CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Panetta In Afghanistan; Plane Intercepted In Obama's Airspace; FBI Launches Probe Of Intel Leaks; Search For Clues In Etan Patz Death; Navy: Vacuum Cleaner May Have Caused $400 Million Sub Fire; Shuttle Enterprise Lands On Intrepid; Clinton To Meet With Annan On Syria; NASDAQ CEO Apologizes for Facebook IPO; CT Scans Linked to Cancer in Kids

Aired June 7, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (on-camera): Good morning to you, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We're bringing you the news from "A" to "Z" this morning. It is just about 14 seconds before 6:00 a.m. Let's get you caught up on one of the big stories of the day happening right now.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on his way home from Afghanistan. He arrived unannounced after a deadly Wednesday in that country, a twin suicide bombing mission in a market in Kandahar, killing 22 people, injuring 50 others.

NATO also under scrutiny this morning after an air strike killed 18 people including women and children believed to be civilians. The U.S. also saying one of its armed helicopters was shot down by enemy fire, killing two crew members on board.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom is live in Kabul this morning. Clearly a violent week in Afghanistan, this visit is coming unannounced. Was this an effort for the defense secretary to get briefed on just how bad things are or how bad they're getting?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There's been grave concern because of this uptick in violence. Yesterday was the deadliest day in Afghanistan all year and the defense secretary has said that even though overall levels of violence are down, he wants to assess the situation here.

It's a critical time in Afghanistan because as the troops continue to plan to draw down. There are more and more regions in Afghanistan that are going to be turned over to Afghan Security Forces.

This transition is happening now in more and more of the provinces here. Just a few hours ago, though, Secretary Panetta spoke to U.S. troops here.

And he talked about putting pressure on Pakistan as well, because Pakistan is a safe haven for the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani terrorist network. The Haqqani terrorist network is blamed for cross border attacks on U.S. troops here in Afghanistan. Here is more on what Secretary of Defense Panetta had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're going to make very clear that we are prepared to take them on and we've got to put pressure on them to take them on as well.

What happened yesterday is an indication that they're going to continue to try to come at us, but let me be very clear anybody who attacks U.S. soldiers is our enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAMJOOM: Secretary of Defense Panetta also spoke today and met with minister of defense here. They talked about cooperation between the U.S. and Afghanistan in security matters and especially regarding the transition and security from U.S. and coalition-led forces to the Afghan Security Forces here -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So, Mohammed, was -- the U.S. General John Allen, head of the U.S. coalition forces, able to swayed the sec def's concerns about this massive truth movement that we're expecting in September, 23,000 American troops set to leave that country. Did what happened this week change the formula for what's expected in the coming months?

JAMJOOM: As of now, Ashleigh, it hasn't changed the formula still everything on track, but there is an assessment going on. There's certainly more concern because of the types of attacks. Not only have they escalated, but they've gotten more coordinated.

Yesterday, in Helman Province -- you had these two suicide bombers. The first suicide bomber, he exploded his device then residents rushed into the area. Then a second suicide bomber blew up himself.

That caused even more casualties. Because these attacks are becoming more sophisticated, because there's more of them in the past few days, that's causing more concern, that's why the assessment is going on. But as of now, there's no indication that this draw down strategy has changed -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Mohammed Jamjoom live for us this morning in Kabul. Thanks very much.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is 3 minutes past the hour here. An F-16 fighter jet intercepting a small private plane after it entered air space that was restricted for President Obama's fundraising trip to L.A. last night.

The jet followed the single-engine Cessna until it landed without incident in an air field in Camarillo, California. The pilot was being interviewed.

President Obama was at the Beverly Hilton at that time and was later taken to the Beverly Wilshire for a 600-person campaign fundraiser in Los Angeles held by gay and lesbian supporters.

BANFIELD: The FBI is now investigating allegations that the White House -- the White House intentionally leaked classified intelligence for political gain.

For its part, the White House says those accusations are, quote, "grossly irresponsible." Still, there is bipartisan concern this morning and demand for answers in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: People just talk too much. This didn't used to be the case, but suddenly it's like it's a spreadable disease. It's just happening.

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: You're talking about conversations among very small numbers of people in the oval office or in the National Security Council and the situation room. We're talking about the people closest to the president.

This isn't a big political gathering. We're talking about people with top-secret clearances and it should be easy enough to find out who was at these meetings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say any leaks threaten national security and also put American lives in danger.

