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Romney And Ryan On The Road; Christie To Deliver Keynote Address; Voters React To Ryan Pick; Obama Blasts "Romney-Ryan" Budget Plan; CNN's Crowley To Moderate Presidential Debate; Zimmerman's Lawyers Appeal For New Judge; Penn State Put On Notice; Three Dead In Shooting Near Texas A&M University

Aired August 14, 2012 - 06:00   ET



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): New polling on Paul Ryan. What voters think of Mitt Romney's running mate?

BERMAN (voice-over): Saved with just seconds to spare. A driver plucked from the water after a 40-foot plunge from a bridge.

SAMBOLIN: Crazy pictures there.

SAMBOLIN: And the lost pyramids found in the Egyptian desert. The discovery made with the help of a rather common modern day technology.


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

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east. And first, some news breaking overnight about politics.

New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, will be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention. Christie, himself, revealed the news in an interview with the "USA Today." He says his speech will focus more on the case of electing Mitt Romney rather than the case against President Obama.

Also new this hour, Republican rising star and Florida senator, Marco Rubio, will be introducing Mitt Romney at the convention when Romney formally accepts the party's nomination. He was also in the vetting process for vice president before Paul Ryan became the pick.

On the trail, it's day two all alone for VP candidate, Paul Ryan, as he tries to convert the positive Republican reaction to this election into votes. Today, Ryan will campaign in Colorado after spending yesterday at the Iowa State Fair. It's his first taste of being all alone on the stump and on the big stage.

He got a largely friendly welcome but wasn't all smooth sailing. He was followed by several hecklers, and as you can see here, a few of them were hauled off by Iowa State police. Now, it wasn't that bad. This happens on the campaign trail. Erick Erickson was among the first that suggested Paul Ryan be Mitt Romney's pick. He's also the editor-in-chief of, the CNN contributor, and very active on Twitter. I follow you, I love your tweets, so it's great to talk to you this morning, Erick.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- Colorado after spending yesterday at the Iowa State Fair. It's his first taste of being all alone on the stump and on the big stage. He got a largely friendly welcome, but wasn't all smooth sailing.

He was followed by several hecklers and as you can see here a few were hauled off by Iowa state police. It wasn't that bad. This happens on the campaign trail.

Eric Erickson was among the first that suggested Paul Ryan be Mitt Romney's pick. He is also the editor in chief of, a CNN contributor and very active on Twitter, I follow you and I love your tweets. So it's great to talk to you this morning, Erick.

Let me ask you first your reaction to both Christie giving the key note, which was really the worst kept secret in Washington, but now also we're learning that Marco Rubio will be giving the coveted introduction to Mitt Romney on Thursday night.

What do you think of these two rising stars getting key speaking slots at the convention?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: think the Republican National Convention is going to be very carefully orchestrated. The Republicans want to put their best foot forward. They are competing with a incumbent president who is still very likable.

They would do their best to make Mitt Romney likable so getting Chris Christie there who is popular with the base and with a lot of independents and Marco Rubio who is popular with independents to introduce Mitt Romney I think helps them build Mitt Romney's likability head into the home stretch.

BERMAN: I don't want to put out his fire, but reading your tweets, reading your writings, is it safe to say you're more excited about Paul Ryan as the vice presidential nominee than Mitt Romney as the nominee?

ERICKSON: Yes, absolutely. You know, I think Paul Ryan was a good pick. Mitt Romney wasn't my favorite. He's the nominee I'm supporting, but Paul Ryan I think actually does a better job articulating why we should support free markets.

And why we should trust the American people to live their lives than Mitt Romney has been able to do since the primaries. Republicans have said Mitt Romney has a hard time talking about success and his success. Paul Ryan doesn't have that problem.

BERMAN: So the difference between these two is what leads me to my next question now because Mitt Romney has been asked repeatedly yesterday on the stump about what his difference might be with Paul Ryan's budget plan and Medicare plan.

I want to listen to a little sound what he said when he was asked to enumerate these differences.


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 look at the differences. Well, the items we agree on I think outweigh any differences there maybe. We haven't gone through piece by piece.

