Return to Transcripts main page


New Poll Shows Obama Ahead of Romney; Apple Earnings Disappoint; Watch The Birdie; New Poll Shows Obama Ahead Of Romney

Aired July 25, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The horse race for the White House. It's close. A brand-new poll shows one candidate with a slight lead.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Street fight in Syria. The Assad regime sending in more troops as it struggles to hold the country's largest city.

BERMAN: Mystery solved. Take a look. Police say this surveillance video of a man putting a woman in the trunk of a car isn't what it looks like. Not sure what it looks like, but I promise we will tell you what it looks like. There it is.

SAMBOLIN: There. Yes.

BERMAN: I think it's more dumb than it is scary in the end. But stay tuned. We'll tell you exactly what's going op.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy to have you here with us this morning. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Also coming up, a man who says he has been cured of HIV. Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked to him. You're going to hear about that later this hour. It's really remarkable.

BERMAN: It's nice.

Plus, Brett Favre couldn't stay retired after all. He's back in football taking a job you might not expect. We'll tell you all about it. Stay tuned. You need to watch before he retires again.

SAMBOLIN: I think it's kind of exciting, actually. I wanted to ask you about that. We'll chat about it.

But, first, the latest presidential poll numbers are out this morning. They reveal President Obama's ahead of Mitt Romney by six points.

The brand-new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows Obama at 49 percent to Romney's 43 percent. That's a three percentage point increase from just last month.

CNN's political director Mark Preston joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Nice to have you with us this morning, Mark.

So, the poll shows the race is in a statistical dead heat. There are also some bullet points that both candidates will find a bit concerning. Can you share those details with us?


Look, and I think we'll expect this horse race all the way up to November to stay this close. This is going to be one of those real, real tight presidential elections.

But, of course, there are certain bullet points that we focus on when we're looking at these numbers. Let's look at this number on the economy. The economy, issue number one in this election, what most voters will likely vote on come November.

Mitt Romney has a six-point advantage over President Obama right now when asked who has a better idea to improve the economy. Very good news for the Romney campaign up in Boston when they see that number.

However, out in Chicago, you can see that the Obama campaign can take solace in this number on likability. Let's take a quick look at this numbers from NBC/"Wall Street Journal." A 20-point gap, Zoraida. President Obama, 60 percent of Americans like President Obama while only 47 percent like Romney.

Now, the reason why that's important for President Obama and how you all tie it together regarding the economy, President Obama has been making the argument that he needs another four years to turn around the economy and that he was handed a very tough hand to deal with. So that likability question could come into play come November, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So, it's been playing a lot actually, repeatedly playing.

So, this week the focus has been on foreign policy. Romney's in London today, the first stop on his international tour. But before he left, Romney had this criticism about Obama's approach to foreign policy. Let's listen to that.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president's policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in 70 years, exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify, compromised our national security secrets.


ROMNEY: And in dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it was not deserved and apology where it is not due.



SAMBOLIN: Mark, we al know that foreign policy does not poll high on the list of issues that are important to people's votes. But you wrote yesterday that it is, in fact, important. Why is that?

PRESTON: Well, it is important. You're right. Only a quarter of voters right now say that foreign policy is extremely important to their vote come November.

But it's important for these reasons and these reasons alone: President Obama can point to certain foreign policy decisions he has made, Zoraida, including the killing of Osama bin Laden and ending the Iraq war, two major accomplishments during his term.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney as we just heard during his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars is using foreign policy to criticize the White House, specifically criticize President Obama on leaks from his administration, as well as being critical of some of the remarks that President Obama has made about our allies as well as these pending massive cuts to defense.

And, you know, Zoraida, probably the most important thing that came out of that speech yesterday was Mitt Romney's criticism of the leaks. And he used Senator Dianne Feinstein's words, a California Democrat, who was critical of President Obama's White House for the leaks. She has since recanted. But it will be an issue all throughout today, perhaps for the next week.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. She was not happy about that.

Mark Preston live in Washington for us -- thank you very much.

BERMAN: It is now five minutes past the hour. Taking a look at other news now.

