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Dozens Dead In China Earthquake; 3.5 Earthquake Hits West Hollywood; Obama Makes Case For Second Term; Romney Reacts To Obama Speech; Ryan Headlines Beverly Hills Fundraiser; Prince Harry In Afghanistan; Bermuda Braces For Leslie; Courting the Undecided Voters; Awaiting August Jobs Report; Interview with Rep. Judy Chu; Prince Harry in Afghanistan

Aired September 7, 2012 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But know this, America, our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place and I'm asking you to choose that future.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama accepts the nomination and makes the case for a second term. Will voters give him that chance for four more years?


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven't been grateful as an American that Barack Obama is our president because he always has the courage to make the tough decision.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Vice President Joe Biden accepting his own nomination and calling his boss the defender of the average American.

Good morning to you, welcome to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman live from the midnight diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

SAMBOLIN: We are following breaking news out of China this morning, a series of earthquakes killing at least 43 people. The four quakes in China, south western region range from a magnitude 4.8 to 5.6. China's state media reports that the quakes damaged more than 20,000 homes as well.

For the second time this week, southern California has been rattled by an earthquake, the 3.5 magnitude quake hit just after midnight. And according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter was located two miles from West Hollywood. No damage is reported. A 3.2 magnitude earthquake rattled Beverly Hills that was on Monday -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Zoraida, we're here in Charlotte at the Midnight Diner because the conventions are over and the hall shutdown. President Obama made his case last night officially accepting his party's nomination.

The faithful in this crowd loved it, but critics may be less so. The reviews have been mixed. But his mission was loud and clear, to frame the election as a choice, a choice between two visions of America's future.

I'm joined by CNN's Dana Bash and a plate of cheese fries here at the diner here. Dana, I should say, to me it seemed like a safe reserve speech.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It did and it also it seems like and it was a speech given by somebody who has changed dramatically, understandably so over the past four years when he was the candidate of hope and change.

But the message that he said and that he clearly wanted to get across was that he is somebody who will continue to work hard and tell people the truth.


BASH (voice-over): Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination with the kind of soaring rhetoric that got him elected four years ago, except hope and change were replaced by a reality check.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. Times have changed and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president.

BASH: Yes, we can now a plea for patience.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: America, I never said this journey would be easy and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind.

BASH: But he still sprinkled in the familiar Obama oratory.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our problems can be solved and our challenges can be met and the path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place and I'm asking you to choose that future.

BASH: The Obama campaign ripped into Mitt Romney for not offering enough specifics at his acceptance speech last week. The president took that a step further.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: They want your vote but they don't want you to know their plan. And that's because all they had to offer is the same prescriptions they've had for the last 30 years. Have a surplus? Try a tax cut, deficit too high? Try another one. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts and roll back regulations and call us in the morning.

BASH: He offered new promises for a second term.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit.

BASH: Some specifics vowed to create one million new manufacturing jobs, cut growth of college tuition in half over the next ten years and cut oil imports in half by 2020. Vice President Joe Biden took on the role of eyewitness to the president when he made tough decisions.

BIDEN: I'm here to tell you what I think you already know, but I watch it up close, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and time and time again I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel!

BASH: And Biden delivered the bumper sticker line he loves.

BIDEN: We can now proud my say what you've heard me say the last six months. Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!

BASH: The night belonged to the president. The Democratic nominee from 2004 offered one of the most memorable one-liners of the night.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Ask Osama Bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.

BASH: And when it comes to lasting images from this convention, it is this moment, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shot through the head last year and now walking without a cane on stage to recite the pledge of allegiance.



BERMAN: All right, Dana and I are joined by CNN contributor and Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker," Ryan Lizza, sort of professorial in the tweed this morning.

Professor Lizza, your reaction to the speech seemed to be what a lot of people were saying last night as I was reading the Twitter and talking to people, which was --

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think all these critics who have been watching for speeches two past two weeks have nothing left to say. But I thought he was trying to do a lot with this speech.

You know, he had a lot of very specific -- I thought frankly poll tested lines. You could almost see the strategists saying you need this policy for Ohio. You've got to talk about wind in Iowa, you know, some messaging for specific swing states.

He had to get in some shots at Romney, which I think he did pretty effectively almost surprisingly. It took on a negative attacking tone in a few places.

