex marriage, the president called his endorsement one of personal conviction, with less than six months before the election, a decision fraught with political implications.


LOTHIAN: Now, the president's critics on this issue say that the reason that he decided to make his decision public now is because he wants to raise money for his campaign and also trying to get votes in what is going to be a very tight election. Nonetheless, this is becoming part of this campaign, even though when you look at the overall numbers across the country, the economy still is the most important issue before the voters -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Dan Lothian, live for us in Washington this morning -- thank you for that.

SAMBOLIN: And the president's evolving views in some ways mirror those of voters as well. Popular opinion making a dramatic shift over the last 15 years. Take a look at this.

Since 1996, public approval has risen from 27 percent to 50 percent.

So, what does this mean for presidential politics?

Joining me now with his take is Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and editorial director of the "National Journal".

Thanks for joining us this morning.


SAMBOLIN: What do you think -- good morning to you. What do you think is the big takeaway from the president's announcement?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the immediate political impact is probably the net effect is probably going to be minor in this election for two reasons. As you point out, there's been a remarkable move in public opinion and more people now oppose consistently -- support in polling than oppose gay marriage. But it's slightly more support than oppose. And also, this is a year when the economy is going to dominate.

In the long run, though, this is a dramatic leap of faith by the president, a bet on the future in two respects. First generationally, two-thirds of Americans under 30 support gay marriage. This is clearly a position that's going to grow, I believe, as overall sense of public opinion.

And second, it's an acknowledgment that the Democratic coalition has changed. One of the reasons Democrats have been reluctant to fully embrace gay marriage similar to issues like immigration reform as well is that they are fearful of losing the most conservative elements of the white electorate -- older whites, rural whites, blue collar whites. This is an acknowledgment I think that those voters are largely gone and the president and the Democrats have to respond to a different coalition -- younger voters, more socially liberal, white collar voters. And this is a reflection of his understanding that that is now the coalition that is going to elect him and that he needs to respond to.

SAMBOLIN: Well, you called it a leap of faith. A lot of people are calling this a very risky move.

So, as they are headed into their re-election here, how do you think it's going to affect them?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think it kind of reconfirms and hardens the lines, this kind of transformation of the coalition of each party that we're witnessing. We are living to an era when the political coalitions are held together more by values than interests, more by culture than class.

And you see a strong movement among Democrats toward support of gay marriage, for example, as well as abortion and others, is that 70 percent of self-identified Democrats support this, about 60 percent of independents. It hasn't moved at all among Republicans.

So, what I think you are going to see is this kind of push further in that direction. I think it adds more problems for the president in groups where he's already struggling like blue collar whites and older whites but it probably helps him in places that are holding with him even in this these times. And that includes more white collar, socially liberal whites and younger people.

A wild card are minority voters who tend to be --


BROWNSTEIN: -- somewhat less supportive. Even there, I think there's a big generational change. It is somewhat of a problem in the African-American community, but those voters are probably going to stick with him anyway.

SAMBOLIN: It's certainly going to be interesting to watch.

Ron Brownstein, editorial director of "National Journal," and also CNN senior political analyst -- thank you for joining us this morning.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: And in the next half hour of EARLY START, we'll be joined by Reverend Jamal-Harrison Bryant. He is pastor of the Empowerment Temple. We'll talk about how the president's support of same-sex marriage could hurt him with black voters in November.

BANFIELD: It's seven minutes past 5:00.

Two deadly explosions rocking Syria's capital to tell you about overnight. Normally, we tell you it is the government bombing its people, but now it looks like the people are getting in some licks themselves. The state-run media says 40 people were killed and 170 injured in a blast during the rush hour in Damascus. An opposition group says that Syria's intelligence agency was destroyed. The government is blaming, quote, "terrorists" for these explosions.

It comes just hours after an activist group was accused the regime forces of killing hundreds of civilians during a cease-fire.

SAMBOLIN: Seven minutes past the hour.

Two Fullerton California police officers have been ordered to stand trial for the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man last year. That incident was captured on camera. The officers face charges ranging from second-degree murder to felony use of excessive force.