One lifetime in prison not enough for William Balfour. Jennifer Hudson's former brother-in-law was sentenced yesterday for murdering the singer's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew back in 2008. A Chicago judge gave him three life sentences plus 120 years. Prosecutors say Balfour committed the murders in a jealous fit of rage.

In delivering the sentence, the judge could barely contain his anger, telling Balfour, quote, "Your soul is as barren as dark space."

SAMBOLIN: We are following new developments in the Aurora movie theater massacre. There will be no cameras in the courtroom when the accused shooter faces formal charges, that's on Monday. The judge granted a defense request to keep cameras in the courtroom for the defendant's appearance. You know, so much was made of how he appeared dazed and sleepy.

Meantime, the star of "The Dark Knight Rises," Batman himself, paid a visit to Aurora, Colorado, to pay his respects and to thank the hero. Christian Bale stopped by the memorial created for the victims, across the street from the theater, and laid a bouquet of flowers as well.

Bale also spent over two hours at the medical center of Aurora and visited with police officers and those emergency room technicians who were on the scene after last Friday's early morning mass shooting.

And Warner Brothers, the studio behind the new Batman film, has also made a donation to the victims and the community of Aurora. The studio didn't say how much it was giving. Warner Brothers is owned by Time Warner, which is a parent company of CNN.

BERMAN: It had to be emotional for both Christian Bale and the people there in Aurora.

Some more maybe good news to report from there, a woman named Katie Medley gave birth to a boy as her husband, Caleb, a victim of the Aurora theater shooting, lay in the same hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Hugo Jackson Medley was born at 7:11 a.m. yesterday at the University of Colorado Hospital. Caleb's brother spoke on behalf of the family.


SETH MEDLEY, CALEB MEDLEY'S BROTHER: That's the way we describe it, as bittersweet. We were all looking forward to this. We were all excited about this. It is. It is a silver lining to a very dark cloud.

But -- but we all know Caleb. We know he's a fighter. We know he's not going to stay out of that child's life for any length of time if he can avoid it.


BERMAN: The face on that baby, such an amazing silver lining to the story.

But the Medley family is said to be without health insurance and could face millions of dollars in medical bills. A fundraising Web site has been set up for the family at It's already raised more than $200,000.

SAMBOLIN: There seems to be a recurring theme. A lot of people do not have medical insurance. Hopefully folks will be generous and kind.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Seven minutes past the hour here.

Syrian forces fighting back hard overnight to regain control of the country's largest city. Helicopters and fighter jets attacking rebel targets. This is Aleppo. We're getting reports thousands of government troops are being sent in.

Violent clashes across Syria claimed at least 133 lives yesterday, 21 of them in Aleppo.

BERMAN: Big news in entertainment. Actor Sherman Hemsley, who starred in the breakthrough '70s sitcom "The Jeffersons", has died. He is in the rerun pantheon of all time stars.

Hemsley's turn as the bombastic George Jefferson made him famous. It was a role originally created by Norman Lear for another landmark show, "All in the Family." The Jefferson spin-off became one of television's longest running and most successful sitcoms.

No word on what caused Hemsley's death at his home in El Paso, Texas. Sherman Hemsley, an indelible mark. He was 74.

SAMBOLIN: Always wondered what was going to come out of his mouth, right?

All right. Eight minutes past the hour.

The Senate votes this afternoon on competing plans to extend the Bush era tax cuts. We keep on talking about this. The Democratic plan would extend the cuts for couples making less than $250,000 a year, and individuals making under $200,000. Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for all taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans. Neither proposal is expected to pass.

BERMAN: So nothing will happen. At the end of the day, nothing changes.


BERMAN: Welcome to Washington, everyone.

All right. Now, you have to look at this video, because it looks like something sinister. See for yourself. Surveillance video from a supermarket showing a man, it looks like a man putting a woman into the trunk of a car. Coming up, we're going to tell you what police say is really happening in this video.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 13 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

We want to take a look at the morning papers, especially where you are around the country.

And some very big news out of New Orleans, where the federal government, along with the city, has stepped in to really rewrite the rules for the entire police force. In a complete overhaul, they have a new manual -- new rules for interrogations, new rums for how often they fire their weapons. This is a long time coming. This police force has been plagued by scandal, especially since Katrina but really goes back since almost the beginning of time.

SAMBOLIN: I was shocked to hear that Eric Holder was involved here.

