Return to Transcripts main page


Bracing For More Violence On Muslim Prayer Day; Security Lapses In Consulate Attack?; Obama Surging In Three Key Swing States; Obama Admits "Biggest Failure So Far"; Ann Romney Frustrated By GOP Criticism; "Occupy Unmasked": Behind the Occupy Movement; Endeavour Almost Home; New iPhone 5 Hits Stores Today

Aired September 21, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Riot act, two movie theaters torched as anger over an insulting movie and cartoon rages again in the Muslim world.

Pulling ahead. New poll numbers show the President ahead in three key swing states.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Counting down. Take a look, live pictures here in New York City. Why? The iPhone 5 goes on sale in just a couple of hours. Mobs there. It's just 6:00.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's 6:00 a.m. in the East here. Up first, we have violent protest this morning in Pakistan, and countries around the world are bracing for a new display of anger over a French cartoon and an American film set to offend the Prophet Muhammad.

U.S. embassies in several countries are closed as a precaution, including the one in Jakarta, Indonesia. Demonstrators have intensified in recent days from Iran to Afghanistan to Pakistan, where at least one person is dead this morning, as well.

And in that country, the U.S. starting to air an ad denouncing the controversial film, "Innocence of Muslims." CNN's Reza Sayah from Islamabad, Pakistan.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Pakistan, deepening concern for an explosive day of protests. For the second Friday in a row, hard-line religious groups have called for anti-western demonstrations on a day declared by Islamabad as a National Day of Love, for Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

By 9:00 a.m. local time, small groups of protesters had already torched toll booths, looted stores, and clashed with police in several cities. Friday's demonstrations come a day after hundreds of protesters. Many young men in their teens and 20s, tried to storm the capital's diplomatic enclave, a secured compound that houses foreign embassies. In Karachi, Pakistan, several teachers led roughly 100 elementary schoolchildren on an anti-American demonstration.

The teachers chanted slogans against the west. The students chanted back. The demonstrations have been small, but growing in number and intensity. Both Islamabad and Washington taking extra steps to ease the rising anger.

On Friday morning, cell phone service in parts of Pakistan was cut off, an effort to hamper the rallies. On Pakistan's radio and television airwaves in ads paid for by Washington, featured President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for calm.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.

SAYAH: Elsewhere, in Iran, a senior cleric reportedly upped the bounty for the killing of author, Salman Rushdie, whose book "The Satanic Verses" sparked global protests more than two decades ago, after the late Imam Khomeini declared it an insult to Islam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's a stupid film, you know. And the correct response to a stupid film on YouTube is to say it's a stupid film on YouTube and you get on with the rest of your life.

So to take that, and to deliberately use it to inflame your -- your troops, you know, is a political act. It's not about religion. It's about power.


SAYAH: When asked why the Pakistani government called for a national holiday on Friday, many ways inviting protesters out on the street, the foreign minister told CNN the government had to address public sentiment.

What's remarkable is last week when the first protest erupted in Egypt, in Libya, very few people in Pakistan even knew about the anti- Islam movie. Now, Pakistan bracing itself for what could be some of the largest demonstrations in the region. Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Reza.

Next hour in "STARTING POINT," Soledad talks to Jamie Rubin, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State about the rising anger in the Muslim world. BERMAN: The State Department is on the defensive this morning facing accusations that it failed to properly protect the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi despite a host of security warnings.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the consulate last week. Senior State Department officials telling CNN there were a lot of concerns about a rise in Islamic extremism in Benghazi. And that a recommendation to close the mission never got passed up the chain of command. Meantime, the Obama administration finally conceding the attack was an act of terrorism.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is announcing the formation of a panel to investigate it.


CLINTON: There are obviously very real challenges in these new democracies, these fragile societies. But as I said last week, the vast majority of the people in these countries did not throw off the tyranny of a dictator to trade it for the tyranny of a mob.


BERMAN: Sources have told CNN Ambassador Stevens mentioned being on an al Qaeda hit list in the weeks before he died. But Secretary of State Clinton says she doesn't believe there's any basis for those reports.

SAMBOLIN: The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan is officially over this morning. It began three years ago when President Obama sent in 30,000 additional soldiers to neutralize a Taliban resurgence. The last several hundred of those surge troops have now shipped out. So that leaves about 68,000 U.S. soldiers still stationed in Afghanistan.