SAMBOLIN: Two weeks after he confessed to killing Etan Patz, police are searching the New Jersey home of Pedro Hernandez for clues to support that confession.

Authorities removed a computer hard drive and other evidence. Hernandez told police he strangled the 6-year-old boy back in 1979 and disposed of his body in the trash.

Meantime, Hernandez's wife believes her husband's confession is unreliable because he suffers from mental illness.

BANFIELD: The jury is now seated in the Jerry Sandusky trial. Now it's their job to decide whether or not the former Penn State assistant football coach is guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys for at least 15 years.

The trial and testimonies are expected to get underway on Monday. It took just two days to select those seven women and five men as well as four alternates.

The makeup of the jury really shows the school's motto rings true in that community. The motto, we are Penn State. Turns out half of the 16 jurors and alternates have ties to Penn State including one retired professor, one current professor, three graduates, two employees and one current student.

SAMBOLIN: No life-threatening injuries are reported after a bus filled with school children -- take a look at this, on a trip to Washington, D.C. flipped over. This was last night in Kentucky.

Fifty five people were on board including 34 children when that bus overturned shortly after leaving an elementary school in Hart County flipping on to its passenger side. The private bus was heading to Washington on a trip organized by parents and World Stripe, that's a student travel company.

BANFIELD: The Navy says a vacuum cleaner, common vacuum cleaner, may be responsible for a fire on board a nuclear submarine, which caused $400 million in damage.

The "USS Miami's" nuclear plant was not operational when the forward compartment caught on fire two weeks ago. Investigators say they believe the fire started in a vacuum that is used to clean work sites on that submarine.

SAMBOLIN: So pretty cool time lapsed video of space shuttle "Enterprise" on its final voyage up the Hudson River by barge. Take a look at this.

Before it was lifted in the air one final time by crane on to its final resting place on the deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, looks easy, right?

The spacecraft exhibit expected to open to the public in mid July. We're going to take a live look here. Look how beautiful it looks, as the sun is rising. That's a look at the space shuttle.

People lined the shores of New York and New Jersey to catch a glimpse of it yesterday as it was traveling to its resting place.

BANFIELD: And if you squint, you can see a chip on the wing. Apparently, it got a little too close to the bridge pilings on the way up the Hudson and smashed into it a little bit damage in that outer foam. Hopefully, they'll be able to repair it in time for us to go see it.

Guess what? There will be a game five in the Stanley Cup finals. A hallelujah going up across the country I'm sure for some. New Jersey Devils avoiding the sweep instead beating the Los Angeles Kings last night 3-1.

The kings are trying for their first-ever Stanley Cup win and they still lead the series 3-1. Game five is set for Saturday in New Jersey.

SAMBOLIN: The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in Chicago, came to the studio. I got to hang out with it. A lot of people kiss it, a lot of kissing going on there.

The Oklahoma City Thunder heading to the NBA finals for the first time ever. They finished off the Spurs last night with a 107-99 victory. Kevin Durant leading the way, 34 points, 14 rebounds. The spurs lost four straight games in the series after they won 20 in a row. Go figure that.

BANFIELD: Wow! Gone country. Coming up, watch President Obama and Mitt Romney team up for a skit.

SAMBOLIN: It's pretty funny.

BANFIELD: It's great on last night's CMT awards. If you missed it, we've got the mash up for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It is now 12 minutes past 6:00 on the east coast. Wake up. Get on up. We have your top stories for you. Christine Romans has been busy putting them together for you. Hello, there.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Breaking news overnight for you as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan.

Panetta met with the NATO commander and the Afghan defense minister for a progress report on how prepared Afghan Security Forces are to begin take over when 23,000 U.S. troops leave that region by September.

Panetta's visit coming in on the heels of a deadly day of violence in Afghanistan where dozens were killed by suicide bombers. Also several women and children died after a NATO air strike.

A warning this morning from the World Health Organization about a drug-resistant form of gonorrhea. The health agency says this particular strain of the sexually transmitted disease has been developing a resistance to all forms of medication.

Officials believe within a few years this strain will no longer be treatable with standard antibiotics. So far, it hasn't been spotted in the United States, but cases have been identified in Japan, the U.K., Australia, France and Norway.

A romantic marriage proposal inside a hot air balloon ended with a trip to the emergency room for the bride-to-be and the balloon pilot.

The newly engaged couple were about to land in Indiana last night when the balloon hit a power line, knocking the pilot unconscious and giving the bride-to-be a jolt as well. I think she said yes, but I'm not clear. She said please call an ambulance.