BANFIELD: From bagging groceries to bagging a thief. Coming up, a teenager jumping into action after he sees a shoplifter punch a woman.


BANFIELD: Eleven minutes now past the hour. Let's get you up- to-date on the top stories.

Christine Romans doing the job for us this morning.



After his bombshell announcement supporting same-sex marriage, President Obama heads west today. He becomes the first U.S. president in history to come out in favor of same-sex marriage yesterday. The president will be fund-raising in Seattle and Los Angeles today. Wrapping things up tonight at actor George Clooney's home. Reception there is expected to rake in up to $15 million for the president's re- election campaign. That's quite a dinner.

A 17-year-old store clerk going all UFC on an attempted shoplifter at a Georgia grocery store, putting him in a chokehold, wrestling him to the ground. It's the teenager's first job bagging groceries. He's also in a program that trains young men to become police officers. He says he jumped into action after he saw the thief punch a female store clerk in the face.

"Double Elvis" has left the building. Andy Warhol's classic silk screen painting selling for -- get this -- $37 million at an auction in New York. The piece showing Elvis Presley in a gun slinging pose is one of Warhol's most famous celebrity paintings. Warhol made 22 versions of the "Double Elvis".

Talk about cheaper, cleaner energy -- a car company in India has tested cars that run on air. The engine is powered by a tank of compressed air. It was designed by a Formula 1 engineer and costs about $3 to fill up -- $3 of air.

It goes between 125 miles between fill-ups. Does not emit any pollution. May cost less than $10,000. Mass producing them might prove difficult. That's the next step.

If you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on our desktop or on your mobile phone, just go to -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Christine.

Thirteen minutes past the hour.

Concerns about flooding today in the Deep South. Rob Marciano is tracking today's storms.

We've got some rain over here as well, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you do. Northeast has it. So does Texas.

And that's the concern here. It was just really four or five months ago where we're talking about an extreme drought in this area. Last year at this time, we had wildfires all over the place. Now two to four inches expected on top of what they've already got which is saturated ground. Flash flood watches have been posted for parts of Texas and also the threat for seeing severe weather today, not only for today but the next few days.

A slow-moving system will bump into a front that will create more in the way of showers and thunderstorms. This will slowly makes its ways across San Antonio. You had your showers yesterday and will have them again later on today.

All right. The front that's pushing across the East Coast is off the East Coast across the South. But across the Northeast, it's still hanging around. Philadelphia, Atlanta City up to New York, over towards, say, Fairfield County in through Bridgeport, Connecticut, Providence, Boston, you'll keep this.

Obviously, it's moving slowly from east to west. Look for it to end in New York in the next couple of hours, maybe right before the morning rush and then start to dry out in Boston later today. But rainfall, which you actually do need across parts of the Northeast.

Sixty-six, Chicago, 77 for a high, beautiful day in Atlanta expected, and much of the East Coast that once rain clear, 63 degrees expected in New York, and 71 degrees in Los Angeles.

Guys, I saw this video yesterday afternoon. Have to show it this morning for folks who haven't seen it yet.

And it is -- you know, my dad always told me to bring the glove to the game in the event that you get a straight foul ball in order to catch it. This young man at the Padres game managed to find a different way of catching a pop-up.

How about that? Come on.

SAMBOLIN: Did he drink the beer? He drinks the beer.

MARCIANO: Now, besides the dirt you've got pitchers are spitting on it and -- that's good stuff. Whatever.

BANFIELD: That's a hard core fan there, Rob.

SAMBOLIN: Bob, I have no idea where that ball has been so I don't know that I would have done that.

MARCIANO: I do know this. But that beer probably cost 7 or 8 bucks. You don't want to waste the brew.

BANFIELD: (INAUDIBLE) factor is kind of gnarly this morning, isn't it? Thinking about what they do before the pitch. You're right. It makes it on national TV.

Marciano, thank you.

MARCIANO: All right.

BANFIELD: It is now 15 minutes past the hour. That means it's time for the early reads, because low how early it is. It's dark out there, folks.

