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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Americans Held In Tokyo; Dueling Swing State Speeches; Swing State Showdown; Obama: Fear Romney Economics; Ruling Dissolves Egyptian Parliament; Costner Wins BP Oil Cleanup Suit; Sandusky Child Sex Abuse Trial; Climber Falls 1,000 Feet To His Death; NBA Finals All Even; Crossing Over; America's Job Crisis; Sandusky Child Sex Abuse Trial; Ruling Dissolves Egyptian Parliament

Aired June 15, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Egypt maybe on the edge again. A high court ruling dissolving that country's parliament, leaving a lot of people worried. We're about to see a repeat of Arab spring.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Two Hollywood stars in a bitter court battle, Steven Baldwin accusing Kevin Costner of cheating him out of millions. But what did the jury and judge say about it? We'll find out.

SAMBOLIN: And the Heat burn the thunder. Lebron James leading Miami to big victory as the NBA finals, but it almost didn't happen.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to EARLY START. It's nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z. It's 6:01 here on the east. Let's get started.

We do begin with breaking news this morning. Two Americans, a 19-year-old American man suspected of killing a female Irish exchange student in Tokyo is being held by Japanese police.

He's considered a minor so we are not releasing his name. A second American is being charged with groping the dead woman's friend.

Kyung Lah is live from Tokyo this morning with the very latest details for us. What can you tell us?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, what Tokyo police are saying is they are now holding this 19-year-old American man for murder. This is very different than what he was held for before.

He was held on a different charge and now they are pursuing murder charges against him. They have 20 days before they can officially decide whether to officially under Japanese law decide to charge him with the murder of 21-year-old the Irish exchange student who was found dead in a Tokyo hotel room.

She was strangled to death. Tokyo police say the only other person in the room that night was the 19-year-old American man. The Tokyo prosecutor's office is also moving forward in this case against 23-year-old James Flaxon. He is a friend of the 19-year-old American --

SAMBOLIN: I apologize for that. We've lost the connection. We'll continue to gather details on the story and bring them to you shortly.

BANFIELD: It's 2 minutes now past 6:00 a.m. And Mitt Romney is kicking off his every town counts bus tour today in New Hampshire. The president is hot on his heels too.

And also the president back in Washington after one heck of a night, campaign fund raising, 2 million bucks richer after spending some time, some quality time at the home of actress, Sarah Jessica Parker in New York City.

In the meantime, all of these following up the day on the trail where the candidates were both in Ohio doing a hard sell for their economic policies and taking shots at each other too.

In Ohio, by the way, a serious battle ground state. Mitt Romney saying the president has failed the American people. The president warning voters not to believe the scary voice in Romney's campaign ads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: That it's all my fault, that I can't fix it because I think government is always the answer or because I didn't make a lot of money in the private sector or don't understand it or I'm in over my head.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He describes his plans for making the economy better. But don't forget, he's been president for three and a half years and talk is cheap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Talk is cheap, but it is also enlightening. So "Politico" reporter, Jake Sherman is joining me live in Washington to talk about this. I have a question for you. Here's the deal.

We are in a very long and protracted economic slowdown. It was not caused by headlines and bumper stickers. And it's not going to be fixed by headlines and bumper stickers. When will or are we going to hear some serious substance instead of a horse race?

JAKE SHERMAN, "POLITICO" CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That is a weighty question, but listen, the president has said he put these jobs bills in front of Congress, things that he thinks would create jobs, Congress sitting on its hands.

But of course, we know Congress is not a very revered institution in the minds of Americans. Mitt Romney has put out plans as well, but you know, those are completely different things than what either man will do, you know, in a governing season instead of a campaign season.

But they have put out plans, but you know, Nr. Romney is saying the president has not worked and we've given him four years, it's enough. Mr. Obama saying he's has three years.

There's been some improvement, and he deserves more time. It's really kind of contrasting each other this late in the game.

BANFIELD: Jake, this is age old, I don't know how long you've been covering politics, but anybody out there pretty much knows the way it is, you blame the last guy, you blame the last administration as long as you can.

