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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Sandusky Trial Enters Second Day; Colorado Wildfire Still Spreading; Deadly Auburn Shootings; Bryson Takes Leave Of Absence; Justice Department Suing Florida; Giffords' House Seat Up For Grabs; L.A. Kings Win Stanley Cup; L.A. Kings Win Stanley Cup; Obama's New Radio Ad; "You Are Not Special"

Aired June 12, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: -- grabs today. Will it go to the man who was injured when she and the others were also shot in that terrible, terrible incident? Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to EARLY START. It's nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It is 6 a.m. here in the east so let's get started for you.

In just a matter of hours, victim number one takes the witness stand and comes face to face with his alleged attacker, Jerry Sandusky. According to grand jury report, victim number one was just 11 or 12 years old when he first met the Penn State assistant football coach.

It was this witness's accusations that led to the criminal investigation that ended in Sandusky's arrest. Susan Candiotti is live in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania this morning. What more can you tell us about this accuser, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida. Well, he's now 18 years old and this is a young man who has told the grand jury that he was assaulted at least 20 times sexually by Jerry Sandusky.

And that these alleged attacks happened not only at Sandusky's home, but even in his own high school. In fact, he was even interrupted one time by a coach who saw them late at night in one of the rooms, the sports rooms at the high school.

This is a young man who once the allegations became known, had to transfer out of the school because he said he was being bullied by other students. He was also getting fallout and flak from some parents who believed in Jerry Sandusky and didn't like what was happening.

And eventually this young man went on to graduate just this past weekend from another high school. But he's expected to get into graphic detail this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Have you been there in the courtroom?

CANDIOTTI: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: And so tell us about the folks that are testifying and you know, is it difficult for them to talk about this?

CANDIOTTI: Well, it's been really interesting to watch with alleged victim number four who was on the stand yesterday, on Monday, the very first day. The jury isn't showing any signs, they are keeping expressionless as they listen to this graphic testimony, but it's very dramatic and very compelling.

It was interesting to see how coolly and calmly and directly the victim answered the questions and went through step by step. We heard some creepy things, for example, when the witness testified about being in the showers time and again with Jerry Sandusky.

And then soaping each other up along with sexual assaults and how they caressed each other, that is to say Jerry Sandusky, he said, made him do this. And also how he was able to come back when Jerry Sandusky's defense attorney asked him a pointed question, why didn't you stop this?

The witness testified, you know, I didn't know what to do. I was scared and I was getting a lot of gifts from Jerry Sandusky, one of the cool kids. But he then turned the question around, he said, you know, I feel guilty I didn't stop this sooner, maybe I could have prevented other children from being attacked.

SAMBOLIN: Susan, we heard about some letters that Jerry Sandusky had written to some of his alleged victims and we understand that there's a psychologist that's going to present testimony about his trionic personality disorder as a defense. Can you tell us about that?

CANDIOTTI: Well, we did hear about that, not sure whether we'll actually hear that testimony. This was a motion that was filed by the defense yesterday so the jury isn't aware of this. They are saying they might bring this up.

This is a disorder that's described by the National Institute of Health of someone who says a lot of things to draw attention to themselves. So it's not clear how this would play into the defense in terms if they are trying to explain away alleged sexual assaults.

Whether the judge will allow this kind of testimony is another thing. We'll have to see.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Susan Candiotti live in Pennsylvania for us this morning. Thank you very much. The trial kicks back up at 9:00 Eastern this morning. We'll bring you live updates on the trial throughout the day right here on CNN.

BANFIELD: It's 4 minutes now past 6:00. Fire crews fighting what's so far been a losing battle against a massive wildfire in Northern Colorado. It's called the high park fire near Fort Collins and it's grown exponentially in just a few days.

Now it's covering more than 64 square miles. More than 100 structures have now been destroyed in this fire. Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. Authorities say the fire is blamed for at least one person's death.

Alexandra Steele is in for Rob Marciano today. We've been talking about the weather conditions, hot, dry, windy, all of those things just the worst cocktail for fire conditions. What does it look like, you know, moving forward, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, unfortunately it's really going to get worse. Temperatures are going to warm even further. We do know that lightning strike -- a lightning strike early Saturday morning ignited this fire.