And sheriff's deputies, this is a big one. They are being accused of celebrating something they probably should not be, celebrating shootings by getting tattoos.

"Los Angeles Times" is reporting on an investigation of a possible secret clique within the L.A. County sheriff gang unit. Early, a deputy is claiming that he and about half dozen other members got matching tattoos so that they could celebrate their involvement in a shooting.

And by the way, I'm being told I used my Canadian pronunciation of clique. In the U.S. we would say clique? Careful, my Canadian is showing.

All right. So, officials say there's actually no evidence that these deputies were involved in anything improper just that they got the tattoos. But the concern now is that the tattoos actually show an admiration for shootings as opposed to maybe more sober attitude.

SAMBOLIN: I actually like that your Canadian shows, by the way.


BANFIELD: Whatever, right?

SAMBOLIN: All right. Sixteen minutes past the hour.

A high school in Arizona forfeited its chance to win the baseball championship because the opponent has a girl on the team. Listen to this.

BANFIELD: Oh, come on.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, I'm so serious.

"The Arizona Republic" says conservative Catholic school Our Lady of Sorrows refused to play against Mesa Preparatory Academy. Mesa Prep allowed page, that's a girl right there, to join the team because it doesn't have a girls softball team. Page previously sat out against Our Lady of Sorrows out of respect for the team's beliefs. But she said she did not want to sit out the championship.

Shame on that school.

BANFIELD: Have they heard of Danica Patrick? Would you not go to the NASCAR race because Danica Patrick is racing with the big boys?

SAMBOLIN: Some may not but that is just wrong.

BANFIELD: I'm always sorry to hear that.

All right. So, a Florida high school teacher -- this is kind of on the funny and kind of what category? She might be fired because the way she decided to punish her students. She decided to use a dog cone.

You know the dog cones, you use to keep them from scratching.

SAMBOLIN: She did that to a student?

BANFIELD: Our affiliate WFLA has the photos of the so-called cone of shame. See this?

A student posted these pictured on Facebook. The teacher said she intended this all to be a joke and actually got the idea from that adorable Disney Pixar movie "Up." Remember in up? The dog is wearing the cone, right?


BANFIELD: And calls it the cone of shame.

SAMBOLIN: This is outrageous.

BANFIELD: One of the girls -- before we decide it's outrageous. On its surface, it does look this way. One of the kids forced to wear the cone thought it was funny. She was caught eating in class. And it was all supposed to be all in fun, the teacher was making it about fun.

But, clearly, the pictures on Facebook might have other people thinking otherwise. And the superintendent wrote a nasty letter saying, uh-uh. So the teacher is going to appeal the school's decision to fire her. And we'll see how this one plays.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know if that's ever a good idea, right? It could really send the wrong message.

BANFIELD: Without question, especially if the kids feel shame, embarrassed. If that's meant to humiliate them. If they were all laughing about it as a group it may be a different story.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know.

BANFIELD: Never know.

SAMBOLIN: OK, 18 minutes past the hour. For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog,

BANFIELD: And it is something that the experts say could create 1,000 overnight millionaires. Facebook going football. I know that got your attention.

So what about the average guy, if you and I want to get into this action? How can we do it? And should you be buying the hype?


BANFIELD: It is 22 minutes now past 5:00 in the morning on the East Coast.

In case you were wondering if that alarm was really true? It is. Get up.

Facebook fever building on Wall Street now. It is the most anticipated initial public offering in years. And we're ticking away on the clock. Eight days from this thing.

It seems everybody wants to get in, a little on that action. How about you? Should you be buying Facebook shares? And what about the timing because that is critical?

SAMBOLIN: Are you excited about this?

Christine Romans is minding your business.

How can folks get into that? You know, more people have asked me about this than ask about mega millions. And I'm going to tell you something, you don't buy a lottery ticket for Facebook. It is even harder to get Facebook than it is to go and get in line by lottery ticket. And they are completely different things.

Look, Facebook is something that right away the big money is very involved in. The individual investor usually in IPOs gets the last little dribs and drabs of that stock, and they usually get it at a much higher price.

