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Polling Paul Ryan; Texas A&M Shootout; Prepackaged Apple Slices Recalled; Five Minutes At Hypersonic Speed

Aired August 14, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New polling on Paul Ryan. What voters think of Mitt Romney's running mate?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Bullets fly just blocks from campus. A deadly shootout near Texas A&M University.

BERMAN: The speed of sound times five.


BERMAN: The flight test that could mean, one day, the flight from New York to London in less than one hour. It means you can beat the tape delay for the Olympics.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no, you're still talking about that?

BERMAN: I'm sorry.

Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

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

It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get it started here.

We know who the keynote speaker will be later this month at the Republican National Convention. It is Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor is already working on his speech, telling "USA Today" he'll be delivering some very direct and hard truths to the American people.

CNN political director Mark Preston is joining us live from Washington this morning.

And, John Berman and I were talking about how similar, we have Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, one of the similarities, they're both tough talkers. Is this a surprise pick do you think?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: No, not at all. And the fact is, this has been long rumored, certainly over the past couple of months. If Chris Christie, Zoraida, was not going to be the vice presidential pick, he was going to get a key speaking slot at the RNC. You can't get much better than the keynote.

Now, Chris Christie, this will be announced in just a few short hours. Chris Christie did speak to "USA Today", previewing his speech. Let's take a quick look at what he said to "USA Today" as he prepares for his speech. Chris Christie telling the paper, "I'll try to tell very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them."

Chris Christie, beloved by conservatives. They love his straight fighter persona. He's a tough talker. Chris Christie is likely to give quite a rousing speech down in Tampa, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: We expect that to be exciting. We also some have new poll numbers this morning that show Paul Ryan is getting underwhelming numbers as the vice presidential pick. Can you break those down for us?

PRESTON: This is a "USA Today" poll, a snapshot poll that was taken right after Paul Ryan was chosen by Mitt Romney.

Let's take a look at these numbers. Not something the Romney campaign was is hoping for, right there. Their immediate reaction to Paul Ryan being chosen as Mitt Romney's running mail, only 39 percent said that it was an excellent or pretty good choice while 42 percent said in fact it was only fair and poor choice.

Now, "USA Today" notes that this is the lowest number that they have seen since 1988. That's, of course, when George H.W. Bush picked the Indiana Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate.

When it comes to independents who are very, very important in this election, look at these numbers -- only 35 percent in this "USA Today" poll shows that they believe that Paul Ryan is excellent or pretty good as a choice for the running mate. Forty-three percent say that he's only fair/poor, Zoraida. Not great numbers.

SAMBOLIN: You have to wonder if that's because people don't know him. If those numbers will change as time passes on.

One last thing I want to talk about is Paul Ryan's budget plan, right? We know what he is proposing. What we don't know is what Mitt Romney proposes. He says he has his own budget plan. Do we have any details on that?

PRESTON: Well, and again, this is a very tricky situation for Mitt Romney, choosing Paul Ryan who has stark ideas about how to fix the budget. Mitt Romney was asked a specific question down in Florida yesterday. Let's hear what he had to say.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm sure there are places that my budget is different than his. But we're on the same page as I said before -- we want to get America on track to a balanced budget. There may be. We'll take a look at the differences.

Well, the items that we agree on, I think outweigh any differences there may be. We haven't gone through piece by piece and said here's a place where there's a difference. I can't imagine any two people, even in the same party who have exactly the same positions on all issues.


PRESTON: So what's interesting about this, of course, is that Mitt Romney down in Florida, one of the keystones of how Paul Ryan said that he would fix the budget is his cuts to Medicare, his idea of putting in a voucher system. That is not very popular amongst older folks, especially in the critical state of Florida, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: No doubt.

Mark Preston, live for us, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Zoraida, you were talking about the Ryan plan.

President Obama is on the trail doing everything he can to link Mitt Romney to Paul Ryan's controversial House budget plan. The president is making an unscheduled stop at the Iowa state fair yesterday. He turned down the lure of fresh baked cinnamon rolls for a pork chop and a beer instead. But he didn't pass up the opportunity to make the claim to Iowans that Ryan' and his Republicans are to blame for holding up passage of a short term farm aid bill.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am told that Governor Romney's new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa in the next few days. He's one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. If you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and their rural communities.


