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British Papers Blast Mitt Romney; Games On!; Recovering And Remembering

Aired July 27, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: How many hours away are we? The final countdown. We are just hours away from the opening ceremonies for the London Olympic Games.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The attacks that come by people that are trying to knock down my business career or my Olympic experience, or our success, those attacks are not going to be successful.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Mitt Romney talking to our Piers Morgan and trying to hang tough amid a rocky trip overseas.

SAMBOLIN: Dangerous at any speed. Take a look -- a driver caught on camera getting trigger happy with a tailgater. It's actually very scary video. We're going to share that with you.

In the meantime, good morning to you on this Friday morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Happy Friday. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Also, this morning, you know, we had some crazy weather here in New York overnight. Maybe some tornadoes upstate. We're going to have the latest on that from our own Rob Marciano in just a few minutes.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, the doctor convicted in the Michael Jackson's dad, Dr. Conrad Murray, is reaching out to the late King of Pop's mother now. You're going to find out why, coming up.

BERMAN: But first, we're going to talk about politics and Mitt Romney's rocky start in London. You know, this was a trip intended to charm the Brits, to show off Romney's statesmanship and raise some cash along the way.

But he is facing some tough headlines across the pond. You know, one in "The Sun" this morning said, "Mitt the Twit."

In his two days in London so far, Romney's been forced to explain a rogue comment by someone claiming to be an adviser, that he questioned security and British enthusiasm for the 2012 Summer Games which officially begin in a few hours.

Romney and also first lady Michelle Obama will both be on hand when the Olympic torch is lit tonight. The first lady is leading the presidential delegation to the Games.

Our Jim Acosta -- CNN's Jim Acosta is live in London right now.

Jim, you got through the traffic. It's great to see you.


The traffic is brutal here, John and Zoraida. You know, I don't if our folks at home know this, but London has done something kind of interesting and move the traffic along for the Olympic athletes and for the media.

They basically shut down some of the lanes for everybody else. So if you're in a taxi, you're with everybody else. So, it's not easy to make the live shot when that happens. But happy to make it.

Yes, Mitt Romney is waking up to pretty brutal headlines this morning. You were just talking about that, John and Zoraida moments ago. John, I know you're a big Beatles fan, or at least I think you are.

The latest headline right here, nowhere man Romney loses his way with gaffe about the games. That's one of the headlines here. That's in "The Times." This other one, I hope we can say this it on American television, "Who invited party pooper Romney?" That is the headline in the "Daily Mail."

So it just goes on and on like that. So a tough 24 hours for the GOP contender.

You know, all of this started when he gave the interview to NBC when he said we don't know how the games will it turn out, some of the problems have been disconcerting. David Cameron, the primary minister here, took issue with those comments, said some brutal things of his own in response to those comments, and then Romney came out of his meeting with Cameron praising the preparations for the Olympic Games.

So whatever the British word is for woodshed is, that might have been where Romney was taken yesterday during his meeting with David Cameron. But an interview with Piers Morgan, he also talked about how he thinks the games will be a success here.

Here's what he had to say.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: You've been slightly criticized for knocking the British enthusiasm. As if you haven't picked up much enthusiasm. You feeling it now?


ROMNEY: Well, I'm delighted to see the kind of support that has been around the torch for instance. I watched last night on BBC an entire program about the torch being run across Great Britain. And the kind of crowds -- I guess millions of people that turned out to see the torch. That's what you hope to see.


ACOSTA: And the word on the street here in London was not pretty. Boris Johnson, who is the mayor of London, was appearing at a rally yesterday of 60,000 Londoners and Britons here to celebrate the opening of the Olympic Games, which will start tonight, the opening ceremonies are tonight.

And here's what he had to say about what Romney had to say about the Olympics in London.


BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: I hear there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready. He wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are.




ACOSTA: Yes. So needless to say, they're dubbing this Romney shambles here in London. He'll have a chance to repair some of the damage tonight. He's going to be at the opening ceremonies with his wife Ann and then he heads off to Israel tomorrow -- and something tells me it probably would be a good feeling when he takes off from London tomorrow, John and Zoraida.

BERMAN: You know, the Brits, they can't vote in our election, you know? So it's not like he's losing votes in London. But I do not think that these were the headlines he was hoping for.

