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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

No Deal Yet For Striking Chicago Teachers; A Nation Remembers: 11th Anniversary of 9/11; President Obama's Convention Bounce; Jerry "The King" Lawler Collapses During Show; Andy Murray Wins U.S. Open; Coverage For 9/11 First Responders

Aired September 11, 2012 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): That's a live picture. America remembers 9/11 this morning. A look right now at the World Trade Center site. Eleven years later, a victory for some of the heroes who are still suffering to this day.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Standoff in Chicago. Striking teachers face off against Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a second day, leaving 350,000 kids sitting at home again instead of going to school.

ROMANS: Seventy-six years in the making, Andy Murray finally takes a Grand Slam victory after a nearly five-hour match.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS (on-camera): Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START this morning, everybody. I'm Christine Romans. I'm sitting in for John Berman. He's anchoring "STARTING POINT" today for Soledad.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes. I miss him around here. You know, you come back from the conventions, I was over there, and then --

ROMANS: I know.

SAMBOLIN: It's a revolving door here. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thanks for being with us this morning.

So no deal this morning for 30,000 Chicago teachers that are on strike. They are fighting for what they consider to be a fair contract. Negotiations with public school officials now entering a second day.

The 350,000 students have an unscheduled day off, leaving parents scrambling for a backup plan. Casey Wian is at Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School in Chicago. Casey, what's the latest?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that both sides are still talking, as they have been for some 10 months now. Those negotiations intensified over the weekend. Despite the fact that they were not able to reach an agreement, they called a strike, those negotiations have continued and I suppose that is the good news. That the two sides are still talking.

Two main issues, though, remain on the table. First of those is this new plan on how to evaluate teachers and the teachers union says that they do not want teachers to be evaluated largely based on standardized test scores.

They say that's unfair to teachers in poorer areas where test scores are lower. Also, they are very concerned about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to -- to allow principals to -- to allow principals, excuse me, to control which teachers are hired after teachers are laid off.

That is something that the teachers union says is unfair, and they want to keep control of that process. Parents, though, are very concerned about what is happening to their children while this strike is ongoing. Let's hear what a couple have to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm concerned about because number one, we have kids. Kids are more than just textbooks. I want her to get an education, but it will never happen, from the looks of it, as you can see it will never happen if they don't get the raise.

They got kids, high school kids. They're going to be on the streets during school hours. That's going to start conflict with the other kids. That's just going to start more violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIAN: Now, I'm outside a school, as one of the sites where the city has set up, there's 147 of them throughout the city, where parents can bring their children if they don't have child care arrangements, they can bring them for four hours, at least some sort of a temporary child care arrangement.

For a lot of parents, though, it's not enough, some parents saying that they can't work. We talked to one mother yesterday who had a job interview. She had to bring her daughter to one of these schools, didn't want to do it, because had to cross teacher picket line to do that. Back to you in the studio.

SAMBOLIN: That's a really tough situation for the children in particular. Are they back at the bargaining table today?

WIAN: They're scheduled to be at 9:30 local time. Both sides saying that a deal is within reach. The problem seems to be is that each side wants the other side to do the negotiating.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's true. Mayor Emanuel calls it a strike of choice. He's standing firm there. It will be interesting to see how it develops. Casey Wian live in Chicago for us. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right, this morning America remembers the nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11th, 2001. At Ground Zero, family members of the victims will participate in the traditional reading of the names. The ceremony begins at 8:39 and will be marked by six moments of silence: two at the exact times the planes struck the Twin Towers; two at the times each tower fell; and two to mark the exact moment that the attack on Flight 93 and the Pentagon.

The President and First Lady will observe a moment of silence at the White House before arriving at the Pentagon at 9:20 Eastern. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the 184 lives lost there. And Vice President Biden will speak at a ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta toured the site where those heroic passengers and crew members took their plane down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They successfully prevented an attack on the United States Capitol. I am particularly thankful to them because on that fateful day I was at the U.S. Capitol. Their example continues to inspire and to strengthen our nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And a dispute that has stalled construction of the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero appears to be over. Last night, a deal was struck between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie.

