CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Egyptian Vote in Historic Election; Facebook Finger Pointing; The Race For The White House; Nancy Reagan Suffering From Broken Ribs

Aired May 23, 2012 - 05:00   ET

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


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, history being made in the Middle East. For the first time in 5,000 years, Egyptians get to pick their own president.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, Facebook stock is dropping. Let the finger pointing begin. Morgan Stanley is accused of wrongdoing, and it's fighting back.

BANFIELD: And he wants gay people rounded up and placed inside electrified fences until they die. Extreme words from a pastor -- yes, a pastor in North Carolina. We're going to play the tape for you on CNN this hour.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Look who's here.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida Sambolin is on assignment today. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Let's get you started.

BANFIELD: And we'll start with this one.

It could be a day that brings a brand new era in the Middle East, but we're not sure what kind of era it's going to be because this is election day in Egypt. Millions of people going to the polls for a historic vote. Their first chance to cast a free vote for a leader in that country in its 5,000 years of existence.

And this is what they fought for last year in Tahrir Square. Remember these images, the people toppling their leader, Hosni Mubarak?

But there are still so many unknowns in this story. Are women going to have more freedom? Will Egypt go to the Islamists? And will the attitude toward Israel change for the better, for the worse?

Also, one of the candidates backed by a terrorist group?

All of this as we consider fears there could be more bloodshed if the military leaders in power don't like what the vote tells them.

Our Ben Wedeman is live in Cairo.

I know we have a very long delay in our connection with you, but get me up to speed on how things are going so far, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, so far, actually, voting has gone very smoothly, very calmly. There are no real reports of any sort of violence. What we have here is a gentleman casting his ballot. People by and large very positive, very enthusiastic about this process.

We spoke with one woman who was 2 1/2 hours waiting on a plastic chair outside the voting station to vote for the first time, and this woman was a spry 70 years old. For most Egyptians, the elections of the past for Hosni Mubarak, there was one September of 2005, it was a farce. Before that, all they had every six years was a referendum, and you could either say yes to Hosni Mubarak or no. One man told me this morning, even if you wrote no in the referendum, they would go and change your vote.

So this is truly a historic day for Egypt -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: One of the questions I have for you is I just sort of scanned through about 13 contenders. Four of them are leading. One was a former Arab League chief, a former prime minister, one candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, and another candidate a modern Islamist.

Any of these candidates -- are they going to be capable of doing what many in Egypt think is the most important thing? That is just restoring security. It is awful on those streets, and it wasn't this bad when Mubarak was in power.

WEDEMAN: Well, I think things really aren't as bad as they may have been portrayed recently. But certainly a restoration of security is a priority for almost every Egyptian you speak with. They want to see law and order reestablished. They want to see the economy reinvigorated.

This is a country where the economy was growing as much as 6 percent a year before the revolution, and since then, really, it's come to a halt. Are any of these candidates capable of fixing Egypt? Well, if you speak to them, they all will claim they are.

This is a very junction for Egypt, because basically what people have been a choice is between a civil route, a non-religious future for Egypt, and the other is with the Muslim Brotherhood, or the other main Islamist candidate, and that is to follow a route for Egypt where Islam is a very sort of determining factor.

And most polls would indicate there's a narrow margin in favor of a civil Egypt -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Ben Wedeman reporting for us live in that polling station as the actual vote gets under way. Stay with us, if you will, Ben, and keep us posted as the day goes on. Appreciate that.

ROMANS: All right. Big development this morning in the Facebook IPO fiasco. The state of Massachusetts serving financial giant Morgan Stanley with a subpoena after it was reported by "Reuters", the lead underwriter for the IPO cut its revenue forecast for Facebook in the days before the offering. This was information that they're investigating whether it reached all investors before the stock was listed or just some big, high profile investors.

Morgan Stanley telling CNN in an e-mail statement, "Morgan Stanley followed the same procedures for the Facebook offering that it follows for all IPOs. These procedures are in compliance with al applicable regulations."

Facebook shares have already dropped 18 percent from the debut of the IPO on Friday.

BANFIELD: Strong on foreign policy but weak on the economy. That is how voters feel about President Obama according to the latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll. Fifty percent of them disapprove of the way he's handling the economy, only 43 percent approve. Americans aren't very confident about a recovery anytime soon, either. Only 33 percent expect an improvement next year. That's down seven points since just March.

President Obama does get high marks from voters on his handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ROMANS: Strong winds fueling a wildfire in northern Nevada. Several homes destroyed already and nearly 3,500 acres wipe out. Hundreds of homes, structures, and utility lines are threatened at this moment.

