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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Obama Backs Same Sex Marriage; Mayes Now On FBI's Most Wanted List; Cops Ordered To Stand Trial; Burglary Captured Live; Deadly Explosions in Syria; Nutrients To Boost Test Scores

Aired May 10, 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 HOST: Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from "A" to "Z." We're really happy you're with us this morning. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east, so let's get started here for you.

Up first, the fallout from what could be the biggest gamble of the Obama presidency. No sitting president has ever done what Barack Obama did yesterday in an interview with ABC News. He publicly came out in support of same-sex marriage. Here are the words that may have redefined the race for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Dan Lothian is live in Washington for us this morning. And Dan, the president said it took him years to evolve to this point. Some feel that Vice President Joe Biden actually forced his hand. Why declare his support for same-sex marriage now?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the president had been under a lot of pressure and as you point out there were key members of his administration who had over the last few days stated their position in support of same-sex marriage. And so the president decided to go public with this after hearing from his friends, his daughters and his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: 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.

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 same-sex marriage and Vice President Biden's public support on "Meet The Press" on Sunday. JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexuals are entitled to the same exact right, all the civil rights and all civil liberties.

LOTHIAN: Presumptive Republican nominee 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 classified.

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

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

OBAMA: We coach 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 a 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: Some of the president's critics are accused him of pandering saying he only went public with this in order to raise money for his campaign in order to get votes and they believe this could all backfire come election day -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: I understand he did raise a lot of money in a very short period of time. Dan Lothian live for us in Washington, thank you very much.

LOTHIAN: OK.

BANFIELD: Also three minutes now past 6:00. I want to bring in Neil Giuliano, who is the CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and also the former president of GLAAD and the former mayor of Tempe, Arizona.

Neil, thanks for coming in to talk about this. Obviously, everybody caught off guard yesterday. It wasn't something what everyone was really expecting and it's not like this was a slow roll of administrators coming out to lay the groundwork for the president.

When it comes to this, though, do you think as an advocate for the gay community, do you think the gay community may have won this battle, but if it alienates a lot of voters for Obama or energizes voters for Romney that, you know, we could see a President Romney who would roll back a lot of rights for the gay community and, thus, they might lose the ultimate war.

NEIL GIULIANO, CEO, SAN FRANCISCO AIDS FOUNDATION: I don't think so. I think the culture is evolving so fast if you look at the trajectory of the gay rights movement over the last 43 years and stonewalled. It's only been 43 years.

Just in the last administration, we had a president who wanted to constitutionalize never being allowed to get married. Here with Barack Obama we had a president who is saying peopel should be able to get married to whoever they want to get married.

So it's quite an evolution. It's quite a cultural change. I think the political fallout remains to be seen, but I think it's going to end up being a plus for the president.

BANFIELD: Well, that remains to be seen. It's like a really big little tag you just said. I think it was a million dollars that came in within, you know, an hour of this announcement to the Obama campaign.

GIULIANO: Sure.

BANFIELD: If you know, what is the money situation? What will this represent to President Obama's campaign in terms of support from the gay community financially?

GIULIANO: Well, there had been some pretty significant leaders of the gay community with some deep pockets who had said they wanted to make that initial contribution.

But they would hold back a little bit to see how the president evolved and to see how much he would champion some of the remaining issues, employment, non-discrimination act for one, marriage being another.

BANFIELD: Some people have said that the gay community is far greater than Wall Street in terms of what they can potentially donate.

GIULIANO: Well, I think you have to remember the gay community leadership perhaps may be perceived as having a lot of money, but gay Americans are just like every other American and they come from all walks of life and all different demographic pieces within society.

So I think it's not necessarily true to say that all gay people can simply start writing big checks for President Obama as a result of this, but I think the gay community who is capable of writing those checks will step up their support and be very supportive.

BANFIELD: Is there any thought to the idea that perhaps gay black Americans may align, come forward with the movement to try to swing their black American co-voters to not shy away from the polls?

I had an interview in the last half hour with a black reverend who I asked, is he swapping out one demographic for another alienating very socially conservative when it comes to sexual issue, black voters for gay American voters.