Construction of the $700 million museum, which was supposed to open in 2009, that construction is expected to resume soon. No date has been set yet for the opening.

President Barack Obama is now in the lead over Republican Mitt Romney in a brand-new CNN/ORC poll. Let's take a look at these numbers, folks. Likely voters give the President a six-point lead over Mitt Romney, 52 percent to 46 percent. Last week just before the Democratic convention, they were deadlocked at 48 percent.

Wrestling commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler is in the hospital this morning after a scary moment during WWE's Monday night raw. Lawler collapsed during last night's live broadcast. Co-host, Michael Cole, he broke the news to fans with an empty chair next to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL COLE, WWE ANNOUNCER: I want to preface this by saying this is not part of tonight's entertainment, this is a real-life situation. My broadcast colleague Jerry "The King" Lawler earlier on tonight collapsed mid-match while on commentary.

He was -- fell out of his chair to the floor below. Doctors were here immediately. Emergency personnel stretchered him out of the area into the back where he received CPR.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Wow. A statement on WWE's web site says the legendary wrestler turned commentator suffered a heart attack -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And it was history at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament overnight. Andy Murray becoming the first British player to win a Grand Slam men's title this is in 76 years.

Murray defeated the defending champ Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller. It lasted nearly five hours. Murray had lost his four previous Grand Slam finals, including this year's Wimbledon to Roger Federer. The last Brit to do it is Fred Perry back in 1936.

ROMANS: Yes, I remember.

SAMBOLIN: It is 6 minutes past the hour. So they are the first responders who toiled in rubble at Ground Zero then waited more than a decade for help as they battled the cancers caused by all the toxic fumes.

Finally a breakthrough on this 11th anniversary of the attacks, next we are talking to the director of a medical program that works with those who were exposed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A victory for first responders on this September 11th. Federal health authorities have added 58 types of cancer to the list of World Trade Center related illnesses covered by the Zadroga Act.

It sets aside nearly $2.8 billion in compensation for those exposed to toxins while working at Ground Zero and became sick. Dr. Benjamin Luft is the director of the World Trade Center Health Program at Stony Brooke in New York.

The center provides health services and treatment for first responders. Welcome to the program.

DR. BENJAMIN LUFT, M.D., MEDICAL DIRECTOR, WTC HEALTH PROGRAM: Thank you.

ROMANS: How important is it, this classification that these cancers, these 50-some cancers are now included? How important is this for first responders and how many people will it help?

LUFT: Well, this is an historic decision. The numbers, we don't really know. People continue to develop cancers and we don't really know what the ultimate outcome will be of the toxic exposure. But what this really establishes, that the environment wasn't safe.

ROMANS: Right.

LUFT: -- at Ground Zero and that there was a very significant toxic exposure through a variety of carcinogens.

ROMANS: Let's talk about those carcinogens because down there on that day and the day after, for 12 or 13 days, it was -- it wasn't dust or -- it was a soup in the air that everyone was breathing.

I mean, you can see it there. That's on the very first day or the second day. That's September 11th right there. And I remember a firefighter telling me, Christine, I didn't find a phone or a desk or a chair. There's nothing that was in these buildings, these buildings were pulverized. Were people breathing all that?

LUFT: Yes. Just think about when you want to dispose a computer, you have to go to the landfill and be very careful of how you dispose of it. All of that was disintegrated, was pulverized, and was burnt by these high flames. And as a result of that there were a tremendous number of organic toxins that were in the air and in the environment.

ROMANS: Ironically at that moment, in those moments, the goal was search and rescue, and just getting a fire out and the job done. No one was thinking about the longer-term, the longer-term impact. And I think that most of the people, if not all of them down there, would have done exactly what they did, knowing that there was a risk to themselves?

