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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN
House Committee: Holder In Contempt; Sweltering Heat In Northeast; Zoo Animals Flee Flooding; Rains Wreck Roads In Duluth Floods; Closing Arguments Today In Sandusky Trial; Sanford Police Chief Fired; College Football Playoffs; Lebron Could Win First Title Tonight; Fed Warns of Economic Slow Down; Will Romney Enter Immigration Debate?; Miami To Ban Sale Of Bath Salts; Beer Belly Babies?
Aired June 21, 2012 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: It is dangerous heat as the mercury rises. Records keep falling all over the weather map.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Washed out in Minnesota, flash flooding, wiping out roads, bridges, and making a very dangerous condition for a zoo.
SAMBOLIN: He's never been closer to a ring, Lebron James takes the court with a chance to win his first NBA championship win. Miami Heat could win, too.
BANFIELD: Yes, that could happen as well for all the Heat fans out there. I'm not talking heat outside. We're talking Heat inside on the hardwood.
SAMBOLIN: All right, good morning, everyone. Thanks for being with us. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.
BANFIELD: Good morning. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We have the news from A to Z for you this morning, 6:00 on the East Coast. Let's start with this, shall we?
Attorney General Eric Holder is really caught in a political cross fire this morning. He is in Copenhagen this morning and after a pretty bad day yesterday for him. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a vote and it came out along party lines to recommend citing him for contempt.
All of this for failing to turn over certain subpoenaed documents from the botched "Fast and Furious" gun operation. Those documents though are now completely off limits, subpoena or no subpoena because President Obama stepped in and decided to invoke executive privilege for the first time since taking office.
Joe Johns is live in Washington this morning and your legal head must have been popping right off yesterday. Seriously, the developments were fast and furious themselves just for starters.
But what we're looking at here, Joe, is for lack of a better way to describe this, a legal mess.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think you're right. It is a legal mess. Whenever you get into one of these executive privilege fights, it is going to be that way.
What seems clear is that barring some negotiated solution, this thing ends up on the House floor as early as next week. That means Eric Holder could get cited by the full House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans for contempt of Congress.
After that, the process that is set in place is for all of this to go to the United States Attorney's Office and he would convene a grand jury.
The problem is, of course, the United States attorney for the District of Columbia is basically an employee of the Justice Department and head of the Justice Department is Eric Holder.
So it is kind of a weird situation though, one way or the other it is clear if they don't figure something out, it will end up in the courts as the kind of thing that could go on for years.
And many other times in the past, these fights have ended up being negotiated out and they figure out how to get some of the information to Congress to avoid a long protracted court battle -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Joe, for a lot of people it starts to sound a lot like white noise bickering, but we're talking -- when you say the legal process in the courts, we're not just talking civil here. This could have a civil outcome. This could have a criminal outcome.
JOHNS: Yes, it could have a criminal outcome, and you know, people waking up this morning who haven't really focused on all of this the question sort of is what's it all about?
We have heard of this operation "Fast and Furious." It was a gun walking operation to sort of try to figure out if you could get some big fish in the cartels south of the border by letting some guns go into criminal hands, probably not a very good idea.
Certainly, a real question of mismanagement on the part of the people who were handling it and the problem is it is occurring, this controversy is, during an election year, which raises the question of politics as you know.
And listening to some of the arguments that were made in the committee just yesterday really points it out. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: This is a stall in the Justice Department I think to get by until the next election because I think there is something embarrassing politically to this administration that they want to keep out of the public's minds and that's why we have been stone walled.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: This comes in an election year and I think there have been a lot of efforts on the part of our Republican colleagues to embarrass this president. And I think that this is a situation today that definitely could have been avoided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Well, that wasn't inside actually the hearing room, of course, because Senator Grassley wasn't there. He is on the Senate side.
Nonetheless, you get the idea. People are saying it is politically motivated. On the other side of the coin, Republicans are saying they need to get to the bottom of this because at root it was a mismanagement problem at the Justice Department.
BANFIELD: All right, Joe Johns, thanks. I've a million other questions for you, but we're going to save that for a little bit later on.
Because also Soledad O'Brien is going to be very busy on this topic too. So thank you, Joe. At 7:00 Eastern on "STARTING POINT" with Soledad, she's going to have those two people you just saw, the Democratic Congressman, Elijah Cummings.
