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No Relief From Killer Heat; Federal Agencies Open; Colorado Battles Heat, Wildfires; Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic Stays Open; Students Suspended For Taunting Bus Monitor; Tiger Wins AT&T At Congressional; It's a Runoff; No Relief; Progress on the Frontlines

Aired July 2, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: -- destroyed hundreds of homes.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And will they or won't they? The photo finish story of two American sprinters who may not end up participating in a runoff for an Olympic spot tonight. We're going to have that story for you.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. It's nice to have you with us at the top of the hour. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: We are very happy you're with us on this Monday morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're bringing you the news from A to Z. It is 6 a.m. here in the east. So let's get started.

Up first, hellish heat, the kind that makes it hard to breath, it's still threatening millions of Americans from the northeast to the Midwest this morning.

Sixteen people have died since Thursday when triple digit temperatures unleashed killer thunderstorms, leaving 4 million people without power.

Just look at how many states are dealing with these sweltering conditions. In Ohio, 427,000 customers were without power at 10:00 p.m. last night.

It is the same story in Virginia and Maryland where hundreds of thousands of people are waiting for the electricity to return. And there's no let up in sight, folks.

This morning, 20 states are under heat advisory warnings. Look at the map there, a state of emergency has been declared by the governors of Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

And covering it all for us, Athena Jones, she is live in Montgomery County, Maryland this morning. Athena, when are they expecting to restore the power there?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you one thing, guys, one good positive sign of progress, the traffic signal just came on a few minutes ago. This is one of the major intersections and so this has been one of the big problems. Down the road I can see to another intersection where the traffic light is still off.

But as of last night, more than 300 traffic signals in this county alone had been out. If you talk about the area as a whole, as you mentioned, there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power.

Utility companies say they are working quickly to restore power and that by the end of the week, everyone, everywhere should have their power back if the weather cooperates.

I will say one interesting thing we've seen in Twitter, Pepco, was the main utility in this region. People have been tweeting where are workers? I don't see them out working.

Pepco tweeting back saying, they are out there. Crews are working on circuits. You may not see them, but they are at work. I'll tell you. There are utility crews that have come in from 12 states and far away as Quebec to help get the power back on everywhere -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So, you know what I can tell you, Athena, that Joe Rigby, the CEO of Pepco Holdings is actually going to join us a little bit later to talk about when they expect to fully restore the power in those areas.

In the meantime, we're talking about extreme heat. I don't know if you've noticed the map that we put up that everybody is really dealing with the heat. How are they handling it there?

JONES: People are doing various things if they don't have air conditioners or the ability to operate fans. They're going to libraries to cool down. They're going to shopping malls to cool down.

A bunch of people probably will end up going to work in order to cool down if they've already suffered through the weekend with these extremely high temperatures. We're expecting to see temperatures in the 90s again today.

I've talk to people who haven't been able to sleep each night at home because of the heat. Grocery stores are handing out free bags of ice.

In Virginia, 110 cooling centers have opened to give people a chance to escape the heat. I know that in Washington, D.C., they had extended pool hours.

They are senior centers opening and centers for the homeless. Emergency centers to make sure that everyone has a chance to try to get away from these dangerous high temperatures -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Athena Jones, thank you very much for that report. With temperatures approaching triple digits today, federal agencies in Washington, D.C. will be open. But employees are being given the option of taking unscheduled leave or in some case simply working from home. Emergency personnel are expected to report to work this morning.

In the big apple there is a power struggle raging at the Con Edison Power Company at the height of this heat wave. Eight thousand -- have been locked out after contract talks broke down over the weekend.

Meter readings have been suspended and walk-in centers have been closed as 5,000 management level workers try to keep the power flowing to 3.2 million customers.

In the next half hour as I told earlier, Joe Rigby, the CEO of Pepco Holdings joins us from Washington. Pepco provides most of the electricity to Northern Georgia, Washington, D.C, Maryland and Virginia and hundreds and thousands of their customers still have no power.

BANFIELD: Our meteorologist, Rob Marciano, is live for us in Colorado Springs, Colorado, covering the deadly wildfires, which is part and parcel of the heat wave that the east is facing because it hit the where you are, Rob, just several days ago.

You reported it was moving and it did. It's really what was at the heart of the problems that you're reporting on out of Colorado, those deadly wildfires.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the same heat that hit the eastern third of the country over the weekend was the heat that really accelerated the fires here across Colorado Springs about one week ago.

