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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Gabby's Golden Night; Phelps Wins 16th Gold Medal; USA's First Ever Judo Gold; Reid: Romney Hiding Something; U.N. General Assembly To Denounce Syrian Regime; Old Lady's Got A Gun; Jobs Report Day; Gabby's Golden Night; Mars' Curiosity; Tropical Storm Ernesto Forms; Real-Life Cliff Hanger

Aired August 3, 2012 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tropic thunder, Ernesto is already a powerful storm and this could become a hurricane.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the world, American gymnast Gabby Douglas grabs gold and she makes history.

BERMAN: Watching and waiting for the big numbers to come out. The jobs report for July is now less than three hours away. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: Happy to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's 6 a.m. here on east so let's get started.

Actually coming up, the mission to Mars, this is very exciting. This is just days away and we get the inside scoop from the head of NASA coming up, very excited about this.

BERMAN: It is incredible. We'll also are going to be talking about Chick-Fil-A. You've seen the long lines. You see the demonstrations. Today, gay activists getting in the game, you'll see what they have in store at the Chick-Fil-A restaurants.

SAMBOLIN: All right, now to our top story. Gabby Douglas making and repeating history last night in London. The 16-year-old became the third straight American and the first African-American to win the women's all-around gymnastics gold medal.

Starting with a stellar vault ending with a dazzling floor routine, Douglas completed her rise from relative unknown obscurity, she, as this little teenager, to now an Olympic champion.

Amanda Davies is live in London for us. This child has made some serious history.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She has. You can only imagine what Gabby Douglas will be feeling as she wakes up this morning. This is where her life steps up probably 10, 20 notches.

It was just an incredible performance. She really had the Greenwich arena rocking with her performance on the vault and the beam and then the final floor event.

People were talking about it as club gabby because of the techno music. This is probably all of the more special because of all the turmoil and the run-up to it with Jordyn Wieber.

But she put all of that to one side, really stepped up to the plate, not bad for a 16-year-old who was just five months ago was described as just as an average gymnast.

She's been getting congratulations from all sorts of people on Twitter and on Facebook and on the phone. Nicki Minaj, from Michael Phelps. And she tweeted, wow, such an amazing experience. Thank you all for your sport love and prayers love you all using the hash tag on Cloud 9.

And you've got to expect to that phone call from President Obama will not be too far in the future as well.

SAMBOLIN: And it's the first team gold and individual gold, right?

DAVIES: Yes, it was. They were called the "Fab Five" and they really did it incredibly well two or three days ago now that the team events and put aside again the disappointment of Jordyn Wieber not making it through to that individual final so, yes, a great week all around for the women, not so for the men.

SAMBOLIN: Ye, but we'll celebrate the women right now. Actually let's celebrate the men too. Michael Phelps avenging his earlier loss to fellow American Ryan Lochte making history as well. Tell us about that.

DAVIES: Yes, Michael Phelps sat quickly in the run up for this game. He made a few kinds of promises to himself, such a few targets in his head.

They haven't all come to fruition. He had a relatively disappointing week in the pool, but one of them he achieved last week. That was to become the first man to win gold in the same event in the pool at three Olympic Games in a row.

He truly did that in the 200 IM and he's got a chance to make even more history this evening because he's back in the pool again and looking to do the same, three times in a row in the 100 fly.

That would be his 21st Olympic medal. And the stats, you look up and just think they are absolutely incredible for Michael Phelps and you struggle to see anybody matching up to him in the near future.

SAMBOLIN: And that his best event, but we're certainly rooting for gold there. You know, out of the Olympics come amazing stories. So I want to talk about Kayla Harrison. She won the first ever judo gold for America yesterday.

DAVIES: Yes, Kayla Harrison, that was the most poignant scene after she won that final match. When she went to hug her coach and there were tears and there was joy.

They weren't poignant because it was America's first judo gold, but because of everything that had gone before. And this is a young lady, of course, who suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of her former coach who is now in prison.

