CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Commerce Secretary Cited For Felony Hit And Run; Three Killed In Auburn Shootings; Colorado Wildfire Grows To 20,000 Acres; Gulf Coast Deluged By Record Rainfall; Opening Statements In Sandusky Trial; Brown Testifying At Leveson Inquiry; Supreme Court Watch; Kings Go For Stanley Cup; Friday Follies Provide Political Fodder; Commerce Secretary Accused of Hit & Run; $125 Billion Bailout of Spanish Banks; Apple Developers Conference Opens

Aired June 11, 2012 - 05:59   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Breaking news. U.S. commerce secretary, John Bryson, accused of felony hit and run after two car crashes in California.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Manhunt in Alabama. Police searched for the gunmen who killed three Auburn University students, two of them, former football players.

SAMBOLIN: Swamped in the deep south. Torrential rains leave parts of the Gulf Coast flooded with more wet weather expected today.

Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us this morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It is 6:00 on the dot in the east.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to start with breaking news this morning, United States Commerce Secretary John Bryson has been cited for a felony hit-and-run. Police say Bryson was involved in a series of wrecks on Saturday. He remains at this hour in the hospital.

Christine Romans joins us now with the very latest. This is just shocking.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It is. It's not very often you hear that a commerce secretary of the United States is involved in something that is a felony, a felony hit-and-run is what he's been charged with.

Here's what happened, according to police and the "L.A. Times" and the "Pasadena Star," this happened Saturday in San Gabriel, California. Bryson is accused of rear ending a car that was stopped. That car was stopped waiting for a crossing train.

Bryson pulled over, told the driver I guess we have to exchange information, but he seemed to have been a little confused and instead he got back in his car and he left the scene.

As he was leaving the scene, he hit the same car again. He drove away. Moments later, he hit a second car. Police later found him unconscious behind the wheel of his car.

Bryson is still in the hospital that's where he was charged with this felony hit-and-run. Police say the preliminary alcohol tests came back negative, but blood alcohol test results have not come back yet.

He's been the commerce secretary since October of 2011. He is a long time resident of Southern California because he worked for -- he was CEO of Edison International. I mean, he had helped lead the state through an energy crisis.

He has sat on the boards of a lot of very big companies so he's a seasoned well known manager in business. But as commerce secretary now, he's probably more well known for many Americans by this headline this morning than anything else.

We have calls into the Commerce Department and police there and we have the official report still waiting to hear from him about what happened there -- ladies.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Christine, I know you'll continue to follow that for us. Thank you very much.

BANFIELD: And now at 1 minute past 6:00, to Alabama and the manhunt for a gunman who police say open fire at an off-campus party near Auburn University killing three people and wounding three others.

Two of those who were killed were former Auburn football players. One of the wounded is a current football player. The suspect, 22-year-old Des Monte Leonard has been charged with three counts of capital murder. Auburn police say the close knit community is in shock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOMMY DAWSON, AUBURN POLICE CHIEF: This is a trying time because it's -- it's not only university students and athletes, but it's -- it's young people. It's six young people that have been shot and we're -- as you can tell, the community is shaken by this and grieving today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: CNN's David Mattingly is following these developments and he joins us live this morning from Atlanta. So David, Des Monte Leonard has been charged with these three capital murders, but he is nowhere that they know of at this point, right?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, plenty of witnesses at that party that night say he is the man responsible for this and for 24 hours now police haven't been able to find out where he might be. This all happened on Saturday night. Witnesses say it started with an argument over a girl. And from there it just turned into a fight and then the fight ended with gunfire with three dead, including two former Auburn football players, Ed Christian and La Darius Phillips.

Christian had left the team with a back injury. Phillips had been a reserve fullback and planning to transfer to another school so both of them were off the team. There were three wounded in this as well including the current player, an offensive lineman Eric Mac.

He had been shot in the hip, but fortunately, he is already out of the hospital and expected to make a full recovery. The police chief saying in Auburn saying that this has nothing to do with these young men being part of the football team, that they and the others who were either shot or killed in this incident are all just victims of what he described as a brutal, brutal shooting.