We actually still had record breaking heat over the weekend, but it pales in comparison to what to folks east of the Mississippi saw, 107, 106 degree temperatures. Come on, this is unprecedented stuff and in some cases all time record highs.

This is just a handful of what was set yesterday for record high temperatures. It's just in the past week we've seen over 1,800 records set, 150 all-time record high temperatures.

A little bit of relief today at least for the I-95 Corridor from D.C. to Boston, but just a little bit. Elsewhere, still some heat advisories and heat warnings for about 20 states, dangerous heat for places like Memphis and Nashville and back through Atlanta as well.

But D.C. will be in the mid-90, cooling down to the mid-90s. Never thought I would say that. So get to your cooling centers if you can. You know, heat the number one related weather killer, Ashleigh and Zoraida.

So, you know, I think the authorities in these communities are doing a heck of a good job considering the lack of power after that devastating thunderstorm complex rolled through the areas from Illinois through Virginia over the weekend. And we're into July now, so no significant cool down on tap.

BANFIELD: I think that bears repeating what you just said. It is unbelievable that since June 24th through to Saturday, almost 2,000 records were broken across this country for heat. That is remarkable.

MARCIANO: It is remarkable. And again, we had record-breaking heat over the weekend here in Colorado, just to update that part of the story, 55 percent containment on the fireline, even with the record heat and a red flag warning yesterday.

So it's a high confidence with the firefighters to the point where they've allowed a significant number of evacuees to go back into their homes. We're very close to where the fire burned here so we've been able to move closer as well.

But still there are about 3,000 people who remain evacuated. So the folks who saw the most significant damage to their neighborhoods and homes, they were allowed to go at least look yesterday.

Obviously, they are not going back any time too soon. So this community is still reeling and will take several years really to recover from what is going down as the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

BANFIELD: And I'm sure what some of those people were seeing when they got a chance to go back was just literally heartbreaking. OK, thanks, Rob. Rob Marciano for us in Colorado Springs this morning.

SAMBOLIN: It's 7 minutes past the hour. The only abortion clinic still operating in Mississippi can keep its doors open at least for now.

A new law in the state took effect yesterday requiring abortion providers to be certified ob-gyn practitioners with privileges at area hospitals.

That law puts the Jackson Women's Health Center at risk. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order yesterday that will keep the clinic's doors open at least until a hearing on July 11th.

Mexico's old guard is returning to power after 12 years of absence. An official preliminary vote count has this man, Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party as the winner of yesterday's presidential election.

All that even though the leftist candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is refusing to concede this thing. Pena Nieto's party known as the PRI controlled Mexico for more than 70 years.

That is until the election of the National Action Party and its leader Vicente Fox back in 2000.

SAMBOLIN: It's 8 minutes past the hour. The four middle school students who verbally harassed their school bus monitor have been suspended from school and from that bus for one year.

You'll remember the YouTube video that went viral. We shared it with you. All four students will be sent to an alternative education center instead. The school district says they must also complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens.

Meantime, bus monitor, Karen Klein, you're taking a look at her right there, says that she will spend the nearly $700,000 on her behalf to pay her bills, help her children and she also plans to donate some money to charity.

BANFIELD: All right, he's back, baby, Tiger Woods fighting off the dangerous heat conditions and a very strong field of players to win the AT&T National by two strokes in Bethesda, Maryland yesterday.

This is Tiger's third win of the season and that's more than any other PGA Tour player. It's just also happened to be his 74th victory of his career. It's significant because it moves him past Jack Nicholas into second place on the all time list.

Eight victories now, he's eight victories behind the immortal Sam Sneed. Congratulations, Tiger Woods. I'm sure he's pretty chilled today.

SAMBOLIN: I bet. High drama just hours before two American sprinters are supposed to run the race of their lives with an Olympic spot on the line.

There is now a report that one of them may drop out of tonight's race. You may be surprised who that is. More on that coming up.


BANFIELD: All right, so what do you do when two sprinters competing for the very last spot on the Olympic team end up in a dead heat tie?

We showed you this photo last week and we brought the story to you of two female runners who finished at an Olympic trial race at exactly the same time, literally a photo finish.

The camera that was used for the photo, 3,000 frames per second and it still couldn't determine who finished first. Now Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh are supposed to compete in a runoff tonight to determine who's going to get that final spot, that third place finish spot on the U.S. Olympic team's 100 meter squad.