BERMAN: Election Day less than seven weeks away now, and it looks like President Obama is pulling ahead in some polls against Mitt Romney in some critical swing states.

In Wisconsin, which is Paul Ryan's home state, the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll has the President five points ahead among likely voters 50 percent to 45 percent. Same story in Colorado, the President outpolling his GOP rival 50 percent to 45 percent. The lead is even bigger in Iowa, likely voters in the hawk eye state favoring the President by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent.

I think that's the most surprising number we saw in these polls last night. President Obama facing tough questions about immigration reform where he took part in a live online forum hosted by Univision yesterday.

One of the hosts even insisted he acknowledge that he's failed to keep a campaign promise to push reforms through in his first term.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: My biggest failure so far is we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done. So we're going to be continuing to work on that. But it's not for lack of trying or desire. And I'm confident we're going to accomplish that.


BERMAN: The President said he takes full responsibility for the slow pace of immigration reform. Admitting he's been side tracked by the economy during his first term in office.

SAMBOLIN: Ann Romney has two words for her husband's conservative critics, stop it. The wife of the GOP nominee telling a radio interviewer that anyone who has a problem with her husband should, quote, "get in the ring because it's hard."

Several high profile conservatives blasted Romney this week after his 47 percent comments about the President's supporters were released. The would-be first lady insisting her husband didn't say what he meant.


ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: If you really do listen to everything that he does say, he's talking about where we're -- what we're facing in America right now.

That we're facing some really difficult situations, and if we don't take corrective measures soon, that more and more people will become dependent on government and that is not what he wants.


SAMBOLIN: So Ann Romney went on to say that she tries not to let the criticism of her husband sink in and that she hopes Americans realize how lucky they are to have someone with her husband's qualifications and experience getting an opportunity to run the country.

BERMAN: A new look for the suspects in the movie theater massacre in Colorado, still chilling. James Holmes has lost the orange, shaggy, dyed hair he wore the night of his arrest outside the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, the day in which 12 people died there. He's accused of killing them. At the hearing prosecutors abandoned their effort to obtain a notebook sent to a university psychiatrist before the shooting.

SAMBOLIN: Still disturbing to look at that image, right? Strapped to the back of a 747, look at this. The space shuttle Endeavour is nearing the end of its final flight. It arrived yesterday at Andrews Air Force Base in California. Today, the shuttle flies from Edwards to Los Angeles before touching down at LAX this afternoon. It will do a flyover of downtown L.A. and Hollywood. Look up. Endeavour is retiring to a California Science Museum. How often do you get to see that piggyback ride?

BERMAN: It's amazing. SAMBOLIN: It's so cool.

BERMAN: Very, very cool. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is keeping tabs on the forecast for the final trip.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, good morning. Well, hot and dry in California today so no chance for rain. So about 8:15 this morning, the shuttle will leave Edwards Air Force Base.

About an hour after it was originally scheduled, if you're out there watching, 67 to Sacramento, cruise the capital. It will fly about 1500 feet so pretty low and certainly clear to San Francisco, around 10:15, temperatures there in the 50s.

Maybe San Francisco, the Aquarium, the Discovery Museum, and then to Los Angeles, maybe city hall, the getty, not saying exactly where it will fly over, but kind of the most iconic of landmarks, 77.

And about 12:30 will arrive at LAX in terms of the forecast, the wet is dry -- the west, certainly the biggest story here though, the coolest air of the season coming down behind this cold front. So we're going to see some rain showers and thunder.

Then behind it some pretty chilly temperatures. In the 40s in Marquette, Duluth, as well, Minneapolis at 58 on Saturday and then that cold air moves south and east and moves into the mid-Atlantic Sunday a cool day. Baltimore, Washington, Virginia, temperatures only around upper 50s and 60s. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: So while you were sleeping, these people were waiting all night outdoors. We have a live picture. This is in New York City. The iPhone 5 goes on sale later this morning. Are you waiting with bated breath? We're going to take you there live, coming up.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. It's about 13 minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Glad to have you with us this morning. It is here. The wait is over for millions of Apple addicts. As the company's newest version of the popular iPhone goes on sale this morning.

