Return to Transcripts main page


Debby Spawns Deadly Tornado; Debby Drenching Florida Coast; Wildfires Burn Across Colorado; Supreme Court Decision On Health Care; Fiery Train Collision; Alex Trebek Suffers Heart Attack; Stop The Leaks!; Topping Out At Ground Zero; Wimbledon: Day One; New Face Of Egypt; Fears Growing Over Stability of Spain's Economy; Supreme Decision on Health Care; Colorado Fires: Entire City Evacuated; Putin's Middle East Tour

Aired June 25, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Tropical storm Debby turns deadly. Twisters and record setting rain from the storm that just will not go away.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: It's the worst wildfire series in a decade. An entire city in Colorado evacuated due to fast-moving flames.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: And we could finally know in a matter of hours the Supreme Court ruling on healthcare reform could come down, could come down as early as today.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good Monday morning to you, everybody. We're bringing you the news from "A" to "Z." It is just that literally seconds before the top of the hour, so let's get you the story right up first.

Wow! Deadly before it even makes landfall. Tropical storm Debby hammering Florida with record setting rainfall. It doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get out of there either. It's a slow moving storm, which basically means, it churns and dumps and dumps and dumps in the coast of Alabama and Florida, especially the panhandle are really taking the brunt of it.

The outer bands are whipping up extraordinarily dangerous surf and that surge that causes the flooding, triggering a huge water spout off of Juno Beach. So, take a look at your video. It is just remarkable.

Debby also spawning a fatal tornado in Florida as it was drenching that coast as well. Officials say a woman found dead in a home in Venus located in the middle of the state between Fort Saint Lucy and Sarasota.

A child in one of the damaged homes was also injured, taken to the hospital too. Police say -- people say they were absolutely blindsided by these twisters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got my wife and dog and put them in the hallway there and said it was coming. About that time it started blowing real hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all happened really fast in a matter of 30 seconds. We just saw a bunch of winds pick up. We were shoved into the bathroom, scared half to death. It was pretty traumatic.


BANFIELD: Traumatic indeed. Our John Zarrella is live in Clear Water, Florida. So, John, we're hearing that there is going to be upwards of 2 feet of rain in some of the areas along that coastal spot, the Alabama Coast, the Florida panhandle.

And that's not even taking into account the incredible storm surge that's expected.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, that's exactly right, Ashleigh. What you talked about the pounding that we've been getting here in Florida, we're in Clearwater Beach on the west coast north of Tampa.

A little bit of a break in the rain right now as one of the -- we wait for next rain band to come. But just from what you were saying, the folks out there can see that it's the entire state of Florida, whether it's tornadoes, whether it's flooding.

Whether it's high water, all of those experiences and again, as Debby just sits there, barely moving in the Gulf of Mexico and that's what happened. It continues to dump rain after rain after rain.

A lot of streets have been flooded in the Tampa area, reports of many street closures and road closures, a lot of schools are being closed today in several counties on the west coast of Florida.

And the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that giant suspension bridge over in the St. Petersburg area, that has been closed now for about 24 hours because of the high winds and the treacherous driving conditions and the transportation officials do not want people driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

You know, here are some pictures that were tweeted out yesterday by a ballplayer with the Philadelphia Phillies Organization here in Clearwater at the Spring Training and Minor League home.

You can see the field of dreams there is totally under water, from one of those rain bands and squalls that have continued to come in here one after the other, after the other.

But again, right now, we're still getting the gusty winds and still when you look out at the water, we've got the Gulf of Mexico to my left and on the right-hand side is the bay here, Clearwater Bay.

When you look out into those areas, the water is just churning and it's muddy and it's dirty. And it is certainly no place for boaters to be any time today and probably the next couple of days before the storm finally, finally decides to move inland, wherever that ends up to be -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I'll tell you what. It's also no place for rig workers and BP and Exxon are started to evac all of their nonessential and even some of the essential rig workers up to 600 different rigs in the gulf.

John Zarrella, keep an eye on things for us, will you please and be careful.


BANFIELD: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Meteorologist, Alexandra Steele is tracking the storm live. Did you take a look at John Zarrella there? It looks like nothing is going on. A reprieve, he calls it.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, well, that's why, because here as you see this radar and satellite composite where he is. See, this is the line of heavy rain that moved through. They are in a dry patch, which we're seeing and we'll continue to see.