BERMAN: That was the pork chop talking.

The president tens campaigning in Iowa today, while Mitt Romney's bus tour makes three stops in Ohio.

In this just couldn't make us happier, wonderful honor for CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. She's been named moderator of the second presidential debate, becoming the first woman in two decades to be chosen for this prestigious role. It will take placed Tuesday, October 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

The Commission on Presidential Debate says moderating duties will be split evenly this year between female and male journalists. This is the first time that's happened in an election season.

SAMBOLIN: This is very exciting. She sent out an e-mail yesterday, because so many people were congratulating her. And she says, "I'm with my mom and she's jumping up and down on the sandy beach saying, 'That's my daughter.'"

BERMAN: She's so good. SAMBOLIN: Very fair and balanced.

BERMAN: Good news for America that they have someone that good doing a debate.

SAMBOLIN: Six minutes past the hour.

An update on the Trayvon Martin case, attorneys for accused murderer George Zimmerman, pulling out all the stops to get a new judge. They've already asked Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester to step down. He's refused. Now, they filed an appeal to have him removed.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: Right now, of course, he's still the trial judge on the case. We're moving forward with whatever we have to do or need to do with the case. But the court, the appellate court will handle what's called an extraordinary writ as quickly as they can.


SAMBOLIN: Zimmerman's lawyers claim Judge Lester cannot be impartial after revoking their client's bail. That happened back in June when the judge founded it out Zimmerman and his wife misrepresented their financial situation by failing to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public.

BERMAN: The mother of a man suspected in a deadly shootout near Texas A&M University says her son was ill and the family is devastated. Police fatally shot 35-year-old Thomas Cafall after he allegedly killed two people just blocks from campus. Law enforcement officers were serving an eviction notice at a home when a man inside started shooting. A county constable and bystander were killed. Two officers were wounded.

SAMBOLIN: In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse cover-up, Penn State University has been warned that its accreditation is in jeopardy now. The Middle State's Commission on Higher Education accredits schools in the mid-Atlantic and has asked Penn State to submit a report by the end of the month detailing the steps it is taking to comply with standards on leadership and governance as well as integrity.

BERMAN: The House is filing a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder. They want the Justice Department to turn over all of the documents related to the Fast and Furious operation that let guns cross into Mexico in the hope of tracing them to drug king pins. The White House turned over a lot of them but not all. Two of the weapons are linked to the death of a U.S. border patrol agent. The Obama administration says the records are protected by executive privilege.

SAMBOLIN: So, two separate fires, one big headache in northern California. More than 5,000 acres have burned in Lake County, California. Three subdivisions were under mandatory evacuation orders, including close to 500 homes in Long Valley and in Spring Valley.

People in Wilbur Hot Springs were also told to leave. An evacuation orders were lifted last night in Spring Valley. One of the fires has destroyed at least three structures. One firefighter was injured as well.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is following conditions in the western United States.

Rob, any relief?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, not a whole lot of rain, thunderstorms may pop up east of there in the mountains but that's not necessarily good news as you know. It's been hot, in the inland valleys of California, the Pacific Northwest as well. These fires burning north of Napa and northwest of Sacramento and there you see it, across lake county, beautiful country here.

These fires, they're having a hard time getting ahold of good news, that they lifted evacuation orders overnight in Spring Valley. There are still very populated areas that are close to the fire.

The humidity level will be low today. It will be again hot, but any sort of red flag warning or high fire conditions are going to be up across parts of the northwest and in through western parts of Montana. Winds there could gust to 50 or so miles an hour.

The heat across the desert southwest will continue today. Still heat warnings out for places like Palm Springs over towards Tucson and Phoenix. Temps easily 110, 115. It's even a little bit humid out there.

Threat for thunderstorms across the East Coast, including New York, back through D.C., could see damaging winds, may be a tornado. We'll watch that as things begin to pop in the afternoon, 90 degrees is the expected high temperature in D.C., and 83 degrees before the storms arrive in New York City.

Guys, back up to you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Rob.