LUFT: Absolutely. When the responders went down there, we think of them as first responders, as firemen and policemen. But an equal number of people who went down there were just citizens.

They were construction workers, laborers, undocumented workers, all of these people came together to respond. And they did so without any thought as to what the long-term consequences were. It was a real example of a very American sense of altruism.

ROMANS: Tell me a little bit about, so we've talked a bit about the physical outcome for some people, which is cancer, asthma, all kinds of respiratory illnesses, but there's also the scar of the lungs, scar of the heart, too, and the psyche.

There are people obviously you guys are seeing and treating for just the fallout 11 years later of what they saw and endured that day.

LUFT: Well, I think it's so important to understand that 11 years later, so many people, as many as 20 percent of responders, continue to suffer from various psychiatric issues, psychological issues, post- traumatic stress.

When you start to think about what they experienced, there were 2,700 people that died on 9/11. But they didn't die where you could see their bodies. These people were dismembered.

They were falling out of windows. This is a tremendous insult to someone's psyche and this is what they continually recollect so many years later.

ROMANS: Tell me a little about the money. I think there's $4 billion, a little over the program. Are any of the concerns as you are adding more people to the class, people who may develop cancers later, is this money going to last? Is there going to be enough money for people? LUFT: Well, we hope that there will be additional funding. This program is only funded for about three more years and it requires congress to set aside more funds for it to be able to go on.

Just think if you were to be diagnosed with cancer today, and began to get therapy, you're going to probably live for a number of years later, more than three years very likely.

Where's that money going to come from? So I think it's something that we really need to pay attention to right now.

ROMANS: All right, we'll continue to check in with you on that angle of the story too. Dr. Benjamin Luft, the World Trade Center Health Program. Thank you so much.

LUFT: Thank you.

ROMANS: In about 45 minutes, we're talking to New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, on this day 11 years after 9/11 -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It is 15 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

Thirty thousand Chicago teachers are still on strike this morning. Negotiations with public school officials now entering a second day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there are two unresolved issues, teacher evaluations and a policy that would put laid-off teachers in line for new jobs.

North Korea has agreed to accept relief, aid from South Korea. The North Koreans are still reeling from a tropical cyclone that hit last month, killing dozens, and leaving 21,000 people homeless. That storm followed devastating floods in July that killed at least 169 people. The U.N. called for emergency help for North Korea and the South Korean offer was accepted, even though the two countries are legally at war.

ROMANS: The god particle discovery takes a big step toward becoming official science. Findings have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, "Physics Letters B". Five thousand researchers around the world have said to have contributed to this research in which a particle was discovered that was consistent with the Higgs Boson, believed to be responsible for giving elementary particles of the universe now.

He hopped and he popped, but a burglar couldn't break into a restaurant in Gates County, North Carolina. Surveillance video shows him trying for a half an hour, using a shovel and a butcher knife. Finally, the suspect gave up and fell asleep.

SAMBOLIN: No way.

ROMANS: Three hours later he woke up and walked away. Police are now looking for him.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, the candidates and your money. A closer look at what the Obama and Romney tax plans would do to your bottom line.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty minutes past the hour.

Issues 2012 now, CNN going in-depth this week into the economic issues that are facing this country. Today, what would happen to your money under Mitt Romney and President Obama's taxes and investment plans?

Christine's been digging in-depth into both of their platforms and you're going to break it down.

ROMANS: You know how much I love taxes.

All right. In short, President Obama, he wants to tax the rich more. Romney wants to cut income taxes for everyone, but hasn't revealed almost any details about how he plans to pay for those cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not proposing anything radical here. I believe anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will not raise taxes on the American people. I will not raise taxes on middle-income Americans. We're going to make sure that Americans have the money to pay their bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. So here's what we do know. What happens to income taxes? Mitt Romney wants to cut income taxes by 20 percent for every income level. You see that 12 percent and 20 percent in the middle of your screen. Those are people making $72,000, to about $146,000 a year.

