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Train Crashes Carrying Chemicals; House Voting to Repeal Health Care Reforms; Plea Deal In pentagon Bomb Lot; U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Bans Two Doctors And Trainer; High Temperatures Expected to Continue; Economic Recovery Struggling; Florida Man Loses Arm in Animal Attack

Aired July 11, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: Fire raging right now after a freight train crashes in Columbus, Ohio.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Repealing health care. The House votes in a matter of hours. But it won't make much of a difference.

BANFIELD: And hot pursuit. A police chase ending in dramatic fashion. That suspect's car plunging off of the freeway and you will not believe what he said his reason for doing this was. You'll find out all about it in a moment.

It is right at the top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START.

Nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

VELSHI: And I'm Ali Velshi. Zoraida Sambolin is off today.

It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BANFIELD: And we begin with this breaking news.

Hazmat crews at the scene of this spectacular fire. It's raging in Ohio right now after a train that was pulling several tankers derailed just before 2:00 this morning Eastern Time.

This was an accident that happened in the north end of Columbus. Flames can be seen apparently for miles. Witnesses are reporting in that they could see this a long way off.

Christine Romans has been monitoring the fire and ensuing issues that will come with it. She joins us now live with the story.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And, you know, residents were also saying they could feel it and they could hear it for miles away, 100 cars on this train, four or five of them, looks like they derailed. And four or five of those were hauling tankers of chemicals.

Police say possibly sulfur. A local media report saying that four or five of these are burning, raging here. In fact, it is so intense the flames, they're trying to get a look aboveground,.

They're trying to bring in air support to see exactly what's happening before they send in the hazmat crews. They have been sent to the scene.

These are live pictures you can see from WBNS. Live right now you can see the scene. Evacuations have been ordered for anyone within one mile. This is the Weinland Park area.

Again, this is Columbus, Ohio.

No word what caused the derailment. We know it was 100 cars on this train. Roughly four or five of them derailed. No injuries reported.

But, you know, you can see from our shot here, it looks as though there are homes there. This is a populated area. A little bit industrial around there. Explosion could be felt and, again, seen for miles.

And folks have said there is a one-mile radius evacuation of this zone. This happened right around, I think, just before 2:00 a.m. So, you've got a couple hours, three hours here of these raging flames as they try to get this chemical, looks like chemical fire, under control outside of Columbus.

BANFIELD: Wow. Obviously, good thing that we've at least got a few hours before any kind of rush hour commute if they're shutting down that much of a radius.

They're certain they know what those chemicals are yet?

ROMANS: Look, they know there are chemicals on some of these cars. They think now, it could be sulfur. There are exhaustive records for things like this.

VELSHI: First reports, initial reports came in and said gasoline which I think that might have been a guess based on what was on fire.

ROMANS: They're bringing in air support, right? They've got such a jumbled scene there and such high flames, hundreds of feet into the air. They're trying to get a real sense of which cars are off, what those cars look like, what could be burning, what kind of reaction could be happening. And then they're sending in the hazmat teams to make sure they can try to contain it.

VELSHI: If it's fluid, where is it going, what do they need to do in terms of protecting water supply?

BANFIELD: We have these heat waves going through the Midwest as well. So, who knows what the fire conditions are like in the surrounding area at this point.

It looks like they've got it really localized into that one spot. But obviously that would be --

BANFIELD: We've had a break in the heat the last couple of days, too. That's actually good for fire crews who will be in here.

VELSHI: We'll keep on top of that, Christine. Thanks very much.

All right. Another dog and pony show about to unfold on Capitol Hill. The Republican controlled House preparing to vote this afternoon to repeal President Obama's health care overhaul. This is mostly symbolic and meaningless, purely politics, because in an election year, it's about the talking points.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time for Washington to see its job as encouraging small business, not crushing it. And so I look at Obamacare, for instance, I'd get rid of it. Turn back to a setting where the states are able to care for their own people in the way they think best.


VELSHI: Athena Jones is live from Washington. Good morning, Athena.

What on earth are Republicans hoping to accomplish with this vote that has no chance of passing?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Ali. Of course, as you mentioned, it is all about talking points.

Republicans want to fire up their base. There are a lot of Republican voters who don't like this health care law. Despite what the Supreme Court has said.

You might remember that right after the ruling, within hours of the ruling, they already had scheduled today as a day to take this vote. It's going to be the 33rd vote to try to take some sort of action to defund or dismantle all or part of this health care law.

So, this is really a way to keep -- keep the Democrats having to publicly support this and to drive up public opposition to a law that isn't really polling well. It's likely to pass the House, but it's not going to get anywhere in the Senate, Ali.

VELSHI: What happens after this vote fails?

JONES: Well, it's likely to pass the House. I mean, Republicans control the House. They may even get a few Democrats to support it, people who are under pressure in their districts to come over to the Republican side.

But, you know, the Senate as you know is controlled by Democrats. It's not going to go anywhere there. Even if by some miracle it were to somehow pass the Senate, the president certainly will not sign it. He would veto it.