We heard from the statement from the Auburn head football coach yesterday, said nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief and we will love and support the victims' families during this terrible time.

We have a lot of people on our football team that are hurting right now and we are going to do everything we can to help them get through this.

And while the grief is just beginning, that manhunt is still going on for Desmonte Leonard. He is 22 years old. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama, which is about an hour away from Auburn. They found his car abandoned not too far away from Auburn after the shooting.

So they are thinking somebody has to be helping him here stay out of sight or at least go to some other location. So they say that they are giving him the opportunity to turn himself in.

There's a reward out for him for people to keep an eye out for him. Also, they are looking for two other persons of interest, but police aren't naming who those people are -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: This is unbelievable. Six people shot, three dead. David Mattingly in Atlanta for us this morning. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Meantime, in Colorado, an out of control wildfire near Fort Collins driving hundreds of families from their homes. The high park fire has grown from 2,000 acres to 20,000 acres. This just happened in a couple of days. Fire officials say it has a mind of its own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN SMITH, SHERIFF, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: Really no hope for containment at this point, mother nature is really driving this fire. And once again, what we're doing is getting people out of its way. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The fire has destroyed nearly two dozen structures and firefighters are attacking the flames from the ground and from the air.

BANFIELD: Along the Gulf Coast, it is a whole other extreme hurricane force rain without the actual hurricane. Parts of the Florida panhandle and Coastal Alabama under water this morning. More than 20 inches of rain, 20 inches falling in Pensacola just over the weekend turning streets into shallow lakes.

SAMBOLIN: Alexandra Steel is tracking the extreme weather for us. She is at the weather center in Atlanta. I got to tell you, Alexandra. I saw some pictures of some girls in a kayak laughing, but this is really no laughing matter.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, not. I mean, it is historic rain, no question about that. I mean, between last Saturday and next Saturday, we could see between 20 and 30 inches of rain.

So here's a look at the picture. This is the last 48 hours. This is the legend, the white showing you where we've seen at least 10 inches. So you can see where it is. This is the Gulf Coast, of course, and Southeast Louisiana and into Mississippi really the hardest hit areas.

But what we're going to see so far is what we'll see in the next couple of days. So rain really not moving at times. West Pensacola, look what you've seen, over 21 inches, Mobile, Pensacola Airport, you can see 14, 15, some places don't even see that in a year let alone this finite amount of time.

As we move this forward, the next 48 hours, the axis of the heaviest rain not where it's been. It will move slightly north and east getting into Atlanta and Charlotte and we're going to see the rain here for at least next two days.

In terms of the picture in terms of what we've seen with the west. We've talked about these fires, Colorado and also into New Mexico spreading on really the weather exacerbating a lot of these.

Wind gusts yesterday about 40 miles per hour. Today they are coming down 50 to 20 or so. But that smoke getting even into Denver, Colorado.

So, Ashleigh, a scary scenario and the weather certainly not helping, but it's getting better than what it was.

BANFIELD: All right, Alexandria, thank you for that.

It is now 7 minutes past 6:00 on the east coast. Opening statements expected this morning in the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State defensive coach Jerry Sandusky.

He could be confronted by some of his alleged victims today. He's charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Up to eight alleged victims expected to testify during a trial that's expected to take three weeks.

SAMBOLIN: And happening now, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown testifying before the Leveson inquiry. We have live pictures here for you.

He is facing questions about his past ties to Rupert Murdoch and his news corporation, Media Empire. Brown has accused the "News Corporation" of being as criminal media nexus that engaged in law breaking in an industrial scale. Here's some of his testimony from this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole weight of the coverage was not what we have done and whether we have done the right thing. It was that I personally did not care about our troops in Afghanistan.

And that's where you conflate factored opinion and descend into sensationalism. You actually make it not an issue of honest mistakes or matters of judgment, but about evil intentions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Three of Britain's most powerful men are scheduled to testify this week in addition to Brown. Prime Minister David Cameron takes the stand Thursday and another former Prime Minister John Major testifies tomorrow.