So of the tax bill on paper would go down for the very middle. Obama wants to split up the higher tax bracket and tax the rich more. The big question is: what would happen to some big deductions? Carried interest, the child tax credits, the mortgage interest deduction.

We just don't know what Romney has planned for those. They're really important to middle class. They're really important to your overall tax bill.

When it comes to investments, the differences in the plan come, again, with taxes on the rich. High income earners making $200,000 a year or more, their capital gains and their dividends are currently taxed at 15 percent. Romney wants to keep it that way, but President Obama wants to raise taxes on capital gains to 20 percent, and raise taxes on dividends as high as 39.6 percent.

Now, we don't know how this will be paid for. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan addressed that over the weekend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now, the question is not necessarily what loopholes go but who gets them. High-income earners use most of the loopholes. That means they can shelter their income from taxation.

But if you take those loopholes, those tax shelters, away from high income earners, more of their income is subject to taxation and that allows to us lower tax rates on everybody -- small businesses, families, economic growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. So again no details on which loopholes would be closed and when.

We wanted to do a comparison of what would happen to the median income family making, say $50,000 a year. But given the information available for Romney's plan for taxes, we can't really do that. We asked the Romney campaign if they had done an analysis of what exactly would happen to the average family, looking at all of the loopholes and deductions, looking at the income tax being lowered like he wants to. They say they have not done that.

The official we spoke to who is involved in setting economic policy but didn't want to be named said anyone who says Romney wants to get rid of the child tax credit, though, is incorrect. This official would not explain what Romney would do with that or any other credits, for that matter.

So, we're thinking we'll hear a lot more about this and any specific plans during the debates.

ROMANS: And in the debates there's no question someone's going to say what are you going to do with the mortgage interest deduction? I mean, middle class and upper middle class people get thousands of dollars back every year from the mortgage interest deduction. That's the biggest middle-class --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: What's going to happen? I don't know.

Now let me tell you the one thing you need to know about your money today, turn it into a real positive note. The one thing you need to know about your money the new iPhone is coming out. And guess what? It might help the economy. An economist at JPMorgan says the iPhone 5 could boost economic growth by quarter to half a percent in the last three months of the year. There you go.

SAMBOLIN: I read that yesterday and I thought, wow, amazing.

ROMANS: Technology and innovation.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Now to this morning's "Road Warriors," most seasoned travelers know the drill during takeoff and landing, seat belts fastened, tray table up, portable electronic devices turned off.

But Christine, you might be able to keep your iPod or smartphone?

ROMANS: Really? It's such a hassle to turn it off. The laptop or the BlackBerry before takeoff and landing, especially when you're right in the middle of the something, but the FAA is forming a group this fall, we're told, to study whether electronic gadgets can be used safely during flights.

Right now, passengers can't use portable devices like iPads below 10,000 feet. That's because the FAA is concerned that these personal electronics would interfere with airline instruments. There's one thing the new FAA group won't consider, making phone calls while in the air. Thank God.

Cell phone calls are banned by another government agency, that's the FCC because of wireless networks on the ground might be affected.

I think it's going to be six months we're told before we know the results of this study. But the FAA also wants to include your input, actually. So you can weigh in on the issue online at regulations.gov.

Just imagine how more productive you would be on a flight. I still buy a book on a plane. Nobody can tell me to turn my book off. I can just read my book.

SAMBOLIN: On charter flights you can keep the cell devices on. So I'm really looking forward to see if there's really an impact, because I've always wondered. Really? Why do charter flights allow it?

All right. Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

A couple suing a Catholic diocese after the church refuses to sell them a house. Why they say it is discrimination. Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It is day two of the Chicago teachers strike -- still no deal and another day off for 350,000 children.