She said that she had threatened to commit suicide and only felt that she could talk about it in the run-up to these games. She is now as an American Olympic champion and great show of not just physical strength, but an incredible show of emotional strength as well and real beacon for us all.

SAMBOLIN: Such exceptional moments at the Olympics and I want to end with this. This is in "The Daily News", five golds in one day. So Amanda Davies, thank you so much for being there for us and bringing us all these exceptional moments. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: Thanks to these five golds that you're showing us right now. We have a much better medal count to show you. Team USA now on top. We have 37 medals. We're tying china with 18 golds. China is in second place with 34 medals overall. Japan is in third place with 19.

SAMBOLIN: So what should you be watching for today? We just talked about it, Michael Phelps swims in his Olympic individual race, the 100-meter butterfly final. Americans, Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin in the 200-meter backstroke final and the women's soccer quarter finals, Team USA versus New Zealand.

BERMAN: And we're not done with gymnastics yet. Chellsie Memmel joins us at 6:30 to weigh in on Gabby's golden night. Chellsie was a member of the 2008 Beijing team, which brought home the silver medal.

SAMBOLIN: The flying squirrel. All right, after a quiet month in the tropics, Tropical Storm Ernesto has formed in the Atlantic. It is expected to dump rain on the Windward Islands over the next 24 hours and then zip across the Caribbean, possibly on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Rob Marciano has been tracking this for us. Is this going to be a fierce one?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It could be. We'll have to really wait and see. It's got some hurdles to overcome. Right now places like Barbados getting some rainfall, certainly St. Lucia as well. It's right over that island as a matter of fact.

But the satellite picture looks like it's -- you know, took a little bit of a punch on the chin here. So it has weaken a bit. It's got 45 miles per hour winds. It's cruising along the westerly at 24 miles per hour.

So it's going shoot through the Caribbean. The problem is we got some winds and some dry air. It's not exactly conducive for this thing to explode into a category 3 or 4 hurricane. So it will be slow to develop, but it has a lot of real estate to work with as it does so.

So the thinking is eventually it will be gaining some strength, probably not going to run into significant landfall for the next four or five days. So with that in mind, Category 1 storm is not out of the question by the time we gets toward the end of the weekend and beginning next week.

Jamaica, Cayman Islands getting into the Yucatan Straits and maybe Gulf of Mexico by the beginning of next week. So that's certainly a reason for concern for everybody that lives across the southeast and certainly in Mexico and Cuba.

The heat is on again across the central of the United States. We had temperatures, again, 112 in Oklahoma City and temps today will be similar to that.

Folks to the east not quite as steamy, but that's brutal and causing more drought in those rain-free area. We need rain there. We'll maybe get some from Ernesto.

SAMBOLIN: Good point. Thank you, Rob.

BERMAN: It's about 7 minutes past the hour right now. In three and a half hours, we're going to get the critical July jobs report released by the government.

If economists surveyed by CNN Money are correct, it will not be a whole lot better than June. The June numbers, they were weak, 80,000 jobs added then. Unemployment is holding at 8.2 percent.

Economists aren't expecting much better for July. They are predicting 95,000 jobs added last month. That is hardly enough to make a dent in the jobless rate.

Christine Romans who watches this like a hawk, she will be down here. She will break down the July numbers as soon as they are released. She will be doing that in "STARTING POINT" along with special guest, Austin Goolsbee, the former chief economist for President Obama's economic recovery advisory board.

SAMBOLIN: The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid putting on the full-court press on Mitt Romney over releasing more tax returns and making some big time unsourced accusations in the process. Reid saying Romney won't release them because he hasn't paid any. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The word is out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Well, yesterday on Sean Hannity's show, the presumptive GOP nominee fired back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): It's time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry is going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because, of course, that's totally and completely wrong.

It's untrue and dishonest and inaccurate. It's wrong. So I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find it's the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Mitt Romney so far has released one complete tax filing for 2010 along with an estimate for 2011, far fewer than most modern presidential candidate including President Obama who's now released a dozen years of return.