BERMAN: They asked the federal government to step in and sort of help rewrite the rules for this entire police department. They really have. It's part of a four-year plan to get this thing right. The mayor asked for it and they got it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. He's got to pay for it, too.

BERMAN: Eleven million dollars in the first year.

SAMBOLIN: All right. This is so incredible. It looked too real. But it turns out that an abduction was a hoax.

You've got to look very carefully here because it's really hard to see. Let me start by tell you, teenagers were involved.

We get this one from the "Syracuse Post Standard". This is the disturbing surveillance video that alerted police that something could be wrong here. A woman who appears to be unconscious is being placed in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a supermarket in Syracuse, New York.

It turns out the whole thing was a hoax. Police say that three people, a 17-year-old boy and two female juveniles came forward to admit that they staged this incident. Apparently, when they put the surveillance video out, parents noticed that those were their kids and told them to tell the police what they had done.

BERMAN: I like what the parents did. They made their kids go to the cops and own up to it.

SAMBOLIN: No. Absolutely, but the police department was very angry because they had a homicide overnight. They had other places where they could have sent the police officers. Instead they were looking at this as a total hoax.

BERMAN: They have every right to be ticked off. I don't get the joke. That's the thing.

I mean, why would you do that? It's not funny by any stretch of the imagination.

SAMBOLIN: The kids said they were recreating something. You know, it's teenagers, you know? They think a little bit differently.

BERMAN: I have a few years before my kids get --


SAMBOLIN: I'm wondering what the consequences are going to be. Right now there aren't any. But we'll see.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to take a look now in Mississippi. How many times have you heard this one before? Brett Favre returning to football.

SAMBOLIN: I love this story.

BERMAN: This time it's coaching. He's going to be coaching at his local high school in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Oak Grove High School there. He worked there as a volunteer assistant last year. This year, he's getting an official title. No word yet on exactly what that title will be.

We suspect Mr. Favre will be the offensive coordinator, perhaps even calling the plays. He knows a little bit about calling plays.

SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine, hey, mom, guess who my coach is?

BERMAN: Guess what Coach Brett Favre told me to do today.

SAMBOLIN: So, this is uncommon.

BERMAN: You know, most Hall of Fame level quarterbacks don't go back and coach high school football. So, this is kind of cool.

SAMBOLIN: I'd love to talk to him about it.

So, for an expanded look at our stories, head to our blog,

BERMAN: It is now about quarter past the hour.

Let's get you updated on all the headlines. Christine Romans is here with this morning's top stories.


Brand-new poll numbers out this morning. The NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" survey showing President Obama leading Mitt Romney 49 percent to 43 percent. That's a three percentage point increase from just last month. But polls also showing both candidates are taking a beating from negative campaign ads.

The highest ranking Catholic Church official convicted in the sex abuse scandal is going to prison for protecting pedophile priests. Sixty-one-year-old monsignor William Lynn was sentenced yesterday in Philadelphia for three to six years for child endangerment. The judge said Lynn, quote, "enabled monsters in clerical garb" and that the church leader knew full well what was right but he chose wrong.

Ghana has a new president this morning. Former Vice President John Dramani Mahama sworn in yesterday, calling it the saddest day of his country's history. The West African nation is morning the death of John Evans Atta Mills. He died suddenly at a military hospital yesterday. No details yet on the cause of death for him. He was 68 years old.

Police investigating an alleged anti-gay beating in D.C. A couple claims they were jumped late at night by three men who were hurling punches, kicks, gay slurs. One of the victims, a 29-year-old yoga instructor, suffered shattered bones in his face.

A woman who witnessed the attack came running from her home, started shouting and broke it up.

BERMAN: Glad she was there.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour here.

Here's two words you don't hear in the same sentence very often on Wall Street: Apple and disappointing.

BERMAN: No way.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans, way. She's back to explain, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Twenty-one minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. stock futures trading mix. Dow and S&P 500 are up right now. NASDAQ trading futures are trading lower.

BERMAN: And markets were in the red again yesterday. That's three days in a row of triple digit losses now.

The other day, Christine, Monday, I said it looks like it's going to be a messy week.

ROMANS: That's right.