GIULIANO: I think at the end of the day, President Barack Obama does not lose his African-American support.

BANFIELD: Are you sure about that?

GIULIANO: Well, who is sure about anything? But that's my belief. My belief is he doesn't lose his African-American support because of his view and his statement.

BANFIELD: Do you know why I ask are you sure about that? Because when you look at the list of swing states it is pretty daunting. I man, wow, in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Those are the ones with bans. I mean, these are swing states where you have real --

GIULIANO: The president is clearly taking a decisive step for full equality and he does so with some political risk.

BANFIELD: Leap of faith as Ron Brownstein calls it.

GIULIANO: That's a good way to call it too. But what is significant he does so and he helps further evolve the culture just as his own evolution has taken place and it's very significant to have President Obama take this step.

BANFIELD: Want to end the interview with the same impression. You think ultimately gay Americans will win the war, which would mean winning this election and getting progressive movements with the Barack Obama administration.

As opposed to losing this election because of this announcement now and losing the war because of a Republican administration that doesn't favor gay American rights.

GIULIANO: Barack Obama does not lose the election because of this issue. This is his statement actually is with the majority of Americans and certainly where the majority of Americans are moving toward with regard to full equality for gay and lesbian Americans. BANFIELD: Neil Giuliano. It's good to have you in. I hear you travel in between Arizona, San Francisco, New York so we're lucky to catch you live. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it -- Zoraida.

Before I go to Zoraida, in the next half hour, we're also going to be joined by Richard Socarides who is the former senior adviser to Bill Clinton on gay civil rights issues and also the first openly gay person to hold the position of White House liaison to the gay community. Did I pronounce that right? Socarides. He'll be coming up in the next half hour -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you, Ashleigh.

The FBI raising the stakes in the hunt for Adam Mayes. He is the man suspected of kidnapping four members of a Tennessee family killing two of them.

Mayes is now on the bureaus' ten most wanted list. Authorities believe he is still holding these two -- those are the two he killed. He's holding the two young girls. There's a $175,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

And in just a few hours jury deliberations resume in the triple murder trial of Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law in Chicago.

William Balfour is accused of killing Hudson's mother, brother and nephew as an act of revenge against his ex-wife. Jurors will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.

The horrific video of a police beating that led to a mentally ill homeless man's death. The victim pleading for his life as they're beating him.

An officer talking about smashing his face to hell and now we'll find out whether these cops are cold-blooded killers. A judge's decision on whether they will stand trial. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH: Welcome back. It's 12 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Time to get you updated on the top stories. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Ashleigh and Zoraida.

One day after his stunning announcement supporting same- sex marriage, President Obama heads west today. He made history yesterday angering conservatives and taking a big political risk by become the first sitting American president to back same-sex marriage.

The president will be fundraising in Seattle and Los Angeles today wrapping things up tonight with a reception at actor George Clooney's home, a reception expected to net $15 million. Two Fullerton, California police officers have been ordered to stand trial for the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man last year. This incident was captured on camera. The officers face charges ranging from second degree murder to felony use of excessive force.

Two men rob a Florida home being fumigated for pests and the whole thing is captured live on surveillance camera. The owner says he turned on the live feed he was worried someone would break in during the fumigation.

Footage shows two men stealing jewelry. One of them accidentally trips the alarm. Police say they arrested the burglar and driver of a getaway car.

Brad Pitt blazing a trail. He is the new face, the first male face of Chanel Number 5 perfume, a woman's perfume following in the footsteps of actresses like Nicole Kidman and Marilyn Monroe. E reporting Pitt is getting paid seven figures for that gig.

If you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop and also on your mobile phone, just go to cnn.com/tv -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, Christine. We have concerns about flooding today in the Deep South. Rob Marciano is tracking today's storms. Feeling a little waterlogged here in New York, as well -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, a little bit of rainfall across the northeast as well. It's All part of -- well connected system not the same one. This is a part of the world that a year ago we're talking about a severe drought with big wildfire issues.

We're still in a drought in this area. So this is kind of a drought denting rain event for folks in San Angelo back to San Antonio and Houston, another 2 to 4 inches on top of saturated ground just from the recent rains.

