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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN
Akin: "I'm In This Race For The Long Haul"; Tropical Storm Isaac Brewing; Suspect Allegedly Threatened President Obama; Deadly Maryland Train Derailment; Mississippi River Traffic Jam; "Curiosity" Taking First Test Drive; Prince Harry Naked In Vegas; Apple Versus Samsung Legal War; Racism In The Ranks?
Aired August 22, 2012 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Not backing down. Congressman Todd Akin, the man who used those words "legitimate rape" still in the race for Senate this morning despite losing support from millions and from the Republican Party, itself.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A damper on the party? The GOP watching tropical storm Isaac this morning. That storm may be in line for Florida just in time for the convention.
BERMAN: And Prince Harry in Las Vegas in the buff. A giant face palm for the royal family this morning. In case you're wondering what a face palm is?
ROMANS: What is it?
BERMAN: This is a face palm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS (on-camera): Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.
BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Zoraida is off today. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east. And -- embattled Missouri Senate candidate, Todd Akin, not giving up the fight. Akin defying calls from top Republicans including Mitt Romney to drop out of the race. He will forge ahead with his Senate campaign. Akin says GOP brass, they overreacted by abandoning him after his comments about legitimate rape.
CNN's political director, Mark Preston, live in Tampa where the convention is planned, at least, for next week. Mark, you know, what now? I mean, Akin is still in. Can he win this race? Are Republicans going to back him at all if it does look like he's going to win?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, he's lost all support right now from the Republican establishment. In fact, we've heard from the Republican National Committee and also the Senate Republicans who run their campaign efforts, they are pulling all their money out of the Missouri race if Todd Akin stays in. And in fact, John, they think if Todd Akin stays in, that they will lose that race.
And quite frankly, they think it will jeopardize any hope of them taking back the Senate from the Democrats. big, big deal on Capitol Hill. For the presidential race, it is a huge implications right now. We've heard from Mitt Romney who has asked Todd Akin to step aside as had just about every Republican.
As you said, Todd Akin right now, is staying in. He could have got out before five o'clock last night, which would have been a clean out for him. However, he decided to stay in. It has infuriated Republicans all across the country and has infuriated Republicans who are starting to come here to Tampa for next week's convention, John.
BERMAN: High, high stakes for the entire Republican Party here. W hat we were talking about before the Todd Akin thing broke on Sunday was Paul Ryan.
And how Paul Ryan has changed this race or may have changed the race. There was a new poll, a fresh new poll out, which takes a look at that and gives us some answers to that question, Mark.
PRESTON: Yes, there's new numbers out from the NBC/"Wall Street Journal." The first number we've seen from them shows that the horse race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is within striking distance.
Barack Obama is only up right now four points, as we're heading into the final stretch of this race. But as you said, Paul Ryan, was he going to be a game changer in this race when he was announced by Mitt Romney?
It does not appear so. John, let's take a look at these numbers about Paul Ryan in the race. Are voters more likely to vote for Mitt Romney because of Paul Ryan being on the ticket?
Only 22 percent say they would and 23 percent say they are less likely, John, to vote for that ticket. And look at this number, 54 percent say that it doesn't matter that Paul Ryan is on the ticket.
Which just goes to show you, in many ways we put so much emphasis on the vice presidential pick but it really comes down to the principles, John.
As you know, this is going to be a race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The vice presidential candidates on either side will certainly color in the lines, but this is between Romney and Obama.
BERMAN: All right, Mark Preston in Tampa. Normally those numbers for the vice presidential pick, by the way, a little more positive. A little less of an impact than we usually see from Paul Ryan. Thanks, Mark.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Tropical Storm Isaac gaining power in the mid-Atlantic and it could become a hurricane by tomorrow. Some weather models show Isaac is making its way toward Florida, which could mean big problems for the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
About 50,000 people are expected to visit the city during the convention. It's been 90 years since a major hurricane directly hit Tampa. But organizers aren't taking any chances, and they are keeping an eye on the storm's path.
So is Rob Marciano. He's got the latest for us. Now it's a slim chance, but with that many people at such a big event, clearly they're watching it.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you get that many people poured into Tampa, and where the convention center is, is at a pretty low elevation. It would be one of the first places to be evacuated if that were to happen.
But as you mentioned, chances are pretty low. Right now, we've got them about 1 percent chance of happening. And so, roll the dice, if you may. Moving 18 miles an hour, it's got winds of 45 miles an hour. So it's gaining some strength here.
