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163 People Killed In Nigeria Plane Crash; Mounting Pressure On Federal Reserve; U.S. Recovery Slowing Down; Rough Day Ahead In U.S. Markets; Pilots Killed Fighting Wildfire; Flashlight Bombs Reported In Arizona; Panetta In Vietnam; Record Spending For Obama Campaign; Meet The New Miss USA 2012; Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial; Sandusky Child Rape Trial Set; Canadian Murder Suspect Spotted In Paris; George Zimmerman Back in Jail; Poll: Obama More "Favorable" Among Voters; Fifth Grader's Pass To Miss Class

Aired June 4, 2012 - 06:00   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Breaking news this morning. We have just learned that the pilot in the Nigeria plane crash is American. We'll have all the details coming up.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Plus, it could be a heck of a day for your 401(k). The stock market expected to drop when it opens this morning. Find out how much straight ahead.

SAMBOLIN: And also, Phoenix has a problem with bombs, bombs hidden inside flashlights. Several people have actually been hurt. Find out why it has police worried that the attacks may get worse.

BANFIELD: And couldn't get in on the Facebook IPO? Well, Facebook stock continues to fall, but the company is now offering even more shares of that stock.

We're going to show you why, how many, what this is all about coming up this hour on CNN. Good morning, everyone, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you are with us. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It's 6 a.m. here in the east so let's get started.

BANFIELD: And we begin with this breaking news, we've got brand- new information on that Nigerian plane that crashed into a residential neighborhood in Lagos.

The airlines director of flight operations is confirming this morning that the pilot was an American. Nigeria's president is declaring three days of national mourning and ordering a full investigation into this crash.

All 163 people on board were killed in yesterday's disaster. At least 10 people on the ground were also killed. Firefighters and police were struggling to put out those flames. Severe water shortages, if you can believe it.

There were few fire trucks stationed in Lagos. They couldn't carry enough water to the wreckage. Residents were literally carrying buckets of water to help put out those flames.

SAMBOLIN: It is going to be a rough day on financial markets after that dismal jobs report on Friday that we told you about. Stock futures for the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all trading sharply lower this morning.

Indicating markets are expected to open down. It's mounting pressure on the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy here. Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans and what are we expecting if anything from the feds this morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you know, when you wake up and you see these headlines, "Wall Street Journal," "New York Times," you know, investors brace for slowdown, I mean, that's startling, right?

So yes, that pressure is mounting on the Federal Reserve to maybe do something, maybe pump some monetary stimulus into the economy, trying to give it at least a shot in the arm for at least a short time.

You know, but at this point, a lot of people question whether that will really do anything because it's already done something like this twice before.

SAMBOLIN: And failed.

KOSIK: But you know, you talk about stock futures, you are seeing them turned around a little bit. They're recovering a little bit this morning. That's because of hope that the fed may step in.

Because look how the market did at least on Friday, down 278 points. At least the Dow was. It had its worst showing for the year. The Dow has erased all of its gains for the year. You see that sharp drop on the right. It is startling.

And you know, it wasn't just the jobs report that was bad for last week. We saw that 69,000 jobs were added in May. We also learned manufacturing is slowing and guess what? It's an election year. So guess who's seizing the moment?

Mitt Romney's campaign manager, he was on TV, and he had this to say, certainly seizing the moment.


ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: It's not just the devastatingly weak jobs report we got on Friday. It was also the revision in GDP downward for the first quarter. It's a drop in consumer confidence, an increase this unemployment claims. It's not that we don't think that this president is trying. I think that he is. It's just that his policies are not working.


KOSIK: And so that was Mitt Romney's campaign manager on "This Week." You know there's a lot weighing on the economy. Look what's happening in the U.S. We're obviously seeing a slowdown in Europe and in China.

We're seeing a slowdown in jobs and manufacturing here. So there is a lot weighing for President Obama and Mitt Romney and weighing on just you and me.

SAMBOLIN: So any good news?

KOSIK: Yes, I've got a little bit. So you know, one thing to keep in mind is that mortgage rates, they are dropping. So if you're in the market, especially if you're a first-time buyer, that's good news right there, right?