So this is really an attempt to get everyone revved up to keep this as a hot topic. It's been a hot topic, as you know, since the whole debate over the law and since the law was signed. You know, the Tea Party and the death panels and all those events of that summer. So, they're keeping it on the front burner for their Republican base.

VELSHI: I hope voters get smart to this nonsense of keeping things on the front burner by holding votes that are supposed to fail versus engaging in partisan discussion to actually solve problems. I hope that people take note of the people who hold these votes and hold them to account during the election.

You know what else, Athena? I hope I grow hair. I think the likelihood of both of those things happening is extremely small.

Good to see you, however. And we'll talk to you again later this morning.

Athena Jones in Washington.

JONES: Good to see you. Thanks.

VELSHI: Such a waste of time. Such a waste of time. It's the very stuff that angers people about politics.

BANFIELD: Yes. Frustration, energy.

VELSHI: Put your energies towards getting something done.

BANFIELD: I hear you. Sing it, Ali.

VELSHI: I'm late to the game voicing what Americans have been voicing. They'll take it to the polls with them.

BANFIELD: Why are they at 79 percent disapproval rating in Congress these days? This may be one of the reasons. Dog and pony show.

At 6:30 we're going to continue this, right?

VELSHI: Yes. We're going to have another conversation about health care with Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth of New York. She is, by the way, the only female physician in Congress.

So, I think she's going to have some particular insight into health care.

For continuing coverage of the health care debate keep it on CNN. Monitor throughout the day.

BANFIELD: I'm going to get Ali off the ledge and switch gears for a moment here, six minutes now past 5:00.

Banned for life. This does not bode well for Lance Armstrong, this story. Three of Lance Armstrong's closest cycling advisers, two doctors and a trainer have received what's really considered to be the death penalty in sports from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. They were all associated with Lance Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service cycling team. The agency says they were trafficking in performance- enhancing drugs during all or part of Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories.

Now, Armstrong himself is not part of that. But he is fighting charges as well that he used banned drugs.

He filed a lawsuit. It was dismissed. He went ahead and refiled that lawsuit in a flash, really. All within a matter of days, a lawsuit against the Anti-Doping Agency to try to help keep their case from going forward.

But stay tuned to this space because it may be dismissed again. It may go forward.

VELSHI: You know, there's been Anti-Doping Agency news almost every day. One might start to wonder whether they are on a performance enhancing drug.

BANFIELD: That's good point.

VELSHI: It is not stopping.

BANFIELD: Listen, the controversy is raging. This guy has gone through hundreds of tests. He's cleared hundreds of tests. He wants people to know, this could also just be really bad press.

VELSHI: Yes. He's refiled it. We'll follow it closely.

Hey, trucks aren't meant to fly. Doesn't mean they can't. After leading police on a high-speed chase check this out. Kip Arnold, an L.A. unified schoolteacher, launched his truck in a suspected suicide attempt.

He was accused of unlawful sexually activity with a minor. He's been under surveillance by authorities. Arnold was taken into custody and transported to the hospital for evaluation. The district attorney will review the case to determine what charges, if any, are going to be filed.

BANFIELD: And let me guess. A defense attorney is looking into the competency issue at this very moment.


BANFIELD: All right. The World Health Organization may now actually have the answer. They say they know what caused that mysterious illness that killed more than 60 children in Cambodia. Their conclusion is this: it's a combination of pathogens, including that much discussed enterovirus 71.

But there's this part of the equation: steroids. Doctors who used steroids which can suppress the immune system, that apparently worsened the illness in the majority of these patients, hastening their deaths.

Those deaths triggered a lot of fears among travelers and just people worldwide concerned about this collection of deaths. In the next hour of EARLY START, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has gone to Cambodia to investigate this, is going to join us live with some of his findings.

VELSHI: He's there, right?

BANFIELD: He is. He is live for a couple days. He's been in what he's called "24 hours of hell" where these kids have died within 24 hour of contracting the disease.

VELSHI: It really is something. All right. We'll have that from him.

Hey, developing this morning, a mystery odor is sickening a flight crew. It forced an emergency landing. U.S. Airways flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Rome, was diverted to Philadelphia last night after the flight attendants told the captain they were feeling sick and smelled something strange.

An airline spokesperson says five crew members were hospitalized and released. Passengers were evacuated and put on another flight. No passengers fell ill. Just the flight attendants. Very, very interesting.

We still don't have any word on what caused the odor or what it smelled like. We'll stay on top of that.

BANFIELD: Hey, Ali, you know, the champagne hot air balloon trip you keep promising to take me on?

VELSHI: Yes, indeed.

BANFIELD: We're not going.


BANFIELD: Look at this video.


BANFIELD: Yes, yes.

VELSHI: You know what? It feels a lot less worse with a lot of champagne in you.

BANFIELD: Yes, that's a dry heat. You can see.

VELSHI: The dry heat.

BANFIELD: So, this video is of the hard landing in Arizona that these passengers in a hot air balloon took. It was a news chopper on its way home just spotted this. Sort of like lucky breaking news for them. They watched this as it fell in an Indian reservation field not too far from Scottsdale, Arizona.