He is a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and he will be live with her and then at 8 a.m., she will go one-on-one with the other guy you just saw, Iowa's Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
He is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. They both have a lot to say about this issue and you can bet Soledad will as well.
SAMBOLIN: Well, the northeast sweating through high humidity and sweltering heat. Temperatures expected to break records again today.
This morning as I was coming in, I was on Facebook, Rob, and I said it feels like 80 degrees and guess what? I was right on the money.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You were. Not only that, it was actually 80 degrees and the temperature didn't dip below that and the humidity bumps it up even more. So, yes, it is miserable out there and New York is not the only spot. D.C., Boston, Philly, Baltimore, you're all in.
These are the record highs from yesterday as measured in the shade. They don't include humidity. Newarks in 98, La Guardia 98 degrees to Central Park at 94, Richmond, Hartford and even Burlington, Vermont, so places in Northern New England and a lot of those folks don't have air conditioning.
They are dealing with temperatures right now in the upper 70s with loads of humidity as well. All right, Boston, you will probably hit -- you get close to 99 degrees today. I think everybody in New York, Philly, D.C., these are the actual high temperatures from yesterday.
These are the forecast highs for today. So we can probably bump everything up 2 degrees or maybe 3 degrees today. There were some records yesterday and probably some records today, but the bottom line is this is the warmest air that we have seen since the third week in July of last year.
And this is the first real pulse of heat for the summer and it is always a shock to the system. Heat advisories and heat warnings out for 10 states across the northeast and heat indices and what it does to your body, doesn't allow you to sweat. That sweat to evaporate, it makes you feel even warmer than that.
But there is a little relief on the way, this little front is going to push off to the east. Already cooling down Chicago and won't get to the New York, Boston, and D.C. area really until tomorrow or even Saturday. Until then, do what you have to do to stay cool.
BANFIELD: I blew up the slip and slide in the backyard yesterday.
MARCIANO: That's one way to do it.
BANFIELD: And I read the directions and if you're over 100 pounds you can't use it.
MARCIANO: That's why I don't read directions.
BANFIELD: You don't. OK. Rob, you were supposed to say you're under 100 pounds, Ashleigh? Dead silence.
MARCIANO: I've got a lot to learn.
BANFIELD: Marciano, your live shot is going to be shorter next hour. Thank you, my friend.
One of these weather related stories we wanted to follow up on Rob's report because there was water absolutely roaring through the streets and almost a dozen zoo animals were killed leaving a seal in the street.
Torrential over night flooding forcing an evacuation of a lot of low lying homes and even zoo animals all of these happening in Duluth, Minnesota.
Zoo workers were able to safely recover two seals and a polar bear and over a dozen animals being killed in that flooding. And water wiping out a bridge, all of the rain softening up roads and opening up a full sink hole that swallowed up a car. Good to report too that there are no reports of any serious injuries though in that story.
SAMBOLIN: Quite a bit of damage though. All right, closing arguments in less than three hours away at the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky. The defense rested without calling the former Penn State assistant football coach to testify. Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys this over a 15-year period. The jury is expected to begin deliberating after today's closing arguments.
The Pedo bear made an appearance right outside the Sandusky trail court. Take a look at this. It is the internet born- bear and it was created to mock pedophiles. Many critics on the web who don't get the satire say he is a mascot for men who abuse little boys.
BANFIELD: After refusing to accept his resignation back in the spring, there has been a change of heart. Officials in Sanford, Florida, have now fired Police Chief Bill Lee.
You may remember that Chief Lee came under fire for his handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting because he decided not to make an arrest of George Zimmerman, the gunman in that shooting.
The city managers in Sanford said that they dismissed him because the people of Sanford, they say, need a chief they can trust and respect.
The guy who's been doing the job since all of this went down, the interim chief, Richard Myers is going to stay on the job until that department can find a full permanent replacement for Bill Lee.
SAMBOLIN: A consensus has been reached on a college football playoff system. BCF commissioners have agreed to a four-team playoff system, the semi-final games rotating around the tradition bowl sites like the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl. The plan will be presented to university presidents next week for approval and could be in place by 2014.
BANFIELD: Lebron James has a chance to win his first championship tonight because the Miami Heat are taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in game five of the NBA finals. The Heat leading the Thunders three games to one.
