Return to Transcripts main page


Historic Day for Health Care; Holder Cited for Contempt; GOP Vows To Kill Health Care Law; Deadly Colorado Wildfire

Aired June 29, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A historic day for health care in America. Obamacare upheld. But what does that mean now? Live team coverage coming at you, straight ahead.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, for the first time in the history of this country, a sitting cabinet member is cited for contempt of Congress. The latest on Eric Holder and the "Fast and Furious" controversy, that is coming up.

BANFIELD: And the raging Colorado wildfire still uncontained. The president now on his way to survey the damage today.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this Friday edition of EARLY START. 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. Five a.m. here in the East.

So, let's get started.

Up first, renewing the war. With just about four months until Election Day, Republicans with a rallying point. They are promise to go do what the Supreme Court did not do yesterday -- toss in the trash President Obama's health care reform law.

Sarah Palin with a bit of sarcasm to even thank the Supreme Court in a Facebook post. Did you read this? Here it is for you.

"Thank you, SCOTUS, Supreme Court of the United State. This Obama care ruling fires up the troops as America's eyes are opened. Thank God."

All right. Joe Johns is going to join us so that we can chat about this a little bit.

Joe, are you there? We'll get him a little later and then we'll talk about that, about what this means politically moving forward.

BANFIELD: And in the meantime, let's do this, shall we? Because what a day it was. If you had your TV news set on, it was a whiplash because another war has been renewed with just four months until Election Day.

Republicans are really squaring off and saying they're going to take Obamacare to the mat, but this thing kind of trump that had argument. Because the first sitting cabinet member ever to be cited for contempt of Congress -- well, he heard it and he heard it loud and clear. The House voted to hold the attorney general in contempt for failing to turn over documents related to that "Fast and Furious" gun- running operation that really failed. That sting that resulted in the death of a U.S. border agent.

More than 100 Democrats decided -- forget about it, we're not even going to vote on this, we'll boycott it and walk out of the House chamber in protest all together.

The White House and Eric Holder dismissing all of this as just politically motivated.


ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNE GENERAL: Today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is at base both a crass effort and grave disservice to the American people. They expect and they deserve far more.


BANFIELD: President Obama asserted executive privilege -- you probably heard that, for the first time in his administration. And he said the documents that were subpoenaed by House Republicans can't be.

But watch this, because things could still change in a challenge.

SAMBOLIN: So let's go back to that historic decision yesterday from the Supreme Court.

Joe Johns is joining us live in Washington, D.C.

And, Joe, we watched yesterday as Mitt Romney went to the podium under that sign that says "repeal and replace Obamacare" and he said it will be his first order of business if he becomes president of the United States. But there is a renewed pledge to start this process before.

Can you tell us about that?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's just another day like the other day. It's all about election year politics right now, Zoraida. And from now until Election Day, we're going to hear the Republican battle cry of repeal Obamacare again and again and again. The simple analysis is that the decision of the Supreme Court should help rally the Republican base.

Mitt Romney, as you said, has been honing that message for a long time, actually, about repealing the health care law. He's only expected to pick it up. The speaker of the House made it pretty clear that he and his troops are going to move quickly to hold a vote on repealing the law on July 11th, though it's equally clear it will be nothing more than a symbolic vote in the House of Representatives because of course Democrats control the Senate and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has said he's not going there.

Let's listen now to Speaker Boehner's comments.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think the real outcome of today's decision is to strengthen our resolve to make sure that this law is in fact repealed. We're going to work every single day between now and Election Day, and the American people then will get an opportunity to make their decision on Election Day, because elections have consequences.


JOHNS: So you're waking up this morning, you're hearing it's for the most part a historic day for the president of the United States, still the truth is President Obama has a lot of work on to do to sell the health care plan. Polls show a lot of people in this country do not like the individual mandate and still don't even after all we've heard about it.

And now, though, they do say they like some of the other components of the laws, the individual mandate that's a problem for the president and he still has to sell that.

Ashleigh and Zoraida, back to you.

SAMBOLIN: Well, it seems what he's really focusing on, the president, is the humanity of this bill, right? Pre-existing conditions, free checkups for women -- the extension of parental coverage to kids up to the age of 26.

Do you think those are the issues that he will focus on as selling points as we move towards the election?

JOHNS: Yes, absolutely. And like I said, the components of the law are things that a lot of Americans like when you just take them and say, well, do you like this, do you like the pre-existing piece, do you like that?