BERMAN: All right. It is nine minutes past the hour right now. And five minutes going five times the speed of sound. That's fast. That's what engineers are hoping to achieve today over the Pacific Ocean as they test a hypersonic, unmanned aircraft called the "Waverider".

SAMBOLIN: The "Waverider".


BERMAN: If the test goes well --

SAMBOLIN: I love the name.

BERMAN: This would usher in the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, space craft, even really cool passenger planes.

You know, imagine flying from New York to London in under an hour. Look at this. This could be so cool.

We're going to take a closer look at the technology in a live report. That's coming up in about half an hour.

SAMBOLIN: So cool looking, right?

BERMAN: Totally. Travel in style.

SAMBOLIN: Well, two men spent a quarter century behind bars for murder they say they did not commit. Now, a Facebook chat has helped set them free. That full story, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 14 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

We're getting an early look at some of the local news making national headlines from around the country.

And first up from the "Detroit Free Press," two men, Thomas and Raymond Highers are free this morning, at least for the time being. They walked out of prison last night after spending 25 years behind bars for a 1987 murder. New evidence, apparently, has come to light over the last several months. It happened on a Facebook chat.

People noticed on a Facebook chat a couple years ago, there were people saying they were witnesses to this crime. It may not have been these two brothers. You can see here obviously delighted to be free.

So, a judge has released the men on bail for now. While they hear more from these two witnesses and decide whether to hold a new trial.

They spent last night apparently at their aunt's house, their first night free.

SAMBOLIN: It was very low bail. I was really surprise about that. They paid (ph) $1,000, in $10,000 bond.

BERMAN: It was very low, because the judge said they weren't a threat. They're different men than they were 25 years ago and he thought they should get a break.

SAMBOLIN: I thought it was interesting also that Facebook chat, folks say they saw walk up and heard gunshots were black. At the end of the day these were white guys. Perhaps they weren't involved.

So, we'll see. Happy for them to be out, huh? You know, the person that was killed, their family, that's a tough one on them.

BERMAN: Absolutely. SAMBOLIN: All right. So, this next story comes from "The Chicago Tribune."

He hasn't been seen on Capitol Hill all summer long. And this morning, we are learning that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has bipolar disorder. His staffers and doctors are not even discussing a timetable for his possible return to office.

So, this is -- the 47-year-old son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson Sr. He's been on medical leave for the past two months. A lot of speculation as to what was wrong with him. He's being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He's up for re-election in less than three months.

The doctors released a statement yesterday saying he's regaining his strength. I had spoken to Jesse Jackson Sr. about a month ago and asked him, you know, how his son was doing. He said at that time that he had a mood disorder. But he would not give us any details on that.

And also, he famously had gastric bypass surgery, Jesse Jackson, Jr., so many years back. They thought perhaps that this mood disorder was brought on by that. So, they're looking into that as well.

He's also under investigation in the Rod Blagojevich scandal also.

BERMAN: A lot going on there.

SAMBOLIN: A lot going on.

BERMAN: All right. From Florida, "The Miami Herald," get this, a giant monstrous python. Two records set here, the largest python ever found in Florida, 17 1/2 feet long. That thing is huge.

But get this. They had 87 -- this python had 87 eggs inside of it when it was found. Pythons are not native to Florida but they are well-established there at this point. I will not be traveling to the Everglades anytime in the near future.

I know. These things are bad and they're big, apparently. So, there you have it, a giant python.

SAMBOLIN: That reminds me of dissecting back in high school.

BERMAN: That reminds me of Godzilla.

SAMBOLIN: Those eggs are huge.

All right. For an expanded look at all our top stories, head to our blog,

BERMAN: It is 17 minutes after the hour right now.

And let's you up-to-date in the top stories.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tasked to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention later this month. He said he's already working on the speech, on his fourth draft now he said. And Americans should expect some very direct and hard truths when they hear the speech.

SAMBOLIN: Paul Ryan heads to the suburbs of Denver for his second solo campaign event since being tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate. He'll then head to Las Vegas tonight for a campaign rally and private fund-raiser at the Venetian Hotel.