It's about 250 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands and there have been tropical storm warnings that have been posted for those islands. Now, just from the National Hurricane Center, they've posted hurricane watches for the island -- the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola.
So it looks like the track is going to bring it across the Northern Caribbean. You mention computer models, if we only had one that was 100 percent right all the time, we'd be in business. I might be out of a job.
But here are several of them. And you can see, as they get across Hispaniola they may begin to diverge. Some of these actually bring them into the Gulf of Mexico then Tampa would be more in play.
But a number are certainly bringing them towards South Florida and then potentially east of there as well. Here's the official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center as mentioned, Category 1 status as it approaches Puerto Rico.
And then getting across Hispaniola, Western Cuba, as we get towards Sunday night into Monday it approaches South Florida. Note the margin of error here pretty wide. It could go either side.
Right now, Miami certainly getting a little bit nervous and will be making preparations if that forecast continues to hold. Another system out there in the Atlantic, and either way, Florida has been getting hammered with heavy rain the past couple of days. Flood watches have been posted or watches and warnings with more rain expected, including Tampa, today with high temperature 85 degrees.
ROMANS: Both of those conventions in the southeast during -- Rob, during hurricane season, interesting. MARCIANO: Yes. Yes, I mean, Charlotte is out of the evacuation zone, but certainly could be impacted if a storm were to head towards the Carolinas.
ROMANS: All right, there you go. Thanks so much.
BERMAN: All right, let's get the rest of the top stories right now. Washington State man arrested for allegedly making threats against President Obama will appear in court today.
Investigators say 31-year-old Anton Caluori sent alarming e-mails to the FBI. According to the Secret Service, Caluori came to the door with a shotgun when investigators arrived at his suburban Seattle apartment.
Agents found two weapons. Investigators say he also made comments about explosives so they did a sweep. No explosives were found. Investigators would not specify what was in those e-mails.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Guys, who's going to Florida with me? Are you going to be in Florida?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BIDEN: Well, I'm the speaker at the convention. It's good to see you guys. Thanks for covering it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Love Joe Biden's humor. Vice President Joe Biden plans to be in Tampa during the Republican National Convention. No, he's not the convention speaker.
He has events planned though in Tampa and in other cities early next week. Strong bench of Obama campaign surrogates will also be in the Tampa area.
Both the Obama and Romney camps aggressively bracketing. Surrogates are holding events that coincide with opponent's events.>
BERMAN: Federal investigators trying to determine the cause of a freight train derailment in Maryland who killed two young women who were tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And they sent tweets right before they died. The 19-year-old Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr were sitting on the edge of a railroad bridge in Ellicott City when a passing CSX train jumped the tracks.
Moments before, the women had tweeted photos of themselves. One showed feet dangling over the bridge with a caption levitating. Another tweet said drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign with Rose.
ROMANS: Boats and barges are moving again on the mighty Mississippi. The Coast Guard says an 11-mile stretch of the river has been reopened near Greenville, Mississippi. Low water levels had forced a closure to cope vessels from running aground. Drought conditions have water levels had near record lows, which tied up traffic on one of the nation's key shipping routes.
BERMAN: The NASA rover "Curiosity" getting its learner's permit this morning. It's about to take its test drive on Mars. NASA sent up commands to rover overnight to drive forward, turn and back up.
Here you can see it. There you go. We'll take a look at some photos here. You can see it test wiggle. There it goes. A series of pictures there, impressive, in all she'll go about 10 feet.
We should see some tracks on the surface of Mars, which will be pretty cool. The entire two-year mission hinges on the success of this short test trip. The pressure is on.
ROMANS: All right, nothing hinges on this. It is such a story. Prince Harry in the buff. Clarence House confirms to CNN that photos posted on TMZ of a naked Prince Harry are, indeed, Prince Harry.
TMZ says he's playing a game of drunk strip pool with an unidentified naked woman in a Vegas hotel suite. We'll have a live report from outside Buckingham Palace just ahead.
BERMAN: Wonder what the rules are in drunk strip --
ROMANS: I was going to ask, the last time you played?
BERMAN: I don't even know the rules.
It's 7 minutes after the hour. Next on EARLY START what's missing in this Mac and cheese? Subtle turn there from Prince Harry. Boston market is cutting back on a tasty ingredient. Everyone has it on their kitchen table, but not Boston market.
BERMAN: A huge legal battle to tell you about this morning. The patent war between Apple and Samsung is now in the hands of a California jury. At stake, billions of dollars and a competitive edge.