You know, it's claimed so far 41,000 acres. Yesterday in this kind of terrain, very rugged terrain on the front range. There is a lot of shifting of winds in terms of direction. But yesterday the wind kind of went in on itself.

And unfortunately that was certainly good news for quite some time because instead of allowing more territory to get burned, it moved in on itself. So that was good news yesterday for a bit of time with the wind shifting.

It's moving 20 to 40 feet per minute, which is really quite fast for a fire. So what they are hoping for in terms of weather conditions, cooler temperatures, calmer winds and higher humidity. What they are going to get?

Well, not cooler conditions. Yesterday, the cold front move through. Yesterday was really the coolest day. Temperatures today warming up into the low 80s. Tomorrow warming up even further into the 90s.

East winds today about 16 miles per hour, but we will see gusts unfortunately to 30. Relative humidity though pretty good, less than 20 percent, but unfortunately, today warmer and windier than it was yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: It will be tough for those firefighters. Thank you so much.

Happening right now, authorities in Alabama suddenly leaving a home in Montgomery they had surrounded since yesterday. It is believed that Auburn triple murder suspect, Desmonte Leonard was holdup inside.

Police aren't saying exactly why they left. Leonard has been the target of an intense manhunt since the shootings at an off campus party over the weekend.

Two of those killed were former Auburn football players. Police arrested two other men on charges of hindering that investigation. BANFIELD: New this morning, the Obama administration announcing Secretary of Commerce John Bryson is going to take a medical leave of absence as, quote, "he undergoes tests and evaluations."

Bryson is under investigation for possible felony hit-and- run. He was found unconscious by police in San Gabriel, California on Saturday. The officers say he hit two cars. The White House says Bryson was alone. He had suffered a seizure, but it's not clear when.

SAMBOLIN: The Justice Department moving ahead with plans to sue the state of Florida to stop officials there from purging the voter rolls. Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott wants all non- eligible residents barred from voting booths.

The Justice Department conceive they can legally remove non-eligible voters, but argues the Florida program fails to follow proper legal standards.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says up to 100,000 names need to be purged from his state's rolls. We'll ask him about that and the timing of this all when he joins us live in the 8:00 a.m. hour on "STARTING POINT."

BANFIELD: The battle for Gabrielle Giffords' House seat is set to be decided today in a special election in Arizona. Giffords' former aide, Ron Barber is facing a really tough challenge from the Republican Jesse Kelly who is an ex-Marine and an Iraq war veteran.

He is also backed by the Tea Party. Barber was wounded in the 2011 shooting rampage that critically injured Gabrielle Giffords and also killed six other people.

SAMBOLIN: It's 8 minutes past the hour. It's good to be the King, right? The Los Angeles Kings that is savouring their first ever Stanley Cup after finishing off the New Jersey Devils in style. Coming up, we're live in L.A. with the morning after celebrations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Full disclosure on Canadians originally, American now, but you never do forget your roots and hockey is in my DNA and hockey's Holy Grail taking residence in L.A. today. The L.A. Kings crowned Stanley Cup champs last night.

And this is big folks, really, really big because this is the first time in this team's 45-year history. So look see at the jubilation, they basically wiped out the New Jersey Devils in six games, just routing them 6-1.

Raising the cup, no doubt going they're going to drink from it if they haven't already done so. Kings victory setting of wild celebrations on the ice, on the streets and outside the arena.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is lucky to get this assignment. I was ready to arm wrestle for this one. I would have absolutely loved to be at that game.

Paul Vercammen, you lucky dog, you. I've got to ask you. Rarely do you see a power play 5 minutes long that results in three goals and a silver cup.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, I mean, pun intended here. Let's have some sympathy for the New Jersey Devils because what happened was we had that boarding call and that did change the whole game around.

Because, you know, once the King was down on the ice and was knocked into the -- basically into the wall there, we had blood and major penalty and the Kings just reeled of three straight goals and they went on to win the first ever in 45 years Stanley Cup.