ROMANS: A dramatic new look at the Sikh temple shootings. A police dash board cam captures the chaotic moments of the scene.

SAMBOLIN: Hackers hit GoDaddy.com, crashing millions of Websites that depend on the hosting giants servers.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We are very happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans, in for John Berman this morning. He's anchoring "STARTING POINT" today.

It's about 30 minutes past the hour.

Signs of progress but no deal yet for 30,000 Chicago teachers still on strike. They want what they consider to be a fair contract, negotiations and public school officials now entering a second day. And 350,000 students have an unscheduled day off.

Casey Wian is at Manuel Perez, Jr. Elementary School.

And, Casey, there's been some progress but they're not really talking about the two core issues, right, which are evaluations and re-calling laid-off teachers.

Who has control over that process?

WIAN: That's exactly right, Christine. They're still talking. They're scheduled to talk later today.

But as of last night they weren't discussing those two core issues. And what's interesting is that there's still, even with that progress, quite a bit of bad blood between these two sides. For a couple of days now, the union has said that they're basically close on the school board salary proposal. But as late as yesterday, the teacher's union was talking about being disrespected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Clearly, they're very upset at his efforts to reform Chicago schools.

Here's what union had to say about the mayor yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY C. REHAK, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: And he came in and disrespected the teachers in this city. He had a contract from the previous mayor which he basically said you're not going to get the raise that we were actually contractually given, and he turned around and said, however, we don't have the money for that but we do have 2 percent if you work longer. Well, you can't really have it both ways. You either don't have the money or you do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIAN: Now the mayor says this should not be about him. It should be about the Chicago schools, and the families that are being displaced by this strike. Now just to be clear, that financial offer to the teachers union is a 4 percent -- excuse me, 3 percent raise in the first year, 2 percent for the next three years.

It would average out to about a 16 percent raise for the average Chicago schoolteacher. That average salary right now, $75,000 a year. And what we're hearing from some folks is that's a pretty good deal considering the economy we're in right now.

ROMANS: Is it a $75,000 a year salary for a nine-month school year or is that for a 12-month year?

WIAN: You know, I'm not sure about that. I believe it's for a year- round. But --

ROMANS: Check on that. WIAN: I'm not exactly sure. But absolutely, we should check on that. But folks are still saying, you know, in the economy that we're in, the fact that they're getting a raise of 16 percent over four years is viewed as a good deal.

The union clearly, though, saying that this is about respect. This is about the conditions that they are operating under at these schools, which the union says are very underfunded. Things like, they're bringing up things like air conditioning, nonexistent in some of these schools. These are things that the mayor says they should not be striking over. But they are still being discussed.

ROMANS: Yes, there's a lot of things, asbestos lined bathrooms. I mean, they're concerned about a lot of those work conditions but the core of it, they also don't want 25 percent of their evaluation to be tied to how the kids are doing -- you know, tying their performance to how the kids are doing is something that they're concerned about how they're going to come up with that.

Casey Wian -- thanks, Casey.

SAMBOLIN: You know, they're facing a $3 billion deficit there in Chicago public schools so you wonder where the money is going to come from.

ROMANS: I know.

SAMBOLIN: To implement all of the changes.

But at the end of the day helping the children, right?

ROMANS: Right. Well, at the end of the day, all these people with their fancy educations can't figure something out for the kids who are trying to get an education are in school. At the end of the day, all those smart people, the kids are at home.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I'm hopeful they're going to figure it out, right? They got the longer school day implemented. Now I'm hoping at the end of the day this is better for the children as well.

Thirty-three minutes past the hour.

It's been exactly 11 years since the terror attacks that changed our lives forever. At Ground Zero this morning, family members of 9/11 victims will participate in the traditional reading of the names.

This is a live picture for you of what Ground Zero looks like today. The ceremony begins at 8:39 Eastern.