I get it that Governor Romney is saying you can't do that much longer, but apparently it's working. We have a Gallup poll here, which results showing that the American people seemed to believe this that the economic woes of this country are 68 percent at least believe it's president Bush's fault.

Only 52 percent believing it is President Obama's fault in the last three and a half years. Does that mean that the campaign slogans are working or are we in just a lag, meaning once when we get closer to the election those numbers are going to tighten up?

SHERMAN: Well, first of all, as you might recall, President Bush's numbers were not great when he left office. Second of all, I don't think that there's not anybody in any swing state who says, man, I don't have a job, but George Bush got us in this mess so I'm going to vote for President Obama.

You've seen a parade of Democrats across the board say that President Obama has to come out with a better, more refined message. And this message is not exactly what a lot of Democrats are looking for.

It might fire up the base, but again, in swing states across the country, you'd be hard pressed to find somebody who says, I'm out of a job. It's George Bush's fault, not the man in office. So it's a risky gambit and it's one that Democrats not all Democrats think is the right message.

BANFIELD: You know, the sound bite that we need as voters is about two and a half hours long and unfortunately, the sound bite that you can play is about 22 seconds. Jake Sherman, good to see you. Thanks so much.

SHERMAN: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: It's 6 minutes past the hour here. A high court ruling leads to a government in turmoil in Egypt. Yesterday, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court declared that country's parliament dissolved. The court is considered partial to the old regime and in the wake of the ruling, the country's interim military leaders declared full legislative authority.

BANFIELD: In a courtroom clash of Hollywood actors, Kevin Costner has come out victorious. Federal jury in New Orleans has rejected claims that Costner and his business partner cheated another actor, Steven Baldwin and a friend of Baldwin out of millions of dollars.

Here's the weird part. It was over a deal to sell a oil cleanup device to BP following the oil spill in 2010. I know that sounds odd, but it was a business deal and a business deal only.

SAMBOLIN: A day off after a week of graphic testimony at the Jerry Sandusky child rape trial. Eight of his accusers out of 10 totalled took the stand.

The final three giving some of the most disturbing accounts of what the former Penn State football coach allegedly did to them when they were children. The prosecution now ready to rest. Sandusky's defense will begin presenting its case next week.

BANFIELD: In Oregon, an experienced mountain climber on an easy trail in Mount Hood has fallen 1,000 feet to his death. Fellow climbers say they saw 56-year-old Mark Cartier, take a bad fall yesterday. Crews did go out look for him and they were hoping for the best. But as soon as the rescuers reached Cartier, there was heartbreak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC BROMS, ATTEMPTED RESCUE: The training and everything that you've learned over the years just kind of kicks in and you do your job. A number of people die every year on Mount Hood on the so-called easy route so, you know, it's not as easy as you think sometimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Words to live by truly because Cartier is the second climber to die on Mount Hood just this year.

SAMBOLIN: Switching gears here, the Miami Heat snatching home court advantage from the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 100-96 win in game two of the NBA finals.

Lebron James led the way, 32 points, but the Heat held off a late rally by the Thunder. The series tied 1-1. Game three is Sunday night at South Beach.

BANFIELD: South Beach is going to be wild. OK, Niagara Fall, the anticipation thicker than the mist, folks, high wire artist in the middle of your screen, Nick Wallenda is just hours away now from the most daring stunt ever.

A history making tightrope walk across the famous falls, so in honor of that, a live picture for you of the mist over the famous Niagara Falls this morning as the sun rises.

You can see that kind of mist makes for kind of dangerous, slippery tightrope walking conditions. But the 33-year-old Wallenda is going to start anyway on the U.S. side and attempt to walk a third of a mile on a teeny tiny string crossing that gap to Canada.

Tens of thousands of spectators are all expected to be on either side, in either country watching the stunt. Nick is the seventh generation member of the famous flying Wallenda family.

It's going to be live on ABC and you know what? Because of the fear of what could happen, ABC not only said we are going to put this on delay.