But at the end, he had this sort of long riff about citizenship and his view of the role of government in society. So I didn't think it was the greatest speech Obama speech in terms of a sweeping rhetorical speech, nothing like his 2004 speech.

But in terms of getting a lot of work done, I thought it accomplished something. If you were a voter who just cared about what Romney would do or Obama would do going forward, Obama's speech had a lot more for you in terms of vision for America.

BASH: And that's what the whole point going into the speech. That's what Obama aides were saying over and over again that they were going to offer more specifics and that he was going to be more concrete in his proposals.

He was not, not to be cynic, because of course, we're not cynics, but he's running for a second term. So if he doesn't accomplish these things at the end of the term, you know, OK, it's over.

BERMAN: I think it's really interesting. I think if you looked at Mitt Romney's speech last week. I think Mitt Romney gave the best speech of his life, a speech that will stand up if you read a few years from now.

Obama's speech may be more forgettable in the short term. But as you read his speech as an end of a trilogy of this week, what Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, what he achieved or what the Democrats were able to achieve may have a more immediate and bigger impact in this election. If they can make this a choice, maybe they succeeded here.

LIZZA: I will say, look, in terms of the two conventions, which seemed to have more oomph, I think the Democrats. One it's a lot better to bat second because they could respond to everything the Republicans said so that helps. But I just felt like this convention came off a little bit better than Tampa did.

BASH: I mean, we were both on the floor at both and there was -- I think objectively speaking there was a lot more energy in this -- at this convention. The question is, you know, we're talking about preaching to the faithful at both --

LIZZA: I would still be surprised if there's a big bounce because you know the dynamics of this election are tiny group of undecided voters.

BERMAN: Energy bounce remains to be seen. Ryan Lizza, thank you so much. Dana, great to be here again. Whatever you thought of the speech, whatever you thought of the energy, it certainly blew up Twitter last night.

The president's speech set a new record for a political event. More than 9 million tweets sent during his address. That's close to 53,000 tweets a minute. By comparison, Mitt Romney topped out with a little more than 14,000 tweets per minute, which doesn't sound half bad to me.

As you might imagined, the Romney campaign was quick to react to the president's speech with a theme we will be hearing a lot the next two months. Here's part of their statement.

They said, tonight, President Obama laid out the choice in this election making the case for more of the same policy that's haven't worked for the past four years.

He offered more promises, but he hasn't kept the promises he's made four years ago. Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record. They know they are not better off and it's time to change direction.

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate is waking up in Southern California this morning. Last night, he headlined a $25,000 a couple fundraiser at an exclusive Beverly Hills hotel.

Earlier in Colorado, he called President Obama the most partisan president he's ever seen. That also something we'll be hearing coming up in this next couple of weeks. Coming up on "STARTING POINT," Beau Biden, the Delaware state attorney general and of course, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, he'll be live here at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. He loves his dad.

Let's see what he thinks about his speech last night, but in the meantime, let's send it back to Zoraida in New York.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, John. We have breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. Prince Harry is now in Afghanistan for his second tour of duty. The news confirmed by the Britain's Ministry of Defense.

Prince Harry will serve for four months as an Apache helicopter pilot. The time is interesting here. This comes four and a half years after his last tour.

Once again, Prince Harry is headed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty. You know, this comes of course just weeks after naked pictures surfaced of him in Las Vegas. Timing very interesting there.

It's 11 minutes past the hour here. Bermuda is bracing for Hurricane Leslie. The Category 1 storm could pass the island this Sunday. It is already bringing dangerous swells and current to coastal areas of the island.

Here in the United States, parts of the east coast are already feeling some of the storm's effects as well. So let's head over to Alexandra Steele. She is in CNN Hurricane Headquarters. What can you tell us?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right, well, the U.S. impacts really will be two-fold. One, we're going to see dangerous and deadly rip current and some strong waves. But here's Hurricane Leslie. The question is how close of a pass will it make to Bermuda.

So right now it's moving north at 1 mile per hour, it's been really stationary for the last 18 hours. Maximum sustained winds at 75 miles per hour. We're going to watch the path stay east of Bermuda.

Now the center of circulation you can see well east now, but still the effects will be in Bermuda very strong winds because the wind swath with this is really quite big.