BERMAN: You made a little bit of fun of me for the word messy. But I think it's been pretty messy.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh!

ROMANS: I saw the tarot cards in your office. You were looking into the future.

It has been messy. We have treasury yields at record lows. And that means that people are plowing money into treasuries. That's the safety of treasuries and out of the stock market. Three days in a row.

If you look at the front page of "New York Times," "Wall Street Journal" today, and you talk to people in the markets, everyone is talking about the Fed and whether the Fed is going to keep pushing more stimulus, more measures, new measures maybe to keep what has been a slowing economy going.

So, a lot of talk about the Fed. Also a lot of talk about earnings, because it is earnings season.

And we have a rare disappointment from Apple. It is so rare for me to say that Apple disappointed, because this is a company quarter after quarter that has just been doing so hot. I'll tell you, iPad sales were awesome.

I mean, they were awesome. People are buying these things like crazy, 186,816 iPads sold every single day.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh.

ROMANS: That's 7,000 an hour, 129 a minute. Two new iPads sold every second.

BERMAN: That's 15 in the time it took you to say that.

ROMANS: I know. But it doesn't matter, because iPhone sales are slowing. Something like 26 million iPhone sales in the quarter. There were 35 million in the same period -- the same quarter before. So, that means people are buying fewer iPhones waiting for the new one this fall.

BERMAN: Yes, they're victims of their own success. People are watching this. They want to wait until the new one comes out.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely. But, you know, it's just rare for Apple not just to blow it out of the water. They tend to have conservative guidance for the street.

Anyway, so you're seeing that stock down about 5 percent for the premarket. I'm suspecting a pullback in Apple shares this morning.

I will point out stocks are still higher on the year. It's been a really rough summer, messy as John would say.


BERMAN: She laughs at me.

ROMANS: Stocks are still higher, higher on the year, with so much going on -- the fiscal cliff, with the Europe and concerns about Europe, now earnings season, a big focus on Apple today, and all this talk about the Fed.

And, you know, the reason I tell you about treasury yields and the reason why I talk so much about some of the big things that are happening, there's a lot of strings in the overall market. I think it's really important for people to understand, when you have treasury yields that are this low, this low, I mean, record low treasury yields, I mean, it's telling you there's something sort of amiss in the market overall.

OK. Third thing I want to talk about -- changing banks. Do you want to dump your bank? Good luck, because it's a pain. You'll likely be hit with a lot of fees. A lot of people say they want to dump their bank. But changing banks is hard to do.

New consumer union survey says one in five bank customers consider banking making a switch. But less than half actually do it because it is such a pain.


BERMAN: -- a bad relationship.

ROMANS: I know. And because you hate your bank, and you get all fired up about it. And you go and you see all the things that you have to do. You just say -- one of the solutions of a survey was having a portable bank account. One kind of standardized bank account you could just take. Banks would have to accept your account very easily with very little -- that's something consumer groups have been proposing.

SAMBOLIN: Portable bank. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans.

It is 25 minutes after the hour now.

And down in Dallas, a pressure cooker on the streets. Riot police struggled to contain an ugly confrontation. The story behind all this anger, coming up.

And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone. Just go to


SAMBOLIN: President Obama with a slight lead in the latest poll. And also a bit of controversy over his latest political ads.

BERMAN: Plus, how one man says a procedure meant to treat his cancer appears to have cured him of HIV as well.

SAMBOLIN: Remarkable.

Also, an accused shoplifter and mother caught on tape doing something that is shocking even by criminal standards. We're going to share so much more with you.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Thanks for being with us.

It is 29 minutes past the hour right now.

In political news, President Obama is looking at a lead in at least one poll this morning. The new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll puts him ahead of Mitt Romney 49 percent to 43 percent. Today, the president is heading to New Orleans to speak to the National Urban League and turnout among black voters could make or break his chances in this re-election campaign.

CNN's Athena Jones is live in Washington.

Athena, the president skipped the NAACP convention. He's here at the National Urban League obviously, maybe, trying to make amends?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the White House probably said this was all a long plan. There was that criticism that they came under by sending Vice President Biden to Houston to speak to the NAACP. And so, it's going to be the president, himself, here -- there in New Orleans.