But what the big problem is, it's so massive, this thing. It is a large storm. It's very slow moving and has been reiterated over and over. It's stationary, yesterday moving at 3 miles per hour.

Today not moving and the expectation is not a lot of movement in the next couple of days. We're not even talking hours so continuing to soak Florida and now with its new trajectory, really southeast Georgia getting into the mix.

The track with this has been so uncertain, continues to be uncertain because the steering current in the upper levels of the atmosphere are pretty weak so it's not going to move in yet one way or the other.

The National Hurricane Center, this is the official track, moving it toward Appalachia kind of east of Panama City. But with this storm, kind of the final destination, where that center of circulation moves onshore is a little less important.

And then the impacts we're seeing now and will continue to see with the flooding from the storm surge and the heavy rain and tornadoes and of course, all of the gusty winds, and potentially 1 to 2 feet of rain as we've been talking about.

We'll have more on this coming up in just a bit.

SAMBOLIN: Wow, so early in the season and what are we at number four you said?

STEELE: Yes, fourth and it's the record earliest we've had the fourth named storm in the Atlantic.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Alexandra Steele, thank you. We'll come back and continue tracking the storm.

So out west, we have another extreme hot, dry condition providing the perfect fuel. Thousands told to get out as wildfires burn across Colorado. Some 11,000 people have been evacuated in and around Colorado Springs after the fire began Saturday.

The entire nearby city of Manitou Spring is now a ghost town. Everyone told to leave ahead of the fire. But the biggest of the fires, the high park fire, now two weeks old, still burning incredibly strong, destroying close to 250 homes.

And only now 45 percent contained. The governor says close to half the nation's airborne firefightering force is trying to stop it. And it is already the most disruptive wildfire in the state's history.

BANFIELD: It could be decision day, finally, the Supreme Court term coming to an end this week. The justices are almost certain to announce a decision on President Obama's health care law hopefully as early as today.

But it could have it a little later on this week too. It is four months until Election Day and make no mistake, this one means a lot. The center piece of President Obama's domestic agenda would extend insurance to at least 30 million Americans.

The Supreme Court could toss out something in it though, very important part, the individual mandate. You've heard about it. It's that thing that requires almost every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Coming up at 8:00 Eastern, Soledad O'Brien is going to be joined by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. You may remember especially during those primaries, she has led the attack against the president's health care overhaul.

Three people are presumed dead this morning after two freight trains in Oklahoma collided head on and exploded into flames. It happened yesterday evening in the town of Goodwell, near the Oklahoma border with Texas.

Reuters is reporting that the two trains were traveling towards one another, and get this, on the same track. You can imagine no escape. About 50 firefighters from five nearby towns helped to put out several small fires there.

SAMBOLIN: It's 7 minutes past the hour. "Jeopardy" host, Alex Trebek, recovery in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a mild heart attack over the weekend. The 71-year-old Trebek is undergoing further testing now.

He is said to be in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery in time for a new season of "Jeopardy," which resumes production next month. We wish him well. BANFIELD: This morning, the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, plans to announce brand new measures to end the all those classified leaks that have been going on.

There have been a series of recent incidents that really important classified information somehow getting out. Those leaks involved a U.S. operation against al Qaeda in Yemen.

They involve a classified drone program as well and also a cyber warfare issue, something targeting an Iranian nuclear facility, critical, critical stuff.

A source tells CNN that Clapper said he believes that the leaks span multiple federal agencies and also multiple branches of government.

SAMBOLIN: The final beam is being installed this morning at the first building to be opened at the World Trade Center. Developer, Larry Silverstein will join construction workers in a ceremony at Four World Trade Center.

This should happen in just a few hours. Silverstein's company also owns the already completed Seven World Trade Center. The site's anchor building One World Trade already has beams erected to the 104th floor.

BANFIELD: All right, so this one is the grand daddy of them all, Wimbledon and it's kicking off today. The men's defending champion Novek Djokovich is going to open the play on center court and he'll be followed by Maria Sharakova.

It's going to be a busy summer games on the grass too because the tennis portion of the London summer games also to be played at the All England Club. Go Wimbledon.

SAMBOLIN: It's 9 minutes past the hour, a new era for Egypt. But what kind era will it be? Coming up, we'll go live to Egypt where the new president is vowing to unite a divided nation.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 12 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast.