Mortgage rates are lower. Gas prices are also lower. Actually oil prices are below $82 a barrel this morning. It certainly is shocking to see that level. When you follow the news like I do.

But it's good for your pocketbook. Not necessarily for the right reasons because we don't want to see a slowdown in the economy. So it is one of those tradeoffs.

But if you look into those little glimmers of a bright light on this Monday morning and don't want to just look at the headlines, those are the two positives.

BANFIELD: They're down half a cent today.

KOSIK: Exactly.

SAMBOLIN: A glimmer of hope. Thank you so much, Alison Kosik.

BANFIELD: Also making news this morning at 5 minutes past 6 on the east coast, a rehab center in Central Mexico under attack. According to a blog that publishes information about the Mexican drug war.

Armed men entered the center near Durango late last night and fired at patients, killing 11 people and injuring 8 others. The attack is the latest in a bunch of gruesome incidents. Last month authorities found the decapitated and dismembered bodies of 49 people along a highway.

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused an air tanker to crash while fighting a wildfire along the Nevada/Utah border. Two pilots were killed. They were dropping fire retardant on the flames when their tanker went down yesterday afternoon.

The tanker was on its second run of the day and was loaded for bear with about 1,600 gallons of fuel and 2,000 gallons of water and fire retardant. The 5,000-acre White Rock fire began burning Friday night after a lightning strike. SAMBOLIN: Police in Glendale, Arizona, investigating a mysterious case of exploding flashlights. Officers responded to reports of a suspicious flashlight in a yard on Friday.

That flashlight did not turn out to be a bomb, but officers say three flashlight bombs have exploded in the area, injuring five people. The ATF has put up a $10,000 reward for more information.

BANFIELD: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Vietnam this morning meeting with government officials in an effort to bolster U.S. ties with that country. Panetta made a symbolic yesterday to Cameron Bay, which was a vital U.S. Naval base during the Vietnam War.

He's the first defense secretary to visit the base since that war ended. Panetta's in the midst of an Asian trip to highlight U.S. military strategy going forward.

SAMBOLIN: And just released, a brand new CNN/ORC poll showing President Obama outperforming Mitt Romney on the favorability scale. Let's take a look at the numbers, the president with a favorable rating of 56 percent among voters. Romney, eight points back, 48 percent.

BANFIELD: The president is also outpacing Mitt Romney when it comes to online advertising. In the first few months of 2012, the president's campaign spent $16.4 million on internet ads.

That's a record pace and more than twice what Mitt Romney's spending. But Romney's handlers say they plan to, quote, "do a ton more advertising now that the primaries are done with."

SAMBOLIN: And fresh from its Wall Street debut, Facebook is expected to offer up millions of new shares. In just a few months, early investors and select insiders will be free to sell of stock.

Some experts fear a new flood of shares could water down the stock price even more. Facebook stock is already down 26 percent from its initial public offering price of $38.

BANFIELD: And say hello to your new little friend, the new Miss USA.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss USA 2012, Rhode Island!


BANFIELD: Rhode Island! The 20-year-old Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island crowned last night. She'll be representing the United States at the Miss Universe pageant later this year. She was asked to weigh in on the recent controversy over transgender pageant contestants. She says she thinks it would be a fair for a transgender woman to compete and win. SAMBOLIN: It's 8 minutes past the hour. It could be a break in the case. An international manhunt for a suspected killer accused of putting his victims' body parts in the mail. More on a reported sighting of the suspect. That's coming up.


BANFIELD: It's 12 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Brand new this morning, the pilot of a Nigerian plane that crashed into a residential neighborhood in Lagos killing all 153 people on board was an American, but his identity has not yet been released.

At least 10 people on the ground were also killed in the crash yesterday. Firefighters and police struggled to try to put out the flames, but it was burning for more than three hours after the crash. The fire trucks couldn't even carry enough water to get to the site. Nigeria's president is declaring three days of national mourning.

SAMBOLIN: Let's check in on the markets now. Asian stocks tumbling on concerns the debt crisis is deepening and China's economy is slowing. European markets have recovered a little bit, but it's going to be another volatile week.

U.S. stock futures still pointing to a lower open this morning after that dismal jobs report on Friday that sent the markets reeling.