But then they said the contract won't be signed and we won't do a live broadcast unless you wear a harness. Both Nick and his wife and the family didn't want to do that. We wanted this to be the real McCoy, the real --

SAMBOLIN: That's what they are doing. You know what I heard about that fine mist and you know, those conditions that the shoes that they wear actually makes it a little a bit tackier, which actually could be a good thing for him.

BANFIELD: Yes. So perhaps he's been practicing with mist in a parking lot, been doing this for several months now over a parking lot close to Niagara Fall and misting the wire to see if he can mimic the conditions. It's not a big surprise today.

SAMBOLIN: It's going to be great. So next on EARLY START, a duck from Japan swept across the ocean to Oregon after the killer tsunami. And something else that came along with the duck has a lot of people very worried right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It's 13 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. The Supreme Court in Oregon approving the release of thousands of documents that detail the boy scouts internal investigations into alleged sex abuse.

The so-called perversion files played a key role in a 2010 civil case over six boys sexually abused by a now convicted scout leader. The files date back from the 1960s to the 1980s. Boy Scout officials claimed the files were kept secret to encourage the reporting of bad behavior.

BANFIELD: A Florida teenager who survived being set on fire is facing his alleged attacker in court two and a half years after the attack. Michael Brewer is explaining the horror that he felt at the moment back in '09, when he realized he was burning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BREWER, BURN VICTIM: I just remember a cold liquid going down my back and started walking and started feeling burning. And then I started running. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see it at any point or after you felt the cold liquid, did you see him with stuff, with a jug or anything like that?

BREWER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You started feeling the burning at that point?

BREWER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you do?

BREWER: I started running towards the pool, then I jumped a fence and dove into a swimming pool. I felt like I was going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: The alleged ring leader of the attack, Matthew Bent, is on trial for attempted second degree murder. He faces 30 years in prison if he's found guilty. Prosecutors say he set Brewer on fire because he was angry at the middle schooler for refusing to buy his drug paraphernalia.

Also this morning, near the coast of Mexico, there's a hurricane threat. It's been churning away in the Pacific and Rob Marciano is in extreme weather center with more on what's happening and whether we should be worried about this one.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's going to scrape the coast of Mexico tonight and tomorrow and maybe making landfall as a category 1 or higher hurricane. Right now, almost that, 70 miles an hour tropical storm Carlotta with a distance between Acapulco and the storm of 400 miles.

So, it's heading in that direction and should be there later on tonight and really through the day tomorrow is what we think is going to happen. Hopefully, once it interacts with the land before this gets to that tourist community, it may lose its intensity. That would be the hope. But obviously rain will be a huge issue as well.

All right. Rain today, some of it's going to be across the fire country but more in the way of thunderstorms. You know how thunderstorms go out west. A lot of them don't a lot of produce rain. They produce a lot of lightning and gusty winds. So that may hamper fire-fighting efforts.

These are producing rainfall and some wind as well. Tulsa back through Oklahoma City, some of these gusty winds and then a thunderstorm complex is just about to head to Dallas is beginning to weaken somewhat. None of less, Dallas, Ft. Worth, the next hour or two, you'll be experiencing some thunderstorms that will slow down your commute and also some air travel.

And again, in the afternoon you'll see storms fire up there and South Florida, we'll see afternoon thunderstorms, kind of sticky there, Chicago, 90 the high there and next several of days, maybe a cooling off briefly on Sunday. Back in the 90s Monday and Tuesday.

SAMBOLIN: Kind of perfect weather.

BANFIELD: I don't know. Ninety degrees?

SAMBOLIN: And icky and steamy.

BANFIELD: Kids at home and getting sticky and steamy.

MARCIANO: The fun has just begun.

SAMBOLIN: Head to the water.

Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up-to-date, here's Christine Romans with all of our top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

President Obama and Mitt Romney butting heads over the economy in the Buckeye State. Both made appearances in Ohio yesterday. And later, the president picked up $2 million at the fundraiser at the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker in Manhattan. While Romney prepares to kick off a five-day, six-state every town counts bus tour today.