So that is going to cause problems over the next two days. Today, though, South Texas threat for severe weather. Mostly in the form of some damaging winds and some hail as these storms pretty potent system right over here is going to inject it towards the Gulf of Mexico over the next 48 hours.

And actually bring some drought denting rains over the weekend into the southeast part of Georgia and northern Florida. But, right now we're dry as the southern part of the front came through last night, northern end taking its time getting through.

The rain shield back now about to get through the big apple so over the next two hours we'll start to dry out here. Philly and D.C. have already dried out. Boston, will take a little bit longer before you start to see significant drying around noon.

A nice push of Canadian cooler and drier air coming down to the south before this next round of rain makes its way. Daytime highs today will be cooler behind the front and drier.

In Atlanta, 77, 63 degrees expected in New York, 66 in Chicago.

A story we shared last hour about an air-powered car being tested in India, it runs on compressed air. Cost you about 3 bucks to fill up with air and it gets about 125 miles in between fill-ups. It's supposed to be about $10,000 or maybe less than that.

You know, guys, I remember in "Popular Mechanics" a few years ago a car was like this was supposed to hit the U.S. market about two years. So, that hasn't come to fruition, so we show you these pictures with guarded anticipation of this thing being realistic.

BANFIELD: I love it. I love it. It looks like a toy. Like a Tonka toy.

MARCIANO: Yes, it's a little underpowered. But it gets you from "A" to "B" at about 35 miles an hour. And it does it in a very, very clean way.

BANFIELD: I have a smart car and looks similar, but I can go quicker and I can get up to 80 without any problem at all.

MARCIANO: We have got to get a picture of you and your smart car.

BANFIELD: I look like a shriner, and I don't put the kids in the smart car. It was meant to go back and forth to the train station.

Rob, thank you for that. Appreciate it.

MARCIANO: All right.

BANFIELD: OK. So still with the theme of environmentalism. Next time you toss it in the trash think twice. One man's garbage is another man's haute couture. Trust me. It's in this week's "Solutions."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD (voice-over): Jonathan Marcoschamer is making garbage fashionable. In 2004, he started Ecoist turning waste into products like handbag, jewelry and home accessories. Ecoist gets roles of discontinued or defective wrappers and labels from companies that would have thrown them away. It takes 60 to 200 candy wrappers to make just one handbag.

JONATHAN MARCOSCHMAMER, ECOIST: Our estimate is that we've saved about 40 million wrappers from going to landfills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One we started with was this one.

BANFIELD: Marcoschamer's mother Helen created the designs for many of the bags. But the company employs women in Peru to make them by hand.

MARCOSCHAMER: There is a lot of love that goes into these products. We're targeting people who will appreciate the fact that we treat our workers fairly and give them the opportunity to make progress.

BANFIELD: Ecoist is expanding, pairing up with artists to create designs from different waste materials.

MARCOSCHAMER: There is so much waste that's amazing raw material that's unique, that is free and it creates an amazing statement.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Welcome to the real world. College grads walking this week right into this job market. Christine shows them what they're up against and how to come out on top. You're not going to want to miss that.

BANFIELD: Also, for an extended look at our top stories, you can head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It's 21 minutes past the hour.

We are minding your business this hour. College students are graduating this weekend. Everyone you know is scrambling for a job.

BANFIELD: It's hard fought out there.

Christine Romans has brand-new polling numbers that may show a bit of a surprise when it comes to the job market and young kids.

ROMANS: They show us that for young kid, a lot are underemployed. Look at the underemployment rate. These are kids who either aren't working up to their abilities or working part time and would like to work full time, et cetera. You can see that kids age 18 to 29, about 32 percent of those are considered underemployed. That is a lot and that is more than any other age bracket.

So, you're coming out of school probably with student debt and this economy hasn't given you much to hold on to.

But here's the part you can try to hold on to. For the first time in about four years, you are seeing companies hiring kids just to start in the fall. A lot of this is happening in marketing. Some of it happening in advertising. It's happening in information technology and computer sciences. Getting you lined up for jobs in the fall.