BANFIELD: The fate of two priests in a Philadelphia archdiocese now rests in the hands of a jury. The jurors will resume deliberations this morning in the landmark priest abuse trial.

Monsignor William Lynn is the highest ranking clerk charged with endangering children by allegedly helping cover up sexual abuse. His co-defendant, James Brennan, is accused in the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy.

SAMBOLIN: It's 13 minutes past the hour. Attorneys for former Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky tried to delay the start of his trial but to no avail. Jury selection begins tomorrow. The 68-year-old Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 14-year period.

BANFIELD: Police in California are investigating San Francisco giants star Pablo Sandoval in an alleged sexual assault. Authorities say the incident happened on Friday at a resort in Northern California.

Sandoval is said to be cooperating fully with the investigators. The Giants' third baseman is currently on the disabled list, too. He's recovering from a hand injury.

SAMBOLIN: An international manhunt heating up for a self- proclaimed porn star accused of killing and hacking up students in Canada. Police in Paris, France, are now investigating several reported sightings of murder suspect Luca Magnotta. The 29-year-old Magnotta is accused of killing and dismembering a university student in Montreal and then mailing the body parts to the headquarters of two Canadian political parties.

BANFIELD: Yes, not funny. A so-called zombie prank going dangerously wrong. A man in Miami dressing in costume scaring people throughout the city. It turns out at the end of the clip, look closely. That's a group of teenagers turning on him, chasing him. And one of the teenagers appears to be holding a gun.

SAMBOLIN: So quickly cover the ears of our interns here. Even the interns at Facebook with flush are cash. According to the "Business Insider" Web site, software engineering interns at social networking site are paid $74,700.


SAMBOLIN: The Web site says Facebook may be paying interns more than other tech companies in an effort to attract young engineers.

BANFIELD: My first paying job was $7,000 a year, $7,000. For a paying job, not an intern. That is unbelievable!

Yes, cover the ears is right. And while we're doing that, let's cover the ears of my kids, because these are literally going to be the fliest kicks on the market.

Marvel Comics is teaming up with Rebook to release superhero- themed sneakers.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

BANFIELD: You bet.

Spider-Man, Captain America and a whole bunch of other Marvel sneakers are going to get the hero treatment. Parents beware, guard your pocketbook. The limited edition shoes are expected to hit shelves at Reebok stores this month. There is no word on whether you get super powers with them.

SAMBOLIN: Of course you do.

BANFIELD: Of course you do. Just ask the kids. Look at those.

SAMBOLIN: Ooh, your boys, my nephews. I wonder how much they're going to cost.

BANFIELD: Me thinks not cheap.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of money.

BANFIELD: Not cheap because you're not just paying for the material. You're paying for the name, the licensing.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they may go flying through the air or attempt to, anyway, folks. So be careful.

Sixteen minutes past the hour.

Gloomy start in the Northeast. Rob Marciano with the gloomy forecast but he has a sunshiny smile.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, but not a great day to wear the Marvel Comics designer kicks today especially across the Northeast and Southeast and Northwest was well. Kind of a messy map here and we'll go through it to see who's going to get what if you are doing some travel though.

There may be some delays at the airports because of the low clouds, some fog and some on and off showers. You kind of see the rotation. When that happens, you know it's going to stick around most of the day. It won't rain real heavy, but it will be around for a good chunk of the day and keep things cool.

A batch of storms moving across the low country of the Carolinas and also through the mid South. Memphis just got rocked with heavy storms headed towards Tupelo. This severe thunderstorm watch is in effect south and east of Tulsa. We have some rough weather. Very strong storm coming into the Pacific Northwest and northern California. Strong front here with rainfall.

But more importantly, it's going to bring gusty winds into the fire zones of Nevada, Arizona, parts of Utah and eventually New Mexico where the biggest fire is burning there. And the heat's going to continue to be on across the Southwest, 100 degrees expected in El Paso, 92 in Albuquerque. Not bad in Chicago, 73. That's probably the bright spot.

But 50s, 60s in Boston. New England. Feeling very England-like as they celebrate the diamond jubilee over, very rainy, cold weather. The Northeast, kind of having to deal with that as well.

Guys, back to you.