So here's a place where there's a different. I can't imagine any two people even on the same party who have exactly the same positions on all issues.


BERMAN: I guess I have three questions here. First of all, was that a politically astute response? Second question here is do you think there should be space between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan?

Do you think Romney should embrace the Ryan plan? And the third question I have here is, should Romney have been more prepared for that question. It didn't look like he was ready with an answer there.

ERICKSON: It sounds very much like the response you get from Democrats and Republicans who haven't actually read the Paul Ryan plan. You know, I'm sure there are differences between the two, but to his credit, Paul Ryan has a plan, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney for that matter really have a plan with the specificity.

Paul Ryan has a 90-page outline of what he wants to do in actually legislative language something that neither the president nor Mitt Romney have had. Now should there be differences between them?

I guess, but when you bring Paul Ryan on the ticket, a guy who the Democrats in 2011 were already running commercials with a Paul Ryan lookalike shoving a grandmother off a cliff, you can't really distance yourself from that.

You're going to be embracing his plan whether you think you are. I personally thought it was a bad move on the Romney's campaign part, on the day the Ryan candidacy was announced and send out a talking point that said.

If reporters ask about are we embracing Ryan's plan, say Mitt Romney has his own plan. His plan is totally overshadowed now because one, it's not in writing and two, Paul Ryan is pick, he has embraced his plan.

BERMAN: All right, Erick Erickson, the editor of chief of Thank you so much for joining us this morning. It's nice to see you.

ERICKSON: Thank you.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is 3 minutes past the hour. 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. He passed up cinnamon rolls for a pork chop and 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 OF AMERICA: 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 wonderful and deserved 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 place Tuesday, October 16th, at Hoster University in Hempstead, New York. The Commission on Presidential Debates picked her and also Martha Radish from ABC News. They are splitting the debate duties this time between men and women. And this is the first time that's happened in these presidential debates.

SAMBOLIN: And in the next half hour on EARLY START, we'll be joined by Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia. He is a medical doctor and a big believer in Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare. He is going to explain why he is a big believer.

BERMAN: I want to bring you out the scene on some other news now. The latest in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, attorneys for accused murderer, George Zimmerman, doing everything they can to get the judge tossed off this case. They've already asked Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester to step down, but he refused and now they filed an appeal to have him removed.

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

BERMAN: The mother of a man suspected in a deadly shootout here at Texas A&M University says her son was ill. Police fatally shot 35- year-old Thomas Couple after he allegedly killed two people just blocks from the campus. A law enforcement officer serving an eviction notice was killed along with a civilian bystander.

SAMBOLIN: An Alabama woman is expected to make a full recovery this morning somehow escaping serious injury after losing control of her car and listen to this plunging 40 feet off a bridge into Mobile Bay.

Rescue workers got to 39-year-old Melissa Morris very quickly Sunday afternoon, holding her afloat in the water until a boat could arrive and bring her to shore.

Police say Morris was going too fast when she lost control of the car and flipped over the side of that bridge. If a few more seconds had passed, police say she might have gone under with her Ford Mustang convertible. That's some scary moments for that woman.

So a discovery for the ages, the lost pyramids of Egypt found with a tool we probably all used on the web. That story coming up.

BERMAN: How do you lose a pyramid? They are pretty big.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know. We're going to find out.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is 10 minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Happy that you're with us this morning. Two separate fires, one big headache, this is 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 Spring Valley.

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

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is following conditions in the western United States. Rob, we also understand we have some excessive heat warnings out there.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's not helping obviously. We get temperatures that are in the triple digits this time of year. And that's what gets us into the peak of fire season, 59 large uncontained fires right now across the west, especially the intermountain west and parts of the inland valleys of California.

That's where these fires are across Lake Country, north of Napa Valley and northwest of Sacramento as well. Anywhere from 25 percent to 35 percent containment with these, but they are still going to have to deal with some heat today.

No critical fire danger for that area. That's good news. Winds will be sporadic. More gusty I think across parts of the northern mountain west including Western Montana. The desert southwest including So Cal will be hot again today.