BERMAN: Later today, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to denounce the Syrian government for attacking and killing its own citizens in Aleppo and Damascus.

The assembly will also warn the Assad regime to keep strict control over its chemical and biological weapons. The resolution comes one day after former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan resigned his position as special envoy to Syria.

Annan saying he's frustrated by finger pointing at the United Nations while Syrians are being slaughtered.

SAMBOLIN: Well, this is one of the best pieces of surveillance video that we've seen in a long time. Let's call it old lady's got a gun. I don't mean to be flip.

Take a look at this. A gang of armed robbers storming a jewelry store in Garden Grove, California and just seconds later. Look at that, there are shots fired not from their guns, the woman behind the counter open fire and they got out of there. Police say the suspects were picked up about a block away.

BERMAN: They booked it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they booked it.

BERMAN: All right, it's 10 minutes past the hour right now. In this cosmic question to ponder, are there signs of life on Mars? Scientists want to find out along with a daunting new mission to the red planet days away. We'll talk to the man in charge at NASA that's coming up this hour on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It's 14 minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning. It is jobs day. The Labor Department releases the big July jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

BERMAN: U.S. stock futures and European market are up right now ahead of this report. Christine Romans who has been watching this like a hawk. She is here to preview what we can expect from the Labor Department coming up this morning. Christine, what do you think?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you two.

Well, economists surveyed think it's about 95,000 jobs created in the month and 8.2 percent unemployment rate. That is a labor mark stuck in neutral, may be moving forward at a very, very slow speed. But it certainly isn't what you want to see.

We had this rough spot this summer, I've been calling it the summer swoon. For some reason and maybe it's a combination of a lack of hiring and statistical anomalies, but you had a summer where you've not had enough job growth even to absorb new workers in the Labor Market -- 150,000 jobs created every month just to bring more people out of college, immigrants, new people in the workforce, it looked like this last year, remember?

Last summer, there was also a swoon. We saw some jobs growth in the interim but we're back in the stuck in neutral kind of zone. It's very political, as you know, three months to go until the election. There will be something in this report for each campaign.

What I suspect you'll hear from the Republicans, you'll hear this is a record period of time but above 8 percent unemployment. They'll be right.

What you'll hear from the Democrats in the White House in 28 or 29 straight months of private sector job growth, they'll be right too.

So, there's a lot of numbers for everybody to have a piece of. This is that terrible recession and financial crisis. This was devastation for the labor market and American and families. This all has been since then an attempt to try to recover from that.

We have not brought those jobs back. We have an economy starting to slow a little bit again. So it's pretty important what happens here. A lot of people like to see something better than 95,000.

There was a private sector number, earlier this week, ADP, the payroll processing firm. They were judging maybe it could be 163,000 jobs. So the risk is as they say in economics, the risk is on the upside here. Some people are thinking it could be stronger than what the economists think, 95,000.

SAMBOLIN: I have one quick question, Christine, that other graph that you had up in the summer, does that typically happen?

ROMANS: It does actually. It's something you can see a little bit less job growth in the summer and also another part of the story is that if you read in "The New York Times" today and economics blog and a couple of other places, a lot of people are asking whether there are seasonal adjustment, technical reasons where the numbers look weaker in the summer. But this isn't enough to get all families back to work who need to get back to work.

SAMBOLIN: That's a very good point. Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: It's about 17 minutes after the hour right now.

And on Monday, Mars will have a brand-new occupant. A one-ton Mini-Cooper sized aptly named Curiosity. It is slated to touch down inside a crater on the Red Planet's surface in what scientists are calling the most harrowing landing ever attempted on the Martian surface. This is a high tech marble and we want to find out all about.

Charles Bolden is the NASA administrator. He's a former astronaut and joins me now to walk through the complexity of Curiosity's mission.

This is really fascinating right now. First off, tell me where they are going and why. The Gale Crater, 96 miles wide. What kind of promise does it hold there?

CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: John, it's in the equatorial region of Mars. We're going there because all of our previous indications from Mars reconnaissance orbiter, other rovers and satellites say it's a good place to go if we want to determine whether there are signs that the Martian surface could sustain life in its past, today, or most particularly in its future when we plan to send humans there in the 2030s.

BERMAN: Down there in that crater? Maybe inside that sediment ,there may be some signs of life, some things that you can see and I suppose Curiosity is going to sift through and get a sense of what's going on there.

One of other things, Mr. Bolden, everyone is talking about, how exactly this device is going to get to the Martian surface. This is something I've never seen before, no one has ever seen before. It's a flying crane or winch thing. You see it exploding right here, the bottom goes off and another spacecraft comes out and it's lowered by cables onto the Martian surface.

I know some of your own scientists are calling this landing "Seven Minutes of Terror". This seems pretty risky for a $2.5 billion mission.

BOLDEN: Well, it's pretty risky but we need to have a relatively precise landing because we have an area that we want to land near the base of the mountain that's in the middle of Gale Crater.

If you can imagine going into the Grand Canyon where we can look at the history of earth really in that area as we look at various strata. That's what landing in the crater allows us to do. It's actually going to climb the mountain. So, it will look across the geologic history of the planet Mars in the two years that it's there.

It's a harrowing experience. As they say, "seven minutes of terror" but that's why we are NASA, because we like to do things like that. We love risky things but we're confident.

BERMAN: You're either in the business of harrowing, I suppose.

It isn't easy if it does get on ground safely. We have so many questions about how you control this device there. A NASA scientist said the problem with controlling a device like this, remote control is the speed of light. That's the big problem. The one way light time to Mars right now is 14 minutes.

So, by the time we hit stop after seeing a big rock in front of the rover, it's probably too late. So, that 14-minute gap makes you hard to control. How do you keep it out of trouble?

BOLDEN: A lot of its activity is programmed. So, we'll program it and put data in the computer and said this is what we want you to do today. This is what we want you to look for. And it will do that.

Robots are pretty sophisticated today. I have to remind everybody, though, this is what points out the difference and reason we want to put humans on the planet. A robot is a machine. A robot is a robot. It can't reason today. It can't make choices of that looks like an interesting rock, I wasn't programmed to get it, but I'm going to get it anyway.

So, that's why it's important for us to use this as a precursor for putting humans there.

BERMAN: All right. Charles Bolden, NASA administrator. I hope you come back after it lands early Monday morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

BOLDEN: Thank you very much -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh, that is the coolest thing ever. Unbelievable.

All right. Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Victory of sorts for the late Michael Jackson's mom. The latest chapter in the Jackson family drama, that is coming up.

What if they miss?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We are back. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 24 minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're happy to have you this morning.

BERMAN: We're going to start with some news right now.

Eastern China is getting hammered twice over. Two tropical cyclones made landfall there, dumping heavy rain on coastal areas. And estimated 300,000 people have been evacuated. Saola arrives hours after typhoon Damri (ph) reached the Chinese coast further north.

Saola's torrential rains and strong winds have killed at least 40 people already in the Philippines and Taiwan.

SAMBOLIN: Michael Jackson's mother has won back custody of his three children. But a judge says 82-year-old Katherine Jackson will share guardianship with her 34-year-old grandson T.J., that's Tito's son. T.J. was awarded temporary custody after Katherine was reported missing last month.

She claims she was resting at an Arizona spa on doctors orders and was cut off from communicating with the outside world.

BERMAN: The main super PAC backing President Obama is about to spend $30 million on ads this fall. Priorities USA Action will be targeting the airways in six states, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

They actually don't have this money yet but they are hoping to raise it. Hopefully, they do if they want to spend the money. They've already locked up the air time. The group also plans to launch a Spanish language ad campaign in Colorado, Florida and Nevada.

SAMBOLIN: And if Mitt Romney wins the White House in November, his economic advisers predict, 12 million new jobs will be created during his first four years in office and they are calling those projections conservative.