This was supposed to be a lay up for Mitt Romney and when he's waking up to headlines like this, like "Mitt the twit," in "The Sun," that's got to be something that doesn't make the Romney team and the Romney family too happy.

All right. Jim Acosta, it is great to see you live in person this morning in London. We'll talk to you again in a little bit.

ACOSTA: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It's five minutes past the hour.

Security obviously top priority in London right now with thousands of world class athletes and 100 heads of states on hand for the games.

Prime Minister David Cameron saying he is confident that the games will be successful and that they will be safe. There are 18,200 troops participating in Olympic security. That's double the British presence in combat in Afghanistan and fighter jets are on standby.

The torch is making its final approach toward the Olympic Stadium right now, under heavy guard before the huge opening ceremonies scheduled tonight.

CNN's Amanda Davies is live in London.

I was listening to an interview where they said there is a no- fly zone over London and if you violate it, they will take you down.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, welcome to the Olympic park. This is what we've been waiting for, for seven years and there's been seven years of an awful lot of planning for this, hasn't there?

But it has to be said, here we are day 70 of 70 of the torch relay, the final countdown. And the mood here really is one of excitement and pride and anticipation. But after the ringing of bells at eight minutes past 12:00, Big Ben was striking and they were encouraging people to ring any bell they could. Bicycle bells, their door bells. We had a bell here on our balcony, just getting involved. Getting excited about what's to come here in London over the next couple of weeks.

The torch relay set off from Hampton Court Palace, fantastic setting with Matthew Pinsent, the Olympic champion, Olympic rower, carrying the flame. And then went on to the royal barge that was used during the jubilee celebration, 16 rowers rowing the flame on a caldron down the Thames for its final journey, so close to Tower Bridge, it will then disappear into city hall in London the around lunchtime here and then well not see it again until the big party scheduled here tonight behind me at the Olympic Stadium.

And as you would imagine, the papers are getting very excited. This is the front page of "The Guardian": "Time to find out who we are." This is the front page of "The Daily Mirror," "Ring It On," for get the 9.2 billion, talking about the negative things, but now the time to enjoy it.

And then "The Sun," "Bond, Becks, Beatles, the Baked Bean, Brilliant." The big question everybody is asking is who is going to light the flame here in the stadium. And, you know, we know so little about the ceremony despite so many people being involved. It's been the most fantastically kept secret.

SAMBOLIN: We were hoping that you could shed some light on that little secret. So we're going to continue checking in with you. Thank you so much. Amanda Davies live for us.


BERMAN: I can't wait to find out. We'll see it here on tape delay hours after it happens.

Meanwhile, it was a tough night here overnight. People from Connecticut to Ohio, cleaning up this morning after a round of strong storms knocked out power to hundreds of customers. A team from the National Weather Services will be on the ground in Elmira, in New York, later today, to try to determine in if a tornado struck there.


BERMAN: Rob Marciano is live fittingly at Olympic Park in Atlanta this morning.

Rob, this thing was pretty rough last night.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It was. Boy, the line of storms, guys, at one point around 6:00, 7:00 Eastern Time stretched all the way from Hartford, Connecticut, back through Dallas. So, 1,700, 1,800 miles of almost destructive weather.

As you mentioned, Elmira got hit likely the hardest. That's the only report actually of a tornado that we had. Most were of damaging winds. But certainly a fair amount of lightning.

Here's what it looked like across New York City, Gotham got ugly clouds roll in just around sunset and all broke loose right over Central Park and the Hudson. So everybody getting a piece of it in the tri-state area, thousands of lightning strikes to put a scare into you, as well.

Here's a look at the storm reports across the country yesterday. Over 300 wind reports anywhere from 50 to over 70-mile-an-hour wind reports yesterday.

Let's look at what we can expect as far as current radar is concerned across just outside of D.C. This is diminishing in strength. But we will see storms refire today.

Here's the convective outlook, where we expect to see the strongest storms. Actually New York and Boston, you may see some storms today, but the bulk of the heaviest action will likely be across the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic, including the Delmarva. D.C. also will be in the line of fire, in the form of maybe some large hail and damaging winds at this pretty strong storm system, guys, for late July comes through and at least breaks some of the heat that the eastern third of the country has been enduring. So I suppose that's some of the good news, but some fireworks in the making, as well.