A call for peace and unity from Egypt's brand new president, elected president. Mohammed Morsi's historic victory set off crazy celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Gunfire in the air, fireworks, screaming and yelling, they were out all night.

A long time member of the Muslim Brotherhood promising to represent all Egyptians, not just the Islamic extremists, again, he's formerly with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Not only that, he's promising to preserve the country's international accords too. That's really critical because Egypt and Israel to its north have had a long decant and a lot of people are very nervous about that at this time.

CNN's Ian Lee is live in Cairo with the whole story. Let's just start with this, a lot of people are very, very excited about this, Ian, because it's the first democratically elected president in that country. But a lot of people are nervous about what kind of president he will be or the kind of president he can be.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's definitely right, Ashleigh, this election was very polarizing. If you look at the numbers, when we break it down, he only won about a few percentage points. So there's a large section of Egyptians that are not very happy.

So he's going to have to work hard to unify this country. It's not going to be easy. There are definitely a lot of groups out there that are still skeptical that he can really pull this together.

But in Tahrir Square, I was in the square yesterday when the announcement came out. Jubilation, people are jumping up and down, hugging each other and crying, a really large celebration. Here's what some of the people in the square had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could overcome this regime and all should be happy.


LEE: Well, Ashleigh, one thing I want to point out too, this was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is not part of the Muslim Brotherhood anymore.

But I want to point out, not everyone in the square was part of the organization. There were a lot of revolutionaries in the square that weren't so much for Mohammed Morsi, but against Akhmed Shafiq because he was part of the former regime, they just want something new -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So, Ian, what about that issue of all of the different international detentes that they have, the existing foreign relations they have. And I'm speaking to one of the most important ones, and that is the detente that they have with Israel. Is there any thought that anything might change with the neighbor to the north and Egypt?

LEE: That's definitely been a question. We've been asking the Muslim Brotherhood over the course of this revolutionary period for about a year and a half, and every time that we bring it up, they say that they are going to keep this -- the accords with Israel -- they're going to respect their international agreements.

They said -- in particular, they said that they would respect the Camp Dave Accords as long as Israel respected the Camp David accords. So they are saying they are going to respect that. And when Jimmy Carter came to monitor the election, he even said he doesn't believe Egypt would abandon those accords.

BANFIELD: It would be interesting to find out who the representative will be who will be dispatched to usher in or to deal with Israeli issues.

Ian Lee, great job. Thanks very much. Appreciate that.

Sixteen minutes past 6:00.

We want to let you know as well that at 7:00 Eastern, Soledad O'Brien is going to speak with the Assistant Secretary James Rubin, former assistant secretary of state to Madeleine Albright. He's going to talk about Egypt's historic presidential election. Jamie Rubin, by the way, is a counselor for New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo.

SAMBOLIN: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up-to-date. Here's Christine Romans with your top stories -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, ladies.

Let's start with this sprawling weather system, record-setting rainfall, tropical storm Debby just sitting off the coast of Florida, drenching the state and spawning a deadly tornado. Police say one woman was killed and a child hospitalized. The storm already deadly enough, though it is not expected to make landfall for another two or three days.

Tropical storm Debby is threatening to rain on the Miami Heat's victory parade. The storm sparking weather some warnings throughout Florida. There's a 50 percent chance of showers today. The NBA champs say they'll postpone the parade if there's thunder and lightning. Hundreds and thousands are expected to come out.

Emergency crews in Canada will resume searching for victims today at a mall where a rooftop garage collapsed over the weekend. At least one person is believed to be trapped inside the rubble right now. But the search had to be scaled back because the structure is unstable.


BILL NEEDLES, TORONTO FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's very unstable and unsafe for the crew to go in there. So, we have to do a very slow and tedious, but safe entry.


ROMANS: Rescuers go back in as soon as the area is deemed safe. One person is feared dead, 22 others were hurt. The garage floor suddenly gave way, toppling on to a food court in that mall.

The House this week could make history with a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The oversight committee recommended the vote after Holder refused to hand over some documents concerning the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting. President Obama asserted executive privilege over some documents the committee had requested. The White House calls the Republican-led investigation politically motivated.

Back to you, guys.

BANFIELD: All right. Christine, thank you.

Here's one of those stories about how to get kids in school to end up smarter than kids in college. What? Seriously, I knew I had your attention. This is a good one. How one successful engineer is now transforming education in Philadelphia, getting the kids to stay in school and using electric cars.