And people in Los Angeles, you know, still celebrating as we're just past closing time here -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Yes, listen, we used to make the joke all the time, still do, that you go to a fight and a hockey game breaks out. I am telling you. There was blood on the ice and blood on the players and the hits kept coming. This was a really vicious and I guess, pitched battle last night.

VERCAMMEN: It sure was. I mean, basically what happened was he got smashed into by one of the Devils players and you know, the Devils fans would argue that basically he set up a screen and the Kings got their fourth goal off of that play. Yes, blood on the ice, hoisting a Stanley Cup here and often the step to the Lakers and other teams in Los Angeles.

BANFIELD: Maybe no more though I remember watching this game last night and I saw the linesman who came back on the ice after being treated and the hockey commentators said I think it was in the rule book they are not allowed to be skating with blood on their faces.

He was calling shots, you know, holding the Kleenex up to his mouth, unbelievable. OK, so really quickly, one of the most famous names to even hit hockey. Wayne Gretzky is one of the most famous L.A. Kings.

I think he was there in '93, if I remember correctly, he came to the Kings, but I haven't seen him yet. I expected him to be out in front of every camera, what do we know about Gretzky?

VERCAMMEN: We know, he wasn't there tonight so everybody else said they're filling the gap if you're talking about the celebrities were there. Out on the streets you would run into all sorts of the characters. We ran into two who just really wanted to be interviewed and I get a suspicion that they just might have a head shot somewhere in their portfolio closer to them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew this beard for the last two years and I get to shave it off because we won it, baby. It's the best. This is the best city for hockey. Best city for hockey. (CHEERS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very excited.

VERCAMMEN: So much for laid back fans in Los Angeles, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we don't have any laid back fans here. We have never won the Stanley Cup and we have never been here to win the Stanley Cup and it's very exciting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's going to be a big night in L.A.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Huge.

VERCAMMEN: Do either of you have an agent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe. Doesn't everyone in L.A. have an agent?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Doesn't everyone. Oh, Paul.

OK. So real quickly, everybody knows that the hockey players don't shave, it's usually superstition. And you could see on every one of their faces. They look Grizzly Adams. Any change yet? Have we seen them making their debut with a freshly clean shaven faces yet?

VERCAMMEN: I haven't seen it yet. But don't forget -- I mean, they are off at the various celebrations and who knows where they are all over L.A.

I had a funny comment, though, some women would look at me and say, I can't wait for this moment. My husband will finally shave his beard. A lot of fans had grown beards out here, Ashleigh.

So, the razors will be out in L.A. tomorrow.

BANFIELD: It's a great time to be there. Just terrific moment in hockey history. I'm very excited. I can't wait to see some comment from Wayne Gretzky about this. Maybe he's so choked up that he hasn't been able to talk until now.

Paul, awesome job. Looking forward to seeing you in person. Paul Vercammen, nice to see you.

SAMBOLIN: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

Victim number one takes the stand in the Jerry Sandusky trial. According to grand jury report, it was this alleged victim's accusations that first triggered a criminal investigation into the former Penn State football coach. Yesterday, a 28-year-old man known as victim number four kicked off testimony in the case. He told the court Sandusky began showering with him after exercise sessions when he was just 13 years old and inappropriate touching began soon after that.

BANFIELD: A board of supervisors in California has 60 days to decide how it's going to replace an elected water agency official who starred in this video. That man resigned after the video surfaced showing him whipping his son with a belt during a game of catch. Antonio Sanchez was arrested on suspension of felony child abuse after a neighbor shot the video claiming that Sanchez started hitting the boy after he dropped the ball.

Sanchez' resignation was announced yesterday and a special meeting is scheduled for 11:00 local time today.

SAMBOLIN: Check out this surveillance video. Dramatic moments in a Kentucky courtroom as an inmate tried to escape custody, rushing a guard, only to push himself and the deputy into a live courtroom. He only made it about 20 feet before he was tackled. The suspect is now facing attempted escape and assault charges.

BANFIELD: The whereabouts of four Afghan women who disappeared during a trip to the United States are still unknown. They were part of a group of more than 20 women attending a program on democracy at the University of Virginia. They went missing last week. Police believe the women left the program intentionally.