The reporter says the high winds were dragging this basket through a field about 900 feet.

So obviously the reporter thinking, gosh, this could be a tragedy we're covering. Found out, no, not so. Five people who were in that balloon basket walked away. No injuries.

VELSHI: Just dusty as hell.

BANFIELD: Very dirty. And having to do some 'splainin' to the guy who owns the balloon, I suppose.


BANFIELD: Don't know what caused it, but good thing that they are OK.

Apparently the corn though down below --

VELSHI: No, not so good.

BANFIELD: -- seriously messed up.

VELSHI: Glad everybody's safe in that one.

It is hot in some places in the country, though. Excessive heat warnings in effect all day today in southern California after the mercury hit, are you sitting down? A hundred and nineteen degrees. You're seeing 115 on that thermometer there. But it got up to 119 yesterday in Palm Springs.

Highs today could hit 121, the low in the 90s.

Rob Marciano is back.

Rob, what's going on?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Morning, guys. It's simple. The heat that was across the eastern third of the country the last two weeks has shifted to the West.

So, enjoy the reprieve for those who live east of the Mississippi. You've got it. The folks in the desert southwest and quite frankly the Northwest as well enduring some heat, in some cases record breaking.

Believe it or not, the 119 in Palm Spring was not a record. So, we don't have it on the list.

Thermal, California -- appropriately named -- 117. Vegas got to 114.

Yes. It's a dry heat sort of, kind of. But we actually get a little bit of humidity in July and August.

But for the most part it's nothing like what we see out east. But still, you're talking actual temperatures of 110, 115, 120. So, that's what it feels like when we have the humidity and temperatures around 95, 100, which is what we had the eastern third of the country last week.

So, 112 expected in Vegas. And the Pacific Northwest as well is going to be king of toasty in places like Medford and Pendleton, would be close to 100. But meanwhile a cool 87 degrees, my goodness, three- piece suit or down jacket in New York City, 83 degrees today. Enjoy that.

BANFIELD: A down jacket? Dude, you've been gone a long time.

MARCIANO: I don't know. You know, a shock to the system after the 100s.

VELSHI: I do think there was a little bit of dig involved in that three piece suit thing. But whatever.


VELSHI: Nice to have you back, too, Rob.

MARCIANO: Good to see you, Ali.

BANFIELD: Nice tie, Rob.

VELSHI: Excellent tie. Invisible kind.

BANFIELD: We'll check in with you a little bit, Rob. Thank you very much.

MARCIANO: All right.

BANFIELD: Hey, by the way, we started this program with breaking news. We're continuing to follow the breaking news. It's in Ohio.

These are live pictures this morning. That is not a good sight when you're talking about a train, tracks and also a commute that's only a few hours away.

We are watching this because there are chemicals onboard that train. The latest from the authorities in Ohio, just how dangerous this could be, and whether they got a handle on it -- coming up.


VELSHI: Breaking news we are following out of Columbus, Ohio.

Hazmat crews at the scene of a trail derailment and fire you can see burning now. Police say a train pulling several tankers possibly containing chemicals, maybe fuel, jumped the tracks just before 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time, about three hours ago.

The accident happened in the north end of Columbus, Ohio. Anyone living within a mile of the accident has been ordered to evacuate. There are air crews now taking a look at what they think is going on and how best to tackle it. Police say some of the tankers were hauling chemicals, about 100 cars on that train. A few of them have derailed.

One of the -- some of the speculation is that there may be sulfur on that train. Residents reported seeing and feeling an explosion from miles away. We'll keep an eye on that very closely.

BANFIELD: The fight to keep Mississippi's only abortion clinic open could come to a real head today. Because a judge is expected to rule on a challenge to a new state law that requires the clinic's doctors who perform there be board certified as OB/GYNs but then also have hospital admitting privileges. That's a key. Hospital admitting privileges.

A lot of the doctors travel in to actually work at that clinic so they don't have those privileges.

The sponsors of the law say this is just a safety issue, plain and simple. Need to make sure anybody going in there is going to be OK and the doctor can go with them to the hospital if need be.

But the opponents say not about safety at all. It's about making sure that through technicalities they can shut down that clinic.

CNN's David Mattingly is live. He's outside the federal courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi.

So, David, the arguments could be heard as well today, possibly a decision. But what's critical here is that this affects a massive area, because it is the only clinic in that state.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The stakes couldn't be higher right now for what is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. If it closes, then the thousands of patients it sees every year could have to go out of state, over a couple of hundred miles to other clinics outside the state lines.

So, indeed, there is a lot of people watching today even here and around the country to se how this federal court steps into this issue.

But right now, there are three doctors performing abortions at that clinic. Two of them it -- two of them do not have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The clinic says if this law is allowed to stand, they will have to close down.

Others are saying that this is about patient health. They're looking after the health and safety of the women who go there for abortions.

But at the same time, there's a very clear political agenda. The politicians here have made the court -- given the court reason to believe that might be going on. The governor himself, Governor Phil Bryant has campaigned saying his goal is an abortion-free Mississippi.

