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Jobless Rate Falls; Obama and The Florida Vote; Down Syndrome Teen Kicked Off Plane; Fighting For Their Health After 9/11; President Obama's Approval Rating Hits 15-Month High; Border Agent's Alleged Killer Arrested; iPhone 5

Aired September 8, 2012 - 06:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.

According to most Americans, it is the only thing that matters this election. We're talking jobs. What the August report means for November.

It's got sunny beaches and tanned bodies, but it's those 29 electoral votes that has the candidates coming back for more. All morning, we're putting Florida in focus.

It's even better than the second coming. It is the sixth. The iPhone 5 expected to debut next week. We'll give you the scoop on it.

It is Saturday, September 8th. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. And if you're wondering who this guy is right here next to me --


KAYE: This is Victor Blackwell. He's going to be joining me on Saturday's to co-anchor the early morning hours.

Welcome to CNN.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much, Randi.

I've got to say, though, I'm a little disappointed.

KAYE: In what? Already? We just started.

BLACKWELL: I know. We just started, right?

I was expecting the Michael Strahan welcome, where I run in, there's confetti. You come across the studio and jump into my arms.

KAYE: Oh, yes. You know -- yes, we were -- we were planning that and it just didn't make sense.

BLACKWELL: Confetti wasn't in the budget?


BLACKWELL: All right. KAYE: Or balloons. Neither one.

BLACKWELL: All right. Well, thank you. A pleasure to be with you.

KAYE: Well, we're glad you're here and it's nice to have some company as well.

BLACKWELL: Likewise.

KAYE: All right, let's get you caught up on the stories that we're following this morning.

In Denver, a standoff between police and two armed robbers is over and a hostage is now free following a robbery at a local Radio Shack. Schools were put on lockdown and residents evacuated in the six hour ordeal, during which one of the suspects apparently updated his FaceBook page. That prompted friends to respond and ask him to surrender to police. Shots were fired during the incident, but police say no one was injured.

Two young children are now safe and their father is in custody following a Coast Guard rescue off the California coast. The man is accused of abducting his kids from their mother's home and then stealing a sailboat at a local marina. Officials turned their search to the water after the mother suggested a boat might be involved. The Coast Guard commander described the moments leading up to the rescue.


CMDR. DON MONTORO, U.S. COAST GUARD: We wanted to provide him with water and a radio so that we could -- so that we could have a conversation with him. And at that point, he said that he was going to help us in any way that he could. And we asked if we could put a boarding team on board. And he said that would be fine. And we put the boarding team on. And we quickly got Brooklyn, the oldest child, who is four years old, off the boat and transferred her to the hospital. Next, we got the individual and his son Devin and got them on to the small boat and brought him back to the hospital. At that point, we detained him and transported them back to station (INAUDIBLE).


KAYE: Police say the children's parents have been involved in a custody dispute.

BLACKWELL: Turning now to jobs and the race for the White House. The unemployment rate fell last month from 8.3 to 8.1 percent. But before everyone gets excited, consider the drop was mainly because of people who have given up the search for work.

Now, both campaigns are spinning the report to their advantage. Mitt Romney calls it, quote, very disappointing. President Obama says we're getting there. Now here's what both men were saying as they campaigned yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After losing 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, businesses added jobs for the 30th month in a row. We've added more than 4.6 million jobs. But we know that that's not good enough. We can do better. We need to create jobs even faster.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There were four times as many people who dropped out of the workforce as the net new jobs created under this president. And it's not just a one-month figure.


ROMNEY: The White House has, I think now for 31 straight months, said, well, just don't look at the monthly numbers. The monthly numbers aren't that critical. Well, if you take 30 months and put them together, that's pretty critical.


BLACKWELL: The next 59 days of campaigning will cover a variety of "I can do it better" issues, but it's the two remaining jobs reports that could potentially decide who will win the White House. I spoke with CNN's Alison Kosik about those numbers.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Obama really needs to see another 261,000 jobs added to the economy this year. And, it's doable, but at this point it's not a slam dunk, especially with this weak report that we got on Friday. You know, the August jobs gains, they weren't great. June and July's numbers, also, they were revised lower. So what he needs to see is, we need to get to that 261,000 number to get to zero and break even. And that would be where no jobs would have been added or lost during President Obama's presidency. But right now the president is at a deficit.