We'll talk more about Olympic Park. Olympics were here in Atlanta back in 1996, so why not broadcast live outside the CNN studios today.

BERMAN: It is fitting. Thank you very much, Rob. The tough storms last night, you slept right through them.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't hear a they think and I only knew they were coming because you warned me. Thank you very much, Rob.

It's ten past the hour. Attorneys for one of jerry Sandusky's victims have released two voice mail recordings they say the convicted predator left on their client's answering machine. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the recordings.

However, the attorneys for victim number two claim the calls were made less than two months before the former Penn State assistant coach was arrested in 2011 on child sex abuse charges. Listen.


JERRY SANDUSKY: Just calling to see, I don't know whether you had any interest in going to the Penn State game this Saturday. If you could get back to me and let me know, I would appreciate it and when you get this message, give me a call and I hope to talk to you later. Thanks. I love you.


SAMBOLIN: Attorneys for victim number two say they intend to file a civil suit against -Penn State. A spokesman for the university wouldn't comment on those voice mails, but did say the school is taking the case very seriously.

BERMAN: The federal government is cracking down on the synthetic drug industry. 90 suspects in 30 states arrested yesterday as part of an effort dubbed Operation Logjam. Almost 5 million packets of fake pot and nearly 167,000 packages of bath salts were seized along with $36 million in cash. DEA, FBI, ICE, and IRS agents all took part in the raids.

SAMBOLIN: Ford is recalling 421,000 Escape crossover SUVs in the United States. This is part of a worldwide recall totaling 485,000 vehicles. That recall affects 2001 through 2004 model escapes with a V6 engines and cruise control. Ford says it needs to fix a problem with the cruise control cable. The cable can get stuck when the gas pedal is pressed almost all the way down causing unintended acceleration.

And listen, it could even happen when the vehicle's cruise control feature is not engaged.

BERMAN: The doctor convicted in Michael Jackson's death has offered an invitation to the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, we heard much of the news lately. Through his lawyers, Murray has invited Mrs. Jackson to visit him in jail to answer any questions she might have.

In a statement, Murray said he would be happy to meet with the mother of a man he calls a very dear departed friend.

A representative for Katherine Jackson says he doubts she will take Murray up on his offer. She's got a lot going on right now.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, she does.

A driver with a hair trigger. Police in Ft. Lauderdale releasing will video that shows a driver, gets out of his BMW and starts shooting at the man who was driving the Ford truck behind him.

You see that there?

BERMAN: Yes, he got out and starts shooting at a guy tailgating.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, this was in broad daylight in a residential neighborhood. It was all last month. Police say he was apparently angry of being followed too closely. He gets back in his car, takes off.

One bullet did pierce the truck. Luckily no one was shot. Police are now looking for that shooter.

BERMAN: That's scary. You always worry about when you upset someone on the road what could happen.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you'd never know.

BERMAN: People shake their fist actually and go, little nervous. Don't happen to me very often, I don't think, as far as you know.

All right. They said she would never walk again, but they were wrong. Check this out. Coming up, a real life bionic woman who is giving hope to those with paralyzing injuries.


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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

We're taking a look at what's going on in the papers around the country this morning -- an "Early Read" on your local news.

We'll start in New Jersey where one of two New Jersey state troopers facing disciplinary action for escorting exotic cars on a high speed caravan to Atlantic has resigned. What happened here is the cops were escorting these classic cars almost speed racers, classic Ferraris and other kinds of really nice cars, they were going 100 miles an hour down the Garden State Parkway, and it was filmed by a couple guys on YouTube. Probably not a good idea to lead these joy riders down the highway at 100 miles an hour.

One of the people was Brandon Jacobs, football player for the New York Giants.

SAMBOLIN: Why did they do this?

BERMAN: One of the cops resigned. It is a big scandal in Jersey.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, let's move on. Want another Chick- fil-A story? This time, the mayor of San Francisco has a message for Chick-fil-A, he says, keep out. He's joining Boston and Chicago. This comes to us via the "Los Angeles Times."