BANFIELD: A woman is undergoing a mental evaluation this morning after causing a scare on an international flight, saying that she had some device implanted inside of her. She was on board a U.S. Airways flight from Paris to North Carolina yesterday when she made that claim in a note to the flight attendant. Fighter jets had to scramble yesterday to put that plane down in a different location. The flight was diverted to Bangor, Maine, and she was taken off of that plane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were down within minutes. I've been flying my whole life, I've never been from that altitude to landing that quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just weird. No one really knew what was going on. We thought it was a medical emergency. Then they told us they were low on fuel because there were strong headwinds. Then as we were landing, you could see all the ambulances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: It may have seemed like a medical emergency because federal officials say that doctors who were on board actually checked her out but found she had no recent scars. Of course, don't forget, she did say it was an implanted device in her body. They did say that she did not, however, pose any threat.

ROMANS: And is undergoing a psych eval as we speak.

BANFIELD: At least.

ROMANS: Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, set to testify today at a Senate hearing. Sullivan is expected to tell lawmakers there was no security breach in that prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia.

Meantime, "The Washington Post" reports four Secret Service agents fired in that scandal, they plan to fight their dismissal. An internal report found the four agents and five others engaged in serious misconduct while in Colombia before the president's trip that month.

Coming up at 7:10 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," Soledad talks with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. He will be grilling Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan him at today's hearing.

BANFIELD: Have you heard about the pastor in North Carolina?

ROMANS: Have I heard about it? Yes.

BANFIELD: Unbelievable. If you have not heard about it or at least heard him speak, have we got something for you. He says he has a plan for gays and lesbians. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES L. WORLEY, PASTOR, PROVIDENCE ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH: Build a great big large fence, 150 or 100-mile long and put all the lesbians in there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Yes, it doesn't stop there. Boy, does it ever not stop there. More ahead and why this sermon -- yes, it's a sermon -- might just get him in big trouble with the federal government. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A North Carolina church could be in serious trouble, could lose its tax exemption status this morning after a pastor there is accused of mixing politics with preaching during an anti--gay sermon. His name is Pastor Charles Worley, and he preaches at the Providence Road Baptist Church in Catawba Valley.

He proposed putting gays and lesbians behind an electric fence and then letting them die out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WORLEY: Build a great big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long, pull all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified until they can't get out. Feed them.

And you know what, in a few years, they'll die out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: While that might be troublesome, it is really what he said about voting during that sermon that could give him all the trouble with the feds. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WORLEY: I tell you right now, somebody said, who you going to vote for? I ain't going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: That is troublesome. Another reverend apparently says he's planning to file a complaint about that, about Pastor Worley's words.

That pastor's name is Barry Lynn, and he's an advocate for the separation of church and state, and he told "A.C. 360" that Pastor Worley really crossed the line with that one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Nobody would have mistaken that for an endorsement of Barack Obama. These are so far over the line. There's nothing nuanced about it. And there's no guarantee under the First Amendment that you can say anything you want and keep your tax exemption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: That may be how Reverend Lynn feels, but members of that church in question are certainly standing by their pastor. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything he could for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Takes a real firm stand on the Bible and what it says about different things. Whether I like it or not or whether anybody else likes it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being gay and lesbian or whatever, homosexual, is wrong according to the Bible. We love the people, hate the sin, OK? Point blank. You need to lay off my pastor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: You need to lay off the pastor, he says. Local activists are saying they're going to plan a peaceful protest this coming Sunday.

ROMANS: What part of that is loving the people, hating the sin? Putting people behind an electric fence and letting them die out doesn't sound very loving very much.

BANFIELD: It doesn't sound like what would Jesus do.

ROMANS: They didn't have electrified fence in the Old Testament. I don't know, I'm not a Bible scholar.

BANFIELD: Or the New Testament either.

ROMANS: That's true.

Also new this morning, more Americans support same-sex marriage. Watch this polling. A new poll finds 53 percent of Americans feel same-sex marriage should be legal, 39 percent said it shouldn't. Just six years ago, only 36 percent of Americans said they supported same sex marriage.

BANFIELD: Fourteen minutes now past the top of the hour. Get up, get out of here. It's getting late.

Egyptians heading to the polls. Exciting news overseas. Right now, they're going to elect their first president since the fallout and the fall of Hosni Mubarak just a year ago.

