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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Romney Versus Obama On SNL; Disaster At 20,000 Feet; Dueling "60 Minutes" Interviews; Foreign Policy Polls Favor Obama; Ahmadinejad On Possible War With Israel; "Defeat Jihad" Ads Go Up In NYC Subways; NYC Schools Offer Morning-After Pill; And The Emmy Goes To...

Aired September 24, 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)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, let's review. On Monday, a secret tape is released where Romney insults half the country. Then that same day, he stands by those remarks.

On Wednesday, he does a town hall for Hispanics and brownface, and Friday, Paul Ryan gets booed by the AARP. And then, instead of on just going that, you go, everybody, remember my campaign slogan?

Yes, I can't do that. Don't make this hard on yourself. You're like the criminal who gets away with murder and then start sending the cops puzzles to figure it out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: EARLY START in the real news continues right now. Crunch time in the race for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney trade primetime shots at each other with just six weeks left in the race.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, disaster at 20,000 feet, dozens still missing after an avalanche on one of the world's highest peaks.

BERMAN: Controversial and constitutional as the critics call hate to Muslims go to display today for the whole world to see.

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

SAMBOLIN: Happy to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's 6 a.m. here in the East. So let's get started.

Up first, the race for the White House is getting even more intense with just over six weeks to go. Can you believe it? Mitt Romney is promising to get more aggressive in the final six weeks of the campaign.

He says the President has been intentionally misleading voters about his positions. We have two telling pieces of sound to play for you here.

First, listen to President Obama responding to his opponent's criticism about his hamming of foreign policy. Then listen to Romney counter about the President's attack on his positions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I've executed on my foreign policy and it's one that the American people largely agree with. So, you know, if Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not going to try and fool people into thinking he believes things he doesn't. He's trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don't. And that ends, I think, during the debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: There's still more, folks. CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser is live from Washington this morning. Paul, I understand you have a brand new ad from the Obama campaign using Romney's 47 percent comment. Please share.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I sure will and no surprise here, right. You know, it was a week ago that those comments, those hidden camera comments came to light. They've really rocked coverage of the campaign trail.

A super PAC supporting the President used some of those comments from the 47 percent quote last week. Now the Obama campaign is out with a new ad. Take a listen, Zoraida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney attacked 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax including veterans, elderly, and the disabled.

ROMNEY: Not to worry about those people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't the President have to worry about everyone?

Mitt Romney paid just 14.1 percent in taxes last year. He keeps millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. He won't release his tax returns before 2010. Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, Romney should come clean on his.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: Of course, on Friday, the Romney campaign released those 2011 tax returns. Mitt Romney has only released two years of returns. The Obama campaign says they want to see more.

Mitt Romney says he is very comfortable with the two returns. Now back to the other stuff. The controversial hidden camera comments, listen, we've seen a lot of incoming fire at the Romney campaign over the last week, some of it even from Republicans. Here is what he said on "60 Minutes."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wonder if any of that criticism gets through to you and whether you're concerned about it at all.

ROMNEY: That's not the campaign. That was me, right? That's not a campaign. I've got a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the campaign.

ROMNEY: I've got a very effective campaign that's doing a very good job. But not everything I say is eloquent and I want to make it very clear. I want to help 100 percent of the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: You know, we've also seen a slew of polls in the crucial battleground states over the last two weeks. They appear to show the President's lead widening in a lot of these crucial states.

Romney was asked about that and he said, you know what, I'm not worried about the polls. He thinks he is in a pretty good position right now -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: That 100 percent, they keep on using it in the campaign, don't they? In the meantime, President Obama continues to face questions about not measuring up. Will that be a recurring Republican theme, do you think?

STEINHAUSER: I think it will be. Remember last week, as you saw from that clip from SNL a few minutes ago, he did talk about his biggest -- you know, not biggest accomplishment, his biggest mistake.

