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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Let The Debate Begin!; Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Blocked; American Airlines Looking For Loose Seats; McQueary Sues Penn State; Meningitis Outbreak Kills Two In Tennessee; Riding Manatees Not Permitted In Florida; Ahmadinejad Blasts Netanyahu; Crashing A Plane On Purpose

Aired October 3, 2012 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Countdown to the throw down. Debate night, just hours to go before Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's first head-to- head primetime face-off.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Health scare at a big city hospital, doctors trying to trace the source of a deadly form of meningitis.

BERMAN: Serious safety flaws in the sky. Dozens of airliners under investigation for loose seats. That's surprising.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's 6 a.m. in the East.

Let the debate begin. Tonight, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will be together in the same room for just the fourth time in their lives. As they square off in Denver in the first 2012 presidential debate.

The President making his pitch for four more years and Romney trying to convince voters four more years is four too many and he's the candidate that can turn the country around.

So a new CNN poll of polls has the President holding a three-point lead with barely a month to go in the race so within the margin of error there.

CNN political director Mark Preston is in live. He is in Denver this morning. Mark, you have new details on what we can expect tonight.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, you know, Zoraida, we've talked about moments during this presidential campaign and there's no arguing that tonight is the most important moment.

The 90-minute debate starts at 9:00 Eastern Time, six segments. Half of the debate, Zoraida, is going to be focused on issue number one that's the economy. The candidates will also be talking about governing. They're going to talk about the role of government in people's lives. They're also going to talk about health care.

Zoraida, as you're watching the TV screen tonight, Mitt Romney is going to be on your left. Barack Obama will be on your right. The first question is going to go to the President -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And they are standing behind podiums?

PRESTON: They will be standing behind podiums, which in many ways might set up a more confrontational style. If you're sitting around a table, you tend not to be confrontational with your opponent. When you're at a podium, you split apart a little bit, so we could see some fireworks.

SAMBOLIN: All right, and there's no surprise that the economy will dominate tonight's debate. You have some new poll numbers from voters on that specific issue.

PRESTON: Well, you know what, Zoraida, this is the new CNN/ORC poll that's just come out in the past hour. It really explains where we are as a country and what people think of the economy.

Let's take a quick look at it right now, 73 percent of Americans describe the economic conditions in the United States as poor. We shouldn't be very surprised by that, 27 percent however say they're not poor. In many ways you have to ask yourself, Zoraida, who's this 27 percent who thinks the economy is doing very well at this time.

SAMBOLIN: You know, John Berman and I were just talking about the expectations. What do you expect? What do folks expect the candidates? Who's going to pull it off tonight?

PRESTON: Well, you know, Zoraida, again we have these new poll numbers. We asked the American public what they thought and Barack Obama comes out on top. As we quickly look at this number right here --

SAMBOLIN: By a lot.

PRESTON: -- most people think Barack Obama is going to win tonight's debate by a lot. But you know what? Who knows who's going to win? Who knows how Mitt Romney is going to come out. A lot of people forget Mitt Romney had 20 presidential debates under his belt just in this past Republican presidential primary.

But Barack Obama, former law professor from Harvard, does pretty well behind the podium. So we'll know the answer about 11:00 Eastern Time tonight.

SAMBOLIN: We're really looking forward today. Are you excited?

PRESTON: I'm very excited. I'm up right now. It's 4:00 here in Denver and I got to tell you. I'm not the only one up getting ready for tonight's debate.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Mark Preston live for us in Denver. Thank you very much.

So in tonight's debates some say you should look for quirks with candidates. To some viewers, delivery, tone, body language can be almost as important as the substance of what a candidate is saying. So here's what some body language expert say that you should be watching out for. When Mitt Romney is agitated, they say his arms apparently flail a bit. Also President Obama has an issue with long windedness. Some debate watchers say that about him. And finally, both candidates seem to do well when they are standing behind podiums. So, I don't know, do you think it's going to be really crazy tonight?

BERMAN: Look, the Super Bowl of politics and it happens only every four years. This is why we love it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, a little confrontational and exciting as well.

So in the next half hour of EARLY START, we'll break down the debate and what each candidate has to accomplish with Richard Socarides, former senior adviser to President Clinton, and Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of redstate.com.

BERMAN: Keep on to CNN for the best political coverage on television and elsewhere. Our live debate coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern on CNN and also on cnn.com.