So, I talked to somebody yesterday who I really trust, who is involved, who is a trader on the street during the Google IPOI and he told me, "Christine, tell your viewers, wait one month." Listen.


RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: And most individuals don't understand that on May 18th when Facebook is released, the mutual funds and the institutional investors are going to be the major ones buying up the stock. So when the stock actually opens, I do believe it's going to come in probably between $90, maybe even $100 a share when it actually gets released.

So, let the hype go out, let go down. Let the euphoria go down.


SAMBOLIN: Yes, for $25 is what they're going to price. They're going to price the IPO at $25 but there's so much hype and frenzy around Facebook that some think it's going to run right up. If you are an individual investor you are likely to get it way up, which brings me to the word of trhe day, which is -- limit order. This is the word. Limit order.

If you are going to try to get shares of Facebook, remember to do a limit order. You are going to put in a limit order to say I'm going to buy Facebook at $40 or at $45. To make sure you aren't the sucker buying it at $100 if it goes there after everyone else already made their money.

Limit order, if you insist on doing it early, make sure you do a limit early.

SAMBOLIN: What about the article that came out that said that E-trade is going to offer it to the every man because Facebook is the every man company, for $20, $25?

ROMANS: Right. Now, if you -- do you think if you get an E- trade account today, you'll be able to get that? Probably not. It's probably going to go to people who already are doing like 30 trades or more a month. People who have more than $5,000 or $6,000 in their brokerage account.

We expect that probably Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, some of these other brokers are going to have some of this available.

But if you are a regular trader, go to the IPO center. I mean, if you are trading stocks for your personal account, go to the IPO center on the Web site of these places and put in an order, and see if you get. But not everyone is going to get it.

BANFIELD: So the brokerage houses actually will dole out the orders according to who does more business?

ROMANS: This is how the whole game goes. There's only so much Facebook, 337 millions shares of it. There's huge demand for it.

So what happens is people will start to buy it. And they'll give it to their best customers. That's the way it works.

SAMBOLIN: I am kind of excited about this, I don't know if you are, just because --

BANFIELD: Are you kidding? She's been talking about it.

SAMBOLIN: Just an interest in having a brokerage account. And I think that's really good.

ROMANS: And that is such -- I think the Facebook story is a Trojan horse for everyone throughout to get your personal finances in order. If you don't have any stocks or aren't invested in your 401(k), what are you doing talking about Facebook? Let's figure out our finances.

BANFIELD: I just hope it's not the Trojan horse in the bad way, that people jump on in and irresponsibly so.

ROMANS: We'll see. If they want to, they might not be able to.

BANFIELD: Thank you.

ROMANS: Still ahead -- the president's decision to publicly declare his support for same-sex marriage. Is this going to cost him support somewhere else? Namely, black voters?


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Here is what's happening at half past the hour.

President Obama coming out in support of same-sex marriage. It's a very risky political move, some say. Conservative Christians are outraged. And the president could face a backlash from African- Americans and Latinos.

A pair of powerful explosions in the Syrian capital of Damascus, during the morning rush hour, 40 people killed, 170 are wounded. The Syrian government says it was the worst work of terrorists. It was the work of terrorists, that is.

And two California police officers are ordered to stand trial after being caught on camera beating a mentally ill homeless man to death -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Zoraida, thank you.

It's now 30 minutes past the hour, and this morning, a brand new era in American history as President Obama becomes the first president ever to support same-sex marriage. He made the statement in an interview with ABC.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.


BANFIELD: And while the nation is nearly evenly split on this issue with 50 percent supporting same-sex marriage and 48 percent opposing it, some analysts say that his support might lose him vote in a key demographic that has supported him for years, African-American voters. While fewer African-Americans oppose the issue than before, just 39 percent of African-Americans support same-sex marriage, 49 percent oppose it. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant is the pastor of the Endowment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland, and he joins me live this morning. Reverend, thanks for being with me on this topic. This is such a critical story and such a critical issue with regard to how this is going to play out politically.

