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Obama Enters Gun Control Debate; Romney Blasts Obama In Brand New Ad; Romney Blasts British Newspaper Quote; Anaheim Shootings; Cal Ripken Jr.'s Mother Kidnapped; Feds: Food Prices To Rise; Suspect Mailed Package To Campus; Victims' Medical Bills To Be Wiped Out; CIA "Inadvertently Overlooked" Documents; Interview with Governor Jack Markell of Delaware; Suspected Gunman Sent Package to University; Olympic Games Already Underway

Aired July 26, 2012 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- Good morning, everyone and welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is just about 6 a.m. in the east. Let's get started. Ahead, the latest on the bizarre kidnapping case involving baseball legend Cal Ripken's mother.

BERMAN: We're glad she's OK, but it is a strange, scary story.

And this something of a conflict with the Olympics between North and South Korea, it has to do a flag faux pas. A lot of news going on with North Korea and a perhaps now married leader.

SAMBOLIN: That was very bizarre yesterday. But up first, the latest on the aftermath in the investigation in Aurora, Colorado, law enforcement sources say the shooting suspect, James Holmes, mailed a package to the University of Colorado Denver campus in Aurora, which was received on Monday and forced the evacuation of a building there.

It was Holmes himself who told police where to find it. CBS News says was addressed to a psychologist and contained a letter talking about shooting people along with scribbling of a gunman shooting victims. We'll have a live report from Aurora in just a few minutes from now.

BERMAN: And days after the massacre in Aurora, President Obama entered into the growing gun control debate. He appeared before the National Urban League in New Orleans yesterday and what he said was some weapon sales should be restricted.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I like most Americans believe that the second amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms, but I also believe a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Mitt Romney has a different view of gun control. He is in London for a seven-day foreign tour and even though he signed a ban on assault weapons as governor of Massachusetts, he says that new gun laws would do little to stop a massacre like the one in Aurora.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't happen to believe America needs new gun laws. A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law, but the fact it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.


SAMBOLIN: Mitt Romney is blasting President Obama this morning in a brand new political ad released just minutes ago. It takes shots at President Obama's you didn't build that speech. Where he argued successful business owners are helped by things like roads and bridges and things made by the government. Take a look.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: If you have been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I am always struck by people who think, well, must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there.

It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something. If you have a business, you didn't build that.

ROMNEY: To say something like that is not just foolishness. It is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America.


SAMBOLIN: President Obama has slammed Romney for taking his words out of context. Joining us now is CNN's Jim Acosta live from London where Romney has become his international tour and they may be blasting him here in the United States. Once you leave American soil that stops. So what is he talking about this morning?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, in theory it stops. You know, you didn't play that web video just a few moments ago and even though the Romney campaign has said that the GOP contender will not criticize President Obama while he is overseas.

As you can see from that ad, both campaigns are still going after each other like Napoleon and the British. And Mitt Romney, as soon as he arrived here in London yesterday, found that there have been some controversies surrounding this trip already.

There was an article in the "London Daily Telegraph" that included a quote from an unnamed Romney advisor that the newspaper says said something about what the Romney campaign feels about the U.S./U.K. relationship and here is the quote.

We'll put it on the screen to show it to you. I will read a portion of it. That advisor according to the "London Daily Telegraph" said, "We are part of an Anglo Saxon heritage and he, Romney, feels that the special relationship is special." Well, now, the Obama campaign despite the fact the international press could not independently verify these comments as coming from this Romney advisor.

The Obama campaign went after it anyway and Vice President Joe Biden put out a pretty strong statement saying, quote, "Not surprisingly it is a feeble attempt by the Romney campaign to score political points at the expense of this critical partnership. This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign."

For his part, Romney did address the controversy in an interview with NBC and their anchor, Brian Williams. Here is what he had to say.


ROMNEY: I am not sure who this person is, but I can tell you that we have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. It goes back to our very beginnings and cultural and historical, but I also believe that the president understands that so I don't agree with whoever the advisor might be.


