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The Bill Clinton Factor; Democrats Court Female Voters; Latino Mayor Gives Keynote Address; Victory Speech Turns Deadly; Will Replacement Refs Endanger Players?; Tar Balls and Oil Stain Louisiana Beaches; Breakaway Amish Group on Trial

Aired September 5, 2012 - 06:00   ET




MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are. No, it reveals who you are.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Michelle Obama gets personal. The first lady on her husband's values and vision and what was really the speech of her life.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Chaos at a victory rally in Canada, a politician rushed from the podium after a shooting in the back of the room. Good morning, welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman live at the CNN Grill here in Charlotte. Tonight, one of the most anticipated moments of the entire Democratic convention, really the whole convention season, former President Bill Clinton is set to speak.

This is the first time a president's predecessor really, predecessor twice before, has delivered the nominating address. But this morning all of the talk and buzz is still about the first lady.

Her speech last night that kicked off the convention and really set the tone here. With me now to talk about this is our Dana Bash and Ryan Lizza, CNN contributor and Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker" magazine.

Ryan, before I get to you. I want to talk to Dana. Give me the highlights of last night.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, you said it. Michelle Obama, there's no question about it. She was validator. She was character witness and she was reaching out to women to do that she talked about being a mother.


MICHELLE OBAMA: You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still mom in chief. My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world. But let me tell you, today I have none of those worries from four years ago, no, not about whether Barack and I were doing what was best for our girls.


BASH: Now, the other person to talk about important women in his life was the keynote speaker, Julian Castro, 37 years old from San Antonio. He gave a pretty biting speech, but did so with a smile. Listen to what he said about Mitt Romney.


MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO (D), SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, somehow the rest of us will too. Folks, we've heard that before.

First they called it trickle down. Then they called it supply side. Now it's Ryan -- Romney/Ryan or is it Ryan/Romney. Either way the theory has been tested.

It failed and our economy failed and the middle class paid the price, your family paid the price, Mitt Romney just doesn't get it.


BERMAN: So the crowd in the house last night, they loved it. Someone who didn't love it so much, Ryan Lizza, who's here with us this morning. No, you just wrote a blog piece and you said it was mediocre.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, my criteria for these speeches is does the person tell us something about -- give us a new idea about where the country is right now and do they tell us something about where the candidate is going to take the country.

By that standard, he delivered some really effective anti-Romney lines, some, you know, perfectly acceptable pro-Obama lines and he told a really heart warming compelling personal story about his own family's immigrant experience.

Look, I think he had an impossible task because me and everyone else are going to compare him to Obama in 2004 when he had the same spot. You know, it was not Obama 2004 speech.

BASH: You're not a hater, it's OK. But you cannot underestimate the importance of the constituency he was really trying to reach, Latino voters. They are overwhelmingly for President Obama if you look at the polls. The question is, will they get out and vote. That what was that was about.

BERMAN: Ryan has written another piece that's got a lot of attention this week and that is the piece in "The New Yorker" magazine. The actual paper edition that you can touch and feel about Bill Clinton and President Obama and that relationship and how it came to pass that Bill Clinton will be speaking tonight. LIZZA: Yes, it's a long, complicated relationship, you know, lots of bad feelings on both sides for really a long time after that famous wrenching primary between Hillary Clinton and Obama. All through 2009, these guys basically didn't communicate.

And there's a sense in the Clinton world that Clinton was kind of, you know, sitting by the phone waiting for the president to call him and reach out to him and use him for something. He did a couple of things.

He went to North Korea for Obama, a few other things like that. The relationship really didn't get better until 2011 when Barack Obama and his political advisers are thinking about the 2012 campaign.

And looking at the poll numbers and saying, you know what, the most popular national Democrat these days is not Barack Obama. It's Bill Clinton. So the balance of power in the relationship really shifts and they reach out to Clinton.