These companies are worried their pipelines are going to run dry. Their pipelines of talent are going to run dry, because baby boomers are starting to retire. More of them are starting to retire even if they plan to work longer than they thought, and these companies want to make sure they have kids on the front end.

So, this class is graduating, but they're competing with last year's and the year before. We're starting to see some loosening there.

I also want to show something called the job opening and labor turnover survey. Something that economists have been pointing to as a perhaps of a sign of stealth healing in the labor market. There are now 3.4 job seekers for every job opening. Well, that sounds a little scary. I want the job and there are three other people standing next to me.

But at the height of the recession, it was more than six. So, it's been trending down. Overall, there are 3.7 million job openings in America. There are 12.5 million people officially unemployed and more than that when you consider underemployment but the number of job openings has been slowly ticking up.

So, this sign of stealth healing. You look at the overall numbers that are still very, very dire about the labor market and then you look within those numbers and economists are starting to see these little pieces of healing and that's what they're focusing on.

BANFIELD: Are those real numbers? The Republican argument is often that the unemployment number is actually not true because it doesn't reflect those who dumped out and stopped looking.

ROMANS: The underemployment is that true number they're talking about and underemployment is about 14.5 percent in this country, people who are underemployed. It's even more when you ad in people who dropped out of the labor market.

There are a lot of ways to slice the numbers and politically on the campaign trail, you will see -- you will see them slice the numbers one way or another. I'm just trying to show you a little -- a few different numbers maybe you haven't seen yet that are showing the different things happening in the market.

SAMBOLIN: For the college grads, are there specific areas where they're being hired.

ROMANS: For college grads -- marketing, anything computers, computer systems design, project systems, when you look at things that are information technology.

And again, again, so many baby boomers who are holding on to their job now, but hiring managers and my sources in H.R. are telling me and people who consult on this are telling they know they're going to have these waves of people rolling off. The baby boomers -- I mean, it's unbelievable. The big bubble of them is turning 65 this year, the front end of that bubble. They want to make sure they'll have talent on the back end. So that's the -- terrible cliche and glimmer of hope.

BANFIELD: Different story in the next couple of years, isn't it? Remarkable.

ROMANS: Well, I'm so pleased that now young people are telling me, oh, I've got a letter from this consulting company and will have a job in the fall.

SAMBOLIN: Christine, thank you.

BANFIELD: Thanks so much.

Twenty-four minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

Coming up next the president's bold new decision to support same-sex marriage. Is that going to make a difference in the November election? Some say, oh, yes, others say not so much?

You're watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

Here's what we're looking at here for top stories this -- what are we, Thursday, already. And this is the bottom of the hour.

President Obama making history, coming out in support of same- sex marriage which is a dicey political move and outraged some conservative Christians who say that they are ready to take action.

Also, two overnight explosions caught in Damascus, Syria. One of those last caught on camera. You got to see it. It's quite something.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

BANFIELD: Government officials are saying that dozens were killed and injured in these blasts.

And normally, we are telling you about the government is doing all damage to its people. But today, this is a story about the Syrian people who are rising up. The opposition saying that they were able to destroy their own regime's intelligence agency. There was damage on the people's side, as well, though.

Also, Chicago jury deciding the fate of William Balfour, Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law. It's resuming deliberations in the case this morning. He's, of course, is charged with murdering Hudson's mother and brother and 7-year-old nephew -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Well, this morning President Obama taking sides in what many consider to be one of the last civil rights battles in America, same-sex marriage.

In an interview with ABC News, Robin Roberts, the president became the first U.S. president to back the right of gay couples to wed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At a certain point, 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The president also revealing his evolution was not just political, but has been talking about the issue with his wife and daughters and that they actually helped sway his thinking.

Meanwhile, President Obama's likely Republican contender, Mitt Romney, was quick to make sure his supporters knew what he was thinking at a campaign stop in Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender and I don't favor civil unions if they're identical to marriage other than by name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Richard Socarides is a former senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton. He's also the president of Equality Matters and he is joining us this morning with some really great perspective.

Thank you very much for being here.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, EQUALITY MATTERS: Good morning.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you.