SAMBOLIN: You kind of get tired in the rain in these parts. Thank you, though. We appreciate --

MARCIANO: Soon you'll be tired of the heat. Embrace it.

SAMBOLIN: Bring it on, Rob.

BANFIELD: I always say in New York City, there's nothing like a good rain to wash those sidewalks because Lord knows they need it.

MARCIANO: That's the right attitude, guys.

BANFIELD: And I tell my kids time for the trees to get a drink so they love it, too.

MARCIANO: Aww, that's sweet.

BANFIELD: Getting to follow in your footsteps, right, Rob? Nice to see you. Thanks, sunshine.

SAMBOLIN: All right. George Zimmerman's lawyers vowing to take action today with their client now back behind bars. What is next for Trayvon Martin's shooter? That's coming up.


SAMBOLIN: It is 21 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

George Zimmerman's back behind bars this morning in Florida. But his attorney hopes he won't be there for long. Zimmerman who is charged with murdering teenager Trayvon Martin turned himself into authorities after his bail was revoked. The judge says he lied about being broke in April when his bond was originally set.

Zimmerman's lawyer plans to request a new bond hearing today.

CNN's Martin Savidge is following all of the developments. He is live in Sanford, Florida.

And, Martin, I'm a little confused here because we were all following this Facebook page, and we knew that there were people that were donating money to him. How did they not know that dollar amount?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that is exactly why the judge has recalled, you could say, George Zimmerman from being free on bond and wants him in front of him in a courtroom to explain that very issue because you're right. A lot of people were giving money. It was widely known websites were out there. And yet when George Zimmerman and his family were under oath, they said they didn't know anything about the money or how much there was.

Anyway, that's why bond was revoked. That's why George Zimmerman showed up around 1:45 yesterday afternoon here. What was interesting is that because of security concerns, he actually turned himself into authorities, sort of reminiscent of a spy movie, a parking lot beside a highway.

Here is the sheriff describing that.


SHERIFF DONALD ESLINGER, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA: George Zimmerman met two members of the sheriff's office in the area of Lake Mary at I-4, was placed into custody, transported to the correctional facility. He is being booked and processed as per Judge Lester's order. He'll be held on a no-bond status.


SAVIDGE: It was an unmarked minivan that brought George Zimmerman into the correctional facility here. Meanwhile, his attorney, Mark O'Mara, says that he is immediately going to file today for a new bond hearing. Here's what he had to say.


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: He is in custody now. He's going to remain there until we get back before Judge Lester. If and when he grants us a bond hearing, it's unlikely he might consider it.


SAVIDGE: What's really going to be interesting here is how long Judge Lester waits to hold that particular hearing because it is widely known the judge was very, very unhappy to learn about what may have been misleading information on that money.

SAMBOLIN: Did his lawyer know anything?

SAVIDGE: His lawyer says no. He didn't know how much money there was until a couple of days after the original bond hearing. So, clearly what the lawyer says, and he tries to put the best face on this is that, look. There's a misunderstanding here. This was not really meant to be a lie if that's the way the state proceeded.

SAMBOLIN: And is there any new evidence that we're expecting this week along with what happens in the bond hearing?

SAVIDGE: Yes, a couple of things, actually. First of all, today we anticipate that we're going to get the tape-recorded conversations between George Zimmerman and his wife when he was in jail last time talking about that money, supposedly talking in code which would be very interesting to hear.

And then on top of that, we expect more discovery, that is more of the state's evidence against George Zimmerman to be released could be significant. So we're waiting for that this week as well.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Martin Savidge live for us in Sanford, Florida, thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: Twenty-five minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

A Nevada teen accomplishing big things in the science world. He's the youngest person in the world -- ready -- to build a nuclear fusion reactor. Just 18 years old, and Taylor Wilson is encouraging other kids to get excited about science.


TAYLOR WILSON, WHIZ KID: Science is something cool. To tell you the truth, science is cooler than just about anything else in the world. Getting to go in for your job every day and blow things up.

What kid wouldn't want that? It's an incredibly exciting thing to do. You have this license to pursue the problems that you've always thought about and do things that are really cool that no other career path offers you. You look at this country and what we've accomplished in the last 100 years, it all comes down to science.