And, by the way, Hosni Mubarak held that dictatorship for 30 years. This is new. Live pictures, take a look from our "Reuters" short this morning. If all goes as planned, this election is going to end the military transitional period that Egypt has been in for the last year. The future is being closely watched not only by this country but also Israel to the north.

ROMANS: Not a whole lot of suspense left. Mitt Romney picked up two more primary wins, and he's in position to officially clinch the Republican nomination next week. Romney taking Kentucky with 67 percent and Arkansas by 68 percent, a total of 75 delegates up for grabss between those two states. Romney now less than 100 delegates a way from the magic number, 1,144.

BANFIELD: You think it's going to come in Texas? I think it's going to come in Texas.

ROMANS: Yes.

BANFIELD: All right. So, not another good day for this guy because verdict watch resumes this morning in John Edwards corruption trial. Back to court he goes like he has the last week. It is the third day yesterday that ended with no answers, no verdict, but a request, though, of a review of some more evidence.

They're going to have to decide whether money that was funneled by two supporters to Edwards' pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter were, in fact, illegal campaign contributions or merely just gifts. Day four today.

ROMANS: Just days before he was scheduled to graduate, the body of a missing Harvard business school student was found in Portland, Maine. Thirty-one-year-old Nathan Bielmer (ph) was last seen celebrating with friends outside a waterfront bar in Portland. Police say there doesn't appear to be foul play. They'll conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

BANFIELD: The suspect in the disappearance and the presumed death of his travelling companion in Aruba has been arrested in Annapolis, Maryland, on a charge of indecent exposure. Police say they found Gary Giordano naked in his car in a parking lot on Friday with a woman.

Aruban authorities retained him, you might remember, in August over the disappearance of this woman, Robyn Gardner. He was released due to a lack of evidence. He also claims Gardner was swept out to sea while snorkeling. She has never been found.

ROMANS: All right. Just almost 17 minutes past the hour.

If you commute to work on two wheels, why not take a work at Portland, Oregon? "Bicycling" magazine has ranked Portland the best city to bike to work in the country. 2010 census figures show more than 5 percent of the population in Portland pedals to work on their bikes. San Francisco in second place, Seattle third, Washington, D.C. is fourth, and Denver came in at number fifth.

BANFIELD: All great places.

ROMANS: Yes.

BANFIELD: And Washington as well. Nice place to go cycling.

Rob Marciano would cycle into work if he wasn't going into work at 2:00 in the morning.

Good morning, my friend.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's true. Good morning. I used to live in Portland, Oregon. It's a beautiful spot.

BANFIELD: I spent some time there. I really like it.

MARCIANO: If you cut of a bike, boy, you're going to get an earful. They're very protective.

BANFIELD: They'll get the coffee houses after you, right?

MARCIANO: Exactly, and the micro-breweries or the crack breweries.

We're looking at showers in the Northeast again today. It's going to rain but not as much as yesterday. For you tough guys, you can probably leave the umbrella at home. It might have to dodge rain drops sometimes.

Across the Carolinas, here are some showers and thunderstorms. These got a bit rough. This is going to be the area where we think we're going to see severe weather again today.

This part is really not moving anywhere. So, we have to wait for it to break apart and dissipate that way. Once it does that, we'll get into somewhat drier air behind it. But things are a little bit stuck up. The northwest, where things are being controlled, deep trough here, unseasonably cold, even some snow in the mountains.

And the heat continues across the Desert Southwest. Fire threat is going to be high. Windy conditions, and heat and humidity is going to be a factor as well. Very dry conditions and hot as well. Winds will gust 45 to 50 miles an hour. So, firefighters there, especially at the Gladiator Fire, are going to have their hands full.

Eighty degrees in Chicago. So it was cool. Temperatures well above normal in the Northern Plains. Seventy-eight degrees expected in D.C.

A quick check on tropical storm Bud here in the eastern Pacific, about 600 miles southwest of Manzanillo. It was forecast to be a hurricane. Now keep it a tropical storm status and maybe have it dissipate before it hits the Mexican coastline. That would be a good scenario for the tourist industry there.

Guys, back out to you.

BANFIELD: Mr. Marciano, thanks for that.

This is the time of morning we like to get you up to speed on your newspapers even though they're not on your front doorstep yet. That's why we call it "The Early Read.'

How far would you go to help somebody find a missing cell phone? What would you do?

ROMANS: To the ends of the earth.

BANFIELD: For me?

ROMANS: What if you're a police chief?