BANFIELD: All eyes are on the Supreme Court this morning, the orders and opinions expected to come about 10:00 Eastern and that means we could get the rulings on their pivotal cases we've been waiting for, the constitutionality of the president's health care reforms. Some critics call it Obama care and also Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

SAMBOLIN: How about a little sports now? The Los Angeles Kings hoping the third time is the charm tonight. They'll be trying to win the Stanley Cup for first time ever when they take on the New Jersey Devils at home in game six tonight. The Kings had a 3-0 lead in the series, but the Devils have stormed back with two straight wins. Go Kings.

BANFIELD: Go Kings.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to agree with you. I hope they win.

BANFIELD: I know it's exciting stuff. Go Devils so we could have a seventh game, what the heck, right?

Dueling blunders by the two men who both desperately want to be your president. The question today which one of them is going to pay for it at the polls the most? The latest from President Obama and Mitt Romney's campaign coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It's 13 minutes past the hour. The race for the White House couldn't possibly get any tighter right now as both Mitt Romney and President Obama try to recover from a foot in mouth that was on Friday.

Brand-new for you this morning, a fresh CNN poll of polls showing the two candidates locked in an absolute dead heat. We are always talking statistical ties.

CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser, live from Washington this morning. And Paul, blunders by both men on Friday providing plenty of ammo for the two campaigns. Who do you think took the bigger hit?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I think President Obama probably took the bigger hit. Listen, both men as you said, kind of stepped in it on Friday so to speak.

For the president, his comments kind of capping a very tough week politically, you remember what he said Friday morning, talk about the private sector and he said things are fine.

And obviously Mitt Romney didn't take long to react, slamming the president over these comments. Check this campaign video out from the Romney campaign over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've seen layoffs, cut backs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All said and done making $200 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been looking for a job for two years, haven't found any.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: I guess what, you know, what the Romney campaign is doing is using the president's comments and then following with what seemed be real Americans talking about how they're struggling right now. Trying to make the point it's anything but fine.

You know, I bet the Romney campaign uses that video in a paid TV ad soon enough. It's part of the their theme that the president wants to try to improve the economy by what, building up government, maybe another stimulus.

And they're saying, listen, the president is out of touch, maybe what they are trying to do with the president -- what then- Senator Obama tried to do with John McCain four years ago, when John McCain during the Wall Street crash said the fundamentals of our economy are sound -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: We all know they don't take very long to pounce on all that stuff, right? So, Romney also getting into trouble with his own comments about the economy. Tell us about that.

STEINHAUSER: He sure did. Reaction to the president on Friday, he talked about maybe not needing more teachers and first responders.

Well, it didn't take for the Obama campaign to come up with their own video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, OBAMA CAMPAIGN)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He says we need more firemen, more teachers, did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: You know, Romney's comments part of the theme that the president wants to grow government. That's fine, we get that. You shouldn't bring up teachers and firefighters, who are struggling to keep their jobs right now.

And this is part of the Obama campaign's theme that, you know what, Mitt Romney is a wealthy guy who just doesn't get it and out of touch with average Americans. That one may be showing up on commercial breaks pretty soon as a paid spot.

Five more months on this to go. Why it's also important? Because the economy remains by far the top issue with Americans, unless something else happens, it's going to be the economy who decides who wins in November, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Paul Steinhauser, live in Washington, D.C. for us -- thank you very much.

BANFIELD: It is 16 minutes now past 6:00. Time to get you up to date with the top news stories of the morning.

ROMANS: Good morning, ladies.

You know, new and developing, the United States Commerce Secretary John Bryson has been cited for a felony hit-and-run. Police say Bryson was involved in a series of car crashes in San Gabriel, California, Saturday. He hit a stopped car twice, left that scene and then hit a second car. Police found Bryson unconscious behind the wheel of his car and he remains in the hospital.

A desperate search in Alabama for the suspect accused of fatally shooting three people and wounding three others in a party near the Auburn University campus. Two of those killed were former Auburn football players. The alleged shooting, 22-year-old Desmonte Leonard, who is charged with three counts of capital murder.