BANFIELD: Go, Taylor. A nuclear fusion reactor at that.

Hear more from Taylor on "THE NEXT LIST" coming up this Sunday right here on CNN at 2:00 p.m. Worth watching.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-six minutes past the hour this week. Wisconsin is the center of the political universe. Voters there could recall Governor Scott Walker. How this vote could resonate all the way to November's presidential election. That is headed your way next.

BANFIELD: And if you're leaving the house now, you can take us with you. Watch us on your mobile phone. When you get to work, pop us up on your desktop. You can just go to, and all the instructions you need are there.


SAMBOLIN: It is being called the litmus test for November's presidential race. Today is the last day of campaigning in the Wisconsin recall election. The details straight ahead.

BANFIELD: Plus, Tiger Woods tying a big golf record over the weekend. That story and the absolutely unreal winning shot coming up.

SAMBOLIN: Another great story. A fifth grader gets a handwritten excuse for missing school from the president of the United States. We're going to talk live to that kid and to his teacher this hour on CNN. I am so looking forward to that.

Welcome back to EARLY START.

BANFIELD: Look at the paper it's on, too. That's a framer.

SAMBOLIN: Very formal. It was framed. But I'm not going to give away any more details.

Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Hi, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

Thirty-one minutes past the hour.

Let's start with this, shall we? We are finding out that the pilot of that Nigerian plane that crashed killing all 153 people on board was in fact an American. They are not releasing his identity at this time, but at least 10 people on the ground were also killed in that crash yesterday. Firefighters and police struggled to put out those flames.

The wreckage was burning more than three hours after the plane went down. Fire trucks just couldn't carry enough water to that site. Now, Nigeria's plane is declaring three days of national mourning.

SAMBOLIN: And we've got a morning market check for you now. U.S. stock futures down across the board this morning, indicating stocks will start the day lower here. Still reeling from that disappointing jobs report on Friday. Other factors, a slowdown in the Chinese economy as well as the ever-looming debt crisis in Europe.

BANFIELD: Bill Clinton was out on the campaign trail this weekend, and he took the opportunity to clarify his recent praise for Mitt Romney.

You might remember that the former president was on CNN's "PIERS MORGAN" last week with guest host Harvey Weinstein when he actually made some comments and complimented Mitt Romney on his time at Bain Capital.

CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser joins me live now from Washington with more on Clinton's comments and also how some CNN polling is shaking down when it comes to the favorability of the two contenders for November.

Hi, Paul.


You're right. That Bill Clinton story, remember, we were talking about it Friday morning. He made really big news on "PIERS MORGAN" Thursday night.

So, take a look at what he said first.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: So I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work. This is good work.

There's no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who's been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.


STEINHAUSER: That was Bill Clinton talking about Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital. A private equity firm he cofounded. And he was a little off message I think you can say from the Obama campaign was doing. Clinton became the third high-profile Democrat, very high profile in this case, Ashleigh, to actually question what the Obama campaign had done in their attacks on Bain Capital.

Romney himself on Friday actually, he thanked Bill Clinton for those comments. So, I guess Clinton figured he had to set the record straight.

Here's what he said Saturday in a campaign in New Jersey: "I said, you know, Governor Romney had a good career in business and he was a governor, so he crosses the qualification threshold for him being president. But he shouldn't be elected because he is wrong on the economy and all these other issues. Because I didn't attack him personally and bash him, I wake up to read all these stories taking it out of context as if I had virtually endorsed him."

There you go. Bill Clinton setting the record straight on the story we were talking about a lot on Friday. You know, one thing, too, as well, the Obama campaign not now going after Romney on Bain Capital anymore. They're going after him on his Massachusetts record. We saw that last week.

They have a brand-new TV ad out this morning doing exactly the same thing.

BANFIELD: The Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, came out and started praising the president's policies for helping unemployment in his state before he reeled that back with Candy Crowley on "STATE OF THE UNION." It's always fun to watch when people try to be honest and then realize this could be troublesome.

STEINHAUSER: Surrogates gone wild.

BANFIELD: Surrogates on fire.

Let's talk about polling. You were on fire collecting numbers about favorability ratings.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, listen, the race for the White House is more than a popularity contest. Ratings do matter.