To reach that goal, the economy would have to add 250,000 new jobs every 30 days for 48 straight months.

BERMAN: Police say a man in Vermont was so upset over a recent arrest he wanted pay back and he got it, monster truck style. They say 34-year-old Roger Pion (ph) used a tractor to crush packed police cars.

SAMBOLIN: Not a good idea.

BERMAN: Pion was arrested a mile and a half away by other officers. You'll be happy to know the sheriff deputies couldn't chase him originally because they apparently did not have working cars at the scene.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident. That was the last message 21-year-old Chance Bothe sent before he accidentally drove off a cliff and crashed his truck into a ravine. He says he knows he is lucky to be alive today.

He is recovering from a broken neck, fractured skull and traumatic brain injuries. His father said he didn't think his son was going to make it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call the funeral home, he'll never make it. We lost him three times. They brought him back. He coded three times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very lucky that I'm not gone forever. I still have things to do on this world.

(END VIDEOI CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

Bothe spent six months in the hospital and still in rehabilitation.

BERMAN: Driving while texting -- good for him but bad idea, more proof of that.

SAMBOLIN: No kidding.

BERMAN: All right. Here's a question for you. Who sells a burger for less than it costs to actually make it? The answer, Amtrak does. Government auditors, they have eye-popping details on how the train line loses million of taxpayer dollars every year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: She left them floored in London. Gabby Douglas rises from obscurity to do something in other American gymnast has done at the Olympics.

BERMAN: Good for her.

A loophole and a new law designed to stop lawmakers from profiting off insider stock information. This loophole closed by Congress because of a CNN report.

SAMBOLIN: And today, people from the other side of the Chick- fil-A debate are headed to those restaurants but not for the chicken.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's about 32 minutes after the hour right now.

And we are talking about all the Olympics and Gabby Douglas. There she is with her gold medal. She nabbed the gold in the all- around individual competition. She led right from the start, finishing with a 62.323 points. She topped Russia's Victoria Komova who took silver and Aliya Mustafina who took the bronze. American Aly Raisman finished with the same score as Mustafina, but this was crushing because of a tie breaker role. She actually finished out of the medals and Mustafina got the bronze. Aly Raisman had to watch.

Chellsie Memmel knows a little bit about Olympic gymnastics. She knows a lot. She was a member of the 2008 team in Beijing, which brought home the silver. She joins us via Skype right now, outside her house right now.

And, Chellsie, I have to start off asking about Gabby Douglas. That was simply awesome.\

CHELLSIE MEMMEL, OLYMPIAN: It was. It was amazing. I'm so proud of what she was able to do. She started with a bang with vault and finished just like that on floor. Unbelievable.

BERMAN: Now, she is the third American woman to actually end up with the all-around -- the fourth, sorry, the fourth American woman to end up with the all-around gold medal. Of course, Mary Lou Retton in 1984, Carly Patterson in 2004, and Nastia Liukin in 2008. She's number four now.

What's in store for her next? You've experienced the post- Olympic high or maybe post-Olympic low. What's in store for Gabby?

MEMMEL: I think she's going to be on a high for quite a while. I mean, she still has an event. She could get another medal. There's the post-Olympic tour that she's going to be a part of it.

So, it's going to be amazing for her after the Olympics.

BERMAN: Do you think she's thinking about that right now? How hard for her will it be to keep her head in the competition going on right now in London?

MEMMEL: I mean, it is hard, especially after winning the all- around gold and team gold. But, you know, she's got a good set of teammates and coaches there to help her, you know, stay focused until the end.

BERMAN: Reading about the journey she has taken in order to get this gold medal. She left her house in Virginia Beach two years ago, left her family to go train in Des Moines, Iowa, live with another family there. There were a lot of people who didn't think she had the focus to do this.

You guys, you sacrifice so much to compete in the Olympics. Tell us what you have to do to even get to where she is right now.