I guess, the thing that he wishes he could have done in his first term was change Washington from the inside, which was his campaign mantra in 2008. Republicans really jumped all over that.

The President was asked about it in a "60 Minutes" interview. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think that, you know, as president, I bear responsibility for everything from some degree. And one of the things I've realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I'm enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: And he says if he's re-elected to another term, Mr. Obama says he really wants to enlist the American people throughout his second term in the White House -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And I know, Paul, that all the polls say that the economy is the most important thing to Americans, but the attack on the consul in Libya could affect this election. Some say that the administration has been slow and sometimes contradictory in its response. STEINHAUSER: Yes, and we saw in the "60 Minutes" interview, the President talking about Israel and the Middle East and Iran, as well. And the Romney campaign last night, moments after that interview jumped on the President on those comments on foreign policy when he was campaigning in Colorado.

Take a look at these numbers. These are numbers the Obama camp would like you to look at. This is a Pew Research Center poll when it comes to foreign policy, who would better handle the issues.

You see the President with a 15-point advantage. Zoraida, other polls even -- including CNN show similar things. Look at this, though. This is from NBC/"Wall Street Journal."

You could see here the President's approval rating on foreign policy was 54 percent in August, 49 percent now after the September 11th attacks on our embassies in Egypt and in Libya.

You know, foreign policy though overall, Zoraida, plays a very small role in the minds of Americans compared to the economy and compared to other domestic issues.

But we have a debate coming up just on foreign policy. One of the three is just on foreign policy. Guess what? Tomorrow in New York City, both President Obama and Mitt Romney at the Clinton Global Initiative, you know it's going to come up there, as well.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Paul Steinhauser, live in Washington for us. Thank you very much.

And this is what I was talking about, nearly 120 world leaders are convening are under very heavy security in New York City for the 67th United Nations General Assembly session. It begins tomorrow.

President Obama will be one of the first speakers. On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives his address. He sat down for an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan and was asked about a possible military conflict with Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Do you fear that war is imminent? Do you fear that there will be military conflict, perhaps even before the end of this year between your country and Israel?

PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (via translator): Of course, the Zionists are very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things and I think they see themselves at the end of the line. And I do firmly believe that they seek to create opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Piers also asked Ahmadinejad about the death of Osama bin Laden. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Are you pleased that Osama bin Laden was killed by American Navy SEALs on the instructions of President Obama?

AHMADINEJAD (via translator): I would have been happier to see a transparent trial, a formal trial, and find out the root causes of all of the events of the last few years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: And you can see the full interview with the Iranian president on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" at 9:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Ads that critics call hateful to Muslims are going up in New York subways today. The ads read, quote, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man, support Israel, defeat Jihad." City transit officials initially rejected that ad, but last month a judge ruled it was protected speech.

BERMAN: It's 8 minutes after the hour right now. The search is back on for mountain climbers who are still missing in Nepal. At least eight people were killed yesterday when an avalanche hit the world's eight highest peak, which is located near Nepal's border with China.

Sumnima Udas is following developments from Delhi this morning. What is the latest from there?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the rescue operation is now over for the day, but we know that three helicopters went out this morning and they've recovered about eight bodies in total.

Out of them, four were French nationals, one German, one Spaniard, one Italian and one Nepali. Three are still missing and they are saying that they will go out again and try to find those three missing if they are instructed to do so.

Now we also know that there were 21 survivors, 21 climbers who have been rescued and they're now back in Kathmandu in various hospitals undergoing treatment. Most of them are suffering from some sort of frostbite.

Among them is an American climber/skier Glenn Flegg (ph) and he was with his colleague up in Camp 3 when the avalanche hit around 4:00 in the morning. And he spoke to a documentarian earlier about his experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 4:45, he was reading in his Bible, reading his daily devotional. They heard a sound and Greg turned to him and said, "Did you hear that wind?" And a second later he said, "No, that's an avalanche."