It's 115 or better in Palm Springs. As a matter of fact, just east of Palm Springs, there's a fire burning there as well, heat contributing to some of that.

It's 81 degrees in Chicago. The past five days, Chicago has been below average for temperatures. That hasn't happened since fall of last year. Bump it up a couple more degrees today.

As we get towards the weekend, we sink into a cooler than average scenario for parts of the central part of the country. That's good news for the drought. Not a whole lot of rain.

Rain from New York, D.C. back through Erie, Pennsylvania, potentially some of that could be severe, some of these thunderstorms firing up across this area right now.

Just kind of garden type showers and thunderstorms, but later on in the afternoon, she's could get a little bit more active, including parts of the southeast, where Atlanta right now is getting into the act as far as some boomers are concerned.

That's your latest forecast. Keep an eye up for some of the storms heading towards the big apple later on today, guys.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Rob.

BERMAN: All right, it is now 13 minutes after the hour. The top stories of the morning, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tapped to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention later this month. He says he's already working on the fourth draft of the speech and America should expect some very direct and hard truths when they hear it.

SAMBOLIN: Paul Ryan heads to suburbs of Denver today for his second day of solo campaigning since being tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate. He will then head to Las Vegas tonight for a campaign rally and private fundraiser that's scheduled at the Venetian Hotel.

Day one on the trail proved a little bumpy for Ryan. He was heckled at the Iowa State Fair and at one point, protesters tried to climb on the stage, but they were removed by police as you're seeing there. BERMAN: It's 13 minutes after the hour, ancient sites, space age technology, an archeologist says she think she discovered the locations of some of Egypt's lost pyramids.

Buried for centuries under the earth and she did it using Google Earth. She said the two sites stand 90 miles apart, one includes 620- foot wide triangular plateau almost three times the size of the Great Pyramid. Scientists are now looking at the images to see if they should examine them further.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That's very cool looking.

Happy birthday to arguably the world's most famous toy. Lego just turned 80 years old if you can believe that. Did you play with Legos?

BERMAN: I still play with Legos. What do you mean did I play with Legos?

SAMBOLIN: That's because you have 5-year-old twin boys. Otherwise, you wouldn't be playing with Legos, would you?

BERMAN: I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: There are 25 different product lines featuring the plastic colored stacking bricks, Lego is the world's third largest manufacturer of play materials. There are many grown men who play with Legos and women.

BERMAN: Thank you, Lego because you occupy hours of my day every day.

SAMBOLIN: You have Legos in your office, don't you?


SAMBOLIN: Don't play --

BERMAN: That's all true.

SAMBOLIN: Lego is the third largest manufacturer of play materials. There are many grown men who play with Legos and women, right?

BERMAN: It's a thank you Lego because you occupy hours of my day every day.

SAMBOLIN: You have Legos in your office, don't you?


SAMBOLIN: Don't play with --

BERMAN: All right. Like a Boy Scott, a seasoned traveler should be prepared.

Here's Alison Kosik with items you might want to add to your bag.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The good thing about these are, you know, a lot of them could be at home right now so you're going to have to spend money. And if you do, they only cost a few dollars. 'Budget Travel" -- actually "Budget Travel" magazine is recommending packing a multi-socket power strip in your carry-on. Just like this. See how small it is?

So, you know, if all the airport outlets are taken, you can ask someone to share a single outlet with your multi-socket strip. It also comes in handy at a hotel, because you can plug in all your electronics into one place making it easier to keep track of them. I hate running around the room trying to find outlets. So, yes.

SAMBOLIN: And then you leave one behind.

KOSIK: I hate leaving them behind.

OK. Now, what happens if you have a wardrobe malfunction on the road. Travel experts say duct tape and safety pins work in a pinch. So, rip in clothes, holding shoes, or tear in some luggage can be patched with duct tape, of all things. You can be use it to remove lint or pet hair from your clothes. If you're missing a button or a zipper pull, use a safety pin.

Another item you shouldn't leave home without, according to "Budget Travel" magazine is a travel mug with the secure screw top. It's a great hiding spot for valuables if your hotel room doesn't have a safe or place for sunglasses. You can always fill the cup up with your favorite drink, coffee, whisky.