All right, so for Bermuda, we do have tropical storm watches in effect and will begin to feel that really the worst of it will be on Sunday morning. More on Leslie coming up -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much. Let's head back to John. He is in Charlotte wrapping it all up for us -- John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Zoraida. You know, folks at the convention went wild last night during the president's speech, but how did the rest of the America react especially those key undecided voters? We will tell you how undecided voters felt about the president's words. That's coming up next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We are live from the packed Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And, you know what? Americans head to the polls in November. Many analysts believe it will be the undecided voters who decide the race for the White House.

So, how well did the president do last night with everyone who's still on the fence? Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As our focus group sat here using the dial tested devices to record their moments about the speech, it was fascinating to see the reaction from all of you compared with people in the hall.

I want to back up here, and, first of all, have you all first raise your hands if you come into tonight truly undecided.

Let's take a look at the group here.

Basically everyone is undecided. The question is, did President Obama make them more decided?

Well, look at the reaction when he said one of his signature lines, something they've been pushing for two days here, about moving forward, not back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After all we've been through, I don't believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small business woman expand or the laid off construction worker keep his home. We have been there and tried that and we're not going back. We are moving forward, America.


FOREMAN: The people in the hall just loved that. People here not so much.

Why do you think that whole idea of we're going to keep moving forward and not moving back didn't resonate more with the voters here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure I believe all of the things he said about going forward and not going backward. I'm not convinced.

FOREMAN: You're not convinced of that.

What about you, what did you think when you heard that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was convinced. I believe him.

FOREMAN: You do believe him. You would have been one of the people pushing the dials up a little bit.

Why do you believe him when you don't?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's sincere and honest.

FOREMAN: Let me ask the men. What did you think when you heard that? The men by and large seem more skeptical than the woman?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he was sincere but I don't believe him. He wants to move forward but he still lives in the past. From everything I've heard, they are still blaming Bush and that was four years ago. I don't think --

FOREMAN: One of the things I'm curious about here and want to ask over here about, when I watch your reactions, I couldn't help but wonder if some you felt you heard this before, good, bad or otherwise and people seem almost fatigued. What did you think? Did you like it? Were you inspired?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I am quite sleepy. The -- I think the statement gets lost. Perhaps it's not flashy or what not. I agree with the statement but there's so much else going on in the speech.


Let's take a look at one other quick section here. One of the biggest earliest spikes here came when he talked about energy independence. Look what happened when he talked about gas prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any other administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.


FOREMAN: He talked about less dependence on foreign oil as a group you liked it. Who liked that statement? Somebody had to -- what did you like about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like hearing how they are going to lower gas prices. Americans are suffering with gas just under $4 a gallon and we keep -- we need to find other ways around that other than putting wind mills on every corner or forcing people to use mercury filled light bulbs in her house. That's not lowering gas prices.

FOREMAN: There seemed to be focus on pocketbook issues. For all the high rhetoric, for all the great talk, whenever he talked about actual practical pocketbook issues, people liked it better. Were you one of those people?


FOREMAN: Why does that matter so much?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all concerned about our pocketbook and where spending is at.


BERMAN: The word from the undecided voters, that was CNN's Tom Foreman.

In about two hours, the conventions might be an afterthought, believe it or not, because an even more crucial moments for the campaign is coming. It is the jobs report, what it means for you as well as the presidential campaign. We'll tell you about it next.

You're watching EARLY START. Stay with us.


SAMBOLIN: With the Democratic National Convention now behind him, President Obama faces another pivotal test in his campaign. This morning, the jobs report for the month of August is set to be released. This is in about two hours.

And with both the Dow and S&P 500 closing at their highest points during the Obama presidency on Thursday, it could result in a boost for the president headed into the debates.

And joining me now to preview the jobs report is's managing editor Lex Harris.

Thank you for getting up nice and early with us. LEX HARRIS, CNNMONEY.COM MANAGING EDITOR: Good morning.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's do that little preview of the jobs report that you have. You are forecasting what it's going to say. We're going to show it to viewers and I want you to explain whether this is good news or bad news for President Obama on the heels of his speech.

HARRIS: It is good news. The forecast from the economists we talked to is for about 120,000 jobs added I've seen some up about 130,000. It's not great, but it continues to tell the story of slow, steady gains. Unfortunately, it's not enough to bring the unemployment rate down. We're still going to stay at 8.3 percent.

SAMBOLIN: But we did have also the good news as we were headed into the S&P and Dow. So, that is good news also for President Obama.