There are long lines outside stores all over the world from rainy Tokyo, rainy Tokyo, to Sydney and London. CNN's Maggie Lake is live in another line outside Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. How long has everybody been waiting there, Maggie?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of them for days, Zoraida. It is unbelievable. On the fifth version of this tech gadget, that we still get this sort of event feel, but this has become the Apple ritual. I'm going to step out of the way. You can see these are the diehards we're with here. We already know this phone is a humongous success. Two million sold in the first 24 hours. You can order this online, which makes us ask every time, why do you people come out and do this?

Some of them have been online for eight days. Some of them are just coming earlier this morning queuing up to get in. We spoke to a couple of them about why it's so important to be here physically. Here's what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came with a friend of mine, he's number two so that helped, kind of the buddy system to cover for each other when one of us wanted to shower or change.

We have battery packs that power our iPads and so on so those need to be taken and charged once a day or every two days. So it wasn't like constantly in the chair for the whole time.

The last few -- three days were more pretty much sleeping here almost around the clock. It was one night when there was torrential rain. That was kind of a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm probably a seven. yes. yes. I don't have to have everything right away. But I ultimately end up buying everything.


LAKE: There you go. One of the interesting things -- usually it's just the diehard fans. This time there are actually people who wanted to buy it online but it sold out so fast they actually had to come here in person.

So what're they all waiting for? The new phone is going to be lighter, the screen is going to be bigger and most importantly, it runs on the faster 4G network. The first iPhone to do that. Mostly glowing reviews. A couple of problems. People don't like the map app, so if you use this as your GPS, you might want to think twice.

And some people are a little bit concerned about the connector. There's a new connector for the first time. So all those gadgets you have that work with your iPhone, you're going to have to buy an additional adaptor or new product. So a couple of kinks, but most of the people here can't wait to get their hands on it.

SAMBOLIN: Maggie, one last question for you because it's hard to see, it's still really dark. About how many people do you think are really out there?

LAKE: You know, there's probably a few hundred, Zoraida. There was a time when this wrapped around the block. But because you can preorder them and they come today, you've seen that ebb a little bit. Buyt this will be a steady flow throughout the day. The people here say it's not about the numbers, it's about the feeling. And Apple certainly making an event of it. We'll talk a little more about that in the later hours.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Maggie Lake live for us. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: You know, I've covered a bunch of these releases. And the amazing thing was that when I covered iPhone 3 there were people who had I seen waiting in line for the first iPhone. The same people coming out twice in a row. Crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: It's about 16 minutes after the hour right. We want to get you updated on all the headlines and Christine Romans is here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right, thank you, John. Deadly violence in Pakistan this morning. Protesters setting fire to two movie theaters in the city of Peshawar. Two dozen injuries and one death have been reported. The protests reflect this continuing anger over the anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims," and a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

Tests show no radiation near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant following an automatic shutdown. People living near the site of the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident say they heard a loud noise Thursday afternoon, was apparently caused by the sudden release of steam when a coolant pump failed.

Call it the greater gator. Mike Cunningham caught an alligator in Arkansas that measured a massive 13 feet 3 inches. Look at this, folks. Right, right, a whopping 1,380 pounds. It beats the old unofficial state record by an inch. Mike caught the monster with a beaver snare tied to a 12 foot long pole. He's going to have it stuffed after making alligator boots for his wife, himself, all of the friends who helped him haul it in. Mike Cunningham is one very brave man.

BERMAN: There's just no (INAUDIBLE). There's nothing that would make me want to do that.

SAMBOLIN: Really? Because look what we dug up.

ROMANS: We have something, John. We have a little surprise.

SAMBOLIN: Nothing would make you want to do that? That is a live alligator, folks, that Berman is sitting on.

BERMAN: It was being restrained at the time. And I was being forced to do it for television.

ROMANS: And John was scared to death.

BERMAN: Yes! I still am scared to death.

SAMBOLIN: So he's braved alligators as well. Good gracious.

ROMANS: Thanks for sharing that with us. Now you knows what happens when you share.

BERMAN: Yeah, great. Thank you. It's the last time I e-mail you a picture.

SAMBOLIN: All right. 18 minutes past the hour. Tax shelters overseas. Coming up, Congress singles out companies that take advantage of loop holes and save billions.


SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business this morning. A new Senate report goes after U.S. companies keeping money overseas, taking advantage of tax loopholes.

BERMAN: Christine's been looking at that report. And the thing is, Christine, this is all legal, right?

ROMANS: Oh, yes, it's all legal. The Senate panel was very careful to point that out, that you have all these loopholes and gimmicks within the tax code -- a tax code written by Congress, by the way -- that allows companies to pay less than the 35 percent advertised tax rate. And the same week we're talking about how many individual American households are not paying taxes at all, this Senate panel is looking at companies that are doing their best to pay as little tax as they can and to actually avoid paying taxes that they owe.

This Senate panel reports that Microsoft, for example, saves $7 billion in taxes from shifting profits outside the U.S. and also Hewlett-Packard also singled out leaving a lot of money in foreign cash, not bringing it back, using extravagant loan strategies to keep their money overseas instead of bringing it back here so they'd have to pay the American tax on it. I want you to listen to what the Michigan Democrat who runs this panel had to say.


SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D-MI) CHAIRMAN, INVESTIGATIVE SUBCOMMITTEE: The bottom line of our investigation is that some multinationals use our current tax system to engage in gimmicks to avoid paying the taxes that they owe.


ROMANS: Gimmicks -- but that are legal. The Republicans on the panel were quick to point out this is all legal and that's why we need tax reform. It's why we need to lower that tax rate from 35 percent.

They want something that's called a territorial tax system and a lot of critics would like to just change the American tax code overall. But the companies say what they're doing is looked at by auditors, that it's signed off by auditors, that it's all fair and legal, and Congress, well - "legal". Well, Congress writes these rules. We have 16 volumes of complicated tax code with loopholes for everyone. Companies have a fiduciary responsibility, they say, to save as much money for shareholders as that's exactly what they do.

BERMAN: That's what makes people so mad.

ROMANS: It makes people very mad. Interestingly, it comes on the same week we're talking about 46 percent of Americans have no federal income tax bill as well. We have a tax code that is very complicated and picks winners and losers and it really is a case for comprehensive tax reform.

SAMBOLIN: I think at the Univision forum, President Obama did point that out, right? That on both ends you've got this issue.

BERMAN: If you're lucky enough to have the money, what's the one thing you need to know about it?

ROMANS: New record low mortgage rates. Again, 30-year fixed rate. Okay, look at this number -- 3.49 percent. The 15-year fix is 2.77 percent.


ROMANS: You thought you might have missed your chance -- mortgage rates are still falling. And another report, said that people's credit scores are getting better. So many of you are telling me, "I can't, I got hit, my credit score isn't good enough or I'm underwater on my home." Fewer people are underwater and credit scores are improving. I'm hoping that means more people can take advantage.

SAMBOLIN: I hope so too because that's really, that's the problem that you may want to do it, but you can't because they're so strict.

BERMAN: All right. Some good news. Hopeful. Twenty four minutes after the hour right now. Former president Bill Clinton talking with CNN and weighing in on Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments.




BERMAN: You can bet he had much, much more to say about that. You will hear some of it coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Friday fury. New anti-American protests raging right now in the Muslim world.

BERMAN: Republicans jumping on change. President Obama saying you can't change Washington from the inside.

SAMBOLIN; Occupy unmasked. We're talking to one of the producers of a brand-new movie about that movement. Welcome back to EARLY START. Glad you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's about 29 minutes after the hour. So President Obama says his biggest failure so far has been his inability to push through immigration reform during his first term in office. And he took full responsibility for that failure at a Univision forum yesterday, telling Latino voters he got sidetracked by the economy.

But it's this comment the President made that has the opposition pouncing.


OBAMA: I've learned some lessons over the last four years and the most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That's how I got elected and that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out.


BERMAN: Now, I know what he's trying to say there. Joined by CNN political director Mark Preston live from Washington. Mark, I think we know what the President was trying to say there, but when we heard it, "You can't change Washington from the inside, only the outside," to me it felt like a hanging curveball over the plate.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It was, John. And you're absolutely right. What President Obama said was correct: The only way that you can change Washington is to try to elect people to come to Washington to make that change. We saw that with the Tea Party. But politically, not a very smart thing to do, especially as we head into the home stretch, John. And Mitt Romney's campaign is really trying to run with it. In fact, the governor, when he heard this yesterday, jumped right on it. Let's hear what he had to say.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The President today threw in the white flag of surrender again. He said he can't change Washington from the inside. He can only change it from outside. Well, we're going to give him that chance in November. He's going outside!


