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Chicago Teachers Strike; Congress Back In Session Today; Report: Presidential Motorcade Death; Obama Bounces In Polls, Cash; Romney On Health Care Reform; Serena Williams Wins Fourth U.S. Open Title; Jobs and the Election; Eastwood Breaks Silence on RNC Speech; Reform Remedy; Dwyane Wade's Best Advice

Aired September 10, 2012 - 06:00   ET



Breaking news overnight, Chicago teachers go on strike, 26,000 of them hit the picket line after failing to reach a contract. A live report in moments.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: They're back to work at least, Congress back in session today. A look at what they're supposed to tackle just ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you recognize him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You know, everybody thinks it was like, you know it's him. No. To us at that time, it could have been anybody.


BERMAN: And he's got loose lips. The former Navy SEAL who wrote about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden gives inside details into that unforgettable day.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans sitting in for Zoraida this morning.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. So glad you're with us. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

And up first, there is breaking news this morning. Chicago's public school system, the third largest in the nation, about to be shut down by a teacher strike.

Late last night labor talks between the Chicago teachers union and school officials, they collapsed. The walkout this morning hits 400,000 students and nearly 700 schools.


KAREN LEWIS, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION PRESIDENT: We have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike. DAVID VITALE, CHICAGO SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT: You know, this is not a small commitment we're making at a time when our fiscal responsibility, our fiscal situation is really challenged.


BERMAN: Casey Wian is live from Chicago outside the Altgeld Elementary School and Casey, you know, it's been 25 years since the last big teacher strike in Chicago. What exactly is the union after this morning?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What they say they are after, John, is better working conditions, better conditions at the schools, for the students more variety of classes, less so-called teaching to the test.

They also say they are after more job security. They're not happy with the way teachers are being evaluated, and they want, like a lot of people want, better health care benefits.

What's interesting is negotiations continued all weekend long and it certainly appears that the two sides were becoming very, very close and a lot of folks were thinking that this strike would be averted.

In fact, the teachers union has said that they're not that far apart on salary issues. Over the four-year term of the proposed contract, the last offer from the school district, the average teacher would receive a 16 percent raise.

So that's not the issue. It's the other issues. Still, a lot of folks say that this strike is unnecessary. One of those people is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: I am disappointed that we have come to this point, given that even all the parties acknowledge how close we are because this is a strike of choice. And because of how close we are it is a strike that sun necessary. And I believe that the parties at hand should do what they need to do to do right by our children.


WIAN: Now, a tense situation could develop here later this morning, because this is one of 144 schools in the city of Chicago that is being set up as sort of a temporary place where working parents can drop their children, at least for four hours in the morning, if they have no other child care arrangement.

But at the same time, teachers are supposed to be picketing at their school. So it will be interesting to see whether parents are actually willing to allow their children to cross what we're anticipating could be picket lines later this morning -- John.

BERMAN: And Casey, what does an average Chicago teacher make? Just give us a reminder here? WIAN: Average teacher makes $76,000 a year. What is sort of a sticking point with them is that last year, because of the budget situation in Chicago a 4 percent raise that they were supposed to receive was cancelled.

So, that was one of the reasons why they started out these negotiations asking for a 30 percent raise over the four-year life of the next contract -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Casey Wian live in Chicago this morning where there is the breaking news, a teacher strike set to begin in hours.

ROMANS: All right, congress back to work today for an abbreviated pre-election session. Lawmakers are expected to take a pass, though, on the big issues, taxes, spending cuts.

Their main focus will probably be the very bare minimum, preventing a full-on government shutdown later this month. Also we're expecting Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. to return to the hill for the first time since May after he checked out of the Mayo Clinic where he was treated for depression.

Athena Jones is following all of the developments in Washington. Athena, we're also relieved, way back to work, taxpayer funded paycheck. What's on tap today?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're all getting back to work. We'll see what they actually get done, Christine. As you mentioned the only must-have bit of legislation is the short-term funding measure to fund the government.

That has to get to President Obama's desk by the end of this month. We're told the House expects to vote on that bill on Thursday and that the Senate will get to it next week. Beyond -- that's really the only thing we can say with nearly almost certainty is going to get done.