Day one on the trail proved bumpy for Ryan. He was heckled at the Iowa state fair. At one point, demonstrators tried to climb on to the stage but they were dragged off by police.

BERMAN: A startling find during a New Jersey drug bust. Police searching an alleged gang member's apartment say they found the man's 44-year-old girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom. They say she may have been held against her will for extended periods over the last two years, maybe longer. He was arrested. She was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Detectives also say they found 4,000 prescription pills with a street value of $100,000.


A group of Islamic foreign ministers voting to suspend Syria from a regional organization ahead of an emergency two-day summit in Saudi Arabia. This move comes after Syrian rebels claimed they shot down a military plane. Their video shows a jet catching fire and falling out of the sky. The Syrian government denies the jet was shot down, saying technical failure caused that crash.

President Obama calls to congratulate NASA's Curiosity team, saying their work embodies the American spirit. Giving a special shout-out to Mohawk guy. Really? Flight director Bobak Ferdowsi. The president says he's revisiting the idea of trying out a Mohawk for himself.


OBAMA: I understand there's a special Mohawk guy that's working on the mission. I in the past thought about getting a Mohawk myself but my, my, my team keeps on discouraging me.


BERMAN: Bobak Ferdowsi, who's very active on Twitter, tweeted out basically that comment from president was the best thing that ever happened to him. He was so excited.

SAMBOLIN: He's already gotten a ton of marriage proposals. This guy is very popular.

BERMAN: He's super famous. And now, he has the president talking about him and cutting his hair like him.

All right. You probably bought chicken or pork at the store and threw it in the freezer. Well, now, the U.S. government is doing the same thing. How it will hopefully help drought-stricken farmers. We'll have that coming up.

BERMAN: Get this, this day back in history, 1945, World War II ended with the surrender of Japan. Big day.


BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning. And stocks are set for a higher open.

Wall Street is hoping a new retail sales report will show an increase and, of course, they must be excited about the start hour at the NYSE today. Robert Pattison, best known for his role in "The Twilight" series is ringing the opening bell, in the most random opening bell ringing of all the time. He's there to promote a new movie, "Cosmopolis."

SAMBOLIN: There are going to be a bunch of girls screaming outside.

In the Midwest, though, droughts are ravaging corn crops and sending animal feed prices soaring now. But now, the government is jumping in to help farmers to the tune of $170 million.

CNN's Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans today.

They're spending a whole lot of money on some meat.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They are. You know, think of this as a stimulus package, kind of like what the Fed has done in the past for the economy. This is something the government is doing, you though, for farmers who are struggling because of this drought. You look at feed prices right now -- feed prices are so high because corn is so expensive. And it's too expensive for these farmers to keep all their cattle.

So, what's happening is the government is coming in, taking all this meat off their hands. I'm talking millions of dollars of chicken, pork, lamb, catfish. All that actually and it will go to several of the government's food assistance programs. It's going to freeze part of it.

And this is happening once again because these feed costs are becoming so high, farmers are having to slaughter more animals. That's actually lowering the price of meat now. But analysts say don't get too excited here, because it's time blip because down the road, there's going to be less meat on the market because of al the slaughtering going on. But what the government is essentially trying to do is stabilize the market and help out the farmers having a hard time.

SAMBOLIN: I was reading about it this morning. And President Obama said don't worry, we've got all lot of freezers.

KOSIK: Yes, we've got a lot of freezers.

SAMBOLIN: They can house all that meat.

BERMAN: All right. Quickly, Groupon, one of our favorite Web sites, is having some major problems.

KOSIK: Yes, poor Groupon. You know, Groupon was first on the scene with this online daily deals, big discounts for everything, from restaurants to vacations, the spas. But, you know, but the way Wall Street sees this, these new companies and this genre of these newly sort of public Internet companies, they've got a lot to prove they've got to deliver consistent profits.

So, Groupon came out with its second quarter report card last night after the closing bell. The good news is, it did post a profit, it's first ever reported profit as a public company. But the problem is, revenue was a little light.

And here's the thing with Groupon. It gets more than half of its revenue from outside North America and Europe actually. Guess what, Europe has a weak economy right now. So, the last thing anyone wants to do is get laser hair removal and go to the spa if you're in Europe.