It's 5 minutes after the hour right now, some other stories. A Pennsylvania judge is temporarily blocked a key component of that state's new voter identification law. Voters will not have to show a state-approved photo ID in order to cast a ballot in next month's presidential election. Supporters of the law say it's designed to prevent fraud at the polls, but opponents claim it's an attempt to suppress the traditionally democratic minority vote.

SAMBOLIN: American Airlines said it will inspect 47 of its Boeing 757s after seats came loose in flight on two of its planes within days of each other this all happened. So far they have checked 36 planes. Six of them have seats that were not properly secured. Americans say not all seats were loose, but they had the potential to become so. They say improperly installed clamps are to be blamed.

BERMAN: Former Penn State Assistant football coach, Mike Mcqueary has filed a whistle-blower suit against the university. In this lawsuit, McQueary claimed he was the only assistant football coach not invited to interview for employment under new Penn State head football coach, Bill O'Brian. This is in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. McQueary was a key prosecution witness in that case who said he witnessed an apparent sexual encounter between Sandusky and a boy.

SAMBOLIN: And a rare form of non-contagious meningitis has killed two people. This is in Tennessee. Both of them received steroid injection at a Nashville medical facility. There are 14 victims in all, 13 of them in Tennessee, one in an unspecified state. The St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center will remain closed until investigators figure out what's happening there.

BERMAN: Riding on top of a manatee could cost a Florida woman a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Florida law protects manatees from alleged abuse and sheriffs near Tampa, they were not happy when they saw this picture. The woman turned herself in after the photo was released to the public. SAMBOLIN: Folks who live in that area typically know of that, right? So I was surprised by that.

So his performance unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, why there will be no encore for this rapper coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It's 10 minutes past the hour. Tonight, President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage in their first of three presidential debates. We're going to take a look at the hall in Denver where it will take place. An entire segment of the debate will be devoted to the key issue of health care in America.

So joining me now is senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen to discuss how this might actually unfold. So Elizabeth, before we get to the debate, briefly remind us of the differences between each candidate on health care.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Zoraida, there are some real philosophical differences. So let's just boil it down here. What Obamacare does is Obamacare mandates that all of us, you, me, everyone, nearly all of us buy insurance. And it also mandates that insurance companies accept everybody, even if you've got an expensive pre-existing condition. The Romney plan is to appeal Obamacare, which means there will be no mandate to buy insurance.

Also, he's going to have fewer requirements on insurance companies. He's not going to tell insurance companies what to do, to the same extent Obama does.

SAMBOLIN: All right, so let's get to the debate. Let's start with Governor Romney. How might he score points tonight on this issue?

COHEN: Let me tell you what he's been doing recently. He's recently been running an ad that talks about how Obama is putting taxes on the middle class. What he means by this, because we asked, and what he means by this is the money that Americans will have to pay if they don't buy insurance, because if you don't buy insurance, you'll have to pay money.

You can call it a penalty. The Supreme Court calls it a tax and many of the people paying that will be the middle class. Zoraida, it's important to remember, this isn't a tax like, let's say, a sales tax, which you have to pay. There's no way out of it. You only pay this tax if you choose not to purchase health insurance.

SAMBOLIN: All right, and it's incremental, the charge, right, it happens over a certain number of years.

COHEN: Right, the charge when it starts next year or in 2014 is going to be higher in years to come than it will be in the beginning. In other words, it gets higher as the years go on.

SAMBOLIN: All right, now, on to President Obama, how might he attack Romney's health plan? COHEN: You know, I think one of the first things he might say is, what health care plan? Governor Romney has been very sparing on the details of his plan will be if he's elected president. He talks a lot on repealing Obamacare, but not a lot of details on what he is going to do instead. For example, let's say people with pre-existing conditions.

He has said that he wants people with pre-existing conditions, some of them, he wants them to be able to buy insurance or he wants insurance companies to have to sell to them, but he hasn't really spelled out exactly how that will work. He says if you've had continuous care in the past, then you should be able to get insurance. He hasn't said what that means, continuous care in the past. So, he may accuse him of not having fully laid out a plan.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, short on the details there. Medicare you know is going to come up tonight. So what are the candidates proposing and who's ahead on this issue going into that debate?

COHEN: Right, this is interesting because we've heard so much about it. So I would expect that Romney is going to say, wow, Obama wants to cut Medicare by billions of dollars. And Obama's going to say that's not true and that's been hashed out for several months now and I would expect, in the reverse I would expect Romney -- I would Obama to say that senior citizens will have to pay more money if Romney is elected, pay more money on their health care. I would expect Romney to say, that's not true. We've heard these arguments for months.