Everything else is a big question mark. Among the long list of other bills in the works, what is a Farm Bill that could get passed? If the Senate and the House can't reconcile their two different versions of that bill, we could see things like disaster aid, assistance to people affected by the drought, and by Hurricane Isaac.

We could see that kind of aid attached to that spending measure. But really it's anybody's guess how much anything else will get done.

ROMANS: I know each of these issues is so sticky. I mean, the Farm Bill alone, it's called the Farm Bill, but 80 percent of it is food stamps and that's a super political issue right now as well.

So the Farm Bill or the food stamps bill, depending how you look at it. What are the chances of reaching a deal on the deficit though before the end of the year?

JONES: Well, that's really the bigger question as you know, Christine. I mean, we're talking about a series of spending cuts and tax increases that people are calling the fiscal cliff. The Congressional Budget Office says that all of this kicks in together, taken together, it could plunge the economy back into recession. I mean, this is $110 billion in cuts next year alone, and so it's a really big deal.

A lot of uncertainty for business investors and it's unclear, because the divisions are great, for instance, over the Bush tax cuts whether they should be extended for everyone. Who knows what's really going to happen.

It seems one of those scenarios that they'll end up passing some sort of short-term deal. But that might not even happen until after the New Year. So they're going to have to retro actively undo some of these cuts. It's a big question --

ROMANS: So Americans find themselves in a position where Congress has to fix the problem that Congress made. I love it. Athena Jones today, thanks.

BERMAN: This just in to CNN. Local reports out of the Detroit area saying an officer has been shot and killed in a standoff with a gunman who was barricaded in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township.

We're being told by our Detroit affiliate that police have closed off roads in the area. We have no other details available right now. We are monitoring the situation and will bring you updates throughout the morning.

ROMANS: Sad news on the campaign trail. A veteran police officer who was part of the security detail escorting President Obama's motorcade, he has died after a tragic accident.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At approximately 4:40 p.m. today, Officer Bruce Saint Laurent was involved in a motor vehicle accident during the presidential motorcade.

Officer Saint Laurent was transported to St. Mary's Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. Officer Saint Laurent was a 20-year veteran of the Jupiter Police Department, 18 years as a motor officer and Officer Saint Laurent's family has been notified.


ROMANS: A pickup truck hit Officer Bruce Saint Laurent's motorcycle on I-95 in West Palm Beach. President Obama says his thoughts and prayers are with the man's family.

New campaign fundraising numbers out this morning for the President. His campaign says it raise more than Mitt Romney in the month of August with a total of $114 million to Romney's $111 million.

The campaign trail in Florida, Sunday, President Obama told supporters that his opponents are not very good when it comes to crunching numbers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They couldn't answer questions about how they'd pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts, and $2 trillion in new defense spending, without raising taxes on the middle class. That's not bold leadership, that's bad math.


ROMANS: The latest Gallup daily tracking poll shows a post-convention bounce for the President. The President leading Mitt Romney 49 percent to 44 percent that's up from just one percentage point before the democratic national convention, the widest margin so far I think in any polls.

BERMAN: Mitt Romney himself, he's campaigning in Ohio today in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," he said he's not getting rid of all of health care reform.

He added there are many things about it he likes. Later his spokesman clarified saying Romney intends to appeal so-called Obamacare into his own version.

Romney also talked about defense cuts telling NBC it was a mistake for leaders within his own party to follow the President's lead.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it.


BERMAN: By the way, Paul Ryan was one of the Republican congressmen who did go along with it. Romney says he would maintain defense spending at the current level of GDP.

Some really great sports news, Serena Williams pushed to the limit on her way to a fourth, fourth U.S. Open title. Serena rallied to force a third set tiebreaker and beat top ranked Victoria Azarenka last night in New York City.

She became the first 30-something woman to win a grand slam since 1987. It is her 15th grand slam title overall. The men, they play tonight, Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray, in their final.

ROMANS: I just can't stop watching her.

BERMAN: She's great.

ROMANS: So awesome.