He said then immediately the avalanche hit them. There were about 25 tents at Camp 3. It took them all out and he said it swept him about 300 meters down the mountain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UDAS: Climbers tell us that this is one of the easier 8,000 meter mountains to climb, so a lot of climbers tend to go to Mt. Manasu before they try to some at Mount Everest and some of the other higher mountains there.

BERMAN: All right, Sumnima Udas, following the situation from Delhi this morning. Thank you so much for being with us.

It's about 10 minutes after the hour right now. There were a bunch of sweeps at the Primetime Emmy Awards last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to "Homeland."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: "Homeland" -- the Showtime series won for Best TV Drama ending a four-year reign of "Mad Men." "Homeland's" two lead actors, Clara Danes and Damian Lewis, were also winners.

"Modern Family" was the top comedy series for the third year in a row. Two of its shows ensemble cast, Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen won supporting actor and actress. And speaking of streaks, none quite like Jon Stewart's "Daily Show," which won for Best Variety Series for a 10th - tenth -- straight year.

SAMBOLIN: Good gracious. And he looked surprise, doesn't he?

All right, it was an emotional win for the Baltimore Ravens over the New England Patriots on Sunday night football. Ravens receiver Tory Smith catching two touchdown passes one night after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, helping Baltimore win 31- 30 on a last-second 27-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

BERMAN: It is 11 minutes after the hour right now. There is a big controversy here in New York City after a move by the schools. They're giving the morning-after pill and other contraceptives to high school girls without really telling their parents, some critics say. More coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It's about a quarter after the hour right now. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Happy to have you this morning.

So a very controversial program that may have been operating under the radar for months.

BERMAN: Some New York high schools are offering students morning- after pills and other birth control drugs now. And if they take them, it's possible their parents may have no idea what's going on.

SAMBOLIN: That is possible. It's all part of a pilot program to stop teen pregnancies.

And Alina Cho is here to explain more of the details. Because, yes, at first glance, it's a little baffling to parents I think.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. It was shocking to a lot of people. And you mentioned under the radar.

I mean, this has been going on quietly for quite some time until it came out in the news yesterday.

Good morning. Good morning, everybody.

The pilot program called CATCH, which could be the first of the kind in the nation, has been quietly going on since January of last year. So far, according to several local reports, including "The New York Times," more than 1,100 students in 14 high schools have been given the so-called morning-after pill known as Plan B and other birth control pills.

Now, the city Department of Health says the schools in the program were picked because the students there were known to have a higher risk of getting pregnant and lower access to health care. Now, one of the schools involved actually -- listen to this, actually dropped out because students were overloading the medical office. And the most surprising part about all of this is that many parents may actually be clueless about it. The children do not need permission from their parents to get the pill. The default is that they're allowed unless those parents opt out of the program by signing a better.

The question is, are those parents getting the letter? It was both mailed, we're told, and sent home with students. But the Department of Health says no more than 2 percent of parents at each school sent those letters back signed.

Now, under federal law, kids under 18 needs a prescription for Plan B. Over 18 you can buy it over-the-counter. Those prescriptions are being handed out by health department doctors.

According to the CDC and the New York City Health Department, 46 percent of New York city teens have had sexual intercourse, 7,000 New York city girls get pregnant by the age 17. Staggering nine out of 10 of those pregnancies are unplanned. And this is the key part that city officials are watching, seven out of 10 of those pregnant teen moms drop out of school.

Now, the New York City health department released a statement saying in part, we are committed to trying new approaches like this pilot program in place since January of 2011 to improve a situation that can have negative consequences that can last a lifetime.

Of course, that's one side of it. The other side of it is parents saying they're being left made out of the decision-making process and they want to know if this is going on. Now they do. SAMBOLIN: You know, I want to add a tidbit here. The Department of Education and New York City, it gives out free condoms to all high schoolers, as well.

CHO: That's right. And that's been going for --

SAMBOLIN: For a long time, yes.