As you said, of course, the Black turnout is going to be very important this election, especially if they want to hold on to states like Virginia where Blacks make up nearly 20 percent and North Carolina where they make up 22 percent, according to the latest census figures. And so, I should mention, though, that the president isn't just going to be speaking at this civil rights and social justice organization.

He's also raising money in New Orleans. He has two fundraisers, one in a private residence and one at the house of blues. We know that Louisiana went heavily for McCain in the last election, and that it's a red state. But, of course, money isn't red or blue, John.

BERMAN: Yes. It's green, and he needs the green. He's actually trailing Mitt Romney pretty badly by some counts in the money race right now. And Athena, you were certainly on the Twitters and the Facebooks yesterday afternoon and evening, and there was a big controversy, it seems, about two of the latest ads from the Obama campaign.

Both shot by the president, himself, in the west wing. Ethics groups say it's not illegal, but it isn't exactly embraced, now, is it?

JONES: Well, it's interesting that there's this controversy. The White House would say there's no there there. They point to several examples of past presidents who've used the west wing in some form or another in television ads, including a four and a half minute ad that President Reagan shot promised (ph) that in the oval office. Also an ad President Clinton shot.

And so, they say that this is a distraction. The RNC says, you know, fine, this may not be illegal. It's only illegal if they're asking specifically for campaign donations from official offices. But they say that this shows that the president is, quote, "out of touch." You've probably heard that "out of touch" phrase coming from both sides a lot. They're trying to lob it at each other.

But, of course, it's not surprising the White House says, you know, there's ample precedent for this and that this is really just a distraction. We'll see what comes out of it as we go forward time.

BERMAN: It is true. George W. Bush filmed all kinds of ads outside in the colony. The Rose Garden, Reagan, of course, did that ad, too. So, it has happened before. Athena Jones out in Washington, thanks very much.

JONES: Thanks.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-two minutes past the hour. Celebrities cutting a lot of checks in the 2012 race. More for the democrats, but it's not all one sided. CNN compiled a list of celebs who donated to the campaigns or political committees in May and in June. And we have a list for you.

They include Robert Downey Jr., Billy Crystal, and Eddie Murphy who each gave $40,000 to the Obama effort. Morgan Freeman who topped the list with a $1 million donation, and that's to a pro-Obama Super PAC.

On Romney's side, we have country singer, John Rich, with $2,500, Scott Baio and his wife --

BERMAN: Chachi (ph).


SAMBOLIN: Chachi (ph), $12,500, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife, $25,000, and world wrestling entertainment chairman, Vince McMahon, and his wife, Linda, $150,000.

BERMAN: Linda McMahon run for Senate in Connecticut. She's at it again there. These reports are fascinating to read, because you really do see a lot of big names that are giving to both sides. I love looking at them.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. Full disclosure.

BERMAN: Absolutely. All right. It is 33 minutes past the hour right now. Other news, the hits keep coming at Penn State. A big name sponsor is pulling its television ads in the wake of the school's child sex abuse cover-up. Another corporate giant may be following suit. State Farm has decided it will no longer advertise on TV during Penn State's home football broadcasts.

And General Motors, GM, says it's reviewing its sponsorships with the school, but they haven't made their decision yet. No word on the dollar value of either of those deals. Three big sponsors have announced they are standing by Penn State, Nike, Pittsburgh based PNC Bank, and the state's largest health ensurer, Hallmark. They've all announced they're keeping their sponsorship commitments with the school.

SAMBOLIN: Well, a very brave 13-year-old girl is trying hard to cope after surviving the Aurora movie theater massacre. This is Kaylan (ph). She was in the theater last week with three other people, including this little girl, six-year-old Veronica Moser- Sullivan (ph), when the little girl and her mother were both shot.

Kaylan was Veronica's babysitter. She tried to perform CPR on the child but couldn't reach her because her wounded mother had fallen on top of her. Veronica, we all know, did not survive. Kaylan is clearly struggling with that really painful reality.


KAYLAN, COLORADO SHOOTING SURVIVOR: She liked to draw. And she liked to look at the -- I had a bunny -- well, I have a bunny in my room. And she always liked to look at the bunny.


SAMBOLIN: Little Veronica had just learned to swim days before she was killed. She was pretty excited about that. The child's mother is expected to survive.