Now, we do have two more reports coming out on jobs before the election. So, you know, if you want to average that, you need to see at least 130,000 jobs added in each report. If you look at the year, we've averaged about 139,000 jobs a month. So it's possible, but not a certainty, especially with so many obstacles right now in the way. You know, economic growth is weak, employers are nervous about the fiscal cliff. They may continue to hold back on hiring. And, of course, there is Europe. We don't know where Europe is heading as well.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, because he's the man a lot of people want to hear from next. He hasn't given any clear sign that the Fed will take action in its September 12th meeting. But it looks like this could be the nudge that the Fed needs for maybe another stimulus.

Let's put what he said up on the screen now. On the 31st of August he said, "the Federal Reserve will provide additional policy accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery." Is this the nudge possibly for another stimulus? Something to boost growth?

KOSIK: You know what, you make a really good point there because this weak jobs report that came out on Friday, it could really force the Fed's hand to make good on that promise. You know, remember, the Fed, it has two mandates. And one of those mandates is to promote maximum employment.

This August report gives the Fed more room to take action. And you look at before Friday, you know, the economic picture was actually looking more promising. It was looking brighter. The housing sector is really showing much improvement with sales of homes. Foreclosures are down. Prices of homes are going up. The service sector is showing improvement. Retail sales are improvement. You know, before Friday, that meant that maybe a stimulus wasn't need. Well, now, after Friday, that weak jobs report for August is really resetting this stimulus conversation.

Now, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, he spoke at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in August. He reiterated that the Fed still has tools at its disposal. And at this moment, Wall Street is betting on another quantitative easing three, as it's called, or this bond buying program, to try to really rev up the U.S. economy. To try to give it a jolt.

It's not a sure thing. Wall Street is certainly betting on it. But you know what? The Fed may wind up waiting to see how the ECB's own stimulus action goes. The European Central Bank, the equivalent to our Fed, announced that those stimulus programs this past week. So the Fed may sit it out a little bit. But most analysts say the August jobs report means stimulus is coming. We shall see.


BLACKWELL: We will see indeed.

Both Obama and Romney will be speaking later during campaign stops in Florida and Virginia. And, of course, we'll bring you their comments, live.

KAYE: Now a CNN exclusive. The Navy SEALs who captured and killed Osama bin Laden are telling top brass at the Pentagon, a bombshell book on the raid is wrong. Former Navy Seal Matt Bissonnette has stirred a sensation with his firsthand account of the al Qaeda leader's killing in his bestseller, "No Easy Day," written under the pen name Mark Owen. He says bin Laden had already been shot and was lying on the floor when he and other SEALs entered his room at bin Laden's hideaway in Pakistan. CNN has learned the head of U.S. Special Operations went back to Bissonnette's fellow SEALs to find out if it really happened that way. They told him, no, bin Laden was standing in the room when they entered and that's when they shot him.

BLACKWELL: Mexican police have arrested a suspect in the killing of a U.S. border patrol agent that blew open the lid on the botched U.S. gun smuggling sting known as "Fast and Furious." Leonel Sanchez Jesus Meza was detained about 60 miles off the Arizona border. The U.S. is seeking to extradite him. He's the second person arrested in the case. Three others are still at large. Border Agent Brian Terry was killed in a fire-fight two years ago. The two guns found at the scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious. We'll have much more on this still ahead in the show.

KAYE: Four NFL players are eligible to play in their team's season openers this weekend despite being suspended for their alleged roles in the New Orleans Saints pay for injury program. That's the decision of an appeals panel. Now the NFL commissioner is reviewing the suspensions of Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith. After he heard the decision, Vilma tweeted "victory is mine." Smith tweeted a "thank you" message to supporters.

There are less than two months left now until the presidential election. And today we're focusing on Florida, the ever important swing state. We'll look at how the state has changed and how the candidates are really trying to capitalize.

BLACKWELL: And an airline bars a teenage boy with down syndrome from boarding a flight. They say he was a safety risk, but his parents say it really amounts to discrimination.


BLACKWELL: The political conventions are over and now it's time for the candidates to speak face-to-face to the voters, get to them where they live, especially in the swing states. This morning we're focusing on Florida. President Obama is there today. Here's the latest CNN/Time/ORC poll. Obama leads, but the margin is slim. And, of course, that could change by November.