HARRIS: Absolutely. We've had now since I think the market hit bottom March of 2009. Since then, it's basically doubled under President Obama. It's a big story.

SAMBOLIN: But we were way down?

HARRIS: We were, absolutely. But I think what President Obama can say there, am I really that bad for business? Am I really strangling businesses as the Republicans claim? If that were the case, why would the stock market have doubled over that time?

So, I think it's an interesting story to tell.

SAMBOLIN: So, as the average American is watching all of these numbers come out, how does it affect them? What does that mean for them?

HARRIS: Right. It's very interesting, as the stock market has gone up, individual investors have pulled out of the market. They've been -- really they've been bitten before by it and just they don't want to get involved in the risks and don't trust the stock market right now.

So, a lot of people just aren't participating in this market advance. But, the stock market is a real indicator and does present -- it shows you that there isn't as much anxiety in the economy. When it tanks is when people really get the panic.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We're running out of time here but quickly because we're chatting about it earlier. You said there are some concerns for the Obama administration coming forward. What are they?

HARRIS: Well, so next week we have the Federal Reserve. Now, part of the reason the stock market has been going up is because of the Fed. If they disappoint, you could see some shakiness there. And Europe is still not fixed.

We had good news yesterday but it could turn around fast.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Lex Harris, managing editor,, thank you so much for coming in. We really appreciate it. HARRIS: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Breaking news, we are following the U.K.'s Prince Harry deployed to Afghanistan. We have a live report coming up next.


BERMAN: Breaking news this morning, Prince Harry reports for duty in Afghanistan. A live report in moments.


OBAMA: You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.


SAMBOLIN: He accepts. President Obama asked America to give him a second term on the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Will voters listen?

BERMAN: Hurricane Leslie making its way towards Bermuda. The island now preparing for the worst. We'll have a live update from the CNN hurricane headquarters coming up.

SAMBOLIN: Boy, she looks really menacing, John.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman live at the Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's about half past the hour right now.

The convention, it wrapped up last night. President Obama's acceptance speech, it marked the end of festivities there and the beginning of the homestretch of this campaign.

I want to talk about that with my next guest, Democratic Representative Judy Chu of California who addressed the crowd on Wednesday night and is the co-chair of the 2012 Obama campaign.

You were in the hall last night, what did you think of the speech?

REP. JUDY CHU (D), CALIFORNIA: I thought it was tremendous. He had to show his record of accomplishments. President Obama had to layout his vision for the future and he had to fire up the crowd. And he did all three.

BERMAN: He may have fired up the crowd. But there are people saying overnight, and I do agree with them, this was not the best speech he's ever given. This was not the 2004 convention speech. This was not 2008. He's given better speeches than this, wouldn't you agree? CHU: Well, I think that his goal was different. In this case, he had to do many things. He had to combat the terrible commercials that had been laid out by the super PACs and he had to show that he is presidential, that he made very tough decisions.

BERMAN: Yes, presidential is a word that people have used and, in fact, he used. He went out of his way to tell you, I'm the president, as if people didn't know.

He also talked about immigration a little bit. I want to play a sound bite from that.


OBAMA: You're the reason, a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged alliance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she's ever called home. Why selfless solders won't be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love, like thousands of families have finally been able to say to their loved ones who served us so bravely, welcome home. Welcome home. You did that. You did that!


BERMAN: You did that -- a very interesting use of language construction right there. Is that in response, do you think to the Republican's constant refrain of "we built that," "you did that" versus "we built that"?

CHU: I think it was a way of showing that it was Americans that resulted in these policies that he put forth.

BERMAN: What does he need to do coming out of this convention to seem the deal, if you think he can do that?

CHU: He needs to continue to layout the message that there are two stark choices, a stark choice for a candidate for the top 2 percent and a president who has shown that he is fighting for the lives of every average American.

BERMAN: Representative, I know you're friends with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and I have to say, I was actually in the Arizona delegation last night when she recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

What was it like for you to see that?

CHU: I was so overwhelmed. I know the people around me gasped because it was so emotional to see her out there, after all of her struggles to see her so committed to the Democratic future of this country.

BERMAN: Some of her friends in the delegation told me she so badly wanted to be at the convention but she was nervous. It was a big crowd and she's still heavily involved with rehabilitation, both physical and with her speech. So she was nervous about doing something that might have been more improvisational control. The pledge was something she could handle. It was emotional.