BERMAN: So much enthusiasm. ROMANS: Hate those pesky ads on your kindle screen? If you have the latest Kindle Fire, there's a way you can avoid them. That's just ahead.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this Monday morning. It's almost 14 minutes past the hour. I'm Christine Romans in for Zoraida today.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. We're very glad you're with us. We do have breaking news this morning. For the first time in 25 years Chicago teachers are on strike. Contract talks broke down late last night.

Thirty thousand teachers and aides in the nation's third largest public school system set to walk the picket lines this morning. The strike hits 400,000 students and nearly 700 schools.

ROMANS: The retired Navy SEAL who wrote the best-selling book about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, he says he's speaking out to set the record straight.

Matt Bissonnette who used the pen name Mark Owen to write "No Easy Day" tells CBS' "60 Minutes" there was nothing political about his book and he insists the Pentagon is off base with accusations that he compromised national security by writing this account.

Listen to him describe the moment he and another SEAL encountered Bin Laden and shot him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you recognize him?

MATT BISSONNETTE, AUTHOR, "NO EASY DAY": No. You know, everybody thinks it was like you know it's him. No. To us at that time it could have been anybody. Maybe this is a bodyguard. It doesn't matter. The point is, is you just continue clearing.



SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: Did you recognize him?

MATT BISSONNETTE, AUTHOR, "NO EASY DAY": No. You know, everybody thinks it was like you know it's him. No. To us at that time, it could have been anybody.

Maybe this is another brother. Maybe this is a bodyguard. It doesn't matter. The point is to you just continue clearing.



Bissonnette said he wrote "No Easy Day" to commemorate the 9/11 attacks and celebrate the hundreds of people who worked on the mission to take out the al Qaeda leader.

BERMAN: That's kind of chilling, I have to say right there.

New developments and major worries this morning about Iraq's fragile government, after the country's fugitive vice president was sentenced to death. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's top Sunni politician, who fled the country months ago, was sentenced to hang for killing two people. He was also accused of running a death squad.

Al-Hashemi says the charges were politically motivated. The verdict came on a day when a wave of violence spread across Iraq that left at least 79 people dead and 270 people wounded.

ROMANS: All right. The East Coast is cleaning up this morning after storms, even tornadoes, blue through over the weekend. And tropical storm Leslie is still on the move after brushing past Bermuda. Let's get to Rob Marciano with the travel forecast.

And I'll tell you, Saturday was beautiful in Chicago. But I spent 13 hours at O'Hare because of what was happening on the East Coast.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that will happen to you. But yes, Chicago is a beautiful place this time of the year. Sorry, you had to wait it out at the airport. That's not the nicest spot.

All right. If you're traveling out over Bermuda today, not too bad. You had your rough weather over the weekend. Right now, Leslie is moving rapidly towards the north.

By the way, here is hurricane Michael. It's weakening but it's still a hurricane. It's been really kind of the -- you know, little sister -- or little brother of Leslie. Movement of Leslie is rapidly off towards the north. This is going to impact the maritimes of Canada, including, of course, Newfoundland.

Here's the forecast track picking up team, may very well have hurricane force wind gusts, specially on the right side of this thing when it makes landfall. It looks like tomorrow afternoon. Big waves from this thing have been impacting the U.S. coastline all weekend long. And that will continue to be the case, especially across the Northeast.

The moisture from Isaac, that spawned some of that rough weather over the weekend, that has now been pushed off by this strong cold front, not very cold but certainly dry, low level of humidity. A matter of fact, the northern plains looking at temperatures that will be above average and a couple of fronts out here on the West Coast will bring some gusty winds and there's some fire danger out there.

Eighty-seven degrees expected in Los Angeles, 78 degrees and another beautiful day in Chicago, and 76 degrees expected in New York.

By the way, guys, today is the peak of hurricane season. So we'll start to see things taper off slowly over the next couple of weeks.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Rob. BERMAN: Amazon will allow people who buy the new Kindle Fire tablet to pay an extra $15 to avoid ads. The online superstore changed its pricing policy after people complained in online forums about not having the option to avoid these ads. Amazon now says we're happy to offer customers the choice, for 15 bucks.

ROMANS: Not a bad month for Rory McIlroy. The 23-year-old sensation from Northern Ireland won the BMW championship by two strokes yesterday. It's his second win in a row. His third win in four weeks.

