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Deadly Storms Slam Tennessee; June Jobs Report Out At 8:30 A.M. E.T.; Zimmerman Bond Set At $1 Million; Extreme Heat And Hunger; Clinton's Marathon Trip; Fired Lifeguard Refuses To Take Job Back; Stakes High for New Jobs Report; Battling Bus Tours; Deadly Storms Slam Tennessee; Obama To Sign Student Loan Bill; Clinton At Syria Conference

Aired July 6, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, two people are dead and several people injured this morning. It is severe weather again and happening overnight. We're tracking the storms for you this morning.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus a crucial jobs report is out today. This hour, we're going to find out what it means for the economy and race for the White House.

BANFIELD: And that lifeguard who was fired for going out of his assigned area all to save a man who was drowning, gets his job offered back to him, but he's saying, not so fast, everyone.

Good morning to you and welcome to EARLY START. It's great to have you with us on this Friday morning. Brooke Baldwin in the house.

BALDWIN: Hello, the news from A to B.

BANFIELD: Very thin newscast today, very thin, just A to B.

BALDWIN: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Zoraida has the day off. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

We're going to begin with some breaking news here this morning talking about deadly storms on the move right knew. These violent thunderstorms slamming Eastern Tennessee overnight reportedly here killing two people and injuring dozens of others.

Rob Marciano is watching this for us in the Extreme Weather Center. Rob, good morning and what happened?


BALDWIN: Rob Marciano, you got me?

MARCIANO: Yes, our camera went down so let me do this from the weather center if we can take camera five and we'll try to go through some of this stuff.

This complex went through Eastern Tennessee around 5:00, 6:00 last night and into the Smokey Mountains National Park. You see the complex there. Just to give an idea of the lay it will land. This is the -- this is the thunderstorm complex that drove down to the south.

Winds estimated 60 to 70 miles per hour and with that trees came toppling down into the campground. So you can imagine with RVs and tents and that type of thing, there's not a lot of place to run. So two people dead, many more than that injured and the roadways to get in and out of there difficult as well so that's what happened last night.

And this storm complex has weakened since obviously. But we may very well se another explosion of storms, not in this area but maybe across the western Great Lakes.

Obviously, the heat and humidity that we've seen built up over the past several days adds fuel to this fire and the result was deadly last night across Eastern Tennessee. We'll have more of this and the heat later in the half hour.

BALDWIN: There you are, Rob. All right, Rob, thank you. We'll be watching.

BANFIELD: It's 2 minutes now past 6:00 a.m. Today on the campaign trail in Washington, D.C. and on Wall Street, got it all covered. It is all about the big June jobs report. That's expected in about two and a half hours or so from now.

We're going to find out how many jobs were added to the economy and we're kind of waiting with baited breath on this because that big question, are we going to see another summer slump in the jobs market?

Our Poppy Harlow is on the jobs duty for us this morning joining us now live. So this is that moment that we wait on that first Friday of the month to find out are we getting any better? Are we looking to get any better? There are predictions.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Marginally so, just a little bit, but not where we need to be, Ashleigh. We're going to get the numbers at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Right now, CNN Money has talked to a number of economists, analysts and what they are predicting is that this economy added about 95,000 jobs in the month of June.

But frankly, that's not nearly enough, that's only about a quarter of the jobs we need every month for a few consecutive months to get this unemployment rate down.

So where do we stand, 8.2 percent unemployment, that's the consensus estimate from CNN Money and the fact is that we have not been below 8 percent unemployment since right after President Obama was inaugurated.

The issue here is the anemic jobs growth that we've seen this summer. In May, we only saw 69,000 jobs created. This month it's expected to be 95,000 jobs. Let me take you back to last summer.

Because you remember we were talking so much about, you know, the possibility of a double dip recession. Well, that was last summer and we saw the same trend. Then we saw the acceleration, 200,000 jobs created in January.

The issue here is if we don't see a big pickup in this jobs report and only have four more jobs reports to come out before that November election, what does that say about this recovery?

You're going to hear the president address that in Ohio a little bit later today. We don't know yet if Mitt Romney is going to address the jobs in numbers, he's on vacation in New Hampshire.

Let's take a look though at the bigger trend here because this is all very, very political. We saw about 4.5 million jobs lost during the Bush administration. You see the end of the Bush administration here.

Looking at the beginning of the Obama administration, 4.3 million jobs lost, but then we started to see this recovery and that's what the president emphasizes is this recovery.

At the same time, the recovery many people will say is not fast enough and we have seen this downward trend, frankly over the past few months. What we're also going to look at, how many Americans are long term unemployed, very important?

