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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Romney's Promise; Fire On A Nuclear Submarine Now Out; 70 MPH Winds Fan Nevada Wildfire; State Of Emergency In Arizona Wildfire; Shareholders Sue Facebook; Did Hollywood Get Bin Laden Raid Secrets?; Stabbing At TV News Station; Semi-Truck Crash And Smash; L.A. Passes Plastic Bag Ban; Fleet Week Kicks Off In NYC; Investors Sue Facebook Over IPO; Protest Planned at N.C. Church

Aired May 24, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Mitt Romney's bold promise, he says if he is president, unemployment will plunge to 6 percent. Can the candidate back it up?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: An all-night firefight in a very dangerous place aboard a nuclear submarine. We'll have the latest from the scene, straight ahead.

SAMBOLIN: And Facebook not making many friends this morning. A lawsuit over the botched IPO and now word the company could kick the Nasdaq to the curb. Good morning to you, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Hi, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It is right at the top of the hour, 6:00 a.m. in the east. Let's get started shall we.

Mitt Romney, on the record promising that if he's elected president, the unemployment rate in America is going to drop at least two full percentage points by the end of his first term. That's a pretty bold promise. What do you know?

Romney has been pounding President Obama for months over the high unemployment rate right now it's 8.1 percent. Romney is insisting that that number is going to plunge after his first four years in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we, we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent or perhaps a little lower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Christine Romans now with us minding your business this morning. So that's a bold, bold promise, Christine, however, there is more to this headline. Like, I don't know, a year ago that headline should have been made.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you know, it seems like a bold, bold promise, but there are a lot of people projecting that the unemployment rate is going to move lower. It has been drifting lower already.

What you would need to get what Governor Romney is promising is about 155,000 jobs created every month from here on out. That's not a heck of a lot. I mean, we want an economy that's moving a little bit better than that.

But what he is promising is something that is indeed doable. I mean, you look at the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, they're already forecasting that. They're forecasting by the fourth quarter of 2016, 5.3 percent.

BANFIELD: And that's regardless of who is the president?

ROMANS: Right. That's based on their projections for what policies are, what policies might be. Now, Governor Romney is saying it depends on what happens to growth around the rest of the world. It depends on what we see here in the U.S.

But that they would get their policies, his policies would get the unemployment rate down quite substantially. The fact is, we are, indeed, moving in this direction, albeit too slowly. Here is what we know.

We know that the total jobs lost during the Obama presidency was $4.6 million. We know that the total jobs gained was 4 million so you have a net jobs lost of 572,000. If the president can get 90,000 jobs every month from here until November, he will be able to rightfully say that he has presided over all of those jobs lost coming back, positive job creation.

But we have a labor participation that's the lowest since 1981. Look, this economy is not working for people, right? So when we talk about promises about the unemployment rate and where it's going, that unemployment rate is moving lower.

But there are too many people who have been left behind by this economy and those are the kinds of questions we need to keep asking, hammering both candidates about, quite frankly.

How we're going to get more people involved in the labor market again and not just be focusing on promises about that unemployment rate.

BANFIELD: That participation rate you're talking about.

ROMANS: It's horrible.

BANFIELD: Why is that not our barometer? It doesn't count for those who decided no longer to look.

ROMANS: And if you listen to me every time there's a jobs report and we do analysis of the jobs numbers, I like to say we have a very dynamic huge labor market, right? So there are a lot of different numbers and barometers to look at.

I mean, you look at another number. I like to look at the current population ratio, which shows you how many adult people are actually working. It's far, far too low. Again, that's as low as it was in the 1980s as well.

So this is able-bodied people who aren't even countered in the labor market. When you look at the unemployment rate --

BANFIELD: That's by choice as well, right? Stay-at-home moms --

ROMANS: Yes, people who are wealthy who frankly said I don't want to -- or people who are relying on someone else, people who are ill. It's all kinds of people.

