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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Brooks Facing Criminal Charges; JPMorgan Chase Hearings Coming; Rebekah Brooks Charged; FAMU Pres.: Band Suspension Will Remain In Place

Aired May 15, 2012 - 05:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Ali Velshi. Ashleigh Banfield is on assignment.

It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's kick it off.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we will.

Happening right now:

We are waiting to find out if former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks will face criminal charges for her role in the U.K. phone hacking scandal. We're told an announcement could come at any moment. You can see, we are monitoring it.

Brooks is accused of perverting the courts of justice in the investigation of Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Her husband and four others could also be charged criminally this morning. We will bring you the latest developments as soon as they become available.

VELSHI: Zoraida, it's not even 5:00 and you said perverting.

Also happening right now, France is ushering a brand new era with the swearing in of the new President Francois Hollande. There you see him shaking hands, kissing cheeks. He's expected to push new ways to deal with Europe's economic crisis. Hollande has blasted the austerity measures that have defined Europe's response to the crisis over the past two years. He is France's first socialist president since 1995.

SAMBOLIN: And also today, JPMorgan's CEO stands before his shareholders. This is happening in Tampa, Florida, to explain this potential $2 billion trading disaster. The same shareholders will be voting on Dimon's $23 million pay package.

We've also learned that the Senate Banking Committee will schedule hearings in the next few weeks.

And now, President Obama is weighing in. He spoke to ABC's "The View" about the measures that are needed to end Wall Street's pension for risk once and for all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is why we passed Wall Street reform. This is the best or one of the best managed banks. You could have a bank that isn't as strong, isn't as profitable making those same bets and we might have had to step in, and that's exactly why Wall Street reform is so important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: While in New York City to tape "The View" the president also picked up some campaign donations from Wall Street heavyweights at fundraiser hosted by the president of the Blackstone Investment Firm.

VELSHI: Also new this morning, we're getting a preview of never before seen evidence in the Trayvon Martin case. Prosecutors have filed an eight-page document listing several witnesses that the state plans to call to testify against defendant, George Zimmerman.

The document also details new evidence, including crime scene photos of Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's autopsy report and video from the night of the shooting, including the convenience store where prosecutors believe Trayvon went that night.

SAMBOLIN: It is two minutes past the hour here.

Now to the terror on a highway in Mississippi. Authorities on the hunt for a killer who they say may be posing as a police officer pulling cars over and shooting drivers dead. They are asking for the public's help now after two deadly shootings over the past week. That took place about 50 miles apart.

Police in the state are actually telling people, don't pull over if they see flashing lights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF BILL RASCO, DESOTO COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI: The thing that we want people to realize, if they feel like they're going to be pulled over, the first thing to do is turn on your flashers and dial 911.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. Very scary stuff.

Martin Savidge is live in Atlanta for us.

And, Martin, have they confirmed it is somebody dressed as a police officer pulling these cars over?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they haven't, Zoraida. Good morning to you. They haven't confirmed it because there are no witnesses to these particular events, but they have noted similarities in this case. Quite frankly, it is pretty troubling.

You know, remember we were all focused on that case of that kidnapped Tennessee family and the murder kidnapping story. At the same time there was another one evolving. First on May 8th, there was a 74-year-old man driving from Nebraska on a remote part of a northern Mississippi highway. His body was found at 1:30 in the morning shot to death.

Then three days later, three days later, on May the 11th, a woman is this time, found about 2:15 in the morning. This time, she's found dead outside her car. Authorities believe the cases are link. They also believe there's something else in common.

Listen to what they have to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN CHAMPION, DESOTO COUNTY, MS DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm not saying a man in a police car, what we're putting credence into is that a common denominator we have between both incidences is that we believe both vehicles were on the side of the road and you tend to look at how vehicles got to the side of the road and that's one of the things that we're certainly looking at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Both cars were in working order, and this is what they're surmising. So why did the drivers pull over? The fear is they may have pulled over because of somebody posing as a police officer. Again, no witnesses.

They're alerting the public to the problem and they're telling people, look, if you se flashing lights in the rear-view mirror, it's late at night, drive to a well lit, populated area, and at the same time, pick up your phone and call 911 to make sure the officer is legit. If they're not, you're also notifying authorities that you've got somebody behind you who you do not know.