One of Obama's political advisers calls and ask if Clinton can do campaign events in Florida. Clinton's political adviser says you don't call Bill Clinton up and say you need him to campaign. You need rapport.

Let's start by letting them play golf. Twelve hours later, Barack Obama calls President Clinton and says let's hit the links. And that was through at the beginning of the turning point of the friendship.

BERMAN: So as of yesterday we've been told that the Obama people had not seen Bill Clinton's speech yet. If you're on the Obama side, how nervous should you be about that? What are you expecting from the former president tonight?

LIZZA: I was told that in 2008 when Bill Clinton gave a speech for Barack Obama, they did not see it until very, very late in the process and I was told by the Clinton people this time that this will be a Bill Clinton speech. He will be writing it and sure they will let them see it at the appropriate time, but this is a Bill Clinton production.

BASH: And I'm told by people who are close to both camps. That's absolutely right. It's a Clinton production and that he has been vintage Clinton.

He has been getting ideas from all over the world from friends and asking them to write speeches and getting information and sentences and he's going to put it together.

And I'm told by a pretty good source that they are not worried because they are talking to him at the highest levels of the Obama camp.

BERMAN: Fascinating stuff. Dana Bash and Ryan Lizza, thank you so much for being here this morning. Great pieces, both of them the blog piece and the piece in the actual paper.

First Lady Michelle Obama wowed the crowd last night inside the conventional hall here in Charlotte, but a key audience was watching at home, that home being the White House.

The White House released this photo of President Obama and daughters, Sasha and Malia watching the first lady's speech from the treaty room at the White House.

The president is scheduled to arrive in Charlotte this afternoon ahead of his big speech tomorrow night. Not such a friendly audience, the Romney campaign, some rapid response from Romney's spokesperson Andrea Saul.

On the first night of President Obama's convention she says not a single speaker uttered the words Americans are better off than they were four years ago.

Instead she says, there was a night full of tributes to government as the solution to every problem. How close is this race? Wicked close. A new CNN/ORC poll shows Mitt Romney getting a tiny sliver of a bounce from last week's Republic convention.

So now both Romney and President Obama are at 48 percent. That is a gain of one point for Mitt Romney. So the presidential horserace has gone from a virtual tie to an actual one.

At the half hour, we'll talk politics with Congresswoman Allison Schwartz who spoke before the convention last night and also Democrat Terri Sewell who is a long time friend of both President Obama and the first lady.

We will get some inside look on what they might be saying this week. Let's go back to Zoraida in New York first -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, John. It's 7 minutes past the hour. Gunshots stop a Canadian politician's victory speech cold. One person is killed and another critically injured.

The premiere elect was rushed off stage and was not hurt. That's a picture over there. Paula Newton joins us from phone from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Paula, can you break down exactly what happened here?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, speaking to police overnight, they believe that this man who was wearing -- with a house coat, shot at least once. He was armed and apparently had more than one weapon on him.

This was at the back of a concert hall where the premiere elect of the province was giving her speech. There was a lot of confusion. One person critically injured and one dead. After that he also attempted to set something off. They don't know if it was fire with accelerant and made some sort of noise.

At that point back on stage, keeping in mind this was at the back of the concert hall outside. Her security team took her off the stage and afterwards when she came back she decided it would be prudent to evacuate the building, which is no small fete in of itself. Certainly in the video, you do see a man and police say he did certainly did resist arrest at the time. He's 50 years old. We don't know any more at this time. One dead and one critically injured at the end of that political speech in Montreal.

SAMBOLIN: Paula, apparently he blurted out something as he was being taken away. I have here -- it reads the English are waking up. Can you explain what that means?

NEWTON: They are a separatist party, a highly charged political situation. The premiere elect certainly is not shying away from having a referendum of separation.

On making those comments is driving a wedge between the English and French communities in Quebec. I think it's a highly charged political situation and no one wants to see this kind of an event certainly spark any kind of conflict in the province itself.