ACOSTA: So all of this is off the Romney script this morning because obviously the reason why he is in London or part of the reason why he is in London is they would like very much for Americans to be reminded of the fact that Mitt Romney helped saved the Utah Olympics back in 2002.

It is interesting, Zoraida and John, Mitt Romney was asked about this in one of his meetings with British leaders this is morning. The leader of the Labor Party here in London even said to Mitt Romney it is good to have somebody here who had a successful Olympic games.

So it is interesting that this is already coming up. Romney met with Tony Blair earlier this morning, the former prime minister. He will meet with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, the current prime minister, later on today -- John and Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So a full agenda for him. Thank you so much. Jim Acosta live from London for us.

In just a few hours, CNN's Piers Morgan will be sitting down with Mitt and Ann Romney in London. You can see the entire interview tonight at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

BERMAN: It is now 5 minutes past the hour. And the FBI has agreed to investigate the fatal shooting of two suspected gang members by Anaheim police officers. Last weekend's shooting sparked four nights of violent protests in Anaheim. Mayor Tom Tate says he is asking the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles to investigate the shootings as well and the mayor says more violent protests will not be tolerated in Anaheim.

SAMBOLIN: The mother of baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. is resting comfortably after surviving a kidnapping. Police say an armed gunman showed up at Violet Ripken's Maryland home early Tuesday morning then forced her into a car and took off.

She was found yesterday morning in the backseat of her car with her hands tied because she was not harmed. Police say the abductor appears to have used her credit cards, but they have no evidence of any attempted ransom demands.

BERMAN: Glad she is OK.


BERMAN: A devastating drought and global economic downturn are a tough combination for consumers. The federal government confirming it expects food prices to sky rocket next year because of the scorching heat and drought conditions in half of the country.

Prepare to pay about 5 percent more for beef next year with prices for pork, egg, dairy products, they are all expected to soar.

SAMBOLIN: And we didn't know at the time, but while Aurora was reeling from a shooting massacre a package apparently sent by the shooting suspect was making its way through the mail. We have all the details coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 10 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Glad you're with us. We have a major new development in the Colorado shootings this morning. A package from the alleged shooter found in the mail room of the University of Colorado.

It arrived days after the shooting and it hinted at the massacre. Ed Lavandera is live in Aurora for us this morning. Ed, what can you tell us about this package?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have been following this package for the last couple of days, John. On Monday, we knew some buildings on the University of Colorado campus where James Holmes studied had been evacuated because of the suspicious package, but quickly everything went back to normal as there was nothing explosive or hazardous found in that package.

But yesterday, we were able to learn indeed that package had been sent according to a law enforcement source by James Holmes in the days leading up onto the shooting and arrived in the mail room in the University of Colorado on Monday and it was addressed to a psychology professor on campus there.

CBS News is reporting that inside that package there was a spiral notebook that it contained ramblings about James Holmes wanting to kill people and also some cryptic drawings of a gunman shooting his victims.

That's about all we know of what was inside the contents of that spiral notebook, obviously a great cause for concern and a piece of evidence that investigators are taking a much closer look at this morning -- John.

BERMAN: And another aspect that's been so sad about this tragedy, the victims in the hospital dealing with their wounds, dealing with the emotional aftermath of this. They've also been dealing with huge, huge medical costs, but we do hear that they are getting some help here.

LAVANDERA: Right. I think as we have gone almost a week away from the shooting, and the reality of that aspect of their lives and you know, not only just getting over the aspect and the fear of the shooting and the agony of the shooting and the pain and the medical bills, that reality starting to set in.

But three of the hospitals where the shooting victims were taken are saying that they're taking steps to waive much of the medical costs that these patients will be facing. We profiled some of the patients who don't have medical insurance.

One patient who doesn't have insurance also had his wife gave birth just a few days ago. So many of these victims up against the daunting reality on top of everything that they're having to deal with right now.

And there are a great deal of organizations helping out and there is even a fund being run through the governor's office that collected some $2 million.

That was simply described as a good start because many of these people will have millions and millions of dollars worth of medical bills in the weeks and months ahead.