How many have been out of work six months or longer? The latest reading is over 5 million, will that get better? Frankly, it hasn't been getting better.

Another thing that we want to look at, of course, Ashleigh, in all of this is, if we see a trend that continues to pick up, can we go from May to June getting a little bit better?

BANFIELD: I always find it amazing when those predictions are actually way off. I'm thinking it's so squirrely these days that even the predictors can't predict accurately?

HARLOW: It can be way off or it can come above. Last month, the report came in worst than expected and also Ashleigh, I want to let you know that at 8:30, we're also going to look at minorities.

This is very important. African-Americans have almost 14 percent unemployment. Whites have about 7.5 percent. So it's certainly there's a big disparity there that we have to focus on.

BANFIELD: At 8:30, you're looking into that script?


BANFIELD: All right, Poppy Harlow, thank you.

BALDWIN: It is 6 past the hour here on a Friday. A $1 million bond and another $1 million for collateral that is what it will take for George Zimmerman to get out of jail.

A Florida judge saying he's concerned the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin may have been plotting to flee the country. Zimmerman could be walking out of jail at anytime, but his defense team says it is going to be tough for his family to have them come up with that $1 million cash plus collateral.

That is needed to free him. Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin's family, they are watching these developments very, very closely. As you can imagine, their attorney spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett just last night.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: Trayvon's parents and I'm here speaking on their behalf, would rather that the killer of their unarmed son remain in jail until the trial. However, they respect the court's orders and the fact that the judge sent a very strong message in his order.


BALDWIN: That original bail of $150,000 for Zimmerman, that was revoked after a judge learned he and his wife, Shellie failed to disclose more than $150,000 in donations they got from the public.

BANFIELD: It's 7 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. The food is spoiled, the shelves are empty and people are really starting to get into a panic.

It's been a full week now since a freak system of storms knocked out power to millions of people. Seven days later, still a half million people in 11 states without power, that means no AC and no refrigeration and searing temperatures.

That is not good. They had to open up feeding centers. The Red Cross has been extraordinarily busy across West Virginia, 25,000 meals, that was the plan in just one day.

And that's going to be the plan for several days because people are struggling. Grabbing the canned goods, picking what they can because the pantries are empty.

Scorching heat wave is going to continue today for thousands of people who still don't have power. In fact, so bad that extreme heat warnings and heat advisories are up in 25 states.

The highs expected in the 100s and even higher today if you can believe it. Cities like Chicago, Indianapolis and Baltimore, yes, they've had hundreds before, but not like this.

BALDWIN: It is a trip that's going to tackle a lot of issues here globally. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arriving in Paris this morning for the conference on Syria. This is the first stop here of a 13-day trip that's going to touch on three critical issues facing the U.S. and the world today. We mentioned Syria. Also they'll be discussing Egypt, the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan, China and North Korea. Secretary Clinton, she is also going to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abass in France.

She is off to Asia after that for a conference in Afghanistan in Tokyo along with stops in Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia for meetings with officials from Southeast Asian nations.

BANFIELD: Man, no summer vacations for her. Unbelievable. Well, this guy got fired for leaving his post, kind of his official post, but he did it because there was a man drowning and he is a lifeguard.

Now that Florida kid has been offered his job back. Here's the catch. Tomas Lopez says he doesn't want it. He's a 21- year-old Hallendale Beach lifeguard. He says he knew he was breaking the rules Monday when he left his stand.

And he ran into sort of an area that was not -- officially his area, but he saw a struggling swimmer. He saw a guy drowning and he saw it and said he had he had to respond. He told CNN's Erin Burnett he would still do it all over again too.


TOMAS LOPEZ, FIRED LIFEGUARD: We made it very clear beforehand that were we would lose our job if we violate this rule. I wasn't going to stop, a stupid rule over someone's life. It's a pretty obvious choice.


BANFIELD: Tomas Lopez also told Erin Burnett and his boss who was on live TV with him that he is humbled by the boss' apology and thankful as well for the offer to return to the lifeguard post, but no thanks. He said he just wants to put this whole episode behind him and move onto the next phase of his life.

BALDWIN: So fireworks, I know it's Friday why are we talking about this here a couple days after the Fourth? Here is why because we told you about this massive spectacular in the skies over San Diego from Wednesday.

Remember, this is the fireworks show that went bust because it was supposed to be this 17-minute show in the sky here, but the whole thing went off prematurely and lasted for 22 seconds, the whole deal, the beginning, middle and the end.