So, Chick-fil-A's president started all this by saying his Atlanta-based chicken chain operates on biblical values and opposes same-sex marriage. He's taking a lot of heat. Some people said when you try to (INAUDIBLE) you're having a lot of problems.

Apparently he is. San Francisco's mayor, Edward Lee, tweeting, quote, "Very disappointed Chick-fil-A doesn't share San Francisco's values and strong commitment to equality for everyone. So the closest Chick-fil-A for San Francisco is 40 miles away and I strongly recommend they not try to come any closer."

BERMAN: Politicizing the fast food business.

I have a really nice story to tell you about from Oklahoma City. You have to check out this woman in a bionic suit. This is 31-year- old Sarah Anderson. She was paralyzed from the waist down when she was in an accident with a drunk driver. But this bionic suit is helping her walk. It's one of 14 facilities in the country there, (INAUDIBLE) center in Oklahoma City where this works and you can see her walking with the help of this suit.

SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine that? That is incredible. For somebody who thinks they'll never walk again to be able to do that, that's just amazing.

BERMAN: Really, really terrific and we're very, very happy for her.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Twenty minutes past the hour. For an expanded look at our top stories, head to our blog,

BERMAN: It is now about 20 minutes after the hour. And we want to get you up-to-date on the news all around the country and the world this morning. The opening ceremonies just hours away from London.

Thousands of top athletes, 100 heads of state and 18,000 troops on hand for the start of the Summer Olympics. The queen is expected to kick things off and Paul McCartney, that's Sir Paul McCartney to you, is lined up to perform tonight.

SAMBOLIN: And no let up to the bloody battle for control of Aleppo. Rebel forces in Syria's largest city taking heavy fire from government helicopter, gun ships overnight. Fighting reportedly intense in Damascus, as well.

Opposition observers say more than 200 people were killed yesterday. More than 40,000 Syrians have now fled across the border to Turkey where they're living in refugee camps.

BERMAN: The NFL has launched a new comprehensive health program for current and former players. The program is called NFL total wellness. It includes confidential mental health telephone hotline and a Web site will be available to players 24 hours a day. You know, this is great. I mean, these guys retired, 300-plus pound, they need to stay healthy. Hopefully, this will help them (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's great.

Facebook did better than expected in its first earnings report. But that doesn't necessarily mean good news about if you own some of it stock. We're going to explain that, coming up.


BERMAN: All right. We're minding your business this morning. We want to check in on the markets.

After a solid rally yesterday, U.S. stock futures are up just a bit this morning , for now, because at 8:30 a.m., we'll find out GDP numbers for the second quarter. Economists surveyed by CNN Money say the economy grew at the pretty slow rate of 1.4 percent.

And there is a lot of attention on this report because we're expecting revisions on GDP all the way back to President Obama's first months in office. This is a big one.

SAMBOLIN: And Facebook stock down to new lows overnight. Even after the company earnings beat analyst estimates. But the numbers just didn't impress investors.

Another concern they have: executives did not layout any predictions for future quarters. Facebook stock is down about 9 percent in pre-market trading. So we'll be watching that for you, also today.

BERMAN: Talking about new lows in mortgage rates -- they just keep dropping. New record lows announced again yesterday. The average 30-year fixed rate now less than 3.5 percent; 15-year at 2.8 percent. That's according to Freddie Mac.

It is a great time to check into refinancing. Get these loans if you qualify -- that of course the hard part.

SAMBOLIN: The big if there.

And JCPenney changing its pricing strategy yet again. Little identity crisis going on here. Starting in August, you'll see lower prices on a large amount of merchandise in the stores, instead of marking down prices by 20 percent to 29 percent one month at a time or just a few times. See if it works.

BERMAN: We'll see how that works out.


BERMAN: All right. They are the coolest cities in the country and we're not talking about the weather. We're definitely not talking about the weather. That's a little hint.

Our nation's capital is on the list. But it's not number one. What is? Find out coming up.

And if you're leaving the house right now, don't fret, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to



BERMAN (voice-over): It is the last leg for the Olympic torch with the opening ceremonies in the London games just hours away.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Trouble with the tread. Hundreds of thousands of truck and van tires on a recall list.

BERMAN: A police officer caught on camera in a compromising position. It has already cost him his job.