When he signed this law into effect earlier this year, he said it was the first step toward that goal of an abortion-free Mississippi.

So a clear political agenda here. You know the court's going to be looking at all of that. But regardless of what happens today, you don't have to be a legal scholar to know that this is just the first step in the federal court system. There will be obviously inevitable appeals to whatever happens today.

Opponents to abortion are looking at this as another opportunity, perhaps, to overturn Roe v. Wade.

BANFIELD: David Mattingly, live in Jackson, Mississippi -- stay on it, if you will. We'll touch base with you a little later on this program. Thank you.

VELSHI: All right. Twenty minutes after the hour.

Let's get you up to date on what's going on in the news. Christine Romans is here with this morning's top stories.

Good morning, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning you two.

House Republicans planning a mostly symbolic and meaningless vote this afternoon to repeal the president's health care reforms. This measure has virtually no chance of getting through the Senate or past the president. The White House criticizing Republican leaders for refighting old political battles.

Penn State University's former president says he was never informed of any incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described sexual abuse or criminal behavior. That's according to Graham Spanier's lawyers. Spanier met last Friday with investigators for former FBI director Louis Freeh. Freeh was hired by the university and is expected to release the findings of his investigation tomorrow.

Egyptians returning to Tahrir Square in force to protest a ruling by the country's Supreme Court to dissolve parliament. Massive crowds reminiscent of the people's revolution last year. The Muslim Brotherhood has called for a million man march to support the decision by newly elected President Mohamed Morsi to recall the assembly in defiance of Egypt's military and judiciary.

VELSHI: That is just -- the good part about that story is as it's unfolding in a legal sense. They were challenging everybody else. There was a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square last night. There's no battles in the streets. That's the good part.

ROMANS: Bumpy early days of democracy.

VELSHI: That is exactly right.

BANFIELD: But imagine going to work as a parliamentarian and having to cross through SWAT teams. It's weird.

VELSHI: Yes. It's a tough one.

All right. As more American jobs are being outsourced to other countries, both candidates for president are trying to paint the other as the outsourcer in chief. Christine takes a look at those claims coming up.

It's 22 minutes after the hour. You are watching EARLY START on CNN.


VELSHI: Minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are trading higher, actually. European markets, however, are down. A lot of concern about slowing growth in the world and what is weighing down these corporate earnings. We're in earnings period.

BANFIELD: Christine Romans, who's the expert -- so is Ali. Both of them have been talking through the commercial break. I can't get a word in edgewise. I'll be honest with you.

Let's outsourcer in chief. That seems to be a real common campaign refrain. But they're both saying it.

ROMANS: You know what? They're both trying -- they're both trying to paint the other one as the outsourcer in chief. It's really fabulously interesting, because for me having covered outsourcing for all these years I don't see much difference between the policies of these two men on outsourcing. Both of them over the years have sort of towed the Wall Street corporate America line that jobs going overseas is just the way it goes and new jobs will come in their place. Better jobs. Except guess what? New better jobs, we had a big recession, didn't come.

I want you to listen to what Mitt Romney said about the president yesterday.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If there's an outsourcer in chief, it's the president of the United States. Not the guy who's running to replace him.


BANFIELD: Of course, the RNC, you know, laid out or unveiled a big website yesterday trying to say the stimulus money has gone to outsourcing jobs to overseas markets.

Look, let's be clear. Both of these men have worked in -- I mean, the first -- the president, it was the biggest recipient of Wall Street cash ever, you know? Then, not now. Romney back in 2005 have made some comments about -- and since then made comments about, look, this is the way things go.

You want to get rid of some of these jobs and other, better jobs will come in their place.

BANFIELD: Natural cycle.

ROMANS: I want you to listen to something. The president is saying -- he unveiled an ad yesterday saying I'm the in-sourcer, he's the outsourcer.

I want you to listen to a piece of sound from the president in 2009 when he was asked point-blank by a woman at a town hall, when are you bringing these jobs home? These out sourced jobs home? Listen to what he said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not all of these jobs are going to come back. And it probably wouldn't be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there's no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs. At least in order to be competitive in an international setting. So what we've got to do is create new jobs that can't be outsourced.


ROMANS: So, you see that nuance position about outsourcing just a couple of years ago. That's sort of the corporate America position right there you're hearing, right, Ali?


ROMANS: The jobs, the low hanging fruit is going overseas. Although people who used to make a living from that, quote-unquote, "low hanging fruit" are saying bring my jobs back.

On the political campaign trail you're hearing both of them saying I'm the one who's going to bring your jobs back.

Both -- I would say both of them have had similar positions over the years.

BANFIELD: You're going to do a lot of this on "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" this weekend?

ROMANS: A lot of this. I'm going to hold both of these guys accountable for what they have done or not done to bring jobs home.

VELSHI: It's going to be a good conversation.

ROMANS: Absolutely. I'm going to hold -- both of these guys accountable and what they have done or not done to bring jobs home.