So we've now found out for those of you who are sitting there in San Diego and thinking what in the world, the company is now explaining the mishap saying, it was a computer malfunction. So the good news for you, they are offering to do next year's show for free and also if they could keep traffic away as well.

BANFIELD: How are they going to get a finale to look anything like this one?

BALDWIN: It the most amazing fireworks display I have ever seen.

BANFIELD: I can't repeat this enough. We can smile about it only because nobody was hurt and that's the kind of thing that has the potential to be a disaster. So you guys are lucky in the bay that it's only really fast light show.

BALDWIN: They're going to have to make it bigger and better next year.

BANFIELD: There you go. Battle for the bus tour, it's all happening in the race for the White House. Some people who are buddies of Mitt Romney and President Obama out on the stump. We're going to take you live on the campaign trail and quick lesson on what bracketing means.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. It's 14 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. The stakes are incredibly high this morning as we await the latest jobs numbers. That's coming in just a few hours from now so we're watching them for you.

The experts say this jobs report could be the most important jobs report of the past three years. President Obama seems pretty darn aware of this as well because this bus tour that he's on through the key swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

They are both states big in manufacturing hubs and the president is making his pitch on how he is going to battle outsourcing of jobs, bring those jobs back home here to America, calling it the betting on America thing.

Dan Lothian is live in Akron, Ohio, with the details.

So, Dan, I think you're doing the overnight there and then heading to PA tomorrow. The message is all about the jobs. That's a tough message because it seems to be the one message the Republicans have been hammering away at President Obama.

How is he trying to come back from that?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, the president does have a couple of events here in Ohio and then we head later today to Pittsburgh wrapping up day two of the president's bus tour.

And how the president is countering that attack from Republicans, saying, look, things are not perfect but they are better than when he took office. And then he has been repeating that message that we've heard for the past three years or so.

The president telling voters here in Ohio that you know, when he came into office, that the situation was much worse than anyone expected, but because of his policies, he was able to reel back the economy from that economic collapse from that cliff. And he points to areas like here in Ohio and Pennsylvania where the unemployment rate is much lower than the national average. Here in Ohio, 7.3 percent, in Pennsylvania, 7.4 percent, the national average is 8.2 percent.

Again, the president saying because of his policies, you see the turnaround in manufacturing and specifically to this region, which is heavily dependent on the auto industry, the president touted his actions in saving and creating jobs.

BANFIELD: So let's talk also about the new term that's come into our lexicon. Up until now, it has do with March Madness. But now, bracketing is far more important when it comes to bus touring.

There was a shadow tour, as you were following the president. You yourself is being followed, too. Tell me about it.

LOTHIAN: That's right. You have, Tim Pawlenty, the former presidential candidate, Governor Jindal of Louisiana, who are surrogates for the Romney campaign, they are on the ground as well, following the president on his bus tour with their own tour.

They are essentially trying to give Romney's voice out here and they are knocking down what the president is trying to build up here, saying that while the president is talking about improvements in manufacturing, that a lot more people are suffering in manufacturing and middle class is hurting as well. They are accusing the president of essentially covering up his failures with this bus tour.

So, you know, the president is making the hard pitch here but so are Republicans because they realize these are areas and certainly these two states that the president won in 2008. He's pushing to win in this area in 2012, but Republicans are trying to snatch away the key battle ground states from him.

BANFIELD: Let's go off politics for a moment and talk inside the campaign trail. I always have wondered if the president of the United States and all presidents before him carries money or credit cards on him, because, really, what need would he possibly ever have to carry cash? I think some presidents never have carried cash.

This president not only carries cash but bought himself something on the road. So, give me the lowdown on the behind the scenes that happened yesterday.

LOTHIAN: You'll see him stop at the burger joint or deli or diner and always pulls out some cash. We have the official events -- those events that are announced. But he always takes these side trips on these bus tours and other tours as well. And he stopped in at a farmer's market. He stopped in at a diner. He stopped in at a local pub, along the way having a beer, giving marriage advice, talking about, you know, getting a vote over a basketball game.

This is the president trying to connect in a personal way. Many of his events up to this point have been larger. He's been attending a lot of fundraisers out in Hollywood and New York with the rich and famous. But he wants to make a personal connection with the working class voters and that's what you're seeing on this bus tour here, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Man, that's the pub night you want to be at, unless, of course, you didn't tell your wife you were at the pub and then you go home and can't tell your wife I just met the president of the United States because you were in the bar.

All right. Dan Lothian--


BANFIELD: -- nice to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

LOTHIAN: Good to see you too.