Some people are saying that the president is essentially going to be swapping one demographic for another. He'll have the support of gay Americans, but he may lose a lot of support of Black Americans.

REV. JAMAL HARRISON BRYANT, PASTOR, EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE: A lot of African-American leaders right now are really dazed by this because we didn't see it coming. For the last four years, the African-American clergy have really supported, covered, and prayed for President Obama, and it really came without any warning.

Sunday is going to be a real great divide in Black churches and churches across America discussing the issue. African-Americans are, by and large, sexually conservative and socially more aggressive. And so, pastors on Sunday morning are going to be really walking a balancing act. How now do we juxtapose this issue up against a president that we have supported over the last four years?

BANFIELD: Is it a deal breaker, though?

BRYANT: I think that's the larger question that's yet to be discovered. And I would say by and large, African-Americans are going to support President Obama. I don't think that this is going to be a deal breaker because there's so many issues at stake when you deal with Pell Grants, when you deal with predatory lending, when you deal with job preparedness and you see the economy on the surge of rebound.

I think African-Americans are going to stand with the president, with his presidency, but not on this policy.

BANFIELD: Reverend, so many people when they look at this and they look at how Black and African-Americans weigh in on this issue, equate this with the civil rights movement. And, many can't understand why Black Americans can't see this as the new civil rights movement for yet another segment of society.

Yet, we still see this social conservatism when it comes to sexuality that you just mentioned off the top of this interview. Do you see a balancing act that may actually tip one way or even the other as we move forward with this? The president has said that society is just changing.

BRYANT: I think that the African-American community sees it as a human rights issue. The yoke that is on the church is that we cannot, in any way, practice gay bashing or embrace homophobia. I think one of the benefits that this is going to be is bring it to the kitchen table for discussion. African-Americans and the Black church, by and large, have shied away from the issue.

The president has put it right on the plate and said we've got to deal with it. And I think that it's appropriate. Many African- American denominations have already assumed a position on same-sex marriages and unions. I'm a part of the African Methodist Episcopal church. And in 2008, we passed a legislation whereby we were against same-sex marriages and same-sex unions, but at the same place, we believe in the human rights of all because we believe that God created everybody.

BANFIELD: So within this segment, there are a lot of people saying that Democrats are evolving, and they're evolving at break-neck pace and making this leap of faith. In fact, Ron Brownstein, one of our CNN analysts, was just on about 25 minutes ago suggesting this is a dramatic leap of faith.

Do you think that this will alienate Black voters in America to the point where they will think, you know what, I just don't want to vote for him, so I'm just not going to go to the poll?

BRYANT: I think that's the overarching concern, and there's so much at stake. We began a campaign, the Empowerment movement did, to register one million voters, new voters for the November election. Easter sunday, we registered 110,000. We're moving to fill in that gap to register another 900,000 before Labor Day. And I believe we're going to do it.

What is very critical is after voter registration is voter education. And what are the issues that are germane to us in this election is economy, economy, economy. I think that this is going to be an issue that's going to be discussed going into the general election. It cannot be ignored. That is now an Americana issue that is going to have to be faced not just by the larger American populous but the African-American community will not be able to sit on the fence.

We're really going to have to deal with it and discuss it because the reality is, is that we have a large gay community within our churches. And we can't talk over them or ignore them. We're going to have to deal with the issue head-on.

BANFIELD: That's eloquently stated. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant of the Empowerment Temple, it's nice to have you this morning. Thanks for your perspective.

BRYANT: Thank you so much.


Until now, the issue of same-sex marriage has been predominantly an issue handled at the state level. And as it turns out, the state governments have been at odds with the general public when it comes to same-sex marriage. Our Christine Romans has been breaking down that issue for us state by state. And this is critical because the election is state by state, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting. Are they at odds or they just behind? Are they just not as quickly changing as the rest of the country is? Here is the -- you know, this is the trend line of public opinion here looking back to 1996. Pretty wide apart here more than a decade ago. Those in support of same-sex marriage and those opposed to it.