Donald Trump now firing back at a beauty queen who blasted his Miss USA pageant. Trump now saying he plans to sue Miss Pennsylvania, who quit Trump's Miss Universe organization in a rant on Facebook saying last Sunday's Miss USA pageant was rigged. Pageant officials saying she just disagrees with organization's decision to allow transgendered contestants.

It wouldn't be a Trump story without some drama somewhere, right, ladies? At 8:10 Eastern, Soledad will speak to the winner of the pageant, Miss USA 2012 Oliva Culpo. We'll hear why she thinks she won the crown fair and square.

He may be out of office, but he is still influential, but not apparently in a good way. A brand new CNN poll says former President George W. Bush remains unpopular with most Americans, 54 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Bush.

Only 43 percent view him favorably. When it comes to the economy, most people say they're better off without Mr. Bush, 47 percent of Americans say they're doing better financially than when Bush was president and 41 percent say they're worse off.

President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are courting country music fans, both men appeared in the opening segment of last night's CMT Awards.

During the skit, co-host, actress, Kristen Bell and country star Toby Keith refused to share the stage. They called on some heavy hitters to decide who should host the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is one of the toughest decisions I've had to make since I've been in office. I think I've decided. I want them both.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Boy, I thought the presidential election was a tough race, but it's nothing compared to the politics at the CMT Music Awards. I think I have a solution, though. I proposed Toby and Kristen co-host the show. See, I just put two people back to work. You're welcome, America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You're welcome.

ROMANS: They agree. They worked it out and Bell and Keith took the stage together in a giant red solo cup, the kind that Toby Keith sings about. Funny, right?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It was.

BANFIELD: I love that. That's great. I want one of those in my house.

SAMBOLIN: Your kids would love it.

BANFIELD: Really, for me.

SAMBOLIN: You thought you wanted one, so -- the kids would love it, too, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Actually, I'm good with a big gulp.

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

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Rob Marciano is joining us now for a look at travel forecast -- is that what you're focusing on?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We'll do it all, and if you have a red solo cup this morning -- God bless you.

Hey, heavy rain across -- parts of Denver, flash-flooding still happening, although it's beginning to wind down after storms that actually produce a few tornadoes yesterday, moving out. They'd be under the gun again today.

Dallas, you are all seeing some showers and thunderstorms, although the roughest stuff is down to your south. They'll probably restart later on today.

Here is a spot where you can expect to see severe weather, mostly Denver across the high plateau east, sliding to western parts of Nebraska and Kansas as well. The sweet spot is Chicago. Gorgeous stuff there. Desert Southwest, sunny and dry. The Pacific Northwest is expected to get some rough weather as far as another cool front that will stir up the winds again in parts of the fire zones across Nevada and Utah as we get to the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, we're going to start to see things warming up across the Northeast. It's been rather cool and unsettled -- although yesterday wasn't too bad of a day. Here is the four-day forecast for places like Pittsburg and D.C. You get up into the mid to upper 80s. D.C. might even hit 90 on Sunday.

We start to get that trend the next couple of days for New York City and Boston, although Saturday and Sunday looks a little suspect. Boston may cool down just a bit as well. But next couple of days don't look too shabby.

BANFIELD: All right. I'll take that, two days away from the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: I'll take it, too.

BANFIELD: Hello, there.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to go over to you, Ashleigh. Thanks a lot, Rob.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Rob.

So, you know, most vegetables are grown on a huge corporate farm around the world and they're shipped by truck, train, boat and all the rest to your supermarket.

Now, there's a Georgia company, though, that thinks they figured out something different -- a farm in a box. No kidding. It's today's "Solutions".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD (voice-over): Most of the produce you eat is probably grown on a farm, hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. It can take days for the food to get to your supermarket, burning fuel and causing pollution.

Matt Liotta and his team at PodPonics say they have a better way. MATT LIOTTA, FOUNDER & CEO, PODPONICS: Less water, less land and less fossil fuels because we don't have to transport it to where consumers are actually going to consume the product.

BANFIELD: PodPonics is growing lettuce in climate controlled recycled shipping containers in the Atlanta area for people in Atlanta.

LIOTTA: We grow our lettuce hydroponically without using sun or soil. And what that means is the plants have grown in a nutrient solution in a channel of water.

BANFIELD: And a computer is calling the shots.

LIOTTA: The computer controls our lights, our environment from our air temperature, humidity, CO2 levels.