But there's a catch. They actually might not do that race tonight now. What you ask? Joining me is, Maggie Gray who is going to sort this all out for me.

Because it seemed last night as many of were going to bed that this thing was set for some big ratings on TV tonight as they did this runoff. MAGGIE GRAY, SPORTSILLUSTRATED.COM: The race was set and now overnight, is reporting that Jeneba Tarmoh has pulled out of the race, but not officially with the drawn.

So when they both gave their TV interview and everything seemed like it was very amicable and they wanted to race as opposed to, what, a coin-flip decide who is going who is going to be that last member in the women's 100 meters.

Well, it turns out there are actually some bitterness on the part of Jeneba Tarmoh still exist. She was first officially declared the winner, took her victory lap, went to the press conference and it was only later on that the decision was overturned.

And they've determined it was a dead heat. So now she wants to go back and she is not happy about what's going on. Right now, she has pulled out, but hasn't officially withdrawn.

It looks like USA Track and Field is trying to convince her of run the runoff tonight. We're all ready for the runoff and to determine this high drama and finally get an answer. And it just seems like things are not sorted out yet.

BANFIELD: So pulling out because of anger saying, I won this thing fair and square. I was told I won, to come back at me and suggest I didn't win and then to make us do this horrible choice.

That was unprecedented to either concede to your friend because they are friends. Toss the coin to find out which one of you gets the spot or do the runoff. She's saying none of that works, but where would that leave them?

GRAY: Well, that's a tough situation because she feels like she said in her quote, that she feels like she was getting almost no option because a coin toss really isn't an option to two world class athletes.

BANFIELD: Nor is conceding to your pal either.

GRAY: Absolutely and this would be the only individual event that Jeneba would be qualified for the Olympics. Allyson Felix runs the 200. She's a two-time silver medalist and now the favorite in London. And people are saying, wow, why would you just also pull out? But this is her warm-up too. They worked their entire lives.

BANFIELD: She could still be in the relay. She could still be in the relay.

GRAY: She could still be in the relay. And they are team mates. So, they're still will both be in the London, but you can imagine the emotion fatigue after nine days since they ran the race. And there's no great solution.

BANFIELD: Nobody said that sports -- in particular, the Olympic sports, isn't extremely dramatic and just highlight that.

Speaking of drama, I've got to go to trials last night because there was some great drama. Let me start with Michael Phelps, what happened?

GRAY: He's going to be in eight events again. This is like Beijing 2.0. Michael Phelps said that he was going to scale back his program in this London Olympics which will be his last game, which will be his last game.

But now he has qualified for eight events. Whether he actually gets in the poll and swims all eight, five individual, three relays is yet to be determined but he has qualified.

BANFIELD: I don't see Lochte in that 1-2 finish there.

GRAY: No. Not in the last race. Lochte is still doing all right.

BANFIELD: OK. Talk about Missy Franklin, too, 17 years old and seven events? That's remarkable. Isn't that a sort of a record?

GRAY: It is a record. If she ends up swimming all those events, she'll be the only U.S. women's swimmer to swim in seven events. Unprecedented. She's just 17.

She's going to be a huge, huge part of these games. You're going to see her face everywhere.

BANFIELD: And should I start really getting the word Gabby Douglas, that name in my lexicon? Is that going to be her hope in gymnastics?

GRAY: She's amazing. Her nickname is the flying squirrel. She just won --

BANFIELD: How adorable.

GRAY: She's so athletic. It's unbelievable to watch her. She won the trials last night by a tenth of a point. They are saying this could be the best U.S. gymnastics women's team since 1996 Atlanta when they won gold.

BANFIELD: Oh, isn't that fantastic? I'm so excited. I'm an Olympics nerd. I really do.

GRAY: Only a couple of weeks away. This is going to be great.

BANFIELD: OK. Well, Maggie, it's great to see you. Thanks for coming in. Maggie Gray from "Sports Illustrated".

Over to you, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It is 16 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

From the Midwest to the northeast, millions of Americans are facing another day of potentially deadly heat. Sixteen people have died since Thursday, including two little boys, 2 and 7 years old who were camping when triple digit temperatures triggered killer storms and left millions without power.