It's been closing, though, generally since then. And today, slightly more people favor same-sex marriage than oppose it. That's what the polls say. But what people are doing with their votes or what states are doing, rather, is a different story. Let's take a look at the country here. This is how it looks in the states right now.

Twenty-eight states have constitutional provisions defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Those are the dark blue states. Ten states have statutory provisions, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. This is medium blue. So, this is statutory or constitutional provisions saying a man and a woman, that's what makes the marriage.

Seven states issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples right now, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia. Three states have judicial or judicial recognition of same-sex marriage, but they haven't taken effect yet. Those are in Maryland, Washington, California, all in light blue here.

Five have no statutory or constitutional provisions at all on same-sex marriage. It means, frankly, they haven't decided anything yet. The one thing you need to know today about same-sex marriage, it's not just a political story. This is a personal finance and a money story, has ramifications for Social Security, taxes, survivor benefits, all kinds of financial matters.

Human Rights Campaign found, Ashleigh, the average same-sex spouse is denied about $14,000 a year in survivor benefits that other couples, married couples, heterosexual married couples do get.

BANFIELD: All right. Well, fascinating story. Thank you, Christine.

SAMBOLIN: At six o'clock eastern, we'll be joined by Neil Giuliano. He is CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, former mayor of Tempe, Arizona. We'll ask him about the political calculations involved in the president's decision to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Thirty-seven minutes past the hour here. A Texas teen busted for trying to rob a police station, but, he claims it was all just a big misunderstanding. Records show 18-year-old Keithan Manuel walked into the station demanding money saying he had a gun.


KEITHAN MANUEL, SUSPECT: I had my hands just like this over the counter. I said where your money at. Then I said, no, I'm just playing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a joking matter. You know, when you tell someone you have a gun and you're acting nervous and you have your hands concealed with a towel, what is a person to think?


SAMBOLIN: Well, it turns out Manuel didn't have a weapon, but prank or no prank, guess what, he faces several charges, including robbery, and he remains in a Dallas county jail.

Bet you, he didn't think it would end up like this. Surveillance video at a gas station in Cleveland capturing an attempted robbery on tape. Look very closely here, a guy tries to rip a woman's purse off her arm. The victim fights back. A gas station employee sees it, gangs up on him, sits on his head to keep him down.

The owner comes out running as well. One grabbed a phone cord. The other went and ripped down yellow caution tape. They tied him up until police came.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were going to use the stun gun, but he couldn't move because I had him tied up.



SAMBOLIN: That a girl. Unbelievable. That is taking matters into your own hand, right? That's a risky move there.

BANFIELD: You know what, it's a good thing. I'm always happy to see that no one was injured because it can go the other way.

SAMBOLIN: That's right. That could be risky.

BANFIELD: It can be dangerous.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour here.

The lives two of young girls hanging in the balance right now, 12-year-old Alexandria Bain, her eight-year-old sister, Kaliyah. Authorities are asking for help finding them and their kidnapper and now rushing to make him one of the most wanted dangerous men in the country. The new move by the feds coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

The man suspected of kidnapping a Tennessee mother and her three daughters, now, one of America's most wanted. The FBI's added Adam Mayes to its list of ten most wanted fugitives hoping to enlist the public's help in tracking down Mayes and saving the two young girls.

He is charged with murdering the family's mother, Jo Ann Bain and her oldest daughter, Adrienne. Their picture right there. CNNs George Howell is following these latest developments for us. What can you tell us?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, now that Adam Mayes has been added to the top ten most wanted, the federal government has added an additional $100,000 for any information leading to his arrest. So, now, the total is at $175,000 in this desperate search for the two girls, and also, obviously, for Adam Mayes.

But investigators believe that Mayes kidnapped Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters. And they also believe that his wife, Teresa, was involved in helping with this kidnapping. At this point, there is a desperate search to find Kaliyah and Alexandria. Mayes and his wife are currently charged with the murder of Jo Ann Bain and Adrienne Bain.

And already in the community, you get a sense of the desperate search, obviously, to find the girls but also the pain caused by this murder. Take a listen.