If the jury sides with Apple, the consequences could be severe for Samsung and really affect all of our phones everywhere. Samsung may be forced to pull its smartphones and tablets off the market and completely redesign them.
Silicon Valley correspondent, Dan Simon, has been following this case from the beginning in San Jose, California. Dan, this jury here of nine regular people hearing a lot of very technological arguments, they have to reach a unanimous verdict.
DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT: It's a really high bar. Even in these civil cases, you should see this verdict form. It's 20 pages. They have 700 questions to answer. So, this is going to be tough for them to reach a unanimous verdict, but what it sort of boils down this case for you, John.
This is about the two biggest smartphone makers in the world, Apple versus Samsung. It's Apple that is accusing Samsung of ripping off the iPhone and the iPad for that matter.
I want to show you an exhibit that was used during the trial. This was presented by Apple. Apple saying this is a powerful example showing that Samsung copied the iPhone.
When you look at the phones side by side, the iPhone on one side and a Samsung device on the other, they say, you know, it kind of looks the same in terms of its style, its design.
Apple also claiming that Samsung ripped off some of its technology patents, you know this rubber banding effect when you get to the end of something on your iPhone, they say Samsung copied that, as well.
Now Apple CEO Tim Cook, he did not testify in this case, but he was asked about it not too long ago in a technology conference. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: From our point of view, it's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy and all of our care and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Well, what does Samsung say about all this? Well, they say that this is not about copying. This is about competition and that it's perfectly OK to derive inspiration from other companies. That is their principle argument here.
And they also use analogies like if you go into a Best Buy and you see all those televisions on the wall. They all pretty much look the same. Because, they say, you know, the form follows the factor.
You know, when RIM came out with the Blackberry you had those plastic keys on there. Every smartphone maker came out with a similar device. They say it's the same now when it comes to these modern smartphones.
BERMAN: This has got to be bigger than just Samsung though, Dan, now. I mean, the Android people, Google, they have to be looking at this case, too, wondering if there's just huge ramifications.
SIMON: Well, it's interesting. All these Samsung phones run the Google operating system, so one would think what's bad for Samsung is also bad for Google.
And that somehow these devices were pulled from the shelves and you had to make changes there could be some impact with the software. So no question Google is watching this very closely, as well.
BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon in San Jose, California, very interesting case. Thanks very much -- Christine.
ROMANS: It's 14 minutes after the hour, John. Let's get you up to date on the headlines.
Hanging tough for now, Congressman Todd Akin defying calls from the Republican leadership to drop out of the Missouri Senate race. Akin says he has apologized for controversial comments on race and abortion.
And hasn't done anything ethically or morally wrong and Akin believes he's still the GOP's best chance to unseat Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill in November.
A 70-year-old line umpire preparing for the U.S. Open tennis tournament arrested and charged with killing her 80-year-old husband in California back in April.
This is the victim, Alan Goodman. Prosecutors say his wife Lois beat him with a coffee mug in L.A. back in April then stabbed him with broken shards. She's now awaiting extradition to L.A.
BERMAN: Revenge for the Russian rockers. Computer hackers attacking the Web site of a Moscow court tried and convicted three members of a female punk rock band last week. They were sentenced for two years in prison for a song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church. They became symbol of the free speech fight in Russia, getting support from the likes of Madonna and Paul McCartney.
There are reports that a Russian offshoot of the group Anonymous, a name some of you know, is naming responsibility.
ROMANS: A quadruple amputee making history by swimming across four intercontinental channels. Philippe Croizon finished the last leg of his swim Friday, overcoming extreme conditions to cross the Bering Strait, the channel between Alaska and Russia. The 44-year-old who had never swum before is only the second person to swim the Bering Strait. He lost all four limbs after being severely electrocuted in 1994.
BERMAN: All right. Hold the salt. The Boston Market chain announcing plans to remove salt shakers from tables at all 476 locations nationwide. They're also reducing sodium levels by 20 percent, on three signature menu items for rotisserie chicken, mac and cheese mashed potatoes. They're doing that over the next six months. The company says it plans to have 15 percent less salt in all its dishes in the future.
ROMANS: So interesting. A lot of different food companies are trying to do that because it saves them a lot of money. But they're trying to see how much of that stuff they can take out before we notice.
BERMAN: Interesting. So, healthy and cheaper for them. I haven't even thought of that.