BANFIELD: Liotta says one container produces the equivalent of about an acre and a half of farm land.

LIOTTA: We believe the future of farming involves being able to grow food where it's consumed and this is a perfect example of how to do that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Looks like the inside of a Tom Cruise movie, doesn't it? Very, very cool.

For more solutions, you can head to our blog CNN.com/EarlyStart.

SAMBOLIN: It is 19 minutes past the hour.

The NASDAQ's boss speaking out on the Facebook IPO fiasco. Will that be enough to satisfy brokers who lost millions? Christine Romans with more, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-two minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning. A huge rally for U.S. markets yesterday, the biggest of 2012 so far. The Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 all gained more than 2 percent yesterday.

BANFIELD: Talk about a week of whiplash.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: Christine Romans is here to explain what the heck is going on.

ROMANS: We'll take that whiplash.

BANFIELD: Yes.

ROMANS: It was a horrible month of May. Look, big market story today is the hope that the fed or global central banks are going to continue to stimulate the economy. Governments are doing nothing. Politicians are embroiled in different dramas around the world.

But it's central banks and central banks keeping the money flowing and pumping. That is what the hope was yesterday. Three different fed governors in the U.S. hinted that maybe they would have some new or continuing the old ways that they've been stimulating the economy. That was the big story there.

Another big story, the NASDAQ CEO apologizing for the debacle that was the Facebook launch, the Facebook IPO. There he is there on CNBC, apologizing to Maria Bartiromo, saying that he and other execs owe the industry an apology for the technical problems that happen at the same time as that Facebook IPO.

And financial firms are saying that they got this money, right? From NASDAQ, $40 million to help them compensate for those financial losses. Firms are like, that ain't enough.

BANFIELD: What did they say, Christine?

ROMANS: They didn't exactly like that. On the record they said it much nicer and off the record they said it much meaner.

BANFIELD: Some four-letter words involved there?

ROMANS: So the NASDAQ drama continues. So, that's what we're watching today.

It's interesting too, NYSE, their big competitor, the New York Stock Exchange said hey, that's not fair. You can't have a botched IPO and turn around and pay people money. That makes an unfair competitive advantage for you. You can't -- no, that's not going to fly either.

So, there's a lot of drama still surrounding the Facebook IPO.

So, the one thing today that you need to know about your money, time to upgrade your passports. We've been telling you this story about the LinkedIn, 6.5 million linked in accounts compromised. You need to update password.

And here's a couple of ways that you got to do it. One, think pass phrase not password or passcode. No string of consecutive of numbers. That's also really important here.

Don't use birthdays. Don't use names, familiar places and don't repeat your passwords on all your different accounts. A lot of us do this.

Even if you think you have a hard one to crack, don't use it across the board. And if you have like a grocery account or online dating account and use the default, which is -- whatever, eHarmony, or First Direct, whatever, don't do that. A lot of people still have the default that everyone has and it's very easy for hackers to be able to figure that out.

BANFIELD: You mean the default password?

ROMANS: Like you start up an account with eHarmony or whatever, is like, I'm setting it at eHarmony -- I'm just giving you an example -- and then you'll change it. |A lot of people don't change it. You know? Don't do that.

BANFIELD: Yes.

Here's another thing that I think a lot of people, no but they put their passwords in their mobile devices, right, because you need to remind yourselves and that's easily traceable, too.

ROMANS: A lot of people starting to use these password vaults where it's stored and auto fills and keeps it protected. That's interesting, too, if we don't have control over our passwords. Then you worry about, you don't have control over your passwords --

BANFIELD: I want you to do a segment on how we're supposed to remember 500 password.

SAMBOLIN: I put them in a book and then I lost the book.

BANFIELD: Eek!

SAMBOLIN: It was awful. You have to wonder where do you keep this stuff --

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: There you go.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Christine.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta getting an up-close look at the situation in Afghanistan this morning. More on the reason behind his mission, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: New this morning -- an F-16 intercepts a small plane during a fund-raiser for President Obama. We're going to show what happened, coming up.

BANFIELD: And a brand new study links CT scans to cancer. It's all about kids under the age of 15. We're going to have details for you this hour on CNN.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. Nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty minutes past the hour here. We start with breaking news from overnight -- as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan. This video just in to CNN is showing Panetta talking to U.S. troops.

The defense secretary with some strong words for neighboring Pakistan, saying the United States must put more pressure on the country and warning that U.S. troops have every right to defend themselves against attacks launched from inside Pakistani safe havens.