Take a look this. Mitt Romney's numbers have soared when it comes to how Americans feel about him, 34 percent back in February, that was during the heat of those divisive GOP primaries, now up to 48 percent. How does that compare to the president?

Go to the next one. It's getting there but the president is still more popular you can see among Americans, 56 percent favorable rating.

What does this mean? Add it all together, take a look at our overall number, the race for the White House, the horse race, the president, 49 percent of registered voters say they would vote for him, 46 percent for Mitt Romney. That's basically a dead heat, it's within the sampling error, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I know this is parlor games and fun, but you do the sampling as well, you do the polling for the first lady and the potential first lady, too, and their favorability ratings.

STEINHAUSER: We sure do. And Michelle Obama, like any first lady, has a very high favorability rating, it's in the mid-60s. That's the way it is for most first ladies.

Ann Romney, about a 40 percent favorable/20 percent unfavorable, but about four in ten still don't know enough about her to form an opinion, which is understandable because she's obviously not nearly as well known as the first lady. But I think Americans will see a lot more of Ann Romney between now and November 6th -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Everybody calls her Mitt Romney's secret weapon. She's absolutely lovely. Not as much air time, but that's about to change.

Hey, Paul, good to see you on this Monday. Thanks.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-five minutes past the hour. Huge celebrations in England this weekend as Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 years on the throne. Tens of thousands of people took part in the diamond jubilee festivities. On Sunday, the royal family led a flotilla of 1,000 boats down the Thames River for a spectacular river pageant. Did you miss it?

The celebrations continue today with a party and a concert at Buckingham Palace. Hopefully it won't rain.

BANFIELD: Man, those were pretty pictures despite the rain. Nothing like a good royals parade on water. And by the way, 210 feet, that yacht she was on. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. Spectacular.

Thirty-six minutes now past 6:00. High drama high above Nevada. A pilot forced to try to land. There is a key part of the plane missing. You'll see this when we come back.


BANFIELD: It's 40 minutes now past 6:00. It turns out the pilot of a Nigerian plane that crashed in residential neighborhood in Lagos, killing all 153 people on board was an American. His identity has not yet been released. At least ten people on the ground are also killed.

Nigeria's president is declaring three days of national mourning and is ordering a full investigation.

SAMBOLIN: Asian stocks tumbling on concerns the debt crisis is deepening and China's economy is slowing. European markets have recovered a little bit, but it's going to be another volatile week. U.S. stock futures pointing to a lower open this morning after that dismal jobs report on Friday that sent the markets reeling.

BANFIELD: Investigators still don't know what caused an air tanker to crash while fighting a wildfire among the Nevada-Utah border. Two pilots were killed yesterday when their tanker went down. The 5,000-acre white rock fire began burning on Friday night after a lightning strike in eastern Nevada.

SAMBOLIN: So this was a near tragedy for another firefighting air tanker. Take a look at this video. A landing gear malfunction forcing pilots to execute an emergency landing at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. The pilot actually circled for 90 minutes to drop fuel before skidding on the runway in a dramatic belly landing. Both crew members escaped unhurt.

BANFIELD: Voters in Wisconsin are getting ready for a critical recall election that could force their Republican governor out of office for just 18 months on the job. Scott Walker, Tea Party favorite, broke the state's unions faces a high-stakes challenge from the Milwaukee's Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett. What happens to Walker tomorrow could set the tone for the national election in November.

SAMBOLIN: It was vintage Tiger at Jack's place. Tiger Woods tying Jack Nicklaus for second time on the all-time wins list by winning Jack's tournament in Ohio yesterday. Woods capturing his 73rd PGA victory and his fight Memorial title with a shot for the ages -- holing out a ridiculous 50-foot flop shot from the deep rough on the 16th hole. Ridiculous. Take a look.

Afterward, really light, sweet moment between Tiger and the Golden Bear.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: It's awfully special for me to be here with him right now.

JACK NICKLAUS, PRO GOLFER: He had to rub it in my face right here, didn't he?


SAMBOLIN: Tiger still holds the all-time wins in major tournaments. He'll try to close that gap in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco gets under way. That is just 11 days away now.

