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Romney Talking Tough; Movie Theater Massacre; Cheney: Picking Palin Was A "Mistake"; Teaming Up To "Sound The Alarm"

Aired July 30, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Mitt Romney overseas talking tough on Iran and collecting campaign cash in Israel.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: The Aurora shooting suspect back in court today, but this time we won't get to se what he looks like.

BERMAN: And no surrender for this chase suspect. Cell phone video catches him taking off -- there he goes -- just when police thought they had him. Crazy video.

Good morning and welcome to "early start," everyone. Happy Monday. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: Happy Monday indeed. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And also coming up, former President Bill Clinton taking on a major role at the Democratic National Convention.

BERMAN: And we're also going to talk about the Olympics, the quirky rule, some might say ridiculous and unfair rule that might have cost the Americans their medal.

SAMBOLIN: How do you feel about that, John?

BERMAN: I'm going to keep how I feel a secret, though it was ridiculous. This may have cost one of our best Olympians a shot at gold in London. It did cost her a shot at gold in London.

SAMBOLIN: I know. We're going to chat a lot about that. See how you feel as well.

But right now Mitt Romney is on a plane to Poland, the last stop on his international tour. Romney left Israel this morning, where he gave a tough talking speech on Iran.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option. We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course. No option should be excluded. We recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you.



SAMBOLIN: CNN's Sarah is live in Jerusalem.

And, Sara, how is Romney's stance on Israel and Iran different from President Obama's?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, first, he appeared to be more hawkish than the Obama administration, at first saying that he would support Israel's right to a preemptive strike against Iran, to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But then later on in the day, his senior aide and he himself in his speech stepped back from that a little, saying he respected Israel's right for military action against Iran for the same reasons.

So you're seeing him back away a little bit from more hawkish points that he was making earlier. As you know, President Obama and the Obama administration has been sending people through here almost on a weekly basis, trying to calm the tension between Israel and Iran, and really trying to get Israel to back away from the idea of a preemptive strike. The Obama administration really wanting Israel to let the measures that have been put in place, such as sanctions, and the diplomatic measures, to try and take their course before talking of anything that might mean a war that the United States has to get involved in.

But Romney certainly making very clear that he stands by Israel, that he believes the relationship between the United States and Israel is of the utmost importance.

SAMBOLIN: And he was taking some strong stands, right? Romney has also taken an unprecedented stance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem. What can you tell us about that?

SIDNER: Yes, it's interesting because it has certainly angered the Palestinians, but it isn't so unprecedented because many of the United States political candidates for president have come through here and said a similar thing, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, which is what the stance of Israel is, but that has always angered the Palestinians who have said, look, after the 1967 war, they believe that east Jerusalem was occupied, as being occupied by Israel, and they want east Jerusalem as their capital in a two-state solution, and that has been a sticking point for the Palestinians and the Israelis for all these years.

Though, we have to mention, though presidential candidates have come through saying the same thing, not one of them since 1967 has actually done something about it once they got in office. They have backed down from that stance. And as you know, the U.S., as well as many of the other U.N. country embassies are located in Tel Aviv for that very reason -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And why don't we talk about what Romney has planned in Poland today.

SIDNER: He's going to be meeting with the prime minister in Poland. A lot of people talking about, when you make these trips as a candidate, what exactly you're trying to do. Of course, he is partly trying to get votes, correct?

So in Poland, which is a conservative Catholic nation, there are a lot of polish who live in some of the swing states, like Maryland, for example. So, certainly, reaching out to those voters through this international tour -- and a lot of people are saying, look, the analysts that look at this, this is kind of an audition for Mitt Romney to show how he operates and how he deals with foreign policy while on foreign land -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And, Sarah, I want to go back to the issue of Jerusalem being the capital. Apparently, Romney talked to Wolf Blitzer. He had this to say. And then we're going to chat about it afterwards.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel?

ROMNEY: Yes, of course. A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

BLITZER: If you became president of the United States, would you move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

ROMNEY: I think it's long been the policy of our country to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem. The decision to make the move is one, if I were president, I would want to take in consultation with the leadership of the government which exists at that time.


SAMBOLIN: I consultation with the leadership, so not a promise to do so.