I think she knocked it out of the park last night.

CHU: She did. And to see her struggle with every step, to her struggle to lift her arm and yet see her do it.

BERMAN: The jobs report comes out at 8:30 this morning. If this number is not strong, if it is below expectations, doesn't that erase everything the Democrats may have accomplished in this convention? Isn't that then an indictment of the last four years?

CHU: I thought Bill Clinton said it best. He said that President Obama inherited a mess and he laid the floor so the economy didn't collapse but he was able to save it and we need more time.

BERMAN: Representative Judy Chu from California, thank you so much for coming in this morning. We have some cheese fries for you as a parting gift if you like.

Everyone leaves with cheese fries, Zoraida. I'll send it back to you in New York.

SAMBOLIN: Who eats cheese fries for breakfast, John, seriously?

BERMAN: We do. We do.

SAMBOLIN: All right, John, thank you. Bring me some.

All right. Thirty-five minutes past the hour.

So, Bermuda is battening down the hatches getting ready for hurricane Leslie. It is far away from the United States. But you may feel the ripple effect. The latest on the storm's path, that is in a live report, coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us.

Well, Bermuda is getting ready for hurricane Leslie. The category 1 could pass the island this weekend. Here's what it looks like from space. It is already bringing dangerous swells and currents to coastal areas of the island.

And here in the United States, parts of the East Coast are feeling the storm effects as well.

Alexandra Steele in the CNN hurricane headquarters.

What is she doing now?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. Well, it is now -- you can still see still southeast of Bermuda, about 430 miles. But the U.S. will feel impact. There will be two of them. They'll be deadly and dangerous rip current and also some very high waves along the Eastern Seaboard.

So, here's a look at the hurricane. Again, Leslie has been really just sitting where it is for the last 18 hours. Last advisory as of 5:00 a.m. has it now moving north at 1 mile per hour. So, it is beginning to make a move.

Here's its track. Again, it will pass, it will not make a direct hit to Bermuda. It will pass east of Bermuda. How close it will be is the question.

Just want to show you the cone. The time for this because the swath of Leslie is so big, the wind field with this is behemoth.

So here in Sunday morning will be the closest path, east of Bermuda. Here's Bermuda, here's the path. Just to give you a little perspective, there's a 45 mile radius here between Bermuda and the edge of the cone.

Now tropical storm force winds with this thing extend out 185 miles from the center. So, regardless, we will see big time winds in Bermuda this weekend. Then we'll see it move northeast and actually Newfoundland, we could see some really big waves.

So, hurricane Leslie, Bermuda impact, tropical storm watch in effect for the next 48 to 60 hours or so. Tropical storm force winds extend out 185 miles from the center. Hurricane force winds extend out 35. Winds and high surf by Sunday. That's the biggest threat and the biggest impacts will be Sunday morning.

Big waves and rip current for us in the U.S., Zoraida, all the way from Florida to Cape Cod. You'll see it even 3-foot and 4-foot waves right now off the coast of New Jersey.

All right. Alexandra, I know you're going to be keeping an eye on this all day. Thank you very much.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

Breaking news right now related to the royal family in Britain. Just this hour we've learned Prince Harry has reported for duty in Afghanistan. It is his second tour of military duty.

CNN royal correspondent Max Foster joins us live from London.

Max, what have you learned?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a relief to talk about this at last. I have to say, Zoraida, this has been an announcement made under very tight security. You'll remember the last tour of Afghanistan, Prince Harry had to be pulled out because there was a media blackout and that got broken by a U.S. publication. And he got pulled out.

This time, a very a different system, under very tight security, we've been get giving reporting access to him but only after he arrived. So, these are pictures ever him arriving a few hours ago. He is an Apache pilot but he's going to be working in Afghanistan as a gunner.

So, he's going to be sitting in the back seat of that attack helicopter, largely in a surveillance role but he will be expected to get involved in close combat as well. So he's firing the guns in the back seat effectively. That's his role for the next four months.

SAMBOLIN: Max, the timing is curious, right, because we have been seeing pictures of him from Las Vegas that have been posted all over the place of him naked when he was attending a party. How long has this been in the works?