But when you say, do you like President Obama's health care law and do you like the individual mandate? Many times they say no and more Americans say no than yes.

So this selling job obviously very important for the president of the United States. At the same time, when Democrats are also saying, we need to focus on jobs and the economy. So taking it all to November and we're going to hear a lot more about this. It's not over yet.

SAMBOLIN: Hey, you know, yesterday, as they were sampling public opinions, some folks are weighing and saying, at the end of the day, they're really worried about during this economic times, how do we pay for something like this. So it will be interesting going forward.

Joe Johns, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

BANFIELD: It's now six minutes past 5:00.

And Mitt Romney is now vowing to take this fight over health care all the way to November, saying that we can repeal this health care law by voting out President Obama.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.


BANFIELD: Well, many Democratic critics are already coming back and saying Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare when he was governor of Massachusetts.

In the meantime, hospital company stocks really jumped after the Supreme Court ruling. The analysts say it's likely because they won't have to provide as much free care and they'll probably see a whole bunch more patients coming to their doors.

And health insurance companies, the ones that administer Medicaid and Medicaid for the states, they're up 9 percent by the end of the day.

Just ahead on "STARTING POINT, Soledad O'Brien is going to talk to Stephanie Cutter, President Obama's deputy campaign manager.

She's also going to talk to Virginia's Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. His state is one 26 states that sued the government over health care.

SAMBOLIN: Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire voted in favor of both contempt charges. He's going to join Soledad O'Brien starting at 7:00. That, of course, is in reference to Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress.

BANFIELD: And new this morning for you, European leaders are agreeing to a special bailout fund to help struggling banks in Spain and Greece and Italy. Under the terms of the deal, eurozone countries can seek money from the fund to rescue local banks without incurring more debt on their balance sheets.

The stock markets in France and Germany have rallied almost 2.5 percent today on the news of this decision. And our Christine Romans is going to break it all down for you, and tell you what it means to us right here in the United States in just a couple minutes.

SAMBOLIN: And also this morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Russia for talks with the country's foreign minister. They're trying to find common ground in Syria. Clinton will attend an emergency meeting tomorrow on the crisis in Syria led by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan.

Meantime, tensions between Syria and neighboring Turkey continue to escalate. The Turkish government sending troops and tanks to the border, vowing to respond to any hostile action by the Assad regime. Last week, Syria shut down a Turkish fighter jet.

BANFIELD: A soldier is dead and two others are wounded at a shoot at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A spokesman for the base says the shooter turned the gun himself but didn't do the trick. He was wounded and taken into custody.


COL. KEVIN ARATA, SPOKESMAN, XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS., FORT BRAGG: This is obviously a tragedy for our community and we don't yet know the reasons for the shooting. But we're working with the unit and the affected families to help them through this extremely difficult period.


BANFIELD: The victims have not been identified. The military is now in the process of telling the families.

George Zimmerman expected in front of a judge today, seeking a brand new bond after his first bail, $150,000 got yanked away from him. Zimmerman has admitted to misrepresenting his finances at that first bond hearing. But his attorneys argue that he is not a flight risk and that he poses no danger to the community.

Zimmerman is currently in a jail cell awaiting charges of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

SAMBOLIN: And it is history at the NBA draft. For the first time ever, the teammates went one and two. The New Orleans Hornets selecting Kentucky big man and unibrow spokesperson Anthony Davis. You heard a lot about him, you're going to hear more.

The 19-year-old Chicago native was born just one month into Bill Clinton's first term as president.

Then Charlotte followed by taking fellow Wildcat Michael Kidd- Gilchrist.

But the most touching and unexpected moment came in round two. Chants of USA for Florida State center Bernard James.

That was an incredible moment. But listen to this, he was selected 33rd overall. Why the chants, folks? Well, he is 27-year- old, ancient by draft standards. But that's because he already served three tours of duty in the United States Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nice to watch him, too.

BANFIELD: Now 10 minutes past 5:00.

And the wildfires in Colorado just keep getting worse. We have another report of a death there. And hundreds of homes have been destroyed even more than the 200 you'd already heard about. The president is heading there today to get a firsthand look at what is now officially a disaster area. We're going to take you there live.


BANFIELD: Brand new for you this morning, at 14 minutes now past 5:00.