CHO: Right.

SAMBOLIN: But this is a little bit different because it's a Plan B. It's a prescription drug that has to be given out by doctors.

How are the parents reacting to this?

CHO: Well, and you mentioned condoms have been handed out and this pill has been going on since January of last year.

And the difference is, as one staff, school staffer said, you know, you can't give Tylenol out without a prescription.

SAMBOLIN: Right.

CHO: How is it possible this is going on? As you can imagine, a lot of parents are divided about this. Some are quite angry. Some say, listen, students are going to do this, anyway. Why not make the access? Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that any kind of contraception, including the morning-after pill, will alter teenage behavior. I am the mother of a teenage boy, and kids do what they want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Given that the parents can't control whether she has sex or not, she certainly should be able to control that she doesn't get pregnant. I absolutely believe this is a wonderful thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: So there you have it. It's interesting to hear both sides of -- parents obviously have strong opinions on both sides of this. We'll have to see how it shakes out. For now, it's a pilot program in 13 schools and we'll keep you posted.

SAMBOLIN: You know what surprised me about this is that teen pregnancy nationwide is down. But these are certain pockets where teen pregnancy is up, and that's why they're trying this.

CHO: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alina Cho, thank you so much for that. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: Nineteen minutes after the hour right now. This week on "THE NEXT LIST," it's a good deed double shot. People cleaning up one of the prettiest spots on the planet and recycling trash to give people a place to live. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSANA HEISSE, PURA VIDA: This is an eco-brick. This is the container and this is where you stuff all the wrappers, all the plastic bags, everything that is considered inorganic trash. Just put a lid. Then you have an eco-brick ready for construction.

I'm Susana Heisse. I'm the founder of the Pura Vida movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Do not miss "THE NEXT LIST," Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Twenty minutes past the hour.

Beware of your bank. Whether you're a saver or spender, you're still getting nickeled and dimed. What to watch out for, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty-four minutes past the hour. We're "Minding Your Business" this morning.

If you feel like your bank is nickel and diming you, you're right.

BERMAN: Bankrate.com is out with new information that shows banking fees are going up.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINES CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BERMAN: Christine is here to break it all down for you this morning.

ROMANS: You know, savers are really taking a bit hit. And this kills me. In this environment, you've got the Fed keeping interest rates low, you've got your money in the bank. You're not making any interest on that money, and worse, you've got more and more fees just for having your own money in the bank.

I want to tell you what Bankrate found, that free checking is on the decline. It used to be you could find a bank here and there that has free checking. Bankrate says 100 percent of banks are considering, you know, getting rid of free checking. Only 39 percent have free checking accounts.

Overdraft fees are rising, surprise, surprise. The fee right now is about $31. Don't opt in for this. Please do not opt in for this because when you get hit, you're going to get hit hard.

The average ATM surcharge is also rising. So, these are the surcharge, the bank, the ATM owner charges, $250. The 100 percent I was talking about, that's this chart. A hundred percent of the banks now charge for using someone else's ATM.

And even your own bank is going to charge you maybe another $ 1.57 for using an ATM that's not affiliated with your bank. So it could cost you 3 bucks or 4 bucks to get your money out.

This is something really important. Go look at credit unions. They tend to have more free checking and lower fees. Very important, never use an out of network ATM. Just don't. Walk or drive the extra mile or two blocks because you're losing money.

I mean, you're paying to use your money when you do that and it really adds up. When you're not getting any interest, all of these fees add up and we have to be really smart about it, because you're just giving your money away.

BERMAN: So that's bleak news about our money. Do you have any good news about our money this morning?

ROMANS: I have some good news about your gas bill, it's probably going down. The one thing you need to know about your money today -- gas prices are down now for the ninth day in a row. And it doesn't really -- 10, actually, 10 straight days. The current average price is $3.81 a gallon. That's according to AAA.