Let's look deeper inside the Florida numbers, though. Republicans have asked, are you better off now than you were when Barack Obama took office? Well, when the president took the oath of office, the national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. In Florida, it was 8.6 percent. This July it was 8.3 percent nationally, 8.8 percent in Florida.

Now, two years ago, around the time of the midterm elections, it was 9.8 percent across the country, 12 percent in Florida. And, again, now, 8.1 percent and 8.8 percent. It's positive, good trend, but Republicans will tell you that Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, should get the credit. So, what does all this mean? Well, it means the outcome in Florida is even harder to predict.

KAYE: Victor, both of the presidential candidates are making sure they get their messages out in Florida. Different messages aimed at the same voters. CNN chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin has more on the president's plan to build on his convention momentum.

JESSICA Yellin, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, President Obama is in Florida on day two of his post convention swing. Joining him is former governor and former Republican Charlie Crist. The intended message, three and a half years later, President Obama still has bipartisan appeal, although former Governor Crist may not have much credibility with the state's Republicans.

Now, expect President Obama to continue drawing contrast with his opponent, Governor Romney, on their economic visions for the future. Here's how the president has been making his point on the campaign trail.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All they've got to offer is the same prescriptions that they've had for the last 30 years -- tax cuts, tax cuts, gut some regulations, oh, and more tax cuts. Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life. It'll cure anything according to them.


YELLIN: Florida is a crucial battleground state. And given the electoral math, if the president wins Florida, it will be very difficult for Mitt Romney to find a path to the White House.


KAYE: Jessica Yellin, thank you.

We have much more ahead on our Florida focus coming up in the 7:00 hour Eastern Time. We'll check the Democrats' plan to capture the state again this election. At 8:15, the Republican response and the issues they see as the key to taking back the state. And then at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, we'll look at which voters will decide how the state swings. Plus, we'll bring you President Obama live from St. Petersburg.

BLACKWELL: An airline deems a teenage boy with down syndrome to be a security risk and refused to let him on board. Was it fair of the airline or a violation of the boy's civil rights?


BLACKWELL: Cross country this morning. And we're starting in Florida.

A parking garage collapsed in the middle of the day and it was caught on surveillance video. Look at this. This garage is for the Broward County Courthouse. And, get this, they were going to demolish this anyway and that's why it was empty. No people, no cars inside. But there was so much dust that at least one person thought it was a terror attack. No one was seriously hurt.

Now to Georgia. A woman is steaming mad. You probably would be too. She got two speeding tickets on the same road at the same time. Listen. First she was stopped for driving 56 in a 35. After the officer wrote the ticket, he said, hold on, there's another officer here to write you another ticket. That was for driving 62 in a 35.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, ma'am, we're giving you a second ticket and this is to make an example of you.

NYOKA PATTON, DRIVER: And they're on the same exact minute of the same exact day. Then I just went into total shock. I was like -- I was so upset, I couldn't even cry.


BLACKWELL: Understandable. The police chief says the two officers were at opposite ends of the road and the driver sped up between the two officers.

And look at what's visible in Alabama as a result of Hurricane Isaac. This is wreckage from a schoonor that ran aground in 1923. You see the high surf from Isaac washed off all the sand.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am stoked that it's as well preserved as it is.

JENNY TUCKER, FORT MORGAN, ALABAMA, RESIDENT: It's just really incredible to see history just laying right here on Fort Morgan, on the beach.


BLACKWELL: The wreckage is in a remote part of the shoreline. It's uncovered every few years when a big storm hits.

KAYE: A California family says their teenage son was not allowed on a plane because he has down syndrome. Now they plan to sue, claiming American Airlines discriminated against their son. The airline says workers couldn't calm the boy down and that he was a security risk. But his parent's cell phone video tells another story. Carolyn Costello with our affiliate KTLA has more.


CAROLYN COSTELLO, KTLA REPORTER (voice-over): This home video shows Bede Vanderhorst at a Journey concert. A 16-year-old boy called up on stage and given a guitar by the band. His parents describe him as outgoing, fun loving and charming, but they say the son they love was singled out and discriminated against because he has down syndrome.