An explosive wildfire in Colorado turning deadly again. A charred body discovered overnight inside a home that was burned to the ground outside of Colorado Springs and a second person we can report this morning is officially missing. The Waldo Canyon Fire has doubled in size, devouring more than 18,000 acres.

The devastation is as astounding. Let's take a look at some of the photos from before the fire, you can see the overhead shots. But as a comparison, this might be October, but this is what the area looks like now and it is pretty devastating to say the least.

Our meteorologist Rob Marciano is live in Colorado Springs.

So officially now, this has been declared -- this area has been declared a disaster area like people like you who are on the ground there didn't already know. Any relief in sight? I feel like a broken record asking it, but it's a critical question.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, somewhat. I mean, yesterday we got lucky with the weather, Ashleigh, in the form of some cooler air, and the winds were less erratic. But the damage done as you mentioned.

And now, you know, official counts are coming out as far as how many homes destroyed, 346. So that makes this the worst or the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. And the folks whose homes were destroyed, many of them were informed last night. And some of them will be allowed to go back in their homes today, but many won't still for several days because there are still 20,000 plus homes that are threatened by this fire.

Fifteen percent containment, but there you see some of the flames the past couple days. It is still volatile inside the fire lines. It is still bone dry. There is no hardcore rain expected over the next several days. So that's going to be a problem.

You know, there are victims all over the place. Many are staying in the hotels around, in shelters. In our hotel, the chef that runs the kitchen of the hotel, he's one of the folk, he and his wife, that are displaced from -- with their homes being threatened. And he's frustrated, along with everybody else, with not knowing.

Here's what he told me yesterday with that frustration.


PETER AIELLO, COLORADO SPRINGS CHEIF: The not knowing is probably the biggest frustration right now because it could all be there or it could all be in ashes. Just don't know.


MARCIANO: He has seen pictures, videos of his neighbors' homes going up in flames. As you can imagine how concerned he was. I'm happy to report to you that last night, he was told and his wife that his block was saved, the next block over, 50 homes destroyed. So, remarkable stuff.

And that's the kind of dichotomy going on for the next few days.

Let's talk about the fire -- the weather over the next few days. No real rain in sight.

Here's the five-day forecast for the Waldo Canyon and Colorado Springs area. Temperature will be in the 90s. And any thunderstorms will only get will only the winds more erratic. So, we really don't want that. We want calm winds and temperatures preferably below 90, but we'll take them below 100 which is where they were for the past several days.

That heat that helped accelerated these flames has shifted off to the east, all-time record high yesterday -- in St. Louis, 108; Little Rock, 107; Nashville, 105.

Notable number in Chicago, you reached 100 degrees. The first time you've done that since 2005. So this is some of the worst heat we've seen in over half a decade.

All right. Here's what we're looking at as far as heat advisories -- and point out one thing: there is a sliver of thunderstorms that's moving through the New York metropolitan area right now, a severe thunderstorm watch until 8:00 a.m. But, Ashleigh, that is not going to cool you off. That will only bring in somewhat drier air which will cook your temperatures into the 90s.

Two dozen plus states under heat advisors, heat warnings today. Dangerous stuff. Do what you can to stay cool.

Back to you.

BANFIELD: It's interesting. As you were just mentioning that, Rob, we're in a pretty sound proof studio here at Columbus Circle in New York City, and we can hear the thunder rumbling around us. I actually thought you might hear over the microphone as well. It was that loud. It's not something you often hear.

So I see what you're saying. We'll come back and check in with you on this just to see if anything changes in the next couple of hours where you are. Thanks, Rob.

SAMBOLIN: It is 18 past the hour. Looters are taking advantage of the disastrous situation in Colorado Springs. Police arresting two suspects accused of breaking into an evacuated home inside the Waldo Canyon fire zone.

They're also suspected of targeting other homes, as well. Both are being held on burglary and weapons charges and for possession of methamphetamine.

And you can stay with us all morning. We'll have live coverage every half hour from Colorado on these fires.

And if you're looking for a way to help, folks, to help all of the victims of the wildfires, just head to There you will find all of the organizations and all of the different ways that you can help those that are in need. That is

BANFIELD: It's now 19 past 5:00 on the east coast.

Let's get you up-to-date with other top stories of the day.

Christine Romans working on that this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Happy Friday, ladies.

The GOP vowing a new and energized attack on President Obama's health care law this morning after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, the centerpiece of reform, saying we can repeal the health care law, or Republicans say, by voting out President Obama.