So, yes, Groupon is having issues. One analyst says, you know, a deal fatigue could be setting in with Groupon. Groupon shares plunged 18 percent when news came out.

BERMAN: Wall Street is getting tough with social media.

KOSIK: Yes, they've got a lot to prove.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

And coming up, the obesity epidemic. We have the list state by state, the best and worst when it comes to overweight Americans.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime, don't worry. We'll be on your desktop, on your mobile phone, just go to



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The GOP's Jersey touch. Chris Christie's key role at the Republican convention.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And you know, we just got news about someone else who has a key role also. We'll tell you that in a second.

But, sliced apples at the center of a listeria scare. A voluntary recall now in effect for 36 states.

SAMBOLIN: A Red Sox nation in mourning. The legendary, Johnny Pesky, has passed away.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I'm so surprised that you didn't talk about this this morning.

BERMAN (on-camera): It was dominating my evening last night. I surely am very sad. He was really, really a very special man. I'm John Berman. It's now half past the hour. And, I'm going to talk to another Red Sox fan now about politics.

First off, the very blunt and always entertaining governor of New Jersey will be the keynote speaker later this month at the Republican National Convention. Chris Christie confirming he's already working on his speech, telling "USA Today" he'll be delivering some very direct and hard truths to the American people.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's -- I think it's become so -- like I said, she must not be from Iowa. Hey, all right.


BERMAN: What you're seeing there is Paul Ryan facing some hard truths on the trail. Mitt Romney's new running mate got heckled when he was on stage yesterday at the Iowa State Fair. This is his first solo campaign stop, but we're getting some breaking news just now back about the Republican National Convention in Tampa about who will be introducing Mitt Romney.

It is one of the few remaining key coveted speaking positions there, and CNN's political director, Mark Preston, joins us live now from Washington this morning. And Mark, who will be introducing Mitt Romney?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, John, this is just developed in the past few minutes now. Marco Rubio, that rising Republican star from Florida will be introducing Mitt Romney on the final night of the convention. This is a very key role for Marco Rubio. Very important role for the Republican Party as they try to not only reach out to Latinos but also to reach out to all minorities and show that they're a big-time party.

Now, the "Tampa Bay Times" was the first to report this, but a senior Republican official has confirmed to me that, in fact, this is true. Marco Rubio will be introducing Mitt Romney on that final night, and this comes as just a few hours ago. We learned that Chris Christie, as you said, will be delivering the keynote address at the convention.

The final pieces, John, of this Republican convention are starting to fall into place.

BERMAN: Of course, both Rubio and Christie seen as rising stars in the party, so it does seem to the Romney team just trying to fill the convention with some of these bright new faces in the Republican party.

Another one of these bright faces is Paul Ryan, of course, the pick for his vice president, but there are some poll numbers that indicate right now that he's getting a little bit of underwhelming welcome from voters, Mark.

PRESTON: Yes, John, and this is certainly not news that the Romney campaign was hoping given the fact they were looking for a big bump from the Paul Ryan announcement. Let's look at this snapshot from "USA Today" that was taken right after Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate.

It shows, in fact, that there's not a whole lot of enthusiasm right now for Paul Ryan among the American people. Only 39 percent described Paul Ryan's pick as excellent or pretty good. But look at that number, John. Forty-two percent described it as fair or poor, not very good. And when you look at the all-important independent voters, the voters who are going to decide the election, let's look at these numbers right here.

Again, they mirror what the numbers are nationally with the general public, only 35 percent of independents said that it was an excellent or pretty good pick. Forty-three percent, John, said it's only fair or poor.

BERMAN: And Mark, one of the things that's interesting about these numbers is that historically speaking, these tend to be the high water mark for vice presidential picks. They get a honeymoon. When their first pick, people tend to like them more than they ultimately do by Election Day. So, it may very well be that this is as good as it gets for Paul Ryan.

PRESTON: It could. You know, in some ways, there's only one face to go (ph) but up, and in fact, "USA Today" notes that these numbers haven't been this low since 1988, John, when Dan Quail (ph) was chosen to join George H.W. Bush on the Republican presidential ticket.