BERMAN (on-camera): And welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. Happy Friday.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're happy you're with us this morning. Thirty minutes past the hour.

Game's on. The stadium is ready, the athletes are ready, and in just a few hours, the 2012 summer games will officially begin. The royals greeted the torch of Buckingham Palace yesterday. A billion people around the world expected to watch the $42 million spectacle, and there will be British royalty and rock royalty, a Beatle along with 007.

But we still don't know who will light that big flame. CNNs Amanda Davies is live in London. Lots of speculation about it. I was just talking to John. He says they're all a Twitter over, perhaps, it being Beckham. What do you know?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think I can tell you it's not going to be David Beckham. I don't know. I did get to speak to him earlier this week, and I got the impression he might not be the final person holding the flame, but he did certainly say to me that he thinks, with a cheeky grin on his face, that there is a flame involved with what he is doing.

Has to be said, the rain has started to fall here in London. I know in Beijing they fired clouds into the sky, didn't they? You could think that this rain here in London is part of an elaborate plan that Danny Boyle has concocted for the opening ceremony, but sadly, I don't think that is the case.

It is just sadly bad timing, because it's been the most glorious weather here in London for the last few days, but it is raining. There's a lot of names being bantered around for that honor, the final honor of lighting the flame in the stadium. David Beckham is one of them. A lot of people suggesting that they'd like to see the queen have the honor.

Some people talking about Steve Redgrave, the five-time Olympic gold medalist. Apparently, there was a bit of movements on the odds of the booking (INAUDIBLE) the other day, suggesting it might be Sir Roger Bannister, who, of course, the first man to run the four-minute mile.

But, I think, frankly, Danny Boyle deserves the medal to have gotten us to this point with so much still unknown about this opening ceremony. Despite the fact, he's had two rehearsals in front of 60,000 people. There's about 15,000 involved in the ceremony, but using that hash tag, "save the surprise" seems to have incredibly worked.

SAMBOLIN: It has, but at least you've given us some good tidbits. It's nice, because it builds all of the excitement. CNNs Amanda Davies live for us. Thank you very much. We'll check in with you again.

BERMAN: You know, and we're talking about early looks at what's going to happen tonight. We have an early look at what some of our American athletes will be wearing tonight. You know, we've been talking about the uniforms, and we've seen mock ups of them, but now, some of the athletes actually wearing them and pretty famous ones, too.

Carmelo Anthony, on the right there, tweeted out this picture of himself and that's Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two members of the Olympic basketball team. This is what they look like in their outfits.

SAMBOLIN: How do they look, what do you think?


BERMAN: You know what I think. I don't like the berets.

SAMBOLIN: I think they look nasty. I like it.

BERMAN: Is Zoraida the big fan of the berets? I'm not so hot in the berets, but they, of course, look very, very nice.

SAMBOLIN: But if they were wearing a baseball cap, you'd be OK with that?

BERMAN: Totally. It's what American (ph) --


BERMAN: What's American about a beret? I want them wearing baseball hats next time.

(LAUGHTER) BERMAN: All right. Moving, we're now going to talk to Rob Marciano who's got a look at today's weather. There is a lot of weather to talk about, some rough weather overnight. He is in Olympic Park fittingly in Atlanta.

SAMBOLIN: I just want to know, is it a thumbs up or a thumbs down for the beret?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, I totally agree with Berman. When's the last time you saw a beret in the American streets, on Main Street? I mean, maybe in New York or L.A., maybe. But, you know --


SAMBOLIN: All right. All right, guys.

BERMAN: Thank you, Rob.

MARCIANO: I mean, it's -- they look good. They look good. But it's not American. All right. Let's talk about your Olympic Park here, 1996, the Olympics were held in Atlanta in this park. Sadly, actually, you remember the Olympic Park bombing, that happened on this day, 16 years ago.

Let's talk about the London Olympics and the weather forecast for today and the ceremonies tonight. Not too shabby, actually, but there's a slight chance for seeing a shower or two. But I think those chances diminish as we get closer to evening. So, a sprinkle or two this morning or this afternoon, I should say, which is where they are right now, but London time tonight, 68 degrees, 9:00 p.m. I think we'll be OK.