Attorney General Eric Holder defiant in the face of a criminal contempt charge. The House voting to hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents tied to the "Fast and Furious" gun sting, a sting that related in the death of a U.S. border agent. Holder calling the vote a transparently political stunt. It's the first time a sitting attorney general has been cited for contempt of Congress.

It may not seem like, given all we've heard about sexual predators like Jerry Sandusky and pedophile priests. But researchers have seen a steady decline in the rate of child sexual abuse. A report at "New York Times" says overall cases fell more than 60 percent between 1992 and 2010. At the same time, though, they say children can become more willing to report incidents of sexual abuse.

This never happened to Captain Kirk. Actor William Shatner get a wardrobe malfunction during an airport security check in Los Angeles. Shatner lost his pants in full view of dozens of travelers. The actor says it's probably the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to him. We're wondering, is it worse than Shatner vision, really?

BANFIELD: Are you sure he really didn't do that intentionally?


ROMANS: He says very embarrassing.

BANFIELD: It could have been a Shatner joke, you know?

Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: Twenty minutes now past 5:00 on the East Coast.

Time to get a look at your "Early Reads" -- local news making national headlines.

A high profile priest named Thomas Euteneuer is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman during an exorcism. She's now filing a $5 million lawsuit against the Catholic diocese in Arlington, Virginia. "Washington Post" is reporting that she says her accuser sought Euteneuer -- she says that she -- they say the accuser sought Euteneur's help in 2008 when she thought she was possessed by the devil. She says he sexually molested her during two years of their sessions together.


All right. It was a moment that changed his life and saved another. A New York City man was on his way it to a job interview waiting for his train when a gust of wind pushed a baby stroller right on to the tracks.

What did he do? He jumped the tracks and saved the baby from and oncoming train.

The baby is fine. But the hero, he ended up missing his interview. But thanks to his story making the papers, the daily news says JFK called them back and guess what? He was hired.

BANFIELD: I would hope so.

SAMBOLIN: It pays to be a hero.

BANFIELD: Can you imagine having a resume that says hero?

SAMBOLIN: I can't imagine jumping on the tracks, right, as the train is coming.

BANFIELD: I've lived in New York City for 12 years now and it is my greatest fear, standing close to the tracks when you're getting on the subway, especially when there's people around you because that really creeps me out. But you hear these stories of such brave people who will jump on the tracks to save someone.

SAMBOLIN: Incredible.

All right. For an expanded look at all of our top stories, just head to our blog,

BANFIELD: The nation's health care, wow, what a change on the way. And what does this really mean for you, though, as you go will to see your doctor.

Christine Romans has broken down all of the new costs, all of the taxes, and what it's going to mean for your pocketbook. And that's coming up.


BANFIELD: It's 25 minutes now past 5:00. Welcome back, everybody.

We're minding your business this morning.

And stocks, well, they closed a bit lower on Thursday after clawing back from steep losses -- steep -- during the day. Stoke futures rallying this morning ahead of today's market open on the news -- not Obamacare -- said on the news that European leaders agreed to a rescue fund to deal with that debt crisis there.

SAMBOLIN: And joining us Christine Romans to talk about Supreme Court decision on health care. It affected stocks.

ROMANS: It sure did. You saw insurance stocks fall. You also saw Medicare and hospital stocks rise. In fact, those Medicare providers were up like 9 percent -- a huge move. The uncertainty is out of the way for those stocks and they know that they're going to get paid for care and they're going to have a vast expansion of who is in the Medicaid pool. So, that's why those stocks were up.

But a lot of you were asking what changes now, what happens right now to your health care coverage. Nothing really happens to you right now unless you have a pre-existing condition, you know now that you can keep your coverage. If you're a senior with that donut hole, you know, that was being closed -- part of it was closed by reform, that's good. You get to keep that have a money no your pocket.

But the slow changes of health care reform are still under way and the first changes most people will feel are in 2014, when the state health care exchanges are up and running and people who don't have insurance will go and buy health insurance.

So they will be compelled to go and buy health insurance. How are going to be compelled? Because you're going to be fined, actually taxed according to the Supreme Court, you can be taxed by the government if you don't.

Here's what the taxes look like starting in 2014 for you to buy insurance. If you are uninsured, this is the tax on your family if you don't go to that state exchange and buy some insurance, $285. By 2015, it's $975. And look by 2016, this is when they want health care reform to be fully implemented, $2,000 a family or about 2.5 percent of your income.