BALDWIN: Sorry honey, I really was working late, I promise.

Nineteen minutes past the hour here on this Friday. Let's get you up to date, shall we?

Bond set at $1 million for George Zimmerman. A Florida judge saying he fears the suspected shooter in the Trayvon Martin case may have been plotting to fear the country. Zimmerman's defense team says it's going to be tough for his family to come up with the $100,000 cash and $1 million in collateral that is needed to free him.

BANFIELD: It forced the evacuation of 35,000 people. It killed two people and destroyed close to 400 homes. Now fire investigators have pinpointed the exact spot where that Waldo Canyon Fire sparked to life. They still don't know what caused it to spark.

Wildfire in Colorado Springs is now 90 percent contained but it was the most destructive fire in that state's history.

BALDWIN: A warning to Libya here on the eve of historic elections there. Do not repeat the mistakes of Moammar Gadhafi. The nation is going to the polls tomorrow for the very first time since they overthrew the dictator, the former dictator. Remember he died while he was shot and killed. Amnesty International warning newly elected leaders to make the law a top priority and rein in militias, and end the torture and binge killings of detainees.

The captain of a yacht that capsized in Long Island sound on the Fourth of July claims it was a wave that caused the capsize and the tragedy that killed three children who died in that accident. Three children including the captain's own nephew. They were trapped inside a cabin when the boat sank.

Twenty-seven people were on board the yacht. They were to watch the fireworks display. However, the boat was only meant to carry a maximum of 15 people.

BALDWIN: The NFL Players Association is suing the league in connection with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. The suit alleges NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is incurably biased and violated the league's labor agreement by suspending players Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove. Fourth suspended player Jonathan Vilma is suing the NFL separately.

BANFIELD: Would you let a stranger -- a complete stranger borrow your car? Not talking about a carjacking stranger. What if they paid you to borrow your car? We'll tell you how much money you can actually make by loaning out your car. And by the way, gas prices are up two cents overnight.

So, you may want to stay tuned to this story.


BALDWIN: Take a look at this, it is half way done. You're looking at these pictures. This will be the largest single array of solar panels.

So, this is a solar grid that's being built in London on the roof of the Blackfriars rail system. When it's done, it's going to generate 50 percent of the power needed to operate the facility.

BANFIELD: That's cool.

BALDWIN: It's awesome in London.

Talking about being in the right place at the right time -- a whale breaching the surface of the ocean in Mexico, a photographer right there. He was on a boat, happened to be there, lucky enough to pull out the camera and take these amazing images. Looks like an eel. It leaps through the water source through the air. That's incredible stuff.

BANFIELD: That is so rare, too, because that actual breed of whale doesn't breach the normal habit. This was one of the most lucky shot you could get.

BALDWIN: Look at you whale expert.

BANFIELD: I likes me some whales. That's all I can say.

Here's a good way to pay for those high gas prices. You heard me say before the break, 2 cents up overnight gas across the country. Put your car to work when you're not using it. Car owners can make hundreds a month by renting their idle ride to other people through a peer to peer car sharing market place. The company is called -- one at least called Relay Rides. That company says driver safety records are thoroughly vetted and it has a big insurance to cover damages. Some people leave cookies for the next guy.

I'm sure other things are left behind too. But it would be nice to leave a cookie for the next guy.

BALDWIN: I'm still back on -- I likes me some whales -- quote of the morning, ladies and gentlemen.

BANFIELD: You know, I went whale watching a couple of times -- close British Columbia -- by the way, that cameraman who shot that incredible breach is from British Columbia, Canada. So, he's probably used to being out whale watching a bit. Also near Hawaii watching whales breach and you just feel that close to God.

BALDWIN: I've never seen is it, only seen dolphins.

Brands new jobs numbers are coming up two hours from now. This is really one of the final ones we're going to see before November, before the presidential election. We're going to talk the politics of jobs. What these numbers could mean on the trail.

And if you are out and about headed to work, wherever you're headed, keep watching us, pop open your mobile phone, your desktop, just go to


BALDWIN: Half past the hour here and breaking news this morning. Deadly storms push through the Smokey Mountains overnight, two people are dead and dozens are injured. We're live with the details in less than 60 seconds.

BANFIELD: Buses, politics, jobs and the president -- oh, that and Mitt Romney, too -- competing in Ohio for voters as we await the crucial jobs report coming out in just a few hours.

BALDWIN: "The Fifty Shades of Grey" book, come on now. Are you reading?

BANFIELD: Come on.