SIMON HAUGER, HYBRID X TEAM: This car was built as a hybrid. We raced it for the last three years.

The secret of our success has been trusting kids to be able to solve complex problems.

You know what? This is going to get interesting.

You're building a hybrid that gets over 100 miles her gallon. Those are the skills that are just as important as the fundamental basis of reading, writing and arithmetic.

My name is Simon Hauger. I'm the founder of the Hybrid X team, a founder of the Sustainability Workshop. We have so many projects going on. We've got a group that did an electric go cart.

Looking at, comparing gasoline vehicles to electric vehicles and what would a scale model look like. We have a team doing biodiesel and variety of ways of making it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here you actually have to look at what's going on around you. And discuss it with the teachers, have a proposal and make them interested about it.


Simon Hauger is transforming education in Philadelphia, a real David and Goliath story this Sunday on "THE NEXT LIST."


BANFIELD: The inner city kids on the Hybrid X team are winning top automotive prices and beating out colleges like MIT. How do you like them apples?

You can find out more on "THE NEXT LIST", which is this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Our Sanjay Gupta, the host of it. And it's a great show.

SAMBOLIN: That is fantastic.

Twenty minutes past the hour.

When it comes to the economy, who makes the grade? President Obama or Congress? The answer from Christine Romans, coming up next.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. Twenty-three minutes now past 6:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

We're minding your business this morning and I hate to say it's not great. U.S. stock futures down this morning, European markets down, too.

SAMBOLIN: And it's a very rough week in the markets.

Christine Romans is here to do some explaining.

ROMANS: It's Europe, guys. This is the big story this morning. We've got European stocks down. We've got U.S. stock futures down this morning, another big E.U. summit this week. We're watching borrowing costs rise in Spain and Spanish government asking for help for its banks as well.

This is still a big story in the U.S. And Europe's problems have reached U.S. shores. Our exports to the eurozone are down a little bit so far this year, that's' because the eurozone is the biggest destination for American products.

So, when Europe slows, that means fewer jobs created here and it's so important to us. But U.S. stocks are still up this year. I want to give you a quick mid-year check.

Stocks are up for the year. The Dow is still up about 3.5 percent. The NASDAQ is up even better 11 percent. The S&P 500 is up about 6 percent.

Also, I want to flag for you a CNN Money survey of economists, ladies, where they asked 20 economists to grade both the president and Congress and how they do in the economy. And their average grade comes out to be a D for both of them.

BANFIELD: Not a surprise, is it?

ROMANS: Neither one got an "A" by any economist. Obama did a little better than Congress, scoring three Bs earn and one F. And the economy who gave the president F said there's so much uncertainty, health care reform, all these new regulations, lots of reasons why he said businesses are paralyzed --

BANFIELD: Economists can be partisan, right?

ROMANS: You know what? The other thing, economists can be wrong too. So I always like to say when economists are giving -- I love all of you economists who are my sources by the way, sometimes you're wrong. So, that's the other part of this story as well.

They're also pointing out the fiscal cliff is a bit problem here. Most economists said this is the second largest issue facing the economy behind the E.U. So, Europe and the fiscal cliff, the two big things that are -- you'll notice if you're on the campaign trail, all you hear people bicker about is what happened 10 years ago or who is going to be able to magically start creating jobs the first day of their presidency, but Europe on the fiscal cliff are the things people worried about.

BANFIELD: We started this off by saying it's going to be a bad week. You always say to people, don't go changing your 401(k) because of the news of the week. But today might actually be different?

ROMANS: The one thing you need to know about your money today is that this could be a difficult week and the middle of the year, I always advocate for a mid-year portfolio checkup. So, the one thing I would say about your money, right now kind of a dangerous moment in the world economy. Take a look at how you're allocated, make sure you're comfortable with your risk profile, make sure that you are comfortably in stocks, bonds and cash the way you should be.

I'm going to tweet out for you -- I'll tweet out for you a risk calculator that my friend Ali Velshi and I put together, so you can decide where you need to be for your mid-year portfolio check. So, just do that.

BANFIELD: Well, will we be able to understand how to work that calculator? Like Aaron Sorkin doesn't understand the word you say -

SAMBOLIN: I've used it, and it's very simple.