SIDNER: Well, the leadership has always said they want the countries of the world to recognize Jerusalem, excuse me, as the capital of Israel. So the Israeli leadership would most likely say, yes, do it now.

But you hear him, again, stepping back a little bit because, again, no presidents since 1967 has actually recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Sara Sidner live for us -- thank you.

And keep it right here on CNN. This afternoon, Wolf Blitzer anchors "THE SITUATION ROOM" from Jerusalem, and you will se more with Mitt Romney and new interviews with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

BERMAN: Big show.

We have more politics to talk about right now. Bill Clinton is going to be playing a major role at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. An Obama campaign aide confirming the former president will deliver a key primetime speech on Wednesday, September 5th. This will really be the key primetime speech that night. He will place President Obama's name into nomination.

What this does is it bumps Vice President Biden to the final night of the convention, September 7th. He will make a primetime speech before President Obama accepts his nomination.

And now to Syria and the ongoing battle for its largest city. Rebels launching a major offensive at an army checkpoint in Aleppo.

This is a view from a suburb just north of Aleppo. President Bashar al Assad's forces have been struggling like never before to maintain their grip on the country. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he believes this may be the beginning of the end for Assad.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think, if they continue this kind of tragic attack on their own people in Aleppo, I think it ultimately will be a nail in Assad's coffin, that he's just assuring the Assad regime will come to an end by virtue of the kind of violence they're committing against their own people.


SAMBOLIN: Opposition groups say violence claimed another 114 lives yesterday, at least 41 of them in the capital Damascus and its suburbs as well.

BERMAN: And you have to see this. Caught on tape, some tense and scary moments on the streets of southern California.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Here we go. Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) he's going again. Don't do it. Don't do it. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)


BERMAN: You see police with the guns and night sticks out, smashing the windows of that truck before the driver peels off and nearly takes a couple of officers with him. A witness pulled out his cell phone and took this video which you're looking at now. Local paper says the driver was involved in a hit and run crash earlier.

And as you can see from this chopper video, the chase also ended in a wreck. A shot was reportedly fired. There are no reports -- bad, bad stuff. No reports of anyone hurt.

And the first weekend of the 2012 Summer Games is now in the books. I watched all weekend. And swimming's dream team, at least from the American perspective, falling. The relay team led by Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte fell to the French in the 4x100 relay. It was some measure of revenge for the French --


BERMAN: -- who you remember lost to the U.S. in 2008 when Michael Phelps let out that scream. It was Ryan Lochte who blew it in the final leg in the meet yesterday.

The U.S. did set a record in the pool. American swimmer Dana Vollmer set a world record. She became the first woman to swim the 100 meter butterfly in under 56 seconds. And that is very fast.

SAMBOLIN: That was so fun to watch.

BERMAN: It's great. I love the butterfly.

And this is an absolute shocker in women's gymnastics.

Now, she was supposed to be the "it" girl of 2012. Jordyn Wieber, the reigning world all around champion, missed out on qualifying for the all-around final, even though, even though she was the fourth best gymnast of the day. The reason, teammates Aly Raisman from Needham, Massachusetts, and Gabby Douglas passed her, and countries can only send two gymnasts to the all around finals. We had three of the top four, but we can only send two, and there were more than 20 in the finals.

SAMBOLIN: That is so unfair.

BERMAN: I agree.

SAMBOLIN: They should rethink that rule.

BERMAN: Right now.

SAMBOLIN: And one of those girls is from Massachusetts? How about the other one?

BERMAN: Aly Raisman is from Needham, Massachusetts. So a local girl.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, local girl.

All right. Taking a look at the medal count after the first weekend. China is on top in gold medals and raw medals, with six golds and 12 total. The U.S. is in second with 11 raw medals medals, three golds. Italy in third, with seven total medals.

BERMAN: And we have another busy day on tap today. Ryan Lochte tries to win the second gold of the 2012 Olympics. He missed yesterday. This time, it's the 200 meter freestyle. And 17-year-old phenom Missy Franklin tries to win her first gold in the 100 meter backstroke.

Back in gymnastic this time, the U.S. men's team will try to win the team competition. They looked great so far.

SAMBOLIN: So, it is supposed to be the hottest ticket in the world, right? So, what's with all the empty seats at the Olympics? You know, I noticed this as I was watching. Did you notice?