BANFIELD: This is a good one. There is a police chief in Berkeley, California, who has apparently been accused of going too far and ordering officers on the drug task force to help him find his son's cell phone. It's an iPhone, of course, apparently stolen from school.

The San Francisco chronicle is reporting that chief Michael Meehan had ten officers try to go after his son's phone through the built-in tracking signal. They couldn't find it, though. Ten officers couldn't find the iPhone.

Apparently, four detectives were also paid overtime to assist in the search. I think there's some trouble brewing.

ROMANS: All right. American Catholic nuns are being criticized by the Vatican for spending to much time helping the poor and nursing the sick instead of fighting against same-sex marriage and birth control. Let me say that again. American nuns being criticized by the Vatican for spending too much time acting like Jesus and not getting into politics.

Nuns in New York City held a prayer vigil and a protest last night. "USA Today" has a new Vatican report slamming 80 percent of the U.S. nuns who belong to a Catholic group dedicated to help the poor, performing missionary work. The Vatican calls them radical feminists and says they spend too energy on social justice, and not enough promoting the church's teachings on reproductive issues and the right to life.

Now, the protesting nuns are hoping the Vatican will rescind its reprimand. And I would just like to say that nuns in this country have a very long history of rubbing up against the Vatican in this issue.

BANFIELD: But it does a little bit backwards that story, doesn't it?

ROMANS: Not if you're Vatican.

BANFIELD: There's going to be some secret email that went out and it was just caught. But probably not.

By the way, more follow up today from the Facebook IPO. Regulators want to know if some investors had an unfair leg up, like some secret information that the rest of us should have all had. We'll have the details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It is 24 minutes past 5:00 a.m. Nice and early for you this morning, as mind your business.

The U.S. markets are poised to open lower this morning. All three indices -- yucky. That's the official financial speak for all three pointing down.

ROMANS: That's in my financial news glossary. Yucky.

BANFIELD: I'm standing here with two financial gurus, and I'm trying to sound smart next to them.

So, the indices were all down. And the trading was really cruddy mostly because of fears that Greece is poised to leave the eurozone. I sound like a broken record when I say that because at some point Europe is just going to make a move already.

ROMANS: But every move it makes just sends my 401(k) slightly lower.

The Dow (INAUDIBLE) looks flat, S&P 500 down about 30 percent (ph). The NASDAQ was up just a bit.

We want to bring in Felicia Taylor to talk about unfolding saga, though, around Facebook's IPO. A lot of hype in this country about Facebook and a disappointment at its opening for a variety of reasons. It's technical problem, there was a demand they thought --

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: There's 421 million shares out there. How much demand can there be?

ROMANS: And then you have this issue of Morgan Stanley, what it may or may not been telling its client. Now you've got federal regulators looking at what happened here.

TAYLOR: The Massachusetts attorney general has now stepped in and issued a subpoena as to what one analyst might have been telling the institutional clients at Morgan Stanley about revenue prospects for Facebook. And obviously, that's not OK. I mean, if you're going to share information, you have to share it with all of your clients and make it public, especially before an IPO.

The part that's interesting about this that, you know, some people may have overlooked is that on April 23rd, the company did release information about the fact that its revenue had slowed down.

ROMANS: Facebook.

TAYLOR: Facebook did, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter. There was information out there, but the question is whether or not it came from Morgan Stanley. Did they do the right thing?

This is about confidence in Wall Street. At the end of the day, it's just a fine for Morgan Stanley. There's no criminal investigation here. If they're found guilty, it may be a $10 million fine, but for individual investors, this is a serious thing.

ROMANS: Now you've got the stock basically at the beginning range.

TAYLOR: It's almost 30 bucks a share.

ROMANS: Remember, they had said $28 to $35 was their original price target, and then they raised it.

BANFIELD: Can I dumb question? Is this a good time to buy Facebook?

TAYLOR: There's no such thing as a dumb question. If you think this company has longevity, if you think this company can make money when it comes to ad sales, and that's what this company is about, then absolutely, you can get in.

We do have a statement from Morgan Stanley about this filing. They did say that on May 9th, they provided additional guidance with respect to business trends, and a copy was forwarded to all of MS' institutional investors. That is significant because it basically says they did their job, they did it actively, and they informed everybody.

So it's a question of who said when and what.

ROMANS: People don't know how many shares they have yet.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: They don't have confirmations yet.

ROMANS: They're trying to figure out if they own Facebook shares. It really has been a mess.

TAYLOR: If you put in an order at 42, you're happy.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Felicia, thank you.