It's also students, by the way, who were never counted in the labor market. They've graduated from college. Since they've never been in the labor market they're not counted in that unemployment rate.

So 6 percent is a number that has at least 35 asterisks, by the way, I look at it. And that's something that's really important. You know, 6 percent, we're at 8.1 percent right now. What Mitt Romney is promising is doable.

But this is campaign stuff, guys. This is campaign stuff. Both of them are trying to show that they're the one to lead the economy out of it. But the economy seems to be moving on its own at this point, in my view.

BANFIELD: And certainly the CBO's view?

ROMANS: Right.

BANFIELD: Christine Romans, always good things. Thank you. Appreciate it.

It's 4 minutes now past 6:00. Another really big story we've been watching for you. Firefighters in Maine, hooray, they put it out. A fire on board a nuclear submarine, it was burning all night. The "USS Miami," take a look. That's on dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy shipyard.

It was there for regular maintenance. Fire broke out in the forward compartment. Six people were hurt actually, suffering minor injuries trying to fight this thing.

It was not completely out until just a short time ago. This attack sub is capable of carrying tomahawk cruise missiles and Mark-48 torpedoes, but we are happy to report there weren't any weapons on board at that time.

Again, it was just routine maintenance and the ship's reactor maybe more importantly very isolated from that compartment not affected by the fire.

SAMBOLIN: A different story here. Wildfires burning out of control. Winds up to 70 miles an hour are threatening to push a fire in Nevada to new extremes. That's expected later today.

The fire has already destroyed two homes and consumed more than 7,000 acres. Look at those charred remains there. More than 500 firefighters are on the scene. Just 15 percent of the wildfire, however, is contained.

Another fire in Arizona, scorching nearly 16,000 acres. Much of the damage has been on rural federal lands, but the town of Crown King has been evacuated now as a precaution. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declaring a state of emergency in that area.

BANFIELD: Facebook slapped with a shareholder lawsuit over its IPO fiasco. It's a suit that's been filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and it names not only the social network, but the CEO as well, Mark Zuckerberg, and alongside that several banks, too.

That suit is alleging that the full details of the company's prospectus were shared with a select few investors right before the company's stock went public, but maybe not a bunch of the little guys. Facebook says the lawsuit is, quote, "without merit."

SAMBOLIN: And new question this morning about whether the Obama administration leaked sensitive information on the Osama Bin Laden raid to Hollywood filmmakers.

Documents obtained by the group, "Judicial Watch" suggests Director Katherine Bigelow was offered interviews with a member of the SEAL team that helped plan the assault on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

New York Congressman Peter King accuses the White House of jeopardizing national security and it's cooperation with Sony Pictures. Bigelow's movie "On the Hunt for Bin Laden" is due out in December.

BANFIELD: Man, how does Katherine Bigelow get an interview with those guys where no one else has ever been able to? SEAL team six, man!

SAMBOLIN: I know.

BANFIELD: If it's true. What were they thinking file, 1-year- old baby, adorable. Put in the washing machine in a Laundromat. I should like to know what the parents have to say about this and the video. You're going to hear all of this in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It's 10 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here is Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning again. A fire on a nuclear submarine is now out. We can report to you. The fire broke out in the forward compartment of the "USS Miami" yesterday evening.

Six people suffered minor injuries, but no weapons were on board at the time. The ship's reactor not affected by that fire. And again, the latest news, six hurt, but the fire is now out.

A hearing will be held in Ohio later today to decide whether accused school shooter T.J. Lane will be tried as an adult. He is 17 years old and is charged with killing three students in the cafeteria in Chardon High School back in February. Two other students survived.

A local TV news station in Kansas didn't have to go very far to get a story. A man stabbed two people at WIBW in Topeka yesterday after his idea for a story was rejected.

According to WIBW's web site, the man also threw a lamp through the station's glass front doors. Eight station employees held him down until police came.