BERMAN: It's terrible.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, wait until you hear how they're trying to fill up those seats. That's coming up.


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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

Up first right now, the man accused of the Colorado movie theater massacre will face formal charges today in court. James Holmes is suspected of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during that midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

Holmes made an appearance in court last week, where he appeared dazed but he didn't speak.

CNN's Jim Spellman joins us now from Centennial, Colorado.

And, Jim, last week was a formality. This week also a formality. But he is expected to be charged for real this time.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. We will not see James Holmes in court today. The judge ruled no cameras in courtroom for today's ruling. There will be a sketch artist, but we won't be able to se him live on video.

We know from court some court filings throughout the week that the state plans to charge him with 12 counts of first degree murder, numerous counts of attempted first degree murder, and other charges most likely stemming around all those explosives in his department. Also, at some point, the defense may request a competency hearing, determining whether he's mentally able to go forward with the trial.

Now, over the weekend, we got some bad news. Ashley Moser was in the movie theater with her 6-year-old daughter Veronica. Veronica, unfortunately, was killed in the attack. Over the weekend, Ashley, who was pregnant, miscarried and lost her baby.

We checked in with some attorneys. There's sort of disagreement on whether that could be an additional charge added to this case. We're not sure about that. They do have the capability to add charges later down the road. So, they don't have to finalize every single charge here today, but we do expect the final counts of first degree murder and the other charges today, John.

BERMAN: That is sad, Jim. One of the things that I understand about today's hearing is there is a piece of evidence that will be discussed. That alleged notebook that Holmes allegedly sent to a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado. How is that going to factor into this case?

SPELLMAN: Yes, a lot of really fascinating court filings about this. So, the D.A.'s office, the defense, rather, says, look, we read news leaks about this notebook being sent to a psychiatrist. This is privileged material between a doctor and patient. We want that notebook. The state countered by saying, look, these news reports are not accurate, and we think they may have just made up sources.

So there's a lot of sort of back and forth about that. Also revealed in these documents, the D.A.'s office says they haven't examined this. They've sealed it so the judge can take a look at it. Judge will determine that today as well.

BERMAN: Jim Spellman in Colorado -- yes, I thought it was interesting the prosecutor said they haven't even looked at the notebook yet. Thanks a lot, Jim.

SAMBOLIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour. Romney is headed to Poland this morning, the final stop on his foreign tour. He's scheduled to meet with the country's prime minister and former president and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa.

Romney was in Israel yesterday where he voiced support of any action to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

BERMAN: A deadly head on collusion on a highway near Phoenix. A tractor trailer slamming into a minivan along Interstate 10 in Arizona, killing all seven people in the van. Police say the truck crossed over. The median hit the minivan and both vehicles caught on fire. The truck driver and his wife survived the crash. They're both listed in serious condition.

SAMBOLIN: At least 27 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage after a moving train caught fire. This was southern India, 26 survivors have been taken to hospitals.

An electrical short circuit is being blamed for that fire, which consumed a passenger car near Nellore. That is in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

BERMAN: And we have an update on the condition of Jesse Jackson, Jr. The Illinois Congressman is being treated for depression at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He's also suffering from gastrointestinal issues.

The son of Reverend Jesse Jackson has not been on Capitol Hill since late May.

SAMBOLIN: Eighteen minutes past the hour. And we're getting an early read on local news that is making national headlines.

And a little more trouble for a jet that is supposed to be a game changer. This comes from the "L.A. Times." U.S. safety officials investigating engine problems on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner jets.

Why? Because they had a little mishap at Charleston International Airport during a preflight test. Debris that fell from the plane sparked a grass fire.

Oh, my goodness, can you imagine that?

But it was a pretest flight. The spokesman for the Charleston airport said the main runway at the airport was closed for more than an hour on Saturday.

Here's the deal. This 787 has been hit with several production glitches. It's a very popular airliner. So far, let's see, Boeing has taken 845 orders for the planes through June, making it one of the best selling jets ever.

However, it's been having a lot of problems along the way.

BERMAN: It is huge for Being. This is supposed to be the next best thing in air travel, and they just can't get it out there flying commercial yet. So, it's a big deal.