There are subsidies, though, to help you pay for your insurance to make it affordable. That's the whole point of this thing and that's why --

SAMBOLIN: Is that like a sliding scale?


SAMBOLIN: Because a lot of folks were asking that yesterday when Wolf Blitzer was on, there was a group of gentlemen. That's what they're concerned about, it's like how am I going to pay. I'm retired.

ROMANS: You're going to pay because you're going to get a subsidy for it. If you fall in the right place on the scale, the Kaiser family foundation actually has a calculator that helps you figure out what your family is going to get. I'm going to tweet that, EARLY START, CNN, is going put on our home page and all that, so that you can take a look at that. But there are calculators out there to help you figure it out.

But the bottom line here is that you'll get subsidies to afford insurance if you don't already have it and you'll get fined if you don't do it.

Now, what if you have insurance through your employer? We all have insurance through our employer. Nothing changes it for us. Our premiums are still going up. Our -- I mean, I'm paying more every year. I think I'm paying 12 percent or 15 percent more this year than I paid last year. That's probably going to continue.

One of the concerns is that us a get later into 2016, 2017, '18, '19, employers might stop dropping coverage and pushing on you to the state exchanges. So that could be something to watch.

And I think the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, expects a couple of million a year starting in maybe 2 million to 4 million people a year starting in 2019 will start losing coverage through their employer. But then they go and they get on the state health exchanges.

BANFIELD: A whole new area to look into.

ROMANS: Everything is changing.

BANFIELD: And it's a whole new area, state exchanges, we're going to want to know, what's out there for us if we do get dumped.

ROMANS: We already know. There's going to be three levels. There's going to be bronze, silver and gold. You get to pick how much coverage do you want, do you just want catastrophic, do you want something like that's a really gold standard plan so that you have a big family that you have to cover. A lot of this has already been laid out.

SAMBOLIN: Is there a place that we can read about this to understand better? Other than the Kaiser Family Foundation, I get. But what about to understand that?

ROMANS: There's a lot of different -- there's been complaints that the White House hasn't done a good job of laying this all there. I'll tweet some links. You'll be surprised. There are some good analysis. It's been around for two years.

We know about the changes. Now it's the law of the land. The states are already doing it.


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

BANFIELD: Twenty-nine now past 5:00.

Are you ready for this? Do you have trouble sleeping at night? We've got something that covers your eyes and sings you to sleep. It's a new sleeping mask that shuts off your brain so you, too, can sleep like a baby. But you got to wake up now because it's morning.


BANFIELD: Healthcare upheld by the high court and now moving on to the political playing field. How Mitt Romney and President Obama are looking to capitalize on the high court's ruling.

SAMBOLIN: Entire neighborhoods destroyed, the fires still burning out of control. It's so bad that today the president is visiting Colorado's wildfires.

BANFIELD: And if you feel a bit groggy this morning, had a little trouble sleeping last night, boy, does one company have something for you. An idea, they say, really works. We're going to tell you about a high tech sleeping mask this hour.

SAMBOLIN: I could never do that. I'm claustrophobic.

BANFIELD: oh, I like those things. Do they have a mask that stops your children from coming into your bedroom at, you know, one o'clock in the morning?

SAMBOLIN: That's the look on the door.


BANFIELD: Mine are too young. I can't lock them up. They're babies.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, then, welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Hi, everybody. Good morning. It's 34 minutes now past the hour. It's nice to have you with us. Let's start you off this way. Fresh and early this morning. The Supreme Court ruling upholding President Obama's healthcare law and that has just invigorated the fight on both sides. Republicans now vowing to take this fight all the way to November.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life, separating you and your doctor, whether you're comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass unto the coming generations, or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in healthcare.


BANFIELD: That's one way to look at it, and there's definitely another way to look at it. And Athena Jones has been looking at both sides on certainly how this is going to play into the election rhetoric.

OK. Athena, let's start this way. Whether you're spiking the football over the big win or whether you're angry like Mitt Romney and ginning up all that anger, this has to do a whole lot for the fundraising effort on both sides.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is going to be a big issue in this election. As you heard from Mitt Romney, and not just Mitt Romney, as you heard from the Republican National Committee in their statements after the ruling, from people like Representative Michele Bachmann who said Republicans have exhausted their legal solutions, now we have to look to a political solution.