Turmoil in Egypt. Yesterday, the country's supreme constitutional court declared the parliament invalid. That court is widely considered loyal to the old regime led by Hosni Mubarak. Their ruling means Mubarak's former prime minister is now eligible for a presidential runoff election this weekend. Egypt's interim military leaders now claiming full legislative authority.

In Oregon, that 65-foot long Japanese dock that washed up of the coast after the tsunami a year ago, it's carrying some troubling cargo. In all, scientists say the dock was carrying two tons of living sea creatures and some species are not native to the U.S. coast and could devastate local sea life.

The force was definitely with him. Little Darth Vader doing well after open heart surgery. Glad to report that seven-year-old Max Page, of course, he's the actor from the popular Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial. He was born with a congenital heart defect. This week, doctors replace his pulmonary valve.

His grandfather said Max came through it like a champion.

BANFIELD: I can watch that ad over and over again.

ROMANS: We met him and his mom and dad and one of his siblings when he came here after that Super Bowl. He was just a charming little guy, gregarious, charming, funny and he took all of his new found fame with such aplomb. So, I'm glad to hear he's doing well.

BANFIELD: I never knew that he had the illness. I'm not sure that he let on.

ROMANS: We talked about it. They were very open about it. He just very outgoing kid and had a very good medical attention from the very beginning and they knew it was going to be through his childhood this would be something they would be tackling.

BANFIELD: Interesting. I must have missed that because I'm very surprised. I'm glad they are doing well and we wish him the best.

Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: Nineteen minutes now past 6:00.

Still ahead on EARLY START: global economies teetering on the edge of the unemployment rampant. So, why is everybody looking so happy right there? Why on earth did our stocks close up?

Very interesting question. Christine will answer it ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business.

U.S. futures trading higher this morning and markets saw a big rally at the end of trading yesterday.

BANFIELD: The Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 all up higher for the day. Gosh, can you imagine?

Christine Romans is here.

When we hear the doom and gloom coming from overseas, how do we have three green up arrows?

ROMANS: Because everything thinks things are so bad that central banks are going to make sure things don't get worse. The central banks are going to have basically a big fire hose and they're going to spray money into the world economy to make sure the smoldering flames in Europe don't get worse.

We have a Greek election this weekend, too, and that's very, very important. Also Europe -- Europe is still a big problem but the U.K. in England, the central bankers say they are going to make sure their economy stays sound. That's why stocks were up yesterday.

I want to talk about the labor market in the U.S. because fascinating. I talked to a lot of people in business, right? And companies are saying that they can't find workers. You heard me right.

BANFIELD: What?

ROMANS: Companies are saying they can't find workers. Almost 13 million people unemployed. Companies say they can't find workers with the kills they need.

Here's what probably the most famous boss in America, here's what she told the president earlier this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERYL SANDBERG, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FACEBOOK: Every company I know, my own included, would desperately try to hire more people. But it has to be people who have technical skills to meet the jobs we need and it gets harder to find them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: But a recent manpower survey label these the top five jobs in workers shortages. Accounting and finance, sales reps, IT staff, engineers, and skilled trades number one.

From the corporate sweep, the message is the American workers don't have the right skills but companies, maybe they aren't looking hard enough, right?

Here's what Bob Herbert, senior fellow at Demos told me about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: If you have trouble finding workers in your company, you pay higher wages as far as I'm concerned and eventually if those wages get high enough, you'll be deluged with applicants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That's economics 101, right? But many companies may start looking for those workers abroad.

Did you know that China is quickly rising as the largest supplier of college educated workers? By 2030, China alone will account for 30 percent of the world's new college-educated workers, just China. This is a new survey by McKenzie Global Institute.

How much will the U.S. account for? Five percent.

BANFIELD: Five?

SAMBOLIN: Abysmal.

BANFIELD: That's the whole Fareed Zakaria special on immigration and why certain country's immigration policies are trumping ours, that we are not focusing on those skilled immigrants and instead mired in the unskilled and how to deal with it.

ROMANS: Well, immigration is part of it, but how about your American workforce? People come here because this is supposed to be the golden ticket, American dream. Are we educating the children of immigrants? Are we educating the children -- I mean, we have a really big issue in this country.