VOICE OF ELLEN FULGUM, COUNSELOR AT ADRIENNE BAIN'S HIGH SCHOOL: There's just a dark cloud over our school and over our community. It's just a heaviness. Our hearts are heavy. We're saddened for our loss, and we're concerned. No doubt with the uncertainty of what these other two young children are experiencing or have experienced.

And, you know, it's one of those situations where as adults, there's no way we can wrap our minds around something like this.


SAMBOLIN: George, does Adam Mayes go by any other aliases?

HOWELL: He does. We learn from investigators that he goes by the alias of Christopher Zachary Wild and also Pasco Rodriguez. And also Zoraida, keep in mind that he may have changed his appearance. We saw him in that surveillance video back on April 30th. His hair was cut short.

He does wear a goatee, but we've also seen pictures of Mayes with longer hair, and there's also indication that he may have changed the appearance of the girls, obviously, to elude these investigators.

SAMBOLIN: Do the investigators have reason to believe that those two little girls are still alive?

HOWELL: That's what we're hearing from them, that they are still alive. Investigators believe that they are with Mayes, and we even heard just the other day from Bobbi Booth, Teresa Mayes' sister, who gave the indication that the girls could be his. That's what she had heard. But again, obviously, investigators will be looking into that.

And currently, in custody, obviously, Teresa Mayes is in custody on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree murder, and also two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. That's a term used there in Tennessee. And we also know that Mary Mayes, this is Adam's mother, she is also in custody for four counts of conspiracy to commit, especially aggravated kidnapping. So, at this point, those are the people that investigators are questioning.

SAMBOLIN: George, can you just clear up one thing for me before we go here. Who is it that was charged additionally with murder?

HOWELL: Just yesterday, we learned that Teresa Mayes, this is Adam's wife, charged with murder. And we learned that she told investigators, according to their accounts, that she also -- that she witnessed at least one murder and that she participated, that she helped to drive those bodies from Tennessee to Mississippi -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. George Howell reporting live from us from Atlanta. Thank you very much for those details.

BANFIELD: Forty-six minutes now past 5:00 on the east coast. Time to get you updated on the top news stories with Christine Romans. Hey, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning.


ROMANS (voice-over): President Obama officially on the record now in support of same-sex marriage. He made that announcement yesterday. He becomes the first U.S. president to ever do so publicly. It is a big political risk. Conservative Christians are outraged, but for millions of gay Americans, including Congressman Barney Frank, it's a proud moment in American history.


REP. BARNEY FRANK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: It means a great deal for me, and it makes me feel even better about my country that this is a country that has the capacity to deal with issues in a constructive way and help things get better for all of us.


ROMANS: The president heads west later today for two fundraisers in Seattle. Then, it's on to Hollywood and actor, George Clooney's, home where a reception is expected to rake in up to $15 million in campaign donations.

A $17 million settlement has been reached with the victims and families of a deadly duck boat accident on the Delaware River. Two hungarian students were killed in 2010 when a tug boat and a sludge barge slammed into their tour boat. The students' families will split $15 million, and nearly 20 other victims will share $2 million.

New details emerging about a California teen charged with stealing "Celebrity Chef," Guy Fieri's Lamborghini. Police say 17- year-old Max Michael Wade (ph) was a one-man SWAT team. In a storage locker connected to the teen, they found assault rifles, an AK-47, a gun linked to a drive-by shooting earlier this month, cell phone jamming equipment and a San Francisco police officer's uniform and badge.

He revolutionized the world with a pair of scissors. Legendary hairstylist, Vidal Sassoon, has died. He was 84 years old. Los Angeles police say Sassoon died yesterday of apparent natural causes. He turned the haircut into an art form. His classic Bob style propelled him to celebrity status back in the 1960s.

Getting fired up for the upcoming Olympic Games. The torch lighting relay kicked off just a few hours ago in Greece in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The torch is now headed on an eight-day tour around the country. Next week, it arrives at the UK for an 8,000-mile, 70- day nationwide relay. And when the light goes out, the games begin. The opening ceremony is July 27th in London.