McIlroy, now the world's top ranked golfer. He has earned $4.2 million from those three wins and stands to collect another $10 million with a good showing in two weeks at the season-ending tour championships.

BERMAN: He's on fire. He's seriously playing very well right now.


BERMAN: All right. Proving it is still possible to live entirely off the grid. An organic farm is growing all of its own food and generating its own power, and fueling the kitchen with methane gas right from the source, a source that goes moo. The pioneer behind this tells his story on "THE NEXT LIST" this week. Take a look at this.


JUAN SOSTHEIM, RANCHO MARGOT: My father thought I was a nut for taking the job but I took a job working at Burger King. I became operations manager and director of Burger King in Newark (ph). One, he's coming from a very strong corporate sector and he says he's now paying for his sins.

But now I want to use the knowledge that I gained and give it to others. So I'm creating this living university here so that people can come enjoy themselves, and by osmosis, if nothing else, take over everything that we know.

Hello everyone my name is Juan Sostheim and I'm the owner and founder of Rancho Margot.


BERMAN: That is so fascinating.

All right. Do not miss "THE NEXT LIST" this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, on CNN.

ROMANS: All right. Mitt Romney says if he's elected president he's going to create 12 million jobs. But is it even impossible for him to do that? We're going to break it down, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning. For our in-depth focus this week we are diving into economic issues in this race for the White House.

After that disappointing jobs report Friday, just 96,000 jobs added and more than triple that dropping out of the workforce, Christine's been looking at Mitt Romney's claim that he can create 12 million jobs in four years. Is that realistic, given how weak the labor market is?

ROMANS: And it's so interesting I've been asking the jobs gurus for a long time about this. This is what Romney says.


ROMNEY: And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.


ROMANS: OK, that was at the RNC and it's a claim the campaign continues to make. First of all, let's look at if this has been done before. We went back and did the math and Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and FDR all saw 12 million new jobs created during their presidencies, but it was over the course of two terms and none of them were dealing with the kind of economy we're in right now.

Our GDP growth is just 1.7 percent. And forecasts are for growth around 2.3 percent for next year.

When President Clinton was in office, and had all those job gains, GDP grew at an average rate of 3.9 percent, John. Under Ronald Reagan 3.4 percent. FDR saw 8.4 percent growth on average during his time in office.

So what do economists say? When we asked if this claim was feasible? You get every answer, yes, no and maybe.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, says it's going to happen no matter what. He told us, regardless of who is president, the economy is going to generate 12 million jobs. It's not a high bar. He added that a high bar would be shooting for 12 million, 14 million, or 15 million jobs in the next four years.

The Obama campaign cited analysis when we asked them about this. The Congressional Budget Office, the gold standard of nonpartisan economic analysis, it believes less than 10 million jobs will be created in the next four years.

And Joel Prakken, senior managing director of Macro Economic Adviser, says 12 million isn't outside of the realm of possibility, but it would require getting the economy back to full employment by then. That means jobless rate would need to drop to about 5.5 percent by next year.

So, really interesting. Could it possibly possible? It's possible. Is it feasible? That's the question. Mitt Romney says it's his policies that will make it happen. But we don't in some cases know what those policies are except for cutting tax rates and balancing the budget.

BERMAN: And economists all over the place with their estimates here.

All right. So what is the one other thing we need to know?

ROMANS: All right. The one thing you need to know about your money today, economies around the world are not growing on their own. Central banks have been flooding the markets with money.

We're going to find out this week if the Fed is going to continue to do that here. It has a meeting on interest rates. The S&P 500 is up 12 percent since the start of the year. Many say in large part because government's been doing nothing but central banks have been flooding the world with money.

BERMAN: It's really interesting stuff, not easy to understand but fascinating.

ROMANS: It's easy to understand.

BERMAN: If you're you. If you're you.

ROMANS: Oh, come on.

BERMAN: You'll explain it to everyone.

And if you have a personal economic story you'd like to share, visit CNN iReport, our Web site. Check out our assignment page and let us know are you better off?