Looks like something out of a "Die Hard" movie, but this is real. A guy grabbing an SUV coming up on a curve, a tractor trailer coming the other way taking that turn too quickly and the oncoming truck tipping on its side, screeching down the road, slamming head on, you guys into that SUV. This was on a two-lane highway in Russia.

BANFIELD: Why does the SUV have a camera?

ROMANS: You know, that's the interesting thing. A lot of people have cameras on their cars these days. You can't really see it due to broken glass, but the driver stands up of that truck and brushes himself off.

SAMBOLIN: My gosh, you see him.

ROMANS: I know and no one is hurt. There he is right in there.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that's good news.

ROMANS: Los Angeles, by the way, has become the largest city to ban plastic bags in stores. The city council passed a bill requiring larger stores to phase out these plastic bags. They've got six months to do it. Smaller stores, they've got a year to comply. Some are calling for a statewide ban in California.

BANFIELD: Scourge of all landfills.

BANFIELD: I just forget to put my bags in the car.

BANFIELD: I have them in the car and I forget to take them in the store.

ROMANS: Yes. And finally, guys, I want to tell you about Lady Liberty, the first of many ladies to welcome sailors in the New York City this week. We love that. The city welcomes 6,000 service men and women for some R & R. This year's event marks the bicentennial. BANFIELD: That was my view for half an hour. The traffic was backed up. I have never been happier to be in a traffic jam. I look like a total nerd tourist. I had my cell phone up out the window, taking pictures and people were getting on the -- driving by and -- but enjoyable.

ROMANS: Something to enjoy that is free.

BANFIELD: And the sailors. Would you call me Jessica rabbit? That was my ode to "Sex and the City." Do you remember that show?

ROMANS: I did not really watch "Sex and the City." That's a whole other story.

SAMBOLIN: Neither did I.

BANFIELD: Gosh, imagine.

SAMBOLIN: All right, it's 14 minutes now past 6:00. Poor Rob Marciano. He has to follow --

BANFIELD: Hello, sailor.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, hi or talk about Carrie's shoes on "Sex and the City."

SAMBOLIN: Have you watched it?

MARCIANO: Yes. I was force fed it at some point in my life. Thankfully, that era is over. It was a popular show.

BANFIELD: OK, let's switch gears to hurricane season. I know that gets your boat fleeting.

MARCIANO: Bud, Hurricane Bud. There's been more exotic names, haven't there? This one is certainly been cranking up. Strengthening quickly now, 85-mile-an-hour winds and I suspect that these last couple of satellite pictures, you see the eye just developing right there.

It's probably even stronger than that. So it could be a category 2 hurricane at this point. We could have another update in a couple of hours.

But here's the forecast, kind of tricky, brings it towards Mexico. Right now, it's about 350 miles southwest of Manzanillo. It will track that way.

And the computer models in the National Hurricane Center forecast puts the brakes on and sends it out to sea. That would be the best case scenario. This one shot north -- or south of the Canadian border yesterday.

Our friend Reed Timmer (ph) shot this across the border. No damage. It was out in farm land, thankfully. That's the best time. And that video for you.

All right. As far as what we're looking at the forecast today, kind of another day where things are a little messy across the Northeast and down across parts of southern Florida as well and out West, dry and windy conditions are expected. Extreme fire danger for this area and severe weather for west of Chicago today in through Minneapolis, maybe Madison, Wisconsin as well.

Zoraida, back up to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, Rob.

MARCIANO: You got it.

SAMBOLIN: So, this is not smart, but apparently it's not criminal. That is the word from prosecutors in southern New Jersey who decided not to press charges against a babysitter and her friend who put a 1-year-old baby in a washing machine at a Laundromat.

The incident was captured by store security cameras. Take a look. The couple panicked when the door locked. Yes. Yes and the water started.

A clerk pulled the plug on the washer in order to free the baby. The child's mother wasn't even aware of what happened until the night before the hearing!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAKIA DAVID, MOTHER: I never knew about none of this. That's what I was trying to tell her. I never knew about none of this. I found out on the news -- I mean on the -- yes, the news.