FOSTER: Well, it's been in the work for many, many months and certainly over the weekend when those pictures came out, everyone was fully aware of the deployment and it was all set up and he was to be going. So, all of the tabloid reporters say today once the news came out that this weekend this Vegas was all a big blowout before he went to Afghanistan for what his commander says is a different, dangerous job. So, it does have a different context to these photographs of many people.

I have to say, Zoraida, there are different sides to Prince Harry. What he always tries to do is be himself in whatever role he's in. He's a 27-year-old out in Las Vegas, he's going to behave in that way. He's going to be authentic as it were.

And in the military, he's going to be very, very serious. He takes it very seriously that role. So, you'll certainly not see antics in Afghanistan as far as he's concerned.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, we certainly wish him well. Max Foster, live for us in London, thank you very much.

Forty-three minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on this morning's top story, starting with a warning from the U.S. to Iraq. Don't let Iran use Iraqi air space to deliver weapons to forces loyal to Syria's president. Iraq is denying reports that it's allowing Iran to do so. Opposition groups say 30 people have been killed throughout Syria and that number is today alone.

And here's a tip. Pack your toothbrush, even in space. Two space walking astronauts -- one from NASA, the other from Japan -- used a toothbrush to fix a power system on the International Space Station. This was on Wednesday.

NASA's Curiosity rover took the first big whiff of Mars to test what's in its atmosphere and sending all the samples back home. Analysis is now ongoing. So far we know the main component is carbon dioxide.

I can't get over that, toothbrush, right? One of the astronauts said let's try it and see if it works. And it did.

All right. The need for speed in Texas. The State Transportation Commission has approved an 85-mile-per-hour speed limit for a 41-mile stretch of Highway 130 between Austin and San Antonio. Construction cruise began posting the new speed limit time on the toll road this week. It is the highest speed limit in the country. Can you believe that, John?

BERMAN: Eighty-five miles an hour, that seems fast to me. I may stay away from that road.

SAMBOLIN: And I want to go.

BERMAN: All right. Zoraida, you know, Soledad O'Brien -- I know, you're going to head there. Of course, I'm nervous, you want to be there right now. It says something about both of us.

Soledad O'Brien has arrived at the Midnight Diner here in Charlotte. She's going to tell us what's ahead on "Starting Point."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Lots to talk about. We're going to continue this morning to analyze President Obama's speech from last night, also take a look at some of the other speeches that were presented on the final day of the DNC.

But also, we are waiting that breaking news on the economy, the very closely watched jobs report is going to be announced at 8:30 a.m. eastern time. Obviously, we'll cover that for you live when it happens.

So, the DNC and the RNC are now done. What happens in the campaign next? The president spoke about the middle class as he accepted the Democratic nomination. Will what he said sway voters?

Also, here's a look at who we're talking to this morning. Beau Biden is the son of Vice President Joe Biden. Steve Israel is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Illinois governor, Pat Quinn, is going to join us this morning. Congresswoman Judy Chu will talk to us about Gabby Giffords, emotional presentation last night, this morning with us.

And republican congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart, he's also been advising Mitt Romney on foreign policy. We'll chat with him this morning as well to get his assessment of President Obama's speech from last night.

BERMAN: Excellent. I will leave you a cheese fries here, and we will have more from EARLY START. Yes, the cheese fries. I'm keeping the cheese fries, apparently. That's fine. We'll have more from EARLY START coming back to you from Charlotte. Stay with us.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. We are live at the Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm joined here this morning by chief CNN congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's been with us all week. We are so thankful for that.

Richard Socarides, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, a CNN contributor, and Ana Navarro, a former -- current Republican strategist and a current CNN contributor. We are glad you're all here. I want to play a little game, and we play with our kids at home or on the dinner table, which is called high/low. Your high point of the day, your low point of the day. In this case, I want to do it from the Democratic convention this last week. What was the high point for you and the low point? Ana.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Definitely the high point was Bill Clinton's speech. I love a political comeback. He got beaten to a pulp in the 2008 primary, and he was marginalized. He was hurt, and he came back to the rescue of the man who marginalized him.

BERMAN: Low point?