And this, 26 minutes after the hour, Clint Eastwood, he says he is proud of his convention moment, talking to an invisible person in a chair. One man, Paul Miller from "The Carmel Pine Cone" talked exclusively to Eastwood about this episode and we are talking to him, next. So stay with us.


BERMAN: Clint Eastwood talking about talking to an empty chair. His first interview since the Republican convention.

ROMANS: Horror on the gridiron -- a college football player fractures his spine, stops breathing and is given CPR on the field. Tense moments for a family and teammates this morning waiting to find out if he'll ever walk again.

BERMAN: And not just a super hero on-screen. Actor Christian Bale comes to the aid of one of his biggest fans. The picture just ahead.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans, in for Zoraida today.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's half past the hour right now. And one of the biggest headlines on the political convention is still actor Clint Eastwood's rambling, improvised remarks to the Republican National Convention.


CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that? Can't do that to himself. You're crazy. You're absolutely crazy.


You're getting as bad as Biden.



BERMAN: Now in the wake of the media storm that followed, Eastwood himself remained silent -- until now. The actor and director spoke to the publisher of his hometown paper, "The Carmel Pine Cone" about this controversy.

And joining me now, we're lucky to have Paul Miller, who interviewed Clint Eastwood.

And, Paul, Clint Eastwood told you that his speech was mission accomplished. What exactly was he trying to do here?

PAUL MILLER, "THE CARMEL PINE CONE": Well, actually, when he said that, what he meant was he irritated some people but pleased other people, and what he meant was that he irritated the people, I believe, he intended to irritate. And he pleased the people he intended to please. So that's what he meant when he spoke to me about mission accomplished.

But, of course, he didn't have that necessarily know what the reaction would be, of course. And so I think he also was referring to the fact that actually things on the stage transpired just the way he wanted them to. That's what he said.

BERMAN: Transpired the way they wanted them to. A lot has been made of the fact that the Romney team never saw the speech, there were no prepared remarks, there was no teleprompter here.

Mitt Romney himself was asked about this, this weekend. Let's listen to what he said.


ROMNEY: You don't expect to have a guy like Clint Eastwood get up and, you know, read some speech off a teleprompter like a politician. You expect him to speak from the heart and that's exactly what he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So, Paul, your piece had just amazing details about the minutes before Clint Eastwood took the stage with that chair. Walk us through how this happened. Just spur of the moment?

MILLER: Yes. He had been asked in august right after the Sun Valley fund-raiser to appear at the convention, but the fact that he would -- would participate wasn't finalized until just a week before he showed up. He left San Jose airport on a Thursday morning, that very morning that he made the appearance. Flew to Florida, went to his hotel room, was still thinking over his remarks.

He was visited by Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades in his hotel room, and -- but still wasn't able to commit exactly what he was going to say. Then he took a nap. And when he woke up from his nap that's when he actually mapped out, in a broad way, what he was planning to say. But the idea of using the empty chair as a stand-in for the President didn't strike him until he was backstage and about to walk out to the lectern.

BERMAN: And he, I understand, wanted to do three things here with this speech. Three things that he says he accomplished. What were they?

MILLER: Well, the first one was that not everyone in Hollywood is a lefty, as Mr. Eastwood referred to them. And also, that President Obama, in his view has not fulfilled his campaign promises. And then the third thing was that politicians aren't royalty or something, that if they're not doing the job, you got to let them go. That's what he said to the convention and they went nuts when he said it.

BERMAN: Now a lot of people have noted that Clint Eastwood himself had a spell as a politician. Was he an experienced orator? Did he have an opportunity to speak in front of large groups of people?

MILLER: No. Carmel is a small town. It's a beautiful town, but it's a small town. And things are very informal there. I do have a tie on today but I usually don't wear one to work.

And so, he interacted in a friendly and spontaneous way with his -- with the media, with his constituents, and that's just the way he does it. He told me I really don't know how to give a speech.

BERMAN: Quickly, Paul, since you really are one of the only people in the media to speak to him since this all happened, what's his state of mind? What does he make of the frenzy after his speech?

MILLER: Well, he's a very easygoing person, nothing really perturbs him. I'm not sure if something goes wrong in one of his productions how he acts. But he just was taking things as they come. I hope we'll all be that way when we're 82 and have his level of accomplishments.