BERMAN: In Rhode Island, the end of an era. This in Little Compton. Gray's is considered by many to be the oldest general store in the country. But now, it's shutting its doors for good.

This is actually very sad. It's been in one family, the Waite family, for six generations. But owner, Grayton Waite, passed away suddenly last month at the age of 59.

His son Jonah is in college now studying journalism. He doesn't want to take over the store. So he's just going to shut its doors.

I mean, this place is best known for its penny candy, which is actually now 5 cents a pop, and also a Rhode Island favorite, Johnny Cakes, which are cornmeal patties.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, it's bad, isn't it?

All right. So, you've been watching the Olympics, right? A lot of empty seats at the venues. British troops and school kids are now getting some hot tickets to the Olympic Games. You know who they have to thank? Alert TV viewers like us.

I don't understand how this happens, but you were saying that it's kind of when you go to a baseball game here and you see the same problems. A lot of corporations buy out these tickets and don't fill the seats.

BERMAN: It's the 1 percent. No, it's the corporations own all the seats or get a lot of the seats. They're the ones who actually pay for a lot of these games. But they don't put fannies in them is the problem. They remain empty. So it looks bad on TV.

SAMBOLIN: I don't get it. It's the Olympics.

BERMAN: It looks bad on TV. And Sebastian Coe, who's running the Olympics for Great Britain is really up in arms. That's why, you know, they're filling the seats with students and military personnel. They want to look better.

SAMBOLIN: I think that's wonderful though that they get to go right in the 11th hour. Hey, you want to go to Olympics? Yes.

BERMAN: Send some tickets here.


BERMAN: For an expanded look at all of our stories, head to our blog,

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Hundreds of thousands of SUVs and sedans are being recalled this morning because a feature meant to keep you safe might not work at all. Find out if your car is on this list, coming up.


BERMAN: All right. Minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are trading lower, but European markets are up on the hopes of more stimulus from the world's central banks.

Markets rallied last week after European central bank President Mario Draghi went on the offensive, saying the ECB would do whatever it takes to save the Euro.

SAMBOLIN: Hyundai is recalling about 200,000 Santa Fe SUVs and 20,000 Sonata sedans. This is over airbag problems. In the case of the 2007 to 2009 model year Santa Fes, the passenger air bag may not deploy properly. And the 2012 and 2013, in the Sonatas, the curtain side air bags may inflate for no apparent reason.

BERMAN: That's got to be a surprise.

SAMBOLIN: Take your cars back.

Yes. No kidding, in the middle of driving, whoop!


BERMAN: Tech wars. The patent war between Apple and Samsung heads to federal court in California today. The tech giants have been going at it since Apple sued Samsung last year, claiming its smartphones and tablets blatantly ripped off the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued and accused apple of infringing on some of its patents and stifling competition. It's a big fight.


Twenty-six minutes past the hour, right before their big day came, the church apparently said no. The reason: their race. We'll have the full story coming up.

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



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Too wimpy for the White House. A new issue of "Newsweek" slamming Mitt Romney.

BERMAN (voice-over): Dick Cheney not holding back telling what he now thinks about John McCain picking Sarah Palin in 2008.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, they wanted a thrill. They got more than they bargained for. A roller coaster leaves riders stranded really high in the sky.

BERMAN: You sound scare just talking about it.

SAMBOLIN: This is my worst nightmare come true. Oh my gosh! This is where I think I would die, on a roller coaster. No. I feel terrible for them.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): All right. Welcome back. They've been rescued, but I still feel terrible for them. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): Someone needs to rescue, Zoraida. I'm John Berman. It is now half past the hour.

And we're going to start right now with politics, because hitting the news stands this morning, you have to check out the latest cover of "Newsweek." It isn't friendly. It asked Mitt Romney if he's too wimpy for the White House. And the accompanying (ph) article is brutal. It's really more of an opinion piece than an article. It accuses Romney of being insecure, whiny, socially inept (ph).

It cites his London Olympics gaffe, his refusal to release more tax returns, and his, quote, "flip-flops" on key positions to appease conservatives. CNN's Peter Hamby now joins us live from the Washington Bureau. And Peter, this was pretty brutal, and Mitt Romney didn't seem to like it too much when he was asked about it.