Just in the few hours, jurors in the Philadelphia priest abuse trial will begin their second week of deliberations. Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official to be charged for allegedly covering up child sex abuse by priests 1996. His codefendant, Reverend James Brennan, is accused of trying to rape a 14-year-old boy back in 1996.

Former Congresswoman Giffords is determined to have a say about her successor. Giffords campaigned this weekend for her former aide Ron Barber. He's running for her house seat. Giffords didn't talk much Saturday. Her husband Mark Kelly, was doing the speaking for her.

Barber is facing Republican Jesse Kelly, businessman and Marine Corps veteran in tomorrow's election -- Ashley.

BANFIELD: All right. Christine, thank you.

Eighteen minutes now past 6:00. If you haven't heard this guy's name, put it up here, he's a world renowned organist. His name is Cameron Carpenter and he says he's created the greatest organ in the world. It's going to change the way you think about the instrument.

And, boy, is that guy unbelievable on an organ. He and his new digital organ are on this week's "NEXT LIST".

(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON CARPENTER: The organ is not what it's about. It's about the performer. Have a whole community of American organists sort of saying to each other that we need to do something to promote the organ. And this is a ridiculous and fruitless idea which is doomed to failure because you don't promote a medium any more than painters promote the paint in a tube. You don't go to hear a cellist's cello or a rock guitarist's guitar, you go to hear them.

And so, naturally, I want to try to reinvent myself. There's a camp sensibility to that.

My name is Cameron Carpenter and my work is the playing of the organ in an unprecedented way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So, to hear more, you can tune into "THE NEXT LIST", this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. I don't know what you're thinking. It looks like Billy Idol.

That is one awesome dude. I'm not kidding. The shots you just saw, they are great, but if you Google him and look at his other works and see the shots that show his feet playing as well. Google Takada (ph) and Cameron Carpenter, your hair will stand up on your arm. It's so remarkable.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BANFIELD: And he doesn't look like an organist, does he?

SAMBOLIN: No, looks like a punk rocker.

Nineteen minutes past the hour here.

Wall Street with eyes on two countries thousands of miles away, Greece and Spain. Coming up, why you should pay attention as well, your 401(k) depends on it. Christine has much more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Twenty-three minutes now past 6:00 in the a.m. on the East Coast. We're minding your business this morning.

U.S. markets ready to kick off the week with a strong start this morning. Stock features are up 1 percent right now and if you're wondering about how they finished off, U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday.

SAMBOLIN: That's cause for celebration -- the Dow and NASDAQ and S&P 500 gained 3/4 of a percent or more.

Christine Romans is here with why the markets are.

ROMANS: Forget the rest of May when they were all down. This morning, the story is all Spain, you're absolutely right.

And Spanish banks were able to secure a big bank rescue package. It's about $125 billion, that's 100 billion euros and why it's important because for months people who have been watching the crises unfolding in Europe have been saying, oh, wow, saying Spain is a really big economy, Spanish banks are saddled with real estate debt and Spain is so much bigger and so much more integral than Greece is.

Look at -- Spain is the fourth largest economy in Europe. It's economy is bigger than Greece, Portugal and Ireland combined. And why this is so important, when you look at Spain, they are in recession like 11 other countries in the eurozone.

That's right -- the European Union, 12 of those countries are in or very close to recession. You look at the map of Europe, that orange yellow, those are the countries whose economies are not growing. When an economy is not growing, it's not buying new products. When an economy is not growing, people are spending less money like in the U.S. -- U.S. goods and the like. So the recessions there are clearly a concern.

Spain is one of 12 European countries in recession, a lot of concerns about its banks. At least for today, there's optimism. I know, you're always like-- why is this happy one day about Europe and next day worried about Europe? That's the kind --

SAMBOLIN: Because we're worried about Greece, right?

ROMANS: That's right. We're still worried about Greece. That's the other top headline to know about.

I mean, Greece is going to have another election at the end of the week. Greece and Spain are very, very different stories. The Spanish government didn't spend beyond its means and was not promising things it couldn't return. Greece had a government bailout from Europe and Spain's bailout is different. It's not at all like that.

But Greece is going to be the thing that's going to keep people concerned all week, even if there's happiness today about Spain, we have a Greek election to get through this weekend.