BERMAN: All right. Paul Miller of "The Carmel Pine Cone" -- thanks so much for joining us this morning. Some really, really interesting information. Take care. ROMANS: We've got some new details just coming in to CNN right now on a tense situation near Detroit. An armed standoff with an accused cop killer is going on right now. The West Bloomfield Police Department now confirming to us one of its officers was shot late last night has died. They're not naming this officer yet, but we know he is a 12- year veteran of the force.

The department says that the officer was responding to reports of gunfire in a home. When he turned his gun on the police, and an armed standoff continues at this hour.

We'll continue to update this story as we get more information.

Bagram Prison in Afghanistan made infamous by the detainee abuse scandal is now officially under Afghan control. The U.S. handover is part of a gradual transfer of power to Afghanistan as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw. There's a hitch, though. The U.S. declined to surrender an undetermined number of detainees during the handover because they're believed to be high value Taliban and al Qaeda network militants.

BERMAN: New this morning, evacuations have been ordered near the home of a British family that was murdered in the French Alps because of materials found inside the home. Meantime, the little girl who survived the shooting that killed her parents and two other people has returned to relatives in Britain. The 4-year-old Zeena Al-Hilli hid under her mother's skirt as the bullets riddled their car.

Police are looking into other financial dispute between her father and her uncle had anything to do with this murder.

ROMANS: It's too early to tell whether Tulane football player Devon Walker will be permanently paralyzed. He's in intensive care in an Oklahoma hospital after doctors stabilized his fractured spine during a three-hour operation yesterday. Walker was injured Saturday during the last play of the first half in a game against Tulsa.

Doctors say it could take up to 72 hours. It's hard to watch the video even -- 72 hours he'll be able to get a really full extent they'll know of his injury.

BERMAN: It is hard to watch. We are all thinking of him this morning.

Football is back, pro football. So is Peyton Manning looked great yesterday? Manning playing his first regular season game for the Denver Broncos, the first game in 20 months after four neck surgeries. He threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. There's one of them right there. And a 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And the first Sunday of the NFL season also saw the longest field goal in NFL history, at least -- there it is bouncing off the cross bars. San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers clunked that ball and through the uprights from 63 yards -- 63 yards. This tied an NFL record.

It happened in Lambeau Field on the way to a win over the Packers. And this isn't something you see every day, in fact never before. Shannon Eastin has made NFL history. Eastin was the lines judge in the Rams-Lions game, making her the first woman to be an official in a regular season game. She is one of the replacement officials hired by the league while the regular officials are locked out. She tucked her ponytail under her cap and then she went to work.

Again, I have to add it again, because it's not in (INAUDIBLE), the Patriots also big winners yesterday. Just to get that in there.

ROMANS: Christian Bale responding to a bat signal to brighten a sick child's day. The actor flew a 4-year-old leukemia patient named Jayden Barber and his family out to California for a lunch date at Disneyland's Club 33 earlier this week. Barber's mother posted a pic on a Facebook page set up for her son called "lighting the bat signal for Jayden". That story reading gives me goose bumps.

BERMAN: It's so nice. So nice to do.

All right, politics again. The cash race is on. And President Obama's latest haul has people talking overnight, including no doubt the Romney campaign. We'll tell you why, coming up next.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this Monday morning. It's 42 minutes after the hour. I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for Zoraida today.

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

There was some political news made overnight while you were sleeping. New numbers showing that President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney in both the polls, and fund-raising -- at least this one small snapshot with the incumbent taking in $114 million in campaign donations in August, more than Mitt Romney.

The President also seeing a slight post-convention bump in the polls. Sunday's Gallup daily tracking poll finds the President with his biggest margin over Mitt Romney since July: 49 percent of registered voters support the President, while 44 percent prefer Mitt Romney. Before the convention, President Obama held a one-point lead in the poll.

We want to break down these numbers, important stuff. We're going to live to Peter Hamby in Richmond, Virginia, this morning.

And, Peter, does this qualify as a convention bounce here?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I wouldn't call it -- yes, I wouldn't call it big mo, John. Maybe it's got some medium mo coming out of the convention.