BANFIELD: A pilot is being questioned today after he flew his small plane straight into President Obama's restricted air space over L.A. last night. That's not something you're supposed to do. NORAD says an F-16 fighter jet had to intercept that plane, followed it until it landed without incident at an airfield in Camarillo, California.

At the time, President Obama was at the Beverly Hilton for a fund- raiser.

SAMBOLIN: A CT scan could save your child's life. You know that.

This morning, there's new evidence linking those scans to cancer. We are joined now by senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

So, Elizabeth, 1.6 million kids get a CT scan when they go to an emergency room. How big of risk is this? And could these kids actually get cancer from the radiation in the scans?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, the bottom line here is that if your child needs a CT scan because they've had an accident or for whatever reason, they need a CT scan. If they really need it, they really need it and they should have it.

What we're talking about here is sometimes there's a gray area. Does your child really need it? You want to think about it because what this study shows is that there's an increased risk of cancer the more that you have. So, let's take a look at CT scans and brain cancer. This is for children and young teens.

Two to three scans triples the risk. So, they looked at these kids and followed them for 10 years. Two to three scans -- for 10 years rather -- triples the risk. Leukemia, five to ten scans triples the risk.

So, I want to say the risk is very small to begin with, that your child is going to get leukemia or a brain tumor. But what this study shows is that having several scans increases your child's risk of getting those diseases.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh. This is scary. So, for example, if you have a kid who plays sports and, you know, you're worried about a head injury, would it make more sense then to take them to a children's hospital because they'll be better versed on this?

COHEN: You know, I have definitely spoken to doctors who say kids should be scanned at a children's hospital because they're used to giving a kid's sized dose. You know, kids get smaller doses because they're smaller. It's not that adults or regular hospitals can't do it right. They often -- I'm sure they do. But kids' hospitals are just more accustomed to dealing with kids. Some people do recommend a kid's hospital.

SAMBOLIN: So, arm us with some tools here because let's say we are in an emergency room, we're facing this. What kind of discussion should we be having with the emergency room doctor about this, perhaps saying let's hold off on the CAT scan?

COHEN: Right. Well, this is not just for an emergency room, but any time a doctor recommends a CT scan. Stop for a minute and ask several questions. For example, ask what you just said. Would it hurt to wait? Do we really need this now? Maybe if we wait a week, we'll find out that my child has something where they don't need a CT scan.

So, ask if it would hurt to wait. Also ask if your child could have an ultrasound, or an MRI or an X-ray instead. Ultrasounds and MRI don't have radiation and X-rays have much less radiation than a CT scan. Also avoid multiple scans.

And, Zoraida, what happens here is that sometimes a patient will get a scan and a month later, they'll see a new doctor and the doctor will say let's do a CT scan. Well, remind that doctor that your child already had one a month ago and tell them to make the effort and get the results of that previous scan. Don't just scan again for, you know, the sake of convenience.

SAMBOLIN: Well, this study again is children 16 and under, right?

COHEN: Right.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen live for us in Atlanta -- thank you very much for that.

COHEN: OK, thanks.

SAMBOLIN: So, a CT scan can save your child's life. I'm sorry. We're going to move on here. A pilot -- you want to take it?

BANFIELD: Why not?

As we were mentioning, a CT scan can save your child's life but this morning, we want to make sure you keep your eyes out for Elizabeth Cohen, who's got some fabulous work coming up on CNN. She counts down her list to the 25 most shocking medical mistakes and how you can keep it from happening to you. Really surprising stuff she's been able to unearth.

And so, Saturday night, instead of going out, instead of going to a movie, get in front of your TV set 8:00 Eastern, Elizabeth Cohen's CNN special.

In the meantime, Jill Biden, not only the vice president's wife, author, wicked smart, teacher, known as Dr. B to her students at Northern Virginia Community College. Biden's new children's book titled "Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops" inspired by her son's military service.

Our Soledad O'Brien got a chance to sit down with Dr. Biden and talk about her book, her politics, today seemingly more rough and tumble than ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: There is a poll out that talks about how political polarization is at its highest level in 25 years and just anecdotally, I feel that. And, you know, you guys have been in the political business certainly longer, do you feel that people are just angrier and kind of -- everybody is in their own corner or their own side today?

JILL BIDEN, VP JOE BIDEN'S WIFE: I think the parties are really disparate. I think probably the Republican Party has gone way far right than it has gone before. So, it's certainly not the Republican Party I grew up with.