Maybe a sprits. I'm not sure that's how they say it over there, but here's the forecast for the next three days. Typical London stuff. So, the heat for the most part is gone. A slight chance of seeing a shower or two. Temperatures will be in the 60s. State side, as you guys mentioned, coming in (ph), we had some rough weather overnight.

Boy, Elmyra got hit with potentially a tornado. Lots of damage in other spots in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Connecticut, the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. And threat for storms there again today, but mostly, it will be sinking to the south as those two fronts kind of combine and eject off toward the east.

It will break some of the heat, as well. So, the heat breaking for the Olympics and also in some cases here for the U.S. There's some of the damage there in Elmira, New York. The only tornado reported yesterday. Well, we had 300 wind reports, and that's what we thought would happen and there were some damaging wind gusts, 60, 70 miles an hour knocking out power to, at one point, hundreds of thousands of people across parts of the northeast.

Guys, toss it back over to you. When I come across a beret, I will wear it in honor of tonight's ceremonies. SAMBOLIN: I'm sending you one. Thank you very much.

MARCIANO: I don't think I'll find one.


SAMBOLIN: Thanks, Rob.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour. Mitt Romney not exactly bringing home the gold for political correctness. The former Massachusetts governor stepping on toes right out of the gate in London, questioning the UK's passion for the games and characterizing security for the Olympics as disconcerting.

Prime Minister David Cameron pushing back insisting it is much easier to hold an Olympics in the middle of nowhere, an apparent dig at Romney's role in the Salt Lake City games. Romney softening his tone and emphasizing the positive in this interview with CNNs Piers Morgan.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: You've been slightly criticized for knocking the British enthusiasm as if you hadn't been tough on much enthusiasm. Are you feeling it now?


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm delighted to see the kind of support that has been around the torch presence. I watched last night on BBC an entire program about the torch being run across Great Britain and the kind of crowds, I guess, millions of people that turned out to see torch. That's what you hope to see.


SAMBOLIN: Piers also had a chance to talk politics with the presumptive GOP nominee. Romney says he is disturbed by what he sees as a growing tendency in America to resent success.


ROMNEY: There are people who are trying to attack success and are trying to attack our success. That's not going to be successful. When you attack success, you have less of it, and that's what we've seen in our economy over the last few years. Dividing America based on who has money and who hasn't, who is successful, and who is less successful, that is not the American way.


SAMBOLIN: After taking in the start of the London games, Romney heads to Israel and then Poland next week. BERMAN: It is 37 minutes past the hour right. And slowly and painfully, people in Colorado are beginning to piece their lives back together one week after the Aurora massacre. Reverend Jesse Jackson was on hand yesterday comforting mourners at a memorial to the victims. He called last week's tragedy an act of domestic terrorism and called for a ban on assault weapons.

Yesterday, it was also a time to mourn crowds packed the new whole Baptist church in Denver to remember 23-year-old Mikayla's Medek (ph). She was one of 12 people killed in the shooting rampage and friends remembered her vibrant spirit.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so much sadness around, so much grieving. It is evident that we are all hurting. But it's because Mikayla's physical presence who's no longer with us. Mikayla's filled our hearts with nothing but love, and although, we cannot see her, she is (ph) with each of us.


BERMAN: Yesterday, police took down the crime scene tape at the apartment complex where suspect, James Holmes, lived and residents began moving back in.

SAMBOLIN: A police officer in Melbourne, Florida, has been fired and is facing seven misdemeanor charges after being caught on tape picking up prostitutes with his patrol car.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): And he wasn't arresting them either. Police used dash cam video from the officer, Jose Oteros (ph), own patrol car along with surveillance cameras to make their case.

In this clip here, police say a known prostitute is seen emerging from the passenger's side of Officer Otero's (ph) car while he gets out of the driver's side without his shirt on. Can you see that there? He then proceeds to put his police uniform back on.


BERMAN: Interesting police work. With his own -- the camera in his own car, they caught some of this.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Part of the stupid criminal bio (ph) --

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: -- police officer.

BERMAN: All right. Michelin is launching a recall on more than 840,000 BF Goodrich and Uniroyal tires because of faulty treads. The tires in question were manufactured between April 2010 up to this very month. They were sold as replacements for commercial light trucks and full size heavy duty vans. The tread can separate causing rapid air loss.