It's 27 minutes past 5:00. What do Mitt Romney and plumbers have in common? No, not Joe. Oh, yes, Joe. The always quotable Joe Biden is going to fill in the blanks for us.

You're going to hear from the vice president in his own words in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: New this morning, former first lady, Nancy Reagan, recovering from several broken ribs. We've got the details just ahead.

ROMANS: Plus, 64 high school students suspended all because they rode their bicycles to school one morning with a police escort. We'll explain straight ahead.

BANFIELD: And a terrifying situation. A woman in the middle of an emergency situation with her husband calls 911, and guess what she hears? Yes, the operator snoring. Kid you not. We're going to show you what happened coming up next.

Welcome back, everyone, to EARLY START. It's 32 minutes past 5:00. Nice to have you here with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida is off on assignment today.

BANFIELD: Nice to have you here, as well.

ROMANS: Thank you.

Let's get right to it, shall we? (INAUDIBLE) this morning. A brand new poll of polls. You love those things. CNN poll of polls. And it shows that the race for the White House is as tight as it gets, folks. The poll of polls averages the three major national polls all released within the last 24 hours, and it's got President Obama really clinging to a two-point margin over Mitt Romney. CNNs political editor, Paul Steinhauser, is live with us in Washington D.C. So, I see it, among many of the other numbers, it's got President Obama doing pretty well when it comes to foreign policy, not so much, though, when it comes to the economy. What you got?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes. Let's talk about the economy, and let's talk about what's been going on over the last week and a half, Ashleigh. You've been talking about it, and that is Bain Capital. Listen, as Mitt Romney runs for president, he says, I can do a better job, creating jobs than President Obama.

And he points to his business (ph) especially his time when he co-founded Bain Capital, the private equity firm. You've seen the Obama campaign. You've seen other fellow Democrats attacking Romney over his time at Bain saying that Bain destroyed a lot of businesses, not just created them.

Well, you've seen commercials. You've seen ads. And now, you've seen the president say this is a very legitimate part of the campaign. The vice president backing the president up when he made these comments yesterday in New Hampshire, a battleground state. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn't mean the private equity guys are bad guys, they're not. But that no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber. It doesn't -- and, by the way, there are lot of awful smart plumbers.

All kidding aside, it's not the same job requirement. So, it's totally legitimate for the president to point this out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: I guess, the vice president, almost, almost getting in trouble with plumbers there, but he got his way out of that. Listen, Ashleigh, every poll indicates the economy the number one concern for American voters, and of course, the top economic concern, jobs, jobs, jobs.

BANFIELD: OK. Got something for you. You ready? You know how you just said that he got himself out of that one? Apparently not. I got some breaking news from you from Politico. Apparently, Joe Wurzelbacher, the "Joe the Plumber" fellow, who is now an Ohio Congressional candidate, has weighed in on this one. Paul Steinhauser, are you ready? He says --

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: I'm going to lay (ph) it on you, my friend. "The fact that Joe Biden would make a quip about plumbers shows he has no respect for the working men and women in this nation."

(LAUGHTER) BANFIELD: What about the Romney camp? Are they responding at all to the quip about the plumbers?

STEINHAUSER: Not to the plumber, itself, but they are attacking the Obama camp, the vice president, the president, over the attacks on Bain Capital, and they're saying this is going after American enterprise. That's the official comments from the official Romney surrogates. But a non-official surrogate, somebody you may well know, he was on CNN last night. He was also backing up Mitt Romney. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, CEO, THE TRUMP GROUP INTERNATIONAL: He did so well, actually, that, you know, he set records over there. And that's what we need in this country. When you look at what China is doing to us, you look at what OPEC is doing to us, you look at what virtually every country is doing to us.

We need somebody that has this ability. His record was great. He did an amazing job. I mean, just take a look at Solyndra, take a look at some of the deals this country has been making over the last couple of years. It's disgraceful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: There you go. Donald Trump speaking his mind. Of course, you remember, he thought about running for the Republican nomination last year, but eventually, did not. And of course, he's backing Romney. And one of the -- take look at this.

From the NBC/'Wall Street Journal" poll that came out last night, 33 percent of Americans right now say that, yes, things will get better next year when it comes to the economy. But look at that, that's down from 40 percent back in March. That's a troubling number, Ashleigh, for the Obama camp.

BANFIELD: What's interesting is that trend, March, April, May, dropping as actually economic indicators seem to be getting better in those three months.

STEINHAUSER: True, true, but optimism seems, at least, according to this poll, to be going down.