BERMAN: It is a start. We are glad they're getting some of the help they need. Ed Lavandera in Aurora, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: It's 13 minutes past the hour. Questions this morning about why it took EMTs 24 minutes to get inside theatre 9 following last week's massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

Aurora police were on the scene within three minutes of the first 911 call. After another 10 minutes went by without any EMTs inside the theatre, police officers could no longer wait for help.


UNIDENTIFIED POLICE: Metro 10, Lincoln 25, do I have permission to start taking some of the victims via car? I got a whole bunch of people shot out here, no rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED FIRE DISPATCH: P.D. is again requesting emergent medical to the back of the theatre.

UNIDENTIFIED FIRE COMMANDER: I copy that. I am just trying to get things under control here.


SAMBOLIN: Aurora Fire Department first responders arrived at the theatre's parking lot just 5 minutes after the shootings, but a fire captain says they were blocked from theatre 9 and those most critically injured by a sea of wounded victims screaming into the parking lot.

BERMAN: It is now 14 minutes past the hour. A lot going on this morning. Christine Romans is here with our headlines. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you guys. President Obama is entering the gun control debate five days after the Aurora massacre. He told the National Urban League in New Orleans.

He supports the second amendment and the right to bear arms, but not when it comes to assault weapons like AK-47s. The president said those belong in the hands of soldiers, not criminals.

The CIA claims it inadvertently overlooked about documents it provided to filmmakers who are making a movie about the Osama Bin Laden raid and that's why it failed to hand them over as part of a lawsuit filed by the public interest group, "Judicial Watch."

"Judicial Watch" is seeking more information about how much the Pentagon and the CIA disclosed about the raid to those filmmakers.

Former presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is supporting Chick-Fil-A's stance against gay marriage. On his Facebook page, Santorum asked Americans to, quote, "fight for traditional families" and eat chicken at the same time.

That's not the case with some elected officials in Boston and Chicago. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino says a planned Chick-Fil-A restaurant will not be welcome across the street from city hall and Chicago alderman Joe Moreno says he won't let Chick-Fil-A open a restaurant in Logan Square until the company delivers an antidiscrimination policy in writing.

A rough day at work for some Las Vegas window-washers, stranded in 104 degree heat for two hours 35 stories above the Vegas Strip. The workers are washing and repairing windows yesterday at the Vdara Hotel when their platform got stock. Firefighters went to the roof of the 57-story building and made their way down to the platform. Rescuers fitted the workers with harnesses and lowered them down to the roof on the third floor.

BERMAN: So, everyone else, stop complaining about your job today.


ROMANS: Right, Exactly. You think it is hot outside?

Celebrity photographer now facing criminal charges for almost chasing Justin Bieber off the road. The L.A. City attorney says 30- year-old Paul Raf (ph) was one of a pack the photographing pursuing the pop star well over 80 miles an hour. They say the paparazzi chase was an accident waiting to happen. The freelance paparazzi could get a year in jail, $3,500 in fines and Biebs himself will have to appear in court to answer a speeding ticket.

BERMAN: Biebs speeds too apparently.

ROMANS: Yes, everyone was going fast, very fast.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Sixteen minutes past the hour.

Bold idea amid the scandals we have been hearing about on Wall Street. Why not break up the big banks? Christina Romans with more coming up.

And for an expanded look at all of our stories, head to our blog


BERMAN: Minding your business this morning, it is the flip-flop heard up and down Wall Street.

Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill is now saying banks should break up to protect taxpayers.

SAMBOLIN: It's a true (INAUDIBLE) from several years ago when he was lobbying in Washington for the opposite. Pretty shocking, Christine.

ROMANS: Many call him the godfather of too big to fail because it was Sandy Weill who lobbied intensely with others, but Sandy Weill who lobbied intensely both post parties in Congress, President Clinton and others, to repeal something called Glass Steagall so that banks could get bigger and become financial supermarkets. That's what we heard it over and over again.

Remember, the financial supermarket that would be able to innovate and grow middle class and you could have all of these different things under one roof and we know banks taking big risks, complicated risk and derivatives and having everything under one roof turned out to be a big problem in the financial crisis.

Now, Sandy Weill on CNBC with a completely different opinion. Listen.