It doesn't seem like this at in any point in time. I received a statement from the public safety administrator in Canada offering condolences and they expect a full investigation from Montreal police.

Clearly, it's a shocking event here in Canada, you know, not in decades have people here had this kind of incident at a political event and people will be watching closely to see exactly what the man's motives were and how close it came.

Police were very clear in saying there was danger to the people in the concert hall last night and he was armed perhaps with more than one weapon and also this accelerant.

So tense times and people not knowing exactly what it means at this point. We will hear more in the coming hours.

SAMBOLIN: Now I know that you're covering the story for us and we appreciate your time this morning, Paula Newton, reporting live. Thank you.

It is 10 minutes past the hour. Are you ready for some football with replacement refs? The NFL set to kick off the season without regular officials and the fans are ready to pounce. How could it affect the game? We're going to break that down coming up.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker brought some fire to the Democratic convention floor. He talked about the differences between the Republican and Democrats' platform and said asking the rich to pay more taxes is their patriotic duty.


MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: When your country is in a costly war with our soldiers sacrificing abroad and our nation is facing a debt crisis at home. Being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare, it's patriotism.


BERMAN: Tonight's convention headliner, former President Bill Clinton. We got a glimpse into the future of the Democratic Party.

Thirty-seven-year-old San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, he electrified the crowd when he called Mitt Romney -- he said Mitt Romney doesn't understand the average American. Castro and twin brother sat down with CNN's Piers Morgan after the big speech.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: A lot of buzz about your speech, electrified everybody, prompting some people to say we haven't heard a speech like that since Barack Obama in 2004. This guy could be president. Now either of you --

JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I'll leave that to him. If he becomes president, I need Secret Service protection.

MORGAN: First of all, Barack Obama thought he had a problem with a name like Barack Obama becoming president, the first President Castro of the United States of America is quite a moment.

MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO (D), SAN ANTONIO, TX: Yes, it's never going to happen. But I do grant you Florida would be pretty hard.


BERMAN: You can get to know the Castro brothers a little brother. Very exciting. They'll be joining Soledad O'Brien live on "STARTING POINT" this morning. That is at 8:10 Eastern Time. That will be a lot of fun.

Let's go back to Zoraida in New York, first -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: We are talking football.

The NFL season kicks off tonight, with the Super Bowl champion. The first NFL game played on a Wednesday since 1948 and that is to avoid interfering with President Obama's convention address on Thursday night.

But some important members of the game will not be on the field. The NFL is locking out its referees because of a labor dispute. Replacement refs are making the calls but will this put the players at risk?

Maggie Gray, the anchor of Sports Illustrated Video joins us to tell us what this means for the upcoming season.

First, I want to start off with an overview of where we are.

MAGGIE GRAY, ANCHOR, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED VIDEO: Yes, right now, both sides are away from the negotiating table. The last time they met was on Friday and there was no resolution on the table that both sides could agree upon. So, the replacement refs will be taking the field tonight and for the opener and for this weekend, for the season as far as we can tell.

And essentially, what the two sides are debating over is compensation and also pensions, those have been the two sticking points and they just cannot agree.

SAMBOLIN: And a lot of people are concerned because these are inexperienced referees that are taking over.

GRAY: They have experience, but at much lower levels. So, when you're talking division II and III, arena league football player referees, they just don't have to deal with the speed of the game that the NFL brings to the field. A lot of times they can miss calls and in the preseason it's been very tough for the officials to get used to the speed of the game and get used to how the players and coaches act towards the officials and wrap their brain around this game.

It's come out in embarrassing gaffes. Although you can tell us there has been an improvement over the preseason, it's just not the best of the best, like with the regular referees.

And the problem here is not just for the fans, because we know that they're having a hard time with this. But for the players as well.

GRAY: Yes, the players -- but you have to keep in mind, fans and player as coaches will complain about referees whether it's the first day on the job or 25 years of experience. You have to take that with a grain of salt. But there have been some, because there have been embarrassing sort of gaffes in the past --

SAMBOLIN: Like the coin toss, right?