So, you served as President Clinton's point man on gay and lesbian issues and were there when he signed the defense of marriage act back in 1996.

How would you advise or how would you have advised President Obama on this issue now?

SOCARIDES: Well, the interesting thing -- you're exactly right, I was there on that day when President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act and I wrote in my piece in "The New Yorker" yesterday that the interesting thing is how far we've traveled as a country that just 16 years ago when President Clinton was president, he, you know, it was clear to me and those of us around him at the time that he did not want to sign the Defense of Marriage Act but his political advisers told him, it was too much of a risk in the middle of his re- election bid.

Now, 16 years later we have almost the exact same situation. We have the president who is in the middle of a re-election bid, but the culture and the public opinion has changed so dramatically and so quickly that now the president was able to reject that advice from his political advisers and was a real profile in courage.

SAMBOLIN: So, you think he rejected advice on this issue?

SOCARIDES: I mean, I think he was probably getting advice on both sides. It's clear that, you know, marriage in this country -- marriage equality is a 50/50 proposition so in some places it's going to hurt him. In some places it's going to help him.

It's going to change the electoral calculus. So, I'm sure he had advisers who said, no, no, don't do that, wait a little bit.

SAMBOLIN: Wait until after the election.

SOCARIDES: Wait until after.

SAMBOLIN: Does it surprise you he didn't?

SOCARIDES: I think that they realized -- he realized, you know, it was beautiful the way he said in talking with his wife and daughter, he realized that the issue was too much of a front burner issue to just kind of sit on it for another six months. I don't think the press and advocates like myself would have allowed it just to sit there.

So I think he really did the right thing. It is really a profile in courage. Not to take anything away from him to say that, you know, it was a calculation. I mean, he showed a lot of guts yesterday in doing this.

SAMBOLIN: Let's talk about how this could be divisive, according to the most recent Gallup poll 60 percent of Democrats believe same-sex marriages should be legal.

SOCARIDES: Right.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-seven percent of independents are for same-sex marriage, as well.

Is he putting his entire re-election on the line with this announcement, specifically with blue collar Democrats or independents in Iowa, north -- we saw what happened in North Carolina, right, Ohio and Pennsylvania?

SOCARIDES: I don't really think so. I think it's an important issue in our country today. But I that that people will look at each of these men and take a test of leadership and I think when the test is leadership on issues like this, it's clear that President Obama is, you know, is winning.

I mean, I think that people know where he stands. I mean he's been an incredibly positive -- he's -- even before yesterday he had an incredibly positive impact on gay rights as president. People know he supports equal rights.

If you're a single-issue voter, if you're going to vote for or against someone because of where they stand on same-sex marriage, you know, you're not going to be -- your vote -- your mind was not changed yesterday. So, I think people knew where he stood. Not going to change anything.

SAMBOLIN: I want to talk about the --

SOCARIDES: And he did the right thing. That was really important.

SAMBOLIN: I want to talk about that. Let's listen to a bit of his announcement and weigh in on that and how personal this was.

SOCARIDES: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You know, Malia and Sasha have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and talking about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha that, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friend's parents would be treated differently. It doesn't make sense to them and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: You know, I'm watching you here as you are watching this and I'm sure you saw it yesterday and you're smiling and you're nodding. This was very personal, wasn't it? How did you feel about that?

SOCARIDES: You know, when he talks about Michelle or the girls, those two lovely girls, you know he's like headed in the right direction always. But, you know, this is the conversation that families all over America are having about this issue.

And, you know, when I hear him talking about those girls -- those young girls, you know, how our culture has changed. Look at those, the two heroes on "Glee" are two gay high school kids trying to figure out how to do the right thing and navigate the issue, you know, a show on a rival network FOX, which is not known for its progressive programming. So I mean, I think it's really a moment and that he was able to talk about his young girls in this context really shows you how far we've come.

SAMBOLIN: Do you think that's what is going to happen now, that this dialogue will continue and perhaps we'll see those numbers continuing to change and people changing their minds about this issue?

SOCARIDES: I do. I think the president talked about his journey and everybody is entitled to their journey. That's what we're doing in this country, having a discussion about this. So I think this will help the discussion and hopefully bring us to some kind of national consensus.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, thank you very much for joining us this morning with your perspective. We appreciate it.