O'BRIEN: Do you think it's -- that polarization, though, plays back into what could happen in November? Do you think -- do you think -- does that worry you or are you --

BIDEN: I think voters will have a clear choice. I mean, I think that Mitt and Barack are on totally different paths. And, you know, you've got clear choices. That's what I think.

And, of course, I think, you know, our choice is the best and what Barack and Joe have done for Americans. And I think that's -- you know, that's the path I hope they -- Americans choose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: And that's not all. You can hear a lot more of Soledad's interview with Dr. Biden at 7:30 Eastern Time this morning on "STARTING POINT". Make sure you don't miss that.

SAMBOLIJN: A marine mystery solved in Oregon. Coming up, more on the seven-foot long piece of debris found on a beach.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Largest single piece of debris so far from the 2011 Japanese tsunami has washed up on an Oregon Beach and it is massive. Take a look at that -- a floating concrete and metal dock.

Are you ready for the specs on this one? Seven feet tall, 66 feet long. It is absolutely covered in marine life that is native to Japan as well. Luckily, the authorities are saying that this dock is not radioactive.

Right now they're trying to figure out what to do with it, save it, tow it back out to sea, dismantle it and maybe just sink it. Remarkable.

SAMBOLIN: Huge. BANFIELD: A one-year journey. Remarkable.

SAMBOLIN: All right. More stormy weather on tap in places like Denver and Dallas. Rob Marciano has great news for you this morning.

Good morning to you.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys.

Yes, it was a rough night last night in Denver. Dallas as well. And if you're traveling to those two major hubs, you'll probably see some delays because of thunderstorms.

San Francisco and Miami also, some storms there. San Fran and up through the Oregon and Seattle coastline. There's another strong cold front coming through and temperatures way below normal. As a matter of fact, record lows yesterday in parts of central and western Oregon.

Severe storms in Dallas and to the east of Dallas much where we saw them yesterday. Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati. You're looking good. High pressure is in control there.

And continued unsettled weather across portions of the Northeast, temperatures there will be nice. Seventy-seven degrees in New York, you might see showers, 20 or 30 percent of chance of it. Eighty degrees expected in D.C., 81, low humidity in Chicago, and 81, not to shabby of a day in Atlanta.

But south Florida, if you're heading there for vacation, you might have to dodge some rain drops from time to time.

BANFIELD: South Florida in the summer.

MARCIANO: I can think of much worse places to be.

BANFIELD: Such a beautiful place to be in the summer, isn't it, Rob? First place I think of.

MARCIANO: What, Oregon?

BANFIELD: South Florida.

MARCIANO: It can get a little steamy in the summer but I can think of worse places.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Rob. Appreciate it.

MARCIANO: All right.

BANFIELD: Soledad O'Brien is joining us now with a look at what's coming up in about 18 minutes or so.

O'BRIEN: Yes, ahead this morning on "STARTING POINT," some secrets about Iran, United States and cyber attacks, all classified information that's been leaked to the public. Was it done by the White House? Was it done for political reasons? Was it done on purpose? We'll take a look at that this morning.

Also, accusations of deception and denial. Thousands of football players now teaming up against the NFL. Did the NFL hide the effects of brain injuries and concussions? This morning, we talk to a widow of one former football star who ended up taking his own life.

And is the Miss USA pageant rigged? Guess what, Miss Pennsylvania says yes, yes. She says the list of the top five finishers, done. That list created hours before the competition even started.

BANFIELD: How does she know that?

O'BRIEN: She said she talked to someone. She says she knows.

BANFIELD: Scandal, scandal.

O'BRIEN: We like a good scandal. This morning we'll talk to the new Miss USA winner, that's brunette beauty, Olivia Culpo will talk to us about not only her victory but some of the scandal as well.

Plus, this morning, we're talking to Mandy Moore. She's an actress, a singer, fashion designer. She's going to be shining her spotlight on real women who should be famous. She wants to talk about real role models who we should be emulating.

BANFIELD: My mom.

O'BRIEN: Yes. I think her mom is a role model for her as well. We'll talk about that.

Don't forget, you can catch that at the top of the hour, in just about 15 minutes or so. We'll see then.

BANFIELD: I'm watching.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Let's get you up-to- date. Here's Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Zoraida. It's about 47 minutes after the hour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): Breaking news overnight as defense secretary, Leon Panetta, arrived in Afghanistan. The defense secretary with some strong words for neighboring Pakistan, saying the United States must put more pressure on the country, and warning that U.S. troops have every right to defend themselves against attacks launched from inside Pakistani safe havens.