So they're in a pretty good position in the best of seven. It is the first time that the Thunder have faced an elimination game during a 2012 pro-season.
Miami's all-star trio of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will all try to clinch that championship tonight and get this, it's in front of their home crowd at American Airlines arena. If it is going to happen, that would be a nice spot for them for it to happen.
SAMBOLIN: But it would be great if Oklahoma took it on their turf.
BANFIELD: You're always doing that, always coming in and cooling off the heat.
SAMBOLIN: Yes, I have to. Anyway, 10 minutes past the hour. Soaked but safe. Take a look, dramatic video of one couple's brush with danger. What were they doing? That is a waterfall. We're going to give you all the details coming up.
SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It's 14 minutes past the hour. Samuel Warzelbacker better known as "Joe, the plumber" taking a lot of heat this morning for tying the holocaust to gun control in a campaign ad.
Warzelbacker is running for Congress in Northern Ohio and this is a video that has a lot of people angry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.
I love America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: The National Jewish Democratic Council is demanding Wurzelbacher apologize for disrespecting the millions killed in the Holocaust.
He is not backing down. Instead, Wurzelbacher is putting Adolf Hitler in a tweet, saying the Nazi leader wrote in "Mein Kampf" that his agenda would not be possible unless the people were disarmed.
BANFIELD: I am speechless. I never heard that argument made in the Second Amendment in my life? I don't think the framers in the Constitution were thinking that would be a way for your own army coming to your door.
SAMBOLIN: Yes, I am pretty speechless, too.
BANFIELD: Yes, 15 minutes now past 6:00.
Christine Romans, you're going to have to do the news my friend after that one.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. I will. Thanks, ladies.
Voting strictly along party lines, a House Oversight Committee is recommending the Attorney General Holder be held in contempt of Congress for failing to turnover documents from the botched Fast and Furious gun operation, documents now under wraps after President Obama invoked executive privilege to keep them from going public. The full House vote on the contempt citation could take place next week.
Dramatic video of a waterfall rescue, a husband and wife plunged 20 feet over the Saxtons River in Vermont. The couples were fishing when the wife slipped and fell into the water. Her husband went after her. But a current sucked them both over the falls.
Witnesses called 911 and they were rescued clearly and suffered only minor cuts.
North Carolina says it will not compensate victims of the state's decades long eugenics program from the 1970s. State representatives plan to give victims up to $50,000 each. But Senate Republicans said the state didn't have the money and they feared paying the victims might open the door for reparations for slavery.
Officials estimate 1,300 survivors for North Carolina's forced sterilization program has targeted the poor and mentality disabled.
Starbucks is expanding its brand to include a tea-only franchise. Its first Tazo Tea store will open this fall in Seattle where the coffee giant got started. The store will not sell hot and iced tea drinks and tea lattes and, of course, they will actually, and there will, of course, be a blending station by the way where customers can create their own version of Tazo tea.
Ashton Kutcher is suing the California DMV. They didn't make a mistake on his driver's license. The actor's production company Catalyst Media says the DMV is in breach of contract. A lawsuit claims Kutcher's company had an agreement to fill four episodes of reality show based around the DMV, and the state-run agency pulled out of the deal. The company is seeking more than $1.4 million in damages from the California DMV.
There you go.
BANFIELD: All right, Christine. Thank you.
So, Facebook has decided to tally up the check-ins at landmarks in 25 cities around the world. That's when people post where they're hanging out on their wall or their Timeline and share it with all their friends. Ever do it? Yes, me either.
But apparently, a lot of people do. And in the United States, the landmark that are most checked in on, Times Square in New York City, the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago, AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the Giants.
And then over in Europe, here are the sites that are most checked -- the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Colosseum in Rome, and who saw this one coming? Are you ready? TGI Fridays in Oslo, Norway.
SAMBOLIN: At this point I was with you. I can't get that.
BANFIELD: I smell a glitch. I am sorry. I smell a glitch on the Oslo TGI Friday's. What do you know?
SAMBOLIN: Perhaps true.
BANFIELD: What do you know?
SAMBOLIN: Eighteen minutes past the hour.
Not all cars are created equal when it comes to quality. The brand new rankings are out. The cars least likely to leave you high and dry, we have that list for you. That's coming up.
BANFIELD: Twenty-two minutes past 6:00 in the morning on the East Coast. Welcome back, everyone. We're minding your business this morning.