SOCARIDES: Thanks for having me.

SAMBOLIN: Richard Socarides, former senior adviser of Bill Clinton, president of Equality Matters and Democratic strategist, as well. Thank you very much for that.

And until now, this issue of same-sex marriage has predominantly an issue handled at the state level, and it turns out state laws have been at odds with general public opinion on same-sex marriage.

Christine Romans is breaking down the issue for us state by state this morning, which is what we were just talking about.

ROMANS: Right.

SAMBOLIN: How that's going to affect the election.

ROMANS: You know, interesting because public opinion has evolved here, but the states are just catching up to perhaps the public opinion of 15 or 20 years ago. Let me show you what I mean. This is a trend line in public opinion looking back to 1996, pretty wide apart here in 1996. Those in support of same-sex marriage and those against it. No, 68 percent, yes, 27 percent.

But look at how it's generally been closing, the gap has been closing since then. Today, slightly more people, this blue line, favor same-sex marriage. That's what the polls say, but what people actually are doing with their votes, what states are doing is telling a different story.

This is how it looks right now in the states here. Twenty-eight states have constitutional provisions defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Those are the dark blue states here defining marriage, constitutional amendment, man or woman. Ten states have statutory provisions defining marriage as between a man and woman. That's statutory provisions, that's in the light blue or medium blue rather.

Seven states issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples right now. Those are the ones in yellow. It's like Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia. And then three states have statutory or judicial recognition of same-sex marriage but it hasn't taken effect yet. Those are Maryland, Washington and California. Those are in the light blue.

And we have five in white and these five white -- the states in white have no statutory or constitutional provisions on same-sex marriage, which basically means they haven't decided yet but this is what the states look like even as that graph I showed you before shows that the opinion polls are really narrowing, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: I know. That's why a lot are calling it a risky move.

Thank you so much, Christine.

Thirty-seven minutes past the hour.

Ahead at 7:00 on "STARTING POINT," Soledad O'Brien gets reaction from both sides of the same-sex marriage debate when she's joined by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Mitchell Gold, the founder of the group, Faith in America and longtime gay rights activist.

BANFIELD: Thirty-eight minutes now past six. And here's one to think over as you have breakfast with your kids. Kids in China are using performance-enhancing drugs for their brains. I'm not kidding, I.V. drips in the classroom, cramming for a college entry exam and that's what's supposed to be helping them? Holy cow. We'll explain.

As we all take a deep breath over that, it's breathtaking. A check of today's weather story with Rob Marciano.

I don't know if you saw those pictures.

SAMBOLIN: Anything to keep your kids competitive, right? Good gracious.

MARCIANO: Yes, if they weren't far enough ahead as it is, now they have I.V. drips.

All right. Let's go, kids. Get to school today if you're heading to school across the northeast, you'll run into rainfall from Boston, Hartford, Bridgeport. It's about to come to an end in New York City. It's already dry in Philadelphia and D.C. So figure dry the next 30 minutes and then New York, Hartford in a couple of hours and shortly after lunchtime in Boston.

This front will bring in breezy and cooler and drier conditions, back side of it down across Texas, severe weather and maybe some flooding because of some heavy rain, temperatures behind the front, 66 Chicago, 77, beautiful day in Atlanta and it'll be 66 degrees once the rain passes through Boston.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Forty-three minutes now past the top of the hour on the East Coast, 6:43.

Let's get you up-to-date with top stories with Christine Romans.

Hi, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, again.

President Obama making history, officially going on the record in support of same-sex marriage. He made that announcement yesterday, becoming the first U.S. president ever to do so publicly.

The president heads west later this morning for two fund-raisers in Seattle. Then it's on Hollywood and actor George Clooney's house where a reception is expected to rake in up to $15 million in campaign donations.

Disturbing new details about al Qaeda terror tactics. U.S. officials say the terrorist group planned to smuggle bombs inside cats and dogs. Officials say Ibrahim al Asiri, the man accused of masterminding the foiled underwear bomb plot, was working on new explosives to try to get past airport security.