ROMANS: Changing the production isn't. But once you get less input in, that's good. BERMAN: Sixteen minutes after the hour. Another story Christine talks about a lot, a college degree doesn't always mean big bucks anymore. The struggle for generation Y next. And for a look at all of our top stories, whether you're generation Y, V, X, Q -- go to CNN.com/EarlyStart.
ROMANS: Mind your own business, John.
Minding your business this morning. A new study shows generation Y workers, those are people 19 to 30 years old, more likely to be in low-paying jobs, even if you have a college degree. And these are jobs that don't require a college degree. The most common: merchandise displayer, clothing sales representative, and cell phone sales representative.
This is according to a survey by pay scale and millennial branding. Their study also found these employees prefer working for technology companies because of the higher salaries, more flexibilities, satisfaction, according to the survey.
So, gen Y wants to work for tech companies but they're not working for tech, the big jobs are not necessarily in tech. It's interesting. But topping the list in this arena where they want to work, software, blogging, social media, I'm going to tweet out a link to this.
BERMAN: Is there money in blogging?
ROMANS: Some people must be. But, you know, the tech arena is where this is really interesting and exciting developments for people.
It requires skills, though. It requires tech skills. It requires a STEM education. You probably heard me rattle on about STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. But if you're in gen Y, there's a lot of complaints I have a lot of education, I don't have a job. It's interesting because I think the one thing --
BERMAN: I was going to say, so the devil's advocate question, if you can't get a job at a college, why bother going to college?
ROMANS: You've got to go to college. The one thing you know about your money, college still pays. You might feel like you can't afford to go to college but you can't afford not to.
You look at some of the highest paid, most satisfying jobs, they do require a college degree. It's hard to hear that when you're in the middle of what still feels like a recession. But, you know, it's just the truth. You've got to figure out how to pay for it. And be smarter about going to college.
I say this the day after we did the party school list. You know? I mean, I feel like, don't --
BERMAN: Right. You're going to pay that much you should be studying. Trust me.
ROMANS: Easy for us to say.
BERMAN: Twenty-two minutes after the hour right now.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Buckingham Palace this morning. Palace officials now confirming to CNN that photos posted on TMZ are, in fact, of a naked Prince Harry.
Matthew Chance is live from Buckingham Palace with the latest.
Matthew, this cannot be a happy Buckingham Palace this morning.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. In fact, the Clarence House, which is Prince Harry's home here in London and the official residence of his father, Prince Charles, has confirmed to CNN as you mentioned these photographs are genuine.
They're pretty salacious, aren't they? You've seen them on this Web site, TMZ. And we have them, as well, showing Prince Charles in a very compromising position, in what appears to be the privacy of his hotel suite in Las Vegas.
Of course it's well known that Prince Harry over the past few days or so has been vacationing in Vegas. He's been pictured repeatedly in the British press, and in the media around the world, lying by the pool, talking to other guests as he relaxes after his official engagements, during the Olympics here in London.
But this obviously steps over a certain line. It must have been, it seems, somebody in his party, inside that hotel suite, that took these photographs and sold them, essentially, to the press. And so that's something that's interesting.
But, you know, it's also an issue of, I suppose, the judgment of Prince Harry. I mean he's been in compromising situations like this in the past. A few years ago, for instance, he was pictured at a party wearing a Nazi uniform.
He's also been apologizing in the past for using abusive terms for his comrades in the armed forces. And that was another scandal. He was also accused of underage drinking, and drug taking, as well.
So this is a prince, this is a member of the royal family that's really no stranger to controversy. This is yet another example of that.
BERMAN: So, Matthew, you know, it's hard not to look at these pictures which are surprising and not snicker a little bit, to be honest here. But is it more than just an embarrassment? This was in the privacy of a hotel room.
Are there ramifications that go beyond just a simple laugh in the morning?
CHANCE: I'm not sure there are any serious implications beyond the sort of embarrassment, but again that lack of judgment being shown by Prince Harry. I mean, it isn't just the photograph of a naked Harry. He doesn't appear to be engaged in any kind of act that's against the law. And he's a 27-year-old single man.
And so, in a sense, this is what happens in his own private time. In fact that barrier's been stepped over. I think it's quite interesting.
It's also very interesting here in Britain. We have a very ferocious tabloid press but none of the tabloids in this country have chosen to run those photographs. And of course, when we're talking about a Briton post-Levinson inquiry, post the national inquiry into the invasions of privacy that have been undertaken by various aspects of the British press, into the lives of royals and other public figures, the decision at the moment in Britain amongst many of the tabloid newspapers appears to be not to run these photographs.