BERMAN: Your sunglasses smell like coffee, for the rest of the day.

SAMBOLIN: You wash the mug, first.

BERMAN: I didn't know that was an option. Duct tape is the most useful tool on planet Earth.

KOSIK: Yes, I remove lint off my clothes with it.

SAMBOLIN: Great travel locations.

KOSIK: Yes, Girl Scout.

BERMAN: And luckily you're going to be back because it's your money but managing it from afar is far from free. Banks of every shape and size is going up. Details coming up.

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

SAMBOLIN: It's the fees that are going up, right? Extra fees.

BERMAN: I guess they are. So, they are, way up.


SAMBOLIN: Did you catch me yawning? I apologize if you did.

KOSIK: I did.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh! It was lack of sleep last night. I'm sorry, folks.

We are minding your business this morning.

"Twilight" star Robert Pattinson will be at the New York Stock Exchange today to ring the opening bell. He is promoting his new movie, "Cosmopolis."

BERMAN: This guy is all over our show today, by the way. He's like the sponsor of EARLY START this morning, Robert Pattinson.

SAMBOLIN: He's certainly all the talk. So, after that we're expecting to see stocks move higher, investors are betting July retail sales will rise, a good sign for the economy.

BERMAN: Also rising bank fees. We're hit with overdraft fees, ATM charges service fees, the list goes on and on, and the situation is getting worse. Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans.

Why is this?

KOSIK: You know, it's just one more reason why we love to hate the banks, don't we? A big shocker here, it's more expensive to have a checking account. I guess you didn't need me telling you that., that actually looked at more than 100 banks and variety of fees they are charging and guess what they found. They found that fees went up in every single category. For one monthly service fees are averaging about $12 a month, $145 a year you're paying.

Now, you can avoid these monthly fees if you meet certain requirements like you have a paycheck direct deposited. But get this, the minimum balance just to have the checking account, it's higher, it jumped to $856 to $4,436, overdraft fees.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh.

KOSIK: Overdraft fees, ATM fees also up. Also, just to open a checking account you need more money, you need a bigger minimum balance. Banks are doing this because there's a new law that went into effect that limits the amount of revenue that these banks can get from swipe fees.

When you and I go into stores and, you have debit cards, banks usually take a portion of the retailer fee and they can't do as much as they used to, so they are trying to make up the revenue.

Listen, as much as we hate the banks, they are a business just like any other. Not like I'm defending the banks or anything.


KOSIK: Hey, they are a business, we need them. We need them.

SAMBOLIN: You know, we can't afford them. So, how do you avoid these fees?

KOSIK: You know, don't be afraid to go small. Smaller banks aren't getting hit by these Wall Street reforms as the bigger banks. They are less likely to charge as many fees. Also consider getting a checking account by an online bank, believe it or not, and credit unions are still a good bet.

Listen to this, found that a good portion of credit unions still offer accounts without monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. The one down fall with having the smaller banks, having the online banks, is you don't have that convenience. If you're at Bank of America, you can go pretty much anywhere and find one.


KOSIK: Convenience is a big factor. You have to weigh what's most important for you.

BERMAN: So, besides, what's the one thing we need to know?

KOSIK: The one thing you need to know today, know your banking style. If you overdraft a lot, pick a bank with lower overdraft fees. If you keep a low balance, pick a bank that doesn't require a minimum. Most banks charge fees, but if you know your habit, you can limit the charges. Be honest with your self.

BERMAN: OK. That's hard.

KOSIK: I know.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I switched banks when I moved from Chicago to New York, and I was shocked at the balances I had to keep in my account when I switched those banks. You got to shop around.

Thank you, Alison. We appreciate it.

KOSIK: Yes, you got it.

SAMBOLIN: All right, 6:23 here on the east coast. The most comfortable rides on the road might not be the safest. Coming up, luxury cars crashed on purpose for you to prove a point.

If you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time. Just go to


SAMBOLIN: The fight over Medicare, front and center. Paul Ryan's place on the Republican ticket has both sides trying to play to seniors.