NAVARRO: Oh, Charlie Crist for the love of God. I mean, I don't know. I don't know why --



NAVARRO: You can have him, you just can't give him back. I mean, really? Charlie Crist, looking -- first of all, the DNC provided him with a fan. I mean, Charlie Crist gets up on stage and says, my friend, Jeb Bush. I know Jeb Bush. I'm a friend of Jeb Bush. Charlie Crist, Jeb Bush is no friend of yours.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to leave you for a second -- Richard.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm going to cheat a little and say that I think it was the emotional connection that each of the closing speakers each night made. Michelle Obama, President Clinton, and President Obama last night. I mean, I think they all connected very well emotionally.

And I think the low, I think the low probably was the weather. I mean, I think the weather cancelling last night because of the weather was tough, and it rained here. The people here are lovely. The weather in early September, I'm not sure I'd plan my vacation here.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. I'm going to just let them be political and I'm going to say, for me, the high was like front row seats to a James Taylor concert, which is what we have last night and Mary J. Blige, because that was, you know -- that's not something we get to do every day, especially me walking around the halls of Congress.

BERMAN: Exactly. (INAUDIBLE) doesn't sing Carolina on my mind, right?

BASH: And to see (ph) I don't know if it was -- be the same. It just probably wouldn't be.

NAVARRO: Orrin Hatch sings.


BASH: OK. The event there. No. He's a good singer. But I agree with him, the low was the weather. And it was both conventions. It was the kind of the boogieman, the bipartisan boogieman.

BERMAN: The low point -- let's not forget the platform fight over the language about Jerusalem and God. That -- yes, I think by any measure, I mean, did derail this convention slightly for a day.

SOCARIDES: But we've had no Clint Eastwood moment. Remember, a week ago today, we were speaking about -- we were talking about Clint Eastwood, and the Democrats survived without a Clint Eastwood moment.

BERMAN: All right, Richard. We're going to play another game here. Finish this sentence. President Obama could lose this election dot, dot, dot, fill in the blank.

SOCARIDES: Well, I don't think he will lose. So, I don't really think there's --

BERMAN: But he could if dot, dot, dot.

SOCARIDES: You know, he could lose if he doesn't understand that it's very close. If his advisers don't take the closeness of the election seriously and think it's too cocky, because I think the Obama people don't think they can lose right now, and it is very close and they could lose.

But I think, you know, coming out of this, we're going to see the Democrats three or four points ahead. And, they just need to always remember that this is a very close election and the president could lose. He could lose if he doesn't -- if the advisers don't remember that they could lose.

BERMAN: Ana, President Obama could lose this election if dot, dot, dot?

NAVARRO: He could lose this election if my candidate, Mitt Romney, finally gets his act together with Hispanics, engages on the immigration issue on a mano-o-mano with Obama, calls him on his failed policy and his failed promises on immigration and really goes out for the Hispanic vote and is able to make a dent on those numbers.

SOCARIDES: None of that is going to happen. So, that is great news.

BERMAN: Dana, you covered a lot of presidential elections. We're done with the convention now. What's the next big thing?

BASH: The next big thing is going to be getting out there to those, you know, eight swing states for these candidates. There is going to be no in, running and gunning. They're going to be having their marathon sprints. They're going to be splinting up Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, Joe Biden and President Obama, and it is going to be, particularly for the Obama campaign, working in what they consider as organizing -- BERMAN: It reminds me. I just got an e-mail, the Romney campaign releasing 15 new ads in key swing states today. So, they're spending some of that money he's been collecting like a fiend over the last three months. They have a lot of money. They starting to spend it. Dana Bash, it was so great to spent it with you here --

BASH: Great to be here.

BERMAN: -- in Charlotte. Richard Socarides --

SOCARIDES: It is fun, right?

BERMAN: -- see you back in New York. Ana Navarro, always great to be with you. Nice to see you here this morning.

We'll be right back with some "Best Advice" from someone close to President Obama.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, New York. You are taking a look at the Empire State Building. I was trying to get John Berman back up, but he is wrapping up at the Midnight Diner, and he is going to be back here sitting right next to me on Monday morning, and I am really looking forward to that.

And we're going to wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." And today, it comes from Obama's senior campaign adviser and former White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs.


ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Look, I think the best advice is -- that I've ever received -- don't cheat yourself. Be true to yourself. Secondly, never be afraid to do something for fear of failure. If you don't try, you'll never succeed.


SAMBOLIN: I would love to see on the other side of the TV set to see how many of you are saying amen to that.

That is it for us on EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. A special edition of "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien live from Charlotte, North Carolina starts right now.