ROBERT VANDERHORST, FATHER: We never went down the ramp.

J. VANDERHORST: We were not allowed on the plane because this man saw my son and made a decision.

COSTELLO: Joan and Robert Vanderhorst, who spoke with us through Skype, tell us as they waited to board an American Airlines flight with their son, they were told they weren't allowed on.

J. VANDERHORST: OK, my question is, why are you singling me out and saying --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not singling you out.

J. VANDERHORST: Why aren't you telling them and them and them and all these people that have children that they have to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a security controlled area, you cannot be recording this.

COSTELLO: Joan pulled out her cell phone and began to videotape, documenting what she believes was a violation of her son's civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her son labeled a flight risk can be seen in the video sitting at the gate quietly playing with his hat. In the video you can hear John sobbing and her husband expressing disbelief.

R. VANDERHORST: It's amazing. He's demonstrating he's not a problem.

J. VANDERHORST: I kept saying, is this only because he has down syndrome?

COSTELLO: The family has flown together dozens of times. The only thing different, they had upgraded, for the first time, to first class.

J. VANDERHORST: That this little boy had a seat in first class area and for some reason they didn't want that. That wasn't acceptable.

COSTELLO: American Airlines released a statement that reads, in part, "the young man was excitable, running around and not acclimated to the environment. The pilot attempted to calm him down and acclimate him to the surroundings. His efforts were not successful. For the safety of the young man and the safety of others, American Airlines offered to book another flight for the family."

But the family says that statement is untrue. They say they'll sue American Airlines and hope their experience will teach the company and people in general a valuable lesson.

R. VANDERHORST: To respect each person's dignity. Every one of us should be treated with equal dignity.


KAYE: A lot of people talking about this story. We want your opinion on this. You heard the parents. They're filing a lawsuit. By the way, they're coming on this show at 9:15 Eastern Time this morning to talk about it. So, let us know. Do you think that they have a case for discrimination? You can tweet me @RandiKayeCNN or you can tweet Victor @VictorCNN. We'll read your responses later this morning.

BLACKWELL: It was a day that transformed the nation and the lives of thousands of first responders. How those who worked at Ground Zero are fighting for their health and the medical fund that's helping them.


KAYE: Welcome back. Twenty-four minutes past the hour.

It began as a normal sunny day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania nearly 11 years ago. But by mid morning, the entire nation would be reeling from the devastating terror attacks of September 11th that left nearly 3,000 people dead. President Obama marking the somber anniversary in his weekly address.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Instead of turning inward with grief, we honor the memory of those we lost by giving back to our communities, serving those in need and reaffirming the values, the heart, of who we are as a people. That's why we mark September 11th as a national day of service and remembrance, because we are one American family and we look out for each other, not just on the difficult days, but every day. Eleven years later, that's the legacy of 9/11. The ability to say with confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are.


BLACKWELL: Well, for some of the men and woman who were first on the scene at the World Trade Center, working at Ground Zero has led to serious illnesses. And, for some, death. Athena Jones has more on the compensation fund designed to help those workers pay their medical bills.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I help you officer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay where you are.

ERNIE VALLEBUONA, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Because I lived on Staten Island at the time and I could see the smoke coming from the tower.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ernie Vallebuona rushed to the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001, to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

VALLEBUONA: There was a lot of confusion and a lot of smoke. You couldn't see. When you were trying to walk through the smoke to search for survivors, you know, you could barely see your hand in front of you.

JONES: Then a New York City Police detective, Vallebuona spent six months at the site. A few years later, he was diagnosed with cancer.

VALLEBUONA: 2004 is when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

JONES: His cancer now in remission, Vallebuona had to use his retirement savings to pay bills his insurance didn't cover and is hoping to recoop some of that money. But 11 years after 9/11, Vallebuona and other first responders made sick by the chemicals and dust are still waiting for compensation from the government. Payments to some who developed respiratory, digestive and other conditions should begin in the next couple of month under a law President Obama signed in January of 2011. The Zadroga Act, named after New York Police Detective James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory illness after working at the World Trade Center site. While 9/11 victims and their families were compensated soon after the attacks, this law makes people who were hurt or got sick from living near or working at the site eligible for compensation. It sets aside some $2.8 billion to cover their claims. The government will announce soon which of more than 50 types of cancer, an illness left off the original list of ailments, will now be covered under the act.