MEMMEL: So much. It is so much hard work. So many hours in the gym. And yes, with Gabby having to sacrifice being away from her family and not seeing them for the last couple of years or seeing them very few times. It's a lot of hard work.

I don't think the general public realizes how much work goes into becoming an Olympian in a sport. It's just 24/7, 365 days a year. It's hard work.

BERMAN: Chellsie, I'm always curious about this. You're a gymnast. What's your next favorite Olympic sport to watch?

MEMMEL: You know, swimming has been really exciting, especially with Michael Phelps just killing it and getting the medal count that he has gotten. That's been fun to watch.

BERMAN: All right. Chellsie Memmel, thanks so much for joining us via Skype from your home. I think you have the official scientific description of what Michael Phelps has managed to do. He's killing it. Thanks, Chellsie.

SAMBOLIN: It is 35 minutes past the hour.

A loophole uncovered by CNN forcing House Republicans to go back and fix the new STOC Act law. The crackdown on congressional insider trading was signed by the president in April. The law requires lawmakers to report all stock trades of $1,000 or more within 45 days.

But members of the House had their own unique interpretation. They didn't think it applied to their spouses or their dependents.

The bill sponsor, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, not pleased about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R-MA), STOCK LEGISLATION SPONSOR: Let's say I find out information and tell my wife and she trades on it. What's the difference?

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: The whole point is we should play by the exact same rules as every other citizen. And when all of America looks at Washington, they know it's broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Because of CNN's reporting, the Senate and House passed new legislation yesterday that closes a loophole that could have allowed family members of some lawmakers to profit from inside stock information.

Waste management and employee theft at Amtrak, it appears to be off the rails. Listen to this, according to government auditors, Amtrak is losing over $80 million a year on its food and beverage service alone. And get this -- Congress passed a law in 1981 requiring the railroad's food and beverage business to break even every year. It has never happened once.

And here's why -- Amtrak charges passengers $2 for a soft drink. But it cost the railroad about $3.40 to serve each beverage, that is when you add the labor cost. A hamburger goes for $9.50, but it costs $16 for each one they sell. (INAUDIBLE) $7 million in employee theft and Amtrak has cost $834 million over the last decade.

BERMAN: Pretty stunning report.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, that's incredible. Incredible numbers.

BERMAN: Hurricane season has been relatively calm in the Atlantic this year until now. We're tracking tropical storm Ernesto where he's headed and when. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Look at the skies in Miami, Florida, where it is now 85 degrees.

SAMBOLIN: It's beautiful.

BERMAN: Beautiful. It's going to be 87 later on, maybe not so beautiful later on. They are expected thunderstorms, but man, it looks nice now.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It's about 41 minutes after the hour, I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thanks for being with us this morning.

Right on cue, peak hurricane season arriving and tropical storm Ernesto forming in the Atlantic.

Rob Marciano, you are busy for us this morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, it's been four weeks or maybe longer than that since we had our last tropical storm. We had four early on and then we took a break.

Well, now, Ernesto is cranking up, 40 miles per hour winds, actually took a couple of steps back overnight but it's moving to the west at 24 miles an hour. That's pretty quick and that's one of the reason it's having a hard time really exploding in intensity.

But right now, St. Lucia getting some action as far as heavy rainfall. Tropical storm warnings out there. It will get into the Caribbean. There are some drier air there as well. So, between that and the sheer it will take its time developing but it's got a lot of real estate to work with as far as the amount of water here and it's pretty toasty.

So, the thinking is, most of our computer models bring it through the Caribbean and some intense fiction is likely especially as it gets closer to the Gulf of Mexico, towards the beginning of next week potentially as a hurricane. We'll watch it very, very closely.

The heat continues to build across the midsection of the country. Some severe thunderstorms potentially across the northern tier -- 101, Kansas City, another day of 100 plus in Dallas, Oklahoma City yesterday, 112, that's again measured in the shade, it does not include humidity. Ninety-one degrees expected for a high temperature in New York.

As you guys mentioned, we are ramping up as far as the peak of hurricane season that happens that September, September 10th, but the middle part of August which we're getting into, that's when things get active and we're seeing there now with Ernesto.