VELSHI: Both of their parties have also done this. This has happened under both Republicans and Democrats.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

BANFIELD: Saturday 9:30 Eastern. Christine Romans, can't get enough of her. Six days a week. Seven days -- making a hit on Sundays as well. Thanks, Christine.

It's 27 minutes past 5:00. We're watching that breaking news in Ohio. Live pictures we've been showing you. It is still burning, folks. It doesn't look like it's going down any time soon.

Pan off to the left and right back again. See at least that fire is contained. We'll get you the update as to what they know about the chemicals onboard that derailed train.



ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): All right. If you're just waking up, we've got breaking news. Take a look at an inferno after a freight train crash and derailment in a Columbus, Ohio neighborhood.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): House Republicans fiery as well. They're voting to repeal President Obama's healthcare law today. And here's the catch. They know full well there's not a whole lot of a legislative point to doing this.

VELSHI: But boy, it's an important thing to do today, isn't it?

A Florida teen talks about his fight to survive after being attacked by an alligator.


VELSHI: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Ali Velshi in for Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Hi, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's 31 minutes now past the hour.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

VELSHI: OK. That breaking news we've been covering since the beginning of the show, hazmat crews are at the scene of a spectacular fire in Ohio where a train pulling several tankers derailed just before 2:00 a.m. These are live pictures from our affiliate, WBNS. The accident happened in the north end of Columbus. The flames can be seen for miles.

Christine Romans has been monitoring this fire. What are the latest developments, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The latest is it's still burning. Four or five different cars here derailed out of a train of nearly 100 cars. There was some sort of an explosion, an explosion that was seen and felt quite far away. And we know that these tankers were hauling chemicals. Police say possibly sulfur. There were some early reports it was gasoline. We're going to find out exactly what kind of chemicals, but clearly an explosion there. Fire officials have called for air support to figure out what's burning and where exactly the intensity of the fire is concentrated. And the hazmat teams have been called to the scene here. But, again, they're getting air support to figure out exactly how to most safely attack the flames here.

Now, an evacuation has been ordered for anyone within a mile of this. This is the Wineland park area. Again, this is Columbus, Ohio. A very early morning tanker car derailment, an explosion, a huge fire. You've got flames hundred of feet in the air. No word yet on what caused this derailment. I can tell you this morning at this hour, no injuries have been reported.

But, again, hazmat teams, fire officials, air support trying to as safely as possible contain this blaze and then figure out exactly how to clean it up and what it was, guys. So, we're watching this, again, outside of Columbus.

BANFIELD: Good those flames are contained, though. They haven't spread, especially with all the hot, dry weather that we've been having lately in the Midwest.

VELSHI: But still, three and a half hours into this thing, and that's still quite a fire.

ROMANS: Chemical fires are very tricky, you know, especially when you've got a train of some 100 different chemicals. They have very, very detailed records on cargo trains like this. They'll know -- Hazmat teams, once they figure out how the different cars are situated --

VELSHI: Well, how it's configured. What's next to the one? So, this might be gasoline, but there might be sulfur in the next one.

ROMANS: Exactly. They've got to be very careful about how they proceed here. So, they're watching these flames trying to figure out how to get in there, the hazmat teams, and put them out.

BANFIELD: OK. As we continue to watch that live breaking news, we have other news that's developing as well. Millions of Americans who are desperate for jobs and that end to the Bush era tax cuts is close to expiring. So, what's the House going to be working on today?

VELSHI: Not that.

BANFIELD: Not that, no. Ali's got it down. Instead, they're going to be looking to repeal the president's healthcare reforms. The one the Supreme Court just ruled were law, legal, law of the land. This really is pure politics. You might say a meaningless exercise, because ain't no way it's going to pass anything but the House once it gets to the Senate, dead in the water.

They just don't have the votes there, but don't tell the Republicans that, because they say this is an effort to get a message out. And that this is a message that Americans need to hear if you ask the Republicans. Everybody has an opinion about this one. Athena Jones has been covering this story for us.

All right, Athena. I ran out of fingers a long time ago counting how many times this has come to a vote, because I think today is number 31. For Americans, it's very frustrating, but for those who put this forward, they do have a point.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. They're trying to rev up their base. We got an e-mail from the GOP whip in the House yesterday and said that today's vote would be the 33rd floor vote to do something to dismantle or defund or somehow affect this law that they call Obamacare, the one that the Supreme Court just upheld.

You know, this has been a point of contention since the very beginning. Republicans and Democrats have been fighting over this since the very beginning. And they continued that yesterday. Let's listen to a little bit of what they had to say in the House.


REP. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Having now had 30 different debates on this floor over repeal of the healthcare bill that House Republicans have finally hit their boil the bunny moment. Enough is enough.

REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: Today, life imitates art. We now have another boss in our midst. I call this boss, Obamacare. Repeal Obamacare. Let's get rid of the boss once and for all.