PETER HAMBY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, he didn't. And John, the article goes so far to ask the question of whether or not Romney is either a wimp or a weenie? So, yes, Romney was asked throughout this yesterday on CBS News. On the spectrum of things that Romney's been called throughout vote this presidential campaigns, you know, this might actually sound kind of nice, but here's how he sort of brushed aside this "Newsweek" cover when he was asked about it yesterday, John.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I worried about what the media said, I wouldn't get much sleep, but I'm able to sleep pretty well.


HAMBY: That's probably a pretty honest answer right there. The media says a lot of things about Mitt Romney. But look, in 1987, George H.W. Bush, when he was vice president at the time, "Newsweek" did the exact same thing. Look at the cover that they did in 1987. They asked whether he was too wimpy to be president.

Now, this really got under the Bush family's skin, but this is a different sort of media environment. Back then, you know, the cover of a news magazine having much impact in shaping a narrative in a presidential race in 1987 was probably much stronger than it is today, John. So, Mitt Romney will probably be fine.

BERMAN: You know, George H.W. Bush won, by the way. He may have been a wimp, but he won. And I'm sure Mitt Romney would like to be a wimpy winner --


HAMBY: And don't forget, John, yes. I mean, also, the Republicans succeeded in making Michael Dukakis the wimp in 1988, not George H.W. Bush. So, in the end, yes, the wimp thing didn't really matter.

BERMAN: We have some news on the Democratic side this morning. We're waking up to news that Bill Clinton is going to be speaking on Wednesday night of convention week in Charlotte, the primetime speech that Wednesday night, nominating President Obama. And per (INAUDIBLE) looking at the long complicated relationship between the Clintons and Obamas, this is a particularly big deal.

HAMBY: Yes. In 2008 at the convention there, the issue was, you know, was the Democratic family going to come together? Bill Clinton sort of gave a big speech to sort of ratify, you know, the Clinton family's stamp of approval on president -- or Barack Obama at the time running for president.

This time the question was, will Bill Clinton be given a big speaking role, because he's kind of gone off message from the White House a few times here and there over the last several months. But, look, at the end of the day, Bill Clinton's approval rating right now is about 66 percent, according to CNN/ORC poll from last month.

He's popular. He's more popular than President Barack Obama. And, a lot of Democrats will tell you that Bill Clinton's, frankly, a better communicator when it comes to talking about substantive issues and what they mean for voters than President Obama is from time to time. So, the bottom line, they want a popular face in front, you know, of president's convention, who's not doing so well in the polls, John.

BERMAN: He won't be speaking, unless, they thought they needed him. All right. Peter Hamby down in our D.C. bureau, thanks very much for joining us.

HAMBY: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-four minutes past the hour. Mitt Romney is raising a lot of campaign cash and a few eyebrows while he travels abroad. Romney picked up $2 million in London, is expected to rake in another million bucks at a fundraiser this morning in Jerusalem. These overseas fundraisers are unprecedented.

Still, the presumptive GOP nominee tells our Wolf Blitzer he fully supports campaign finance reform.


ROMNEY: A candidate is able to raise a maximum of $2,500 for his or her campaign, a federal candidate. But there can be a Super PAC on behalf of that candidate that takes millions of dollars. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And I think we need to revisit.

I hope, at some point, we're able to revisit our campaign finance laws and to have candidates responsible for the advertising of their own campaign.


SAMBOLIN: You can see more of that interview with Mitt Romney when Wolf Blitzer anchors the "Situation Room" live from Jerusalem. That's this afternoon. Plus, Wolf will have new interviews with Israeli president, Shimon Peres, and defense minister, Ehud Barak.

BERMAN: It's the big show you all want to be watching.

More politics now, John McCain's decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 was a mistake. That's according to former vice president, Dick Cheney. Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant and says he feels better now than he has in years. In an interview with ABC News, he talked about how critical it is to select a running mate based on their qualifications.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I like Governor Palin. I've met her. I know her. She's an attractive candidate, but based on her background, she'd only been governor for two years. I don't think she passed that test.


CHENEY: Of being ready to take over.


BERMAN: Cheney says he has spoken to Mitt Romney about potential vice presidential picks, but he would not discuss who they talked about.