BERMAN: All right. Mark Preston in Washington. Thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: President Obama and the Democrats doing everything they can to link Mitt Romney to Paul Ryan's controversial House budget plan. The president made an unscheduled stop at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, passing up cinnamon rolls for a pork chop and a beer instead.

But he didn't pass up the opportunity to point out that the Ryan plan, in his view, would mean a $2,000 tax hike for many middle-class Americans.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is $2,000 to give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. Let me just see a show of hands. How many folks are making more than $3 million a year? OK, this guy back here. I'm looking for a campaign contribution.


SAMBOLIN: The president continues campaigning in Iowa today while Mitt Romney's bus tour makes three stops in Ohio. BERMAN: A new tougher crash test apparently too tough for most new luxury cars. Of the 11 midsize luxury models from 2012, eight flunked a frontal crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The test mimics the most dangerous kind of front-end impact when the car hits another vehicle or object such as a tree or a pole.

The Mercedes Benz C-class Lexus IS-250 and ES-350 and the Audi A4 earned the worst rating poor in the new test. Only Honda's Acura TL, the Volvo F-60, and Infiniti G. It's more car models that I've ever said once in my life. They are good receptacle (ph) ratings from the institute.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. Well, some diced or sliced apples sold at McDonald's, Burger Kings, and grocery stores across the country have been recalled over Listeria concerns. The voluntary recall affects 36 states and D.C. The bacteria was found on equipment used by a supplier for ready pack.

Listeria can cause fever, nausea, or diarrhea and can potentially be life-threatening. As of now, no reports of anyone getting sick.

BERMAN: So, where is your state stack up in the battle of the bulge? The trust for America's health in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found 26 of 30 states with the highest obesity levels are in the Midwest and south. The worst offenders, Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, then West Virginia. The top 12 states have adult obesity rates of more than 30 percent. The study found that the leanest state is Colorado with Hawaii second, Massachusetts third.

SAMBOLIN: So, she was the original Carrie Bradshaw. Helen Gurley Brown has died. The former editor-in-chief of "Cosmopolitan" magazine was a pioneer for the modern woman. Her 1962 book, "Sex and the Single Girl" created a stir for encouraging young woman to find fulfillment both at work and in non-marital relationships with men.

The book was on the best-seller list for more than a year. Helen Gurley Brown passing yesterday morning in a New York hospital after a brief illness. She was 90 years old.

BERMAN: We have one more passing to note. Boston Red Sox legend, Johnny Pesky, has died. He was a player, manager, and broadcaster for the Red Sox and a baseball career spending more than 60 years. You know, he's so much part of Red Sox lure that Fenway Park's right field Powell pole is named the Pesky pole.

So, a 302 feet from home play was a like (INAUDIBLE) here. It's nowhere. He had 17 (ph) whole months in his career, but six of them went past there. So, it is so close that even Johnny Pesky could hit a home run past it. He was 92 years old. And really, you know, he was a great teammate, a good ballplayer, but more importantly, a very, very good man.

SAMBOLIN: All right. A five-minute test flight today could change history. Coming up, how the wave rider, this is what they're call, could impact the future of air travel. Wave rider.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 41 minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you're with us this morning. So, five minutes going five times the speed of sound. That is what aerospace engineers are hoping to achieve today with the flight of a hypersonic unmanned aircraft called the Wave Rider. It is fast enough to fly from New York to London in less than an hour.

Can you believe it? If it's successful, it could usher in the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, spare craft, even passenger planes, we understand. Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is following all of the developments. And Barbara, we're trying to wrap our brain around five times the speed of sound. How fast is that?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's pretty darn fast. Let's get into some of the details here. You know, Zoraida, you remember that line from "star Wars," fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy?



STARR: This, in fact, may be, an x-51 Wave Rider, sounds cool and it is. So, basically, look at the picture. What they're going to do off the coast of Southern California? Fly a converted B-52 with this thing unmanned, hanging under it, drop it off, test it. The idea is it will fly for 300 seconds at mock 6. Here's the answer to the question. How fast is that? That is about 4,500 miles per hour --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh.