This morning 20 states are under heat advisory. And a state of emergency has been declared in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

And three members of the NAT's International Security Force have been shot and killed in southern Afghanistan. They are gunned down by a man wearing an Afghan national police uniform. The identities of the victims and their nationalities have not been released. It is not clear whether the attacker was a police officer or infiltrator wearing the uniform.

BANFIELD: Seventeen minutes now past 6:00.

Are you feeling a little off kilter this morning? Because there was an extra leap second added on to your clock on Saturday. And it's causing a whole bunch of technical glitches for some very popular Web sites like LinkedIn, Foursquare, Reddit, Yelp, Gawker -- they are among a number of sites that's experience some problems because the leap second was added to the coordinated universal time.

Did you know about coordinated universal time? It's also known as UTC. Me either.

It's supposed to keep the clock in alignment with the earth's rotation. So, you may feel one second more tired or one second older this morning.

SAMBOLIN: So, imagine never having to buy another watch battery again. That can happen sooner than you think. Tech company Perpetua is showing off a new way to power gadget using a person's own body heat. It developed a wrist band that creates enough power for small electronics like watches and even blue tooth devices and heart monitors.

The company is currently working on products for the U.S. government, but hopes to expand to regular consumers by 2013. Imagine that?

BANFIELD: And interesting next generation of Legos. Thank God. I have a 5-year-old and 6-year-old.

These are called Little Bits, little bits that get all through your rug and every crevice in your house.

SAMBOLIN: And maybe in your stomach.


BANFIELD: They look like Legos but there's a wee bit of magic inside. Take a peek.


AYAH BDEIR, LITTLE BITS: My name is Ayah Bdeir, I'm an engineer and I'm the founder of Little Bits. These are Little Bits is a system of electronic modules that snap together with magnets to teach kids about electronics and science and technologies. One of my favorite things is seeing the first time people interact with little bits. They take two pieces and snap them together and a light comes on and suddenly their face lights up.

Suddenly you feel like a whole world of imagination open up to them and they are able to imagine what's possible.


BANFIELD: Oh, yes, Little Bits -- little bit of heaven for us moms looking for the next best thing.

The founder says everybody is innovator and hopes her creation will inspire little boys and girls to learn more about science. You find out more by watching "THE NEXT LIST" this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. It's a great show, Sanjay Gupta, everything he touches is great.

SAMBOLIN: Do your kids ever come to you and say, look, mommy, look what I made? And you wonder what it is?

BANFIELD: They say it's a spaceship, and there's a magic Martian riding aboard it, and I say that's fabulous.

SAMBOLIN: The imagination of a child.

So, your parents put things like appliances on layaway. Now, one famous retailer is taking the whole concept to brand new level. More on what Sears has up its sleeve, coming up.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. We're minding your business this morning.

If you're feeling a little fresh, because we're heading a brand- new quarter for stocks. Did you know that?

SAMBOLIN: Maybe it's a new deodorant in the shower?


BANFIELD: For these two maybe.

Lots of (INAUDIBLE) as we go into the new month, the new quarter, the summer, the readings -- three readings in fact on the job market and reports today. Factory orders, construction spending, all expected. So, we're certainly hoping that last week's rally continues. At least your 401(k) is hoping so. Dow jumped about 2 percent last week.

SAMBOLIN: And let's bring in Alison Kosik, in for Christine Romans.

She's talking about layaway. I was really surprise about this one because I didn't know Sears did layaway on this.


And that was really one of the fascinating questions. Yes, Sears is going to be doing layaway, vacation, vacation.



KOSIK: You can do lay away on vacations and go to And guess what, analysts are coming up with their claws, they're saying best of luck, Sears. You're going to need it.

Look at Expedia, look at Orbitz, they've spent years perfecting their services. People trust Sears, sure, but they aren't travel expert. But look, when you go on the web site, Sears makes it easy.

What you do is you put down at least 10 percent for cruises, flights, hotels, car rentals, you name it, vacation packages, and then you pay off the rest in increments. Now Sears says there are no fees like other layaway plans. You have to pay everything in full before you take the trip.

Here's the deal. Costco does it too. You know why? Because layaway become and more popular since the recession. People feel like they need to have that discipline, if I keep putting money in, I'm going to get that item or I'm going to get that vacation.

But the question, I have with Sears, who would even realize that it's there? When I think of Sears, I think of vacuum bags and appliances. I don't think of vacation packages. So, they are going to need good marketing.

BANFIELD: Yes, I would say the very least. You and I were talking during the break about Costco vacations.