There's no such thing as a little slip when you're walking a tightrope above Baltimore's inner harbor. That's Nik Wallenda sky high in cool as he briefly stumbled up there. He's a seventh generation member of the flying Wallendas. Yes. From here, right?

He was walking in the footsteps of his great grandfather who performed a high wire act over the same harbor back in 1973. And next month, as you know ladies, Wallenda will attempt to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Total insanity.

ROMANS: None of these things are on my bucket list and never will be.



SAMBOLIN (on-camera): That takes a special person to do that.


BANFIELD: I literally feel sick to my stomach watching that stumble. That was just harrowing. Was there like a collective gasp in the onlookers below, too? I can only imagine if I watch that.

ROMANS (on-camera): I'm sure. Oh my! I mean, that's what makes it so tantalizing.

BANFIELD: Those Wallendas.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine. It is 50 minutes past the hour.

Up next, a segment we like to call "Today in Tan Mom." Why her famous book may start fading really, really fast?

BANFIELD: And by the way, that is not fake, folks. That's real video.

And if you're leaving the house right now, want to let us know that you can catch us any time on your desktop or even your mobile phone. You just have to go to and all your options are there. Take us with you.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-three minutes past the hour. It's time to take a look at what is trending on the web. Yes. We're not burnt out yet.

BANFIELD: I don't know about that.

SAMBOLIN: Today, in tan mom news, according to TMZ, several tanning salons surrounding her New Jersey home have banned tan mom, Patricia Krentcil from their premises.

BANFIELD: Just feast your eyes on that, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. It's a chocolate look.

BANFIELD: So unbelievable.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. And now, some North Jersey papers are reporting the state department of health is actually getting involved here. Some have even posted pictures of her. How could you miss her?

BANFIELD: Yes. No kidding. There she is with her little daughter who's so fair skinned.

SAMBOLIN: Adorable little girl. So, guess what? Now, Patricia Krentcil is the inspiration behind the new tanorexic mom action figure from a company called Hero Builders. Remember them? They're the same company that brought you the White House crasher, Michaele Salahi action figure, a little tanning booth sold separately. Just kidding about that one.

BANFIELD: I love the "SNL" skit on tan mom --

SAMBOLIN: I love the little Hero Builders.

BANFIELD: Doesn't look like this is going away any time soon. Oh, look, the (INAUDIBLE) right off. You can tan the face separately from the body.

OK, folks. Show me your I.D. and show me your Facebook profile, please. BBC is reporting this morning that bouncers in the UK are now asking Facebook profiles be shown to them in order to try to weed out the underage drinkers before they get into the bar. This is not a replacement for checking a person's I.D.

It's not fool-proof either, because, of course, we can just go change our Facebook profile if you know in advance. You send it in line, and the bouncer says, show me your Facebook profile on your mobile phone. They can check if it matches your fake I.D. So, it's just one extra step, they say, to avoid paying a fine and that fine can be as high as $8,000 for any drinking establishment that lets somebody who's just a wee bit too young slip on by.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of people put the wrong birth date on Facebook.

BANFIELD: They used to do the old-fashioned method say, oh yes? When was your birthday? What year did you graduate?


SAMBOLIN: I think that's a better method.


SAMBOLIN: All right. "Angry Birds" soaring to an incredible milestone. One billion downloads. Do you play? That includes the original game, all of the spin-offs and platforms including android and Apple, and the franchise is only getting bigger. Last month, the company, Rovio, revealed that "Angry Birds" space topped 50 million downloads in just the first 35 days.

BANFIELD: Amazing company in Finland. And I was actually in talks with that company last year to do a special with them for "Nightline" on ABC. And it turns out there are only like a dozen or so of them in the company and they were too busy.

We were trying to keep up with this business, and we just can't do interviews at this time. It's pretty remarkable. So, i'm sure they have more people sitting in their desks now.

President Barack Obama making history, announcing his support for same-sex marriage. We're going to talk about the political implications and also what could have influenced the president to make this announcement and really surprise everybody with it.