BANFIELD: You know, I thought that was tiger saying Mr. Nicklaus, but I think it was a reporter asking the second question. There I was saying isn't that adorable? On second watch. I'll have to watch the video again. It looked as though it might have been a reporter. Maybe there wasn't that deference.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure there is.

BANFIELD: I'm sure there is.


BANFIELD: Forty-three minutes past 6:00.

We're getting an early lead on your newspapers stories making national headlines, hot off the presses.

"Wall Street Journal" is reporting Facebook may lift its ban on kids under the age of 13. The social media site, according to "The Wall Street Journal," developing special new features for kids' pages. And that technology's supposed to allow the parents to be able to control their kids' friends' list and also what applications the kids can use.

A lot of kids already are on Facebook under the age of 13. Why, you ask, if it's not legal? Because they lie.

SAMBOLIN: That's what they do.

BANFIELD: That's what they do.

SAMBOLIN: You've got to constantly watch them.

BANFIELD: Get on them.

SAMBOLIN: For the first time ever, hundreds of Latter Day Saints church members marched in the gay pride parade. "Deseret News" says more than 300 participated in Sunday's parade in Salt Lake City. The LDS church has often clashed with gay rights activists over its opposition to same-sex marriage. The LDS church says it is against, quote, "any kind of hostility towards gays and lesbians."

BANFIELD: It is now 44 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

Soledad O'Brien is joining us with a look at what's coming up on "STARTING POINT".

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: So much, so much this Monday morning.

BANFIELD: Busy girl?

O'BRIEN: Yes, very busy.

Welcome, everybody. On "STARTING POINT" this morning starting right at the top of the hour, we're going to talk to Christiane Amanpour. She completed an exclusive interview with Mariela Castro. She, of course, is a daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro. She says her work with gay rights in Cuba is a pretext to fight other forms of discrimination. We're going to talk to Christiane about that at the top of the hour.

Also, singer and songwriter and my all-around favorite, Ledisi, joins us. Fabulous singer but she's also written a new book, "Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power". It's a collection of her essays and songs and poems, and her talking about her path to inner peace.

And would do take advice from a guy who gets paid to beat up other guys?

He is one of the most popular mixed martial artists and fighters in the world, but he has written a self-help book. I've got to tell you, it's amazing. It's called "The Laws of the Ring." He has 37 laws that he feels that he subscribes to in the ring that are applicable for the rest of us who are not mixed martial artists.

SAMBOLIN: Those are very disciplined folks. Very disciplined. It will be interesting. O'BRIEN: Well, if we had this much discipline, we would be different people.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you? Is there anything in there that says, don't hit your brother? Because I'm constantly having to say that.


O'BRIEN: Oh, for your kids? They may need to grow up a little bit.


O'BRIEN: Maybe that's item 38 that he hasn't written yet. Don't forget, you can catch us live or on your computer, mobile phone while you're heading to work, We'll see you right at the top of the hour.


SAMBOLIN: It is time now to talk to 11-year-old Tyler Sullivan. His teacher is here, too. He's the boy who, this morning, will be returning to his fifth grade class with a handwritten excuse note from President Obama. You may have heard the story of Tyler skipping school last Friday to hear the president speak at the factory where his dad works.

After the speech, President Obama asked Tyler if he needed an excuse note. The president broke out the official presidential stationery, and you're looking it there, wrote, "Mr. Ackerman, please excuse Tyler. He was with me." It is signed Barack Obama.

Now joining us, Tyler Sullivan and his teacher who gets the note, Terry Ackerman. Welcome to the both of you. Thank you very much. Tyler, I'm going to start with you. So, you were sitting, we understand, in the VIP section which is right at the front. And the reason you were there was because your dad was actually introducing the president. How was he picked to do that? Do you know?


SAMBOLIN: Oh, all right. Well, that's a good reason to choose him. While you were sitting there in the front and after the president had spoken, he actually -- did he come up to you and offer something to you? How did you make that meeting?

SULLIVAN: Yes. He came up and he asked me if he wanted an excuse note since I was missing school Friday.

SAMBOLIN: And what did you say?

SULLIVAN: I was, like, uh -- I was so shocked, I didn't say anything.