It is a very scary situation.

SAMBOLIN: It is, indeed, because there are casinos along that area. And a lot of people driving through that highway. Martin Savidge, live for us in Atlanta, thank you.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

VELSHI: OK. Less than five minutes after we reported to you that we are waiting to find out whether former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks will face criminal charges. We have learned that she will.

Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks seen here and her husband will face criminal charges for her role in the U.S. phone hacking scandal. They are going to be charged with perverting the -- I'm sorry, the U.K. scandal. They're going to be charged with perverting the course of justice during the phone-hacking scandal. That is according to British press.

We are expecting a press conference right now. In fact, let's go to it and listen in right now to a press conference announcing those charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the "News of the World" and "The Sun" newspapers. Following charge these individuals will appear before Westminster magistrate on a date to be determined. No further action will be taken against the seventh suspect.

May I remind all concerned that these six individuals will now be charged with criminal offenses and that each has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said or reported which could prejudice that trial. And for these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further. Thank you.

VELSHI: Well, that was short and sweet. According to British law, they tend not to give out too much information prior to a charge. That was the crown, the government's attorney, announcing that Rebekah Brooks and her husband will be charged in the U.K. phone hacking scandal. They will be charged with perverting the course of justice during that phone hacking scandal.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: All right. Well, John Edwards' daughter, Cate, could be called to testify as the former senator's defense team tries to convince the jurors that nearly $1 million was used up to cover up Edwards' extramarital affair and that that money constituted gifts, not illegal campaign contributions.

It's an interesting distinction. Lora Haggard, a former chief financial officer for the Edwards presidential campaign in 2008, testified yesterday that she'd never considered the money to be a campaign contribution. Edwards' consultant Harrison Hickman also testified that he'd spoken with one of the benefactors who gave Edwards the money that he intended once again, as a gift, not a campaign contribution. The trial sort of hinges on that -- was he using campaign money or were these just gifts to John Edwards?

SAMBOLIN: It is seven minutes past the hour.

A wild fire burning out of control right now outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. Sixty firefighters working through the night, staying on the scene to guard some nearby homes. But officials say they aren't in any immediate danger. 911 calls went out to residents warning them they may have to get out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boxing up stuff. That's what I was doing before you showed up. I was boxing up what I would like to take with me immediately. Hopefully that doesn't come with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Ali just said chipper. That's exactly what I thought. She's getting prepared because she's been warned.

The fire burning through dried trees and brush and growing to close to 300 acres now.

VELSHI: All right. A security supervisor at Newark Liberty International Airport is accused of being an illegal immigrant who stole the identity of a man who was killed 28 years ago. Officials say 50-year-old Bimbo Oyelwole was using the identity of a man named Jerry Thomas. He was supervising more than 30 private security guards at the airport and had access to a secured area.

It's not clear how he passed numerous background checks with the New Jersey state police and border patrol.

SAMBOLIN: And a massive sinkhole in Florida is now growing even bigger. Look at this. It's forcing at least one family to leave their home. The sinkhole first appeared Friday in a backyard. This is Jonesville, right outside of Gainesville.

The hole is now 80 by 40 feet. It swallowed a barbecue grill and is now inching towards a shed. The property has been condemned and the family living out there has moved out.

VELSHI: Swallowed a barbecue, that thing can swallow a house. All right.

SAMBOLIN: About to, Ali. It looks like.

VELSHI: The story that we business geeks have been talking about all week, Facebook is raising the price range for its IPO. This is brand new information, by the way. Shares which were expected to go for less are now going to sell for $34 to $38 each up from the previous $28 to $35 range.

That means when it goes public on Friday morning, the value of the company could top $100 billion.

But Zoraida, that doesn't mean any of us will get in in that $34 to $38 range.

SAMBOLIN: Is it a surprise that that happened?

VELSHI: When a stock is really well-subscribed, when people really want to buy it this often happens.

SAMBOLIN: OK. All right. Unfortunately we're not going to get.

VELSHI: All right. Then, unfortunately, we're not going to get anywhere close to that price.

SAMBOLIN: I keep waiting for E-trade.

VELSHI: They do. E-trade, Schwab, and Ameritrade will have them. But you've got to be a really active, big investor with them to get it. But they will have some.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, there you have it. If you are a big, active, investor, you, too, can get in on it.