Attorney Noah Kushlefsky plans to apply on Vallebuona's behalf as soon as the announcement is made. He represents nearly 4,000 first responder who became ill.

NOAH KUSHLEFSKY, KREINDLER & KREINDLER LLP: Now people are terribly sick. People can't support their families.

JONES: For those just now getting sick, Vallebuona hopes the fund will ultimately send this message.

VALLEBUONA: Just fight your cancer, man. Don't worry about money, don't worry about co-payments or medications. We got your back.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: An estimated 40,000 9/11 first responders and survivors are being monitored. Twenty thousand are being treated for illnesses as part of the Zadroga Act health program.

KAYE: The saying goes, you have a right to your own opinions, but not you own facts. Next, we've done some fact checking of our own on the Democratic Convention.


KAYE: Thirty minutes past the hour. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for starting your day with us.

KAYE: Here are some stories that we are watching this morning along with you. Canada proclaims Iran is the most significant threat to global peace and security. On Friday, they cut of all diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic. Canada's foreign affairs minister accuses Iran of not complying with U.N. resolutions to pertaining to its nuclear program and engaging in racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Iranian diplomats have been given four days to leave Canada.

In China at least 80 people have been killed and seven hundred injured after a series of earthquakes rocked the country's southern region, the four quakes all considered moderate in strength. Thousands of homes have been destroyed in damage forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

And in politics, this morning President Obama's approval rating has hit a 15-month high. Quite a post convention bump according to a recent Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans approve of the president's job performance. That's up three percentage points from the previous survey and seven points since the end of the Republican convention.

59 days left on the campaign trail. Hard to believe that, right?

BLACKWELL: It's coming down to the wire.

KAYE: And both President Obama and Mitt Romney are making their final pushes. President Obama kicks off a two-day bus tour through Florida. He's got stops in St. Pete and Kissimmee. And he'll spend the night in Orlando. Mitt Romney is in Virginia, he'll be at a rally in Virginia Beach before heading to the NASCAR race in Richmond this evening.

BLACKWELL: And now to the president. He is looking to capitalize on the convention momentum. Last week we had our Tom Foreman check the facts from the Republicans, and now he is turning that critical eye to the Democrats.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Randi, Victor, the Democratic Convention is finally done, the campaigns roll on. It's time to look at our fast five fact checks from Charlotte. And we start with the claim the Democrats have been pounding like a nail. That this White House has produced a tremendous number of jobs. Listen to the vice president.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF America: America has turned the corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we've since created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 25 -- 29 months.

FOREMAN: That is true, but watch the fine print. By just focusing on the last 29 months, the Dems are sidestepping all the jobs lost early in the Obama administration, as he wrestled with the turmoil left over by Mr. Bush. Consider it all, and the president will just about break even in terms of the number of jobs created and lost under his watch.

Mitt Romney was hit head on over his opposition to the big automakers bailout which President Obama championed.

FORMER GOV. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Mitt Romney proudly wrote an op-ed entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." You know, if he'd had his way, devastation would have cascaded from Michigan to Ohio and across the nation.

FOREMAN: The missing context, Romney never said we should abandon the auto makers. He simply felt the bankruptcy was a better way to help them reorganize than a government bailout would be.

Former president Bill Clinton drew huge cheers when he talked about the 66 million jobs created since 1961 and which party's presidents were in office for most of that growth.

BILL CLINTON: The Republicans have held the White House 28 years. The Democrats 24. So, what's the job score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42.

FOREMAN: His numbers are right, but the economy is a very big force over which presidents exert limited influence. Sometimes they inherit good ones, sometimes they inherit bad ones. Economists warn about giving any one leader or his party too much credit or blame. In his big address, President Obama boasted about the push toward energy independence boosting production, cutting oil imports.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at anytime in the last two decades.

FOREMAN: It's true and he can take some credit, but you also have to recognize that these are long term projects many in which were in place well before he took office. And finally, Michelle Obama accused her husband of driving a lousy car when they started dating.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door.

FOREMAN: The president's first car was a Ford Grenada. We don't know if he was still driving it when they met. But unless his taste in cars changed dramatically, we are going to say yes. He's lucky that she didn't show him the road. Randi, Victor?