BANFIELD: I'm trying to think of how many elections we've had in recent history in Greece.

ROMANS: Yes, it's tough. That is a very, very tough situation. Greece needs to stay -- it's all about whether Greece exits the eurozone and a lot are saying that's unlikely to happen. Every day the likelihood gets a little bit more.

There's -- for the United States, our banks exposure to sovereign debt in general, pullback in exports and businesses slow down. All these things --

SAMBOLIN: What's the upside?

ROMANS: The upside is you get some resolution, that's what you want with Greece.

BANFIELD: Basically just cut them loose and they have to deal with their own issues.

ROMANS: If you cut them loose, we have a lot more problems.

The one thing to know about your money today, Europe's problems have already reached U.S. shores. I want to be very clear about this -- this is not a hypothetical. This is not a foreign story, international story, European story.

American exports to the eurozone are down almost 5 percent this year. That means American factories are selling less and fewer American jobs are need to build things to go -- less tourism money. It ripples all the way through. The Europe story is an American story now. And that's a 401(k) story for you.

BANFIELD: So, pay attention. Christine, thank you. We appreciate it.

Twenty-seven minutes now past 6:00. And the news broke overnight of what could be serious legal trouble for a member of President Obama's cabinet. John Bryson, accused in a hit-and-run. More details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Breaking news this morning: the U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson accused of felony hit-and-run in California.

BANFIELD: A megachurch pastor arrested and accused of punching and choking his own teenage daughter. But see him tell his side from the pulpit.

SAMBOLIN: What will Apple come up with next? Software developers flock to San Francisco today to find out what new CEO Tim Cook might have up his sleeve.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's 31 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

Let's get you started with the top story, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson cited for felony hit-and-run after two car crashes on Saturday. He remains in the hospital this morning after police found him unconscious behind the wheel of his car.

Brianna Keilar joins us live now from the White House for the latest on this.

We should add right away, because the first thing that comes to mind, was he drunk? And some of the preliminary reports have come back that don't indicate that drugs or alcohol were involved here.

What do we know?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Zoraida. According to the L.A. sheriff's office, they are saying at least preliminarily there do not appear to be indications that drugs or alcohol were involved. But at the same time, there are a lot of questions here surrounding these two accidents that happened within minutes of each other in the L.A. area.

According to the L.A. sheriff's department, Bryson was driving a Lexus on Saturday and this is pretty early in the day, around 5:00 p.m., right there around 5:00 p.m., and he hit a Buick that had three men in it. The Buick was stopped at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to pass. According to the sheriff's office, he got out of his car and talked to these three guys and back in his car and on his way.

But as he did so, he hit the car again. At this point, the three men got on the phone with the police and they followed Bryson. And when the police found Bryson, it was after a second accident that happened in Rosemead, California, so another city in the L.A. area. He had hit a second car, a Honda Accord with a couple in it.

And when police found him, he was unconscious at the wheel of his car. But again, according to the sheriff's department, early indications they say no alcohol or drugs involved in this, but certainly we're -- there are a lot of unanswered questions and we're waiting at this point, the White House, Ashleigh, I should till you is aware of this. We're being directed to the Commerce Department and awaiting some reaction which we expect to come pretty soon here.

BANFIELD: Brianna, we should mention. He's 68 years old and found slumped behind the wheel of his vehicle. Do we have any indication of his health leading up to this? Has he suffered any kinds of incidents in the past? Is there anything that might give some indication of what happened?

KEILAR: You know, honestly, at this early hour, we're not aware of his health history. We don't know if that's playing a role in this. But, yes, as you said, 68 years old, been the commerce secretary since October when he replaced Gary Locke who went on to be the U.S. ambassador to China.

We're trying to figure out as well why he might have been in Los Angeles. It stands to reason that he may have a residence in the area, we're not sure. But he was for many years at the helm of Edison International, which is the parent company of Southern California Edison Utility. They're actually headquartered in Rosemead, which is the site of the second accident.

So, you know, we're wondering if perhaps he was in the area, maybe for personal reasons. We don't know. We're still checking on that.