SAMBOLIN: A Mississippi couple set the date, mailed out the invitations, but Charles and Te'Andrea say the day before their wedding, some members of the church they planned to get married at balked because of their race.


TE'ANDREA WILSON, WEDDING BANNED AT CHURCH: He had people in the sanctuary that was pitching a fit about us being a Black couple. I mean, I didn't like it at all because I wasn't brought up to be racist.

DR. STAN WEATHERFORD, CHURCH PASTOR: This was -- had not -- had never been done here before. So, it was setting a new precedence, and there were those who reacted to that because of that.


SAMBOLIN: Had never been done here before. Church members made it a point to say the voices of a few do not represent the whole church. That pastor ended up marrying the couple at another nearby church.

BERMAN: You know, we have some more controversial marriage dues. Same-sex marriage is not permitted in Colorado, and a Lakewood, Colorado bakery is taking its own stand against gay marriage, refusing to bake a cake for a local couple's reception. The owner of the Masterpiece Cake Shop says he takes every cake he bakes personally and won't make a cake for an event he believes should not be taking place.

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig (ph) are planning a wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where it is legal with a reception to follow later in Denver, but they were shown the door when they went shopping in Colorado for a wedding cake.


DAVE MULLINS, REFUSED A WEDDING CAKE: My first comment was we're getting married, and then he kind of shut that down immediately.

JACK PHILLIPS, OWNER, MASTERPIECE CAKE SHOP: If it came to that point that we close down the bakery before we compromise our beliefs. And so, that may be what it comes to, but we'll have to see.


BERMAN: Residents in Lakewood are protesting the baker's decision, and some are calling for a boycott of that bake shop, the Masterpiece Bake Shop.

SAMBOLIN: It is 37 minutes past the hour. Heat warnings are in place for parts of the southern plains and the southwest today. So, it continues. Rob Marciano has more for us. Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Yes, we're just kind of shifting the heat around. Everybody is taking a turn at it, but the southern plains have really been getting a beating for the past month or so. Eight states, nine states, actually, that are under heat advisories, even some heat warnings for Central Oklahoma, getting in through the lower Mississippi Valley as well.

Temperatures are going to be at dangerous levels today. Heat indices could reach the 115 area. Actual temperatures yesterday measured in the shade, not including humidity. Joplin, Missouri, 109, Topeka, Kansas, 107, and Springfield, Missouri seeing 106, Northern Texas seeing similar numbers. And it will last for a good another two, three, and in some cases, four days in places like Oklahoma City, you may break the 110-degree mark.

So, that's where the heat is going to be. A couple of week's disturbances here. Parts of Wisconsin, the Western Great Lakes, you've got a chance of seeing some strong to severe thunderstorms. Also, some pop-up thunderstorms across the east coast today, but temperatures there a little bit cooler or at least more comfortable than they have been.

Humidity levels will be up in some spots. 89 degrees expected in D.C., 79 degrees in New York City, 90 degrees in Chicago. Back up to you, guys.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Rob.

BERMAN: All right. This is the story that has Zoraida shaking all morning. A brand new roller coaster has been shut down for a safety inspection after leaving riders stuck high in the air. This happened at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California. They were stuck up there, there you can see them, for 90 minutes yesterday atop the superman ultimate flight roller coaster.

Nobody was hurt luckily, but the new roller coaster, which is equipped with computerized safety systems, made its debut just over a month ago.

SAMBOLIN: What if you have to go to the bathroom? Just terrible poor folks.

All right. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. The U.S. men's swim team treading water this morning. You've heard all about this. A demoralizing loss with both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the pool. We're going to go live to London coming up.


SAMBOLIN: You know what that means?

BERMAN: That's right. Aiming for gold. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 43 minutes past the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are very happy to have you with us this morning.

Well, all the glitters, apparently, is not gold. It can be silver, perhaps, bronze after a weekend that saw the Beijing Olympics golden boy, Michael Phelps, stumble in a world record performance from another U.S. swimmer, the Olympics have had no shortage of drama, have they? Leading the medal count, China with 12 medals, the United States is right behind them with 11 medals. Italy is in third place.