PRESTON: You know, John, this is all about words and phrases especially as we head into Election Day. But you've got to be careful if you're going to be critical because you might have said something like that in the past. In fact, let's take a look at this quote that Mitt Romney said back in 2007 when he was running for the Republican presidential nomination. He's speaking about John McCain right here. Let me quickly read it.

"So he certainly has political skill, but I believe that at this time, to change Washington, it would be helpful to have somebody who comes with more private sector skill, experience from outside Washington... I don't think you can change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside." John, so you've got to be very careful if you're going to be critical. But of course the campaign, both of them, will try to seize on every opportunity they can.

BERMAN: Yes, no question about that. But as you said, Mitt Romney has said the same things himself in the context of it, not so bad for the President. However, sometimes the context of this is you're running for president, be careful what you say.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has also been taking quite a beating to conservatives all week for thing he's said. Peggy Noonan writing again in "The Wall Street Journal". This time she says this: "The Romney campaign has to be turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity'."

Now, Mark, I think these creeds, screeds, from analysts are one thing, but what has the Romney campaign really nervous is the candidates, the other candidates out there running in this country right now.

PRESTON: And that is certainly most troubling and we saw that yesterday, John. Tommy Thompson, who is running for Senate up in Wisconsin, he had a lead over his Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin in August. That lead has now evaporated. In fact Tammy Baldwin is leading in that Senate race. Tommy Thompson had some blame to put on that. Let's listen to what he said yesterday.


TOMMY THOMPSON, (R-WI) SENATE CANDIDATE: The presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election, you know, whether you're a Democrat or Republican. If your standard-bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it's going to reflect on the down ballot.


PRESTON: And there you have Tommy Thompson, of course, noting the fact that the presidential race will have a great impact on what happens in the Senate races, in these House races across the country. But John, you know this has been a very, very long campaign. People are exhausted. Ann Romney yesterday seemed to hit her -- her points being very frustrated by all this criticism. She gave this interview yesterday in Iowa. This is what she said about the conservative critics.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What do you say to your fellow Republicans who are --

ANN ROMNEY: Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? get in the ring. This is hard, and you know, it's -- it's an important thing that we're doing right now. And it's an important election. And it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is.

(END AUDIO CLIP) PRESTON: I got to tell you what, John, whether it's Ann Romney, Peggy Noonan, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, the whole gang, they are all very exhausted. I think that you're going to see more criticism come up on both sides, both Democrats and Republicans, and you're going to hear frustration like Ann Romney more and more, what she had to say as we head into election day.

BERMAN: The tone in that comment, you really did sense the extreme frustration. All right, Mark Preston joing us live from Washington this morning. Thanks very much.

Eight o'clock Eastern on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk about the Latino vote and how the President and his Republican rival fared this week when Soledad talks to the moderator of the Univision form up, anchorwoman Maria Elena Salinas.

SAMBOLIN: CNN's Fareed Zakarai sitting down with Bill Clinton to talk politics and campaign strategy. Fareed asked the former president about the impact of Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments going forward.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think this is a game- changer for Romney?

CLINTON: Well I think it puts a heavier burden on him in the debates to talk about what he meant. I do think a lot of the Tea Party people believe that. They think it's government versus the private sector. The problem with their paradigm, as I've said many times is that if you look at every successful economy, if you measure the economy by per capita income, declining inequality, increasing social mobility, your chance of getting a pay raise, year in and year out, and doing better than your parents, there is no evidence that anywhere that's going on, and it is going on, that they have a weak government and even lower taxes than we do.


SAMBOLIN: And you can see the entire interview with Bill Clinton on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern and again at 1:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BERMAN: Anger over anti-Muslim film and a French cartoon rendering of the Prophet Muhammad sparking new violence in Peshawar, Pakistan overnight. Protesters torched two movie theaters. Two dozen people were injured and one person died. U.S. diplomatic posts in several countries have been closed due to rising anti-Western anger.