All right. Ten minutes past the hour.

This just in: AAA just announced gas prices unchanged over the past 24 hours. That's unfortunate. Normally, I'm telling you it's going down. It's still standing at $3.73 a gallon. But the national average was falling for eleven days before that.

VELSHI: All right. It is a nuclear reactor you've never heard about. Don't feel bad about this. People living next door didn't know either.

How a big American company kept nuclear secrets from its neighbors coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Good morning to you. Thirteen minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Goods morning.

Breaking news: we've just learned former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks will face criminal charges for her role in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal in the investigation of Rupert Murdoch's empire. She's accused of perverting justice. Her husband Charlie Brooks has also been charged.

The couple releasing a statement that reads, "We deplore this weak and unjust decision after the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS. We will respond later today after our return from the police station."

More than a dozen students and their driver recovering from injuries this morning after their school bus slammed into the back of a truck near Springfield, Illinois. The bus full of sixth graders was returning from a field trip yesterday afternoon when it rammed the truck into a construction zone.

Ron Paul is not officially suspending his campaign for the White House, but he won't be spending anymore money on it. Instead of trying to compete in the remaining primary contests, the Texas congressman plans to collect as many delegates as he can at state conventions so he can have more of a voice at the national GOP convention in Tampa, in August.

A U.S. astronaut launching into space this morning joining a Russian crew on journey to the International Space Station. The team took off from Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The crew is joining up to three colleagues at the space station.

Now, if you're leaving the house right now, you could watch us anytime on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to CNN.com/TV -- Ali.

VELSHI: Thank you, Christine. We will be checking back with you in about five minutes.

The hot, dry conditions out West and the wet damp conditions up North. Let's get the information from my old friend, it's not you, is it? Rob Marciano.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can't believe you're sitting in that seat. Nice to see you, Ali.

VELSHI: Good to see you, Rob.

MARCIANO: Good to see you this early in the morning.

Once again, the heat is on across the Southwest. We start you off with some fire footage out of Arizona. We showed you some in Colorado. This -- there are four fires burning. Most of them, the bigger ones, just North and East of Phoenix by about 80 or 90 miles. This is sunflower fire just to the Northeast. Air tankers are trying to drop some retardant down.

About 3,100 acres burned. I got about 40 percent containment. But there are some evacuations that are underway, and also for the gladiator fire just to the West of there.

Not because of the winds but because of the dry conditions and heat, 106 degrees expected for a high temperature again today. We had near record highs yesterday. So, the heat is on out there for a fire threat. Couple of fronts out to the east.

This is the wetness that Ali was talking about -- a stalled frontal boundary. Not going to move that quickly. Kind of drapes back to Texas where we're seeing showers and thunderstorms, some of which are heavy duty, right around Brownsville and Mexico border.

Right now, not a lot of action as far as severe thunderstorms across the Carolinas. But yesterday we had some severe thunderstorms with some flooding. Right now, there's some rain across from Philadelphia, New York, back to Boston. This will begin to fill in throughout the day today and right through tonight and tomorrow.

Here's the two-day forecast for rainfall across the I-95 corridor: decent amount of rain. So, you are traveling to the airports, New York metro and Philly especially today will see some issues.

Ali, back to you.

VELSHI: Thank you, Rob. Good to see you.

MARCIANO: Likewise.

SAMBOLIN: It is 17 minutes past the hour.

Time for "Early Reads".

"The Democrat and Chronicle" in Rochester, New York, revealing shocking new details about Kodak's headquarters.

Listen to this, Ali, pretty mind boggling. Kodak Company is best known for its photographic film that captures those Kodak moments, right?

VELSHI: Right.

SAMBOLIN: But from 1978 to 2006, Kodak was hiding a secret nuclear reactor in its basement.

VELSHI: Why?

SAMBOLIN: Really? I don't know why.

That reactor was enriched with uranium, the same stuff used in atomic warheads. This is what Kodak says. They say the reactor was used for research and testing to check materials for impurities.

VELSHI: Wow.

SAMBOLIN: Does that answer your yes? I don't know.

VELSHI: Yes. I figure there must be other ways to check. Oh, well. It's gone now?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they dismantled that back in 2006.