BERMAN: Sliced apples at the center of a listeria scare. A voluntary recall in effect for 36 states.

SAMBOLIN: And from New York to London in under an hour. A test flight today could be the first step in making that a reality for you.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's a big week on the campaign trail, the first week on the trail for Paul Ryan and the battle over Medicare he is raging.

The congressman's signature really is his budget. And in it is a controversial plan to convert Medicare into a system that will provide subsidies or vouchers. They allow people to either purchase private insurance or stay in the current Medicare plan and it would not affect current seniors. It will start with people who are currently under 55.

Both sides are predicting doom and gloom if the other party takes control.


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan became president and vice president of the United States, they'd be able to end the Medicare guarantee, shred the health care safety net it provided for more than 50 years.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: It's Obama who's been taking the money away from our senior citizens. And it's Ryan and Romney who protect senior citizens.

STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a different plan, a very different radical plan, which will lead to the end of Medicare.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: He stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it's Barack Obama.


BERMAN: A lot of charges being flung around here and there. We are now joined by Congressman Phil Gingrey, a Republican from Georgia, a supporter of Romney and the campaign. He's also chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus.

And, Congressman Gingrey, there is a lot of discussion about the so-called Ryan plan. He is the number two person on this ticket, though. On top of the ticket is Mitt Romney.

And yesterday, Mitt Romney was asked about the differences between his own Medicare plan and that of Paul Ryan. Let's listen to what he said.


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 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.


BERMAN: So, Congressman, what are the differences between the two plans and would you like to see Mitt Romney give a more fulsome embrace of the so-called Ryan plan?

REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: There may be subtle differences in their plan. It's the same game plan, even though you may have a different center fielder. The straw that stirs this drink obviously is Mitt Romney. He is going to be the next president of the United States. Paul Ryan is going to be the vice president.

And I think they'll get on tweaking around the edges in regard to the plan, but it's essentially a very similar plan, and that is that you face up to the reality of these entitlement items going off a cliff. And that's what the Romney/Ryan plan will do. That's what the House Republican budget has done for last two years.

We know Democrats have no plan and have no budget for the last three and a half years. So, I'm so happy about the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate.

BERMAN: I was talking to a couple of Democratic strategists overnight who were not actually affiliated with the Obama campaign and in some cases they are running races where they are positioning their Democrats in opposition to the president.

But they do say that the so-called Ryan plan is like manna from heaven from them. They are running against it hard. They intend to put new ads up, as soon as they possibly can. The Democrats truly see this as a winning issue for them.

Are they wrong?

GINGREY: They are absolutely wrong. This running from reality is not going to get it from the American people. The American people understand the CBO has said it and Medicare trustees have said it, Medicare is insolvent by 2022.

And it is so totally irresponsible to ignore that reality and indeed, in creating this new entitlement program called the Affordable Care Act, unaffordable care act, i.e., Obamacare. They gutted the Medicare program of $720 billion to create a new entitlement program for the young.

When we were marking that up in committee, I had an amend that said, OK, any Medicare savings it goes back into Medicare and the Democrats led by Waxman and Pelosi, they rejected that. They didn't want to save Medicare. They gutted it.

BERMAN: One of things that Paul Ryan has suggested over the years, would be all but eliminating Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system. So, there are a lot of charges going back and forth here now.

GINGREY: But premium support is not voucher. A voucher you hand money to a senior and say, go find your health care. This would be run by the Medicare trustees by CMS, Committee on Medicare and Medicaid Services, the money would stay there. And the premium support would be more for someone who comes into Medicare with preexisting conditions and it would increase as a senior ages.

And last but not least, it is the Ryan-Wyden -- Democratic Senator Ron Wyden's plan and strictly voluntarily.

BERMAN: Congressman --

GINGREY: If a senior wants to stay on the program, a fee for service traditional Medicare, they can and will do that. In fact, they will be required essentially to do that if they are over age 55 or already on the Medicare program.

BERMAN: Congressman, there's a great deal of enthusiasm over the weekend. Pictures were terrific from the campaign trail.