A California judge rules the trailer for the anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims," can remain on YouTube. The judge tossed out a civil suit filed by an actress who says she's received death threats for appearing in the controversial film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. The film of course has triggered those anti-violent American protests throughout the Muslim world.

SAMBOLIN: And next we are talking about another film that's called "Occupy Unmasked" and one of the producers hopes it has an impact on the 2012 election. We'll talk to him coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 39 minutes past the hour. Forty-six days until Election Day. And on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, protest movement, a new movie being released, "Occupy Unmasked". it was the last project of Andrew Breitbart, the conservative commentator and publisher who died earlier this year. And here's a taste of the film from the trailer for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of like it that they're sort of militantly vague at this point.

ANDREW BREITBART, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR AND PUBLISHER: We are finally telling you the true story of the radicals behind the Occupy movement.


SAMBOLIN: David Bossie was the producer on the film. He's also the President of Citizens United. Of course, their movie about Hillary Clinton is what touched off the Supreme Court case that bears their name. And David, we really appreciate you being here this morning. I want to jump right in --


SAMBOLIN: -- because we see the radicals in the trailer so I want to talk about that. The website for "Occupy Unmasked" describes the Occupy Wall Street movement as such, I'm going to put this up.

"While the liberal establishment and mainstream media portray the Occupy Wall Street movement as organic and nonviolent, Occupy Unmasked reveals the sinister, organized, and highly orchestrated nature of its leaders, and their number one goal: not just to change government, but to destroy it."

Do you really believe people who started this movement want to destroy government?

BOSSIE: Well, certainly. They -- look, they say it themselves. I mean, you go into the camps and they talk about anarchy, they talk about destroying our capitalist system, our free market. They want to overturn our democracy. That's not our thing, that's their own -- those are their own words.

SAMBOLIN: But that's not how the movement started, right?

BOSSIE: No, right.

SAMBOLIN: I mean, it was really just a call to action. We know the Occupy movement began by "Adbusters", right, an anti-consumer movement. And here's what they said last July. "On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months... It's time for democracy, not corporatocracy, we're doomed without it."

There was no call to anarchy. No call to violence.

BOSSIE: Sure. And that's when people take over an operation like that. And that's what you've really seen -- the sinister underside of this organization, of the Occupy movement, is truly run by anarchists. They really want to take on -- you look at this film footage that we have, you'd think it was a third world country. You wouldn't think it's downtown Oakland or Portland or Denver, Colorado. This is happening in your cities, and that's what they're doing. They're coming in and they're destroying, they're confronting, and they want confrontation with the police. It's not that they're using it, it's not that it's a last resort; it's not that police are doing anything wrong. These people are taking the fight to the police and that's the shocking part.

SAMBOLIN: But it really was the last resort, wasn't it? It started out as a peaceful movement and it didn't really turn into what we're looking at here until well into the movement, maybe by just a select few.

BOSSIE: Well, no --

SAMBOLIN: Not the masses.

BOSSIE: You look at what they're doing and you're right. What they do is they use some of these well-meaning people as a -- as a disguise, if you will, because if you can bring --

SAMBOLIN: Wait I just want to establish, just well-meaning people are the ones who started the movement.

BOSSIE: Well, I don't know if those -- the "Adbusters" guys I'm not going to say well-meaning. I'm going to say your average person who came to that call to act are well-meaning, understanding that they might be unemployed or put upon. They feel that their American dream is in jeopardy. I get that. There's a place in America for a center- left populist movement, which is what they were trying to make the answer to the Tea Party movement and it's clearly not.

SAMBOLIN: Okay, let's look at the time line just because I really want to hone in on this. I want to really establish who started this. So July 13 "Adbusters" magazine calls for the September 17 peaceful protest. And on September 9, We Are The 99 Percent tumblr. September 17, the protest begin in Zuccotti Park. October 1, 700 protesters arrested in march across the Brooklyn Bridge. And October 5, 39 organizations including labor unions join Occupy Wall Street -- 25,000 people march and mass arrests, and there are mass arrests. So the timeline really starts rather peacefully.

BOSSIE: It does. I don't say that it doesn't. What I'm saying is, that the -- that the insidious nature of this, and really, you know, within our film, we have undercover cameras inside of our film that show these people are organized by the unions and they're paid by the unions to attend these rallies, too. So it's a little bit disingenuous for everybody to think that they're just peaceful demonstrators who show up for no reason.