The only way to repeal this healthcare law is to make sure that the president is not re-elected. This is all, of course, an effort to rev up their base, to energize supporters on the Republican side who don't like this law. And if the fundraising numbers that the Romney campaign released last night are any indication, they're having some success with that.

As of 9:00 p.m. last night, they said they had raised $3.2 million after this Supreme Court decision came down. So, that's quite a chunk of change. They did this through e-mail, they did this through Twitter. They set up a hash tag, hash tag for refill to tout their efforts. And that $3.2 million haul is quite a big one for one day, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So, what about the Democrats and President Obama, specifically? For their part -- I haven't seen football spiking, so to speak, but what have they done and how are they going to capitalize on what could be considered a really big win for them?

JONES: Well, it's interesting you say that, not spiking the football. You know, Jim Messina, the campaign manager, sent out a fundraising e-mail early yesterday morning, a couple of hours before the ruling even came down saying that no matter what the Supreme Court decides, you're still going to have to show that you're on President Obama's side, donate now.

After the ruling, there was another e-mail from the campaign, but it really just asked for supporters to sign up for their supporter database. We haven't seen any hard numbers from the campaign on what they raised, but we know it's going to be a big issue. Let's listen to how the president talked about this yesterday after the ruling. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good it for the American people.

JONES: And so, you can bet this is going to be affecting fundraising efforts. Certainly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started using this ruling as a fundraising tool. But the real issue here, as the president has suggested, they say they didn't do this because it was good politics, but this is now going to be their opportunity.

And they're really going to need to sell this healthcare law all over again in some ways since it's shaping up to be such a big campaign issue for him and so key, perhaps, to his re-election, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: You know, Athena, at first I thought there was a thunderstorm in New York City, but now, I see it's just the whirring of the spin machines getting going for the next couple of months. Athena Jones, thanks very much.

JONES: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour. The Waldo Canyon fire burning for nearly a week in Colorado Springs exploding overnight destroying close to 350 homes making it the most destructive wildfire in that state's history. Police announcing late last night the body of one person was found in a burned home. A second person there is still missing.

Meteorologist, Rob Marciano, is in Colorado Springs. This is a long and intensely burning fire. We know that there are a lot of firefighters on the scene. How are they holding up?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, they're used to this stuff, quite frankly, and relative to other fires, this one's small. But there have been a number, over a dozen departments from other cities that have converged on here to help structure protection because this fire is so close to these communities, and in some cases, completely destroying entire subdivisions.

As you mentioned, almost 350 homes completely destroyed. Some of those residents being informed last night. A handful will be allowed back into their homes. Most people still aren't allowed back there, because it's just too dangerous. We are set up on the Air Force Academy airfield where it's a staging operation for the air assault, fix-wing aircraft, including modified c-130s, and of course, the hilos (ph) that they use so often to try to beat back the flames.

And they've had some success, thankfully, with that. And also, the weather calmed down a little bit yesterday. Fifteen percent containment. And they're confident that they can get a little bit higher containment today, but still, 20,000 structures are threatened by this fire. One of the things that brought it on, extreme heat.

Not only the spring, but the past few days, through the weekend, over 100-degree heat. That heat now heading to the east, and heat advisories are up for a good 26 states. A lot of which are east of the Mississippi. So, you throw in the humidity there, and we're talking about dangerous heat indices, maybe 110, 115. That is, in some cases, deadly stuff. So, take care of your elderly neighbors and those that may not be feeling too well.

Here are the forecast highs and the potential records that may be set. We set a slew of record, some of which were all-time records yesterday from Chicago down through Atlanta up through D.C. Those are the areas today that are going to be threatened. Speaking of threatened, there is a weak front that's pushing across the turnpike right now.

A severe thunderstorm watch with that one. Philadelphia through Atlantic City up through New York City. This will briefly cool things off, but not for long, guys. You'll be into the 90s. No worries about that later on today. Heat advisory out for New York City, as well. But there you see the core of the heat. There's really no cool air south of the Canadian border really to speak of. So, just try to get through.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Like everybody has to brace themselves. Thank you, Rob Marciano.

BANFIELD: And Rob was talking a lot about that Waldo Canyon fire. There are at least half dozen other ones that are burning out there. Those Colorado wildfires are chasing tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

36,000 people from Colorado Springs alone. One family said they had nowhere to go when they were forced to live out of their car until a total stranger offered to take them in.