You'll see more about this on my show, "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" tomorrow at 9:30. That's what we're going to take a look at tomorrow at my show.

And one thing you need to know about your money today -- Europe, I have to go back to it. It's flaring up, Greece elections are this weekend. England is using emergency measures to protect itself. Fear is running high in financial markets.

That's my one thing. We're at a moment here, folks, in the world.

BANFIELD: Pay attention.

ROMANS: It has nothing to do with an American election, I want to be clear.

The moment in the world is not the American election, it's what's happening in Europe.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-six past the hour.

So, Florida's Governor Rick Scott went to a voting booth. You know what happened? He was told that he couldn't vote. Why? Because he was dead. Seriously. The details straight ahead.

SAMBOLIN: By the way, if you're heading out the door, not to worry, take us along with you. You can watch us on your mobile phone and when you get to work, or wherever you go, you can watch us on the desk top too. All you need to do is go to CNN.com/TV, and we're there for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Accused child rapist, Jerry Sandusky, facing his most damning accuser. Coming up, does the final witness for the prosecution seal Sandusky's fate?

SAMBOLIN: Singer Chris Brown brutally attacked at the nightclub. Sources say a rival rapper was involved and the dispute may have involved brown's ex, Rihanna.

BANFIELD: And dramatic rescue by a man on a kayak. He save another man who fell in the Chicago river and we will show you more of the video. You'll hear from the 17-year-old rescuer, straight ahead on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: Seventeen years old. Starting your life off that way, as a hero. Nice to hear.

Welcome back, everyone. This is EARLY START. Good to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 31 minutes past the hour. Let's get started.

There's no court today but prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case are getting ready to rest their case. The heart of the state's evidence is already before the jury.

This week, eight of Sandusky's 10 accusers took the stand and the prosecution saved the most dramatic and quite frankly probably the most disturbing testimony for last.

CNN's Susan Candiotti covering the trial. She's live in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Susan, what can we expect to hear from the prosecution as they wrap up their case next week?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, mainly they are going to take care of some house keeping issues which are necessary and things like that that need to get done.

But for all intents and purposes, it's basically over. They are expecting to rest their case on Monday. And I spoke with the lead defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky and he acknowledged that this has been a very, very hard week for them in light of all of this difficult testimony. But they too are ready to begin to present their case to the jury on Monday as well.

SAMBOLIN: And on Thursday, jurors heard from the last of the 10 alleged victims, pretty strong ending with a lot of awful and riveting accusations. It was victim number fine and at one point he said he called out for help.

And, you know, often times, we're hearing that Jerry Sandusky's wife was present when these kids went on trips or perhaps in the home. Do you think we're going to hear from her?

CANDIOTTI: You know, it is possible. They certainly haven't said who it is they are going to call. For example, they could chat with her or could also call perhaps Joe Paterno's wife, although my understanding is she hasn't been contacted as yet by the defense team.

But this young man in particular, winding up the prosecution's case very difficult to hear from him. He could barely keep his head up during his testimony. But he did glance up when he was asked to point out Jerry Sandusky in the room and he did. He pointed to that man.

At one point when he was describing the testimony, this was one of the alleged sexual assaults, he said in his words of Jerry Sandusky, quote, "He came in the room, he pulled his pants down. Laid on top of me and kind of forced it in."

And when prosecutors asked, why didn't you stop it? He answered, "What was I going to do? He's a big guy, way bigger than me." As you said it was riveting testimony, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Really tough to hear, you know? So, the defense tried hard to counter all of these accusers' claims. What did they do?

CANDIOTTI: Well, that is the question everyone wants to know. One of the biggest questions of course is will Jerry Sandusky take the stand? And I've been speaking with a lot of criminal defense attorneys who in the beginning said there's no way. But now, some of them are saying, at this point after hearing all this damaging testimony, they wouldn't be surprised if that decision is made.

Here's what one lawyer told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD JANET, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIM #6: He's got those tapes that of interviews that he did with Bob Costas, that he did with the "New York Times," but much of that has been heard. So, from his perspective, he might say, what do I have to lose? It will give me an opportunity to explain it away. I'll tell my story.