Authorities say 30-year-old al Asiri planned to surgically implant devices inside pets, cameras and computers.

The prosecution in the corruption trial of John Edwards will rest its case today without calling the former senator's mistress Rielle Hunter to the stand. Yesterday a former spokesperson for Edwards, Jennifer Palmieri talked about Elizabeth Edwards' final days and how Elizabeth lamented the fact that she would be dying alone.

Getting fired up for the upcoming Olympic Games, the torch- lighting relay kicked off just a few hours ago in Greece among the ruins of the ancient games. The torch is now headed on an eight-day tour around the country. Next week, it arrives in the U.K. for an 8,000-file 70-day nationwide relay.

And when the light goes out, the games begin. The opening ceremony is July 27th in London.

Every day we bring you a little advice from successful interesting people we interview at CNN. Today, the advice comes from former football player, Tiki Barber.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIKI BARBER, FORMER NFL PLAYER: The best advice I ever received came from my mother who told me when I was going through hard times as a kid to always believe in myself because if I didn't, no one else would either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There you go. Just a little bit of advice to take to work today. I always notice that many of them come from your mother. So, Happy Mother's Day two days early.

BANFIELD: I was going to ask you, what is the percentage? It seems like at least half, at the very least half of the people we ask.

ROMANS: You know, we've got a lot of these that we've been doing, and I would say we're about 60 percent is advice from mom.

BANFIELD: Mine is, without question my best advice from my mom over and over and over. Well, the one that always sticks out is luck is the crossroads between opportunity and preparation.

ROMANS: Oh.

BANFIELD: And then, nose to the grindstone, girl. That's the other one. (LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: There you go.

BANFIELD: Nose to the grindstone.

ROMANS: There you go.

SAMBOLIN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: We always appreciate those.

Forty-five minutes past the hour. New controversy about performance enhancing drugs, not for baseball or football players. Take a look at this. It is students in China using I.V. drips in the classroom to cram for a college entry exam, but is that too extreme?

BANFIELD: It looks like Frankenstein's lab. That's crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. We're going to take a look at this -- much closer look right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 6:49.

How far would you go to get your kid into the college of your choice? I want to show you what's happening in China. Brace for it. Look at that picture. Students in one class seen hooked up to I.V.s with what I will call some sort of supplement designed to help them study better for important college entrance exams.

Me thinks it's an amino acid, but our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has been looking into this and what this could mean for college bound students right here in the good ole' US of A where we wouldn't think of doing this. Elizabeth Cohen, what are those kids doing?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right. It is amino acids. That's what we're told, Ashleigh. When you look at those pictures, it's clear that the teachers know about this. Not only do they know about it, but actually, it's being supplemented by the school.

The kids pay a little bit of money, and the school supplements the rest to have these I.V.s going into their arms. Ashleigh, this is really nothing like the United States, and that they're studying for these college entrance exams that will literally influence their entire life. It's not like the S.A.T. where it's a piece of their admissions. It is everything.

And so, they say, look, if we want to get a little bit of a mental edge, we're going to get it. Now, what's interesting here is there's really not any proof that this will help them. There are some suggestions that amino acids might sort of combat mental fatigue to some degree, but it's not entirely clear.

So, you know, I'm not really sure if this is going to help them or not. And I have to wonder, who put those needles in? I mean, is there a school nurse? Do they do it for each other? I mean, I don't even want to think about.

BANFIELD: It looks hideous. That image just sort of harrowing to think (ph) all these kids. And how many of them might have been pressured into it because everyone else was doing it and they would be left behind if they didn't? I think the bigger question also here, Elizabeth is if what you're saying is true, we're not really sure if the amino acids can give you that great mental edge. Do we know the opposite? Can it do something bad?

COHEN: You know, it really depends on the dosage. If they're taking lots of this, it could have an effect on their kidneys. I don't know if they're doing this for just a couple of weeks or if they're doing this long time. I don't know what the dosage is. You know, probably, they don't really know either. So, it's a pretty scary thing. It really is.