VELSHI: Thanks, Kodak.

Here's one. A new study reveals sleep walking is much more common than experts previously believed. Thirty percent of people admitting to a history of sleep walking.

Web MD reports the study polled 16,000 adults, some of them said they sleep walked as a child. Similar study conducted last year, only 3.6 percent of adults said they had sleep-walked. It's almost 10 times as many.

Experts say sleep walking is much more common in childhood. And scientist believe that certain medications like antidepressants can increase the likelihood of sleepwalking. It's entirely possible that I'm sleep walking right now.

SAMBOLIN: Especially as hard as you've been working. My kid was sleep walking and shocked me. I'm having a full conversation and never remembered it, went right back to sleep.

VELSHI: Interesting.

SAMBOLIN: Very odd. Very, very odd.

VELSHI: Well, for an expanded look at all of these stories, head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart.

SAMBOLIN: How a billion down the drain? High drama as the boss of JPMorgan Chase gets ready to explain to shareholders how that trading disaster actually went down. We have a live look at what's to come right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-two minutes past the hour.

Good morning to you. We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. markets starting off the week again with a whimper. The Dow now, NASDAQ and S&P 500 lost about 8 percent yesterday.

VELSHI: U.S. futures are up along with European markets because of a better than expected report on the growth of Germany's economy which -- you saw the big headline, it grew five times as much as expected.

ROMANS: Can you believe it?

VELSHI: There's a smaller headline involved and Christine Romans is going to bring us that story and, of course, JPMorgan.

ROMANS: Yes, we can talk about JPMorgan because that is the big business story in the U.S. right now. This $2 billion trading loss.

The Company stock is down 14 percent over the past five sessions and it's one of those stocks that is in a lot of different mutual funds. So, you're probably feeling this in your 401(k).

JPMorgan holding its annual shareholders meeting in Tampa, Florida, today. Oh, what time for Jamie Dimon.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is there for us. I want to bring her in.

Poppy, nice to se you. JPMorgan CEO, what kind of blowback could he face at this meeting? Because investors have already voted. This is the annual meeting after they've already submitted all the prospects.

So, what kind of blowback is he going to face from investors in the bank?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this is a guy, Christine, that's widely regarded as one of the best on the street. The president this week calling Jamie Dimon one of the smartest bankers out there. So, people have a lot of confidence in him.

And, frankly, he's been very forthright about this loss saying to the media, look, we were dead wrong. We made a big mistake and we're going to clean it up.

Two big things are going to happen today, as you said. Most of those votes are already in. However, the people that do come here to JPMorgan's headquarters in Tampa are going to vote on two things. One you care about are one, stay on pay.

Part of Dodd-Frank, Wall Street reform, executive compensation, what should that look like? As you'll recall with Citigroup, they voted against the $15 million pay package for CEO Vikram Pandit. So, what are they going to say for Jamie Dimon and the top exec here at JPMorgan.

Also there's going to be the question of the role of chairman and CEO. Should those be one?

Dimon has held those respectively since 2005, 2006. So, he holds those top spots. That's going to be a big question here.

You've heard Senator Corker out of Washington calling for a hearing on that, on this. We haven't that yet. But this is becoming, as you know, Christine, very, very political.

ROMANS: Certainly, this is a day that's going to test Jamie Dimon's political skills, public relations skills, and the skills he has in dealing with shareholders.

The president weighing in on this on "The View." How political could this get, do you think?

HARLOW: Very political, right? So, the president did come out in a sense backing Jamie Dimon saying this is one of the smartest bankers on the street. He also said this is why Wall Street reform is so important. The president said, look, if this wasn't JPMorgan, which is widely regarded as sort of the king of Wall Street, then what would have happened?

And I also spoke with Mike Mayo (ph), a banking analyst who covers JPMorgan and actually has a cell rating on the bank, very critical of the bank. He said if this was the head of one of the other big banks, they might be ousted for something like this.

So, I think JPMorgan has a little more leeway because they've exceed their peers, Christine. But there's going to be a lot of pressure, key question, is this bank too big to manage with $2 trillion in assets. Is it putting us in danger? That's a question.

We're going to get inside and sit in on the shareholder meeting. So, I'll fill you in throughout the day and hear what people are asking.

ROMANS: Thank you, Poppy.