SANDY WEILL, FORMER CITIGROUP CEO: I think what we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, and have banks do something that's not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that's not going to be too big to fail.


ROMANS: Say what? So you have this amazing change of heart, and I have seen this from others as well. Phil Purcell recently wrote something in "The Wall Street Journal" saying you need to unlock shareholder value by maybe breaking apart some of these banks and stuff -- a completely different kind of story.

I want to look quickly at the banking stocks. You can see it might have to be shareholders who are the ones that are going to demand this, not regulators or anybody else. Look at the big bank index. Over the past five years, it's down 60 percent.

BERMAN: That's a bad figure.

ROMANS: That's bad. S&P 500 is down. That's also bad.

The one that you really hurt is that, the 401(k) on the bottom. That's down 9 percent over the past five years.

What that's telling you is there is value in banks not reflected in the stocks maybe because of concerns about too big to fail.

Now, Glass Steagall is sort of geeky, sort of wonky. You know, I've been covering this for a really long time, even in pop culture now. I want you to listen to something the financial reporter on "The Newsroom" on a show about newsrooms, she's even weighing on Glass Steagall.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the Great Depression, Congress wanted to put a firewall between the investment banks and the commercial banks. They passed a law, the Glass Steagall, that helped lead to the largest sustained period of economic growth in U.S. history, a 60-year expansion of the middle class, the largest increase in productivity and the largest increase in median income. And you know what happened next? We repealed Glass Steagall.


ROMANS: Sandy Weill helped repeal Glass Steagall. And now, Sandy Weill is in the news and other former big bankers in the news for talking about, hmm, maybe some of the -- maybe some of the firewalls that should be put back into banking.

BERMAN: Full disclosure, we should say Aaron Sorkin, creator of "The Newsroom", says the Olivia Munn character is modeled after --


ROMANS: I kind of use it for that reason. Not often you hear somebody talking about Glass Steagall that's me or another financial reporter, you know? I mean, people are worried about banks being so big. People are worried about protections in place or not in place since the financial crisis and people are worried about what Congress did and didn't do that led to the financial crisis. It's an interesting moment.

SAMBOLIN: All right. One thing you should know about your money? Do you have that for us?

ROMANS: The one thing you should know about your money is I think we could have a down day in stocks quite frankly. It's going to be a little rough here. We've got Europe still on the ropes. We're still very concerned about the earnings reports watching every single day to see just what the impact is from earnings and I'm worried about the fiscal cliff and the Facebook after the bell.

So, that's four things to know.

BERMAN: Up yesterday, down today. Thanks, Christine.

All right. It is 24 minutes past the hour.

We have heard from plenty of others in Washington about this. But now, we're finally hearing from President Obama on gun control, what he said coming up.

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


SAMBOLIN: The word from the top, President Obama says we need to get AK-47s off the street.

BERMAN: Found in the University of Colorado's mail room, a package apparently sent by the Aurora shooting suspect before the massacre.

SAMBOLIN: The ride is over. A break in the case of the brazen biker who recorded himself doing over 180 miles an hour on the highway dodging traffic.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is now 28 minutes past the hour.

And for the first time since the theater massacre in Colorado President Obama is weighing in forcefully on the issue of gun control. He spoke to the National Urban League last night, making perhaps his strongest comments as president on gun violence.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.


BERMAN: I am joined by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, chairman of the National Governors Association.

And, Governor Markell, a lot of people have been saying this -- the president hasn't done much on assault weapons since he has been president. He talked about it on the campaign trail. He voted on it as a state senator in Illinois. But this is the first we're hearing about it as president.

Has he waited to long to take this issue on?

GOV. JACK MARKELL, D-DELAWARE: I don't think he waited to long. I mean, I think, you know, I'll tell you this -- I think like most Americans I certainly would support the Second Amendment but I also feel it is just an unbelievable tragedy every time one of these events happens.

This is why in Delaware last year, I pushed through three pieces of gun control legislation. There was a lot of resistance to it. But at the same time, these are just incredible tragedies every single time.

BERMAN: Governor, you said you pushed through laws as governor of Delaware. The president hasn't yet as president. What would you like to see him do on gun control now?