SAMBOLIN: Three, two, one, splashdown? NASA aquanauts blasting below the sea Monday on a 12-day aqua mission, testing ways astronauts interact with asteroids in space. The dive team nicknamed "Neemo" conducts experiments in a pressurized lab to simulate living in space. They are working with the surface crew station off the coast of Key West, Florida.

Follow Neemo at Twitter.com/NASA_NEEMO. That is super cool.

BANFIELD: I love it's NEEMO, what an awesome name.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

The mortgage crisis is slowing turner --

BANFIELD: Slowly turning a corner. By the way, I want to do a quick correction because hockey fans should never be wrong. Gretzky was to the Kings in 1988.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: You know what? I thought you were right, 1983.

BANFIELD: You know, I'm thinking 1983. I think it's '88. I think I remember it was my first job in little Ontario where Mike Richards is from. He's going to bring the cup hopefully this summer and it was '88.

Thank you, Mike. Mike is behind camera number one, superstar.

SAMBOLIN: So, we're talking about the recovery here. The rate of the recovery isn't the same all over the country. We'll explain coming up. That's the economic recovery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Twenty-two minutes now past 6:00 in the East.

And we're minding your business now. So, let's check in on the market, because U.S. stock futures trading sharply higher, indicating that markets should start with a bounce hopefully this morning.

All that euphoria, though, in the markets fizzling. It was kind of a drag down day of trading.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. A look at the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all lost more than 1 percent. The Dow dropped 145 points.

Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans this morning.

You were at the stock exchange. What happened?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You were talking about a euphoria. That euphoria was from Spain accepting a rescue package, saying OK, we're going to take money and recapitalize our banks. So, that was good news and you saw the markets rally at the open.

But then, quickly, after an hour of trading, bam, everything went into the red and went even deeper into the red at the end of the day, because investors were looking over this -- thinking this is one part of the bigger issue here. You know, the European debt crisis still goes on and now you have Wall Street kind of looking ahead, looking ahead to Sunday. That's when Greece is going to be electing its new leaders. There's a lot of concern about what's going to come out of that.

Also, the Fed is meeting next week. So, there's a lot of focus on what the Fed may introduce or give some hints as to whether or not it will introduce the new stimulus into the economy.

BANFIELD: A lot of people talk about the biggest need in terms of stimulus is housing and housing has been a real bummer.

KOSIK: It really has been. And a lot of people are wondering, you know, why is it taking so long for the housing market to recover? So, what's interesting is that the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has put together this time elapsed kind of picture of just how bad it's gotten.

So, this is 2006 when everything was relatively healthy in the mortgage market. Then you see as time goes on, it gets sort of more distressed -- meaning these mortgage distress levels, meaning people who are behind on mortgage payments or in foreclosure just gets worse and worse, especially as you get closer to the recession in 2008. More and more people across the country, as you see, it turns white and some pockets there are red, more and more people behind on mortgages and more and more people in foreclosure.

Now, in the past two years, the good news is there's a recovery in parts of the Midwest and the South. But then you look at the Northeast, parts of the Northeast and the Southeast, they are still being dragged down by it in the housing market. Many of these regions especially in the Southeast and in the Northeast are still getting worse and worse. It shows --

BANFIELD: Really?

KOSIK: Yes. Because you have to think about it, a lot of these properties are empty. So they are sitting empty.

BANFIELD: I thought it hit the bottom though.

KOSIK: Well, yes, we are showing signs of hitting the bottom in the housing market, but a lot of these empty properties, that weighs on those property values, on those housing prices. So, you really want to see the bottom hit.

We're getting close but the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says, you know what, plan for a really slow recovery. This shows it took years to get into this mess and it's going to take years to get out.

SAMBOLIN: How low do you have to go? Everybody is so hopeful and the news gets worse. You're probably reaching the corner.

KOSIK: But here's some good news. Here's the one thing you need to know about your money today. Mortgage operates, they continue to fall. The average 30-year fixed is at 3.67 percent. So, yes. If you can afford it, it's a great time to buy a home.

Look, home prices are pretty cheap. And also don't forget if you can refinance as well, with a rate like that. There's a great opportunity for you if you want to buy a home for first time home buyers.