BERMAN: That's heartbreaking.

SAMBOLIN: It really is. It's just so wrong, so unfair, and so sad.

BERMAN: Other news now, a new federal report says BP and drilling rig owner, Transocean, failed to learn critical lessons from two near disasters before the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

The government's chemical safety board says the two companies focused more on reducing worker injuries rather than preventing disastrous well blowout, even though BP vowed to implement new safety systems after 15 workers were killed in a refinery explosion in Texas back in 2005.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of anger on the streets almost boiling over in Dallas.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Look at this, an officer firing warning shots from a pepper ball gun into the ground. Riot police were called in. Neighbors screaming and demanding to know what led to a Dallas police officer shooting a 31-year-old man minutes earlier.

Police say an officer opened fire fearing for his life after they approached four men in a suspected drug house. The victim's mother says that her son was shot in the back.


BERMAN: Thousands of the world's leading scientists have been gathering this week in Washington for a Global AIDS Conference. We're hearing a lot of cautious optimism about finding a cure. French researchers reporting on 12 HIV positive patients who were treated immediately after being exposed to the virus, they've had some very promising results.

And there's this man. This guy is known as the Berlin patient. His name is Timothy Brown. Five years ago, he was living in Germany, battling leukemia and HIV. He had a bone marrow transplant. It not only cures leukemia, it seems to have cured his HIV as well. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, spoke to him.


TIMOTHY BROWN, "BERLIN PATIENT": My blood's been tested by many, many agencies. I've had two colonoscopies, and they've tested to see if they can find HIV in my colon. And they haven't been able to find any.


BERMAN: So many reasons for hope. Even with all the encouraging breakthroughs, researchers predict it will be at least a decade before a cure is found.

SAMBOLIN: WELL, the fact you're saying "cure" is just fantastic.

BERMAN: It's not a word you associate with HIV.

SAMBOLIN: No. That would be fantastic.

Thirty-seven minutes past the hour. If you already have issues paying airline fees, just wait till you hear this. According to a new study, 50 airlines worldwide collected $22.6 billion.

BERMAN: With a "B."

SAMBOLIN: Yes, with a B. From fees passengers pay to check bags, change reservations, upgrade seats, and pay for food and drinks. Recently merged United and Continental Airlines combined to collect $5.2 billion, the highest of any airlines, and that is followed by Delta with $2.5 billion.

BERMAN: That's a lot of money.


BERMAN: A lot of bags. Yikes.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable. Well, they charge for everything. There you have it.

BERMAN: All right. So, you played badminton growing up.


BERMAN: You're big badminton. Well, there's the badminton you played. Not that you weren't good, but then there's this badminton.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelivable.

BERMAN: 200-mile per hour action. This is Olympic-style badminton. And Rob Marciano takes on Team USA and this unusual sport, coming up.

SAMBOLIN: He's pretty good, actually.


BERMAN: There it is. Set to music. The Olympic Stadium there in London. We are getting, oh, so very close to the games.

SAMBOLIN: It's really exciting.

BERMAN: It is exciting.


BERMAN: Yes. There she is, the stadium. We have so many good reports to bring you, too, over the next few days from there. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 42 minutes past the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you're with us this morning. So, this week, we are taking a look at some of the sports and Olympic athletes on Team USA that may not be -- or you may not be very familiar with, but they may be a household name in a couple of weeks. They're really good, very competitive. Today, we watch the birdie.

BERMAN: That's right. Rob Marciano, he introduces us to a duo. You will know this, people. They are competing in the heralded sport of badminton. Rob, you're an expert now, right?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Well, with some (ph) good, but I know all about the birdie you say. You know, we talk so much about swimming and diving and gymnastics, all the sports that grab the glory. So, we've been looking at some sports that a little bit may be off the radar.

Well, this one is actually outside of the U.S. is the second most played sport in the world. But these two athletes take it to a whole another level.


MARCIANO (voice-over): Outside of the United States, the second most played sport in the world is, believe it or not, badminton. But stateside it hasn't caught on yet. In fact, the U.S. has never medaled in an Olympic badminton. Men's doubles team, Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan, hope to change that in their final Olympics.