MARKELL: You know, I will leave that to him. We're focused on what we can do at the state level. Every state of course is different and again I mean, I think lots of us certainly support the Second Amendment, but we want to make sure we're keeping these weapons out of the hands of people like the guy in Colorado who just took the lives of so many people.

BERMAN: And that includes assault weapons, I assume?

MARKELL: Yes, and the control that the pieces of legislation we passed through last year, one was on basically keeping it out of the hands of folks who were under the influence when they're outside of their home and another piece had to do with mental health issues, reporting those properly.

I wasn't successful in all of my pieces trying to close the gun hole loophole in my state. I think there is probably more work to be done.

BERMAN: Governor, I want to talk a second about the presidential campaign.

And a lot of people are calling this a particularly negative campaign. And in a recent NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll more people said it is the Obama campaign that's more negative.

Why do you think there is that perception out there?

MARKELL: Look, I think this is what the media likes to focus on and my sense of the campaign, the president is absolutely laying out his agenda for the future and also making very clear the differences that he has with Governor Romney's perspective. I think that's what campaigns are supposed to be about.

But I think a lot of the attention focuses on all of the advertising on both sides.

BERMAN: It's not just the attention. It is the ad spending, which is predominantly negative in some cases.

MARKELL: Yes, and again, I think, but if you listen to the president, he has been very focused on laying out what I agree are two very, very different messages about where the country is going and how each of the candidates will get there. The president of course is being very much focused on how we build a strong middle class, which is exactly what the country needs to hear.

BERMAN: Governor Markell, shifting gears now completely, you're in Washington because it is the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We're talking about a really important issue, which is getting disabled Americans employed, greater levels of employment.

What's the greatest obstacle right now to that?

MARKELL: Well, I think a couple things. I appreciate your asking. This I am actually answering in my role as the chair of the National Governors Association and the other questions more and more personal.

One of the things that we really want to focus on over the next year is making sure that more and more businesses understand that great businesses across the country, Walgreen's, UPS, Office Max, many others, Bank of America, understand that employing people with disabilities is not just a matter of charity. This is really about making a good business decision. These are the decisions that great leaders across the country are making and we want to make sure other CEOs and small businesses, medium and large, all understand giving people with disabilities a chance for employment is a good business decision.

BERMAN: You know, right now, the unemployment right for people with disabilities is much higher than others. It is 13.1 percent for people with disabilities, 8.2 percent for people without and people looking for jobs, you know, 70 percent of people without disabilities are looking for jobs. Just 20 percent with disabilities are looking.

How do you improve that number? How do you get people with disabilities to go out and hunt for work?

MARKELL: Well, this is -- one of the reasons, the main reason I'm here today is Senator Harkin, who of course has been the champion for such a long time in the Senate for people with disabilities is having this hearing. And I think the more people with disabilities understand they will actually be given a shot the more likely they're going to actually be interested in seeking out employment.

One of the things that we have seen and Senator Harkin's recent report shows this, we have a new generation of people with disabilities who are coming into the job market. These are folks that have had more opportunities as kids to be in a traditional classroom. They understand. They know that they can make a real contribution, and what this is all about now is making sure that they're given that chance throughout the country.

And I'm pleased to be joining with Senator Harkin, also with Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas, a Democrat, a Republican, very different perspectives ideologically, but on this issue, they understand, we've got a responsibility and opportunity to give more people with disabilities a shot at real employment.

BERMAN: It's some rare and welcomed bipartisanship.

Governor Jack Markell, Democrat from Delaware and chairman of the National Governors Association -- thank you very much for joining us this morning.

MARKELL: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: I'm glad that dialog is happening. That's fantastic.

Thirty-four minutes past the hour here.

His need for speed led to a need for bail. Canadian police arrested 25-year-old Randy Scott. There he is there. He is charged with dangerous driving.

Why? Scott is the guy seen super speeding on his motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic. This is a Vancouver highway, that's 186 miles an hour. The video was posted anonymously on YouTube and went viral, being viewed nearly a million times.