The U.S. stock features if you're looking for a gear for the day, they're down this morning. Markets yesterday closing a bit mixed as well. The Dow losing 13 points.
SAMBOLIN: All because of the Federal Reserve saying growth is slowing.
Christine Romans is here to explain.
ROMANS: Yes, growth is slowing and you probably feel it at home, right? You know this if you are running a small business. You know this if someone in your family is still trying to get a job. And you know this if someone is graduating from college and they're having a tough time getting a job.
Fed putting numbers to it. Their growth forecast has been downgraded to 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent. That is not enough to solve all of those problems I was just talking about. The unemployment rate will stay at 8 to 8.2 percent.
Earlier this year, the Fed has said they thought the jobless rate would fall as low as 7.8 percent this year. Now, they're saying that's not as likely.
The Fed is going to continue its Operation Twist. I told you about that yesterday morning. It's going to keeping money flowing into the economy. There were hopes that you would have more than Operation Twist, but that's what you're going to get for now and the Fed chief says if something really terrible happens, they will stand ready.
BANFIELD: No QE3.
BANFIELD: No QE3 for now. But they -- he dismissed the idea -- rejected the idea they're out of bullets. There's a lot more they can do, he says. But for right now, they're watching.
So, 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent economic growth.
In the meantime, watching the J.D. Power car quality survey that's out this morning. A lot of people are saying -- I know -- U.S. auto makers --
BANFIELD: Your geek is showing.
ROMANS: I like cars. I'm a bit of a car person.
OK. So, the highest quality vehicles ever, but Detroit's Big Three with still trailing the Japanese competitors. According to the industry analyst, J.D. Power, three brands, General Motors brands, Chevy, Cadillac, GMC, now all scoring higher than the industry average for quality.
So, there you go, G.M. That's the good news.
The reality check, if you look at the top of the list, you got to have a lot of money to buy these cars. Lexus made the top of the list, Japanese; followed by Jaguar and Porsche. Never know how to say that. I've never been able to afford it. Ka-ching.
The American made Cadillac finished fourth, that's the only American made car in the top 10, by the way, with Honda rounding out the top five.
You can take a look at all of these at CNN money to decide if you want to buy the Lexus or the Porsche.
BANFIELD: Or Porsche.
ROMANS: Right, or the Porsche.
BANFIELD: What's the one thing we need to know today?
ROMANS: The one thing we need to know about your money today, a new Gallup poll shows confidence in U.S. public schools is at record low -- 29 percent expressed a greet deal or quite a lot of confidence in them, long way from the '70s when 58 percent felt that way.
And why it is the one thing? If America is going to lead, we've got to do better in our schools. So, a reminder: everything about our economy, everything about our country, everything about our future depends on how we do on schools.
So, don't look at it as disappointment. Look at it as a rallying cry.
BANFIELD: Well, it's funny you would end on that. Did you see the video we showed in the last hour? Horrifying. The teenagers bullying their bus monitor, a senior, an elderly woman with a hearing impairment -- horrifying to say the least.
We've got some video that we're going to replay in this hour. We've had a lot of reaction from people who have been watching this. It's all caught on tape. The kids ganging up on an adult monitor and this is some of the worst bullying you may ever see.
And you really have to see it. You have to hear what these middle school kids say to this poor woman who ends up in tears. It's coming up in just a moment.
BANFIELD: It is the beginning of the end of the Jerry Sandusky trial anyway. The closing arguments set for just a few hours from now.
SAMBOLIN: Smoke on the water, fire on the pier. Investigators trying to figure out what caused a landmark on San Francisco's water front to burn.
BANFIELD: And reading rainbow, going digi. Long time host Lamar Burton here to talk live about new act for a whole new generation.
SAMBOLIN: And seriously, you won't want to miss this. We already have it on our iPad. It is fantastic.
BANFIELD: I will be standing by live with a smile on my face. It is really early for him I think. So we're came to talk to us live.
Welcome back, everyone, to early, early, EARLY START. Very nice to have you. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour.
BANFIELD: So I don't know if it is hot where you are, but it is hot where we are.