GRAY: The coin toss, well, they actually said the wrong team that wasn't playing in the game was going to be awarded. A couple of big things that have been sticking points that the media and fans can point to, look, we have a problem here.

But overall, it's just a learning -- these replacement referees are on a steep learning curve and trying to catch up in a short amount of time.

SAMBOLIN: But what about safety concerns for the players?

GRAY: Well, the NFL referees association will argue that the referees are integral to the health and safety of the players on the field because they are trained to look for symptoms of concussions. I'm not one to argue with those people. But, you know, to look at the 355- pound line man, I think that a referee can tell whether or not they're concussed as opposed to a doctor, I'm not so sure about that. But that's the argument that they are making.

And with the NFL facing a lawsuit from 3,000 former players about the concussion history that the NFL has had, it could be a sticking point and that's what the NFL referees association is trying to let the public know, that hey, the referees out there are actually keeping the players safer.

SAMBOLIN: We've run out of time. But just very quickly, if you could just tell us, what do you think it's going to bring them back to the table to resolve the problem?

GRAY: This is the big question because we've already seen the embarrassing gaffes in the preseason and you wonder is it going to take a big hit, is it going to take a big penalty or just embarrassing situation? Is it take a replacement referee deciding a game that is in favor of one team and should have been in favor of the other? What is going to bring them back to the table? We're not sure.

SAMBOLIN: Let's hope they get there soon. Maggie Gray, thank you for being with us today. We appreciate it.

Nineteen minutes past the hour. One week from today, Apple reveals its latest gadget. Are you excited? Some say this invitation right here, take a look, reveals what it is. Did you get one? The story coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. stock futures are down right now. Trading is expected to be choppy worldwide ahead of two really big events, the European central bank stimulus plans and, of course, Friday's big jobs report as well.

He's got some explaining to do. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to give his first interview since the embarrassing Facebook IPO. This is at the TechCrunch conference in San Francisco. It's scheduled September 11th.

And even though many early investors dumped Facebook stock, Zuckerberg says he's hanging on to his shares for at least the next year. Zuckerberg owns about 440 million shares, plus an option for another 60 million. Facebook stock fell to a new low, $17.55 a share during the trading day yesterday.

And Walmart is cutting its layaway fee from $15 to $5. The company brought back the popular payment plan after a five-year hiatus. Walmart announced the change after Toys "R" Us said it's offering free lay away until October 31st then $5 after that.

And the waiting for you may soon be over. Apple is handing out invites to a special event next week, September 12th. It is widely expected to be the unveiling the new iPhone. That invitation to the event just released includes the number 5 in the shadow of the 12 date.

Anticipation of the new phone has helped pushed Apple stock price up $675 a share. Shares are up more than 60 percent, folks. That is just this year alone. And if a claim by a bold group of hackers proves to be true, personal IDs of millions of apple users may have been stolen, including President Obama. How a government computer may have been breached. That's coming up.


BERMAN: The first lady and Ann Romney, the fight for women voters.

SAMBOLIN: Take a look at this video. Passengers slammed to the deck when a small boat hits another boat's wake. Good gracious.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman in Charlotte. At the CNN grill here live for the Democratic convention.

And last night, the Democratic Party made a major push to lock in the female vote with speeches from the first lady and a handful of prominent women in Congress. It's an effort that will likely continue throughout the convention as Democrats try to paint the Republican Party as being out of touch with the concerns of women in America.

I'm joined now by two Democratic congresswoman, one from Pennsylvania, Allyson Schwartz who spoke last night, as well as Democratic Representative from Alabama, Terri Sewell, who was along time friend of both President Obama and the first lady.

First off, Michelle Obama last night, I imagine you guys thought the speech was pretty good.

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D), ALABAMA: She hit it out of the ballpark.