BANFIELD: Just looking at this really quickly, Brianna, as we're speaking, on Thursday, he was giving a commencement address at Pasadena Technical School. Perhaps that's the reason for the California trip this time.

But keep on it. Let us know what the White House says about this if anything about this extremely --

KEILAR: We will.

BANFIELD: Thank you, appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: And happening now, former British Prime Minister facing the Leveson inquiry. He's being accused about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation media empire. Brown has accused News Corporation of being a criminal media nexus that engaged in law breaking on an industrial scale. He continued that theme this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General comment I'm going to ask you -- how do you rectify the imbalance without impinging on the freedoms of the media?

GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The starting point of all of this has been the credoquer (ph), if you like, the complaint that has been made by a family like the Dolor (ph) family and they would support the press --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Prime Minister David Cameron testifies Thursday.

Another former prime minister, John Major, faces questioning tomorrow.

BANFIELD: Also happening right now, a wildfire growing in Colorado and now forcing people to flee their homes, it's called the High Park Fire. It's near Fort Collins, Colorado and already has destroyed two dozen structures and forced hundreds of families to run for it. Officials say right now, there is no hope of containment. It's grown from 2,000 acres to 20,000 acres in a couple of days.

SAMBOLIN: Megachurch Pastor Creflo defending himself against charges he attacked his 15-year-old daughter. Dollar has been charged with battery and child cruelty. His daughter told deputy he slammed her to the ground and choked her and punched her in the face and hit her with a shoe. Deputies photograph the scratch on the girl's neck.

Dollar denied those allegations in a sermon on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR CREFLO DOLLAR, WORLD CHANGERS CHURCH INTERNATIONAL: Never been arrested. The truth is she was not choked. She was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: That's Pastor Creflo Dollar. He claims the incident escalated from an argument, but he never intended to harm anyone he says.

BANFIELD: A truly amazing accomplishment, 100 percent of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School seniors have been accepted to two or four-year colleges. Fifty-one students graduated over the weekend.

So what does the school think is the reason for the students' success?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's about belief. It's that the students believe they can achieve we as a school community believe they can achieve and their families believe it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Students say the school is one of a kind hire for ed work study program helped them understand what it takes to be successful.

SAMBOLIN: A salute to Broadway's finest. The 66th Tony Awards were held in New York City. Neil Patrick Harris hosted for the third time. But it was a new musical that stole the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tony Award goes to -- "Once."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Once".

SAMBOLIN: "Once," a bittersweet Irish love story took home eight Tonys, including best musical. Some of the other, "Clybourne Park" was named best play, "Porgy and Bess" won f or best revival of a musical, and Mike Nichols won a record sixth tony for his direction of "Death of a Salesman".

BANFIELD: Mike Nichols has a famous wife, Diane Sawyer, who was on the audience, beaming.

SAMBOLIN: Proud.

BANFIELD: She's done a lot now, beaming at Mike Nichols success. And I think he's been beaming right back at hers.

Lady Gaga is recovering after being on stage and wham, she gets hit by a giant pole. We're going to show you the video an see what happened to her afterwards. That's coming up in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It is 42 minutes past the hour.

A quick check on today's weather with Alexandra Steele.

Gray skies everywhere, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, great sky. Certainly not the easiest travel day, no question about that, Zoraida.

Here's a look at the Southeast, over 20 inches of rain has fallen in some places in the last few days. So, some big hubs could be affected, Atlanta, Charlotte, even towards Chicago, especially in K.C., later tonight, hail and strong winds the biggest threat.

So, here's the big picture -- severe storms, Arkansas, Oklahoma, in towards Missouri, here in the Southeast there's heavy rain. Of course, it is steamy hot here in the southwest where we do have of course in New Mexico and also in Colorado those strong winds, fanning those flames. Of course, it's the heat and winds there.

Northwest pretty quiet. From New York City into the Northeast, today will be pretty quiet in New England. Mid-Atlantic, soggy day. So, a slow-go, no question about it, especially for the Eastern side of the U.S. if you're traveling -- Zoraida.