Let's take a look at new polling data from CNN/ORC. The question is asked, who would handle Medicare better? And 52 percent said Obama, 44 percent said Romney. Those numbers have been the same for a while now. We'll see if the debate changes that.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, with a preview of what we might expect tonight. We appreciate it. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right, 14 minutes after the hour right now. A lot of news going on. Christine Romans here with the headlines.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning you two. It seems Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't a real big fan of Benjamin Netanyahu's artwork. He is calling it childish and primitive and he said the Israeli prime minister's presentation at the U.N. last week it was an intellectual insult.

Of course, you'll recall Netanyahu held up a drawing of a bomb and drew a red line, urging swift international action against Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad used the word "retarded" yesterday to describe Netanyahu's speech.

A woman who was raped and beaten by a man she met on Match.com is now speaking out. Jennifer Bennett said she never if thought the prosecution would use her Google searches against her. Lawyers tried to use against her the fact she Googled the definition of rape. She's now encouraging other sexual assault victims to come forward. Last week, her attacker, 37-year-old Thomas Gray was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Wow. It is incredible. Frightening. Real video.

A huge 727 passenger jet goes down in the desert. It's all caught on tape from dozens of angles because they did this on purpose. It's all part of the Discovery Channel's new "Curiosity" series.

Now, this controlled experiment was -- is pulled off to give researchers and you a closer look at what happens during a crash landing. And they found it might not be a death sentence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. TOM BARTH, ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR & SURVIVABILITY EXPERT: Several different studies from several different sources has confirmed that, you know, if you're involved in a plane crash, and most accidents are -- by majority very survivable.

DR. CINDY BIR, BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSOR, WAYNE UNIVERSITY: I think our experiment gave us more information and great research data that now we can feed in to make even planes safer. I feel very confident when I get in the air that, you know, I'm going to be safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Coming up at 6:50 Eastern, we're going to hear more from the people who had to do all this hard work. You could say they were the one who had to pick up all the pieces, collect all the data.

All right. Accident investigator and survivability expert, Dr. Tom Barth, and biomedical engineer, Dr. Cindy Bir, you saw both of them there, they will be on the program.

After a half century on the big screen -- you know the name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BOND: Bond, James Bond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Your favorite movie?

ROMANS: Ah! I love James Bond. Love it.

That's right. October marks the 50th anniversary of "Dr. No," the first James Bond film. The new film, "Sky Fall" will appear later this month; 007 has managed to stay young through the girls. Still has the bond girls. The Bond 50 Blu-ray box set is out today with all 22 James Bond film.

And I said on this program one time that James Bond is my favorite series.

BERMAN: What's your favorite?

ROMSN: I like all of them. I can't pick. But whatever is the most recent one is the one I love the most.

But I said this on the air, and I got a lot of feedback from people said why would someone like me like a misogynist film? Come on, it's a little campy, you know? I don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: No, there's actually nothing wrong with you.

BERMAN: I think he has issues with women for the first 20 or 30 years. I will say that about Mr. Bond.

SAMBOLIN: But I enjoy watching, too.

All right. Seventeen minutes past the hour.

Rappers' wild performance inside a Microsoft store in Atlanta leaves to a police escort out. The rapper who goes by Machine Gun Kelly jumped on tables, displaying desktop and laptop computers, destroying them last Friday. He cursed up a storm so much so we edited out the sound in this clip because we can't let you listen to if. He also reportedly stomped on five computers before police were called to kick him out.

BERMAN: Lots of swear words.

Now, a juvenile prank turns out to be a big win for students at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston. They're all getting free tickets to Taylor Swift concert. What happened was pranksters pretending to be from the school entered an online contest for a live Swift performance on campus, thinking it's funny the deaf kids would care about music. Nobody thought it was funny, though. So, in addition to the free tickets, Swift and others are donating up to $60,000 to the school.

SAMBOLIN: What a great ending.

And Hollywood has the Oscars but Detroit has the Car the Year. The nominees, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business.

U.S. stock futures are indicating a flat open for markets this morning.

BERMAN: There are two more days --

SAMBOLIN: Why are you laughing? Why are you laughing?

BERMAN: I was looking over there, when I should be looking right there. Still, two more days until the big September jobs report. Christine, what do they say?