BANFIELD: Hey, by the way, Kentucky and Arkansas, we have a winner, right?

STEINHAUSER: We do have a winner. His name is Mitt Romney on the Republican side and the president on the Democratic side. You know, listen, the primaries are all over. Let's move to the general. And talking about the general, where are they today?

The president, he's in Colorado for official visits, the commencement address at the Air Force Academy, but then, he does fundraisers in Colorado and California. Of course, Colorado a battleground state. What about Mitt Romney? Giving a speech right here in Washington, D.C. to a Latino group.

Of course, he had some troubles, maybe you can say, with Latino voters, maybe some push back against them during the primaries as tough talk on illegal immigration. Polls indicate the president has a wide lead right now among Latino voters. We'll see what happens in November, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Paul Steinhauser, you are on it. Thank you, my friend. Good to see you.

STEINHAUSER: Thank you.

ROMANS: Former first lady, Nancy Reagan, slowly recovering this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): She fell six weeks ago in her California home and broke her ribs. Mrs. Reagan was supposed to attend a speech by House Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan, at Wisconsin last night at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, but we're told her doctor doesn't want her attending any large gatherings right now.

BANFIELD (voice-over): This is an unusual one. We'll have you scratching your head. A panicked woman calling 911 after her husband collapses, but this is what she heard on the other end of the line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on one second, ma'am. We're trying to get them on the line again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: You are hearing a snore, a sleepy dispatcher snoring as she was trying to get help for her husband, and her husband, at this point, is turning blue. Another operator took over, but the guy who was snoring stayed on the line and caused all sorts of confusion because the second dispatcher had to ask if it was the victim making all that noise. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that him I hear in the background?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that him I hear in the background?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is he? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-three.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: And the snoring just continued. The Maryland dispatcher eventually woke up, eventually woke up, and then asked for the caller's address unaware that she'd actually been on the call for six minutes. That person was placed on administrative leave, and the patient was hospitalized. Fire department said that he did not suffer any adverse effects as a result of the fellow who was snoring.

ROMANS: Oh, my.

A parent-child soccer game called in Hilton Head, South Carolina, after a giant alligator grabbed the ball. It was 13 feet long, the alligator, not the soccer ball. Almost 1,000 pounds. Parents had to run and call a gator control to get him to finally spit it out. Look at that. The ball was covered in bite marks, but it didn't pop.

BANFIELD: Wow!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to go find another ball, let's say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just being a nuisance gator and playing a little bit of soccer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Heck of a goalie, I heard.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Check this story out. Dozens of high school seniors suspended right before graduation. And this is why they were suspended. They were suspended for riding their bicycles to school. That's right. Find out what got them into so much trouble after a very quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Good morning, Detroit.

BANFIELD: What a picture. Yes. Looks like something from batman.

ROMANS: Storm blowing in. Fifty-two right now, but later, it will be 77 and sunny if you're in the Motor City.

(on-camera): All right. Suspended from school for a bike ride. That's what happened to a group of high school seniors in Michigan after their principal didn't take kindly to their senior prank.

They rode three miles, escorted by police, and met by the town's mayor, but when they arrived at school, the 64 students were told they were in trouble. Here's the school's principal recorded by a senior on a cell phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you and your parents don't have sense enough to know your brains could end up smattered (ph) on Three Mile and Kinney, Fruit Ridge, then maybe that's my responsibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Katie Pennington (ph) is the name of the principal there. Joining me now, Cody Nicks and Trevor Galandt, two of the students who were sent home for that bike ride. And Rachel Nicks, she's Cody's mom. Nice to see all of you, guys.

So, the principal didn't know you were going to do this, even though you had a police escort and the mayor knew about it, the principal didn't know. Is that why she was so angry?

TREVOR GALANDT, KENOWA HILLS HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: She had absolutely no clue. But I mean, that was the whole point of it.

ROMANS: Right. So --

RACHEL NICKS, CODY'S MOTHER: the whole idea was -- yes.

ROMANS: Yes. They have a zero tolerance policy for a senior prank. Your senior prank was harmless, but the principal didn't take kindly of it. You know, Cody, tell me, you know what -- tell me what was happening that day. You had parents lining the route. You had doughnuts from the mayor. You had a police escort. So, it must have seemed like a really fun senior prank.

CODY NICKS, KENOWA HILLS HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I mean, it wasn't even a prank, but a celebration for our last day. I mean, we had nothing else to do. It wasn't even meant to be harmful in any way, and the way that it was reacted to was completely absurd.