SAMBOLIN: And if you can qualify.

KOSIK: Of course.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: That's what's been so frustrating for so many people, because they are down on prices, they lost equity their homes and they have to pump money in for those refis. Bummer!

KOSIK: No doubt about it, it's tough out there.

BANFIELD: Debbie downer.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Alison.

BANFIELD: Nice to see you.

Twenty-six minutes now past 6:00. Oh, boy, battle of the bucks. And President Obama says I won't be outdone -- no, he didn't say it. I'm paraphrasing. He's picking up the pace, though, in the race for campaign cash. Wait until you hear the ground that he is covering today and how Mitt is right on his heels in that effort, too, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: President Obama out with a new radio ad targeting black voters. You've got to hear this. We'll play it for you straight ahead.

BANFIELD: Plus, years of scientist research destroyed at a Harvard research center after a freezer goes on the fritz, damaging a fragile collection of human brain samples used to study autism.

SAMBOLIN: And you're not special. That came from a high school teacher giving a commencement speech. We're going to hear from him coming this hour on CNN.

BANFIELD: I can't wait.

SAMBOLIN: I can't wait either for him to do -- I read the entire speech though, so I kind of get it now. When you get a small sampling, you jump to all sorts of conclusions.

BANFIELD: But isn't that the story of our life? A small sampling doesn't give context, doesn't give perspective, you always need to read the layers.

SAMBOLIN: And he will be here to explain.

Welcome back to EARLY START, I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I'm happy you're with us this morning.

BANFIELD: Nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Thirty-one minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

Later this morning, victim number one takes the stand in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky.

According to grand jury reports, it was victim one's accusations that convinced police to investigate the former Penn State football coach in the first place. Yesterday, a 28-year-old man known as victim number four testified Sandusky began showering with him after exercise sessions when he was just 13 years old and inappropriate touching began soon after that.

BANFIELD: Happening right now, police in Alabama leaving a house in Montgomery that they've surrounded since yesterday afternoon. Auburn shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard thought to be hiding inside. But it's not exactly clear why the police decided to pull out.

The 22-year-old Leonard is wanted for allegedly killing three people and wounding three at a party near the Auburn campus over the weekend. Two of those who were killed were former Auburn football players.

SAMBOLIN: A disturbing story from Texas raising some serious legal questions. People in the town of Shiner are voicing their support for police say beat a man to death after allegedly catching him molesting his 4-year-old daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF MICAH HARMON, LAVACA COUNTY, TEXAS: In defense of her, he struck the individual in the head several times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think he should be arrested for it. I don't think any charges should be filed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If somebody abused my grandchild like he did, he deserved everything he got.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially 4 years old, that's terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The sheriff says the little girl suffered mental trauma but she is physically OK. The father has not been arrested. The sheriff says a grand jury will decide if the father will be charged in this case.

BANFIELD: President Obama and Mitt Romney are preparing to hit the trail this morning. It is the money trail to be exact. It's all about gathering up campaign cash today.

The president is scheduled to attend six different fundraisers in Baltimore, and in Philadelphia. Mitt Romney is traveling to private fundraisers in Orlando, Florida, and Franklin, Tennessee.

And in case you weren't sure, that's what the cash register sound is for.

CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser is live in Washington this morning. If you look at the May numbers, Paul, Mitt Romney really outdid -- you always talk about President Obama's incredible ability to raise money and how much more money he has cash on hand, that Mitt Romney. But May, it was in Romney's column.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It sure was. I got say, nice sound effects there. Nice graphics. Nice touch.

Yes. Take a look at the May numbers. This is fascinating. The primary is finally over Mitt Romney concentrating on running for the White House in the general.

Look at this, in May, the president was outraised by Mitt Romney by over $16 million. That is a lot of money -- $76.8 million raised by Romney and the RNC and the president and DNC raising around $60 million. And I think, Ashleigh, that may be one of the reasons why you see the president stepping it up it seems. He's got all those fundraisers you mention, six of them today in Baltimore and Philadelphia, $3.6 million expected to be raised.

Romney, as you mentioned, fundraising last night and also fundraising as well today.