BANFIELD: You know, Elizabeth, it's been a year or two since I was studying for my finals -- OK, three or four, and I do remember admitting live on television that I took some of those caffeine pills to try to get through those real cram nights, but here in the U.S., have we progressed differently? Are we so different from those kids in China, albeit the image is startling, but how are we faring?

COHEN: Well, you know, it's interesting because that image is so startling, and we think oh, my gosh, how can they do this? Well, I want to introduce you to a young man that I met a year ago who was studying for his final. His name is Jerrod. He's a college student in Alabama, and he is very open about taking Adderall.

He buys it from his friends, which is totally illegal, and he used it to get through the night. So, you know, there's no I.V. in his arm, but he's taking Adderall and he and other young people we talk to said everybody does it. Not everybody, but a lot of kids do it. So, you don't have the image of I.V. bags hanging down, but they are taking prescription drugs prescribed to someone else.

BANFIELD: And while that's not legal, you know, there are all the monster energy drinks that people are slamming down at four or five per night, as well.

COHEN: Right.

BANFIELD: So, fascinating -- just fascinating and disturbing all at the same time. Elizabeth, it's lovely to see you. Thanks for coming on.

COHEN: Nice to see you.

BANFIELD: Elizabeth Cohen joining us live this morning, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Ashleigh. Fifty-two minutes past the hour. Up next, a segment we like to call "Today in Tan Mom." Seriously? Why her famous look may start fading really fast here and we knew this was coming. Did you. There is now an action figure.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or on your mobile phone. Just go to CNN.com/TV. We'll be right back for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Hey there. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. It's time to take a look at what is trending on the web. And yes, apparently, we're not burned out yet. Today, in tan mom news, according to TMZ, several tanning salon surrounding --

BANFIELD: Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: She's chocolate.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: New Jersey home has banned tan mom, Patricia Krentcil, from their premises. And now some North Jersey papers are reporting the state department of health is getting involved, as well.

BANFIELD: Bad press.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Look at her. I mean, that was before the chocolate brown. Some have even posted pictures of her, but how could you miss this woman? And then, there's this, folks. Patricia Krentcil is now the inspiration behind this, the new tanorexic mom action figure from a company called Hero Builders.

That's the same company that brought you the White House crasher, Michaele Salahi action figure. The salable (ph) tanning booth is sold separately, but --

BANFIELD: Tell me if I'm crazy that with the snap-off head, does it look like they churned this one out way too fast?

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: I know it's the likeness (ph). It looks like they got their kid's orange crayon.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: And that's now they got this thing to market. (INAUDIBLE).

All right. So, 57 minutes past the hour. Your I.D., please. And by the way, pull out your Facebook profile, too, if you want into the bar. I'm not kidding. The BBC is reporting that bouncers in the UK are now asking for your Facebook profile so that they can try to weed out the underage drinkers with a more clever maneuver. This is not supposed to be a replacement --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: It is clever if you think about it. So, checking the person's I.D., but they know that's not foolproof. So, instead of doing what we used to hear when we were kids, asking, you know, challenge questions like what's your birthday, you know, what was your graduation year?

They're saying, show me your mobile phone and put your Facebook profile on it and let me see what you put as your birthday on your Facebook profile.

SAMBOLIN: People lie there, too, though. I mean, you just never know. So --

BANFIELD: Some people lie there, and I think once they know that this is the tactic, they're going to be lying a lot.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Even more.

BANFIELD: But this is why they're doing it. If you get caught putting underage drinkers in your bar in UK, you can be fined up to $8,000. So, it's expensive. They need other tactics.

SAMBOLIN: And one more story for you. "Angry Birds" soaring to an incredible milestone, one billion downloads. We know you're addicted, folks. 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: Have you ever played it?

SAMBOLIN: No, I don't. But my kids play it incessantly.

BANFIELD: It's addictive.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: It is absolutely addictive. Hard to find anyone who doesn't --

SAMBOLIN: Me, I don't. I asked around here and folks didn't play it either.

BANFIELD: What? This is CNN.

(LAUGHTER) BANFIELD: Oh, the control room is chiming in, saying, yes, we do. We do. Hey, great to have you here with us this morning. That's the total EARLY START, news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. STARTING POINT starts right now.