If oil prices stay right where they are, if oil prices, nothing happens to make oil go up, you could see gas prices fall maybe another 5 to 10 cents according to the oil watcher, Lundberg. But I'm telling you, I've been waiting for oil to come down all summer and fall, and it has been defined to call for those declines. We'll see if it now, it finally does.

BERMAN: Fingers crossed. I mean, for the banking fees, right?

ROMANS: I know. Please offset. You have to pay more for your gas, drive farther to get to an ATM.

BERMAN: All right. It is 26 minutes after the hour right now.

And this question: will Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016? Her husband, you know him as Bill Clinton, he was asked that very question. You will see what he says. It's interesting, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one-on-one. He's talking to CNN about Israel and much more, ahead of this week's U.N. General Assembly.

BERMAN: Houston police on the defensive effort. A wheelchair double amputee is shot and killed by officers.

SAMBOLIN: An edgy psychological drama on pay cable pulls off an Emmy night surprise. It knocked off "Mad Men," as well.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 31 minutes after the hour right now and the world is coming to New York city this week for the United Nations general assembly. The 67th annual session gets under way tomorrow. The traffic has already started. That's when President Obama will speak.

Growing anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world and the nuclear tensions with Iran are likely to be prime topics. One hundred and sixteen heads of states will attend.

SAMBOLIN: And also attending, CNN foreign affairs reporter, Elise Labott, who's with us in studio this morning, with a bit of a preview.

And this comes amid still lots of tension in the Middle East.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Lots of tension in the Middle East. They're -- basically, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be meeting today with the President of Libya not just to discuss obviously protecting U.S. personnel but investigations and she'll be meeting with President Zardari of Pakistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, all of these the backdrop of these protests that were rocking the region last week and a lot of discussions as to how the U.S. is going to engage going forward.

Also, Syria -- there will be a lot of talks about Syria this week and also Iran's nuclear program, big back drop for this week's festivities.

SAMBOLIN: And Hillary Clinton is taking those meetings because President Obama, we understand, will be on "The View"?

LABOTT: Well, he's going to be on "The View" and Secretary of State will be doing the kind of heavy lifting on diplomacy. What the White House says is that the during campaigns, presidents don't meet with world leaders.

It's not necessarily so true. President George Bush, former President Clinton have met with other leaders. It all kind of stemmed from the fact that a couple of meetings that President Obama didn't want to take the time. Egyptian President Morsi, for instance, really upset about what happened at the U.S. embassy in Cairo last week, and also Benjamin Netanyahu.

SAMBOLIN: Right.

LABOTT: Netanyahu is really been criticizing the President about his handling of the Iran issue, kind of saying he's foot dragging of really giving Iran firm consequences for its nuclear program.

So President Obama, instead of not meeting, said he's not going to meet with anybody. The Secretary is really holding down the fort this week.

BERMAN: Everyone waits to see what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will say when he speaks before the General Assembly. My understanding is the Secretary General of the U.N. told him, you know, you may want to be a little careful.

LABOTT: Well, this is his week to come on the world stage. He's always very interesting. A lot of people have walked out in previous years. He loves to give a press conference where he's very fiery.

Basically what -- although everyone has concerned about Iran's behavior in the region and its nuclear program, what President Ahmadinejad says sometimes does resonate with a lot of countries in the nonaligned world, non-Western countries who feel that the West, the United States, some of these U.N. Security Councils are the only ones that have the say in the world.

So he does have an audience.

SAMBOLIN: I have one more question if you don't mind.

Hillary Clinton 2016, what do you know?

(CROSSTALK)

LABOTT: I mean, I think, first of all, she's tired. She needs a big nap and she wants to kind of go out, do some of these issues that she cares about like development, poverty, women's issues. She's going to write a book.

I think that come 2013, I think that her supporters are going to come out and say, listen, if we're going to, you know, have a woman in the White House in our generation, it's got to be you. I think right now she really believes that she's not going to run, but I think we haven't seen the last of Hillary Clinton on a political stage.