JONES: So, there you have it. Some of the heated language back and forth. We can certainly expect to see more of that. But as you mentioned, whatever happens in the House, this is not going anywhere past the House, but it is a way to keep this issue in the spotlight, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: You call it heated. I call it histrionics when you see boss hog on a big, you know, stand-up placard. So, here's a thing, Athena. In the "New York Times" the other day, the reporters said that a top Republican consultant who wanted to remain anonymous said any time the Republicans are talking about jobs or the economy, we're winning.

Any time the Democrats are talking about healthcare, they're winning. So, with that in mind, the conversation on the floor of the House today, how do you think the Republicans are going to be able to switch that from all about health to all about money?

JONES: Well, I think that they do try to combine the two. I mean, they think of this law -- they've talked a lot about this idea that the mandate is a tax now that the Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional using the idea that the mandate is a tax, this penalty that people would have to pay for not getting insurance. So, they're trying to tie them both together. Certainly, the Republicans feel this is a winning issue for them. And they're going to have to force Democrats to come out and continue to publicly defend it, even though the law as a whole still doesn't poll all that strongly. Parts of it do. So, they clearly think this is a winner for them certainly in terms of riling up their base, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Athena Jones in Washington for us, thank you so much for that.

Also, by the way, in the next hour, I should remind our viewers, Athena, that we're going to discover -- we're going to also continue to cover the healthcare vote with Republican congresswoman, Nan Hayworth of New York, the only female physician in Congress.

Interesting to have her take on this for continuing coverage of healthcare debate. Make sure to keep it right here on and CNN, too.

VELSHI: There's an economic storm brewing. It's coming upon us. We could go either way. Every day, we get economic reports that say things are better or worse. And there are a couple things Congress can do to fix this. You know, there's a sequestration across the board budget cuts that have to be dealt with.

There's going to be a budget that we have to deal with. There's the tax cuts that are coming at the end of the year. There's a debt ceiling problem.

BANFIELD: You think any of this is going to happen before November?

VELSHI: They were talking about this? I mean --

BANFIELD: Four months to election, you can't possibly do something that would --


VELSHI: -- but there is something wrong with the economy. And congress can help avoid this recession from becoming a reality. It's all over Europe. It's slowing down Asia. Make your own choices. We'll talk about it later, I guess.

BANFIELD: Might be a bigger issue that we're constantly in a state of campaign in this country.

VELSHI: Now, for this young man, we're going to talk about, there is one bigger issue than the failing economy. A Florida teenager who lost an arm, but he did not lose his life in a vicious alligator attack. Seventeen-year-old Kaleb Langdale was swimming with his friends on Monday on a river in Moore Haven, Florida, when he suddenly came face to snout with a ten-foot gator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KALEB LANGDALE, LOST ARM IN ALLIGATOR ATTACK: Well, he started pulling me down, and I knew it's either -- I've got to lose this arm or I'm going to die.


VELSHI: That's some quick thinking there. I'm going to lose this arm or I'm going to die. Wildlife officials were able to track down the gator, kill it, and retrieve Kaleb's arm. Unfortunately, it was too severely damaged to be saved and reattach.

BANFIELD: All right. This is one that will shock you. This story is just so distressing. A woman who left her mentally disabled daughter on the side of the road and then just simply took off. This is a story coming to us from Tennessee this morning.

Police say the mother simply didn't want to care for her 19-year- old special needs daughter anymore and left her outside of a bar, a bar, and then went home to Illinois. Police say they didn't know her age. They didn't know her address. They didn't know her phone number. She didn't even know her own name.

Our affiliate, WVLT, spoke with the mother who says it was all just a big misunderstanding and that she really had the best intentions.


VOICE OF EVA CAMERON, ABANDONED DAUGHTER: When I didn't get the help I need from Illinois, somebody at the church said why don't you go down to Tennessee. They have a good healthcare system. Then her ID card got lost, and then she became a Jane Doe. It wasn't supposed to happen that way.


BANFIELD: Yes. It's not usually supposed to happen outside of a bar, either. Police say as terrible as this story is, there is really just very little that they can do. And the woman is not going to be charged with this.

The reporter who interviewed the mother, John Traynor (ph) of WVLT, will be here live at 8:30 this morning on "Starting Point" to tell us more about this story. Nineteen years old. It's a bit hard to make the case of child endangerment.

VELSHI: Right, right.

BANFIELD: Certainly you can't. Neglect, again, not a child. This is an adult, but a special needs adult.

VELSHI: I did not know that the same sort of protections don't extend to special needs adults.

BANFIELD: Honestly, it depends on the state and depends on the level of care. VELSHI: Yes.

BANFIELD: And if you're deemed to be -- it's a really tricky situation legally.

VELSHI: All right. Well, I'll look forward to that discussion.

Hey, Hillary Clinton's travel schedule may be catching up to her. The secretary of state has visited France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, and Vietnam in the last five days. But during the speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi yesterday, the secretary was forced to cut things short because she had a coughing fit.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: So, we've come a long way in a short period of time (COUGHING) and that is (COUGHING) excuse me (COUGHING) what economic state -- is all about. (COUGHING). So, we want to hear from all of you about what more we can do together. And at the risk of coughing any longer, I just want to say thank you and let's get to work.