STARR: For about 300 seconds. And why do all this other than the fact it's really cool? Well, you know, it's exactly what you just said. They want to see if they -- the air force wants to see if this is feasible. If it is, you're talking about putting missiles on target within minutes. You're talking about being able to deploy troops around the world within minutes and hours.

It's the kind of military technology that really would give the U.S. an advantage, the Pentagon believes. Civilian aircraft, could you develop a civilian aircraft that could fly you that fast? If this works theoretically. Of course, it doesn't really get to the point of how much time you're going to spend on the tarmac before your plane takes off.

SAMBOLIN: No. And military officials are saying that this technology would have been useful to them as early as 1988, right before September 11th in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden as well. It says it's promising for evading and outrunning enemy fire.

STARR: Well, you know, that's the -- it's an interesting question. Look at what the practical applications for the Pentagon could have been. Back in 1998, they used tomahawk missiles to attack a training camp that they believed Osama Bin Laden was hiding at. But by the time they got the missiles organized, ready to go, fired them off, and sent them to the target, Bin Laden, by all accounts, was long gone.

This compresses your military decision-making time into minutes. You can get to that target before your enemy flees. That's what the Pentagon believes the real advantage would be.

SAMBOLIN: Well, Barbara Starr, thank you for that sneak peek. Very cool technology. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: Sure. I want it now. I don't want to wait.

It is now 44 minutes after the hour, and we want to get you up to date on the top stories of the day.


BERMAN (voice-over): New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has been picked to kick off the Republican National Convention. Christie says America should expect some very direct and hard truths when he delivers the keynote address later this month. He says he's already on the fourth draft of his speech and will focus more on the case for electing Mitt Romney rather than framing the debate against President Obama.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Murder charges have been filed against an ex- con accused of stuffing his girlfriend's body in a suitcase. Twenty- seven-year-old Joseph David Dorsey (ph) is still at large two days after investigators discovered 47-year-old Christine Stewart's (ph) body in a suitcase at a motel near San Diego. Dorsey was last seeing driving a dark blue 2003 Ford Explorer with a gray hood and fender (ph).

BERMAN: An army soldier sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to reduced charges in a hazing suicide case. Specialist Ryan Offet (ph) was the second soldier to face court marshal (INAUDIBLE) 19-year-old army Private David Chen. Authorities say Chen shot himself last year in Afghanistan after being hazed (ph) over his ethnicity.

SAMBOLIN: Louisiana state police investigators say that they have found no evidence to support allegations of electronic eavesdropping against the NFL's New Orleans Saints. An ESPN report, if you remember back in April, said Saints GM, Mickey Loomis, had rigged wiring at the superdome to intercept opposing team's radio communications. Police say no state laws were broken. The FBI is also investigating the charges.

BERMAN: Google trying to become the place to go before you go anywhere. The giant search engine purchasing Frommer's Travel Guides. The move comes nearly a year after Google bought the survey, the restaurant review and rating services. Financial terms were not disclosed but reports for the sale price at more than $20 million. Frommer's hard copy guide books are expected to stay in print at least for now.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And coming up, the new words from Merriam Webster's dictionary. Find out which one of them was inspired by Oprah. If you watch her, you can probably guess this one.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to


BERMAN: There she is, New York City. That's a look kind of over central park. We're showing it to you, because as they say in the control room, there are some really pretty colors there.


SAMBOLIN: It is 73 degrees right now, a little later, 83, scattered thunderstorms for all of us in New York City. Welcome back. It is 50 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman. Taking a look at what's trending on the web. And, there's a reason I'm carrying this big monster this morning.

BERMAN (on-camera): (INAUDIBLE). Well, it's trending on the web this morning. Some new words in the Merriam Webster collegiate dictionary, including such phrases as F-bombs and sexting. They're going mainstream right now. Those are just two of the 64 words included in the annual update.

You know, F-bomb, in case you're wondering were some bit of that in 2007. It started surfacing about 20 years ago. Some other words we can welcome in, an aha moment nspired by --

SAMBOLIN: Oprah Winfrey.

BERMAN: Bucket list is in there. E-reader and man cave inspired by man everywhere.

SAMBOLIN: That's not one word, two words.