You know, he may decide to take that chance. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: And as always, that is a decision that is made between an attorney and his client, but the final decision is up to the client.

SAMBOLIN: That is going to be --

CANDIOTTI: -- Jerry Sandusky. So we'll see.

SAMBOLIN: A very hard decision to make. Susan Candiotti, live for us in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania -- thank you.

BANFIELD: It's now 35 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

And Egypt is really in turmoil this morning. This after the country's supreme constitutional court made a declaration that the parliament is dissolved. And that court is widely considered to be quite partial to the old regime led by Hosni Mubarak and the ruling means the former prime minister can now run in the runoff election this weekend and that is a problem, a serious setback for the Muslim fundamentalist group called Muslim Brotherhood.

SAMBOLIN: A shocker in Florida's voter purge controversy. Governor Rick Scott was told he could not vote back in 2006, why? Because he was dead.

Scott says he pulled out his ID to prove he was alive and cast a provisional ballot. Scott says his story will ease fears about his push to purge the state's rolls of noncitizens, because if actual citizen are mistakenly removed, they can still cast provisional ballots like he had to do.

BANFIELD: Pop star Chris Brown saying he was brutally attacked at the New York City nightclub. And sources say that he and his entourage were indeed in a fight with a man by the name of Drake, the rapper Drake. Apparently this fight involving their crews, all of their entourages, and apparently over Rihanna. Both men had dated the pop start Rihanna. Drake's rep was admitting that the rapper was indeed at the club that says, no, no, Drake was on his way out of the club when the altercation began.

Chris Brown decided to tweet a photo of himself. Take a look at nasty cut on his chin.

A source close to him said the fight did not start over Rihanna. Thoroughly confused? So are many of us.

And the New York City police say they are viewing Brown as a victim nonetheless. Brown is currently on probation after pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna back in 2009.

SAMBOLIN: A Brooklyn judge says a public drinking sniff test -- a public drinking sniff test does not pass the sniff test. If police want to issue a summons, he says officers need to do more than smell someone's cup. They need to prove the alcohol content of that drink exceeds the 0.5 percent threshold under the city's open container law. New York cops wrote more than 124,000 summons last year for drinking in public, for more than any other violation.

BANFIELD: In Troy, Michigan, the city's mayor, Janice Daniels is defending extreme anti-gay comments she made on Facebook. On Wednesday, Ms. Daniels told the radio station the anti-gay comments were made before she was elected to office so they shouldn't count. Yes, that's what she said.

And here were the comments. She said homosexuality was dangerous and she compared it to smoking cigarettes. When pressed on whether being gay was more dangerous than smoking, Daniels had this to say. No opinion.

Can't make this stuff up, folks. Daniels is facing a recall election. Good luck with that.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. A teenager saves the life of a man who almost drowned in the Chicago River. Take a look at those pictures there. Police say the victim fell into the water after suffering an unknown medical emergency.

Seventeen-year-old, Emanuel Gonzalez was kayaking when he saw the man floating facedown in the Chicago River. He says he pulled the unconscious victim out of the river and waited for rescue crews to arrive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL GONZALEZ, 17-YEAR-OLD KAYAKER: I was nervous, I was shaking and my stomach hurted and I did what I did to get him out of the water as fast as I could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The actions of this Good Samaritan citizen were critical to this man's life saving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: No kidding. Crews rushed the victim to the hospital where he does remain in serious condition.

BANFIELD: So, the Tiger is lurking, round one of the U.S. open is in the books. Tiger Woods is now nicely positioned in a five way tie for second place. It used to be we never said something like that, right?

In any case, after shooting a 1-under par, par 65 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, that's how the story developed. Everybody seems to be chasing the unlikely leader Michael Thompson, who is a former Eagle Scout and second year pro from the University of Alabama. He posted a four under par 66 and he enters round two today with a three stroke lead.

SAMBOLIN: It was supposed to be a harmless prank, but this zombie hardly looked harmless. He created sheer havoc on the streets of Melbourne. We're going to share so much more.