REP. ALLYSON SCHWARTZ (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We do think it was pretty good. She was great. She was great, and I think not just the audience in the arena but really for Americans, who are watching and she was speaking to their hearts and minds.

BERMAN: One thing that struck any was something she said that made me think a lot about what Ann Romney said last week. Michelle talking about when she first met the president how they were dating and how tough they had it. Let's listen to the sound byte.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: He was still the guy who picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out -- I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door. He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster, and his only pair of decent shoes was a half size too small.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on saw horses. Our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were the best days. (END VIDEO CLIPS)

BERMAN: So Mrs. Romney talking about eating tuna fish sandwiches and talking about riding to school in a rusted car. This sounds a little bit like, you know, we had to walk to school both ways uphill when I was growing up. Why do you think we heard so much about how hard both candidates had it long ago?

SEWELL: Listen, I thought she hit it out of the ballpark and known both of them, one from law school and one from college. And I can tell you that hers is a uniquely American story. I just thought that her warmth, her intelligence it really beamed out. I think she just really touched the hearts of Americans as she's done throughout her career as first lady.

BERMAN: Representative Schwartz, who had had harder, Michelle Obama or Ann Romney?

SCHWARTZ: That's not -- that really shouldn't be the debate we're having. I think that both of them are in good places right now obviously. The fact is we are talking to American voters and talking to them about whether they want to say do we understand your struggles and understand the reality of your lives. And I think Michelle Obama was so -- it was so genuine. It was so who she's about.

SEWELL: And really connected.

SCHWARTZ: And connected. And it is really about living out the American dream that they've worked hard and done well and admitted that and talked about that. I think it was how genuine it was really came across.

BERMAN: It is true why we're hearing it from both sides. It's how they billed themselves.

I also have a little bit of sound of Mrs. Obama talking about college which is, of course, pertinent because you did go to college together. You just told me you got emotional when you heard this last night.

SEWELL: I did.

BERMAN: We're going to play it again right now.


OBAMA: When my brother and I finally made it to college nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants. But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself. And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short.


BERMAN: You were with her back then when that was happening at Princeton when she was in college. How has she changed since then?

SEWELL: She's exactly the same person.

SCHWARTZ: Exactly?

SEWELL: She was my big sister. She's a great mentor then. She's a great mentor now and a role model. Tears came to my eyes when I heard her talking about student loans because I know my dad was doing the same thing around a coffee table in Selma, Alabama.

So, I think the connection she made with the American people is just phenomenal and it just goes to show you that we're just so lucky and blessed to have her as first lady and Barack Obama as our president.

BERMAN: What do you think, Representative, will be the decisive factor for women voting this year?

SCHWARTZ: Well, a lot of reasons why women in America should vote for President Obama. Almost on every issue, the President Obama, the Democrats have stood up for women's rights and equal pay for the ability for women to succeed and to have the opportunity to succeed. And in the fact that they really understand and have -- we have policies that we'll work to help make sure that happens.

So, yes, higher education matters, being able to get those college loans matter and then being able to put the pieces together which is what all families do. And certainly women do. We take care of our elderly parents and we take care of our kids. We try to take care of ourselves when we have a chance.

That's really what came across. The fact is that it's who we are generally and it's also we back it up with policy and positions and direction.

SEWELL: I think really -- you saw on display the diversity of America on that stage.

BERMAN: Thank you, Terri Sewell -- Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Allyson Schwartz, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Great to see you. See you again on the floor tonight.

SCHWARTZ: Absolutely.

BERMAN: A rousing speech by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland not only fired up the convention but also became one of the highest trending topics on Twitter. Strickland relentlessly skewered Mitt Romney for practicing what he calls vulture capitalism. He accused the Republican nominee of profiting off the destruction of jobs and companies.


TED STRICKLAND, FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO: Mitt Romney never saw the point of building something when he could profit by tearing it down. If Mitt was Santa Claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: There was plenty else to say from Ted Strickland last night in his speech. The former Ohio governor claimed Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport.