BERMAN: All right. You heard it here.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Thanks, Elise. We appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right. Thirty-four minutes after the hour right now.

And the world will hear from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday morning. He already spoke to Piers Morgan about a possible war with Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Do you fear that war is imminent? Do you fear that there will be military conflict, perhaps before even the end of this year between your country and Israel?

AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (via translator): Of course, the Zionists are very much -- very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things. And I think they see themselves at the end of the line. And I do firmly believe that they seek to create opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now to discuss the Iranian leader's comments are international security analyst Jim Walsh who will be meeting with the Iranian Prime Minister Ahmadinejad while he is in town.

And I have to ask you, what was your reaction to what Mr. Ahmadinejad said to Piers there?

JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, we've been through this now. He's been in office eight years. This is his last year. So, this is not my first rodeo. I'm used to him coming into town, giving interviews beforehand, often softer interviews than giving a speech at the United Nations which is a fiery speech and then heading back to Iran.

So I think you can expect the full gamut, the full range of remarks. Some will be conciliatory, some will be inflammatory.

BERMAN: I called him the Iranian Prime Minister, of course, he is the president right there. Israel has been saying it thinks that Iran is six months away from having material for a nuclear bomb. There's a lot of opinion on this, obviously on both sides. And it's crucial here.

Are there facts? Is there any way to know for sure what's going on?

WALSH: I think there are facts. In fact, I was part of a report that was released last week by a group, 35 retired generals and former national security advisers that advise both Republican and Democratic presidents. There are a lot of facts.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is in their nuclear facilities almost on a weekly basis issuing reports every three months. We know a lot about where their nuclear program is at.

In addition, Iran is the most watched country in the world. It's not just the U.S., it's not just Israel. Russia, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, we're all focused watching every move that Iran makes.

So, do we know everything? No. But we have a pretty good idea.

And I would say this -- as the Secretary of Defense has said, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Panetta has said, they are some distance from having a nuclear weapon. Yes, they have the basic capability, but we would know at least a year in advance if they decided to go from a capability to a bomb.

So I think there's time there, time for the U.S. and others to apply pressure, to engage in diplomacy to try to put this on a different path.

BERMAN: There's obviously a lot of saber rattling going on here on all sides. And the senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Iran -- he would launch a preemptive strike against Israel if Iran got any sense that Israel might strike against them.

Listen to what Ahmadinejad said to Piers about this last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: If Israel does launch a strike against your country, what would your response be?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): The response of Iran is quite clear. I don't even need to explain that. Any question that any nation has the right and will indeed defend herself.

But my question is this: why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply- rooted, historical, ancient countries such as Iran, a great country such as Iran based on an excuse of his own fabrication?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So what is the message there exactly? Who exactly is he sending it to?

WALSH: Well, I think part of it, he's sending it to not just the U.S. audience, but an international audience. And in the last segment, Elise pointed to this. Iran, over the summer, hosted the meeting of the nonaligned nations, the sort of developing countries of the world.

And what he's saying is to that audience, to the developing countries of the world, not to Europe, not to the U.S., but to poorer countries, hey, what's up with this? Why is it that Israel is able to publicly, you know, threaten to attack us every day? Countries aren't allowed to do that. Why are we allowed to do that?

And that speaks to Israel's unpopularity in certain quarters and also to what they're trying to sell -- what Ahmadinejad is trying to sell is that it's an unfair standard, that some countries are allowed to do stuff, other countries aren't.

So, you'll see a lot of that, John, over the next couple of days. He's going to have audiences here in the U.S. and he's going to have audiences back in Iran and messages for other countries he's hoping to persuade to be with Iran so Iran is not so isolated. We're going to see a lot of that over the next few days.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Walsh, international security analyst, thank you very much. Enjoy your meeting with the Iranian president. I know that will be interesting.

WALSH: Thanks.