Here is a live picture of New York City. Central Park is beautiful usually this time of day. It doesn't look like it is clouded by the heat and humidity, it's a virtual hot cloud. The thermometer went to 94 yesterday. And last we checked, as we were coming into work this morning at 2:00 in the morning, it was 80 degrees. It' s about 81 or 82 right now in the Big Apple.
Just look at all of these tower cam shots up the Hudson. Down Manhattan's southern tip. It is nasty.
And I tell you what? When it is hot in New York City, you do not want to be in the subway. I'm just saying.
Rob Marciano is standing by live to tell us what else about this country is hot.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, yes, New York is not the only spot. Boston through D.C., and this is the warmest of the year. You saw in some of those live pictures, especially in the morning, the haze, the smog -- the air quality is not good.
So, between the heat and humidity and the pollution, you don't want to be stressing your body too much outside if you can all help it.
Eighty degrees right in Boston, 80 right now in New York City, upper 70s elsewhere and this is widespread stuff even as far north as the Canadian border we saw record-breaking high temperatures and a lot of folks don't have A.C. So, that's a struggle as well.
About 10 states today are under heat advisories and heat warnings. With the humidity, it's going to feel like 100 to 110. So, forget what the thermometer says with the humidity and especially in direct sunlight, it's going to be absolutely brutal.
There is some relief in sight. A little bit tomorrow and more so on Saturday and Sunday as we drop down into the mid to lower 80s. We're already starting to see some of that in Chicago with their fair share of heat and humidity as well, this front that brought a ton of rain across the upper part of Minnesota, Duluth specifically.
This is slowly marching its way to the east. We'll see heat bursting thunderstorms in places like Detroit today, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and maybe up through Buffalo and, eventually, into New York city and I think tomorrow.
By the way, watching this little bugger here in the Gulf of Mexico could develop into something. We're not sure what. We do know it will bring more rain to Florida. So, we're watching that carefully.
Guys, back to you.
BANFIELD: All right, Rob. Thank you, sir. Appreciate that.
SAMBOLIN: Thirty-two minutes past the hour here.
Closing arguments less than three hours away at the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky. The defense rested yesterday without calling the former Penn State assistant football coach to testify. Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. The jury is expected to begin deliberating after today's closing arguments.
BANFIELD: A full House vote could find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and it could be done next week.
You might know that yesterday the House committee voted right along party lines to recommend that Holder be held in contempt for failing to turn over additional documents from the failed Fast and Furious gun running operation. This is where guns were purposely put into the hands of drug cartels to try to track those guns and ergo track the cartel south of the border.
The problem is they lost track of some of those guns and then they found some of those guns at the scene of a murdered U.S. border patrol agent. It's not good.
Republican Congressman Darrell Issa telling reporters that there is still a chance that next week's vote could be called off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: It is my position of the committee that if we're given the documents we have been seeking, that I will ask for there not to be a vote on the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well, those documents are problematic for the president as well as the attorney general because the president is backing Mr. Holder. He says he is invoking executive privilege, too. He did that yesterday, to try to keep those Fast and Furious documents from being released.
SAMBOLIN: And this morning investigators are trying to figure out what caused a four alarm fire at an historic pier along the San Francisco waterfront.
Oh my goodness, take a look at those flames, that ripped through pier 29, bulk head building causing the roof to collapse. It took fire fighters about two hours to bring all of the flames under control. The building was vacant at the time. No injuries were reported there.
BANFIELD: You see the fire fighters on the roof, too. You think they are the bravest people alive. When they go onto burning roofs, look at them. They're feet away from flames and they do this to make sure that they can try to get the flames put out. Awesome people.
Mitt Romney's five sons making an appearance last night on Conan O'Brien. Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben, Craig -- all of the Romneys doing the best to humanize their dad, so to speak. The oldest brother Tagg had a hilarious story for Conan about the time his prank-loving dad pulled a fast one on a friend who was about to tie the knot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAGG ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S SON: The groom's outfit was there and he took some pink nail polish and wrote on the first shoe H.E., on the sole, and the next one L.P., and no one noticed. It was a Catholic wedding and when he knelt down to be blessed the words help appeared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: May not last wedding he is invited to after that little one. But Romney's son Josh admitted to Conan that he and his brothers are nervous about what their lives could be like if their dad becomes the president. He says he recognizes it would be a great thing for the country if our dad were president. It just might not greatest thing for us if our dad becomes president.