In just a few minutes, Margaret Hoover and Richard Socarides will join us to talk more politics but let's head back to Zoraida in New York.

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

Ahead, shots fired and a politician rushed from the podium at the political rally in Canada. That story is coming up.


SAMBOLIN: How about we look outside our window this morning?

Good morning, New York City. It is 77 degrees right now. A little bit later, 84 and thunderstorms -- kind of an icky start to the day.

Let's check the weather with Rob Marciano. Give me the official terms. I'm calling it icky.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, icky, yucky, it's just soupy stuff out there. Very tropical. Remnants of Isaac kind of strewn across much of the eastern third of the country.

Speaking of tropics, tropical storm Leslie, pretty far out here, is in the middle of the Atlantic for the most part, but it's a big storm and drifting towards Bermuda. So big that some of the waves are already getting close to the U.S. and that will continue for the next several days, rip current heavy surf and beach erosion.

And it may even make a run at New England but more likely the Canadian maritime at this point. We still have some time to watch this, but Bermuda, I think it's going to make a run at you, the question is how close will it get and what category strength it will be likely to develop into ate least a category one if not two or three hurricane.

All right. The East Coast, again, a lot of tropical moisture and it's going to be soupy and foggy and pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoon. Some decent energy for thunderstorms that could be severe across Chicago. Right now, just some thunderstorms moving across northern Illinois.

The heat is also building so where it's not humid and very muggy, it's very, very hot. Temperatures in Dallas will get to 104 today, 89 degrees will add fuel to fire, watch for thunderstorms across Chicago later on.

Zoraida, back to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Rob Marciano, thank you very much.

It is 40 minutes past the hour.

Shots fired during a victory speech in Canada. One person was killed and another is critically injured. Quebec's premier elect was rushed off stage, was not hurt. As the suspect was dragged to a police cruiser, he shouted in French, the English is waking up. Apparently, it's a reference to tensions between the English and French communities there.

Pauline Marois will be Quebec's first female premier.

The FBI denying claims by a hacker's group that they accessed personal information on millions of Apple users from a government computer, including President Obama's iPad. The group Anti-sec posted online what it claims are the IDs of more than a million iPhones and iPads. The hackers say, in all, 10 million Apple IDs were obtained from an FBI agent's laptop.

Take a look at this. This is incredible video. It is out of lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. This is a family out boating and hits a large wake as their power boat passes another boat. They are strewn all over the place. They all violently topple over.

The driver and six passengers were injured. This was last Friday. Five of them were sent to the hospital with what is described as minor to moderate injuries.

Wow, that looks terrible. Some people hitting their head there.

So, in just over an hour, two astronauts are scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station for the second space walk in six days, attempting to install a spare power switching unit on the space station. A similar attempt last Thursday failed when the astronauts were unable to bolt that unit into place.

Listen to this. Today's space walk is expected to last more than six hours. That's a long time to be out there.

Let's head over to John Berman at the CNN grill in Charlotte.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Zoraida.

She was on the floor of the Democratic convention until the wee hours of the morning. Now, she is in here live this morning. Ladies and gentlemen, Soledad O'Brien.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And mostly awake.


O'BRIEN: Lots to talk about this morning. Democrats going on the attack after night one of the DNC, painting Mitt Romney as out of touch and GOP as well. We're going to talk this morning about the big winners and messaging from the speeches last night. And were there any losers in that?

Plus an in-depth look at Michelle Obama's speech. She had to transfer some of her high approval numbers of to her president. How did she do in her speech? We'll take a look at that. Also tonight, former President Bill Clinton will take center stage. Can the comeback kid help President Obama? What will he say in a highly anticipated speech tonight?

We've got a packed show this morning. We're going to be talking to the Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, will be our guest.

Robert Gibbs is a former White House press secretary. Now, he's an Obama campaign adviser. We'll talk to him.