Back to you in New York.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, Rob.

BERMAN: It is now 42 minutes after the hour.

We want to get you up to speed on the top stories and say hello to the new Wheaties box, almost certainly going to be.

Team USA on top in overall medal this morning, thanks in part to 16-year-old Gabby Douglas. She became the third American in a row and first African-American woman to win the women's all around gymnastics medal, gold medal last night.

You have to look at what she tweeted after the competition. She said, ":Wow, what an amazing experience. Thank you all for your support. Love and prayers, love you all. #Oncloud9." Love her.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. You said that million dollar smile and personality, that girl is something there.

All right. So, the critical July jobs report comes out at 8:30. That is Eastern this morning. Wall Street will be watching very closely.

And if the economists surveyed by CNN Money are correct, they won't see what they like. Look at the June numbers. They are very weak, 80,000 jobs, unemployment holding at 8.2 percent and economists we surveyed don't expect much better for July. They are predicting 95,000 jobs were added last month, hardly enough to make a dent in the jobless rate.

BERMAN: Later today, the U.N. General Assembly will formally denounce the Syrian government for attacking the people of Damascus and Aleppo with tanks, war planes and heavy artillery.

This assembly will also warn the Assad regime to keep strict control over its chemical and biological weapons. This resolution comes one day after former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan resigned his position as the special envoy to Syria.

Annan was just fed up. He's saying he's frustrated by the finger-pointing at the United Nations while Syrians are being slaughtered.

SAMBOLIN: Gay rights supporters will take on Chick-fil-A today with a kiss-in. They are encouraging supporters to share a kiss in protest once they arrive at a Chick-fil-A and then post video or photos of it on social media.

That isn't the only campaign happening. Marci Alt of Atlanta started a petition on Change.org, inviting Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy to join her family, including her wife and two kids for dinner. So far, he has not responded.

BERMAN: The brand-new owner of the Cleveland Browns says buying the team was a dream come true. That's billionaire CEO, Jimmy Haslem, a former part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is now purchasing the Browns for $1 billion.

Haslem says he has no plans to move the team out of Cleveland, and he wants to restore the Browns championship luster. That will be a huge relief to fans in Cleveland. And NFL committee still must approve the sale, but this is not expected to be a problem. They are going to do that likely by October.

SAMBOLIN: Hanging on for dear life. Coming up, a first-hand account of a hair raising rescue from the side of a cliff. We're going to be talking to the guy dangling from the helicopter right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Stuck on the side of a cliff for two days hanging on for your life. That is what happened to 64-year-old Larry Bishop. He's an experienced hiker from California. He went for a hike with friends, got separated. They couldn't find him, alerted the Fresno sheriff's office, and then the search began.

Two days later, luckily, they found him, hanging on to a ledge 600 feet above ground. The Fresno County sheriff's search and rescue team risks their lives to bring him to safety, and Larry Bishop is grateful to be here to tell us his amazing story of surviving for two days off the side of a cliff.

Larry, we are so happy to see you this morning alive and well. Tell me exactly what happened once you got away from the folks that you were hiking with.

LARRY BISHOP, HIKER CLINGING TO CLIFF FOR TWO DAYS: I went up to the top of the peak, saw some outward bound kids and their teachers and uneventful, went down the peak and thought I found an easy way down. It was a little hard coming up, jumping boulders. So, I thought, oh, I'd take this easy way down based on what I -- signs I saw. It turned out to be not easy. It turned into be a drainage ditch to the east side of the mountain and led on to a very slippery steep granite.

SAMBOLIN: We're taking a look at it right now, and it looks like it would be tough to hang on there and to walk that or climb it even.

BISHOP: Yes, yes. After a few skids, a couple of skids, very scary, I found a hole in one of the rocks and some dirt in it. I was able to plant myself there and plant my poles and hang on for a night. So, I didn't slide any further.