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

BANFIELD: Now, 43 minutes past 6:00 and we have been very busy compiling a number of top stories for you today. Christine Romans, the busiest of all, doing the job.

Hi.

ROMANS: Hi, good morning.

Following this breaking news, new this morning for you: U.S. secretary of commerce, John Bryson, has been cited for a felony hit- and-run after a series of crashes on Saturday. Police in San Gabriel, California say Bryson hit a stopped car twice and left the scene and then hit a second car. Cops later found Bryson unconscious behind the wheel of his own car. He's now in the hospital. Preliminary alcohol tests have come back negative but this is still an ongoing story.

In Alabama, a manhunt continues for the suspect in a shooting that has the Auburn University area in mourning. Twenty-two-year-old Desmonte Leonard is accused of shooting six people, killing three of them at an off-campus party this weekend. Two of those killed former Auburn football players. Fifteen thousand dollars reward is being offered for Leonard's capture.

Supreme Court watch, shall we say, in full swing in morning. Orders and opinions are expected at 10:00 Eastern. That means we could get rulings today on such cases as the constitutionality of the president's health care reforms and Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

Check this out. You can see Lady Gaga during a concert in New Zealand getting hit in the head with a pole. She was clocked -- there it is -- by a backup performer mid show. You can see her stagger backward and rub her head before leaving the stage.

She did come back and finish the night. The show must go on for the little monsters, despite having a concussion. We hope she's resting well.

BANFIELD: That's unreal. You know, a concussion from that, and yet, she still comes back to sing?

ROMANS: An amazing amount of equipment and all kinds of things. You can imagine.

Anyway, all right, the French open men's tennis champion, let me move on to the ladies up (ph). It's going to have to wait to be crowned until this afternoon. Yesterday's finals halted by rain with Spain's Rafael Nadal leading the top ranks, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia two sets to one. It's the first time since 1973 the French open has been pushed into the third week because of bad weather.

ROMANS: There you go. You just watched tennis? Tennis fans there?

BANFIELD: When those two are playing, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: She's watching them, not the tennis.

ROMANS: You watch the tennis players. You don't want tennis.

BANFIELD: (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, Christine. Soledad O'Brien is joining us now with a look at what is ahead on "Starting Point."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. Good morning to you. This morning, as you know, we're going to follow up on the comments President Obama was saying the private sector is doing fine. The former governor, Mitt Romney, says, no, we need to cut back on hiring more teachers and policemen and firefighters.

Both of those comments causing lots of controversy this morning. The Obama and the Romney campaigns will each give us a representative to chat with them this morning and respond.

Also, the New York Giants couldn't afford to keep running back, Brandon Jacobs, so a six-year-old decided he'll take a little action. We're going to introduce you to the little fan who emptied his entire piggy bank and came to $3.36 said, Brandon Jacobs, here, now stay with the giants. Here's an extra three bucks. We'll tell you what happened after that.

And how are you smelling this morning?

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Did you know how you smell could help you land a date? We're going to talk to the creator of a pheromone parties, have you heard of it?

SAMBOLIN: No.

BANFIELD: No.

O'BRIEN: Fairly, it's the new craze in match-making where you sniff out your potential party.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, that's just gross (ph).

O'BRIEN: I know. I just report the news, I don't make it up.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Pheromone parties. That much more coming up right at the top of the hour. We'll see you then.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Soledad.

Did you hear about this one? Wicked, waiting in line all night long, all for the whole geek fest, the Apple company. What does it have in store? Could you get it on it? New gadget and cool software. We got the story on why you would wait all night for something like that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 50 minutes past the hour. We will find out today if new Apple CEO, Tim Cook, can fill the big shoes of the late Steve Jobs as thousands of the world's leading software developers embark on a pilgrimage to San Francisco for Apple's Annual Developers Conference.

For many, it's a chance to partner with the tech giant and find out firsthand what the future holds. Dan Simon has the (ph) assignment. He is live from the city by the bay. And Dan, I was reading that, perhaps, we are going to have plans for a full blown TV, an Apple TV, is that true?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I don't know about that. Apple, obviously, is very secretive. There've been rumors about an Apple coming out with a TV set. I don't think we're going to see that today, but you never know. Let me set the scene for you here. Thousands of people in line for the worldwide developers' conference.