You're watching EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Wow, how about that? Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning, Niagara Falls. It is 59 degrees there and sunny right now. Eighty-three degrees and partly cloudy a little later Mr. Nik Wallenda as you attempt to walk across from the United States to Canada over the falls. We are wishing you a lot of luck.

We are wishing you a lot of luck this morning. A lot of people are going to be watching. He's going to be tethered though.

BANFIELD: I got to say, that picture looks like a crater that's smoldering, not the beautiful falls we normally see. Hopefully that mist will burn off later today.

Gorgeous. Forty-three minutes now past 6:00 a.m. on the East Coast. It's a good time to get you caught up on top stories if you're just waking up or making breakfast.

Christine Romans is making news.

ROMANS: Hi there.

Mitt Romney hitting the campaign trail, ladies, the old fashion way, kicking off his "Every Town Counts" bus tour today in New Hampshire. He's going to hit six states in five days.

And the president is back in Washington this morning after attending a pricey fundraiser in New York at the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker -- 50 guests paying 40 grand each. Both he and Romney made campaign stops in Ohio, trading jabs about economic policies in the key battleground state.

A Mexican crime reporter has been found dead in the city of Xalapa, the state capital of Veracruz, hours after being abducted. The death of Victor Baez comes a week after the state's governor announced he was forming a commission to protect journalists.

Veracruz has been at the center of bloody battle for control of a drug trafficking route between two gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf cartels. Nine journalists have been killed in Veracruz over the past 18 months.

It's the Pentagon's coming out party. The Defense Department planning an event later this month to commemorate LGBT pride. Senior officials are expected to take part. Meantime, President Obama is holding a White House reception today marking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride month.

All right. A zombie prank caused a panic on the streets of Melbourne, Australia. Unsuspecting citizens running for their lives, chased by a man dressed as a blood-soaked zombie. One frightened woman pedaling furiously on her bike to try to get away.

The prankster says he was inspired by a recent video in Miami that showed a fake zombie scaring the daylights out of frightened victims. I mean, he's lucky someone didn't have a heart condition.

SAMBOLIN): Yes.

BANFIELD: Or a gun.

ROMANS: Or a gun.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: But you know, Christine, there's one part of the video that shows him coming out of a building where there's a mom with a stroller. And he frightens her so much the stroller ends up going over. And I couldn't see if there was a baby in it, but I thought, that's criminal.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Look, he wanted publicity to go viral, right? He wanted a video prank, and then, now, we're giving him --

SAMBOLIN: That is a grown man, by the way. That is not a child doing that.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: I'm sure his mother is so proud of him.

BANFIELD: Yes. Soledad just said -- (CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: It's not going to well at one point. All right. Christine, thank you. Speaking of Soledad, you could hear.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: She can't wait to get in. You got a lot coming up.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, STARTING POINT: Oh, my goodness! Yes, absolutely.

President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney giving their hard sell for their economic plans. They're competing economic plans in the battleground state of Ohio. We're going to break down the plans, also tell you whether or not the pitches are working with Americans.

The Obama campaign's national press secretary, Ben Labolt, is going to join us along with former White House communications director, Nicolle Wallace.

Also, one of the final alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky trial said he screamed for help during an incident that happened in Sandusky's basement. Prosecutions about to rest its case. We're going to take a look at what the defense is going to say next. We're going to talk to criminal defense attorney, Jose Baez.

He's going to join us. You know, he's famous, of course, for getting Casey Anthony acquitted. So, if, in fact, were Sandusky's defense attorney, what would he do?

Also, the former star of Two Live Crew, remember Two Live Crew? The hard core rappers, Luther Campbell, you know, he's now a high school football coach in Miami.

BANFIELD: That does not look like Two Live Crew.

O'BRIEN: But you know, there's a big battle over whether or not he should get his teacher's license that would allow him to continue coaching because of his past as a hard core rapper.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It actually might make him a better teacher. That's just --

O'BRIEN: It could. It could, indeed. We're going to talk about that.

That and the rest of the morning's top stories, of course, all starting right at the top of the hour. We'll see you then.