REPORTER: Did you recognize your son?

DAVID: Yes.

REPORTER: What did you think about what you saw?

DAVID: Truthfully, y'all don't want to know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Look at that cutie pie. It happened nearly two weeks ago. The baby suffered minor injuries and has since recovered. I was reading a blog online of a dad who says don't judge this guy who did this, because he has done really stupid things in his life. But that, I think, would take the cake.

BANFIELD: Well, you know what's the weird thing is -- I don't think a lot of people would expect a washer door to shut, lock and the water to start. For that reason, obviously, he would never have assumed that to happen but what a stupid stunt.

SAMBOLIN: Why put the baby in there to begin with?

BANFIELD: God, I hope it wasn't because the baby was crying is all I can say.

All right. So, this movie extra, you may not have known about this, suffered permanent brain injuries on the set of "Transformers: Dark at the Moon," she has now settled a lawsuit. Paramount agreed to pay Gabriella Cedillo $18.5 million. She was struck by a stunt vehicle while they were doing the filming. And her attorney that she had a portion of her skull removed. She also suffers from seizures and is blind in one eye.

That movie, "Dark of the Moon," is the third film of the Transformer series and that series is the fourth highest grossing ever.

SAMBOLIN: It's tough to see that picture.

Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Bidding ends today on a few gross pieces of celebrity memorabilia. A U.K. auction site is selling a glass vial that supposedly contains traces of former President Ronald Reagan's blood.

BANFIELD: Ick.

SAMBOLIN: Big ick.

Bids have hit $30,000.

BANFIELD: Seriously?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. The auction house claims that the vial was used after he was shot in 1981. The Reagan Foundation has threatened legal action now. The site also selling a couple of strands if Michael Jackson's hair.

Current bid -- listen to this -- $14,000. That was supposedly taken when the singer's hair caught fire during the shooting of a Pepsi commercial.

There's more. You could own a lock of the Famous Bob, a piece of Justin Bieber's hair on sale for a minimum bid, folks, of $31,000.

BANFIELD: OK, that I would bid on.

SAMBOLIN: How about stale or staler? Only a few more hours to bid on a piece of William and Kate's royal wedding cake, more than $2,000 for that. Seriously, or a piece of Charles and Diana's cake for about the same price now?

BANFIELD: Yes, that one -- I think it was jinxed.

SAMBOLIN: The vial of blood.

BANFIELD: There's weird stuff you can see on eBay like Britney Spears gum, chewed.

SAMBOLIN: What do you do with that stuff?

BANFIELD: I don't know what I'm going to do with a baseball jersey. I'm not the kind of person who just throws everything else.

SAMBOLIN: That one, I get.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: I don't have that kind of money but I would put it on display. I sure would.

BANFIELD: OK. It's 19 minutes now past 6:00.

The botched Facebook IPO is causing a buzz. It's not good. From Wall Street to Main Street. Now we're hearing Facebook may just unfriend the NASDAQ.

Listen to this while we sing you out to break. The story is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It's 23 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

The heels of Facebook's bungled IPO, "The Wall Street Journal" reports New York Stock Exchange may be trying to bigfoot the NASDAQ and lower Facebook to the big board. "The Journal" says the NYSE has exchanged emails with the company, raising the possibility of a move. Whether Facebook ultimately unfriend the NASDAQ by facing a shareholder revolt.

A lawsuit alleges they withheld negative information about the company's prospects.

CNN's Mary Snow is following it for us. She joins us now.

This is a major mess.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a major mess is right. So much outrage out there. Three investors felt so cheated enough they filed a lawsuit here in New York. And the attorney representing them says shareholders lost billions of dollars and the suit seeks class action status.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as other Facebook executives are named in the suit, as well as the underwriters, the main one being Morgan Stanley. The suit alleges that they when would negative information about the social network's earning process before the IPO and then it was selectively disclosed.