SAMBOLIN: A victim of brutal bullying on a school bus is now speaking out and she is not a teenager. She is a 68-year-old grandmother. Karen Klein is a bus monitor for the Greece Central School district. That's Upstate New York and there's a picture of her there. A group of middle school kids were videotaped hurling vicious insults.
It got so bad she started to cry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Oh, my God, you're so fat.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: You're fat.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: You're so fat.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Oh, no, look.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Oh, my God, your glasses are foggy.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Wipe the water off your face.
KAREN KLEIN: I am crying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness. It goes on for 10 minutes and there are points we can't show you so we do have it at CNN.com if you want to watch the whole thing.
At one point a student tells Klein she doesn't have a family because they, quote, "killed themselves" because they didn't want to be around her. That student didn't know it. Klein's oldest son took his own life ten years ago.
Klein who is hearing impaired says she didn't hear all of the taunting until she watched the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: Some reason they just started with this garbage. I still don't know why. I sat there and took it until they got off the bus. I don't know if I want to see them face-to-face again. I doubt it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: School officials say all students involved will face disciplinary action. They have also referred the matter to police. Meantime, Klein has received support from all over the world, folks. A Web site is raising funds to send her on a vacation. And so far, it has raised over $100,000.
You know, I put on Facebook what I would do if my children were involved in this and I asked to you sound off about it and some people are just stunned by the situation and said what do you do in a situation like this? All the chores in the world will not help these kids. I hope something will.
BANFIELD: Yes. You know, obviously the school has taken action but I think what this speaks to is the largest issue of the bullying epidemic in our country. You don't always get the videotape. You don't always get to see what happens.
So, just imagine if these kids think it is OK to speak like this to a grown up, let alone a 69-year-old woman who is not fighting back and who has a hearing impairment, it is just astounding that they feed off each other and that they feed off her tears.
SAMBOLIN: Yes, there is somebody on here Julie who says maybe it is time for sensitivity training, right? And maybe the school can use this as an opportunity to teach. Maybe. Maybe.
BANFIELD: Sensitivity training for middle schoolers? They're like fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade.
SAMBOLIN: You know, I'm going to contend it's never too late, right? I mean, clearly they need something.
BANFIELD: Just one school. I think this is the bigger issue. This is just one school. Where else is this happening and how pervasive is this. It is so repulsive.
We couldn't air the majority of what was being said, what came out of the mouths of these kids. You should have a look to see what's actually happening these days.
SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. President Obama upped the ante when he changed the rules on deporting some illegal immigrants. Later today, it's Mitt Romney's turn to court the Hispanic vote. We're going to have more, coming up.
BANFIELD: Nearly a week since President Obama made the announcement of a new policy that's going to end the deportation of many young illegal immigrants in this country. And really for his part, Mitt Romney hasn't really responded to this.
That could change later on today when the former Massachusetts governor takes to the mic. He's going to speak to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando. He's got a lot of catching up to do as well when it comes to winning over the Hispanic voters in the country.
There is a Gallup poll that shows him trailing the president in the category, trailing like this, 42 points. I mean, that is a -- that's not trailing. That's almost failing.
So, CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser is live in Washington, D.C. to talk a little bit more about this. Is anybody really expecting this will be the moment where he takes a stand and makes a decision how is he going to respond to what people have said is the corner he has been painted into.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Exactly, almost backed against the wall on this one to a degree, it seems. You now, the Romney campaign, Ashleigh, has been very tight-lipped as to what Mitt Romney will say today. No excerpts have been released yet, at least at this hour.
I reached out to a bunch of Romney campaign officials. But the only thing they told me is they will focus mostly on the economy, but it would touch a little bit on illegal immigration.
As you mentioned, you know, the Obama campaign is going after Romney for not really responding to what he would do with the president's decision the other day, his order on legal immigration. The Obama campaign's director of Hispanic press say Mitt Romney has refused to say where he stands on the issue. Now, he's trying to soften his approach on immigration and the American people to deserve to know whether or not he would repeal the president's action.
As for congressional Republicans -- well, at least Senate Republicans, they seem to be following Mitt Romney's lead. Take a listen to Mitch McConnell. He's the top Republican in the U.S. Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: I think we're going to wait until we hear what Governor Romney has to say on the issue. There are maybe others behind me who want to address it. But my view is, he is the leader of our party from now until November and we hope beyond. And we're going to wait and see what he has to say about it, and be happy to respond to that at that point.