So, a lot of people were a little surprised to see polls that came out yesterday which talked about the relative enthusiasm in the voting public for the Paul Ryan pick and I want to read you some of these polls numbers right here. According to "USA Today"/Gallup, only 39 percent rate the Ryan pick as excellent pretty good, 42 percent vote it only fair and 43 percent it's say it's only fair or poor.

And among independents, which is a key voting bloc, 35 percent say it's excellent or pretty good, and 43 percent say it's only fair or poor.

Don't you need these independents and if Paul Ryan is not helping among them, aren't you in trouble?

GINGREY: Well, it would indicate at this point in time the Democrats are doing a pretty good job of continuing to scare seniors. But the only poll that really matters as you know, John, is that poll on November the 6th and we get the final count.

We're going to have a 45th president. We're not going to be a repeat of the 44th failed presidency with he put an additional $5 trillion on the debit side of the ledger and 42 months, 43 months straight of unemployment above 8 percent.

This is a failed president. The American public are not going to accept that. We need a bold plan and we need honesty with the American people. That's what they have not gotten from Barack Obama.

BERMAN: All right. Congressman Gingrey of Georgia, thank you for joining us this morning.

GINGREY: John, thank you for having me.

BERMAN: It is now 34 minutes after the hour right now, and it's 7:00 a.m. Eastern.

In "STARTING POINT," Soledad O'Brien will be joined by Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu, always interesting. The former New Hampshire governor will give us his take on Chris Christie giving the keynote address. And we'll also ask him about this election, obviously of Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, John. A new tougher crash test apparently is 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 object such as a tree or pole.

The Mercedes Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250 and ES 350 and the Audi A4 are in the worst rating, poor in this new test.

Acura TL, the Volvo S60 and Infiniti G earned good or acceptable ratings from the institute.

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 in equipment used by the supplier for ready pack. Listeria can cause fever, nausea or diarrhea and could be life threatening.

As of now, no reports of anyone getting sick.

BERMAN: So, where does your state stack up in the battle of the bulge. Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found 26 of 30 states with the highest obesity levels are in the Midwest and the South. The worst offenders, Mississippi followed by Louisiana and then West Virginia.

The study found the leanest state is Colorado with Hawaii second and Massachusetts third.

And a baseball legend and hero in my hometown has died. Johnny Pesky was part of the Boston Red Sox organization for more than 60 years. He was a player, a manager, a broadcaster.

He is so much a part of the Red Sox, the right field foul pole there is named the Pesky pole in his honor, just 392 feet from home plate. You can take a little pop gun bat and hit a home run there. He hit six past that.

Johnny Pesky, really terrific guy, was 92 years old.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minute past the hour.

Five minute test flight today could actually change history. Coming up, how the "Waverider", which is what's it called, it's an experiment that could impact the future of air travel.


SAMBOLIN: Five minutes going five times the speed of sound. That's what aerospace engineers are hoping to achieve today with the flight of a hypersonic unmanned aircraft called the Waverider. It's fast enough to fly from New York to London in less than an hour.

If it is successful, it could usher in the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, space craft, even passenger planes we understand.

Pentagon Barbara Starr is following all the developments.

And, Barbara, five times the speed of sound. Walk us through this.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Forty-five hundred miles an hour, Zoraida, if it all works. Science fiction comes home. It really does.

This is the Waverider 51-A, according to the U.S. Air Force. That's what they are calling it. Later this morning, the Air Force will fly this converted B-52 off the coast of California and drop this from a wing. It's an unmanned vehicle. It's basically and test article.

They are going to try to fly it for 300 seconds and see if they can make all of this work.

You know, why is it so important to the military other than its totally cool and they want to see if they can do it? Because it has some real applications, of course. If you can turn this kind of propulsion technology into a missile, you can put weapons on target around the world within minutes.

You could, if it becomes a cargo plane, put troops on board. Fly them to a hot spot in perhaps an hour or just even less than that.

What does that give you? It gives you the ability to be there before the enemy can react. That's why it's of such military importance to see if this technology can work, if they can turn it into a passenger plane for folks like you and me, well, we get there faster, don't we?