And as a condition of his bail he can't get behind the wheel of anything, anything, strictly shotgun for him.

BERMAN: Don't even look at a car. If it has wheels, don't look, pal.


BERMAN: All right. Here in the Northeast, we're bracing for severe weather today.

Rob Marciano with your travel forecast -- Rob.


Last couple of weeks, we've had severe weather across the eastern half of the country. Today, we'll likely see more. Right now, some storms arcing back from Chicago, across Michigan through southern Ontario, and to western New York and Pennsylvania. Some of these are severe and getting down into the Hudson Valley and I think the bigger show will be later today as the storm system.

And for this time of year late July, it has good energy. Obviously, we built up the heat and humidity in the past few days and that's going to continue shift off towards the Northeast from the south. So, we'll build that humid air and that will create more in the way of instability and mostly just large hail, damaging winds, might be an isolated tornado or two.

But what with he have seen this month is you don't need tornados to do some widespread damage. That's what we're fearing from Cincinnati back through State College and through New York and up to Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts.

The heat that has build up, remarkable stuff. St. Louis, Missouri, 108, that's the 11th day this year. You've been over 105. That breaks the all time record set in the 1930s. The damage is done and the heat continues to hang tough.

Ninety-seven degrees in Kansas City. That's the cool off. Ninety-eight degrees in Memphis. Here's your heat in D.C., New York, and that's going to add fuel to the fire as the thunderstorms begin to develop late today and into tonight.

Guys, back up to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thanks for the warning, Rob.

MARCIANO: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour. A chilling find in a college mail room, a package thought to be sent from the aurora shooting suspect. Coming up, find out how police knew exactly where to look for it.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 40 minutes past the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: That's a good welcome back.

BERMAN: I mean it. I mean it. We're glad to have you.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we are. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to see you this morning.

So, more families are paying respects and burying loved ones today in Colorado. And as the city of Aurora tries to heal and come to grips with a senseless crime, investigators have discovered a major piece of evidence, a package sent by the alleged gunman hinting at the massacre.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Aurora. And clearly, he sent this before the shootings. What was in that package?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that package apparently sent just a few days before the shooting here at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and arrived in the mail room at the University of Colorado on Monday and caused briefly for various buildings on the campus to be evacuated as bomb technicians tried to figure out if there were hazardous materials.

But yesterday, we were able to confirm it had been sent by James Holmes to a psychology professor on campus.

CBS News is reporting inside there was a spiral notebook that contained ramblings about wanting to kill people and also some drawings that showed a gunman shooting his victims. So, obviously, the psychologist and investigators taking a closer look at that.

Also, Zoraida, we should point out we learned yesterday back in early June, James Holmes did poorly on one of his final exams and all of that was going on about the same time that law enforcement sources say he was purchasing his weapons and ammunition. So obviously it is another aspect as they try to figure out the timeline as to what happened in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting.

SAMBOLIN: That's a new detail. I know a lot of people were wondering how he was doing in school and why he dropped out of that program.

So, let's talk about the victims and more funerals that are being held today.

LAVANDERA: We're standing here just in front of the memorial that has popped up across the street from the movie theater, that theater area still completely shut off as investigators continue to do their work there.

Yesterday, there was a funeral for Gordon Cowden, one of the -- the oldest victim, 51 years old, who had come to the movies, had brought his two teenaged daughters. He was father of four. He was laid to rest yesterday.

Another funeral today for Micayla Medek who was 23 years old and we know those funerals will continue for all of them over the next several days.

So, that mourning process continues and we still see many people here flocking throughout the day to this memorial service. In fact, the first responders and police chief and various Aurora police officers came out yesterday and paid their respects and reflected here with many of the people who had been coming to this memorial on the street corner.

SAMBOLIN: Everyone is so affected by this, and I'm glad we're keeping memories alive.

Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

LAVANDERA: You bet. Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. There is a lot going on.

So let's bring you up to speed on the morning's top stories.

The gun control debate front and center on the campaign trail. President Obama entering the fray five days after the Aurora massacre, telling the National Urban League in New Orleans, he supports the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and not when it comes to assault weapons. The president says those belong in the hands of soldiers not criminals.