VELSHI: That happens to me, too, when you get on planes a lot, and it's just dry and not getting enough sleep.

BANFIELD: Just nothing worse than when you're just, you know, right in front of a bunch of people and on television, cameras rolling. Yes, yes.

VELSHI: And she doesn't have a co-anchor.

BANFIELD: Yes. There's that.

VELSHI: The state department says she's just fine. She heads to Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, and Israel all in the next week. So, things aren't slowing down for her all that much in the next few days.

BANFIELD: I hope there's a cot onboard that flight that she's on.

All right. So, first, the CDC released the zombie apocalypse survival guide, and now, health officials are making sure that bridezillas don't kill you. I am not kidding here. I'm really not kidding. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has put up a tongue in cheek blog. Let's remind you. The tongue and cheek blog this week with a wedding season survival guide.

Joking that planning for a wedding isn't that much different than planning for a disaster. The center's tips include keeping a kit stocked with safety pins and sedatives and being supportive of stressed out brides. It also says keep an eye on the sky, because, quote, "just like you know the risks of putting feuding family members in one room, you should also know to check the weather report."

VELSHI: Yes. This one got by me. But you know what's funnier than this? All this video we were just running, did you see that? Everybody's faces were blurred out.



VELSHI: Is our only video of weddings, weddings of felons?

BANFIELD: You think we're going to run a bridezilla story and show --

VELSHI: Oh, that's what is. We don't want to --

BANFIELD: Do you think your wife would appreciate that?

VELSHI: I thought they were all felons. I didn't --

BANFIELD: You are adorable.

VELSHI: One of team USA's biggest soccer stars tests positive for a banned substance. Coming up, Hope Solo's explanations and what officials plan to do about it. You're watching EARLY START. Forty- four minutes after the hour right here on CNN.


BANFIELD: There's some breaking news for you out of Ohio. Hazmat crews are on the scene of this derailment and fire not far from Columbus, Ohio. In fact, it happened just before two o'clock in the morning eastern time. Several tankers in a train with about 100 cars, about four to five of them derailed. But they were carrying chemicals.

At this point, they think it might be sulfur. But the explosion was loud and it was high. These are live pictures. You can see the camera scanning around just to see, you know, what is in the vicinity. The good thing you're not seeing is any other flames. So, clearly, these flames haven't been able to hopscotch and jump anywhere in these hot, dry conditions in the Midwest after the heat wave.

But, this is a dangerous situation, and there's been a very large radius that's been cordoned off while hazmat crews and also air support try to get a handle on just how bad this is. And this has been burning pretty significantly for a couple of hours now. So, again, it is thought sulfur at this point.

But, there are, of course, the issues of other cars and tankers in that very long train and what's inside those other tankers in that train. So, we'll continue to watch this for you. Hazmat crews on the scene, as we said, at this time. And we'll bring you any developments.

VELSHI: A plea deal has been reached in the case of a Massachusetts man who allegedly plotted to fly remote controlled model airplanes packed with explosives into the U.S. capitol and the Pentagon. Attorneys for Rezwan Ferdaus say he'll plead guilty to two charges of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to damage and destroy federal buildings by means of an explosive.

CNN intelligence correspondent, Suzanne Kelly, is live from Washington this morning. Suzanne, how much of a threat did he really pose?

SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, intent is always something that's tough to determine, but he had actually launched his violent jihad against the U.S. back in early 2010. In terms of the actual threat, law enforcement officials say they kept in pretty close contact with him.

They had a clue as to who this guy was and what he was planning pretty early on. Therefore, they weren't too concerned about the threat, but it's pretty interesting when you look at the creativity and the ways he was looking to attack. And using a remote controlled model aircraft loaded with C-4 is pretty ingenious if you think about it.

But, he was already assembling the materials that he needed to launch this attack, Ali. And they said no real threat, though, simply because they had him under their thumb for quite a while.

VELSHI: All right. We're always now looking at these things to see if these guys are loan wolves or they're affiliated with other terrorist organizations that have some resources to have pulled off an attack of this sort. What do we think about him?

KELLY: Well, law enforcement officials on this guy say that they think he was one of these lone wolves. And these are, in a way, almost more dangerous, because it's tougher for law enforcement to follow communication trails and things. It's easier, really, with al Qaeda when they communicate with each other and there's money going back and forth and they have a trail to follow, if you will.

But with these lone wolves, they're getting radicalized on the internet. They're watching these videos and deciding to take matters into their own hands. And those are the people who are actually tougher to find. And once they do find them, though, they tend to like to sort of see where they take things and if they do bring others into it.

So, they do tend to let them take the time they need to sort of assemble things as long as they're keeping in close contact, and law enforcement doesn't believe there's a real threat. They'll usually let that go for a while.

VELSHI: All right. Suzanne, thanks for following that. Suzanne Kelly in Washington for us.

BANFIELD: It is now 49 minutes past 5:00 on the east coast which is a perfect time to get you caught up on the top stories of the day. Christine Romans has been following them all morning joins us now live. Hello there.

ROMANS: Good morning. This is what else we're following.