BERMAN: You can see he has a full interview between Piers Morgan and the Iranian president on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." That's 9:00 Eastern Time, right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour.

Mitt Romney sounds like he's ready for a fight. The GOP nominee says he'll be getting more aggressive in the next six weeks for the race and he's blaming the White House for his own campaign president. He claims the President has been putting words in his mouth and he plans to put a stop to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I think that the President's campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my position. They've been very aggressive in their attacks both on a personal basis and on a policy basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Meanwhile, the President is firing back at Romney's claim that he's weak on foreign policy with our allies and our enemies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I said I'd end the war in Iraq. I did. I said that we would go after al Qaeda. They have been decimated in the Fatah. I said we would go after bin Laden. He's gone.

If Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The President will be in New York today for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

BERMAN: Houston police are defending the fatal shooting this weekend of a double amputee confine to go a wheelchair. They say the man cornered one officer with his chair and threatened him with an object. It turned out to be a pen. When he refused to drop the object, a second officer opened fire.

SAMBOLIN: Out of control and growing by a minute. Coming up, flames threatening homes and forced evacuations near a major American city.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-four minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'M Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. We're very glad you're with us this morning.

The search is back on this morning for dozens of mountain climbers unaccounted for in Nepal. It's happening on the world's eighth highest peak near Nepal's border with China. At least eight people were killed yesterday when an avalanche hit. Most of these people are from Europe. An injured American climber told a filmmaker he was swept about 1,000 feet down.

SAMBOLIN: Firefighters east of San Diego are battling a wild brush fire that's burned about 1700 acres. It started yesterday afternoon. There is no word on what sparked it. Dozens of homes are threatened. So some mandatory evacuations have been ordered and so far there are no injuries reported.

BERMAN: So if Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, plans to run for president in 2016, she's playing it real coy. And if you think her husband might spill the beans, think again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: She's tired. She's really worked hard. I think she's done a fabulous job. I'm very proud of her. But she wants to take some time off, kind of regroup, write a book. I have no earthly idea what she'll decide to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: No earthly idea. Hillary Clinton will be speaking this morning in New York at her husband's eighth annual Clinton Global Initiative.

SAMBOLIN: And so Soledad O'Brien joins us now.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Soledad O'Brien, very nice to meet you.

SAMBOLIN: Very nice to meet you.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Good to be here. Lots happening at the top of the hours on "STARTING POINT". World leaders, as you guys have been talking about, are arriving here in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. Tensions between Israel and Iran reach a new high. Iran's leader giving a warning - given a warning to avoid fiery rhetoric. Is he going to listen to that warning? We've got team coverage this morning on what to expect and what is at stake. Also, some insight today from Ambassador Nicholas Burns, who will be my guest.

And you've been talking about this controversy, as well. Students at New York City schools given birth control and the morning after pill without their parents' permission. Are the schools crossing a line? We're going to talk to people who disagree about this on both sides of the issue.

Also, singer Smokey Robinson is going to join us this morning. He's got this new thing called "Smoke Alarm", in which he lends his voice to a great cause that could help change the world. He sent it out only on Twitter to amass lots of support. He's teaming up with President Bill Clinton to do that. He's going to talk to us about that this morning.

And they became big stars on "Ugly Betty" and "Gilmore Girls" -- America Ferrara and Alexis Bledel, are going to join us, tell us how they're focused on women and ending poverty among women all across the world. That and much more happening right at the top of the hour on "STARTING POINT". I'll see you then.

BERMAN: Very, very cool.

SAMBOLIN: Stick around for that.

BERMAN: Totally. It was a night of surprises at the Emmys. Big surprises. Upsets in the drama categories and a practical joke on the audience by host Jimmy Kimmel. What was it? We'll have the highlights, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is the morning after television's biggest night: the Primetime Emmy Awards. It was a night of surprises and streaks, some ending and some that just kept on going. CNN's Kareen Wynter has a wrap-up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIMMY KIMMEL, EMMYS HOST: Welcome to the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Like the categories they honor, the 64th annual Emmy awards were filled with drama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.