SAMBOLIN: You know, that's exactly what I wanted to talk about, because as we're looking at it, you know, it's not really a plane but it's a technology you're talking about that could perhaps be used for future travel, is that right?

STARR: That's exactly right. What they are really doing, the Pentagon likes to use the phrase test article.

This is an unmanned thing that has the propulsion technology demonstration on board that they want to see if they can make work that begin to see -- can this achieve flight at these huge altitudes at these speeds? Can they fly it for 300 seconds? That's what this test is all about.

So, this is really just the beginning step. A demonstration, if you will. You and I are talking about, if they can take it all the way and really make it work and turn it into something, but baby steps right now. But what baby steps they are.

SAMBOLIN: Is it an expensive test? Do you know?

STARR: Well, you know, there's some analysts have looked at it and estimate the program itself was costing about $140 million. So, by all accounts, no. But you know, if this can be the first step to the kind of revolution that you're talking about -- well, then it could be worth it.

SAMBOLIN: Kind of pays for itself in the long run, right?

Barbara Starr, live at the Pentagon for us -- thank you for that.

STARR: Sure.


BERMAN: All right, Zoraida. Some really cool pictures there.

As of now, Soledad O'Brien joins us with a look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, good morning.

Ahead on "STARTING POINT" this morning, the presidential race shifts into high gear with the candidates really wasting no time whatsoever, trading jabs on Medicare and the economy. Is Mitt Romney's new running mate, Paul Ryan, holding his own out there? We'll take a look at that. We've got all the political angles covered.

We're going to talk to the senior Romney campaign adviser John Sununu will be our guest. His counterpart from the Obama campaign, David Axelrod, the campaign manager, will be our guest as well.

CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, you know, she's been named a presidential debate moderator, the first woman in 20 years. We'll chat with her.

Also debate coach Brett O'Donnell is going to be back with us. We'll talk to him about strategy.

Another guy who knows a little bit about pressure is the Olympic gold medal diver, David Boudia, who's coming back from London with two medals around his neck. Did you know he has a fear of heights?

BERMAN: It's amazing, isn't it?

O'BRIEN: How stunning is that? We're going to talk about how he could get over that fear and be successful.

And you know him from "Man Versus Food," Adam Richman stops by to taste test the best sandwiches in America. It's a competition.

Don't forget: you can catch us right at the top of the hour in roughly 15 minutes. We'll see you then when "STARTING POINT" gets under way.

BERMAN: There is more fallout of the Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. This involves more than just the football program. We'll explain. That stories coming up.


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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. So glad you're with us.


BERMAN (voice-over): Chris Christie has been picked to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in two weeks. The New Jersey governor says America should expect some very direct and hard truths. Christie telling "USA Today" he's already on the fourth draft of his speech and will focus on more on the case for electing Mitt Romney rather than framing the debate against President Obama.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Attorneys for accused murderer, George Zimmerman, trying to get a new judge in the Trayvon Martin case. So, they've already asked Seminole County Circuit judge, Kenneth Lester, to step down, but he has refused. Now, they have filed an appeal to have him removed. Zimmerman's lawyers claim Judge Lester cannot be impartial after revoking their client's bail.

BERMAN: Police in college (INAUDIBLE) Texas have identified the gunman in deadly shooting near the campus of Texas A&M University. Thirty-five-year-old Thomas Koppel was fatally shot after he allegedly killed two people. Police say a law enforcement officer was one of those killed. He was serving an eviction notice at a home when the suspect started shooting.

SAMBOLIN: Residents getting out. Hundreds of firefighters going in. 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 Spring Valley. People in Wilbur Hot Springs were also told to leave their homes. The evacuation orders were lifted last night in Spring Valley.

BERMAN: Penn State has been put on notice in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse cover-up. The university warned its accreditation is now in jeopardy. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits schools in the mid-Atlantic and has asked Penn State to submit a report by the end of this month, detailing the steps its taking to comply with standards on leadership and governance as well as integrity.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It is 50 minutes past the hour. Congressman Paul Ryan exploding on social media since the big announcement this weekend. Romney-Ryan 2012 hash tag with the top hash tag after Romney brought Ryan onboard. And if Mitt Romney wanted buzz, he definitely got it. Mark Preston is plugged in to all of this, and he's checking it out for us.