BALDWIN: Reigniting passion in the bedroom for millions. Experts are predicting a lot more for couples in the next nine months.

BANFIELD: Have you read them?

BALDWIN: No, I have not.

BANFIELD: Oh, look at Miss Chris (ph).

BALDWIN: But someone might have just sent me a link again yesterday, Christine again.

BANFIELD: I got to be honest. I do not read fiction. I don't read fiction but because of this juggernaut, I had to find out --

BALDWIN: You need to be in the know. That's how I'm justifying it. People are talking about it. I'm a journalist, I need to know.

BANFIELD: I downloaded the darn first book and I read the first book and I read the second one too. But then I shut her off -- I shut her off of at that point, that's enough. Stop.

BALDWIN: Details in the commercial break.

BANFIELD: We'll talk.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Just girls doing our thing. It's nice to have you with us. Hello, I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

BALDWIN: And, good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Zoraida is off today. We are 31 minutes now past the hour.

Let's switch gears and talk jobs, shall we? Brand news jobs report, June jobs report coming out in a few hours and it really could, you know, set the tone for the presidential race the next couple of months before November and decide who wins the White House. Unemployment way up in key battle ground states. You can see Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina. These are all states that President Obama won in 2008, all states with jobless rates well above the national average. The new report really could make or break his campaign.

Right now, the president is on a bus tour and waking up in Ohio. Next headed to Pennsylvania. Both states are big manufacturing hubs. You have team Romney, he is following the president. He himself is not, two of his surrogates on their own bus tour. Both sides going back and forth at one another.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs were on the line. Governor Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt. I refused to turn night back on communities like this one.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: He is dubbing his tour the betting on America tour. Well, of course, we should all bet on America. But we shouldn't double down on Barack Obama.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: He's going to try to distract us. We the American people are smarter than that. We know we are not better off than we were four years ago. We know we can't afford another four more years of this president.


BALDWIN: So, here you have two different parties and two different messages on the trail. CNN political director Mark Preston is live for us in Washington.

First, let's talk -- we're waiting. Here we are, two hours away from the jobs report, Mark. How and I know both groups are ready for results for reaction when the numbers come out. How will they be interpreting these results?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, if you're Mitt Romney right now, you want the numbers to not be very strong because he is selling this message now, Brooke, that's he's the one who can turn the economy around. At the same time, you have President Obama in Ohio, both ready to go into Pennsylvania and he is going to be on the campaign trail.

So, we do expect him to address these jobs numbers, basically when they come out around 8:30, perhaps a little later than that. It's an important data point right now because it will help frame the discussion for the next 30 days, the next 60 days about where the economy is going.

But another important point, quite frankly, is the polls right now and it is what do Americans think or who do Americans think is best able to handle the economy.

Let's look at this CNN/ORC poll. Is it Barack Obama, or is it Mitt Romney? Well, it shows from this poll that the country is split right. They think that neither one has a clear advantage over who could turn it around.

But let's drill down a little bit more when we talked about independent voters, these are the voters who very well, Brooke, could decide the election. When we asked that same question --

BALDWIN: Look at that.

PRESTON: -- let's look at those numbers right there. Yes, it shows that Mitt Romney has an 11-point advantage. It shows that perhaps he has stayed on message the last 30 to 60 days talking about the economy and that has been very, very helpful to him.

BALDWIN: So, then, what does the president need to say to change the minds of those independent voters? And at the same time why is it Mitt Romney out and about in these Rust Belt states?

PRESTON: Show a couple of things. One is you're going to hear the president talk about how he inherited a terrible economy and he is trying to rebuild it. We saw him talking about the auto industry in Ohio. You know, look, Ohio -- very, very important for whoever wins the presidency, they're going to have to win Ohio. You know, no Republican has won the presidency without Ohio.

But Barack Obama talking about the auto industry, a lot of sub- makers that help supply the auto industry. He talks about how he saved them.

So, Barack Obama is going to say, I need another four years to try to turn this around, the four years that I've had is basically leveling it off. Mitt Romney will be in these important states. There's no question about. There's about seven states we're focusing on. You'll see Mitt Romney out there.

And, of course, we've seen the surrogates out there following the Obama bus.

BALDWIN: Bracketing, they are calling it. Mark Preston, thank you.

PRESTON: Thanks, Brooke.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BANFIELD: And we are continuing to follow breaking news this morning, deadly storms on the move right now. Violent thunderstorms have been slapping into eastern Tennessee overnight, two people killed, dozens others injured.