Why does all this matter? Remember, four years ago, President Obama, then-Senator Obama, broke all records raising $750 million, more than three times the amount John McCain raised.

So, campaign cash is crucial. This time around, we expect the super PACs in the Republican side to outraise and outspend the Democrats as well. So, it's going to be a real even fight when it comes to campaign cash.

And money is so crucial. It buys ad time and it buys get-out- the-vote efforts, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Let's talk a little bit about the special election in Arizona to replace Gabrielle Giffords.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, this is fascinating. You remember Gabrielle Giffords about -- back in January, stepped down after a year earlier surviving an assassination attempt. Well, now, the man on the right, Ron Barber, he is a former aide of Giffords congressionally. He was also injured in that January of 2011 shooting.

He is running in the special election to succeed her. He is facing of against a former Marine called Jesse Kelly who narrowly lost to Giffords in the 2010 election. Republicans think they have a good shot here, just kind of leans towards them. Remember, the big picture in November, Democrats need 25 seats and 25-seat pickup to win back control of the House of Representatives, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: And just for a little bit of whiplash effect, I want to scoot right back to the presidential race and campaign, because there's a brand-new radio ad -- the president out with the first radio ad targeting black voters specifically. I want to take a listen and ask you about it on the other side.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, OBAMA CAMPAIGN RADIO AD)

NARRATOR: Four years ago, we made history. Now it's time to move forward and finish what we started together. We have to show the president, we have his back.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I like the music soundtrack, it's pretty cool. But, listen, if you look at the polls from 2008, he had overwhelming support from the black community. What is it looking like this time around?

STEINHAUSER: Let's take a look, exit polls from 2008, you're right, the president did make history, the first African-American to win, 95 percent of the African-American vote went to Senator Obama, 4 percent went to Senator McCain.

What does it look like now? This is the latest breakdown from Gallup's numbers. Not as overwhelming but still pretty strong, almost nine in 10 African-Americans say they'll vote for the president and 6 percent for Romney. I guess they just want to make sure that African- Americans are in their camp and that they get out to the polls in November. They could be crucial, their vote will be crucial in some close battleground states.

But in comparison, the president is already going out with three rounds of TV ads for Latino voters which they think could be much more up in the air. So, just as comparison here, these are the first radio ads for African-American voters. But they've already gone out with three specific rounds of TV ads focused on Latino voters, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: It's not surprising there would be this ad. I mean, 87 to 6 is overwhelming no matter whether there's a slip or not.

But, Paul, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

STEINHAUSER: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour.

Huge blow to autism researchers -- a freezer malfunctioned at Harvard's brain bank, damaging a third of the world's largest collection of brain samples used to study autism. Officials say the freezer's temperatures rose too high and alarms that were supposed to go off did not sound. Researchers say the damaged brain samples were a priceless collection. Investigators say foul play cannot be ruled out.

So, one eye on the flames and the other on the weather. Will firefighters catch a break as they try to save lives and homes in Colorado? The latest coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Forty-one minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast.

The dreaded word for any traveler out there: delayed. You can't control the weather. You can't control the mechanical issues. But you can take some steps to reduce your chances of being stuck at an airport.

SAMBOLIN: Alison Kosik has a few tricks on today's "Road Warrior" segment.

KOSIK: You know, the best rule of thumb for you is torture yourself. Fly in the morning, the earlier the better. I know, get yourself out of bed and get that early slight. Because think of it like when you go to the doctor's office, you know, if they are late, it keeps on getting worse and worse.

These delays are just like dominos. One late plane can cause yet another flight to be behind schedule and then another and so on.

So, one exception to this rule actually is San Francisco. The morning fog there coming off the bay can get pretty thick. So, go ahead and book afternoon flights into the Golden Gate City. Also suggesting to travel during the week. Most airport have less traffic on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Another way you can avoid delays, do some research. At Flightstats.com, you can look at on-time performance records for specific flights, and check out current delays at more than 13,000 airports around the world. The U.S. Department of Transportation also releases monthly air travel consumer reports that include flight delay statistics.