SAMBOLIN: A rocky start to Mitt Romney's London visit. It is being overshadowed by a racially charged comment in a British newspaper from an unnamed Romney campaign advisor about the bond between the U.K. and the U.S. It says, quote, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage and he, Romney, feels that the relationship is special. The White House didn't really appreciate the shared history we have."

Romney distancing himself from that comment saying he does not agree with it and he scent even know who said it.

BERMAN: Overseas, a fierce struggle for control of Syria's largest city intensifying overnight. Rebel forces getting reinforcements as government troops continue to pound Aleppo from the air and on the ground. There are reports heavy fighting in Holmes and Damascus, too. Neighboring Turkey has closed its border crossing to commercial traffic from Syria but says it will remain open for refugees on the run.

SAMBOLIN: Michael Jackson's mother is addressing accusations that she had been kidnapped. Katherine Jackson tells ABC's "Nightline" that she is just fine. She is speaking from Tucson, Arizona, Wednesday. Mrs. Jackson said she is, quote, "devastated" that she has lost custody of Michael's three children.

A missing person's report was filed last week after Michael's children said they hadn't heard from Katherine. Tito Jackson's son, T.J. Jackson, has been appointed their temporary guardian.

I believe it was the grandchildren who said they hadn't --


BERMAN: Complicated.

SAMBOLIN: Very complicated.

BERMAN: Facebook is set to release the first earnings report as a public company today. That will happen after the closing bell. Analysts are expecting Facebook to post earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $1.16 billion. The company's stock price is down 24 percent from the $38 IPO price.

SAMBOLIN: It is 45 minutes past of the hour. Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look at what is ahead on "Starting Point."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots ahead. You were talking about the politics of guns just a moment ago. We're going to continue that conversation and the presidential race in the aftermath of last week's movie theatre massacre in Colorado. Of course President Obama and Governor Romney don't see eye-to-eye on this issue.

We're going to debate it this morning with Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, the former House majority leader, Dick Armey, and "Time" magazine's White House correspondent Michael Cheryl will be joining me.

Also ahead this morning, a top ranked high school has been hit with a civil rights complaint. Here's the question. Did they purposely shut out Black and Latino students?

Plus, four-time major winner, Phil Mickelson, is going to join us live, but his focus is not golf. It's on STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


O'BRIEN: I bet you will. And we're going to talk this morning to these three Olympic stars chasing gold in London this summer. They tell us how they got there and what they had to overcome to get there. That's Maya Moore and Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony all straight ahead.

Don't forget to catch us online -- on your computer, on your mobile phone, go to We'll see you at the top of the hour.

BERMAN: Phil and those three stars?


O'BRIEN: Got it all today.


O'BRIEN: John, all. I got it all today.

BERMAN: That's awesome.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to hang out.

BERMAN: Good stuff. All right. More for us going on here with the Olympic torch relay in its final legs through London. There is already an international controversy on the eve of the games. We're going to go live to London coming up.


BERMAN: I love it.

(LAUGHTER) SAMBOLIN: Berman loves this music.

Fifty minutes past the hour here. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. I can feel the competition. It's beginning.


BERMAN: Of course, the opening ceremonies come tomorrow at the Olympics, but, you know, the games have already begun and the U.S. women's soccer team has already played its first game. They're looking for their third straight gold medal and they started off kind of slow, but man, did they come on strong in the end with a stunning, exciting victory.

Our very own Amanda Davies is live in London this morning, and I mean, not many people know we started already. We're full under way here.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Day minus two in the women's football tournament has got under way already. And as you said, it wasn't the most convincing start for the two-time defending gold medalist Team USA.

They were really given a square by France. They were two goals down within 14 minutes, but Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan pulled level, and they did go on to win 4-2 in the end. But has to be said, it looks like it's going to be a fantastic competition over the next three weeks or so. Beijing was the runner up -- sorry. Brazil was the runners up in Beijing.