Poppy in Tampa, that money.

You know what's interesting, you guys, because Jamie Dimon has been a Democrat, right?

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: A few years ago he was whispered about as being a treasury secretary. Maybe that would be the feather in his cap. And just recently this week and also this weekend he was saying he's just barely a Democrat at this point.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: He's is disturbed and disgusted by what he's seen in Washington in general. I think he was somebody who the president was defending him on "The View," he says he's just barely a Democrat.

SAMBOLIN: From a layman's perspective, this guy has a lot of power.

ROMANS: He does for a very big bank. It's a long story. This is a guy who cobbled together that power after being exiled from New York in the '90s, and built the banks up and built the empire himself.

So, he went from a small town banker to a big time banker, small time banker again to now very big time banker.

VELSHI: All right. Christine, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

VELSHI: Commencement address or campaign speech? Coming up, look at how President Obama and Mitt Romney both tried to court female and evangelical voters while speaking to college grads. Look at that. Look at that.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: What do you think of this new --

SAMBOLIN: I am loving it. And also, happy music kind of to get your day started here.

VELSHI: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ali Velshi sitting in for Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Here's what's happening at half past the hour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): A manhunt on right now in Mississippi. Police say a killer may be posing as a fake cop, pulling people over, and shooting them dead. Police are urging drivers to keep going if they see flashing lights behind them and to also dial 911 at the same time.

VELSHI (voice-over): That is incredible.

SAMBOLIN: It really is. VELSHI: I mean, this is not what you think about when police are behind you.

All right. John Edwards' defense team trying to convince jurors that nearly $1 million used to cover up Edwards' affair constituted gifts, not illegal campaign contributions. This is what the case hinges on.

Laura Haggard (ph), a former chief financial officer for the Edwards' presidential campaign back in 2008 testified yesterday that she never considered the money to be a campaign contribution and never felt the need to report it to the Federal Election Commission.

SAMBOLIN: We're also following breaking news for you. We have just learned that former News International CEO, Rebekah Brooks, will face criminal charges for her role in the U.K. phone hacking scandal. She is accused of perverting the course of justice in the investigation of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Dan Rivers is live in London for us. And Dan, I'm reading here online that it was minutes before the official announcement came through that she released a statement along with her husband, saying we deplore this weak and unjust decision. Really aggressive words there. And she says there's more to come after she finishes at the police station.

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I'm sure they will be contesting these charges. What's going to -- basically, let me translate this into plain English. They've basically been charged along with four others with concealing evidence while (INAUDIBLE) phone hacking scandal at that disgrace tabloid, "The News of the World."

So, without getting bogged down into much detail, various charges of taking away boxes of evidence. She and her P.A. were charged with that of concealing electronic equipment from the police. Basically, it was alleged that a bag with a laptop and telephones were put in a dumpster near her apartment, which may have had evidence on it and also just concealing other material from the police.

This is a pretty serious charge in the U.K. and it can and has in the past with other cases carried a prison sentence. So, it's serious stuff. What will happen now is she, her husband, and the other people involved will go to a police station somewhere in the U.K.

They will have the charges formally read to them, and then, at some point later, this will go, first of all, to what we call a magistrate's court and then eventually to a more serious court, a crown court where there will be a full blown trial.

And that may be several months away. But what's significant about this, this is the first set of charges in relation to the phone hacking scandal since the original reporter, Clive Goodman, and the PI, Glenn Mulcaire, were charged back in 2006. It's been such a storm of controversy (ph) around phone hacking. Now, for the first time since 2006, we've actually got more people being charged.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Dan, was it a surprise that these charges came down?

RIVERS: I don't think so. I think she was probably expecting it. The fact that they put out a statement so quickly would suggest that they were expecting this decision. The file was passed from the police to what's called the crown prosecution service. It's like the district attorney, I suppose, equivalent in the U.S. back in March.

So, they've been mulling this over for a couple of months almost now and have decided that there is sufficient evidence, they feel, to go forward with a prosecution. So, as I say now, this will be a kind of fairly lengthy and formal process but will eventually result in a full-blown trial. We'll have to wait and see how they plead at that first hearing.

SAMBOLIN: And Dan, you did mention prison time. Do we know how much time she potentially faces?