BANFIELD: That's the best --

SAMBOLIN: Easy to understand, easy to use.

ROMANS: I'll put it on Facebook as well.

BANFIELD: Don't be so surprised that your colleagues follow every word you say. We do. My personal finance editor.

Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: We certainly could find out today something kind of important. Kind of. Supreme Court decision on health care, some people call it Obamacare. Is it dead in the water? Is it a go?

With so much riding on this historic ruling, we're going to look at both sides of the plan and really what it comes down to and what the Supreme Court could do to it, coming up.


BANFIELD: Tropical storm Debby, already deadly this morning. The storm spawning a fatal tornado in Florida.

SAMBOLIN: The Supreme Court could rule today on health care reform. Both parties poised to act the moment that decision comes down.

BANFIELD: And talk about too close to call. A photo finish, seriously, a real photo finish, honestly -- exactly the same time. And guess what? That's the spot for third place and only one of them can go to the London Olympics. How will they solve this one, folks? It's a great story.

Welcome back, everyone, to EARLY START. It's real early, 6:30 in the morning on the East Coast. Nice to you have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

Well, we have record-setting rainfall. Tropical storm Debby drenching Florida as it just sits off the coast. The storm spawning this water spout off Juno Beach and also several tornadoes, one that killed a woman and injured a child. The child is still in the hospital.

Water surging into the streets and tossing boats around in Sarasota. Forecasters say Debby could dump 2 feet of rain on Florida before she is finished.

Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is tracking the storm. This is -- you know, we always expect it along the coast but this is inland as well.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. That's the fatality -- the tornado fatality was inland in the central part of the state. So, that's certainly good to know. This is not just a coastal affair.

Good morning, everyone. As you're waking up, you're saying where is this thing going?

Well, it's not moving at all, it's stationary and that's the problem. The steering current are so week, it's not pushing it away.

So, here's the details on it. These winds are down, maximum sustained winds now of 50 miles per hour.

Guys, I want to show you this. Take a look. This is the Gulf of Mexico, look at Panama City and then go south of that.

Here is the center of circulation. Can you see it there? Look, here's where all the convection is. It is lopsided. It is big. It's certainly has all of the convection on the east side of it. So it's been very difficult to kind of look forward to its potential track.

So, what we've looked at in all of the computer models kind of disparate in nature. Some are moving west, some are moving are east. Here's where the National Hurricane Center now has their official track -- moving north, northeast, but slowly we're talking maybe making landfall, the center of circulation making landfall on Thursday.

But with this particular storm, it seems as though the final destination, i.e., where the center makes landfall is less important now than the impacts we are seeing now and will continue to see. This is the last 24 hours. Rain maker, record rain for the day in places like Tampa, over 7 inches.

Here's where the heaviest swath of rain was, you can see between six and 10 inches. But look at the next 48 hours where that access of heaviest rain, flooding rain, which I think will be the calling card with Debby. Here in southeast Georgia, between I-57 and 1-95.

So, north of Tallahassee, Savannah, that's where the flooding rains look like will be. So, storm surge with the heavy rain will make this a flooding event. That's just one factor. Also the tornadic event, which we'll talk about as well.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alexandra, thank you.

BANFIELD: From too much water to not enough water, half of the U.S. fire fighting force is in the state of Colorado right now, and this is the reason. Look at the picture. Triple digit temperatures, bone dry conditions and, you guessed it, wildfires are a mess. They've now forced more than 11,000 people from their homes and officials say the two-week old, now going to its third week, High Park Fire, has destroyed close to 250 homes and it is nowhere near contained.

So, I probably might remind you of Vice President Biden's famous words, big freakin' deal, though he didn't use freakin'. As early as 10:00 a.m. today, there could be another one of those big deals. The Supreme Court could hand down the ruling on the constitutionality of health care reform, Obamacare.

The president's signature piece of legislation is at the core here. The question for court: whether or not the government can force you and me and individuals like us, to buy health insurance. Both sides have multiple responses prepped, depending on how this court rules.

Joining me now from Washington is CNN's political director Mark Preston.