On the White House South Lawn, the President and First Lady will observe a moment of silence before arriving at the Pentagon at 9:20 Eastern for a wreath-laying ceremony. Vice President Joe Biden will speak at a ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That is at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

And just in time for 9/11, 50 forms of cancer are being added to the list of world trade center related diseases covered by the Zadroga Act. That is welcome news for hundreds of sick first responders. But with so many more victims expected to seek compensation from the government's $2.8 billion fund, individual payouts are expected to shrink.

ROMAANS: Police in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, released dramatic dash cam video taken as officers responded to the deadly shootings at a Sikh temple last month. Lieutenant Brian Murphy can be seen rolling for cover as gunman Wade Page in the middle right of your screen runs out of the temple and into view. Murphy was shot multiple times but he survived the attack.

Moments later, officer Sam Lenda who offered a shot that hit page, he arrived and can be heard screaming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a man with a gun in the parking lot. Get down!

(SIRENS WAILING)

(GUNSHOT)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: After being hit by the bullet, Page, who killed six people in that temple attack, he took his own life.

SAMBOLIN: A gay couple in Massachusetts is suing the Catholic diocese of Worcester. They claim the district is refusing to sell them a mansion because they're gay. And it's afraid they will stage same sex weddings there.

The two men who are married want to purchase the mansion and turn it into a banquet hall. They say they were mistakenly sent a copy of an e-mail in with the monsignor told the broker after checking with the bishop the deal was off.

An attorney for the diocese says finance concerns and not discrimination ended that deal.

ROMANS: A hacker from the group Anonymous has taken responsibility for crashing the website, the massive web hosting company Go Daddy. Millions of Web sites that use Go Daddy servers also appear to crash. Company says service was restored to most of the clients within a few hours yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: Candidates count on that post-convention bump, right? Today we know which one got the most momentum. New CNN poll numbers headed your way, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: And welcome back to EARLY START.

President Obama and Mitt Romney will take a break from their verbal sparring to mark the 9/11 anniversary today.

Meantime, a new CNN/ORC poll shows President Obama with some post- convention momentum. He now leads Mitt Romney by six points, 52 percent to 46 percent. The same poll last week, before the Democratic convention, had the two tied at 48 percent.

CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser live in our Washington bureau.

So, is this the widest we've seen the gap?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It appears to be the widest in quite some time in our polling and in other polling. Christine, how did we get there? How did we get from dead even a week ago to the 52-46 now?

Let's break it down and look behind the numbers, favorable ratings. This is interesting. Look at the President's favorable rating today as opposed to one week ago. A six-point jump for the President. You can see Mitt Romney's numbers going down from 53 percent to 48 percent, you know, favorable rating.

Also strong and decisive leader -- take a look at these numbers. Another change, too. The President now at 50 percent. Romney at 44 percent. It was a very different story a week ago.

And one other number that kind of explains how we got from there to here. That is which candidate has a clear plan for solving the country's problems? It was 45-39. Romney a week ago. Now it's 45-39 President Obama.

I think you put all three of those together and that's where you get the horse race -- Christine.

ROMANS: It will be a fiesta of polls now between now and the election we'll be looking at new polls every minute.

STEINHAUSER: We sure will. There's a brand-new one out from ABC/"Washington Post." This one also, like ours, conducted after the Democratic convention. And take a look at this, theirs on likely voters is basically dead even with the President, a one-point margin, which is well within their sampling errors.

So, the ABC/"Washington Post" has very, very tight Christine.

ROMANS: And, Paul, President Obama campaigns today in Florida. He's going to be taking a big supporter I'm told with him.

STEINHAUSER: He sure is. Well, the President won't be there but Bill Clinton will be there. Remember it was a week ago that we saw Bill Clinton on the stage in Charlotte, with what Democrats were saying was quite an impressive speech. Little man-hug after the former president gave his speech. Today and tomorrow, Bill Clinton will be campaigning for Barack Obama in the battleground state of Florida.