ROMANS: And Trevor, what was the punishment then for you guys? After that being pulled into the auditorium and having the principal so angry that she didn't know about it. What was the punishment then for you guys?

GALANDT: The punishment was instant suspension. Everybody that went to the auditorium and rode bikes there had to be sent home.

ROMANS: And you missed the sort of the senior walk-through. Tell me what that is.

GALANDT: The senior walk-through is when the seniors walk through the halls before the end of school and get to cherish the memories that they had at our school. And most of the students got to miss out on that. A lot of the students that were still there that didn't participate in the bike ride had to do it without their friends. ROMANS: Was it worth it, Trevor? Was it worth it?

(LAUGHTER)

GALANDT: Yes, it was worth it.

ROMANS: It was worth it. It was worth it to miss the walk- through for the fun of the ride. And, I guess, it's a senior prank that really worked. You know, Rachel, mom, the town has kind of erupted after this, I'm told, with administrators and a big emergency hearing with the school board and all that. I mean, what has been the fallout?

RACHEL NICKS: Well, I mean, what it comes down to is most of us senior parents did know about it. We found it harmless. It's, you know, ride your bike to work week. I'm at, you know, work week. So, I mean, there's just a lot of things that went along with it. The kids did every precaution they could think of to be safe and to follow, you know, the instructions.

As you can see, they wore bright colors, police escort. And, again, you know, the mayor went along. Not so much on the mayor and the police as for the fact that the kids actually really did take as much safety precautions. I don't know how much safer it would have been if they would have notified the administration, but that's exactly what was brought to us.

They did say that it was because the kids had impeded traffic, and they were, you know, tying up traffic.

ROMANS: But you had a police escort.

(LAUGHTER)

RACHEL NICKS: Well, and they were brought in because so many kids were riding bikes. Again, the police who are the ones that police the roads that they felt that the kids were in the wrong, then again, they would be the ones issuing citations, not the school to tell them that they were suspended.

ROMANS: Well, you'll all graduate, right?

RACHEL NICKS: Yes.

ROMANS: Sorry, Trevor and Cody, you graduate. You missed the walk-through. You'll be able to walk to get your diploma. Is this principal going to hand you your diploma?

GALANDT: I hope so.

RACHEL NICKS: She's supposed to.

GALANDT: We did get to reschedule the walk for next week. So --

RACHEL NICKS: They did reschedule as a change that they would be able to do a walk-through, a senior walk again on the day of the 30th. So, we'll see how many actually participate in that also.

ROMANS: Well, I sure wish we had the principal on with you, but she didn't, you know, she didn't want to come on. Or she wouldn't even return our calls. So, I don't know exactly what was her reasoning other than maybe it was just a zero tolerance policy for the senior prank. But nice to know you say you would do it all over again.

Cody Nicks and Trevor Galandt, thank you so much. Happy graduation. Good luck to both of you. In the fall, Cody is attending the University of Michigan. Trevor is going to be attending Michigan State. There you go. And Cody's mom, Rachel Nicks, thanks to both of you.

(LAUGHTER)

RACHEL NICKS: Thanks.

GALANDT: Thanks a lot.

BANFIELD (on-camera): It is now 47 minutes past 5:00. Let's get you updated on the top stories of the day. This is a great one. Live pictures for you. Live event for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD (voice-over): And Egypt's future being watched closely, not just on live cameras, but U.S. and Israeli officials watching this also very closely. Egyptians heading to the polls right now to elect their first president since the fall of Hosni Mubarak a year ago and his 30 years of dictatorship.

And if all goes as planned, this election should end the military-led transitional period that's been in effect in that country. There is, of course, some fear, though, of a lot more bloodshed if the military doesn't like what those ballots say and then decides not to step aside.

ROMANS (voice-over): Massachusetts serving Morgan Stanley with a subpoena after it was reported by Reuters. The lead underwriter for the Facebook IPO cut its revenue forecast for the company in the days before this public offering. Information that may not have reached investors before the stock was listed.

That's what the investigation is all about. Morgan Stanley is insisting it followed all applicable regulations.

BANFIELD: The FDA has a warning for dog owners this morning about treats that are made in China that could sicken, and get this, even kill.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: It has, and it's very disconcerting. Take a look at those products on your screen. Health officials are saying since November of last year, there have been nearly a thousand complaints associated with products from China known as chicken jerky strips, treats, and nuggets.

ROMANS: The problem is the fly by night organizations that are supplying different ingredients. Sometimes, you don't even know what those ingredients are. Sometimes, it's the cheapest thing that's going in.