SAMBOLIN: The movie trailer compares Tea Party coverage with that of the Occupy movement. The Tea Party has been accused of racism, of inciting violence. Take a look at some of the signs from the Tea Party rallies as well here. Do you think that it's really fair to judge a group based on its worst members?

BOSSIE: First of all, comparing the Tea Party to the occupy wall street movement is just nonsensical. There's no comparison. When the Tea Party movement has a single person who shows up with some crazy T- shirt or a button on, they self-police themselves and they kick them out or the media picks on them and make them the face of the organization. That's ridiculous.

The Occupy movement, there's nowhere in the Tea Party movement are they destroying American cities, running rampage over the police department and confronting the police. It's not even close.

SAMBOLIN: Unfortunately, we've run out of time. I could talk to you for hours. Appreciate your time this morning. David Bossie, President of Citizens United, producer of "Occupy Unmasked". Thank you for your time.

John, back to you.

BERMAN: It's about 45 minutes after the hour right now. We want to get you up to speed on all the top stories. Anti-Western anger flaring again in Pakistan: two movie theaters in Peshawar were set on fire in protest against an anti-Islam film and a French cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. One person died and more than two dozen people were injured. The fear of new violence has caused several U.S. embassies to close.

President Obama pulling ahead of Mitt Romney in three critical swing states. In Wisconsin, of course, Paul Ryan's home state, the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has the President five points ahead among likely voters, 50-45 percent.

And the same story it is in Colorado where the President outpolling Mitt Romney there, 50 percent to 45 percent. And his lead in Iowa even bigger. Likely voters in the Hawkeye State favoring the President by eight points, 50 to 42 percent.

SAMBOLIN: And John, you know, the wait is over for millions of fans of Apple's latest version of the wildly popular iPhone that hits store shelves today. Look at the crowd. Customers waited outside Apple stores in all kinds of weather with some even camping out for days.

The company says it took in two million orders online for the latest version of the Smartphone that's been bought by more than 244 million people since 2007. BERMAN: I feel so inadequate, all of a sudden.


BERMAN: It's enough anymore.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got a BlackBerry.

BERMAN: Talk about inadequate.

SAMBOLIN: You don't have an iPhone?

O'BRIEN: I have one. It's hard to type on. It's hard to type.


BERMAN: So, what's going on on "STARTING POINT"?

O'BRIEN: Lots to tell you about this morning. We're going to, obviously, cover these protests that are happening and growing, really, in the Mideast as the anti-Islam film and then the publication of those cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. Everybody is very much on high alert this morning. Buildings have been set on fire. At least one person has been killed. We're going to bring you a live report this morning from Islamabad and Pakistan.

Also from the fast track to the mommy track, a former Deutsche Bank vice president says the company stalled her career because she became a mom. We'll tell you how she claimed the bank is discriminating against her, fired her. She's got a lawsuit. We'll talk about that.

One, an Academy Award when he played a Ugandan dictator, but Forest Whitaker is actually all about peace. We're going to talk about his new movie which is called "The Butler" and also tell us how today, he's making a big announcement about world peace. That and much more in about 13 minutes right at the top of the hour.

BERMAN: Sounds very, very cool. You have a movie star, I've got one, too. Rocky likes sports tribe is well word Hollywood story line, but there is a brand-new movie about what happens when one's dreams don't exactly pan out the way you think they're going to. Sarah Megan Thomas here to talk about "Backwards." A great movie coming up.


BERMAN: The whole country watched as America won the most medals at the Olympics in London, but, for every athlete who gets a moment on the biggest stage, there are hundreds who come up just short. And this is the subject of a new movie out today. It's called "Backwards." It's about a woman who's forced to really let go of her Olympic dream and get a second start on life.


JAMES VAN DER BEEK, ACTOR: I just started morning practices.


VAN DER BEEK: Do they think that's necessary?

THOMAS: Excuse me?

VAN DER BEEK: I mean you're only in high school, Abby. You remember what that's like.

THOMAS: Uh-huh.

VAN DER BEEK: So ease up on them.

THOMAS: I was under the impression you wanted them to win.

VAN DER BEEK: I do. But they're not used to the kind of training that you are.

THOMAS: They're training for (INAUDIBLE).