FOREMAN: Thank you very much, Tom. Republican or Democrat, no one is safe from the late night comedians. Here are some of our favorites, "Late Night" laughs of the week.


JAY LENO: It seems that only 96,000 jobs added last month. Only 96,000, and half of those were strippers working the conventions. That wasn't even ...


JIMMY FALLON, TALK SHOW HOST: Reports that nine of the hotels being used for politicians at the Democratic National Convention had bedbugs. Yeah. When asked what it's like dealing with thousands of ruthless bloodsuckers, the bedbugs were like, that's OK. We'll deal with them.

LENO: A huge lighting problem in the convention hall today. They worked all day on it. They still couldn't get President Obama out of Bill Clinton's shadow. It's very hard.


CONAN O'BRIEN, TALK SHOW HOST: The Democratic convention takes place in Charlotte, at North Carolina. Yeah, out of habit, Clinton told Hillary that he was nowhere near Charlotte, he doesn't know who Charlotte is ...


O'BRIEN: And Charlotte is a liar. And that was his last (inaudible). She is the liar.

ANDY RICHTER: I don't know her and she's a liar.

FALLON: In a new interview, octomom, Nadya Suleiman says she doesn't know who Mitt Romney is. Then it got awkward when she was like, it's not one of my kids, is it?

O'BRIEN: Republicans have been asking in the last couple of days, are you better off now than you were four years ago? In response, Americans are saying no, we are worse off. Because four years ago, we'd never heard of Honey Boo-Boo.


DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: Let me say something, ladies and gentlemen, before we get too excited about Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair, I have made a pretty comfortable living talking to empty chairs. Thank you.

BILL MAHER, TALK SHOW HOST: People today, of course, quibbling about Obama's speech. It must have been pretty good because today, Clint Eastwood said he's voting for the chair.




KAYE: A botched government operation puts guns in the hands of criminals. An American border agent is dead. But now his suspected killer is in custody.


KAYE: Welcome back. Remember the government's controversial "Fast and Furious" guns operation? In September of 2009, ATF agent started an investigation by allowing more than 1,000 firearms to go walking into the hands of suspected criminals. ATF was tracking the guns hoping to take down crime cartels south of the border in Mexico. Then in December, 2010, a little over a year later, the worst scenario comes true, a border agent Brian Terry is killed in Arizona. The guns used in the shooting came from the government operation. And fast forward to now, Mexican police said they've arrested one of the agent Terry's alleged killers in Puerto Penasco about 80 miles south of the Arizona border. Nick Valencia is joining us now to talk about this. All right, so what do we know about this guy?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he's one of five people that were charged in this fatal shooting of Brian Terry. The other three remain on the run. In fact, when the shooting first happened, one person was detained. He's pleaded not guilty. He said he was there, Randi, but he had nothing to do with that. He said he didn't fire that fatal shot.

BLACKWELL: So, they've arrested this guy. What's next for him? Extradited back to the U.S.?

VALENCIA: Yeah, that's a great question, Victor. There's a mutual trade agreement, a treaty agreement between Mexico and the United States. They have agreed to mutually extradite, except this is an interesting habeas, Victor. Except in cases of capital punishment, as you may already know, Mexico does not have the death penalty. So, they can choose the option, whether or not, in this case, the U.S. decides to pursue charges of the death penalty, Mexico may decide not to extradite this suspect.

KAYE: Yeah, I know you have done a lot of stories, certainly south of the border. How big is the gun problem there? Aside from this "Fast and Furious" issue?

VALENCIA: This is a huge problem, just a very, very bad problem, inextricably linked with the drug war. Experts have always said it's people and drugs that go north, and drugs and guns that come south. If you can believe this, between 2007 and 2011, 70 percent of the guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes originated from sales in the United States. There is more than 6,000 gun shops along that U.S.-Mexico border. So it's a problem.

BLACKWELL: This is interesting timing. Because we are expecting a report on "Fast and Furious" coming out in the next few days, right?

VALENCIA: High drama. We are probably expecting a little bit more ...


VALENCIA: ... if you guys remember this summer, Attorney General Eric Holder becoming the first attorney general in the United States, sitting attorney general of the United States to be found in contempt by Congress, of course, they are alleging that he's withholding documents in this "Fast and Furious" debacle. It's just a huge black eye for the Justice Department in the United States.