KOSIK: Right.

BANFIELD: I wouldn't have thought there were vacations available at Costco either had I not seen something walking by.

KOSIK: Right. And that's the thing. Even if Sears puts up banners inside their stores, what about people like me who maybe running in for a vacuum bag or two every now and then? How do I know it exists?

Obviously, we're doing the story. It's sort of like free publicity right now. But -- you know, and then the question is whether or not this is really going to help their bottom line.

Sears has had falling sales for six years in a row. It's really trying to reinvent itself. That's really the heart of what this is about.

SAMBOLIN: Does Costco do the layaway also? Is it just Sears doing that?

KOSIK: Costco does layaway vacations.


BANFIELD: People will find them if they are cheap. No matter what, marketing be damned. If they are competitive, people will definitely find out.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Alison. Appreciate it.

BANFIELD: So, we've been watching very carefully what's been going on out West and it is really disastrous, not only terrible because of the loss of property and forest, but lives also on the line in Colorado. There is some progress though, thank God. We got a report from the front lines in this desperate firefight coming at you next.


SAMBOLIN: No relief -- power outages leave people in several states helpless against the heat.

BANFIELD: Progress on the frontlines -- firefighters taking a stand against Colorado's deadly wildfires and may finally be making some head way.

SAMBOLIN: Chris Christie uncut. New Jersey's governor let's a reporter have it. It is all caught on camera.

BANFIELD: Boy, what a mouth.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Good to have you with us.

About 30 minutes now past the hour. Let's start with this. It is unbelievable the story, the stifling, sizzling, sweltering heat plaguing millions of Americans this morning.

More than a million people now in Ohio, Virginia and Maryland have no power. And the temperatures are approaching triple digits in the forecast today. Twenty states now under heat warnings and a state of emergency has been declared in Ohio, in Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Athena Jones is live in Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the places that has had a state of emergency declared. It's remarkable to hear that it could be another week before some of the people where you are, are going to get power on and the temperatures are scorching.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, exactly. That's the biggest danger here. And as they say, you know, the danger from the heat is cumulative, the more likely you are to suffer from heat stroke and that sort of thing.

One sign of progress, though, was with intersection where we are. A few hours, the lights were dark and police were out with flares, directing traffic. Not toot long ago, the lights came back on. This is what's going on in all around the area. There's still intersections down the way the lights are still out.

But it just goes to show you that utility crews are hard at work to get the power restored. Companies say it could take until the end of the week for the power to come back to everyone and that's if the weather cooperates.

But I just checked figures from Pepco, which is one of the companies that serves this area. And they say that 229,000 people are still without power, Dominion was the major provider in Virginia has nearly 247,000 people without power, that's way down from the million that were without power, Dominion customers at the height of this power outage. The real issue is going to be the heat and how to beat it.

BANFIELD: All right. Athena Jones, thanks very much and try to stay cool yourself, hard to be out there doing all these live shots in this kind of temperature.

JONES: Thanks.

BANFIELD: Thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's bring in Joe Rigby. He's the CEO at Pepco Holdings, a power company that is responsible for providing much of the power to Washington, D.C. and surrounding neighborhoods.

Mr. Rigby, are you there?

JOE RIGBY, PEPCO HOLDINGS CEO (via telephone): Yes, I am, Ashleigh.

SAMBOLIN: This is Zoraida. Good morning to you. And we really appreciate having you this morning.

So, we know at the peak at the power outages, we were at 330,000 customers without power. Your crews I understand have been working around the clock. Right now, Athena just told us we were down to 229,000? Is that a correct figure?

RIGBY: It's actually down to 225,000.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

RIGBY: At the peek we had 443,000 out. We've restored about 45 percent of the customers, but obviously we're not satisfied we have a lot of work to do and won't be satisfied until we have everyone back.

SAMBOLIN: Well, she mentioned, Athena, that is, our reporter that's on the ground there, mentioned earlier that somebody tweeted out, "I have not seen a Pepco truck anywhere in Montgomery County." Do you have any idea when you'll restore the power to folks this that area?

RIGBY: Yes. In fact, we're working on that.

You know, one thing, you know -- and I appreciate the frustration that people are feeling. Right after the storm came through with just tremendous damage, where our trucks and personnel were concentrated were on the backbone of the system. We needed to get the back bone up before we could have a presence in the field.