HOWARD BACH, U.S. MEN'S DOUBLES BADMINTON: Now, we want to make history and to get our first medal. Obviously, gold color is the best one. But I'm not going to complain if we get a silver or bronze.

MARCIANO: Gunawan is no stranger to the medal podium. He actually won gold for his native Indonesia in 2000. Now, a U.S. citizen, he realizes the impact he could have on the future of the sport.

TONY GUNAWAN, U.S. MEN'S DOUBLES BADMINTON: It's our last shot for, you know, doing something for badminton in U.S. And, you know, for young players, our next generation, you know, to look up for us. MARCIANO: And they have the chops to do it. After all, they won a world championship together in 2005.

What are some of his best qualities?

BACH: Well, he's a big brother on the court. There are times when I need leadership and he's able to provide that. So -- and then, when he needs energy, I can provide that, too. So, that's kind of how we mix well together.

MARCIANO (on-camera): Olympic badminton. More than a backyard beer sport for sure. So, this thing can go 200, 250 miles an hour?

BACH: Yes. This is just normal when you turn.


BACH: The racket follows. Just like a baseball pitch.

MARCIANO: OK. Now, you're talking my language.

BACH: There you go.


BACH: Nice!

MARCIANO: Badminton, it's not what you think it is.

BACH: Don't try this at home. Trained professionals only.


MARCIANO: If you are going to try it at home -- by the way, I think, we should start a new tradition, John and Zoraida. The newest anchor to any CNN show should host a badminton tournament at his house.

BERMAN: No, you're too good. You're too good. You nailed that return. Zoraida is here, cheering, like, ooh, look at Rob in that return. That was really good.

MARCIANO: That was pure protection on my next father's day.


MARCIANO: But if you want to compete, you have to lower the net. A lot of times, we just go outside, you know, with a beverage in hand. You hit the birdie over the volleyball net. No. Badminton has to be five feet. And actually, at competition, it's inside, because the wind as you might expect can affect that --

BERMAN: You cannot have the wind. You simply can't have the wind to play good badminton.

SAMBOLIN: OK. You know, I'm putting you on the spot again here. So, another name for birdie?

MARCIANO: Well, you know this, Zoraida. Say it.

SAMBOLIN: It's shuttlecock, right?


SAMBOLIN: Am I right?

MARCIANO: Ding, ding, ding.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

MARCIANO: That's the official term.

SAMBOLIN: That's the official name, right?

MARCIANO: Yes. You know, it's a rubber thingamajoob (ph), and it's got some, you know, 16 feathers on it. It can go 250 miles an hour off the rocket.


MARCIANO: Obviously, it slows down by the time it gets --

BERMAN: Rob learned a lot. The rubber thingamajoob (ph).


BERMAN: You learn how to describe it. Thank you so much, Rob. It's great to see you. Great to see you playing so well. Keep it up, man.

MARCIANO: Saturday at four o'clock, I think, is when you can watch the first round of the badminton competition.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I may, because it actually looks really exciting. I never knew.

MARCIANO: Yes, it's good stuff.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you. Thank you for that.

Forty-six minutes past the hour here. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with this morning's top stories.



ROMANS (voice-over): Brand-new poll numbers out this morning. The NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" survey showing President Obama leading Mitt Romney 49 percent to 43 percent. That's a three percentage point increase from just last month. Shock over a fake Facebook fan page for the accused Aurora shooter. Someone set this up pretending to be James Holmes. One posted photo has been edited to show him holding a joker playing card. Hundreds have clicked "like" so far.

Jury selection is complete in the murder trial of former Illinois police officer, Drew Peterson. Attorneys will present their opening statements on Tuesday. Peterson is charged in the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio (ph). His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson (ph), vanished, you recall, in 2007.

Peterson is considered the prime suspect in her disappearance, but he has not been charged and her body has never been found.

Take the clothes, leave the baby. Surveillance video from a Wal- Mart parking lot in Ocala, Florida showing a 19-year-old woman on the run after she allegedly was caught shoplifting. Police say she ditched her baby in a shopping cart before she took off. They found the woman and her sister partying in a nightclub the next night.

The baby was taken in by authorities, and police say the woman denied he was her son.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Oh, my goodness.

ROMANS: Class (ph).