The Michelin says the problem has been spotted in less than 150 tires and that no deaths or injuries, thankfully, have been reported.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we're happy to report that.

So Houston, we have a problem with just being too darn cool. Can you believe it? The city of Houston earned the top spot on Forbes list of the coolest city to live. Forbes saying the economy is booming down there with 50,000 Americans flocking there for jobs. The median age of a Houston resident, youthful 33.

The cities were also ranked on things like (INAUDIBLE) culture, diversity, and overall, places to hang. In second place, the nation's capital, number three, Los Angeles, number four, Dallas, and Seattle rounding out the top five.

BERMAN: Two cities in Texas.

SAMBOLIN: Boost to Texas. Yes. The moral of the story, move to Texas.

BERMAN: -- obviously written by someone from Texas. No doubt. And when we say cooler, I mean, it's like 130 degrees down there and the humidity. But it's cool in its own way.


BERMAN: All right. The race for the White House is heating up, and it's something like an Olympic sprint. It's a golden opportunity for the winner, but there is no silver medal for the loser. Take a look at campaign 2012 through the eyes of an Olympic geek, me, coming up.



BERMAN: You got to love it now. Imagine if Mitt Romney and President Obama were running barefoot on the beach with all those British athletes. You know, it doesn't sound realistic, but think of it like this. Obama and Romney are like modern day decathletes. They have to do it all. And in their competition, only the gold medal counts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN (voice-over): Sadly, the 2012 games do not feature golf or jet skiing as official events. So, neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney will compete in London. But that doesn't mean they don't have their own games. No, they have the political Olympics. Take the hurdles. Mitt Romney had to leap over his GOP foes just to get here.

You think jumping over Cain, Perry, and Gingrich was easy, just ask Rick Santorum. He ended up with the silver.

Rick Santorum, (r) former presidential candidate: And we will suspend our campaign effective today.

BERMAN: Poll vault. Well, the latest "Wall Street Journal"/NBC poll showed the president vaulting to a six-point lead, synchronized diving. Even without the Speedos, both campaigns medal in endless precision repetition.

ROMNEY: Middle class.


ROMNEY: Create jobs.

OBAMA: Create jobs.

BERMAN: While we're in the pool, a politician's least favorite event, the backstroke. Former New Hampshire governor, John Sununu just visited the podium after saying the president needed to learn how to be an American. Check out his backstroke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, I made a mistake. I shouldn't have used those words. And I apologize for using those words.

BERMAN: Weightlifting. Mitt Romney better have big arms to lift the bags of money his campaign has raked in. Finally, if there's one Olympic sport our leaders know all too well, it's gymnastics. Not all of them can handle the flips. This was Gary Bauer in 2000. But today's crop is adept at the verbal gymnastics. The contortions, turns, and, yes, the twists.

OBAMA: He's been twisting my words around to suggest that I don't value small business.

ROMNEY: There are opposition people look for anything they can find to distort, to twist, and to try and make negative.

BERMAN: With all that twisting, let's get these guys on the balance beam. Meanwhile, we can only hope they don't discover beach volleyball. America couldn't bear the outfits.



BERMAN: Beach volleyball is a very important sport. Of course, if you're wondering who's some of the real political athletes are out there, Gary Johnson who is the libertarian candidate for president right now running as a third party, former governor of New Mexico, he has run the iron man triathlon a few times.


BERMAN: He's the real deal. My favorite political athlete of all time, though, is Ralph Metcalfe, who is a congressman from Georgia in the 1970s. Ralph Metcalfe won the silver medal when Jesse Owens won the gold in 1936, and he actually gold medaled on the relay team in 1936. SAMBOLIN: Oh, no way! I didn't know that.

BERMAN: Fantastic political --

SAMBOLIN: And that is very clever. I like that.

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

SAMBOLIN: You know, Ann Romney said on Piers Morgan last night that her husband is a runner. I don't know if he officially runs.

BERMAN: I think to stay fit.

SAMBOLIN: You know, yes, just for a little exercise. But anyway, thank you for that. That was very nice.