That presence in the field is certainly on the way. We're going to have about almost 1,700 line personnel out in the field. They started in force yesterday. We made tremendous progress overnight. People will see a real show of force today and through the rest of week.

SAMBOLIN: In all fairness to you, I will say this was a massive storm and in some ways unexpected. We understand that some utility crews from other states have been called in to help. Georgia has arrived. I understand perhaps from Canada you were expecting a crew? Have all of the reinforcements arrived now?

RIGBY: Quite a few have. Actually the furthest north was New Brunswick, Canada and they showed up last night. We have crews from Georgia and Florida. We expect -- we had quite a few come in yesterday. We'll have basically the full force here today. So, as I said, we're going to have a tremendous level of force out in the field through the rest of the restoration.

SAMBOLIN: I know that you have faced some criticism in the past. You were fined $1 million by the Maryland Public Service Commission and it was for failing to fix problems that led to power outages.

Do you feel you're hampered in any way? What do you think are the major concerns, biggest worries going forward?

RIGBY: Well, the biggest worry is the wellbeing of our customers. I would say right below that is safety of our personnel and the heat that all of us are experiencing. Our singular focus is on getting this restoration done as quickly and safely as we can. Yes, we have taken criticism but we're -- our foot is on the pedal of getting this restoration done as quickly and safely as we can.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure you know that there are temperatures that are expected to remain in the mid to upper 90s for much of the week, and perhaps even a threat of more thunderstorms moving forward. Are you prepared for that?

RIGBY: I would say that given the fact that now all of what we call the mutual system crews are here, we're about as prepared for that as we could possibly be. We're in some ways this is similar to the level of resources available to us when hurricane Irene came through last August.

SAMBOLIN: And, Mr. Rigby, if you could tell our viewers when you do anticipate power will be restored.

RIGBY: Yes. And I think this created some of the criticism that came our way last night. One of the things that we tried to do is provide and set expectations for customers to be able live their lives around. Based on the information we had yesterday morning, given the fact that all of the crews have not arrived and we hadn't frankly finished the work of yesterday. We indicated we would have 90 percent of our customers restored by Friday.

I anticipate now that we have -- with the progress we made particularly overnight and the level of resources here, that we should be able to beat that.

The other thing that I would mention is that as we again get more of the resources out in the field, I think we'll be able to provide more granular information in terms of how many will be back on tomorrow and Thursday, with also more specifics about the location.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, Mr. Rigby, we know you're working hard. We appreciate your time this morning.

RIGBY: Absolutely. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Joe Rigby, CEO of Pepco holdings.

And at 7:00 a.m. Eastern on "STARTING POINT," we'll be joined by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to get an update on the power outages there, in one of the hardest hit areas of the country.

BANFIELD: It's now 37 minutes past 6:00 a.m.

And when the Supreme Court essentially blessed the president's significant health care law last week, it didn't end the battle certainly not for Republicans, it really just inflamed them instead. House Speaker John Boehner not mincing any word in appearing yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

And when he was asked there were any parts of the law he could embrace, he said this.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This has to be ripped out by its roots. This is government taking over the entire health insurance industry. The American people do not want to go down this path. They do not want the government telling them what kind of insurance policy they have to buy and how much they are going to pay for it. If you don't like it, we're going to tax you. It has to be ripped out and we need to start over.


BANFIELD: So, I guess that's a no. Boehner says that he was pretty surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling but he insists that this only strengthens of resolve of Republicans to repeal Obamacare.

And at 7:00 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," Republican Congressman Tom Price of Georgia will join us. He's a doctor and he's also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, think taxes. Yes. So, that's a critical interview.

And at 8:00 Eastern, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn will join "STARTINGN POINT" live and she's the GOP deputy whip. She also says she plans to fight, to repeal the president's health care reform law.

BANFIELD: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour.

Amid the desperate struggle to control the flames in Colorado, there's also the heartbreak of the home owners returning to find there is very little left behind. We have a live report from the wildfire zone. That is coming up.


SAMMBOLIN: Hey, good morning to you, Atlanta. Seventy-five degrees right now. It's going to be hot, 96. But you're in good company. You have afternoon thunderstorms heading your way. Enjoy it nice and early this morning.

Forty-one minutes past the hour.

Colorado battling extreme heat and deadly wildfires, but this morning it looks like firefighters are gaining the upper hand there. With the Waldo Canyon fire now 55 percent contained, I'm so happy we're saying that.