So, joining me live from London is Amanda Davies. And Amanda, last night, we saw the U.S. men's swim team blow a lead in the 4 by 100 meter relay. Berman sitting here next to me is just shocked. What happened?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zoraida, Michael Phelps still aiming for gold this year in London, isn't he? He kept up his end of the bargain, and he was swimming the second leg in the 4 by 100 freestyle relay, and his team were in the lead ahead of France when he handed over, but it was really the fourth leg that made the difference.

Yannick Agnel was swimming France's final leg up against Ryan Lochte, and frankly, Agnel blew Lochte out of the water. So, France getting revenge for that defeat in Beijing four years ago. And it is a medal for Michael Phelps. It's a silver medal. So, he's now just one behind the all-time record.

Quite interestingly, all three of them, Phelps, Lochte, and Agnel will line up later on today in 200 meters freestyle as well. So, that will be definitely one to watch.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. We'll definitely be watching. I say silver is not so bad. Everybody here disagrees with me. So, you know, the U.S. men's swim team may have come up a little short, but the U.S. women had a big day, including a world record. Let's talk about that.

DAVIES: Yes. It's all relative, isn't it, with Michael Phelps. We're so used to him winning gold.


DAVIES: But silver, frankly, isn't good enough. But he is getting to the end of his career now. So, you know, he said it was all about toppings on his sundae and all that. So, a silver's not so bad. Yes. But we've got to talk about Dana Vollmer. She took gold in the 100 meters butterfly, and not just took gold, took a world record as well.

It's a fantastic story, because she won a team gold in Athens in 2004, but this is her first individual gold. Remember, this is a lady who underwent a heart operation back in 2003, and the other lady we've got to talk about is Kim Rhode, because she claimed gold in a shooting event, the skeet, but not just any gold for her.

It was her fifth individual gold in five Olympic Games. So, fifth individual medal, I should say, in five Olympic Games. And she's the first U.S. athlete ever to achieve that feat. So, definitely a big thumbs up for her this morning as well.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sorry I missed that. I'm going to have to see that on the reruns. That is very cool. Amanda Davies, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right. And we're talking about the absolute shocker in women's gymnastics. She was supposed to be the it girl of 2012 with the Wheaties box, everything. Jordyn Wieber is the reigning world all around champion. She missed out qualifying for the all around final even though she was the fourth best gymnast of the day.

Teammates, Ali Raisman and Gabby Douglas, passed her, and the rule is countries can only send two gymnasts to the all around final event. So, even though she was fourth, she doesn't get to go.

SAMBOLIN: That's terrible.

BERMAN: There are, you know, 18 other people going in. I mean, they know the rules going in. So, you know, fair is fair, I suppose, but it does seem like they (ph) ought to investigate.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. She was really overcome.

BERMAN: She was really sad. And I can understand why.

Politics now, Mitt Romney is headed to Poland this morning at the final stop on his foreign tour.


BERMAN (voice-over): He's scheduled to meet with the country's prime minister (INAUDIBLE) and the Nobel laureate, of course. Romney was in Israel today where he called Jerusalem Israel's capital, even though the city's status is still under dispute with Palestinians.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people, wounding 58 others inside a Colorado movie theater is due back in court today. He's expected to face formal charges in the case. No word yet as to whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Holmes is being held without bond at the Arapaho County Jail where he is being kept isolated from other inmates.

BERMAN: A missing 12-year-old girl from Arkansas has been found safe in Tennessee. Twelve-year-old Amber Whitlow (ph) was found with her 33-year-old brother Antonio Whitlow Saturday night in Memphis. The brother is a suspect in Amber's abduction as well as the murder of a man and woman in Littlerock, Arkansas.

Police believe Amber is either the daughter or granddaughter of the murdered couple who are in their 60s.

Marco Rubio has a very good excuse for not showing up at a Mitt Romney rally in Iowa this weekend. The Florida senator was on his way to Des Moines on Saturday when his plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Albuquerque. So, Rubio delivered his planned speech, he did it by telephone. His plane is being investigated for an apparent electrical issue.

BERMAN: Mitt Romney taking some hits on his home turf by Vice President Joe Biden. The vice president was addressing thousands of teachers at Cobo Hall in Detroit, where Mitt Romney grew up, accusing Romney and the Republicans of slashing education so they can afford to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney's plan for public education is straightforward. He says let the states use all the title I dollars (ph) to boost enrollment in private schools and alternative schools, and basically, the effect is to strip you of your voice.