RIVERS: Well, I think in the past, each charge of perverting the course of justice could carry one or two years in prison. And I think (ph) the maximum that anyone has served recently, in the last 100 years or so, for perverting the court of justice is about ten years. So, you know, if they are found guilty, they could be looking at several years in prison.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dan Rivers live in London for us. Thank you.

VELSHI (on-camera): OK. Riddle me this. A commencement address or a political speech? In the case of President Obama and Mitt Romney, might have been a little of both this week. Yesterday, the president eager to court women voters delivered the commencement address at Barnard College, and Romney desperate to bring evangelicals on board chose Liberty College on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, you are now poised to make this the century where women shape not only their own destiny but the destiny of this nation and of this world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Let's go live to Washington where we're joined this morning by CNN White House correspondent, Dan Lothian, and CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser. Gentlemen, good morning to you. Dan, let's start with you. Tell us about President Obama's strategy courting the female vote. DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, you know, first of all, this is a voting block that could very well determine who wins the election in November and you look at the most recent polling. Mitt Romney has inched up just slightly ahead of the president when it comes to support among women.

This is a group that President Obama won against John McCain back in 2008. And so, while that address, that commencement address that the president delivered yesterday in many ways was a very traditional one, it was focused not only at the women there in the audience but at the broader female audience as well across the country.

You heard the president talk about equal pay, about fighting for a seat at the table, about taking control of your own health care matters. And the president, whether it's yesterday or whether it's out there on the campaign trail in key battleground states, never misses the opportunity to talk about strong women in his own life, the first lady, his mother, his grandmother.

And, again, today we'll be sitting down on the popular television show "The View." He taped it yesterday, but the show will air today, a large female audience there where the president will be talking about some serious matters but also having some fun as well as he tries to make female voters comfortable with the idea of giving him a second term.

VELSHI: All right, Dan. Let's talk to Paul about the evangelical voters. Mitt Romney, you know, obviously Paul, both of these candidates want to resonate with female voters. That will be more important overall in the campaign.

But for Mitt Romney in particular, courting these evangelical voters who are not sort of picking him as their first choice throughout this primary campaign is going to be important.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: To win the evangelical vote, the social conservative vote which, of course, is part of the base of the Republican Party. Other candidates like Rick Santorum did better. So, of course, Liberty University, the evangelical school founded by the late Jerry Falwell, seemed like the natural choice.

But you know, his speech, of course, yes, Ali, it was heavy on faith and values, heavy on the importance of the family. But he only once mentioned same-sex marriage. Of course, the president's decision last week to say he's personally supportive of legalizing same-sex marriage. Romney only brought it up once saying he reinforces his view that, yes, marriage is between a man and a woman.

He was so -- yes, he was reaching out to evangelicals, no doubt about it, but a lot of the speech was about the economy and about jobs. That's really Mitt Romney's wheel house. And that is, I guess, the basis of his campaign for presidency that he can do a better job, he says, than President Barack Obama when it comes to the economy and when it comes to creating jobs.

That's why you heard a lot about that in his speech and that's why that's what he's back to concentrating on this week, Ali, on the campaign trail.

VELSHI: This is an issue, Paul, because when Mitt Romney veers out of his wheel house he has problems. Even in the economy, when he started talking about how he saved the auto industry, that came down on him like a ton of bricks.

Would it not be better for him to just stick to what he knows and what he's good at rather than drifting to this territory that was largely controlled by his opponents in the primary debate?

STEINHAUSER: Well, and you've seen him try to come back every time that the issue was shifted away from the economy, away from jobs.

VELSHI: Yes.

STEINHAUSER: You've seen Mitt Romney out of his campaign try to get it right back there. He's talking in Iowa today, a battleground state, about the debt, about federal spending. That, again, is where he wants his campaign to be focused.

VELSHI: All right. Paul, good to see you. Dan, thanks very much. Good morning to both of you guys. We'll talk to you later.

SAMBOLIN: It is 39 minutes past the hour.

An 18-year-old fisherman from Panama who survived 28 days adrift at sea is suing Princess Cruise Lines. Adrian Vazquez (ph) says one of the company ships could have stopped and rescued him and his two companions. Take a look at that there. But it just kept going, they say. Listen to two passengers who were on the cruise ship last month spotted Vazquez desperately signaling for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY MEREDITH, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: We could see him doing this with his shirt over and over and over and over.