The focus is now on the evacuees. Evacuation orders have been lifted for all about 3,000 people in Colorado Springs. You'll remember, 32,000 were ordered to leave that area. Sadly, many of them will return to complete devastation.

One fire victim posted this heart wrenching video of the place we called home for the past 18 years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably (INAUDIBLE). My God smoke in the air so bad. Let me see if I can pull up through here. This hill was on fire a second ago. There's flames here. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Oh, my God. Oh, my God.


SAMBOLIN: Wow, Rob. That reminds you we take so much for granted.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is live in Colorado Springs. He's covering the wildfires all weekend long. I was attached to the television set watching these horrific stories.

You are there. What can you tell us?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's been over a week now and emotions ran high as you can imagine the past seven days. But no more than yesterday as folks were finally allowed to at least see what their homes and neighborhoods looked like. At one point they were going to allow them in buses and not let them out of the buses. Then they decided to have a caravan of personal vehicles, which was probably a little bit better as far as the emotions that we're probably happening.

Still 3,000 people are evacuated. But that's down from 32,000. We caught up with one family that went in back to see their neighborhood yesterday and here's what they had to say about that experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looked like a war zone. It was just -- it was completely caved in, didn't even look like a house. It was bad. And it just -- the smell, it smelled like smoke and you got down in it and it smelled like ash. It was awful.


MARCIANO: They are not alone, 346 homes completely destroyed, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. As you mentioned, 55 percent contained. So, they've got a pretty good handle on this one and evacuation orders may be lifted entirely as we go through the rest of the week but that's yet to be seen.

This is not the only area that's seen devastating wildfires, several large fires continue to burn not only in this state and across the west. take a look at this map, I'm highlighting just that. We've got a pretty big one in Wyoming, also in South Dakota. A matter of fact, a C-130 Air Force fire fighting airplane actually had to crash land fighting a fire up there yesterday.

So, CNN is going in-depth this week. We're doing a slew of stories focused on wildfire. I'll have one coming up at 9:00 Eastern Time talking about what we can do to may prevent these things and the answer lies at least somewhat in prescribing fires, fighting fire with fire, trying to burn some of the forest before these mega fires can burn us as badly as they this past week. That's at the 9:00 Eastern, again, throughout the week we'll have more stories coming at you.

SAMBOLIN: They were saying conditions there were just perfect for this fire to grow out of control the way that it did. So we're really looking forward to those reports.

Thank you so much, Rob Marciano.

And I want to remind our viewers that if you want to help folks that have been affected by all of these fires, you go to

BANFIELD: It's 45 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. A graduate student from (AUDIO GAP) Georgia who lost her hands, her left leg and right foot to the flesh-eating bacteria is now getting ready to enter a rehabilitation center. Amy Copeland's father say his daughter will move today from Doctor's Hospital in August to an undisclosed facility for in-patient treatments.

SAMBOLIN: It is bittersweet end for marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey. The 49-year-old grandmother was trying to become the first to person to swim (AUDIO GAP) to Florida unaided without a shark cage, flippers, wet suit or snorkel. She abandoned her quest early Sunday morning when a strong current made it impossible for her to continue.

Palfrey fended off painful jellyfish stings as well and swam for more than 40 hours. So good for her. We should be celebrating that. We have a silver lining. She set a personal best with a distance of 86 miles beating her 67-mile record.

BANFIELD: I'm impressed she's a grandmother at 49. That's amazing to me.


BANFIELD: OK. And so here's another one for you this morning. Japan's freeways, very soon could be filled with driverless cars. In fact, as soon as the next decade. Japanese government is opening talks with Nissan, Mazda, Toyota and Honda hoping to produce robotic cars for the masses by the 2020s. Not the TV show (AUDIO GAP).

How do you assign responsibility when there's an accident that does not have a human driving either car? That's a sticky wicket.


SAMBOLIN: Forty-seven minutes past the hour. There is no question. Chris Christie says what is on his mind, no dispute there. But the New Jersey governor may have crossed the line with a reporter at one of his news conference. We'll let you listen, you can decide. That is coming up.


BANFIELD: It's 50 minutes past 6:00 a.m. on the East Coast. Let's get you up to date on top stories. And here's the top story.