Four months to go until Election Day. So, all eyes are on this one and I'm just guessing all of the TV productions for the ads are going to be on this for the next couple of weeks. But I want to jump ahead for just a minute because there is a chance, Mr. Preston, we could get a bizarre calls today, where the Supreme Court says you know what, this is a tax, come back in two years and talk to me then.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. And you know what, Ashleigh? If that happens today, that would be a big win for the Obama administration. You know, there's been a lot of talk that, in fact, the Supreme Court, if they don't strike down the whole law, they could strike down just what is known as the individual mandate part of the law and that is, of course, what you were talking about, the fact that the federal government would force everyone to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

However, if the court does rule in favor of the health care law and let's it stand, it could let it stand on the legal precedent that the federal government can force us all to pay taxes and that this would be a health care tax. That's what the Obama administration is hoping.

BANFIELD: Kind of a weird thing. You know, you wouldn't have expected them to argue tax because that could be a challenge. That could be a verifiable challenge. But not now, it would have to be a challenge when it's in place.

So, let's go to the mandate itself. If the mandate itself is struck down, what happens -- I mean, it's a bit of a domino effect. There's a lot of other stuff in Obama care that depends on the mandate.

PRESTON: There's a lot of stuff -- not only for the policy of the health care law, how could they pay for the health care law if that mandate does get struck down? There's going to be parts of it that is going to be unsustainable because that mandate or that tax, however you want to describe it, is what is used to pay for health care.

So, now, we're going to see insurance companies have to deal with this whole issue. Let's talk about the politics of it all. We're heading right into November.

We have Mitt Romney who has vowed to repeal this health care law, the first day he gets in office. Let's see if he can do that if in fact he gets elected. And, of course, you have President Obama using this as his signature domestic policy issues.

So, there are policy implications but there are incredible political implications over the next couple of months.

BANFIELD: So, let me ask you this, because it seems to me if any part of Obama care was struck down, whether it was the mandate, whether it was the whole, you know, kit and caboodle or whether it was even a tax issue, you know, come back and talk to me in two years, when the tax is in place, then you can challenge it, it would seem to me that the Republicans would really, really be excited yet.

And yet John Boehner is saying don't spike the football. Why?

PRESTON: Well, he's being smart. Because John Boehner has been around Washington a long time and he's telling his House Republicans, let's not make this little politicized, do not go out and spike the football.

You know, there's a argument to be made if you are President Obama and this were to get knocked down by the Supreme Court, part of it, that would be good politics for him because he could use it to try to excite his base. On the flip side, Republicans could make the argument too, politically, that if this were to be upheld by the Supreme Court, it gives them a stronger issue to excite their base heading into November.

So, I hate to talk politics around something that is very important. But the fact of the matter is, as you know, Ashleigh, everything that happens in this town is because of politics.

BANFIELD: Yes. OK. So, let's not talk politics. Let's talk letters and numbers at 6:30 in the morning. SB-1070, which is at the heart of the other big, you know, opinion that's going to come down and that is over the immigration issue in Arizona.

If -- let's start with this. Do we expect to get that today? Definitely this week and what are the implications of a win or loss in that?

PRESTON: Well, just like the health care law, we don't know if we're going to find out within the next couple of hours, in fact, if the Supreme Court is going to release its opinion on this immigration law that was posed to it because the Obama administration fought the state of Arizona on how they could impose illegal immigration status -- or at least check on illegal immigration status.

But we don't know if we'll hear it today. If not today, we'll hear it later this week, much like the health care law. But what it boils down to is this, is that police officers in Arizona right now were instructed by the state legislature if they believe they detained or arrested somebody that they thought was an illegal immigrant, that they could then demand prove of citizenship.

Now, critics, including the Obama administration says that is racial profiling and do not agree with it. So, that is a huge political issue as well that we'll hear this week in court.

BANFIELD: You know, Mark, I often wonder if I were driving through Arizona if anybody would ask from my documents because I'm a new immigrant in this country but I think I wouldn't be asked. I just had that suspicion.

Hey, it's nice to wake up with us. We haven't seen you in a while.

PRESTON: I know. You'd have to invite more. This is fun.

BANFIELD: Open invitation. Get out of bed. We'll get you on. Thank you, Mark Preston. Nice to see you.

PRESTON: Thanks, Ashleigh.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour.

An anonymous donor is offering to pay of extra cost for President Obama's visit to the a New Hampshire college town. The small town of Durham caused a ruckus this weekend when it asked the Obama campaign to cover up to $30,000 in police overtime costs for the president's visit to Oyster River High School. The Obama campaign refused.

Local officials say the town is honored to be hosting the president and the issue they say is not political.