WYNTER: Comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I forgot my glasses.

WYNTER: And for many, the reality that they won the biggest award in television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julianne Moore.

WYNTER: Four-time Oscar nominee and six-time Golden Globe nominee Julianne Moore is now a Primetime Emmy winner. The actress took home one of "Game Change's" four statues handed out Sunday night.

JULIANNE MOORE, ACTRESS: I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave us me a big thumbs down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Modern Family."

WYNTER: For a third straight year, reigning king of comedy, "Modern Family," did it again, winning a total of four Emmys, including Best Comedy Series, Supporting Actress for Julie Bowen and Supporting Actor for Eric Stonestreet.

ERIC STONESTREET, ACTOR: I never knew I would be on TV as a gay man but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me.

WYNTER: "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer and "Veeps" Julia Louis- Dreyfus took lead comedy honors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to "Homeland."

WYNTER: After four consecutive wins, "Mad men" was dethroned by Showtime's freshman powerhouse, "Homeland," for the top drama prize. It stars Damian Lewis and a pregnant Claire Danes both won for lead acting honors.

CLAIRE DANES, ACTRESS: My husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy, this doesn't mean anything without you.

WYNTER: While his late night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" didn't end up winning the prize for Outstanding Variety Series, the comedian did deliver on his promise the Emmys with a twist.

KIMMEL: I would like the people who are at home watching the Emmys right now to help me pull a big prank on the people who are not watching.

WYNTER: The late night funny man asked the audience and viewers at home to post tweets and Facebook messages indicating that "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan had passed out on stage.

KIMMEL: Just lie there for about, I don't know, ten minutes or so.

TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR: Okay.

WYNTER: But instead of Kimmel, it was once again the "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" that won its 10th variety series Emmy in a row.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW", HOST: Years from now, when the earth is just a burning husk and aliens visit, they will find a box of these and they will know just how predictable these [ bleep ].

WYNTER: Laughter, tears, talent and cheers, TV's golden night once again reminded millions of what host Jimmy Kimmel has known all along.

KIMMEL: I've got to get out less.

WYNTER: From the 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, that's a wrap. Zoraida and John, back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Well, thanks for that. Fifty-three minutes past the hour. Let's get a check of your travel forecast. Here is Rob Marciano. Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, you guys. They were sweating it out on the red carpet yesterday, temperatures approaching 100 degrees in some spots in SoCal. Pasadena hit 100; Van Nuys 99 and Burbank 98 degrees. So there you have it.

You're heading out west, pack lightly, because it's more like summer than fall which, by the way, arrived on Saturday. We have some cool air moving across the Great Lakes, not lake effect snow, but similar - it's lake effect rain showers across parts of western Europe. Other than that, we're looking great, especially east of the Mississippi River. A couple of showers across the intermountain west and the west coast looks to be dry. 71 Seattle; 84 in L.A.; 70 in Chicago.

A chilly start across the northeast and the south, but rebounding into the mid 60s and 70s in Atlanta. Guys, back up to you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much. Today's "best advice" comes from this man, the head of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. We hear from him after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Just a few minutes left now.

SAMBOLIN: We wrap it up, as always, with "best advice". How dramatic. Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: And today's best advice comes from the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. We asked him about the best advice he's ever received. This is what he told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO OF STARBUCKS: The best advice I've ever received is do not let anyone in your life tell you that your dreams cannot come true. In fact, I would say keep challenging those people, keep believing in yourself. And whatever you do, do not give up on the dreams that you have for yourself, your future and your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: So, John, next time I tell you your dreams can't come true, that's what you have to say.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I'm never going to let you say that to me again! Neither of you can ever say that to me again.

SAMBOLIN: Your dreams will come true.

BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START this morning. I'm John Berman.

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