BANFIELD: It's hard to know. Just take a look at your packaging, and then, obviously check the FDA website as well.

ROMANS: All right. It's not your run of the mill DUI. When police in Dubuque, Iowa, arrested John Ryder (ph) for intoxication, they found a parrot and a baby zebra along for the ride.

BANFIELD: How about that?

ROMANS: Ryder and his girlfriend keep the exotic animals as house pets.

BANFIELD: Zebra?

ROMANS: Apparently, she says they're like family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICKY TETTER, KEEPS ZEBRA AT HOME: They love going for rides. We treat them like our kids. They come in the house. We take them outside or take them for walks. We take them for car rides. They go and they get the mail with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Maybe they go to the bar because this was a dui. Police say they were called to a local bar when the couple tried to take the parrot and the zebra inside.

BANFIELD: Don't tell me the bar was called the dog house, and they couldn't take an animal inside?

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: It gets better.

ROMANS: You can't make that stuff up.

BANFIELD: You just can't make that stuff up. So, sad story for you. A television pioneer has died. Eugene Polley worked for Zenith back in 1955 when he invented the wireless TV remote. Yes. 1955. His creation was first called the flashmatic remote. Eugene Polley was 96 years old, and we thank him profusely for his work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (on-camera): All right. Now, back to that high school kids suspended for a senior prank by ride the school story. I wanted to read to you the statement from Katie Pennginton (ph), the principal of Kenowa Hills High School. This is an e-mail to staff and parents, this statement.

"While I believe the students' intent was not malicious, this activity was extremely disruptive to traffic flow and to the beginning of our school day. It was also potentially dangerous due to the traffic lanes that were used for this activity." Didn't mean to not include that over to statement to students and parents.

BANFIELD (on-camera): What's odd about that, though, is her concern had to do with everything the police had under control because they were escorted by a cruiser.

ROMANS: And the kids said that they wouldn't -- you know, they didn't want to tell the principal because that's a point of a senior prank. But, a lot of schools have zero tolerance policies for senior pranks, you know, I mean, zero tolerance is zero tolerance.

BANFIELD: That's what it is.

Fifty minutes now past 5:00. America's biggest super models, and singers, and actresses right alongside Amanda Knox. What could they all have in common and why are they all sharing a spotlight together? It's an odd one. We'll have it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: OK. It is 54 minutes past the hour, and this is a good chance to check out what's trending on the interweb.

And the tabloids call her "Foxy Knoxy." You probably know her as Amanda Knox. We've done a lot of coverage on her. Now, she is one of "Maxim" magazine's hot 100.

ROMANS: Hot 100?

BANFIELD: I kid you not. Can you believe it? "Foxy Knoxy." Now, she's officials foxy. Jury last year overturned her conviction in the murder of her British roommate, remember, Meredith Kircher (ph), that all happening in Italy. And now "Maxim's" editor-in-chief is telling the "New York Daily News" that, quote, "The hot 100 list is always unpredictable and exciting, highlighting beautiful celebrities and newsmakers alike," and accused killers, very odd.

A couple of other surprises on the list, you ready for this? Lois. Go, (INAUDIBLE). And also, the men's magazine has chosen Stephen Colbert, the only guy --

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: I believe the only guy ever to make the list. He's on it. "Maxim" saying that --

ROMANS: When I think hot, I think Stephen Colbert --

BANFIELD: That eyebrow, right? I know.

(LAUGHTER) BANFIELD: This is the quote. I love it. "Democracy isn't always pretty. Sometimes, it's down right handsome or mansome." How about that?

ROMANS: Oh, man.

All right. Marvel trying to one up DC Comics in the race for same-sex superhero headlines. One day after DC Comics announced that a big-time superhero would be coming out. Marvel announced that a gay X-Man would be marrying his boyfriend. Northstar and his longtime civilian boyfriend, Kyle, will be tying the knot.

BANFIELD: It's Northstar?

ROMANS: Yes.

BANFIELD: I thought it would be Robin.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: I thought for sure it'd be Robin.

ROMANS: It's going to be June's astonishing X-Men 51. Marvel, actually, had a strong group of same-sex couples, but this is the first couple one to get married.

BANFIELD: How about that.

OK. So, she knows a lot about this, the Facebook IPO. If you'd been listening, you probably would not own that stock right now. That was the open information. What about the information that wasn't being shared?

ROMANS: That's right. There's an investigation under way right now and a full report coming up on what the Facebook fallout is now for investors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)