BANFIELD: So, this is a first. First time ever for Saudi Arabia, decided to allow women to compete in the Olympics. Isn't that nice? Saudi Arabia is the last country to lift its ban on female athletes in the game.

Public life in Saudi Arabia, let's just say it's real gender segregated. Officials didn't want women competing in front of mixed gender crowds. Qatar and Brunei are also allowing women to go to the London Games, but they'll be running the 100 meters and doing all of their sports probably wearing hijab, that's the head covering.

SAMBOLIN: An incredible photo finish at the women's 100 meter dash Olympic trials on Sunday. Take a look at this. After looking at cameras shot at 3,000 frames per second, it was determined that two runners finished in an absolute dead heat. It's for third place, folks. Both crossing the finish line at 11.6 seconds.

Now, officials there are trying to figure out what to do since only the top three actually make the Olympic team. First ever runoff might take place to figure out who goes and who stays home.

Boy, that's a tough call there, huh? How do you do that?

BANFIELD: Well, if you're the one that stays home, you frame that photograph and hang it in your office, in your bedroom.

SAMBOLIN: If you go back down on that picture again -- you know, I'm not a photo finish expert here, but the leg of the woman on the left looks like it crossed first.

BANFIELD: I think they've looked at it any which way --


BANFIELD: By the way, this is Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh. They have the exact same finish time. You see an arm goes over and leg goes over exact same to the hundredth of a --

SAMBOLIN: And their bodies are pushed forward, like they all to do. Good gracious, good luck to both gals, right?

BANFIELD: So, a young man comes out to his Republican parents but it's not what you think. You have to see the political ad. It's got a humorous twist and it's coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Top of the morning to you, D.C. It is 75 degrees for you right now. Later, 84 degrees and thunderstorms. Get ready for some mugginess.

Aaron Sorkin's brand new HBO drama "The Newsroom" debuted last night. The show's created called it a valentine to the cable news industry. Sorkin says he did most of his research for the series right here at CNN. In fact, one of the characters inspired by our very own Christine Romans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here to explain what I just said, Sloan Sabbith. How did that happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By spending roughly 30 years being dumb like a doorknob.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any human knowledge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been told I am not (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that a lot of what's going on in the world has to do with the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You may be on to something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not like I need to know everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll be in no danger of that.



ROMANS: That character Sloan Sabbith is played by Olivia Munn. And Sorkin says, quote, "I've always been a fan of Christine Romans' broadcast and I try to understand what she's saying. I'm illiterate when it comes to finance and the economy." CNN and HBO are both owned by Time Warner.

BANFIELD: Hey, it's tough there for a Democrat in Utah. So, check out what Congressional candidate, Ryan Combe, in a campaign ad to get Utah's proud Republicans to sit up and take notice.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Son, we need to talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your father and I have been hearing rumors, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just need to know the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, fine. Yes, you've probably heard the rumors, and they are true. I'm a Democrat.



BANFIELD: So, the ad's tag line says, why aren't you a Democrat? It might not be as bad as you think. I think that's supposed to be really funny.


BANFIELD: It's clever.

SAMBOLIN: Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT." Good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, "STARTING POINT": Good morning. Good morning. Got a lot going on this morning. We're going to be live in Florida this morning. That terrible storm is battering the gulf coast as tropical storm, Debby, blamed for one death, so far. More tornadoes could be on the way. We'll update on you what's happening there.

Also this morning, a CNN exclusive, how the nation's top intelligence official is quietly clamping down on would-be leakers of classified national security data. We'll talk about that.

Also, Michele Bachmann, she has pledged to do whatever she can to repeal the president's healthcare law. What she's going to replace it? That's (ph) the question. She's going to join us live as the Supreme Court has that measure, of course.

The former assistant secretary of state, Jamie Rubin, will be with us. We'll talk about Egypt's new president. Mohamed Morsi is his name, but will changes for the constitution basically remove all the power that potentially he could have as president? We'll discuss that.

And we are rolling out the red carpet, Mira Sorvino, Oscar winner, will be with us, talking about her new movie which is called "Union Square." Also, Chaka Khan joins us this morning. We're going to talk to her about music and about a project that she has to help women.

And also, the number one NBA draft pick is going to be with us. His name is Anthony Davis. He's 19 years old

BANFIELD: How are you going to fit that all in?

O'BRIEN: We have a lot of time.