Meet the new diva. According to "Us Weekly," Mariah Carey will get paid $18 million to be a judge on "American Idol." $18 million. That makes her the highest paid judge on any music competition show. Mariah is replacing Jennifer Lopez at the judge's table for the 12th season of "Idol." J.Lo was pulling in 12 mil. And I thought that was a lot.

SAMBOLIN: It doesn't look that hard.

ROMANS: Maria gets 18.

BERMAN (voice-over): It doesn't look that hard.


ROMANS (on-camera): I know. It's a demanding schedule. You have to put all your other music making, video making, movie making to the side.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And they're superstars. That's what they demand.

BERMAN (on-camera): I will do it for a fraction of that price. All right.


BERMAN: Let me just say that to the producers over there. Eighteen million bucks. That's crazy. ROMANS: Eighteen million bucks, that's a lot of eyeballs watch that show.

BERMAN: And congratulations, Mariah Carey. I know you need the cash.


BERMAN: All right. It is 48 minutes past the hour right now. The Jackson Family feud is coming to a head. Coming up, what appears to be a confrontation caught on camera between Janet and one of Michael's children.

And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your mobile phone or your desktop, just go to


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 52 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman. And we're going to take a look at what is trending on the web this morning. A Jackson family scuffle caught on tape. This has been going on for at least a week now. So, apparently, security camera video obtained by CNN is showing a scuffle there.

This is on the Jackson estate. And apparently, it's Janet Jackson and Paris there. The police received a call from the Jackson home about a family disturbance on Monday. So, it shows a bit of tension between Jackson family members. And this is a really public dispute that has been happening about the whereabouts of Katherine Jackson.

You know, a lot of people -- actually, it was Paris initially who said that she was missing. But family members, Janet, Jermaine, and Randy Jackson, who were seen there in the driveway, as well, say that she is perfectly fine. The video, though, shows Janet Jackson trying to take a cell phone away from Paris. That is Michael's daughter.

That's what you're taking a look at right there. Somebody else intervenes. And you know, there's still that confusion about where is Katherine Jackson, the matriarch of the Jackson Family. And she's also the legal guardian of Michael's children. Sheriffs have investigated. They found her safe in Arizona, although there were reports that they tried to talk to her and were unable to.

BERMAN: This looks troubled. It just looks like they have some family issues there they've got to work out.

All right. I want to introduce you to a man who will, no doubt, be sleeping on the couch soon. A husband whose sense of humor may be called into question. Take a look at what might be the meanest prank ever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a truck getting towed. It looks like it's coming at us. My wife's asleep. So, I'm going to see if I can scare her. Babe, wake up, there's a truck!



BERMAN: I would kill that guy is what she's thinking right there. Yes. Yes. And the wife didn't like that. Manny Perez (ph). You know, on YouTube, everyone's saying, how did you film that while you were driving. He says he was being completely safe. Just looks mean. I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh! That's awful!

BERMAN: You don't approve?

SAMBOLIN: No, I do not approve. That is terrible! Shame on him!

BERMAN: So, you just lost one more fan, Manny. Sorry about that, man.

SAMBOLIN: This is a guy thing. Totally a guy thing.

BERMAN: I was too afraid of all of you (ph) to do something like that.


BERMAN: That's crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Smart. Very smart. All right -- unbelievable. I can say the (INAUDIBLE) factory for sushi.

BERMAN: That's just what we all need.

SAMBOLIN: We got to move on here. So, take a look at this. A Japanese company selling a sushi bazooka. Pack rice, fish, whatever ingredients you want into a tube. It'll squish the rice and fish into sushi rolls. You want one? Twenty-five bucks.

BERMAN: It looks so appetizing.

SAMBOLIN: My gosh! The ad says make perfect sushi rolls. Quick, easy, hilarious.



BERMAN: I don't know. It's awesome.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody -- the guys in here are nodding no. No. They want us to show the video again of the guy --

BERMAN: The guy in the car?

SAMBOLIN: That's what they want to see.

BERMAN: All right now. Maybe we'll show it again in the next hour.

Coming up, we're going to have more of this morning's top stories, including the brand-new poll we're talking about in the race for the White House. It shows it close overall, but, there are big differences when you dig deeper, and we will be digging. You're watching EARLY START.