Samuel Rudman is an attorney for the plaintiffs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMUEL RUDMAN, ROBBINS, GELLER, RUDMAN & DOWD: An individual investor or any regular institutional investor would feel like they were cheated here, because someone knew something and they didn't tell everybody. They only told a few people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Now, Facebook says the lawsuit is without merit and says it will defend itself vigorously.

Now, Morgan Stanley has rejected any suggestion it did anything improper. So the procedure it is followed for Facebook's IPO were the same for any IPO.

We spoke to former SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, who said the restrictions placed on what analysts can say may mean nothing improper was done. He says it's just another rule that needs to be changed. And he says on top of the problems that the IPO had at the starting gate with technical glitches at the NASDAQ, the damage is more than monetary. It's eroding investor confidence, especially coming on the heels of JPMorgan's $2 billion loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARTHUR LEVITT, FORMER SEC CHAIRMAN: Clearly, it's a black eye for the industry and all the participants. This was company was supposed to be a showpiece for American capitalism. Instead of that, it's become a laughingstock. That's going to pass, but it's a fact, we don't look good and something should be done about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Now, one of the changes he wants to see is to be able to publish analyst reports on the web so it's a level playing field and information is disseminated to everyone.

SAMBOLIN: Now, you mentioned some glitches. Some people don't know whether or not they own Facebook, right?

SNOW: And that, you know, talk about investor anger and outrage. So much confusion with that starting on the opening day. There's confusion about who owns what.

SAMBOLIN: They're still expecting more lawsuits as well?

SNOW: Yes, definitely. Just talking to his lawyer yesterday, he said as soon as he filed this lawsuit, he was getting calls from around the country. But, yes, there's so many different investigations going on right now. Yesterday there were lawmakers on Capitol Hill who said they wanted more information, regulatory agencies in the state of Massachusetts as well.

SAMBOLIN: Well, I'm sure this is going to keep you hopping.

Mary Snow, thanks for getting up early with us this morning.

SNOW: Sure.

SAMBOLIN: Ashleigh, back to you.

BANFIELD: All right. Twenty-six minutes now past 6:00.

A North Carolina pastor says he wants gay and lesbian people rounded up and kept behind an electric fence until they die. Hundreds of people are absolutely outraged by this. They're vowing to take a stand. Find out what exactly they want to do, how they want to do, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: A North Carolina pastor's anti-gay sermon goes viral this morning. How opponents plan to strike back.

BANFIELD: Plus, the U.S. Senate is going to take action after CNN exposes a charity that is supposed to be helping America's veterans but it turns out not all the money is going where it's supposed to be going.

SAMBOLIN: Hey, good Thursday morning to you. Welcome back to EARLY START.

I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Hi, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Thirty minutes now past the hour, which means 6:30 on the East Coast.

Let's get you started.

Hundreds of protesters are planning to demonstrate outside a North Carolina church this Saturday. Why? Because the pastor of that church called for gay and lesbians to be rounded, isolated behind an electric fence, drop in food, but eventually they would all die out, according to his plan.

In case you missed this, it's not a joke. It was a Mother's Day sermon, because that's what Mother's Day is for. It is courtesy of the Reverend Charles Worley. Here you go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. CHARLES WORLEY, PASTOR, PROVIDENCE ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH: Build great, big, large fence, 150 or 100-mile long. Put 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 so they can't get out. Feed them and -- you know what? In a few years, they'll die out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I think we tried that once, America, Japanese interment camps. Didn't turn out so well.

The comments have sparked so much outrage across the country.

But as CNN's Gary Tuchman tells us, among Worley's flock, there seem to be a lot standing by him -- Gary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, on Wednesday night, for the second night in a row, a special prayer service was held at this North Carolina church. Hundreds of people turning out, supporting their pastor and supporting the comments he made on Mother's Day.