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STEINHAUSER: You know, in 2008, Barack Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote. And as you showed from the poll from Gallup, it seems that's where he is right about now -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: I mean, it's a remarkable poll. And speaking of that, I know that you get up very early in the day to compile all of this.
STEINHAUSER: Not as early as you.
BANFIELD: Oh, come on, don't sell yourself short.
I love do you this. You get out at 6:00 in the morning. You get the numbers out there and you got the Quinnipiac poll numbers to deliver for us in Florida. They're quite telling, though.
STEINHAUSER: They are. Very interesting. Of course, Florida is where the NALEO conference is being held. Take a look at this. You mentioned out just a few minutes ago. And look, it's pretty much dead even. The president with a slight advantage right now. Four points over Mitt Romney, according to this Qunnipiac poll among registered voters in Florida.
It was a different story just last month, though, with Mitt Romney with a small lead there. Of course, 29 electoral votes in Florida -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: All right. Paul Steinhauser, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
SAMBOLIN: It is 45 minutes past the hour. An entire generation of kids grew up with this man. Say hello to Levar Burton. He is here to talk about reading rainbow, reaching out to today's kids in a very special way coming up.
BANFIELD: It is 48 minutes now past the top of the hour. Let's get you up to date with the top stories. Christine Romans has been working to file those for us. Hello.
ROMANS: Good morning to you.
ROMANS (voice-over): Again, by this time next week, Attorney General Eric Holder could find himself in contempt of Congress. Yesterday, a House committee voted along party lines to recommend Holder be held in contempt for failing to turnover documents from the failed "Fast and Furious" gun operation.
Republican congressman, Darrell Issa, says a full House vote on the contempt citation could be called off if the justice department agrees to turnover those extra documents.
Officials in Miami have given their preliminary approval to a plan to outlaw the sale of bath salts. Right now, bath salts can be easily purchased at Miami convenience stores. The county ban on bath salts is up for final approval by Miami Dade commissioners on July 3rd.
A new study has actually found that drinking while pregnant may not be as dangerous as we thought. It suggests that drinking one to four drinks a week, even five to eight drinks a week might be OK. However, the study shouldn't be taken as a free pass drink while pregnant. There's still no definitive answer on how much is too much. So, err on the side of caution -- Zoraida.
SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much. Here's a song that is bound to bring back some childhood memories.
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(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: OK. Everyone in here is buffing their heads. For 26 years from 1983 to 2009, the TV show "Reading Rainbow" fostered a love of reading for a generation of kids. When it went off the air in 2009, it had been awarded more than a dozen Emmys and only "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" lasted longer on PBS.
But its long time host, Levar Burton, is bringing it back as an app for the iPad, and he joins us now along with the iPad to demonstrate. So, for 26 years, you did this on television, right?
LEVAR BURTON, HOST AND EXEC PRODUCE, "READING RAINBOW": Right.
SAMBOLIN: And it was the idea of bringing books to life.
BURTON: That was what we did. That was the mission and using the technology of the day in order to do that, to get kids interested in and excited about reading and literature.
SAMBOLIN: So, take us full circle to that decision to say, hey, I'm going to bring it back to life on an iPad.
BURTON: Well, PBS pulled the show off the air out of their ready to learn line up in 2009, and there was a surprising sort of outcry from the first generation of "Reading Rainbow" watchers who had become adults and were worried that the "Reading Rainbow" wasn't going to be there for their kids. And I thought, well, there's something there, the brand, there's more for this brand to do.
SAMBOLIN: So, it's really a change in philosophy, wasn't it, in the way that children actually learned to read, right? They went to phonics.
BURTON: Absolutely. That's -- well, that's why no child left behind.
BURTON: Right? PBS is a government funded institution, and so, no child left behind is focused on teaching children to read as opposed to fostering a love of reading.
SAMBOLIN: Love of reading.
BURTON: It doesn't make sense, but there's no room for both in this current situation.
SAMBOLIN: Except for you now, because you brought it back. I want you to come over my shoulder, because this morning, I got to tell you, a 31-year-old who's my producer decided that we were going to watch this together. He was so into this. I've got the music full up there.
SAMBOLIN: So, I want to show -- here we go. Let's go back -- oh, you want to take me back to the beginning. BURTON: To the beginning? You want to go back?