VAN DER BEEK: I know that, Abby.

THOMAS: They're great.

VAN DER BEEK: It's not the Olympics.


BERMAN: All right. So, the guy there is James Van Der Beek. You'll recognize him from "Dawson's Creek." But the actress, Sarah Megan Thomas, she was the star, the writer, the producer. I think you also did the catering.



BERMAN: She joins me here now. This is a different kind of sports movie. And I love sports movies. But this one is as much about failure as success.

THOMAS: Yes, absolutely. I wanted to tell a different sports movie where you don't make it. You often see people in sports films win that big race, and this is a story about someone who's a number one alternate, so ultimately, she sits on the side lines.

BERMAN: Now, you did row crew in high school and college.


BERMAN: But this story not so much about you as someone you knew.

THOMAS: No, not at all. It's more a story -- I wanted to make a mainstream story about what happens when your big dreams don't work out, no matter what those dreams are, whether it's rowing or basketball or acting or anything. I think it's a story line people can relate to. BERMAN: Now, you were, as we said, the writer, the star, the producer, the everything on this.


BERMAN: You've been working on this like almost exclusively for years.

THOMAS: Yes, two years.

BERMAN: Now that it's out --


BERMAN: -- what do you do?

THOMAS: Sleep.


THOMAS: Yes, you know, now we're promoting it, we come out today, all the information is at and we'll be promoting it for couple of weeks and really hoping that people enjoy it and then I'll be working on my next scripts.

BERMAN: The title "Backwards" is so cool.

THOMAS: Yes. Thank you.

BERMAN: -- because when people row, what direction do they go?

THOMAS: Backwards. And they win backwards. Yes.

BERMAN: In life, this character in the film also seemingly went.

THOMAS: Yes, yes. It's really about a woman who -- when she takes a coaching job, to her, that's like degrading, because she's an Olympic level athlete. So, she thinks she's moving backwards, but ultimately, she rediscovers her life and is really moving forwards in a positive manner.

BERMAN: Is that an important lesson, you think?

THOMAS: I think so. I think that sports -- it's really hard to find that life work balance. And she makes a big choice at the end of this film, and some people will agree with it and some people won't. But the point is balancing life with sports.

BERMAN: Now, you were a big high school star, big college athlete, too, and of course, the big anniversary of Title IX this year.


BERMAN: How important, do you think, women's -- we don't see a lot of women's sports movies. THOMAS: No. and That's really one of the reasons I made it. There are so many women athletes out there. And I think it is an underserved demographic, you know? Women athletes are wonderful, and there's lots of them.

BERMAN: You had some Olympians at the movie premiere.

THOMAS: Yes! So exciting. We had -- they brought their medals. They are so tall. I mean, I'm in heels, I'm six feet tall with heels, and they towered in flats. And they really loved the movie and said how genuine it was to their experiences. And to me, that meant the world.

BERMAN: Can I ask you to give me one moment of honesty here.


BERMAN: I have a lot of friends in row crew.


BERMAN: There's nothing fun about it, is there?


THOMAS: No. Yes, no, there is, that one moment when you're moving together, all as one there's like a good one-second of fun.

BERMAN: I think you're lying, but the movie is fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

THOMAS: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: Sarah Megan Thomas. The film is "Backwards." It's really worth seeing. Thanks so much.

THOMAS: Thank you.

BERMAN: And today, we're going to have "Best Advice" coming up from rapper, T.I. You'll want to see this. Stay with us.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice."

BERMAN: Here's Christine.

ROMANS: And the advice today for you to take or leave on your way to work is from rapper, author, and actor, T.I.


TIP "T.I." HARRIS, RAPPER, AUTHOR, ACTOR: The best advice that I received came to me when I was a teenager. I had just gotten myself in my first piece of trouble and times were kind of dark for me, and my -- my uncle told me, he said hey, remember this, no matter how it looks right now, it's never as bad as it seems.


SAMBOLIN: Never as bad as it seems.

ROMANS: That's some really good advice. Never as bad as it seems.

SAMBOLIN: My son said to me T.I. was there and I didn't get to go to the studio?

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: Show him this.

SAMBOLIN: I will. He's got some best advice.

ROMANS: He's a cool guy.

BERMAN: All right. That's all from EARLY START this morning. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.