ROMANS: You're wondering what the jobs report will be. Well, you know, it's going to be more of the same. I mean, CNN Money survey of economists think it's going to be something like, you know, 110,000 jobs created in the month, which is not enough to keep up with new people entering the work force. It's what --

SAMBOLIN: It's something, right?

ROMANS: And, you know, the next couple of months, you'll likely see -- most people tell me you're likely to see this kind of a pace of job creation.

So, if no big surprises, what does it mean for the election? We had this emergency situation four years ago where we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs, now it's a chronic situation where we're not creating enough jobs. Same story there.

So we'll get more data today from the private sector payroll company. See what they have to say about jobs.

SAMBOLIN: People are spending money on new cars.

ROMANS: They are. Car sales, you guys, it was a really good month for car sales. And big surprise there. The best month since 2008 -- remember, cash for clunkers. And, you know, the government was trying to get you to buy cars?

This is what U.S. auto sales did. So, G.M., Ford, Chrysler. Chrysler had a really good month. Ford F-series pickup truck, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Camry, this is what people were buying. You look at the foreign automakers, they had a gangbusters month. Foreign automakers seeing double-digit gains. Overall sales up 13 percent from a year ago. Just under 15 million, bigger than the spike for "Cash for Clunkers", the government program from three years ago.

We also have this gallery of cars that have been nominated for the Best Car and Truck of the Year award. The finalists will be announced in a couple months. But these are the cars on this list.

And "Fortune" has their juror who will vote for the Best Car and his odds here in the wall for you. Cadillac ATS, Ford Fusion -- you said you've driven a Fusion.

BERMAN: I rent them occasionally when I'm on the road.

ROMANS: So, 3-1 odds that it's the Ford Fusion. You know, the BMW 3- Series is on here.

SAMBOLIN: I'll test drive that Subaru for you.

ROMANS: The BMW keeps making the list.

SAMBOLIN: Do they ever win? ROMANS: You know, I have to check. They are usually a finalist.

So, there you go. Car sales are up.

BERMAN: What's the one thing we need to know about our money?

ROMANS: Super cheap financing to buy a car -- super cheap financing to buy a car. And it's interesting because used car prices are rising. And I think one in 10 car buyers are getting zero percent financing, zero percent.

BERMAN: Wow, zero percent?

ROMANS: Zero, that's free. That's free.

So -- and even a study earlier this week say people with not perfect credit are also getting great financing deals. So, that's behind this trend. Cheap time to buy a car.

BERMAN: All right. Christine Romans, thanks very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

Some iPhone 5 users are seeing red, purple -- seeing red over purple pictures. Take a look at that. We're going to explain this phenomenon, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Shot down, a controversial plan to build a handgun out of plastic derailed.

BERMAN: Journey to the center of the earth. No, not a sci-fi movie. A billion dollar mission to explore the land beneath our feet.

SAMBOLIN: Disaster but no accident here. Crash-test cameras capture what it might be like aboard a doomed jetliner. We have all the findings for you. Stay tuned for that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Glad to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's about 6:30 right now in the East.

Game time. It is debate night in America. They fired attacks at each other for months on the campaign trail but tonight, finally, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney finally face-to face on the stage in the first debate. This, a live picture from inside the debate hall in Denver where it will all go down in just a few years.

The candidates will meet face-to-face in the first of three presidential debates. A new CNN poll out this morning shows the President is heavily favored to win. That's what voters say, likely voters, 56 percent of them bet on the President doing well tonight, only 32 percent predict Mitt Romney will get the best of his opponent tonight.

I want to bring in Richard Socarides. He is a Democratic strategist, a former employee of President Bill Clinton. And Erick Erickson, a contributor here at CNN and editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

I want to ask each one quick question about the debates as we chew over quite a bit over the last few days.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, NEWYORKER.COM: Quite a bit, you think?

BERMAN: Quite a bit.

Richard, I'll start with you. What is the one thing that your guy, President Obama, needs to do tonight?

SOCARIDES: One thing: don't make any mistakes. I think it's that simple. I think if he -- you know, there are a lot of things he could do that would help him. I think, you know, he's got to explain to Americans why he hasn't been able to change the culture in Washington enough.

He's got -- you know, I think he's got to articulate what he's accomplished, what he wants to do the next four years. But the one thing he has to do most, more than anything else, is not make any mistake.

BERMAN: Mistake-free ball.