BERMAN: These aren't words. These are phrases. And I don't understand what they're doing in the dictionary, but that's OK.

SAMBOLIN: I don't think they're in the dictionary I was carrying. I think that's an older one.

Anyway, it's hard enough to plan a single wedding, right? It's been a lot of work, right? So, how about five all in one day? I love this story. A Mesa, Arizona family with five siblings, they walked down the aisle all on the same day. This is five of eight siblings, I want to add. The dad said oh, my gosh, can you imagine if I had to go five separate weddings.

It was his idea to do them all together. It was really tough for the kids, because they said that they wanted, you know, their individual weddings. So, they did have the ceremony, each ceremony was done individually, but the big celebration that you are seeing was everybody together.

BERMAN: One of the sisters not getting married was a bridesmaid in four weddings, but not five.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. What happened to the other one?

BERMAN: Interesting. Someone has got some explaining to do.


BERMAN: All right. From weddings to birthdays here. An amazing 104th birthday celebration for a woman named Alice Oho. You know, Aho. She joked to her daughter she wanted to climb a mountain on her 104th birthday, so they let her do it. They trekked up Oregon's Mt. Hood. Now, they didn't climb up exactly.

They took a chair lift up the thing, but she had climbed it three times before with her husband. So, the family all piled into the chair lift, took the ride, up the ski lift. You can see the walker there on the lift with her, and we have some sound here talking about it.


ALICE AHO, CLIMBED MT. HOOD FOR 104TH BIRTHDAY: So far, the mountain is just the same as it ever was. It's very nice. I enjoy being up here.


BERMAN: She looks great!

SAMBOLIN: And sounds great. She had all her faculties, because as they were going up, she was talking to her grand children about, you know, the last couple times that she had trekked up, which by the way, you mentioned it was with her husband, but it was before children. So, it was a long, long time ago. And she had full memory recollection. It was great.

BERMAN: Happy birthday, Alice.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

All right. Michelle Obama sitting down with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" and the first lady setting the record straight about the recent kiss cam incident at a pre-Olympic basketball game.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I just walked in and sat down and I just saw my face on the jumbotron. I'm still a little embarrass. I didn't see the kiss cam part. So, I didn't know we were supposed to kiss.


MICHELLE OBAMA: And then Malia came over after we got booed for not kissing and she was just disgusted with us.

LENO: Really?

MICHELLE OBAMA: She said why didn't you kiss? And I was like, kiss what, what are you talking about? She said you were on the kiss cam. You were supposed to kiss. We were like, we're not paying attention.

LENO: Let's see what happened. Here's your daughter.

There you go. Exactly.

MICHELLE OBAMA: She orchestrated that second try, because after the second half, we came back, she said I've arranged for you to get another chance on the kiss cam. And then she came and sat with us to make sure we didn't mess it up.

LENO: Wow.

MICHELLE OBAMA: She was like, get ready, it's coming. And that's when she was like, OK, go, now, kiss, do it.


BERMAN: The pressure of the White House is nothing compared to the pressure of kiss cam.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my God.

BERMAN: It came from Malia.

SAMBOLIN: And she orchestrated. I love that.

BERMAN: All right. On a similar note, what do you do when your mega heartthrob and your girlfriend is caught making out with another dude? Well, you go on Oprah or maybe not. Maybe you go on "The Daily Show." Robert Patterson stopping by for post breakup ice cream with Jon Stewart.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Listen, the last time I had a bad breakup --


STEWART: Ben and jerry got me through some of the tougher times. So, I thought you and I could bond over this and talk about, boy, you are better off, kick her to the can.



SAMBOLIN: OK. That's priceless.

BERMAN: Yes. That was Pattison's first interview since the cheating scandal evolving Kristen Stewart. He's all --

SAMBOLIN: Oh my God.

BERMAN: I still don't really understand what's going on there, but it was very, very, very funny.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. That was hysterical. Kick her to the curb.

All right. So, this morning's top stories straight ahead, including vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, heckled on the campaign trail. Have you seen it? We're going to show it to you. Plus, the first poll numbers on Mitt Romney's pick. You're watching EARLY START.