We want to talk to Pastor Charles Worley. We have been here for a couple of days to do that. He refused to do so. We've been told, matter of fact, that if we step foot on church property, we will be arrested by sheriff's deputies. So, so far, he hasn't talked.

We did talk to a woman who's been up to 20 services over the years, or 20 sermons from this pastor. She wasn't either of these services for two basic reasons, this woman we would call Jane, we're protecting her identity, is not a member. She attends because a close relative is a member.

But the more important reason, number two, she's a lesbian. She's n open lesbian, but she has children and her children's friend's parents don't all know she's a lesbian.

Listen.

When you heard these comments he made on Mother's Day, Pastor Worley, how did you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was saddened, I was disappointed.

TUCHMAN: Were you surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was not surprised.

TUCHMAN: Tell me why you weren't surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been aware of his opinions and his beliefs about homosexuality.

TUCHMAN: Have you heard him utter similar comments over the years when you've attended the church?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard comments along those same lines in the past.

TUCHMAN: If you had a chance to talk to him -- perhaps you will soon, because it's a small town -- would you say something to him about this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say hello. I would extend my hand and I would say, you've been going through a tough time. This is a very difficult situation for our community. And I pray for you for hope, healing, peace, tolerance.

TUCHMAN: Do you think he's a good man?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would be difficult to judge his entire life, ministry, character on that Sunday's sermon. I believe that he probably is.

TUCHMAN: A good man?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he intends to do good. I think in Pastor Worley's mind, he is preaching love, but it's in his mind he's preaching love.

TUCHMAN: As you can tell, Jane's feelings are complex but she's obviously not fighting fire with fire. What we learned from the pastor from someone who attended one of these special prayer services is that the pastor is amazed at all the national attention. We can tell you that this weekend, a large protest is scheduled by a civil rights group up to 2,000 they say are expected to attend to protest this pastor -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Gary Tuchman reporting.

Just so you know, Mother's Day was a few weeks ago and the pastor has tempered his sermons lightly, only taking the word queer out of the sermon, but still standing by his statements.

Pastor Worley has also refused to grant any interviews since this Mother Day's sermon went viral.

SAMBOLIN: Little shocking there, huh?

BANFIELD: Just a little.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-five minutes past the hour.

The Senate Finance Committee is investigating a charity that is supposed to be helping disabled veterans. The probed was sparked by a two-year CNN examination of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

CNN examined the tax records and very little of the millions raised by the foundation over the past three years has actually gone to help veterans, $61 million has gone to a direct mail company that works with the foundation and many other charities. Something Senator Max Baucus of Montana finds very suspicious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: Frankly, I smell a rat there. Using the veteran's organization as a front for themselves so they get the contributions from good, well-meaning, wholehearted Americans thinking they're helping disabled vets when, in fact, this money is going to this other outfit, fund-raising operation and none of the money is going to the disabled vets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The nation's largest charity watchdog group Charity Watch gives the Disabled Veteran's National Foundation an F grade since 2010. They estimate only 2 percent of the money raised by the charity is actually going to help disabled veterans.

BANFIELD: So, America loves a good superhero, right, if "The Avengers" is any indication.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, do.

BANFIELD: It's number one in the box office for three weeks. But what if our presidential candidates had special powers? That's a bit goofy to say that. But could Mitt Romney or President Obama morph into Captain Economy and rescue the court?

Our next guest is going to break down the super hero effect. Kid you not.

SAMBOLIN: You're watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power 400 percent capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Super heroes, Iron Man and Thor slugging it out from a scene from "The Avengers." But there's another battle raging in real life. The battle for the White House.

In an interview with "TIME" magazine, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama's record, saying the president hasn't exactly been the superhero America was hoping for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What has he done as president of the United States over the last four years? Has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? Did he hold unemployment below 8 percent? It's been, what, 39 months now? That hasn't happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: OK. My guest is political comedian Dean Obeidallah whose new column at CNN.com says Mitt Romney may not be America's economic Avenger either. Matter of fact, no Avenger in sight for America, Dean.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: That's really the issue. I mean, you look at polls, 70 percent of America Americans think the economy is bad, 61 percent think we're on the wrong track.