ROMANS (voice-over): House Republicans planning a mostly symbolic vote this afternoon to repeal the president's healthcare reforms. The measure has virtually no chance of getting through the Senate or past the president. The White House is criticizing Republican leaders for wasting time, they say, by refighting old political battles.

A public warning, but no suspension for U.S. Olympic soccer star, Hope Solo, after she tested positive for a banned substance. The 30- year-old goalkeeper says she had no idea a prescription drug she took for a premenstrual condition contained a diuretic on the U.S. anti- doping agency's prohibited list.

Solo says she made an honest mistake. She looks forward to representing the U.S. later this month at the London games.

Millions of DirecTV customers are waking up this morning and saying, "I want my MTV," because DirecTV and Viacom were unable to settle a contract dispute by the midnight deadline. More than two dozen Viacom channels, including MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, they're now blacked out. The two companies have been at odds for months over carriage fees.

Katie Holmes' leap of faith. She's rejoined the Catholic Church on the heels of her divorce from world renowned scientologist, Tom Cruise. A "Huffington Post" reports says Holmes has registered as a parishioner at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. Right around the corner --


BANFIELD: I cannot believe how fast these developments happen in this story.

VELSHI: Yes, seriously. I've not even digested the fact that they're divorcing, and now, everything's going on. I tell you, this Hope Solo thing, Christine.



VELSHI: This is the reason why I'm here today and not an Olympic athlete, because I'm always confused about what medication to take. And CNN doesn't do --

BANFIELD: Drug testing?

VELSHI: Drug testing. Well, not -- I'm sure they do.

(LAUGHTER) VELSHI: What I mean is --

ROMANS (on-camera): Oh, Lord.

VELSHI: -- performance-enhancing drug testing.

ROMANS: I thought you were going to talk about the drugs you take for PMS.

VELSHI: As I say for the morning, it's a good thing this is a taped show. Ashleigh, why don't you take it over --

ROMANS: Cut that part out and edit, please.

BANFIELD: You're right. One thing that Ali and I were talking about, because we sometimes talk while you're doing your stories, it's always a surprise when an Olympian has to say I didn't know what was in the drug that I took with the sinus condition or what --

VELSHI: Right.

BANFIELD: It's a couple of weeks from the Olympics.

VELSHI: Right. Check everything.

BANFIELD: You're putting something in your mouth. And you're a professional athlete who knows, you know, that this can happen. It just surprises me, I have to say. Not you?


ROMANS: It does. I think they have a lot of doctors around them, team doctors, and that's their job.


BANFIELD: You're right. You're absolutely right.

VELSHI: Well, I'm staying out of professional sports.

BANFIELD: There you go.

VELSHI: That's my solution.


BANFIELD: But does it pay to brag online? It turns out especially when the stuff you're bragging about is against the law. We're going to show you exactly what we mean about that coming up.

VELSHI: It's a good tease. I want to know what that story is.

BANFIELD: I bet you do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: It's now 55 minutes past the hour which means it's time to take a look at what's trending on the interwebs, which I know you love.

VELSHI: I do love the interwebs. I do.


BANFIELD: Hey, this is a weird one. We may have actually just found the next Michael Vick, and I'm not kidding. The social news site, "Read It," is exposing this viral video online. It's all about a Detroit rapper by the name of Young Calico (ph) bragging about his roles in cockfighting and dog fighting operations.

He's shown holding an alligator in one of the clips online. And cameras, actually, go through his house MTV cribs-style showing lots of these kinds of kennels in the backyard. Detroit police have now gotten ahold of the video and say they are looking into these issues to see if there's something that may be criminal afoot.

This is not the sort of thing that you should be doing, nor should you be shooting it and putting it online.

VELSHI: Right. All right. How far will people go for free crackers?

BANFIELD: End of the Earth (ph) for me.

VELSHI: Apparently, they'll humiliate themselves. People are fantastic -- at Fantastic Delites wanted to find out, so they built a machine, and they put it on the streets. And hilarity ensued. The magic cracker machine asked people to do things like bow down to the almighty one, hop on one leg, and dance like no one's watching for their fantastic free fix of Fantastic Delites.

BANFIELD: And there's an entire crowd just automatically here.

VELSHI: Yes. Why not?

BANFIELD: That's pretty cute. Push button -- just for --

VELSHI: Gets free crackers, please?

BANFIELD: Like no one's watching.


VELSHI: Dancing like no one's watching for free crackers.

BANFIELD: You know what it is? It's the Coke Zero.


VELSHI: Still got a lot of it this morning.

(LAUGHTER) BANFIELD: All right. So, we're working hard at collecting up a lot of news for you, breaking news as well. And then, also, there's this really strange story that came across our wires today. The wife of one of the richest men in the world has been found dead. And there's an arrest in connection with the case, but you will not believe who's been arrested. We're going to tell you in a moment.

And we're following breaking news. A train derailment and fire in Columbus, Ohio. It's still burning. It's been burning for hours. We'll give you the latest on that coming up on EARLY START. Fifty- seven minutes after the hour.