All right. One more final tip: forget the hubs. Think about those secondary airports, you know, Ft. Lauderdale instead of Miami. Midway versus O'Hare in Chicago. You know, you may arrive further away from your destination at these smaller airports, but at least you can lower your chance of delays.

And I got to add, no matter how much you plan ahead, expect to have a delay for a flight. So, make sure you have a good book, make sure you have your phone, your iPad, watch CNN at the airport, all of that important stuff, right?

SAMBOLIN: Great advice, Alison. I appreciate that. Thank you very much.

KOSIK: You get.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-two minutes past the hour. A quick check of your travel forecast with Alexandra Steele.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi. Good morning, guys.

You know, Alison, wonderful tips. Really important especially in the summer, morning flights are key because you'll see the atmosphere bubble and bubbling up in the afternoon. With that, those thunderstorms develop later in the day with the heating of the day. So, morning is key.

All right. Major delays in and around New York, again, especially later this afternoon and tonight in the New York metros. Philadelphia and Washington, that rain moving in earlier. Atlanta and charlotte, those afternoon with the heating of the day and it's so tropical here in the South.

Also, of course, here's the big picture with severe storms but one more update on the High Park Fire, of course, in Colorado. It's 15 miles west of Fort Collins, 41,000 acres have been burned. They are hoping for cooler conditions and calmer winds, not the case today. Today, warmer and windier, and even getting warmer tomorrow into the 90s.

Back to you, guys.

BANFIELD: All right. Alexandra, thank you.

Soledad O'Brien has a much deserved day off today. Christine Romans is in now with a look at what's coming up on "STARTING POINT".

Your talking voters.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Florida and voter purge there.

Ahead on "STARTING POINT," guys, the Department of Justice now planning to sue Florida over that purge of voters. The Florida governor, Rick Scott, is going to join me to respond to the battle between the federal government now and the state of Florida.

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura calls America's two- party government is just a bunch of thugs in a Brooks Brothers suit. He's going to be here and tell us why. I'm sure he's going to be very shy.

Plus, Starbucks new effort to create jobs for Americans. CEO Howard Schultz joins us to talk about how it works and how the private sector is really doing. And 83 million people tuned in to see who shot J.R. Now, "Dallas" 2.0, the new cast of this classic is going to be here.

That and so much more starting with "STARTING POINT", Eastern Time, 7:00 a.m. I have 15 minutes to find out what time it is.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-four minutes past the hour.

Three little words that made one man's graduation speech a national sensation: you're not special. Coming up, David McCullough will talk about the speech and what he meant by those words.

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SAMBOLIN: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

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SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Victim number one will be taking the witness stand this morning coming face-to-face with Jerry Sandusky. This is the witness whose allegations first triggered a criminal investigation into the former Penn State football coach. Yesterday, witness number four testified Sandusky lured him into the shower when he was just 13 years old and began touching him inappropriately.

BANFIELD (voice-over): North Dakota could become the first U.S. state to eliminate property taxes. Voters there deciding today whether or not to get rid of property taxes all together. Imagine that? Taxes bring in about $800 million a year ago. And guess what, we're all struggling, aren't we, these days?

So, if those taxes are eliminated, the state government has to figure out how they're going to make up for the lost revenue. A dilemma we all face. Two American students alive and well this morning after wandering in the wilderness of New Zealand for nine days. Twenty-one year-old Erica Clintworth (ph) and Alec Brown were stranded by a snowstorm. They survived by rationing their supply of trail mix and warming themselves up in the hot springs. They're also talking about their ordeal and taking it all in stride.

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ALEC BROWN, STUDENT STRANDED FOR NINE DAYS IN NEW ZEALAND WILDERNESS: You might think it was a big ordeal, but really, we kind of -- we didn't have that much trouble. We could have maybe lasted another week laying in those hot pools, slowly starving, but we made it out. We're OK.

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BANFIELD: Slowly starving but OK. The two students are on a foreign study program in New Zealand.

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SAMBOLIN (on-camera): "You're not special." That's what some recent graduates were told by their commencement speaker, and the Massachusetts high school graduation speech has gone viral online. Watch.