BERMAN: All right. Matthew Chance in London, that is fairly stunning. Not in the London tabloids at all this morning. Thanks, Matthew.
The storm now is growing in the Atlantic, and Republicans, they're keeping an eye on it. Could Isaac put a soaking on Tampa during the Republican National Convention? We will ask the city's mayor if it's ready, next. If you're leaving the house, you can watch us any time on your desk top or mobile phone, just go to CNN.com/TV.
ROMANS: Tropical storm Isaac on the GOP's radar. A potential threat to next week's convention in Tampa. Is the city ready? We'll ask the mayor.
BERMAN: A headache for Republicans. Congressman Todd Akin, the man who used those words "legitimate rape", he is still in the race for Senate this morning. Democrats now trying to tie him to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
ROMANS: A piece of lost history found. Martin Luther King, in his own words. Just ahead.
BERMAN: Amazing stuff.
BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans, in for Zoraida this morning.
It's 30 minutes past the hour now.
This morning, tropical storm Isaac picking up steam in the Atlantic, and it could become a hurricane tomorrow. On some projections, Florida is right in its path. If it makes landfall next week, it's possible, possible, it could take a serious toll on the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Some 50,000 people, of course, expected to be in that city during the event.
Let's get to Rob Marciano with the very latest.
Clearly, everyone is watching this storm.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, when you talk about a forecast that far out, when it comes to hurricanes, you're talking about some serious margin of error. Yesterday, when we spoke about this, we said that the chances of this thing making a direct hit on Tampa this far out, likely less than 1 percent. I think we've doubled those odds, maybe 2 percent. OK?
So roll the dice there. Check some of my favorite sites out at Vegas, nobody taking odds on that just yet. But nonetheless, westerly moving at 18 miles an hour, winds at 45, gaining a little bit of strength -- Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, the Greater Antilles, they're under the gun here. These lines represent individual computer models that take this forecast out several days.
You can see, pretty good agreement across northern Caribbean islands. Then we start to see a bit of a spread which is fairly typical. But the problem is some of these bring it into the Gulf of Mexico. Most of them bring it to the southern tip of Florida. And a few of them also bring them to the east side of Florida.
So, obviously, there's a huge margin of error there. Because when you're talking about it hitting a peninsula like Florida, if you're off by 50 or 100 miles that's going to be a big difference as far as the weather is concerned.
Forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. We take some of those computer models. We average them out, a little bit of climatology, a little bet of meteorological know-how and this is how they get the track. The shaded area is the margin of error. The closer you get towards Florida, obviously, the margin of error begins to increase, watching it very carefully.
Either way a lot of rain has been falling on Tampa. That will continue today as they set up the convention.
Back to you.
ROMANS: All right, thanks, Rob. Keep your eye on it.
CNN, of course, is gearing up for special coverage of the Republican National Convention. This Sunday night CNN's coverage kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with a profile of the presumptive presidential nominee. Then Monday morning, both EARLY START, and "STARTING POINT" will broadcast our shows live from Tampa -- John.
BERMAN: All right. So are Republicans ready? Is this city of Tampa ready? That's the question we're all asking this morning.
Joining us now from Tampa is that city's mayor, Bob Buckhorn.
Hello, Mayor Buckhorn. You know, you have 50,000 Republicans coming to the convention right now, 2,200 delegates, 15,000 members of the news media. You're expecting $150 million in revenue from the Republican convention.
So, after hearing all those numbers and seeing that forecast, how nervous are you?
BOB BUCKHORN (D), MAYOR OF TAMPA: I'm not really nervous at all. I feel like an athlete. You know, we've trained hard. We've been training for a year and a half.
I just want the bell to go off and I just want to get in the game.
BERMAN: So you're training. What are the precautions you take for this kind of thing? What are the contingencies?
BUCKHORN: Well, we've been preparing for a long time. We've studied the reports of all the other major cities that hosted conventions, hosted G-8, G-20s, World Trade Organizations.
Our security apparatus is in place. We've been working hard. In terms of logistics and transportation efforts, there's going to be 400 buses that will move delegations from all over the bay area. I think we're as well-equipped and as well-prepared as any city could be, bearing in mind that we're a midsize American market hosting a major, major international event.
BERMAN: Let me read you a quote that sounds a lot when you first hear it. In a worst case category 4 hurricane, the convention center could be immersed in 20 feet of water. Even a category 1 hurricane would be enough to spoil the convention. That's from meteorologists at the Weather Underground.