The fund-raising numbers are great news for the Obama campaign which hasn't outraised Romney and the Republican National Committee for four months. They're saying they've got about a third of these donors in this latest fund-raising haul are new donors. That's really important for the Obama campaign. As you know, there's been questions about whether, you know, their enthusiasm among grassroots donors wanes. It's also important that they're tapping new donors.

And also with these poll numbers from Gallup, I mean part of this poll is taken before the convention, during the convention, and after the convention. So, you know, it's hard to tell exactly where they stand.

But, John, we do have a new CNN poll coming out later today taken entirely after the convention. So, that will give us an important look as to whether Barack Obama has a serious bounce out of the convention or whether these numbers -- or whether the race is actually just tied as it has been for basically most of the year.

BERMAN: And that's a good tease. I know there are a lot of us, including both you, Peter, and me who will be waiting on the edge of our seats looking for those poll numbers to come out later today. And we should say the cash number for President Obama, they did not release the cash on hand figure, so entirely possible, in fact likely that the Romney team has a lot more money in the bank now.

But I want to move on, because we heard some different language advantage over this weekend from Mitt Romney talking about the issues. And many people wondering whether this is sort of a shift in the positioning of his campaign.

HAMBY: Yes, Mitt Romney went on "Meet the Press" -- a rare appearance on the Sunday shows for Mitt Romney. He was asked about President Obama's health care plan. Listen to what he had to say about liking some elements of it, John.


ROMNEY: I'm not getting rid of all -- of health care reform, of course. There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.


HAMBY: That stood out for a number of reasons. First of all, the first line of that statement, "I'm not going to get rid of Obamacare", stands stark contrast to what he's been saying on the campaign trial to the Republican base for two years, which is "I'm going to get rid of Obamacare on day one."

This poses a political and a policy sort of problem for Mitt Romney. One, politically the conservative base wants to get rid of Obamacare. They don't want to hear their nominee talking about what's nice about Obamacare. And the Romney campaign later clarified that when he was talking about pre-existing conditions, he only meant people that do already have pre-existing conditions. They would be covered.

And secondly, without an individual mandate, which Romney opposes, how do you pay for these things? You can't just sort of pick and choose, John, what you want. So the Romney campaign had to be on cleanup duty a little bit after that comment yesterday.

BERMAN: And Peter, over the weekend we did see one of those indelible images which kind of sticks with us for an entire campaign. An amazing picture of the President in Florida.

HAMBY: Yes, in Port Saint Lucie Florida, Romney -- excuse me, not Romney, President Obama met a pizza shop owner who was completely enthusiastic about the President. He lifted the President up, bear- hugged him. An amazing, amazing picture here. You got to think the Secret Service was really nervous.

This guy's name is Scott Van Duzer. He says he's a Republican who voted for Barack Obama last time and will do so again. Helene Cooper in "The New York Times" has a nice little vignette about him today. Apparently this dude can bench 350. President Obama weighs 176 pounds. So this wasn't too heavy a lift for him.

BERMAN: Yes. All right, Peter Hamby out live in Richmond, Virginia, this morning.

Thanks for joining us.

I mean, who picks up the President? Who picks up the President?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes, I'm not surprise the Secret Service wasn't all over that guy.

ROMANS: But could he pick up the President and Ali Velshi at the same time? That's --

BERMAN: That -- he probably could. He probably could.

ROMANS: Ali is in for Soledad today.

VELSHI: It's like a weight joke on me.

ROMANS: No, no, no. That's not --

VELSHI: It's Monday morning. It's not even 4:00 in the morning whatever time it is in California.


ROMANS: Good morning, Ali.

VELSHI: Good morning to both of you.

Happening right now Chicago teachers on strike this morning for the first time in 25 years. Why have the talks failed? School board president David Vitale joins us live. With over 8 percent unemployment, millions of people looking for work, the jobs crisis in America is the issue of the 2012 presidential election. How do the candidates differ on their plans to fix the struggling economy? CNN is going in-depth on the issue all week long. This morning former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers joins us live.

And NFL star linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo caught in the middle of a political fire storm this morning for supporting same-sex marriage. He joins us along with former football star Wade Davis, who is now openly gay.