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DAVID MCCULLOUGH, JR., WELLESLEY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: You're not special. You're not exceptional. Contrary to what your U-9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card despite every assurance that a certain corpulent purple dinosaur that nice Mr. Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal (ph) cape crusader is swooped into save you, you are nothing special.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The man delivering that speech, Wellesley high school English teacher, David McCullough joins me now. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. You know, you can hear in the background --

MCCULLOUGH: Good morning.

SAMBOLIN: -- good morning. A lot of people were laughing there, but a lot of people also took this very seriously. Your goal was not to crush these kids. What was your goal?

MCCULLOUGH: No, no. My goal was to remind them that a commencement is a beginning. And that when they leave there, they're off into the world where everyone starts from the same starting line. So, often, if a kid is led to believe he's special with that comes expectations and with expectations comes pressure to succeed.

Kids know who they are. They know what their passions are. Let's leave them alone and let them be free and determine their own path.

SAMBOLIN: I want to very quickly play the end of your speech, which I think is important to hear before we continue the dialogue here.

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MCCULLOUGH: Selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life then come only with recognition that you're not special, because everyone is. Congratulations. Good luck. Make for yourselves please for your sake and for ours, extraordinary lives.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: You know, I started by saying that not a lot of people were really happy about this. I'm a mom and I know that you're a father as well. And oftentimes, the world really does not prop our children up, right? They tear them down. So, do you think that maybe, perhaps, some people criticized you because of that?

MCCULLOUGH: Perhaps. Most of the criticism I've got, in my opinion, has been reacting to lines from the speech taken out of context. If they had the interest to read the whole speech or patience to read the whole speech, they'd see that really my point is that if -- it's an examination of the concept of specialness.

If everyone is special, then no one is. It's like Garrison Keeler's notion that everyone alike (INAUDIBLE) is above average. Well, that merely then just changes the definition of average.

SAMBOLIN: You've been a teacher for 26 years. Why do you think it was --

MCCULLOUGH: I have, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Why do you think it was important for kids to hear this message? And, do you think this was a right timing? Would you have done this earlier in your career?

MCCULLOUGH: Well, I had been doing this earlier in my career. I've been doing it every day in my classroom for 26 years. Nothing I said that day was new. I've been saying it to my own students for a long time. Kids get the notion that they're special, as I said a moment ago, and they're pressured to achieve.

And moms and dads, well meaning moms and dads will swoop in to help their child do well. And in a sense, they're denying a kid the opportunity to fail and get up and succeed on his own, which is a better learning experience and is better for their, quote, "self- esteem." So much concern is applied to kids these days about, quote, "self-esteem." Well, if you just step back, let them determine their own course and achieve on their own, the self-esteem they will enjoy will be far more valid than if they've been coached and tutored and helped along the way.

SAMBOLIN: I think a lot of parents would actually agree with you. David McCullough, English teacher, Wellesley High School, congratulations to you. I bet you didn't think you would have gone viral with that.

MCCULLOUGH: Thank you. No, about now, I'd be out walking my dog instead of sitting with you.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much. We'll talk to you again soon, we hope.

MCCULLOUGH: OK.

BANFIELD (on-camera): Fifty-four minutes now past 6:00. Baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr. shares his best advice ever received with us. And, you've got to get advice from Cal Ripken. Come on back for it.

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BANFIELD: "Starting Point" about a minute away. We like to wrap things up, as always, with the "Best Advice."

SAMBOLIN: Today, we go to baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr. Take a look and listen.

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CAL RIPKEN, JR., MEMBER OF BASEBALL HALL OF FAME: They always say, wherever they send you, know that you belong. They wouldn't sent you there, otherwise. So, it's just one of those small little things that says, be confident in yourself and know that you belong and then just go work.

So, the advice I'm trying to tell you is that confidence is important, and dad had a way of giving that to me in many ways. This is one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I wonder what he'd say about overconfidence, though, because that can also harm you.

SAMBOLIN: I don't think he meant that, though. I think he just meant, you know, --

BANFIELD: Confidence is important but also know where you stand. I think that's another issue. Cal Ripken, such a great guy.

Hey, that's EARLY START, news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "Starting Point" with Christine Romans starts right now.