Also new this morning, the U.S. taking on the crisis in Syria. Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is meeting with U.N. envoy, Kofi Annan, tomorrow. Clinton is calling for tougher sanctions and increase pressure on the Syrian government. That regime is now being blamed for a new massacre. Protesters say 78 people were slaughtered in a single village yesterday.

Today, Kofi Annan is briefing the U.N. on the drastic situation there. Meantime, in a brand new CNN poll, 61 percent of Americans think the U.S. has no responsibility to act on the violence in Syria. Only 33 percent are calling for action.

A rare giant squid has been spotted off the Australian coast. Unfortunately, it was being eaten by an eight-foot shark at the time. It was caught on camera by TV crew that happened to be filming in the area. This squid was believed to be more than 12-feet long, but it had already been partially eaten by the time this film crew arrived.

The giant squid was so heavy, the film crew wasn't able to haul it into the boat for further studies. Instead, they just have these dramatic pictures to watch.

Brandon Jacobs is no longer a Giant. He signed with the 49ers as a free agent, and he's now telling the world that a six-year-old -- what a six-year-old fan did when his mother said the team didn't have enough money to keep him. Little Joe sent Jacobs a letter with all of his money, $3.36, so the running back could remain a giant. Jacobs posted on Twitter and said he may have to pay Joe a surprise visit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (on-camera): Ashleigh, that is just an adorable story.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: But you know something? I want to know what's going to happen in that surprise visit. Will the decimal point be moved like three spaces? Will he actually do something about it?

ROMANS: I smell a college scholarship. I got to say.

BANFIELD: It's going to be a big story.

ROMANS: No pressure, Brandon Jacobs.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: You're just on CNN, you know? Now, the demand is there.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: So, OK, this week, a bill to end income discrimination based on gender, it's called the Paycheck Fairness Act, defeated in the Senate. What, you might ask? Who would oppose equal pay for women and men? Who? That's exactly the question our next guest asked in his column.

The column is titled, "Do Women Really Deserve to Be Paid the Same as Men?" I think the question mark is said with comedy. Do you know (INAUDIBLE). "I propose that every senator who opposes this legislation be paid only 77 cents for each dollar paid to their Congressional counterparts who support the law."

Senate Republicans say, oh, come on. This is just ridiculous to think that they're opposed to equal pay for women. Republican senator, Dean Heller, who is the only GOP senator to actually get up and talk about this on the Senate floor said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DEAN HELLER, (R) NEVADA: Unfortunately, the only winners under this legislation would be trial lawyers, giving them a windfall, exposing employers to unemployed punitive damages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Political comedian and CNN.com contributor, Dean Obeidallah, joins us now. OK. I got to take you task on this because when I read your column, it's like, yes, that makes complete sense, but there's a whole other side to this argument that this is just election gimmickry gone awry.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, CO-FOUNDER ARAB-AMERICAN COMEDY FESTIVAL: Are you serious? Election gimmickry in an election year?

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: I can't believe that's happening. I've never heard of that. There could be, but this bill has been around about four, five years, to be honest, trying to get rid of the wage gap between genders. Right now, it's 77 cents between men and women work the same job, the same workplace, the same skill level.

Meaning, women, mothers, daughters, granddaughters get paid a quarter, 25 cents less than men simply because of their gender. That's what this law was trying to close these loopholes and get rid of that gap, which is wrong.

BANFIELD: So, full disclosure. I, obviously, come at this with a bias. I don't know if you notice, but I'm a woman.

OBEIDALLAH: I've heard.

BANFIELD: And I do have to say that the Republican arguments to this is, come on. It's not fair. Just to suggest somewhere else or everybody is being nefarious and saying you're only worth 25 percent less. A lot of women choose to leave the workforce, have children, raise families, they want to work part time.

They're in other choice professions like teachers and secretaries which are lower paid. So, the Republican argument to this, which is fair, is that some of these choices are free market choices and in an economy that you can't just assume is based on people who are nasty and need to be legislated.

OBEIDALLAH: Well, that's part -- you know, it's case by case. It's not a blanket rule. If you have a man and a woman in the same workplace, same skill set, there's not some bona fide reason why they're getting paid differently. Gender has been coming up as the issue study after study, frankly.

So, you know, women of color, it's even worse. African-Americans make about 60 cents on the dollar from White male co-workers. Latina, 50 cents. So, I mean, it's a struggle for women to have to go to work and feel like they're getting paid less simply than their male counterparts simply because of their gender. That's wrong.