FAITH CSIKESZ, WILDFIRE EVACUEE: By the grace of God, we were in the middle of the night, welcomed into the home of perfect strangers who acted like we were their family, who literally said what's ours is yours. Anything. They gave us their beds, their food. They cooked for us.

MELISSA VARELA, GOOD SAMARITAN: When I heard their story, there wasn't any, you know, thinking about it. It was -- you're absolutely coming to our house. You're staying in our house. We're taking care of you guys.


BANFIELD: It's pretty heartwarming to here. And then, also this, the president is on his way to Colorado today. He's going to survey the damage and meet with the first responders who are working those fires all around the state of Colorado. Make sure you stay with us this morning, too, because every half hour, we're going to go live to Colorado and update you on what's happening in the fires. Also, if you want to help out, you're looking for a way to actually get maybe some help to the victims of these fires.

We have a way for you. Just go to And there, you're going to find all the organizations and ways that you can help those in need. Once again,

SAMBOLIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour. He is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars, but convicted sex offender, Jerry Sandusky, could end up collecting his full pension from Penn State. Sandusky's pension is nearly $59,000 a year.

The state's pension forfeiture laws cover 22 separate crimes, but felly child molestation is not on that list. The former Penn State football coach was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

BANFIELD: Sometimes, you find those thoughts running through your head keep you awake at night? Well, here's something that might.

The developers of a brand new mask, it can actually mimic your own brain waves and lulled you to sleep called the Neuro Dreamer and its mask ambient punked music and fading lights into your senses that are supposed to be on the same wavelength of what naturally happens in your brain as you fall asleep.

Kind of cool. Seen those before for meditation, but I've never seen it for the sleeping. But anybody who works in morning shift like we do or an overnight is sitting up and taking notice right now.

SAMBOLIN: I could not do that. Claustrophobia will kill me.

Outrageous video you really have to see to believe. A youth hockey coach, look, folks, pay close attention to him right there. See what he did? Tripped a team player from the opposing team. Witnesses say that he did it on purpose. He knocked two kids to the ground.

One of them suffered a broken wrist. That coach has been suspended, and now, Canadian police are looking into possible criminal charges.

BANFIELD: I have to look at that again. I don't know --

SAMBOLIN: He tripped him. Oh, you can see it, right there. There you are. Purposely, sticks his foot underneath that player. Unbelievable.

BANFIELD: Aya-yayay.

SAMBOLIN: A broken wrist. What was he thinking? I want the full background on this sorry.

BANFIELD: Yes. I think I need that before I make any judgment, because honestly, I can't see it from the angle.

SAMBOLIN: No, it's there, it happens.

BANFIELD: I'm not sure. I'm looking --

SAMBOLIN: There is his foot right there.

BANFIELD: Oh, yes. That does look pretty obvious, doesn't it? That does look obvious.

OK. Let's move on. At 44 minutes now past 5:00, this one's awesome. If you are not near your television set right now, put down the toothbrush and come to your TV. People scared out of their shoes at Madame Tousseau in New York City.

A wax figure comes to life. Watch carefully. That's the wax figure. New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, playing a prank on the tourists who are going through the wax museum. Standing as still as he could, until, oh, man, that's really weird. They didn't look that excited.


BANFIELD: But some of the reactions are really priceless. So, have a quick look.




SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh. I wish -- you know? Can you imagine? On that day, being the one to be there? My kid would have died it would have been so great.

BANFIELD: I think they were too shocked to say can I have your autograph?


BANFIELD: I think you're just wanted to get out of there.

SAMBOLIN: I would bring (ph) with my phone.

Forty-five minutes past the hour here. Bad news for Beck. David Beckham snobbed by his own country. Why England kicked him to the curb right before the Olympics?


SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, and welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Let's get you up-to-date. Here's Christine Romans with this morning's top stories.

ROMANS: Good morning, ladies. A monster wildfire in Colorado turning deadly this morning. A charred body discovered inside a home destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire. A second person is missing. That fire has now burned down close to 350 homes forcing 36,000 people out of Colorado City.

President Obama is traveling to Colorado today to survey the damage. Meantime, firefighters are hoping calmer winds today are going to help battle this blaze.

Sweltering heat on the way and (INAUDIBLE) for awhile, folks. Today's temperatures could break records in many cities with highs of 105, wow, in some parts. Look at that, Memphis, Midwest, wow, 100 in parts of the mid south, too.