These are the true die-hards. These are the people who make their livings designing apps for Apple. And we're going to talk to a gentleman here from Sydney, Australia. What's your name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Zach.

SIMON: Zach. Tell us why you made the trek in all the way from Australia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my job to come to the developer conference and see everything that's new and learn about everything that's new.

SIMON: And that's really what the developers conference is all about. It's really an opportunity for them to hear from the Apple folks about how you design these apps and also learn about the latest technologies. So, what are we expecting today, Zoraida? Well, we think they're going to release the new operating system that powers both the iPhone and iPad.

They may not release it, but they'll show a preview of it. And also, in terms of hardware, we're expecting a whole new slate Macintosh computers, really, across wine (ph), from laptops to the desktops. So, we'll be seeing that later this morning, 10:00 a.m. local time. This event sold out, we should tell you, in less than two hours, $1,600 a pop, 5,000 people in from all over the world -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: We also understand it's a big debut for Tim Cook as well.

SIMON: Right. This is the first time that Tim Cook has addressed this crowd at the worldwide developers' conference. We did see him appear a few weeks ago at another technology conference, but certainly, you know, people are going to be watching him to see how he does.

Inevitably, there'll be some comparisons to Steve Jobs. He is expected to deliver the key note, but in terms of, you know, delivering the technology, delivering the products, but probably got pass the baton to some of the other folks.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Dan Simon live from San Francisco, thank you very much.

BANFIELD: It's now 53 minutes past 6:00 on the east coast, and just ahead, "Best Advice." This is great, and this one is coming from somebody who's known for pulling off an absolute miracle, advice from a guy who can perform miracles? How could you want anything more than that? It's coming up in just a moment.

SAMBOLIN: And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: "Starting Point" is a little more than a minute away.

BANFIELD: We like to wrap things up the best way possible, and that is to give you the "Best Advice" that someone ever got, and Christine Romans collects these for us on a regular basis.

SAMBOLIN: And you said this was a miracle worker.

ROMANS: I know. A miracle worker. Who can we be talking about?

SAMBOLIN: I know.

ROMANS: It's Captain Sully Sullenberger.

BANFIELD: I love it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPTAIN SULLY SULLENBERGER, HERO PILOT: Don't get so busy living your life that you don't live your life. Many of us just go through the motions. We go through a routine. We go to work, we eat, play, sleep. Take a look around once a while.

Take a mental inventory and make sure that you're living the life that you want to live and going the direction you want to go and doing something that really matters for you, for your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: I love that mental inventory, right? And so, here's somebody who is living his life but also very into his job and then just a routine day at the office turned into something very big in January of 2009. He saved all of those lives when he landed that plane on the Hudson River. Take a mental inventory and make sure you're not just living your life but living your life.

BANFIELD: I thought he was going to say, you know, stop and smell the roses or stop and smell the Hudson, one of the two. (LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: We just like to do this, because we get to meet and interview such interesting people here at CNN. And people who are getting ready to go to work in the morning, getting ready to start their day, it's pretty interesting to take some of that advice or leave it. It's up to you. Take some, leave it, and you know --

BANFIELD: Has anyone ever said to you, I don't got -- I just don't have anything for you.

ROMANS: Yes. And we have stumped a few people who were -- we have stumped a few people who were like, I have to -- also, we've stumped a few people who shower me nameless (ph) who wanted to get back to their people before they would give us --

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: And then, I decided if you have to talk to your people about your advice, I don't want your advice. So, I don't bring you those.

SAMBOLIN: One person was asked here and who came on Soledad's show who also shall remain nameless and said, give me a minute where to ponder this because everyone really thought about it, right? (INAUDIBLE) when you asked --

ROMANS: Yes. If you're not giving or listening to advice on a daily basis, then maybe --

BANFIELD: Or maybe someone who has so much great advice just wanted to balance who is best and who should feature?

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: It is just 59 minutes past the hour. That's the news, the EARLY START news, 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.