Stephanie Beecken is live from our affiliate WATE. She's in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

So, Stephanie, we spoke not too long ago and you spoke of people trapped and rescuers were trying to get to them.

Do we have an update on how those people are and overall, how things are looking right now?

STEPHANIE BEECKEN, WATE REPORTER: Well, the command center reopens again in about 30 minutes. So, we'll have an update then. But we can tell you what happened, as of just a few hours as we were discussing last time. And yes, the cleanup does continue after those deadly storms rolled through around last night at around 6:00.

As you can see behind me, the sign, portions of the park are still closed and Cades Cove is still closed.

And today, rangers will continue to -- this is what they told us a few hours ago. They will continue to clean up the area and they will make sure that all of the visitors, the park visitors are accounted for and as of just a few hours ago, they were still trying to rescue people trapped at Cades Cove.

Now, we do have video of some of the damage. Three people were injured. Park rangers say one person had a cardiac incident, another person injured third back after being hit by a fallen tree, and person in a car was hit by broken glass from their windshield after a tree fell on their car at Abram's Creek, four people hit by falling trees, three people were transported to the hospital. One 41-year-old woman was killed, a man riding a motorcycle on little river road was also struck by a falling tree and killed.

So, as we were saying, cleanup continues and they will continue working hard and making sure all of the visitors are accounted for this morning. Back to you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Stephanie Beecken thanks very much -- from our affiliate WATE, Smokey Mountain National Park.

I want to go over to Rob Marciano. He's live in the extreme weather center. I was just looking at that map behind you, as it was rolling through, and it almost looks as though Nashville and Huntsville look like they might get some of the effects from that storm.

How many other areas are being affected?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's weakened thankfully now, but there will be another flare up later on today. This is the radar from yesterday. And you just saw how intense it was. And you're right.

Knoxville back to the West, almost all the way to Nashville, it was a pretty large complex, not as big as the Derecho that hit a week ago, knocked out power from Illinois, all the way to Delaware. There's where the Smokey Mountain National Park is, and just this gorgeous country. So, you can imagine, RVs and tents. There's not a lot of places to hide when you got winds barreling through at 60, 70 miles an hour, toppling tall old growth trees. It's a dangerous situation.

Much more tranquil this morning. The complex drove down to the south. Obviously, the heat and humidity has built up. Once, you just get the ball rolling and things just explode in this sort of environment with temperatures at and over 100 degrees in many spots.

We expect thunderstorms today across this front which will eventually be on the move and drive down to the South and East slowly over the weekend, ushering in cooler Canadian air and more tranquil air. But until that, a hot, hot, more heat. Temperatures will be hot enough to have heat advisories and warnings again today.

Well over two dozen states again from south of Minneapolis to the Delmarva, dangerous heat expected today. Where those thunderstorms do pop up, again, they could be explosive because of the heat and humidity.

BANFIELD: Two dozen states still the extreme heat, it's just unbelievable. All right. Rob, thank you.

MARCIANO: OK, Ashleigh.

BALDWIN: The California Senate saying, we're not Arizona. They passed legislation that would shield undocumented immigrants from showing documents from local law enforcement, being named the anti- Arizona Immigration bill. Really, it's called the Trust Acts. Supporters say it protects from racial profiling that many alleged is happening with the crackdown in Arizona.\

Last week, you know the story, the U.S. Supreme Court, they upheld the so-called show me your papers, that was one section of that Arizona SB-1070.

BANFIELD: Reports today that Countrywide Financial issued hundreds of so-called VIP loans to members of Congress and other people on Capitol Hill. This according to a new report out from the House of Representatives. After a three-year investigation, the House Oversight Committee found that Countrywide was offering cheaper loans and other perks in exchange for help with its business on Capitol Hill. This investigation started back in 2009 after it was discovered that several high profile members of Congress were getting pretty good loans.

All of this during the subprime mortgage crisis, mind you. And you might remember, Countrywide was heavily involved in that crisis.

BALDWIN: Everyone's favorite mommy porn has been credited for reviving marriages and now, a culture expert is praising steamy and Ashleigh's favorite book.


BALDWIN: "Fifty Shades of Grey," the trilogy, could spark a baby boom, saying hey, not a difficult equation, more sex equals more pregnancies, equals more babies. We're going to hear more about that.

From that too, sharks, great white sharks baiting Cape Cod. Swimmers on high alert. Why the sharks are there this time of year. Cue the "Jaws" music and what to do if you spot one.

BANFIELD: Swim! Get away.

BALDWIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour on a Friday.