SAMBOLIN: And so what did the president do?

SULLIVAN: He asked a person for presidential paper or a note, paper and pencil, and he got -- he got the paper and pencil, then he started writing.

SAMBOLIN: And what did he write to you?

SULLIVAN: "Mr. Ackerman, please excuse Tyler. He was with me, Barack Obama, the president."

SAMBOLIN: How did you feel when he handed you that note?

SULLIVAN: I felt really shocked. And I just had a huge grin on my face.

SAMBOLIN: We're watching that video right now, Tyler, of you with the president. What were you thinking as he's writing this note? Are you thinking you're actually going to give this to your teacher?

SULLIVAN: No, I was, like, really? He's writing me an excuse note? That's really crazy.


SAMBOLIN: Really crazy and cool. And, Terry, you're sitting there right next to him. And this note is supposed to be going to you. Did you know that Tyler was actually going to meet the president or potentially meet the president?

TERRY ACKERMAN, TYLER'S FIFTH GRADE TEACHER: I really didn't. I knew, obviously, he was absent from school on Friday. I wasn't sure what he was doing. And I found out after the fact that this all happened to Tyler, which I was very excited for him. Very excited.

SAMBOLIN: Now, tell us a little bit about Tyler and what kind of student he is.

ACKERMAN: You know, it couldn't have happened to a better student. Tyler's fantastic, gets his stuff done, very helpful in class, very respectful. Just couldn't have happened to a better person. Just fantastic.

SAMBOLIN: Tyler, I was reading that you are a really outgoing kid, you're super smart, and normally, you would tell your classmates where you're going. Why didn't you tell anybody or did you tell anybody?

SULLIVAN: Because I found out on Thursday night right after my baseball game. And, then, I went home with my dad, and I didn't go to school, so I couldn't tell anybody. So, nobody knew. Nobody's going to know until today.

SAMBOLIN: Well, now, I think they found out before today, Tyler, because it's been all over the place. And now, you're on television. So, have your friends been contacting you?

SULLIVAN: No, none yet.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, well, I would imagine that you should get ready to sign some autographs because I think that's going to happen next for you. Listen, what did you think about the president's speech?

SULLIVAN: It was good. I liked the line, "if you can save a life on the battlefield, you can save a life in the ambulance."

SAMBOLIN: All right. And Tyler, I have one last question for you. What do you want to be when you grow up?

SULLIVAN: I would like to be an NFL football player.


SAMBOLIN: Well, I hope your dreams come true. It was really nice to meet you this morning, Tyler Sullivan, Terry Ackerman. Hey, Terry, are you getting a copy of that letter?

ACKERMAN: I am. I think that's one of the first things we'll do once we get back to school today.

SAMBOLIN: Very cool. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

ACKERMAN: You bet. Thank you. Appreciate it.

SULLIVAN: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Fifty-three minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. You want to know what life is really like on the campaign trail? Tomorrow, join CNN Election Roundtable with Wolf Blitzer and CNN's political team.

You can submit your own questions and get answers in real time in this live virtual chat. Don't miss the CNN Election Roundtable. It's tomorrow at 12:00 noon eastern. Just log on to Makes sense, doesn't it?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it does.

Relatively few Americans are lucky enough to play in the NBA or serve in the U.S. Senate. Today's best advice from a man who has managed to do both. That's coming up.


BANFIELD: Fifty-seven minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast and "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien is just about a minute away. So, we leave you, as always, with the best advice.

SAMBOLIN: Listen to Senator Bill Bradley from New Jersey who was also a hall of fame basketball player.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BILL BRADLEY, (D) NEW JERSEY: The two bits of best advice I ever got was first from my father who said put your money in the bank, it works while you sleep. And the second was from an old basketball pro who said if you're not practicing, remember, somebody somewhere is practicing. And if you two meet, you have roughly equal ability, he's going to win.


BANFIELD: Probably why a guy like that not only is a basketball player, a senator, and also ran for president. What a guy. I really enjoy Bill Bradley. I wish he had gotten the nomination back in 2000.

SAMBOLIN: I love his advice. I think it's great.

BANFIELD: I always love the ones about listening, too. I think that's terrific. That is it. That's the news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.