You know some of these buildings where the conventions are being held are right in the middle of the evacuation zone.
BUCKHORN: They are indeed. And that's one of the things that as Floridians we live with on a daily basis. We're prepared for it. We train for it. We have contingency plan after contingency plan. It is our reality as Floridians.
We have a beautiful city here on the water. Obviously there are some sorts of stances that involve weather that we can't predict that we can't control. But we are ready in the event that it happens.
I don't think it's going to be a factor in this particular convention. But we are prepared in the event that it is.
BERMAN: I hate to keep hammering you with the worst case scenario. But you keep saying contingencies there. If it does hit on one of these days with big speeches happening with all these people there, are you prepared to call it off, to say it shouldn't be happening in Tampa this night and move it somewhere else, maybe?
BUCKHORN: Well, absolutely we're prepared to call it off. I mean, human safety and human life trumps politics. I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Governor Romney recognizes that.
Whatever we do will be based on getting people out of harm's way. Politics will take second place. And you know, all of us recognize that. The RNC recognized it when they picked Tampa as the host city.
But when it's all said and done, in the event that there's a storm that looks like it's coming this way, that looks like it may impact this community, our job and my job will be to make sure that the safety of the delegates, the delegations, the visitors, the guests, as well as my residents are first and foremost. We will move into evacuation mode. The only additional difference will be that there's a few more people here.
BERMAN: All right, Mayor Bob Buckhorn in Tampa, we are rooting for you. Just a 2 percent chance right now. We hope it works out for you.
Thanks very much for joining us.
BUCKHORN: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: It's 35 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on the rest of your top stories.
The U.N.'s humanitarian chief will give us an update on Syria today. Last week, she provided a dire account. More than 1 million people uprooted. A million more in need of urgent aid.
Syria's deputy prime minister says any discussion of President Bashar al Assad's resignation will only happen after a dialogue with Syrian rebels. That's what he told Russian state TV yesterday during a visit to Moscow.
A network of opposition activists says 230 people were killed across the country just yesterday.
BERMAN: Lost piece of history uncovered in a dusty attic in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A reel-to-reel tape containing interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was recorded in December of 1960, about three years before Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
Listen as he talks about the progress of the civil rights movement.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What effect are the citizens having on the progress of the Southern Negro in his struggle for equality?
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I think a tremendous effect. I am convinced that when the history books are written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the greatest epics of our heritage.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BERMAN: Such clarity in that reporting. So amazing to hear the voice.
The man who discovered the King interview, Steven (INAUDIBLE), says his father had interviewed Dr. King for a book on racism, but his book was never finished.
ROMANS: To know while he was making history that he was? I mean, sometimes I think people in the public eye don't necessarily know how history books will record them. Clearly, he was right. He was right.
He won't go. Congressman Akin staying in his race, despite his "legitimate rape" comment controversy. Will he hurt his own party in the November election?
ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. Forty minutes after the hour. I'm Christine Romans.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. And we are talking about politics this morning.
Republican Congressman Todd Akin still set on unseating incumbent Claire McCaskill, senator from Missouri, defying calls from party leadership to abandon ship after those inflammatory comments about abortion over the weekend. CNN affiliate KDSK caught up with Akin at the St. Louis airport last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Were you upset with how the Republican Party did not back you during all this? Does it bother you that they kind of bailed on you?
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: It's been exciting days. We're doing the best we can.
REPORTER: Do you still think you can win the race?
AKIN: I believe so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Akin had until 6:00 last night to withdraw from the race without needing a court order. While he's indicated no plans to drop out, the congressman is expected to face even more pressure leading up to the Republican convention next week.
CNN contributor and Republican strategist Margaret Hoover is with us now.
And, clearly, with a week before the convention, this is not what the Republican Party wanted to be talking about.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We can say very diplomatically that this is an unhelpful distraction. This is not what the Republicans want to be talking about. Look, we know that we don't poll out on social issues and we understand the Democrats want to exploit a double digit lead with women over Republicans. This simply shifts it back to that focus and away from what Republicans and Mitt Romney want to be talking about which is jobs, jobs, jobs, the economy, the debt crisis, the deficit, Medicare reform, saving and securing Medicare and Medicaid for future generations. None of that is on the front -- on the front of anybody's mind when you have the Akin plank, as Democrats are trying to call it.
What they're trying to make this a national issue so it will be an issue in the front of voters minds. It's not just voters. It's independent voters and it's women voters.