GOP vowing to take the healthcare fight to November now after the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's healthcare law. President Obama declaring victory not only for himself, though, but for all Americans.

Charges of voter fraud and uncounted ballot in the New York primary race won by Congressman Charlie Rangel. His opponent is calling for a federal monitor to review the election result. "Associated Press" reports says votes from 33 of the 506 precincts in Rangel's Harlem district were never counted.

United Technologies and two subsidiaries pleading guilty in federal court to illegally selling military technology to China. They agreed to pay more than $75 million in fines to the government. Officials say the technology enabled the Chinese to develop and produce their first advanced attack helicopter.

He still looks good, but is England's national soccer team putting David Beckham out to pasture? Beck was left off the final roster for the London games. Olympic teams can only have three players over the age of 23. So, Beckham, who's 37, is out.

BANFIELD: How did that happen? Becks?


BANFIELD: Never thought I'd see a story like that.

ROMANS: He's 37.

BANFIELD: Thirty-seven. Ugh!


BANFIELD: What are you saying, Christine? Just say it.

ROMANS: We all left our canes in our office.


BANFIELD: Thank you, Christine Romans. Fifty minutes now past the top of the hour. Throw a party and help get people on food stamps. Kind of weird, right? But it's a message from the United States Department of Agriculture in a way.

The USDA is targeting seniors in a brand new commotional campaign. It says that putting information about the program in games like bingo and crossword puzzles and (inaudible) quizzes, actually helps get the message across of what the seniors might actually need and don't know that they can get.

The agency is already airing radio ads in California, in Texas, also North Carolina and South Carolina, Ohio, and New York City.

SAMBOLIN: Listen to this, science fiction not science fiction anymore. Researchers at CalTech are getting very close to medical technology from Star Trek where doctors perform surgery without even cutting into the skin. Seriously.

They say that they have developed a new technique where highly focused light and ultrasound are used to look inside the person without opening them up. They say that this could revolutionize the way that we treat and detect cancerous tumors. Imagine that --

BANFIELD: Incredible.

SAMBOLIN: -- not having to cut.

BANFIELD: And that is so space age. Fantastic.

Fifty-one minutes now past 5:00 on the east coast. A golden vacuum.

SAMBOLIN: Just what everybody wants.


BANFIELD: It's true. What you're seeing on your screen is truly made of gold.


BANFIELD: Good question, Zoraida. Excellent question, and I think our viewers want the answer after the break.


SAMBOLIN: It is 54 minutes past the hour. Time to take a look at what's trending on the web. And with Independence Day on the way, a new poll asks which candidate would handle an alien invasion better?

BANFIELD: I would definitely want to know that.

SAMBOLIN: It's landslide, actually. This is crazy. Sixty-five percent of Americans would rather have President Obama in the White House over Mitt Romney when the aliens arrived. Not if, but when they arrive. BANFIELD: Is it because they think he's more athletic? Beat them off, that kind of thing?

SAMBOLIN: They actually -- I don't think they really give a reason here. It's according to a new poll for a Nat Geo's new show, "Chasing UFOs." And since 36 percent of respondents believe in UFOs, that can actually help turn the election in president's favor.


SAMBOLIN: Yes. Random. Random news for you this morning.

BANFIELD: I wonder if they'll use that for a campaign ad. We could beat the aliens away much better.

SAMBOLIN: You never know.


SAMBOLIN: You never know.

BANFIELD: All right. This next one is crazy. If you can afford this, you definitely are not doing your own housekeeping. There's a company out there called Go Vacuum that's just released this picture. You are not seeing things. This is a $1 million, 24-karat gold plated vacuum cleaner. It's not solid gold because you probably couldn't push it. It's gold plated.

It may be a gimmick, but it is for real, and it really is for sale, as well. The company says these little babies are fully customizable. You can have them engraved because we all need our vacuum cleaners engraved. And the bag that it comes with has a gold zipper.

SAMBOLIN: That's ridiculous.

BANFIELD: I'll tell you one thing, you wouldn't put it in the utility closet, you'd have it right out there on a stand in your living room, right?

SAMBOLIN: It's a piece of art. It's a piece of art, perhaps.

BANFIELD: Yes. I like it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Wildfires in Colorado still burning out of control there. The president is heading there today. He will get a firsthand look at the damage. We have a live report for you coming up.