O'BRIEN: And there'll be more. All starts right at the top of the hour.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Soledad. Do you like bears?

O'BRIEN: Well, not like -- videos of bears, yes, bears like in my community, not really.

BANFIELD: I should have qualified that. We got a bear story for you. It is adorable. A small bear with a big problem. Watch as he's being pushed along by the garage door. He's just the cutest thing in the world, and he's terrified of being in this person's garage. Find out how his momma bear helped him get out of this sticky wicket.


BANFIELD: Fifty-one minutes now past the top of the hour. It's a good time to get to Christine Romans with all the top stories of the morning. Hi there.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, you guys. I'm watching the storm. Tropical storm, Debby, is sitting off the coast of Florida.


ROMANS (voice-over): record-setting rain drenching the state and spawning a deadly tornado there. Police say one woman was killed and a child hospitalized. The storm already deadly, even though it's not expected to make landfall for another two to three days.

Half of the U.S. fire fighting force is now in Colorado, battling triple digit temperatures, bone dry conditions as wildfires force more than 11,000 people in Colorado from their homes. Everyone in the city of Manitou Springs has been ordered to get out ahead of those flames.

A 14-year-old boy in Arizona who was babysitting his younger siblings shoots and nearly kills an intruder. Police in Phoenix say the boy told them he got scared when a woman he didn't know began knocking on their door Friday afternoon. He took the younger children ages eight to 12 upstairs and then he retrieved a hand gun.

He shot and critically injured a 37-year-old man who then broke into the house and pointed a rifle at them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd probably had done the same thing. So, it's unfortunate, and he's 14.

ROMANS: The suspect is expected to survive his injuries. Police are still searching for the woman who was knocking on the door.

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, now kicking off a Middle East tour in Israel this morning. He's meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and is expected to discuss Iran's nuclear program. Putin says an Israeli military strike on Iran will be, quote, "truly catastrophic." Putin is scheduled to meet with tomorrow with Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem -- Zoraida and Ashleigh. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-two minutes past the hour here. Mama bear to the rescue. Check this out. Someone posted a video on YouTube of a bear cub that was stuck in a garage.

BANFIELD: Oh, he's so cute.

SAMBOLIN: The terrified little cubby climbing around desperately looking for a way out.


SAMBOLIN: Look at that. All right. So, what does mom do? She lifts the heavy garage door. She lifts it open, and the baby bear climbs down the ladder -- where's the ladder? So adorable.

BANFIELD: I love the fact that the mama bear knows enough to open the garage door but doesn't realize that she's knocking her baby her --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. But she wants her baby out. People online are amazed by the instincts and craftiness of the animals.

BANFIELD: And the dog that's making it even more fearful. Look how cute. Here comes the garage door that the mom is about to lift and watch it. It will knock him right in the head and send him like scattering along the beam. It's just -- look at this. Mom. So cute. Something about bears on video, adorable.

SAMBOLIN: There's mama. Don't get near. The person who's videotaping, I don't know.


BANFIELD: Well, unless, it's through a window in a garage door. I don't think you want to be that close to a mama and a cub. Definitely not a mama and the cub. Without question, the most dangerous combo. We all like advice, right? But you're not supposed to just ask anybody because today's "Best Advice" is about bad advice. You have to hear it coming up.


BANFIELD: You giggling ladies. We got "STARTING POINT" a minute away. We still have work to do.

SAMBOLIN: We're talking about working out, but we're going to talk about "Best Advice."

ROMANS: I know. This "Best Advice" comes from rapper, actor, and director, Ice-T. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ICE-T, ACTOR, RAPPER, DIRECTOR: I think only take advice from people you admire, you know? Don't take advice from -- don't take boyfriend advice from your girl that doesn't have a boyfriend. Don't take business advice from your broke buddy, you know? Look at somebody who you really admire and listen to them.


ROMANS: He is so right. He is so right. How many people give boyfriend and girlfriend advice who have their own love life is in tatters? And how many people know everything about how to create jobs?


BANFIELD: There's a millionaire match maker out there and the story behind her reality show is that she can't seem to find a date.


BANFIELD: She's entertaining, let's put it that way. But, am I going to get a match made by a woman who can't get a date?


ROMANS: Leave it to Ice-T to boil it down.


BANFIELD: That is the news, folks. The news from "A" to "Z." Thanks for being with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.