We need a superhero, but we don't have that. We have mere mortals to chose from now.

At one point, frankly, I thought that President Obama would be a superhero with that "yes we can" attitude. Now, his slogan is more like "it could be worse".

But my question is really for Mitt Romney who is making super promises to us about what he will do if elected. I just want some evidence or support. Show me the money, to quote Cuba Gooding Jr., where it will actually result in job growth. That's really the issue.

SAMBOLIN: You're not taking sides and comparing the two?

OBEIDALLAH: I don't think President Obama can become that superhero. I think the difference is President Obama has been honest about the challenges of creating jobs. It's very hard.

At tough economy, there are many issues that affect us. It's not just America. Europe has problems, having banks giving loans, like the old days, 2000. Mitt Romney said if elected, I'll bring unemployment down to 6 percent.

SAMBOLIN: He had said 4 percent back in May. Remember that?

OBEIDALLAH: He is changing because he realizes the reality. I want more honesty from Mitt Romney about this -- an austerity plan will work, I'd like to see evidence of where that is working. The American people want to see it.

It's not Democrat or Republican, independent. We're in this together. The economy is a mess.

Where has it worked? The U.K., they've done an austerity plan for a year. It's not worked. They're back in a recession, the last two quarters, GDP contracted.

Japan had a new stimulus plan this year and they've grown by 4.1 percent this year. The question is: what will work?

SAMBOLIN: Well, you know what? You weren't the only one who believed that Obama with his a superhero, right? And he's fallen from grace now.

So, do you think he could get reelected, given the fact that he is no longer in that superhero standing?

OBEIDALLAH: I don't think he ever billed himself as a superhero per se. I don't think he ever billed himself as a superhero. I think we viewed him as a figure that would solve the nation's problems and the reality is that not one person can do this.

Mitt Romney said something yesterday, which I will say was a good moment, and finally. There's no easy answer to the economy. He still promises unemployment back down to 6 percent. If there was an easy answer --

SAMBOLIN: Well, that's because there is way to back up that up, right -- I mean, there's an organization that says, yes, indeed, we can get down to 6 percent or 5.3 percent.

OBEIDALLAH: There is. But five years ago, we were at 6.4 percent, just five years ago. Look how much our expectations have changed. It's a challenge. There's not easy -- there's no switch you can throw and there's no recession. Democrats and Republicans presidents would just flip that switch, bingo, the economy is working. It's not.

I just want Mitt Romney to say if austerity is the way, we should go. That's what he's saying on his Web site. That's what he's campaigning about. Show us where that's worked in America's industry or other nations similar to our economy.

Where has that work? I want it to work.

SAMBOLIN: Examples of how he can get more jobs?

OBEIDALLAH: Exactly. When he was governor, he was 47th in job creation. Now, he's saying, I can create more jobs. I want to see that.

At Bain Capital, he argues, I created 100,000 jobs, over years is not enough to keep our unemployment rate going down in a month. We need 100,000 jobs per a month to keep our unemployment rate from going down.

So, I would like some proof. I wish the media would call out all politicians that say I can fix the economy. Show us where. Just don't tell us, I'll do this, this and that. Where have those ideas worked before, or if they haven't worked before, why have they not?

SAMBOLIN: Stop with the superhero status?

OBEIDALLAH: We want mere mortals that can make things happen. That's what I want.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dean Obeidallah, thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciates it.

OBEIDALLAH: Thanks for having me.

SAMBOLIN: OK, Ashleigh, back to you.

BANFIELD: Thank you.

Soledad O'Brien here now with a look at what's coming up in --

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, so much. So much.

BANFIELD: Overload.

O'BRIEN: Yes.