SAMBOLIN: I want to go to animal kingdom.
BURTON: You want to go to animal kingdom. OK. So, what we want to do is go --
SAMBOLIN: Oh, please tell me that our Wi-Fi is working. Is this not horrible? What was the first thing you asked?
BURTON: I said, have you been playing with it --
SAMBOLIN: I have been playing with it, but I've been playing with it in my office.
BURTON: OK. All right. All right, all right, all right. There we go.
SAMBOLIN: OK. Here we --
SAMBOLIN: It won't work.
BURTON: It won't.
SAMBOLIN: No. OK. So, do we have this, you guys, on video so that we can show it while we talk about it? Yes, because it doesn't want to open up here. There we go. We can talk about it while this happens.
BURTON: So, what we've done is we created islands with themes so kids can go and find books based on subjects that they're interested in. Do you want to find books about animals? Go to animal kingdom island. If you like magical stories and fairy tales and adventures, then, there's an island for that as well.
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UNIDENTIFIED KID: And the books have only one interaction and simple games and rewards which let's your child really read.
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SAMBOLIN: So, one of the things that happens here, because I went to this particular site, and it allows to you download one free book.
SAMBOLIN: And then after that, you have to subscribe.
BURTON: The app is free, and you can explore the world that we've created. You can look at all the books. You can download one free book of your choosing and to unlock the full experience it's a subscription model. So, it's 9.99 a month for unlimited access. We've launched with over 150 books. We're bringing new books and new islands on all the time.
SAMBOLIN: But I have to tell you the part that is free which is pretty much everything is really fantastic. The videos that I wanted to show is you actually in all of these different places.
BURTON: We spent months shooting new videos, and in every island, there is at least one "Reading Rainbow" classic video from the original television series.
SAMBOLIN: OK. I have to let you go, but before I do, everybody wants to know what is next for you, because when I tweeted out that you were coming, they were like I love him from roots. Oh, my God, I love him from Star Trek. So, what's next?
BURTON: I'm coming back to television this summer in a series on TNT called "Perception" with Eric McCormick.
SAMBOLIN: And you're going to continue to do this, as well?
BURTON: Oh, this is it. This is it. This represents the last two years of my life and a lifelong dream.
SAMBOLIN: All right. You guys, I'm going to tweet this out for you, because I feel terrible that I couldn't show you what it does. I mean, because it really is just amazing. And something that parents will love to do with their children. Levar Burton, I wish you all the lock in the world.
BURTON: Zoraida, thank you so much.
SAMBOLIN: That was fabulous.
BURTON: My pleasure.
SAMBOLIN: Thank you for joining us.
All right. Ashleigh, back to you.
BANFIELD: OK. Thank you, Zoraida. So, some people tell you to fake it until you make it, right? They give you that advice. Coming up, we've got "Best Advice" that is exactly the opposite and you're going to find out why in a moment.
SAMBOLIN: "Starting Point" less than a minute away.
BANFIELD: And we like to wrap it up as always with Christine Romans and "Best Advice."
ROMANS: Take it or leave it when you go to work, but today's "Best Advice" comes from plus-size supermodel, Emme. She's the founder of EmmeNation.com. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EMME, ACTRESS & MODEL: Be yourself. The best advice that I've ever received has always been be yourself because if you're not, you trip up, and you're not genuine.
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ROMANS: -- you know, a lot of people say fake it until you make it. She's saying no, no, no, be yourself.
BANFIELD: You know, I remember back in the 1980s and I hate to say back in the 1980s when I got into this business, but I did.
BANFIELD: I got into this business 25 years ago, and I remember someone saying, you know, there are a lot of anchor women out there who try to sound like Walter Cronkite. Don't do it. Just be you. And I'm like, you know, 21 years old. People were going to see through this. That's OK. Let's do it.
SAMBOLIN: Everyone can tell when you're fake. Everyone can tell. So, you're hiding from no one.
BANFIELD: You can emulate people you respect and take little pieces of other people's styles at the office, right? But imitate anchorman or anchor women, I always remember that was the advice. Don't do it. Just be you.
ROMANS: But thank you, Emme, that was nice.
BANFIELD: Bubbly. Yes. Hey, thanks, everybody. That's the news from "A" to "Z." I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.