JEFF GILLIGAN, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: While we were on the ship, the feeling of powerlessness because we would have liked to, somehow, gone over there and rescued him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Well, princess cruises calls the incident a case of, quote, "unfortunate miscommunication." They say after the crew member was alerted by passengers, regretfully the captain of the Star Princess was never notified of the passenger's concern. Vazquez's two fishing companions did not survive.

VELSHI: Wow. Wow.

Water rocketing out of a water main after a car incident in Venice Beach in California. Check out that water main.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness! VELSHI: -- flooded nearby streets. At least one car in an underground garage where thousands of gallons of water went on for about 90 minutes before firefighters were called in. Ten engine companies responded to get it under control and pumped the water out.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh.

VELSHI: Yes, look at that. That's serious.

SAMBOLIN: Parked in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A grown man beats up two teenagers on the street. The assault was captured on home video, and it was posted online. Police say this was not a random attack. We're going to explain in a moment.

VELSHI: All right. And check out this picture. Is this snow or is it foam?

SAMBOLIN: Blowing snow. Fierce, blowing snow.

VELSHI: We'll tell you what it is when we come back. Keep an eye out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-four minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Man versus miners. Disturbing video surfacing online this morning of a one-sided attack that has a suspect in severe trouble. Alina Cho joins us now. Everything ends up on Facebook.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and the interesting thing is this is what led to the arrest.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

CHO: I mean, this is how police found it. This is the world we're living in, Zoraida. Good morning. Good morning, everybody. You know, it all started with a sucker punch. A brutal neighborhood beat down that was posted online on YouTube for the world to see. Now, we have to warn you, the video you're about to watch is a little hard to watch.

It begins with a group of men approaching three teens on the street. The teens are just hanging out having a conversation. Now watch. Winds up, punches one of the teens in the face. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

CHO: Now, the attack lasts for about a minute. More punches. Kicks are thrown. The victims, well, they don't appear to be able to fight back at all. Now, police say after viewing the video on YouTube, they were able to identify -- I know it's hard to watch. I mean, if you can see Zoraida's face. They were able to identify 19- year-old Baron Ewing (ph) as one of the attackers.

He was arrested over the weekend, booked into the Orange County Jail on a child abuse charge, but he has since posted bail and has been released. Ewing (ph) admitted to the beating and told police that this was a motive, retaliation for being jumped by one of the teens a few days earlier.

Now, as for the other attacker in the video, at this point, Zoraida, we do not know who this person is, and we do not know if he was arrested, but we have identified one of the attackers, Baron Ewing (ph), posted bail, released. He says he was attacked first a couple of days earlier and that's why he went back.

SAMBOLIN: And how did the police -- who alerted them about this video?

CHO: It's interesting because it was an anonymous tip from a woman who said that she wanted to protect two of the victims. That is why she called in to police. They went on to YouTube, the authorities, and soon after that, they were able to identify Baron Ewing (ph), again, the alleged attacker in this case.

SAMBOLIN: And then, the kids that we see in the video, how are they doing?

CHO: You know, it's hard to say because they -- the authorities are not identifying them. They are minors. Now, remember, this is why there was a child abuse charge, because all of the victims are minors.

Authorities have spoken to them, and they didn't suffer any serious injuries, but one of the fathers, actually, of the victims was tracked down by our affiliate, WFTB and this is what he had to say. He wouldn't reveal his identity but listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was horrible. I mean, when I saw it, I just -- I just come unglued. I mean, I couldn't believe what I was looking at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: I mean, if you're a father, imagine your worst nightmare, particularly --

SAMBOLIN: And you're watching it.

CHO: To be able to watch it. Of course, he says that he hopes, ultimately, these attackers are convicted, put behind bars, so they're not able to do this again. But, another case that we'll be watching very closely. But unbelievable video. I mean, I have to say, I watched it first time yesterday. Jaw dropped. And I had to watch it again because you really do have to watch it very closely to get a sense of what's going on.

SAMBOLIN: That was exactly my reaction as a parent watching that. And, you know, you're unable to do anything.

CHO: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: You definitely want that person prosecuted.

CHO: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: Alina Cho, thank you very much.