BERMAN: And the timing of it all, is it comes as the Republican Party came up with their party platform in Tampa and I want to show you the language of this. It says, "The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children."
This does not have an exception for rape or incest which, is different than the presumptive Republican nominee.
HOOVER: Than the top of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney.
BERMAN: Let's listen to what Mitt Romney says about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With regards to my own view, I made it very clear, I'm pro-life. But I believe there should be exceptions in the case of rape and incest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The question is, Romney repudiated akin, said he should drop from the race. But is this a Sister Soulja moment for him, should he do more, should he stand up in your opinion and say we should include exceptions for rape and incest in the Republican Party platform? Should he say this from the convention floor?
HOOVER: Well, it would have been really timely if he said it two days ago. But they voted on the platform yesterday.
I mean, keep in mind, 67 percent of Republicans don't agree with this language, 67 percent of Republicans agree with Mitt Romney that there should be an exception for rape and incest.
What you have to keep in mind is that the people who show up, who participate in the party platform process, are the most conservative, and the most ideologically entrenched in both parties, Democrats and Republicans. These are the people who are the least flexible on any of their ideological views and they're most wedded to their positions. They don't represent the majority of the Republican Party and you can make a very strong argument as a pro-choice Republican that they alienate women and they alienate independents from the party. You can also ask, how important is the party platform? Sure, it's a road map in terms of what the party believes, where it goes. But it's sort of like the budgeting process, right? In budgeting, you very often, very rarely get the appropriators to stick tightly to the budget. It's a road map.
ROMANS: Which brings me to Paul Ryan, on both counts, because Paul Ryan, his voting record on these issues probably looks a lot more like Todd Akin's than it does for what his -- who he wants to be his boss at this point.
HOOVER: Well, you have -- Christine, I'm glad you mention it. You have 227 Republican legislators that actually were cosponsors to the H.R. 3 which used this language forcible rape. The president's language trumps all the debates, rape is rape. Rape is a four letter word. Everybody -- people come out and say that pretty uniformly which is making the 227 legislators, you know, also the subject of a divide and not helpful again for the narrative and for the debate going into this.
Look, I'm a pro-choice Republican. I've been working on this language for a long time. A lot of people before me have been working on this for decades. This is a party of the party platform since 1984. They had two major convention fights in 2000 and 1996 to even get broad big (ph) language put into the platform to say that we accept and respect the party has the multiplicity of views on this --
ROMANS: Is there a room in the Republican Party for women, for Republican women to have a lot of different views on abortion?
HOOVER: There is room in the party. I am a pro-choice Republican. There is not room amongst the party apparatus in the party platform, and that's something that we're working on our side to try to reflect a larger and more diverse set of views.
BERMAN: All right. CNN contributor, Margaret Hoover, thank you so much for talking about this. A lot to talk about in day three. We are still talking about it.
ROMANS: I know, and it's 45 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on the morning's top stories.
ROMANS (voice-over): A Washington state man arrested for making threats against President Obama is due to appear in court today. Authorities say 31-year-old Anton Caluori (ph) sent alarming e-mails to the FBI. When secret service agents went to the suspect's home in suburban Washington, he was armed with a shotgun.
He also made comments about explosives but none were found. Investigators are not saying exactly what was in those e-mails he sent.
BERMAN (voice-over): And check out this image on a building in downtown Tampa near the site of the Republican National Convention. It's the face from the movie "V for Vendetta" with the number 99 painted in red. The man who discovered it said he's concerned that it's the work of an anarchist group, and he attributes the 99 to the occupy movement. Crews painted over the graffiti.
ROMANS: Prince Harry in the buff. Palace officials tell CNN that photos posted on TMZ of a naked Prince Harry are, in fact, Prince Harry. TMZ says he's playing a game of drunk strip pool with an unidentified naked woman in a private Vegas hotel room.
BERMAN (on-camera): There you go.
ROMANS (on-camera): There you go. Soledad O'Brien --
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why am I coming out of that story?
O'BRIEN: Today and everyday.
O'BRIEN: Really, it's kind of how we do it here. Lots going on this morning. We're going to continue to talk this morning on "Starting Point" about what's happening in politics as we talk about Congressman Todd Akin as you guys have been talking about all morning in the race. So, what does it all mean? We're going to talk to Mark McKinnon (ph), presidential campaign adviser to John McCain.
Tom Davis is a former chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee. He'll be our guest as well. Steven Laws (ph) is the CEO of the conservative Super PAC which was created by Karl Rove called American Crossroads. He'll weigh in on what this all means for the national race.