I think it's interesting that earlier, Mark, we were talking about that poll, right, the immediate reaction to the Ryan pick and folks were saying, 39 percent were saying it was excellent, pretty good. Forty-two percent were saying only fair or poor, yet on Facebook, it has exploded. Tell us about that.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it has certainly exploded, Zoraida, the good, the bad. It's all been focusing on Paul Ryan. Now, you know, Zoraida, Ryan is serving the Congress since 1999, but he was relatively unknown outside the beltway (ph) until he was chosen by Mitt Romney to be his running mate.

That's now changed. And take a look what is happening on the world's largest social network, Facebook. 160 million people, more than half the country's population is on Facebook. And CNN is teamed up with Facebook to present the election talk meter, which measures buzz and attention around a specific person, topic, or event.

And as you said, if Mitt Romney was looking for buzz around his choice for vice president, he got it. On a scale of 1-10, Ryan is the most buzzable politician right now on Facebook, beating out President Obama and his running mate, Mitt Romney. So, why is Ryan at the top? Part of Facebook's decision-making process is based on the increase in chatter.

Both positive and negative about Ryan on Facebook as well as the number of people who have liked Ryan's Facebook page. And if you look at that, 575,000 people, as we speak right now, have liked his page just in the last couple of days. So, to give you some perspective, Zoraida, Ryan is just one point below what Michael Phelps reached on the same scale when he --


PRESTON: It is. And amazing when he became the most decorated Olympian of all time. You know, Zoraida, Ryan's Facebook page not only grew to over 575,000, it grew to this number in just a few days, ever since Saturday when he was first announced.

SAMBOLIN: So, in this partnership that we have with Facebook, can they actually look at the demographics and let us know whether or not he is galvanizing that youth vote because that's something we haven't been talking about.

PRESTON: Yes. Well, they can. So, let's dig a little deeper into this public analysis of this data, this public data on Facebook. The average age of the person who liked President Obama, for example, was 28 years old. Mitt Romney was 46 years old. But look at that right there. Paul Ryan, 43 years old, Zoraida.

So, the question is, can he, he being Paul Ryan, help Mitt Romney with the youth vote. Right now, it's not necessarily showing that, but let's look at gender right now as we have it on screen. It's pretty much split right down the middle for Obama, Vice President Biden, and Romney. But look at this, 63 percent of Ryan's fans are men, while 37 percent are women, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That is just fascinating information. John is sitting here wanting to chime in.


BERMAN: I think that's really interesting.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Mark Preston, thank you so much for that. We appreciate it.

PRESTON: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. It is 53 minutes after the hour right now. We're going to get some of the best advice you can ever get. Today, it's dished out by well known chef and restaurant man, Marcus Samuelsson. His "Best Advice" coming up.


BERMAN: All right. It is just a few minutes before the hour right now. And as always, we're going to wrap up the show with "Best Advice."

SAMBOLIN: And today, we hear from Swedish born chef and restaurant owner, Marcus Samuelsson. Take a look.


MARCUS SAMUELSSON, CHEF & OWNER, RED ROOSTER HARLEM: My best advice that I ever received is from my father, that he didn't know cooking in the industry, but he always knew to work hard and had to be a good team player and listen to my chef. The only code (ph) was, yes, chef. And be passionate, that's what he did. He took himself from being a fisherman boy to become a geologist and get Ph.D. So, he didn't know cooking but new the art of hard work and passion and being a good guy.


BERMAN: So, his father was a geologist. So, I'm hoping he ain't get his recipes from his dad.


SAMBOLIN: Well, you know, what I love about his advice is that when you can take your passion and turn it into a job and make a ton of money at it, boy, isn't that golden, right?

BERMAN: Especially when it's a good restaurant. All of us when you make good food. That is EARLY START for this morning. I'm John Berman.

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