BANFIELD: So, the reason I brought this up off the top that this is election year gimmickry is because it ain't the first time this has happened. And the reason that, perhaps, congressman -- Heller was the only person, the only senator to take the floor to say something about this is because the Republicans say, look, the Democrats did this before in 2010.

They're doing it again in 2012 because it makes great election campaign video to have a Republican saying I'm opposed to this bill, but they're opposed for these other reasons.

OBEIDALLAH: You know, Wisconsin --

BANFIELD: Not because they're anti-woman.

OBEIDALLAH: Well, you know what, let the Republicans make their case, you know? If they want to amend the proposed law, to have some -- to deal with the issue about lawyers' fees, and I used to be a lawyer. I know lawyers like to make fees. That's how we lived making fees.

You can do that. Wisconsin passed a similar law three years ago. It's been zero lawsuit since that law has been passed, yet, the gap between men and women pay has gotten less and less. It's self- policing.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: I would have to take it on good faith that it's similar. Since you're a lawyer --

OBEIDALLAH: I would not lie to you! No, I wouldn't lie to you.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: It's an election year.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: But I do think the business something that's scared to say. Look, a lot of business out there that struggle like mad just to make ends meet month to month to have additional regulation, to have the threat of litigation on their heads because of this bill --

OBEIDALLAH: It's like having a speed limit. Unless, you violate the law, there's no penalty. Pay men and women the same.

BANFIELD: The regulation is a penalty defacto.

OBEIDALLAH: It's self-policing. It's like self-deporting (ph). Mitt Romney says -- this is like self-policing. That's the idea. You're not going to pay people less because you know there's a penalty. If you paid men and women the same for the same job --

BANFIELD: What's wrong with our existing legislation? I'm just going to go over a checklist real quickly for you.

OBEIDALLAH: Sure.

BANFIELD: 1963, we passed the Equal Pay Act.

OBEIDALLAH: Right.

BANFIELD: 1964, we passed the Civil Rights Act. 2009, we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which is all about equal pay. In fact, I think President Obama said the Lilly Ledbetter Act (INAUDIBLE) equal pay. I'm paraphrasing what he said. So, why do we need anything more?

OBEIDALLAH: Because the gap still exists, right? Now, it really is 77 cents that the average woman makes compared to a dollar a man is making. So, you are worth 25 cent less than men doing the same job. You should get the same as Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. That's why --

BANFIELD: And how do you know that I don't?

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: Maybe you do.

BANFIELD: I guarantee you I don't.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: No, but people say, look, how can men and women all make the same? No, it's based on skill set. If the only reason you're being discriminated against is because of your gender, then it's wrong. You're violating a law.

BANFIELD: I'll tell you what, woman aside, Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer are worth a lot more than I. Hey, by the way, the world is upside down. The lawyer arguing that side of the argument and the woman arguing this side, what do you know?

Journalism at its finest. Always good to see you. By the way, co- founder of the Arab-American Comedy Festival. Google this guy and go see his shows. He is high-larious.

OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.

BANFIELD: When you're not all political, you're very, very funny.

OBEIDALLAH: I'm wearing the suit today, that's what it happens.

BANFIELD: Looks good on you.

OBEIDALLAH: Thanks.

BANFIELD: Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much. And up next, we have today's "Best Advice." We're going to hear from New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, about the "Best Advice" he's ever gotten. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Fifty-eight minutes now past the hour. "Starting Point" is just seconds away, so we're going to wrap it up as we like to. It's the "Best Advice" you ever got. Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Yes. And this one is a good one. It's Eli Manning, the quarterback for the New York Giants. Here's the "Best Advice" he ever received.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELI MANNING, NEW YORK GIANTS QUARTERBACK: The best advice I've ever received is that whatever you put into something is what you'll get out. So, hard work, preparation, the more you prepare, the harder you work, the better the outcome will be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Does that sound like such a successful athlete or what, right? The harder you work, the more prepared you are, the better you'll be.

BANFIELD: That feel Malcolm Gladwell argument, 10,000 hours. Once you put in 10,000 hours, you got to work hard for that, you're going to be pretty good at what you do.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I think it applies to a lot of things.

ROMANS: No matter how hard I work, I will never be able to throw a football like him.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: But he cannot broadcast business like you, sister?

ROMANS: This is true.

BANFIELD: Amen to that.

Hey, that's EARLY STARTY, 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.