And. I was just about a week ago today and then I -- then I had -- after that, I had a trying to get to a safer, more visible spot. I lost it and slid about 100 yards and fortunately banged into some berm or something and cut myself up, bruised myself. SAMBOLIN: You say fortunately, but you were injured at that point and so you were stuck.

BISHOP: Uh-huh.

SAMBOLIN: And what happened? How did you survive? You don't have any water. You weren't expecting to go on a long hike.

BISHOP: No, no. I was going to drop my water back at the entrance to the peak area and expected to be back in 15 minutes after taking a few shots. And, so, I had basically a long sleeve shirt like I'm wearing now, a thin cargo pants, hiking boots, which saved me and my hat, that really saved me. And so, that's what I had. And I became dehydrated pretty quickly.

SAMBOLIN: I hear that you ate some plants in order to survive?

BISHOP: Yes, they were actually very tasty in the crevices, going in the crevices of these granite plates, very savory, except they had no water value so it actually dried my mouth out. So, I stopped that.

SAMBOLIN: I was reading here --

BISHOP: But I wasn't --

SAMBOLIN: I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I was reading here that, at one point, you said either I am going to get rescued or I am going to die here. Did you feel that you were going to lose your life?

BISHOP: Yes. I didn't know what rescue efforts were going on. I assume that they're looking for me, but we were in a very remote area and even to contact the sheriff was going to be difficult. So, my -- my hiking partner, she raced across the wilderness to a useable phone and got in contact with a sheriff and started the search on Friday.

SAMBOLIN: And Larry, I know you were hallucinating, right? At one point, you thought that there were rescuers there to get you and they really weren't?

BISHOP: Yes, yes. I saw campers down there ignoring me, kind of a mirage. And when I was yelling for help, then I saw these unmarked helicopters circling around me, staring at me. And so, I think I created these rescuers in my mind. It was towards the end of the day, not long -- no, it was --

PINSKY: Larry, the rescuers did finally show up and I know somebody risked their life in order to save you, right?

BISHOP: Yes, yes. They showed up, and in fact, I was on my last leg. I was quivering on my last step sliding down and I looked down and saw some orange suits, four or five guys and that gave me hope. I hung on, I dug in and then one fellow, David Griffey (ph), Detective David Griffey, he just ran up with no regard to his personal safety and just ran up the hill and depinned me to the rock.

SAMBOLIN: And I know that you really wanted to honor them today, because you are here because of them.

BISHOP: Oh, yes, yes. And also, he wouldn't have been there if it weren't for the volunteers of the FresnoSearchandRescue.org. These people don't get paid a dime. They train themselves and equip themselves, and they really all over the country they need volunteers and they could use a few bucks to help with training and --

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BISHOP: -- and their equipment.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Larry Bishop, thank you so much. And we will honor them. We'll make sure that that information is out there. We appreciate your time today. Congratulations, right, for making it and good luck on your future hikes.

BISHOP: Thank you very much.

SAMBOLIN: All right. John, back to you.

BERMAN (on-camera): So much courage. All right. Coming up, we'er going to have today's "Best Advice" from mega star from the NBA and the Olympics, Chris Paul. You're going to want to stay with us.

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SAMBOLIN: We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." Here's Christine.

ROMANS: And the "Best Advice" today from Chris Paul, star for the L.A. Clippers and team USA basketball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS PAUL, TEAM USA MEN'S BASKETBALL: Best advice that I've ever received probably came from my late college coach, Skip Prosser, which never delay gratitude. He always said, never delay gratitude. What that means is never say tomorrow I'm going to call my mother and tell her I love her.

Never tell a friend next week, I'll say thank you or something like that, because you never know. Tomorrow is not promised. So, my best advice, never delay gratitude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: I love working with you guys.

SAMBOLIN: Can I say amen?

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Thanks, guys. Thank you and thank you. ROMANS: You're the best.

BERMAN: Great advice from CP3.

SAMBOLIN: And thank you for being with us this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: That is EARLY START for this week. I'm John Berman.

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