KAYE: Nick Valencia, thank you.

VALENCIA: Thank you.


KAYE: A bus driver who makes $19 an hour is living out of his car. And that's because that kind of money doesn't get you far in Santa Barbara, California. But the city is trying to help. Wait until you hear how.


KAYE: When you think of Santa Barbara, California, you normally think of stunning vistas, beaches and big, beautiful homes. The average home in Santa Barbara costs more than $600,000. That means having a good job doesn't guarantee a roof over your head. For some people to live in their cars, actually. But the city is trying to help by offering a free parking space. Kyung Lah, CNN's explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UM: How are you today? Hi.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Julius Torvies is behind the wheel of a Santa Barbara MTV bus five days a week. A full time job that pays $19 an hour to the jovial driver with the unforgettable beard. When his workday is over, he moves from his bus to another vehicle, his van, where he lives.

UM: I have a regular full size mattress.

LAH: This is home because he makes too much to qualify for public housing, but can't afford rent in the high-cost city of Santa Barbara.

(on camera): A lot of people think that if you have a full time job in America, you are OK. That's really the case for you, is it?

UM: No. You know, I have got a full time job and barely make ends meet.

LAH (voice over): Debt from a failed small business piled up and he and his wife are still digging out. So, this county parking lot is where they sleep.

Joined by more than a dozen others who live in their cars. It's called a safe parking program. 114 spaces spread out across the county, with the waiting list of more than 40.

NANCY KAPP: I have senior citizens, I have couples, I have families.

LAH: A third of the people, says the program's manager, have jobs, but are under employed, like approximately 17 percent of Americans.

(on camera): What do you think it says about America when somebody who has a job, who wants to work still has to live in a car?

KAPP: I think people would be shocked. I think they would be shocked if they would come and meet some of these people. Because I tell you, when they come into my office, I want to cry because it reminds me of someone that could be my mother, my sister, my brother.

LAH: Or your bus driver.

UM: Good morning.

LAH: Who starts his day on the move. Breakfast with his wife Mary is at the doughnut shop.

UM: Toothbrush, toothpaste ...

LAH: The bathroom, a public one. The dressing room? The back of the van.

UF: Normal life is what you miss. You know, it's - living in a van is not the norm. LAH (on camera): Has the middle class in America changed?

UM: I think the middle class has slid down the scale a little bit more toward the lower class. When it's a little tougher for the middle class people to survive and to actually pursue the American dream.

I love you.

UF: I love you, too.

LAH (voice over): Torvies (ph) keeps chasing his dream hoping whoever wins this election will be able to shift the economy into gear.

UM: Good morning, thank you.

LAH: The jobs report says that 8 million people are considered underemployed due to economic reasons. But that is just part of the picture. Talk to members of the working middle class. And they will tell you that wages simply are not keeping up with what it costs to live in America. Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


KAYE: And this problem isn't unique in -- to Santa Barbara. Remember, we said the average home price is over $600,000. That doesn't even rank in the top 100 in terms of cities with the highest average home prices.

BLACKWELL: OK, you and I are just getting to know each other, right? So, I'm going to let you in on a little something about me. I'm an Apple guy. IPhones, iPads, I actually have my two iPhones right here with me. If you are like me, the news of a new iPhone is a big deal. The rumor is, it's coming next week. Next week. But what do we really know about it? We'll find out what one tech expert was able to dig up.


BLACKWELL: The day is almost here. Apple will be making that big announcement. You haven't seen me smile this bright all morning.

KAYE: No, you are celebrating already, and it hasn't even happened yet.

BLACKWELL: I am excited. I am.

KAYE: I know you are.

BLACKWELL: It sounds like it's going to be the iPhone 5.

KAYE: Yeah, that's what we are hearing. For Apple lovers, of course, it's like the Super Bowl and Christmas morning wrapped into one, certainly, for you, Victor it is. The iPhone 5 has been rumored and anticipated for so long. But what is going to be different from what we've already seen? That's what we wanted to know. So, joining us is technology expert Katie Linendoll. Katie, good morning. All right, so give us the scoop. I know you have some Intel. We are certainly hoping you do about the new iPhone. What do you know?