Another hellish day of heat facing millions of Americans from the northeast right down to the Midwest. Sixteen people have now died since Thursday when triple-digit temperatures spawned killer storms and then left millions of people without power. This morning 20 states are under heat advisory warnings with a state of emergency declared in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

SAMBOLIN: In New York, there is a labor dispute raging at the power company at the height of this crazy heat wave. Eight thousand employees at Con Edison have been looked out after contract talks broke down. That happened over the weekend. Meter reading have been suspended and walk-in centers have been closed as 5,000 management level workers try to keep the power flowing to 3.2 million customers.

BANFIELD: And for the first time since May a nuclear power plant is back up and running this morning in Japan. This despite protests outside of it. But the startup operations began Sunday night at the Ohi nuclear plant number three reactor. Japan shut down all 50 of its nuclear plants for safety checks following last year's meltdown at the Fukushima plant which was damaged by the tsunami.

SAMBOLIN: Scientists in Switzerland expected to announce this week they are virtually certain that they've discovered the God particle. It's also known as the Higg's Particle. It's a sub-atomic particle that could help explain why objects in our universe have weight. Scientists have been searching for it for decades.

BANFIELD: Wow. The God particle, finally. Waiting on that one.

Apple's "Mobile Me" app is now closed. Users who have files and photos stored on the service now have to switch over to iCloud. ICloud also syncs all of your devices, though, from your desktop Mac to your iPhone and iPad, even some Windows computers, too.

Former CEO Steve Jobs wanted to shut down Mobile Me years ago saying that that rocky launch Mobile Me had the potential to tarnish the whole brand.

SAMBOLIN: Defending champion Spain trounced Italy with the 4-0 victory in the Euro 2012 final Sunday. That was in Kiev. Spain got out to an early lead and never looked back on the strength of goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba. Spain becomes the first country to win three major tournaments in a row.

That victory launched a massive celebration. Did you see it? Look at this last night. Those are the streets of Madrid. Some loyal fans were simply overcome.

Oh, my gosh. He's crying. They were overcome with emotion.

BANFIELD: At least it was crying and it wasn't fighting because that's often what happens at a soccer game.


BANFIELD: OK. Talk about emotion. Maybe it's the heat because New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is sure sounding hot and bothered these days. He was holding a news conference on Saturday and the news conference was about a collapsed water main at Mammoth County. So it's kind of a local issue. And one reporter decided to stray off topic with a question unrelated to that water main issue. And listen to how the -- the governor responded to him.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, on Monday, are you going to be addressing the legislature?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic. On topic. Next question. Good, thank you. Thank you. Thank you all very much, and I'm sorry for the idiot over there. Take care.


BANFIELD: Yes, you heard him. Calling a reporter stupid and an idiot. That was a reporter, by the way, who was trying to ask Chris Christie about a special legislative session that he has called for today to make his case for a middle class tax cut.

Wow, so a reporter asking a question about policy in a timely fashion, today, policy today, but on Saturday called an idiot and stupid for daring to ask about something unrelated.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-four minutes past the hour. She is famous for her role in "Men in Black III." Coming up today's best advice from actress Alice Eve. Stay with us for that.


SAMBOLIN: "STARTING POINT" about a minute away. We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice."

BANFIELD: And today we asked actress Alice Eve from "Men in Black" and from "Sex in the City" what the best advice that she's ever received. Take a look.


ALICE EVE, ACTRESS: Well, I think a very good piece of advice is please, leave this restroom as you would like to find it. In life, in everything, you leave something as you'd like to find it. And another thing that my grandpa used to say -- he lives from Liverpool, which is north-north England. He'd say, come on, keep a cool head.


BANFIELD: Go on, keep a cool head. I like it the way it's said in Liverpool speak.

SAMBOLIN: Sounds so cool.

BANFIELD: Sounds like the Beatles, right?

SAMBOLIN: It is good advice. And that was from her grandpa. I think we had one grandpa before, right, of good advice?

BANFIELD: Yes. This is the second one.

SAMBOLIN: Typically the mom is giving all the good advice.

BANFIELD: I think it is the second grandfather that's giving advice. Leave this restroom the way you found it.


BANFIELD: That's the same with your office kitchen, by the way. Do your dishes in your office kitchen.

Hey --

SAMBOLIN: And your bedroom, kids, right? The bedroom.

BANFIELD: Yes, good luck with that.


BANFIELD: Good luck with that. That's the news. EARLY START, the news from A to Z. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. (AUDIO GAP) with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.