And they beat their opponents (INAUDIBLE) 5-0 (ph) in their opening game. Team GB, of course, also wants to put on a good showing in front of their home crowd and they beat New Zealand 1-0. So, it looks like it's going to be a pretty hard fought competition over the next few weeks, but it's still a very long way to go until the final which is August the 9th.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We're looking forward to it. So, tell us about this embarrassing flag flap between North and South Korea. What's that all about?

DAVIES: Yes. Really not the best start for the tournament. Organizers forced to issue an apology for putting up not just the wrong flag but the South Korean flag against the faces, the pictures of the North Korean team ahead of their match against Columbia.

The pictures of the players, the coaching staff, and the fans when they realized what had happened is just absolute horror on their faces. And they decided to walk off the pitch. They said, that's it, we're not playing after that, and it took some serious groveling from the organizers to make them go out on to the pitch and play the match.

There was a delay of about an hour, but as it was, they came back out, and they won 2-0. The tournament's organizers, though, have 16 flags to get right today because the men's competition there's eight matches. And I tell you, there's going to be so many eyes on those graphics.

BERMAN: I am looking forward to the men's soccer coming up today. We call it soccer here, but you can call it whatever you want over there. The torch relay going past some of the big landmarks today, right?

DAVIES: Yes. It's the most fantastic day. The torch relay is winding down, day 69 of 70. But, in terms of what they're seeing the sights, they're cranking it up. It's an A-list A for the torch relay started at St. Paul's Cathedral and (INAUDIBLE) along the region's canal. It's going to Buckingham Palace in front of a watching Kate Middleton and Prince William.

It's meeting David Cameron on Downing Street and going through Trifalgar Square. And then, it's going to be a big party in high part later tonight with the one (ph) who's playing (INAUDIBLE) playing, but of course, all of that is just a warm up for the huge party which is going on in the stadium behind me on Friday, which is the official opening of this games.

And the music is playing now. There are so many rehearsals going on. They were going on until one o'clock this morning. We can't tell you anything, because they're using the hash tag, "save the surprise" to keep us all in suspense.

So, what we do know is there's going to be a pretty good firework display judging by all the boxes and all the fireworks that are lined up along the rivers and canals behind us.

BERMAN: So, you told us the secret despite yourself. Amanda Davies, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

SAMBOLIN: It's fun to get all those secrets trickling down, right?

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Today's "Best Advice" is headed your way next, and it's from an Olympic gold medalist.

BERMAN: Very nice.

SAMBOLIN: Coming up.


BERMAN: It is just a few minutes before the hour right now. "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien on deck.

SAMBOLIN: And we wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." And here's Christine.

ROMANS: Today's "Best Advice" comes from Olympic gold medallist for volleyball, Misty May-Treanor. She offers some of her best advice about being thankful and being grateful. Listen.


MISTY MAY-TREANOR, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Remember that there's others out there that don't have the opportunities that you have and to always know that someone would love to switch places for you for one day, you know, whether they're in a hospital bed or not.

So, every day you get up, be thankful and grateful for what you have whether it's big or small and just have fun with life.


ROMANS: Just have fun with life and be thankful and grateful. Remember, there's somebody out there that would like to switch places with you whatever you're complaining about.

BERMAN: I think being an Olympic gold medalist has got to be the biggest honor in the world.


BERMAN: -- the best.


SAMBOLIN: This is her last Olympics, she said. This is it. She's going to go home and be a wife, and hopefully, a mother in the near future.

ROMANS: Focus on babies.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Focus on babies. She's married to a baseball player.

BERMAN: That's right.

ROMANS: I love all the advice we're getting from the Olympians, though, they're very focused and dedicated, but then, you hear them talk about being grateful or about luck, too. About you have to really work hard, but you have to be a little lucky and visualizing your goals has just been kind of inspiring.

BERMAN: These are people who know a little something about achieving their goals.

ROMANS: Yes, yes, yes. That's why we take their advice.


SAMBOLIN: We wanted her to come back with a gold medal. I asked her if she would bring it here and show it off, and she said absolutely. So, we expect her back here on our set.

BERMAN: Good booking. Way to go on. SAMBOLIN: Yes.


BERMAN: All right. That is EARLY START this morning. Thanks for being here. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.