BERMAN: You know, Biden took his hits, too. The start of his speech was interrupted by a crowd of protesters who tried to march to the convention floor holding anti-Obama signs. They were escorted out by police.

SAMBOLIN: Republican senators, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte, are teaming up to talk defense cuts. They're holding a series of town hall meetings in battleground states this week to, in their words, sound the alarm on the looming cuts. The Congressional Budget Office said the cuts would be tough to manage, but it said the base budget in 2013 would still be larger than it was in 2006.

So, keep it right here. Soledad O'Brien will talk with Senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte about those defense cuts at 7:30 on "Starting Point."


BERMAN (on-camera): It is 49 minutes past the hour right now. And she's not on the team, but she sure fooled a lot of people. This is one of the big stunners of the Olympics, so far. Coming up, the mystery woman who somehow joined team India for the opening ceremony.

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


BERMAN: And welcome back. It's about 53 minutes past the hour. I'm John Berman along with Zoraida Sambolin. And we're talking about what's trending on the web this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And the web is buzzing about that mystery woman at the opening ceremonies. So, let's take a look at her. Did you see her at the opening ceremonies?

BERMAN: I did. She stuck out.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So, that's the woman in the red sweater who crashed the Indian delegation during the parade of nations. This was Friday night, of course, at the opening ceremony. She wasn't an athlete. Really? So, she stuck out in the sea of yellow. I said, you know how concerned they were about security at the Olympics, right?

So, she happened to be able to get right down there with all of the athletes. The London organizing chairman said she was a member of the opening ceremony cast who got slightly overexcited. The Indian paper ID'd her as an Indian graduate student who had been living in London.

BERMAN: No one around her seemed to notice at all. She just walked in there. Yes, sure, there's a lady in red here. Well, we're in yellow, but no problem.


BERMAN: And the subject of colors. Let's talk a little bit of red, white, and blue, the subject of intimidation. This is one of the coolest things, I think, I've seen at the Olympics. it's the face mask for the American fencers. It's just a flag. It's just this intimidating flag. They can see through that, of course. It looks like, you know, something Captain America would wear.

SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: It's just very impressive.

SAMBOLIN: I would like one of those.

BERMAN: How would you like that staring you in the face?



SAMBOLIN: All right. And our flag was still there. Do you love all these NASA images that we get all the time? So, we have some more. The flags left on the moon during the Apollo missions still standing, all but one. The latest photographs of the moon taken by NASA's lunar reconnaissance orbiter camera. There were six flags, right?

So, we have five remaining 40 years after the last moon landing Apollo in 1972. The scientists say you can see the shadows that are cast from the flags. They observed it at all different points during the day. The images also show the lunar landers, rovers, and scientific instruments that were left.

BERMAN: You know, the one that they think was knocked down was the very first one planted by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It, apparently, fell over when they took off from the moon. It fell over from the exhaust of the things. So, one is down, but the rest still standing. It is so cool. These are -- it was cool, right?



BERMAN: I just said it was cool. We have a lot more headed up. The top stories are straight ahead, including this cell phone video of a daring driver who made a run for it just when police thought they had him. Not good at all. You're watching EARLY START.



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Mitt Romney talking tough. He's overseas taking on Iran and taking in campaign cash in Israel.

BERMAN (voice-over): Disaster on the rails. Dozens are killed when a passenger train goes up in flames.

SAMBOLIN: Taking a stand with some takeout. Sarah Palin telling the world how she feels about the Chick-Fil-A same sex marriage debate.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Good morning to you and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Hey, everyone. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

Also coming up, former president, Bill Clinton, he's going to take a big role right in primetime during the Democratic convention.

SAMBOLIN: Makes sense. He's a popular guy.

Plus, the quirky rule that caused an American medal favorite a shot at gold in London. This is very upsetting for all of us this morning.

BERMAN: I don't like it one bit, I'll tell you that.


BERMAN: But I'm going to start with politics right now. Mitt Romney is on a plane to Poland, the last stop on his international tour. Romney left Israel this morning where he gave a tough talking speech on Iran.


ROMNEY: We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option. We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course. No option should be excluded. We recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you.