Those stories and more just ahead on "STARTING POINT."

ROMANS: Wow. What a lineup.

VELSHI: It is quite a big one.

ROMANS: I can't wait to see that. That sounds great.

VELSHI: Good to see you.

ROMANS: All right. If you're already feeling the pain at the pump, get ready to dig deeper into your wallet. Where prices are headed. I'll have that for you next.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. I'm Christine Romans in for Zoraida.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Glad you're with us right now. We want to get you up to speed on all of the top stories this morning.

And parents in Chicago scrambling. Teachers on strike for the first time in 25 years there. Labor talks broke down last night. The strike hit 400,000 students in nearly 700 schools.

ROMANS: New details on a tense situation unfolding right now near Detroit. It's an armed standoff with an accused cop killer. The West Bloomfield Police Department now confirming to us that one of its officers who was shot late last night has died. They are not naming this officer but we know he's a 12-year veteran of the force.

These are live pictures right now of the standoff. He was responding to reports of gunfire in the home when the suspect turned his gun on the police. The armed suspect now barricaded in that home.

Again those are live pictures we were showing there.

Tropical Storm Leslie still on the move after brushing past Bermuda. Quick check right now of the weather with Rob Marciano.

Hey, Rob.

MARCIANO: Good morning, Christine. Hurricane Michael also in the picture, but has been the past couple of days. Well off near the Atlantic and overall threat to land. This thing hit Bermuda or really just kind of grazed Bermuda earlier over the weekend. Now making a run at Newfoundland. And last year we had a couple of storms that hit the Canadian Maritimes. Looks like this will be the first one this year.

Could be near hurricane strength when it makes landfall during the day tomorrow. Over 800 miles away now. But it's going to be picking up steam as it picks up some energy from this jet stream -- this cold front that pushed all the moisture from Isaac out.

The beautiful fall weather, the low-levels of humidity. Also getting rough weather across the northeast, and even some reports of tornadoes on Saturday.

By the way, flash flooding across parts of Vegas and the desert southwest, 78 in Chicago, 76 degrees. And a beautiful day expected in the big apple.

Christine, back up to you.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Rob.

BERMAN: All right. Gas prices on the rise again this morning. And now we are all feeling the effects of Hurricane Isaac at the pump. Right now AAA says the national price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.28.

Gas prices have now risen close to eight cents per gallon in the past two weeks since Isaac shut offshore posts and refineries along the Gulf Coast.

ROMANS: You know what, experts had thought they'd start to come down. But it hasn't quite happened yet.

All right, today's "Best Advice" comes from NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. And we're going to show you the best advice he's ever received, and it's very good. This one is good. Stay with us.


BERMAN: We are just a few minutes before the hour right now. And as always, we wrap it up with "Best Advice."

ROMANS: Yes. And today comes from Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade.


DWYANE WADE, BASKETBALL PLAYER: The best advice I've received, I think, my mom told me to believe in yourself. You know, I think, you know, as a young kid, you know myself growing up in the inner city, if you don't show that you believe in yourself, it doesn't matter how many people believe in you, you're not going to go where you want to go. They have to see that you want it just as bad. So the best advice I got was believe in yourself and understand that it's not going to be easy. That whatever you want to do in life is going to be hard. It's going to be a lot of -- it's going to be a lot of obstacles in the way. Whether you keep believing in your ability, if you keep believing in your intelligence, and you keep believing that God has a plan for you, anything can happen.

And I'm a living testimony and proof of that. So believe in yourself. You'll be all right.


ROMANS: You know, I talked to him last week, and he makes -- his kids are everything -- he incentivizes them, they've got to get good grades before he'll give them money. And I also asked him, you know, who his kids, they're 10 and 8, I think, who their favorite -- 10 and 5 -- who their favorite player is, it's LeBron.

BERMAN: It's LeBron? Not even Dwyane Wade.


ROMANS: They like LeBron.

BERMAN: He is a very well-dressed man. I have to say. It is easier to believe in yourself if you're one of the best basketball players in the world. I'd believe in myself, too, if (INAUDIBLE).

That is all for EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "STARTING POINT" begins right now.