BANFIELD: Swimmers in Cape Cod on high alert after a pair of great white sharks were seen swimming just off the shore. All this coming just a week after three other sharks were spotted in the same area, marking the first official shark sightings of the summer.

No beaches have actually been closed at this point, but the local harbor master has issued a warning, telling swimmers to stay away from the area seals, which is kind of a funny thing. I'm not sure how often we go after those seals. But you know, everybody knows, seals are one of those favorite snacks for great white sharks.

So, with me now to talk about this is Greg Skomal, who's the senior fishery scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Greg, thanks for getting up early to talk about this.

It feels as though almost every year around the July 4th holiday that we start to get reports of the first shark sightings.

Is there such a thing as shark season? And is there any truth to the fact that this does seem to happen at this time of year?

GREG SKOMAL, SHARK SPECIALIST: Yes, Ashleigh. First of all, it's nice to be here. Good morning. It's beautiful day in New England. Yes. We do have a shark season here in New England as are waters warm during the summer months. The sharks show up as they migrate into our warmer waters. So, we do expect them every year. So, this is not an unusual behavior on their part.

BANFIELD: So, the harbor master, while not closing the actual beaches, has put out this warning, and I'll just read exactly what the harbor master of Chatham said, "At this time, the town of Chatham is not closing our east facing beaches to swimming in its entirety but simply suggesting that beach goers, mariners, and swimmers pay close attention to their surroundings while in the water and not to venture too far from shore."

I don't know how you swim carefully when there could be a great white. Can you explain that one to me?

SKOMAL: Well, we know that the white sharks are pretty much staying at a fairly small area. And they're in this area because of the robust gray seal population in that same area. So, we're really advising swimmers just to be cognizant of their surroundings. You know, we know the sharks are there to feed on the seals.

And we really encourage people not to get too close to these seals, certainly, not to swim close to these seals because their predators are close by.

BANFIELD: All right. So, is there any chance that -- well, I guess, the question should be not is there a chance the beach should be closed, but what would it take in order for the harbor master to suggest that the beaches should be closed and that there will be no swimming.

SKOMAL: You know, of course, it's the decision of the town, but I would imagine that if the sharks are approaching shore and consistently approaching shore and in particularly in areas where we have high densities of swimmers, I imagine the town is going to close those particular beaches.

BANFIELD: Now, I know that there's tagging and that many of the sharks have been tagged in the past. Have we got repeat offenders? Are these same sharks migrating and then returning and making repeat appearances?

SKOMAL: Yes. We live in an age where we have newer technologies that allow us to track individuals. And indeed, we're seeing sharks that we tag last year showing up again this year, which we kind of expect based on studies done in other parts of the world, but it's nice to see it happen here. So, these particular sharks learn that the cafe is open and decide they want to come back to it each year.

BANFIELD: All right. So, this is the crazy question. I remember when "Jaws" came out in 1975, we all talk about what would happen, what do you do if you find yourself in a precarious situation? Is there a way to fend off a shark attack and I remember some of the experts saying, hit the nose of the shark. Is that truly what you try to do?

SKOMAL: I imagine that if a shark does attack a person, the person is going to react simply by lashing back. And certainly, that's what I would recommend. I think the best thing to do is try to avoid attacks. So, you know, use common sense when you get into the open ocean. That's the bottom line here.

And those eastward facing beaches of Cape Cod is the open Atlantic. So, you're not only want to be concerned about the presence of seals and sharks, but I would think about rip tides and currents, and you know, when you get out of the water, you know, sunburns. So, just, you know, common sense when you go to the beach.

BANFIELD: I'm with you on that. Don't get into the situation where you have to fight the shark. Try to be preventative to start with. Greg Skomal, good to see you. Thanks so much. Really appreciate the info.

SKOMAL: My pleasure.

BALDWIN: All right. Let's check in with Soledad O'Brien. She is live from the big easy. I know it's one of her favorite cities for a look ahead at what's coming up on "Starting Point." Soledad, good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, "STARTING POINT": Hey, good morning to you. This morning, we're live from the Ruby Slipper Cafe here in downtown New Orleans. A lot to talk about for the Essence Music Festival. They've been spotlighting R&B last night was about recognizing young talent, young rising stars in the music scene.

The rest of the weekend is going to focus on some of the veterans, some of the folks we've had a chance or will have a chance to hear, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Rosen, Mary J. Blige. Also, Trey Songz is performing.

This morning, we've got an all-star guests lineup joining us, including comedian, Jay Thomas, who is sitting right there next to me, also, singer and actress -- no, I'm on the air -- Vanessa Williams.