ROMANS: Looks like they've been best friends for years. I love how, you know, campaigns morph and change. Paul Steinhauser --thanks, Paul.

SAMBOLIN: It is 42 minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up to date on your top stories.

Thirty thousand Chicago teachers still on strike this morning with no deal reached yet.

Teachers are picketing there. Negotiations with public school officials are now entering a second day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there are two sticking points. Teacher evaluations and a policy that would put laid of teachers in line for new jobs.

ROMANS: Today, we honor the memory of the 2,977 people who lost their lives on September 11th. This is a live picture of the Freedom Tower under construction right now in New York. Family members of the victims will participate in the traditional reading of the names at Ground Zero.

The White House, the President and First Lady will observe a moment of silence before arriving at the Pentagon at 9:20 Eastern for a wreath- laying ceremony. And Vice President Biden will speak at the Flight 93 Memorial Wall in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

SAMBOLIN: Mandatory evacuations are being ordered in Wyoming as a wildfire continues to burn on Casper Mountain. Take a look at that. The Sheep Herder Hill Fire has burned through at least 10,000 acres, destroyed at least six structures. So far, no word yet on the cause of that fire.

And authorities say another fire broke out last night in the area of Elk Horn Canyon. They believe the new blaze was caused by a lightning strike.

ROMANS: Actress Angelina Jolie on a mission in the Middle East in her hole as a United Nations special envoy. She met with Syrian refugees at a tent city in Jordan today. She thanked Jordan and other neighboring countries for their effort to welcome these refugees. U.N. officials say that the Zaatari refugee camp where she visited is home to some 27,000 people who've been displaced by this 18-month Syrian conflict.

SAMBOLIN: And the opening week of the 2012 NFL season is officially in the books after a double helping of Monday night football. Last night in Baltimore, quarterback Joe Flacco threw 299 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens using their new no-huddle offense to hammer the Cincinnati Bengals, 44-13.

And in Oakland, quarterback Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass, and Nate Kaeding booted five field goals to lift the Chargers to a 22-14 victory over the Raiders.

ROMANS: Are you ready for some "STARTING POINT"?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. ROMANS: Soledad O'Brien is off this week. John Berman and Brooke Baldwin filling in for her right now. Brooke is with us to look at what's ahead on "STARTING POINT."

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, the football teams. Good morning, ladies.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning.

BALDWIN: And good morning to all of you. Here's what we have coming up, of course. It is the anniversary of 9/11. We're talking security, specifically, and the possibility, as always, of these terrorist threats on any anniversary we're going to talk about stepping up intelligence operations today.

So, huge roster for the show. Joining us live this morning, you have former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, also current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Chairman, Congressman Peter King and Homeland Security Adviser to President Bush, Fran Townsend.

Also, something I know you two have been talking about this morning. The strike as it continues day two here between the teachers and the school there in Chicago. What is the holdup, and when can these students expect to be back into the classroom?

The president of one of the nation's largest teachers unions, Randi Weingarten, she's going to check in with us here live in the studio in New York before she actually heads off to Chicago. And, you know him as the actor, Tony Danza, but guess what? He would like to apologize to every teacher he has ever had.

We just read his book. This is part of the title of his book, so he's coming on this morning. He actually took a year to teach fifth graders in a Philadelphia classroom for an entire year teaching English. So we'll talk to him about the book and how -- you know, we'll talk to him about the Chicago strike and get his take on these teachers in Chicago all ahead this morning.

SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: That's why he wants to apologize, because he spent some time there and he knows the struggles, right?

BALDWIN: It's a tough gig.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BALDWIN: It's a calling, he says. It's not a job, it's a calling.

ROMANS: It is a calling. It is a calling.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Brooke. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It is 46 minutes past the hour. Coming up on EARLY START on this 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly joins us live from the 9/11 memorial. We'll talk to him about the challenges of keeping America's largest city safe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. You are taking a live look at the Freedom Tower. The New York Police Department is on alert today for the anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. And while the city says there are no specific threats, security is still heightened around the city.