BANFIELD: That is going to be good. I'm sticking around for that one, Soledad. Thank you.

Egypt on edge this morning. A court ruling is leaving a lot of people wondering, what exactly do we have going on at the head of government? Do we even have government? And why did we go crazy in the streets a year ago looking for change? Let's find in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back. It is 51 minutes past 06:00 on the east coast.

Some stunning political changes sweeping through Egypt yet again. The country's high court there declaring that its brand-new elected parliament is, in fact, invalid. The tensions are already high there. There are concerns at this point now that further tensions could lead to unrest and renewed protest.

Ben Wedeman is in Cairo live this morning, following the development. And Ben, I have been watching you over the last 18 months in Tahrir Square with all of the unrest, the Arab spring. We thought it was going to lead to a great new Democracy. It has led to this. What is going on there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, this is something of a crisis for many of those who thought that the Arab world had turned a corner to Democracy. Many are calling what happened yesterday a soft military coup because now the military has broad legislative and executive powers and clearly has a very friendly judiciary.

But what's important to keep in mind is that over the last year and a half is that the Egyptian population has become much more politicized, much more willing to speak up to protest, to criticize those in power.

So, definitely this is a worrying development for many, but at the same time, there is a feeling that the country has fundamentally changed, and even though there are forces within the military, the police, the intelligence services, the bureaucracy who would like to take Egypt back to before the revolution, it's simply not possible given the tectonic changes which has happened in the minds of so many Egyptians -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Ben, by allowing the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood to, in fact, compete in this weekend's elections, it almost sounds as though that is furthering a Democracy, because sometimes Democracy is ugly. That leads to a question, what does that mean to us in America? We give $1.5 billion in aid to that country every year. Does what happening now affect us fundamentally?

WEDEMAN: Not certainly in the short-term among Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the entire leadership of that group have actually courted the United States. They've met with visiting American delegations. They're on friendly terms with the U.S. ambassador here in Cairo.

In fact, that goes back to even before the revolution. And, they have tried their very best to reassure the United States that they are, for instance, when it comes to the economy, very interested in free enterprise. Many of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are, in fact, capitalists, businessmen.

So, they would like to assure the United States that if they -- they take over the presidency, they have no intention of breaking the historic relationship between Cairo and Washington -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Absolutely fascinating. I'm glad you brought that up. I had not heard that before. Ben Wedeman, I think you have a very busy weekend ahead covering those elections, live in Cairo for us this morning. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-four minutes past the hour. Up next, the son of the late Sargent Shriver (ph) tells us about the "Best Advice" he's ever gotten.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." Christine Romans has that.

ROMANS: And you know, we ask people this because we want to know, you know, what you can take to work with you, so we asked Mark Kennedy Shriver, the author of "A Good Man" about the "Best Advice." He ever got -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK KENNEDY SHRIVER, AUTHOR, "A GOOD MAN": Best piece of advice I ever received, a couple of years after I graduated from college, I was running a program for juvenile delinquent kids in Baltimore City. And one evening, one of the guys that was working at the program lifted me up.

He was really mad and slammed me against the lockers, and he had played football in college, and it scared living bejesus out of me. And I went home to my mom and dad that evening, and I told my father what had happened and I was hopeful that I could survive and go back to work.

And he looked at me like I was from Mars, and he said, I don't think you'd ever heard the words, I hope I can, you know, go back to work. He turned to me and said, those kids have been (ph) quit on their entire life, don't quit on them. Go back to work, hang in there, work hard, and make a difference in their lives and stay at it.

And I did. And work for the next three or four years in that program, went back to graduate school, and it was the best place I ever got. Go back to work, hang in there, and keep working hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Sometimes, if you're at work, you think it's all about you, right? It's about you, it's about -- sometimes, you have to look around you and figure out what your role is and other people you're helping. BANFIELD: Those Shrivers. I mean, Maria wrote that book "Ten Things I Learned Along The Way", that's not the real title but some great advice there, as well. It would be nice to grow up in that family.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: Sargent Shriver is your dad.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: That's EARLY START, 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.