CHO: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: Ali, back to you.

VELSHI: It is -- we always do this. You keep doing this to me.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

VELSHI: This little camera doesn't have a clock on it

SAMBOLIN: Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

VELSHI: Forty-eight minutes -- you guys are just trying to trick me so that they don't invite me back. It's 48 minutes after the hour. Why can't you just go right to Christine? She has a clock.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know, but they try to do it to show that if it's not on the teleprompter, you don't know, my friend.

VELSHI: I don't know the time. Truth is, it was not in the teleprompter. I do not know the time.

ROMANS: All right.

VELSHI: All right. There is news, Christine.

ROMANS: We do. I've got the news headlines. This is what we're following for you at CNN this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): A manhunt right now in Mississippi. Police say a killer may be posing as a fake cop, pulling people over, and shooting them. There were two fatal shootings just 50 miles apart in the past week. The victims, a 74-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman both found dead in their cars in the side of the road.

The Florida A&M University marching band will remain suspended through the 2012-2013 academic year. The president of the school telling the school's board of trustees the band must be restructured before it will be allowed to get back together. New requirements may include tougher academic standards. More adults accompanying these band members on out-of-town trips. The death of band major, Robert Champion, exposing the band's culture of hazing there.

It's official. The NFL's Minnesota Vikings getting a new stadium. Oh, the people are paying for half of it. The governor has signed a bill that green lights the plan to build a new stadium at the size (ph) of the metro dome. The law commits the state and city of Minneapolis to pay a combined $498 million while the team will bring in $477 million in public financing.

Take a look at this incredible photo. A plane drowned in foam in a hanger at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. This is the first time we're seeing a picture of what happened after the fire suppression system, which would be, I guess, the fire suppression system, went off accidentally last month. The foam was 12 feet deep in the immediate after math. No one was hurt.

All right. The one thing you need to know about your money today, Facebook reports say has raised the price of its IPO. Active experienced investors will have the best shot at the IPO price. If you want to try to buy it, go for it, but remember these words. Limit order. Limit order.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Ali, did you hear that?

VELSHI: If I had hair to pull out, I would pull it out every time Christine says that.

ROMANS (on-camera): Let me finish, it's not a market order. You'll not be the stocker buying at the top when all the big guys getting at a much cheaper price. Ali is going to go in at a market order, aren't you, Ali?

VELSHI: I may just do that.

SAMBOLIN: I say bring the foam back.

VELSHI: Bring the foam back. That's right.

SAMBOLIN: Like wee moment. I said it looks just like snow.

VELSHI: Pop quiz, what time is it?

SAMBOLIN: 5:50.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: On the east coast.

VELSHI: On the east coast. All right. Coming up next on EARLY START, way to take all the fun out of it. A pill that could keep you from getting drunk ever again. We'll have details after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELSHI: Good morning. Take a look at this. Wow. That looks more serious than it probably is.

SAMBOLIN: Pomp and circumstance here.

VELSHI: That is Francois Hollande. He has just been sworn in -- there he is -- as the new French president. They move fast in France. They elect a president. The inauguration is very fast. Rainy day on the Elysee (ph). You see many, many people lined up in the rain. There he is, poking his head out, getting wet, and a strange assortment of very war-like looking horses.

SAMBOLIN: Is this very typical? Do you know?

VELSHI: I've never seen a French inauguration, but quite a spectacle, nonetheless.

SAMBOLIN: It is. Very nice, indeed.

VELSHI: Time to look at what's trending on the web. Drink up. Drink all you want. It won't matter. Yale researchers are developing a pill, they say, that will keep you sober no matter how much you've had to drink. It blocks the effects of alcohol on the central nervous system. Now, you might be asking why you'd ever take this pill.

I mean, why don't you just drink fizzy water and not get drunk and not pay as much as you pay for the drink. According to the "Daily Telegraph," researchers hope it could cut down on drunk driving accidents and even cure alcoholism. I get the point.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. But, perhaps, if you're a heavy drinker, this would help, right?

VELSHI: I suppose.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

VELSHI: All right.

SAMBOLIN: Maybe.

All right. Firefighters standing between homes and a growing wall of flames. A warning now out to residents in this area. Get ready, folks, to get out. We have an update coming up in our next hour on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)