KATIE LINENDOLL: Yeah, certainly nobody in the tech industry draws as much hype as the Apple brand. And I think there is something to be excited this time around. This is the sixth generation iPhone. And sales are expected to be at an all time high. And I think a number of reasons for that. But mostly, because this is going to be pretty much a complete redesign. It's going to look like a taller, four-inch screen, thinner, lighter, faster. A lot of people are excited for that 4G LTE capability. Also, some nerdy little specs here for you -- a smaller charging dock is looking likely. We're used to that 30 pin right on the bottom. Probably going to be an eight pin connector there, headphone jack on the bottom. New headphones probably coming with this. We may even see a new iPod. But in terms of retail availability, I think it's going to be hitting about September 21st. And of course, we'll see that unveiled next. I love how Victor is so excited about this.

BLACKWELL: I am. I truly am. Now, you know, I have the two iPhones, I also have the iPad, which means anybody with these devices know that you have to have chargers everywhere.

KAYE: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: Right? You've got to have at least six chargers. Does that mean all of them are useless now?

LINENDOLL: You know, so I talked about on the bottom there, that's a 30-pin, that we all know we can use our chargers between devices from our iPad to our iPhone. A lot of people complaining that we are going to see probably a smaller charging dock. Now, I will say, I would be highly surprised if this does happen and Apple doesn't have an adapter type of accessory to make it easy for consumers. But I do think that we are going to see a smaller charging dock.

KAYE: And what about Sirius? That is still going to be part of the new one? Do we know?

LINENDOLL: Or, Sirius was a huge hit for consumers. So I think that's just going to be sticking around for awhile.

KAYE: All right. Good. Another rumor we're hoping you can clear up, what is going on with the new iPad mini? Is this unveiled alongside the iPhone 5 then?

LINENDOLL: Yeah, so, let's talk about the iPad-mini. This has been highly rumored. A few weeks ago I had probably told you that we would likely see this with the iPhone 5 unveil, however I think we see before holiday, but maybe unveiled in October. I don't think we see it next week. It's a lot to stack up in one announcement. But I will say the competition in terms of a smaller tablet is really heating up. Just yesterday, Amazon announced three new Kindle Fire's, which are pretty incredible, and pretty great price point. Google also has a smaller tablet. Samsung has a nice smaller tablet. It's great for the consumer in terms of competition, but also driving that price point down. Apple was never interested in a seven inch tablet in the past, however I think they want a slice of this pie. So I think we'll see that in about a month.

BLACKWELL: All right, Katie, thank you so much. You are -- you made my morning. It's like shaking the box on Christmas Eve. Thank you.

LINENDOLL: I love it.

BLACKWELL: Now, earlier today, we told you about a boy with Down syndrome who was banned from boarding a flight. His family is now suing the airline. So we asked you do they have a case for discrimination? Keep the comments coming. Of course, you can contact us on Twitter. We'll read some of them on air.


BLACKWELL: Let's catch you up on a story we have been following this morning. A family plans to sue American Airlines for discrimination after the airline refused to allow their 16-year-old son on the flight. Well, this is the boy, Bede Vanderhorst. He has Down syndrome. But the airline says he was a security risk because the family was flying in first class near the cockpit and they were afraid he would be an interference. The parents say their son was behaving, and they claim the airline discriminated against him and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

KAYE: This had a lot of us talking this morning. So, we asked you, what do you think? Do the parents have a case? Matthew tweeted us, "Yes, I think they do." And Pedro tweeted in support of the airline. "The pilot has the final say on whether a passenger goes or not, usually based on behavior." Sherrie has a different take, she says "It would be very interesting to see how the airline handles the P.R. in the case. It could be a disaster." And this from Brenda, "Good for you, parents, sue American Airlines for this horrendous treatment of your son." So, continue to keep tweeting us. We are reading your responses all morning. And also at 9:00 a.m. this morning, Eastern time, we'll talk to the boy's parents, we'll hear more about how this all happened. And we'll of course get their reaction to it. It's a very difficult situation for them to be dealing with.

BLACKWELL: We saw that cell phone video and the mother was crying ...

KAYE: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: And asking, why are you discriminating against us? So, we'll hear more of that coming up. Well, thanks for starting your morning with us. We have got much more ahead on CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It starts right now.