San Antonio mayor, Julian Castro, he gave a speech last night that was wildly approved by the crowd. Everybody standing to cheer for him. He has a twin brother who did his introduction, the Texas State Representative Joaquin Castro. We're going to talk to both of them.

And also, the actor John Leguizamo is going to join us.

All that and much more ahead right at the top of the hour.

BERMAN: That sounds very good. We have an actor, too. Actor Tim Daly coming up to talk politics with us, with that all-star panel, including Dana Bash, Richard Socarides, Margaret Hoover. There they are right. They are in the CNN grill right now enjoying the hot sauce ands refreshments that they offer here in morning.

We'll be talking politics in just a moment. Stay with us.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. This is John Berman. That's my name, John Berman here. I am live in the CNN Grill this morning in Charlotte, hosting the Democratic National Convention.

I'm joined by CNN's senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, former Clinton White House special assistant and senior adviser, Richard Socarides, Creative Coalition president and actor, Tim Daly, and CNN contributor and Republican strategist, Margaret Hoover.

I want to get to why Tim is here, because interesting we're talking about it. But first, I want to start talking about the convention last night, obviously. Some big speeches we heard from Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, and also, Michelle Obama. And the first lady talked a little but about something that a lot of politicians like to talk about, which is the American dream. So, let's listen.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: If a young preacher could lift us to the mountain top with his righteous dream and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the alter with who they love, then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream.


BERMAN: All right. Margaret Hoover, you have an interesting take on this. Lay it out there.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here's what I loved about last night. It was very clear that no party owns the American dream. The democrats, Julian Castro is talking just as provocatively and just as inspiringly about the American dream as Marco Rubio was the week before.

The question then is, if they both believe in the American dream, what's the difference between the two parties. And I think the difference is what is the role of government and what is the role of the individual? And how do they relate to the two?

And I think conservatives and Republicans would make the case that one would empower the individual versus a government bigger government and a top down, a bigger government versus individual power. And here's -- and I know you're going to interrupt, but I just want to say --


HOOVER: Because we talk -- they talk so much last night about investing in people. And investing means spending yet not a single Democrat. The entire night spoke about the fact that the debt clock ticked (ph) to 16 trillion.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ASSISTANT AND SENIOR ADVISER: Yes. Listen, I think the big difference between the first night of the Democratic convention where that I think we were off to a beautiful start and the first night of the Republican convention was Democrats understand that this is about connecting emotionally with people with real voters.

And, last night was a fantastic night for the Democrats. Mrs. Obama, the first lady, beautifully crafted speech, beautifully delivered, but every speaker delivered in a way. I mean, compare last night's keynote to Chris Christie's keynote, angry. You know, last night was perfect. Mitt Romney got skewered. Nobody even mentioned him, and he got skewered.

BERMAN: I mean, is political theater enough when there is a $16 trillion national debt?

SOCARIDES: I think that these conventions are about explaining a vision to Americans, and I think connecting emotionally is important. That's what you need to do at a convention. I mean, this -- Democrats know how to do this.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But Margaret made an important point, and that is -- and I was actually thinking about this as I was sitting on the floor of the convention remembering what it was like in Tampa. And that they are sort of talking about the same thing, the American dream and how to achieve that.

But boy, do voters have two very different philosophies on how to approach that. Invest, invest which means the government should help. That is definitely the theme here. That is the Democratic philosophy, and it was just the opposite on the Republican side. BERMAN: Tim, you were on the floor last night. What did you think?

TIM DALY, CREATIVE COALITION PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I've read Clifford Odets and John Steinbeck and Arthur Miller. So, I think that the American dream is a very elusive thing, and I think that what I felt about the Democrats is that they want to make the American dream as accessible as possible to the most people.

You know, and I'm not sure that spending is the answer. It might be reallocating that money. But, certainly, I don't think there are any less concerned about the national debt. Everybody is, you know? And it was -- that has been stated clearly over and over again on both sides.