Martin Frost is a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He's going to talk to us about that, as well if Akin decides to stay in the race.
Also, we're going to talk about tropical storm Isaac churning in the Atlantic. The good news, it's only a tropical storm. The bad news could be a hurricane by the time it hits Tampa, if it hits Tampa, while we're all there for the Republican convention. We're going to talk this morning with Tampa's mayor about what his big worries are today.
And then, Diana Nyad. We'll talk (ph) to her, jelly fish stings, lightning storms, sharks. We're going to talk about how it all went. What was the worst? And today is her 63rd birthday. And you know, she's very philosophical about why she took this journey. Going to check in on how she's feeling about it now that she did not reach the goal that she was hoping to reach. "Sapp Attack" is the name of Warren Sapp's new book. And I got to tell you, you know, I know very little about football, really, but the book is great. It is hilariously funny. He's going to stop by the studios this morning to talk with us about his life story and his new book, which is really, really enjoyable. All that and much more right at the top of the hour.
BERMAN: Can't wait. And he can dance.
Forty-eight minutes after the hour right now. Coming up, a shocking new report, White supremacists may be using the army and marines to train for future race war. What is the military going to do about this? We'll talk about it next.
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. A new article suggests White supremacists could be using the American military as a training ground. Reuters reports White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and skinhead groups are encouraging followers to enlist and acquire military skills for future battles.
Taking out more media (INAUDIBLE) in Wisconsin where former U.S. army soldier Wade Page (ph) killed six people at a Sikh temple and was a well-known White supremacist in the music scene there.
Reuters correspondent, Daniel Trotta, he wrote the article on this. And I guess, what is so surprising to people is the idea that there is a conservative, organized effort to get into the military for this training.
DANIEL TROTTA, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They call it Rahowa or the racial holy war, where they encourage their followers to get in, get training, and get out for what they see as the coming race war.
Now, I should say, that there is some skepticism about this. There could be a degree of bluster or fantasy, but this is their stated goal, and as the case in Wisconsin shows, all it takes is one lone wolf to follow through on that where it can be very dangerous.
BERMAN: Is this something the military is concerned about?
TROTTA: Yes, they are. The military has issued three separate directives since 1986. Each one more strict than the other, attempting to root out racism or White supremacism within the ranks. They see it as bad for morale, bad for the army, and in the case of the U.S. army, where 40 percent of the troops are minorities, not good for morale.
BERMAN: What kind of concrete steps can they take among the officer corps to keep this kind of thing from fomenting there?
TROTTA: That's -- actually, one of the measures that civil rights groups are encouraging the army to take is to have a more comprehensive approach, starting from recruiting and all the way through, giving the commanders more awareness in order to act. In fact, the latest directive came out in 2009, did just that. It encourages commanders to be more alert, to intervene.
BERMAN: One of the things you wrote about in your article is giving some kind of training to identify tattoos that may be a concern.
TROTTA: Yes. A lot of the White supremacists have a number of tattoos that they wear. They -- stemming from Nordic or Celtic culture, and the military is trained in how to spot these tattoos, and keep in mind, in fact, one of the coaching methods that they've been giving to their people is -- who are trying to get in is not to get tattooed just yet. To cover them up so that they can get past the screeners.
BERMAN: All right. Daniel Trotta from Reuters, thank you very much. It is a very interesting article and alarming to say the least.
TROTTA: Thank you.
ROMANS: All right, John. Today's "Best Advice" is coming up. We're going to hear from one of the actresses in the new movie "Sparkle." That's the movie also starring Whitney Houston.
BERMAN: All right. Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-eight minutes after the hour right now. And as always, we wrap it up with "Best Advice."
ROMANS: And it's Tamela Mann. She's one of the actresses in the new Whitney Houston movie, "Sparkle." She was here the other day, and we asked her her "Best Advice." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMELA MANN, ACTRESS, "SPARKLE": The best piece of advice I've ever gotten was from my mom. She told me to love the Lord with all my heart and he would take me far. And look where I am. Hey, it's the best! Take you far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: She's adorable.
BERMAN: She was here just the other day, and she was telling us she's got a new reality show about food and cooking coming up.
ROMANS: Oh, yes.
BERMAN: She is a hoot.
BERMAN: And an amazing gospel singer, too.
ROMANS: And more advice from your mother. BERMAN: Listen to mom.
BERMAN: All right. That is EARLY START for this morning. I'm John Berman.
ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.