Leading the charge is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He joins me now from the site of the September 11th memorial in Lower Manhattan. A remembrance ceremony will begin there in about two hours. Commissioner Kelly, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate it. As you're standing there, share with us your thoughts on this anniversary.

RAY KELLY, NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, as you said, there are no credible threats today, much different than it was last year. The President was here and we clearly had heightened concern. Not that we don't today, but we have, as I say, no specific information. We have done an awful lot in the city to protect ourselves from another terrorist attack.

We've invested a lot of effort, a lot of time, but there are no guarantees. We have a separate command, over 200 police officers assigned specifically to the memorial and the surrounding area. They're specially trained. And I think we are safer now, certainly, than we have ever been. But as I said, we're certainly not taking anything for granted.

SAMBOLIN: Commissioner, let's talk a little bit about the special tribute that is happening this year. It's using social media to remember the 23 members of the NYPD lost on 9/11. Can you tell us about that?

KELLY: Yes. We have both on our Facebook page and on our Twitter site a memorial to our fallen officers. We lost 23 police officers that day, but we lost an additional 52 officers in the department (ph) who have succumbed to illnesses that they contracted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, either working at Ground Zero or at the landfill in Staten Island.

So, all total, we have 75 members that we lost. Unfortunately, that count will most likely continue to go up as these illnesses take hold, and we are paying, as you say, a special tribute to them. We are tweeting each name and a short statement about each officer, and you can see the entire package on our Facebook page.

That's the world in which we live in. We thought it was another way to make certain that we simply never forget their sacrifice.

SAMBOLIN: Now we thought it was a very special tribute, indeed. You mentioned increased security. And although there are no specific threats, you're always concerned about lone wolf attacks, which are incredibly difficult to predict. How do you feel about that? KELLY: No question about it. It has to be on our radar screen, but it is very, very difficult to identify these people. We work closely with our federal partners. We're gathering information, gathering intelligence, all the time. But it is probably the most difficult threat to identify. An individual arrested here a little over a year ago, building bombs just a couple hours away from detonating those bombs.

He radicalized himself and had very, very little contact with other people. So, it is definitely a challenge, but it's something that we devote resources to trying to identify.

SAMBOLIN: I want to go back to the victims here, because late last night, federal health authorities added 58 types of cancer to the list of covered illnesses for people who were exposed to toxins at Ground Zero. And I know that you have called for expanding that list. Do you think that what they're doing is enough?

KELLY: Well, it certainly is a major move in the right direction. We very much appreciate that, and of course, more research has to be done. I think several of the hospitals, Mount Sinai, started doing a lot of work to determine causes, to determine the diseases that people contracted at Ground Zero.

So, the fact that these additional cancers or cancers have been added is very, very significant. Whether or not it's enough, I think, remains to be seen.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ray Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner, good luck to you today and thank you for your time this morning.

KELLY: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: It's been 11 years.

ROMANS: On this September 11th, today's "Best Advice" is on focusing what matters. That's coming up after a quick break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: It is 58 minutes past the hour. We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice."

ROMANS: And today's "Best Advice" to take with you as you walk out the door comes from North Carolina Governor, Bev Perdue. We asked the governor about the best advice she's ever received.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BEV PERDUE, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: Advice probably learned over a lifetime is that every day counts. This is not a dress rehearsal. You don't get a second time. So focus on what matters: family and friends, and then your job. Although I work really hard, I play hard and I enjoy people, too. Again, that's what life is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: No kidding.

ROMANS: Not a dress rehearsal. That's for sure.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. On the anniversary of September 11th, very appropriate, right? You walk out the door, you never know if you're coming back. It's really sad.

OK. Fifty-nine minutes past the hour. That's it for us on EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "STARTING POINT" with John Berman and Brooke Baldwin today starting right now.