Forty-eight minutes past the hour. We're going to get you up-to- date now. We have our top stories for you.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The final countdown begins to the opening ceremonies in London. There are thousands of top athletes, hundreds head of state, 18,000 troops on hand for the start of the summer Olympics. The queen is expected to kick things off, and Paul McCartney is lined up to perform tonight.

BERMAN (voice-over): Lovely. You got to have a Beatle.

Mitt Romney is in London as the games get under way. Some British papers blasting him this morning after he told NBC News that he found London's last minute preparations disconcerting, and he also questioned the Brits' enthusiasm. He did not repeat that last night with Piers Morgan.


ROMNEY: It's great. It's absolutely fabulous. You know, I've never been to an Olympics before I was given the Olympic job. I mean, I've done the same thing everybody else did. I've watched the games on TV. But to actually be here and to experience not just the athletes but also the volunteers who are working hard and excited, and then the whole community comes together. It's fabulous.


BERMAN: He's feeling the enthusiasm now. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, also seemed to take a swipe at Romney saying obstacles are inevitable when such an event is held in a busy city rather than in the middle of nowhere. Romney helped to organize the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

SAMBOLIN: And there is still no sign of two young Iowa girls missing now for nearly two weeks. There are their pictures. Police in Evansdale believe eight-year-old Elizabeth Collins and her 10-year- old cousin, Lyric Morrissey were abducted. They think those little girls are still alive.

Elizabeth turns nine this weekend, and her parents say they're going ahead with the birthday party that they planned with her before she vanished.

BLITZER: Protesters disrupting a Chick-fil-A grand opening in Laguna Hills, California. Demonstrators angry with the chain CEO for saying he opposes same-sex marriage. A group of Chick-fil-A fans have been camping out overnight for a chance to win free meals for a year. But the protest forced the company to change its plans and send those campers home.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Fifty minutes past the hour. Singer, dancer, fashion icon, add one more for Lady Gaga.

BERMAN (on-camera): I thought you were talking about me.

SAMBOLIN: Movie actress.


SAMBOLIN: You do all those things? You want to be a movie actress? We're going to have all the details coming up.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime right on your desktop, perhaps, on your mobile phone, just go to Just don't watch and walk.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifty-three minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman, and we are taking a look at what is trending on the web this morning. Mother Monster has her first movie role. I guess, she calls her fans little monsters, right? So, this is Lady Gaga.

Director, Robert Rodriguez (ph) tweeted that Lady Gaga has been cast in his upcoming "Machete" sequel. It is called "Machete Kill." She will play a character called Lockamelion (ph). She's in lingerie there wearing a wolf in a movie poster. But listen to this, this is really interesting, because she's got pretty impressive cast members that are joining her.

Sofia Vergara, Mel Gibson, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr. -- one of my favorites -- Charlie Sheen who is rumored to be cast playing the president.

BERMAN: Sounds like a family film --

SAMBOLIN: Machete? I don't know.


SAMBOLIN: A lot of blooding gore (ph) in that one. BERMAN: Five guys out west with a fantastic prediction. They used to get together at this lake in California, Lake (INAUDIBLE), starting in 1982 and they snapped a photo. And what they did is every five years, they'd go back and they snap a photo in the same exact pose, the same five guys --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh!

BERMAN: -- the same pose. You can see how they age a little bit over the years. It's really amazing. They try to strike the same exact pose.

SAMBOLIN: Look at this guy.


BERMAN: Yes. He gets a little bit older, a little bigger. The hair starts to fall out, but they say they're going to do it every five years until they die.

SAMBOLIN: That's a great idea. Nice tradition. Very nice tradition.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, this morning's top stories, including the biggest event in the world. We are live ahead of today's opening ceremony of the London games. You are watching EARLY START.



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The final countdown. We're just hours away from opening ceremonies for the London Olympic Games.

ROMNEY: The attacks that come by people who are trying to knock down by business career or my Olympic experience or our success, those attacks are not going to be successful.

BERMAN (voice-over): Mitt Romney talking to our Piers Morgan and trying to hang tough amid a rocky trip, so far, overseas.

SAMBOLIN: Left powerless. Tens of thousands from the plains to New England waking up without lights around the runs (ph) after a round of strong storms that may have spawned at least one tornado.