BERMAN: You're here in your capacity as running the creative -- being head of the Creative Coalition, which is a group looking to enhance the role of the arts in education, correct?

DALY: Yes.

BERMAN: And so, what would you like to hear from these parties? You've been to both conventions. I saw you in Tampa last week, now you're here.

DALY: Well, look, entertainment is the second largest export of the United States of America. It's a huge driver of our economy. And I would like it to be spoken about by politicians on both sides for the same amount of gravitas and respect that we speak about the automobile industry or the pharmaceutical industry or the insurance industry.

It's a huge part of who we are. And, you know, I would especially like the Democrats and someone like Kal Penn who owes everything he has to the arts to talk about the vibrancy and the importance of the arts in this country. You know, the Creative Coalition are big defenders of the national endowment for the arts.

And as, you know, Condoleezza Rice pointed out very clearly the other day, we have a K through 12 education crisis in this country that is threatening the fabric of who we are. Now, studies have shown over and over again that kids that get a full -- that study arts in K through 12 are three times more likely to graduate from high school. So, that's a great way to take steps towards curing that.

BERMAN: Do you think Kal Penn stiffed you? Is that what you're saying?


DALY: Not just Kal Penn. I think that it's true of both parties. And, you know, I hope that someone listens tonight from the Democrats and talks about the vibrancy of arts in this country.

SOCARIDES: It is interesting that -- that Mitt Romney talks about defunding the national endowment for the art and the national endowment for the humanities. When you ask him how he's going to solve the budget crisis and cut spending, he said we're going to fix the economy by cutting --


DALY: That is bad business, because every dollar spent by the federal government on the national endowment for the arts reaps them seven tax dollars in return. Now, those are odds you take to Vegas or Wall Street any day of the week. And if Mitt Romney knows anything about business, he would know that that is a good investment.

BERMAN: All right. Tim Daly, thank you so much for joining us. Margaret Hoover, Richard Socarides, Dana Bash, always great to have you here.

I want to go back to you, Zoraida, in New York.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: That was really interesting conversation. Thank you, John.

So, you saw his spirited speech last night in Charlotte. Coming up, former Ohio governor, Ted Strickland, with today's "Best Advice."



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Twelve miles of beaches along the Louisiana Coast are closed this morning. That's because tar balls, look at that, and oil are washing up onshore from hurricane Isaac. BP is insisting it is too early to tell if the oil came from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident. State officials are also getting a handle on the extent of the damage from Isaac.

Ten parishes suffered serious flooding with over 13,000 homes damaged now. Electricity has now been restored to all, but 38,000 customers. Remember at the height of this, there were about a million people without power there.

And 16 members of a breakaway Amish group are on trial. This is in Ohio. They are charged with hate crimes for allegedly cutting off the hair and the beards of other members of the Amish faith. Prosecutors argue the defendants spent months planning these attacks while the defense claims the acts were motivated by a family feud and do not constitute in their opinion a hate crime.

It is 58 minutes past the hour. "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien is just moments away.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Actually, you know what, the iPhone, right, we have that -- oh, that's too bad. We had the little iPhone graphic up, and apparently, the new iPhone is scheduled to be headed your way and you may have gotten an e-mail about it.

But Soledad O'Brien is coming up next. Yesterday, at the Democratic National Convention, we caught up with former Ohio governor, Ted Strickland, about the best advice that he has ever received. Take a look at this.


TED STRICKLAND, FMR. GOVERNOR OF OHIO: Perhaps, the best advice I've ever received that I chose not to follow was this, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again and didn't give up. There's no sense being a damned fool about it. The fact is I've never given up and I don't think we ought to ever give up because life is full of challenges. And, we need to continue to confront those challenges and that's what I tried to do. Never give up.


SAMBOLIN: I wonder who gave him that best advice. Fifty-nine minutes past the hour. That's it for us at EARLY START for John Berman and myself. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" now with Soledad O'Brien is live in Charlotte and it starts right now.