O'BRIEN: The New Orleans mayor, Mitch Landrieu, will be our guest as well and Louisiana congressman, Bill Cassidy is our guest, as well. Also, some breaking news we're going to talk about the health of the economy, the coming back to life of crucial jobs report is coming out today. We'll break down some of those numbers for you as President Obama and Mitt Romney's camps are standing by ready to respond.

Don't forget, you can follow us on your computer, on your mobile phone, while you are at work, go to And we will see you right at the top of the hour as "Starting Point" takes place in New Orleans today. If you're anywhere nearby, if you haven't gone to bed yet, want to roll in and coming --



O'BRIEN: -- this morning.


BANFIELD: All right. Thank you, Solie.


BANFIELD: So, the computer virus you've been hearing about that could actually take you down if you're an Internet surfer, how do you make sure this does not happen to you? Because rest assured, it's coming, my friend.

BALDWIN: Monday.

BANFIELD: You can do something about it. We'll give you the tips in a moment.


BANFIELD: Fifty-three minutes now past the hour. It's time to get you updated on the top stories.


BANFIELD (voice-over): And in just less than two hours, we've got some critical numbers that are coming up. The labor department releasing the June jobs report. Yay! It's July. It could play a pivotal role in the race for the presidency, too, because the economists surveyed by predict that 95,000 new jobs were added to the roster last month, and they're expecting that the unemployment rate, however, despite those increases could actually stay at 8.2 percent.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Construction workers and college students will be on hand as President Obama is going to sign the student loan and road building bill today. The new law will prevent those interest rate increases, and a lot of people have been waiting for that, just about hit the deadline there on those college loans.

The bill also allows a $100 billion to be spent on highway, on mass transit, another transportation projects over the course of the next two years. Both sides agreeing that it is critical to creating jobs in this country.

BANFIELD: Hillary Clinton in Paris right now meeting with diplomats from 60 different nations at the official friends of Syria meeting. The nations are expected to call for the Syrian regime to suffer consequences for the bloody crackdown that claimed the lives of thousands. The opposition says nine more people were killed in Syria today alone.

BALDWIN: All Internet service could be wiped out on Monday. Seems like a nasty virus has found its way on computers worldwide. That happened late last year. And what it's supposed to do is steal your personal, steal your financial information.

The FBI will be turning off the hacker's servers Monday, but it will cause all victims to lose Internet service without warning. So, a big head's up to all of us to see if your computer is infected. Here is the URL that you definitely check out to see if this is going to happen for you on Monday.

BANFIELD: And don't forger, do that with all of you computers. If you have a couple of them around the house, one at work, your laptop, make sure you check things out.


BANFIELD: Still ahead, one of our favorite parts of the day, the "Best Advice," where we give you best advice from big famous people, and this one coming from Amy Winehouse's father, but you won't believe what his advice is. It's very odd. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just about a minute away from Soledad live in New Orleans on "STARTING POINT." But for now, this is how you normally wrap up this show, right, with some good advice.

BANFIELD: In fact, the best you can find. Our "Best Advice" today comes from Mitch Winehouse who is a taxi driver and the father of the late Amy Winehouse. We asked him what his advice would be, what's the best advice he ever got. Take a look.


MITCH WINEHOUSE, AMY WINEHOUSE'S FATHER: When in the U.S.A., always drive on the right-hand side.


BALDWIN: Drive on the right-hand side of the road, he says.

BANFIELD: Short and sweet. Now, there's a reason he might have been short and sweet, because he really has come up with quite a book about his daughter who's --

BALDWIN: "Amy, My Daughter."

BANFIELD: Yes. "Amy and My Daughter" who suffered alcohol, poisoning (ph), and died almost a year ago, in fact. The book has a lot in it. Perhaps, that's why he's keeping his advice on TV short.

BALDWIN: Keeping it light.


BANFIELD: Read the book instead. Hey, it's been great having you here.

BALDWIN: Thanks for having me in New York.

BANFIELD: Thanks for coming up.

BALDWIN: Back on my normal schedule --

BANFIELD: Schedule.


BALDWIN: Back to the normal schedule next week, two o'clock eastern.

BANFIELD: So, today, we were, obviously, instead of saying the news from "A" to "Z," saying the news from "A" to "B."

BALDWIN: "A" to "B."

BANFIELD: Joking that it was then (ph), but it was great newscast. Great to have her here for the week. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

BALDWIN: Thanks for having me. You're wonderful to work next to.

BANFIELD: Anytime. Anytime.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" live in New Orleans starts right now.

BANFIELD: Have a great weekend!