Erick Erickson, what's the one thing Mitt Romney needs to do tonight?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not get hung up on likability. I think that's Mitt Romney's problem for the last year or so, is he desperately wants people to like him. He wants the likability factor to go up. People aren't suddenly going to like him more than Barack Obama in the last five weeks of the campaign. So, get over it and make your case that, yes, you guys may like Barack Obama more than me but, you know, he hasn't done the job.

BERMAN: So, I think it's interesting. Richard says Barack Obama needs to play it safe. You say, Mitt Romney, just don't play it nice. That's an interesting summation of the debate strategies tonight.

I want to turn the page now and talk about Vice President Biden, a favorite subject for both of you.

SOCARIDES: America loves Joe Biden.

BERMAN: Erick doesn't love Joe Biden.

He said something on the campaign trail something yesterday and the Republicans were quick to pounce. Let's listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is deadly earnest. How they can justify, how they can justify, raising attacks on the middle class has been buried the last four years. How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And this is how Paul Ryan responded.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought he was taking my speech. I mean, you know what? We agree. The middle class has been buried over the last four years. They've been buried -- they're being buried by Obamacare, they're being buried by borrowing, by taxes, by spending, by more regulations, by all this uncertainty that is plaguing businesses. And the way to fix this is stop this digging and elect Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Erick, scale of one to 10 gaffe meter for Vice President Biden, how big of a deal is this?

ERICKSON: Oh, Lord, for Joe Biden, that's a different scale for average from average American. Joe Biden, this is a probably a six. For a non-Joe Biden, it would probably be an eight. But, I mean, come on, Joe Biden makes some great ones.

You know, I thought it was interesting yesterday, the amount of conference calls that suddenly both sides engaged in after Joe Biden opened his mouth. You know, after, put y'all back in chains comment, they took him off the stage for a few weeks and they may just do that for the rest of the election.

BERMAN: All right. I actually want to move on to another piece of tape that has received a lot of attention over the last 24 hours or so. This was a tape put out by FOX News, "The Daily Caller", "The Drudge Report", seemingly in a high level of coordination, which showed an event President Obama, then-Senator Obama, held in 2007, covered, by the way, entire media, including CNN. It was an open event, yet these organizations put it out yesterday as some sort of a revelation.

I hope we can listen to a quick bit of this speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, (D) ILLINOIS: What's happening down in New Orleans? Where's your dollar? Where's your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense. Tells me the bullet hasn't been taken out.

(APPLAUSE)

Tells me that somehow the people down in New Orleans, they don't care about as much. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Richard, do you --

SOCARIDES: Sounds like he's fired up, ready to go, right?

BERMAN: Do you think it's damaging to the President?

SOCARIDES: No. I think it's a rather desperate attempt by -- I mean, this is a guy, Tucker Carlson is the guy who employed -- he yelled at the press conference a couple of months ago. I mean, this is -- they're trying to do anything they can to change the narrative. But this uncovering of this tape that CNN has had for five years and played multiple times before -- you know, I think it's nothing.

BERMAN: What about uncovering something that was never covered?

ERICKSON: I don't think that this is going to persuade anyone. I think Republicans probably do need to focus more on the unemployment and the economy.

But, you know, I do think conservatives have -- I have had this running commentary this year on the media. You know, it reminds me of when Republicans started quoting things Barack Obama said in the past. There were all sorts of media stories about, where are they getting this stuff from? It turns out they got it from his book that was a bestseller in the media in 2007 but no one actually read.

Yes, the media has had this tape the whole time. But there were parts the media would have focused on if a Republican said it, they would have made a big deal about it. And they didn't with Barack Obama.

I think it just goes back to the media has built this narrative that Barack Obama is something other than just a run-of-the-mill politician, and, in fact, he's a run-of-the-mill politician.

SOCARIDES: When you're down by as much as Governor Romney seems to be --

ERICKSON: Two points.

SOCARIDES: -- it seems -- well, people think the race is slipping away. Some national polls showed two points but if you look at swing states and the likelihood of how things will play out -- listen, I'm not taking anything for granted. I don't think the race is wrapped up. I think tonight is a big night.

ERICKSON: I have to say -- yeah, I look, I admit the polls show Mitt Romney behind, but I think this year, the media has discredited itself a lot in the way it covered the race. I think a lot of Democrats think that, and a lot of Republicans -- I'm shocked in the past six to eight weeks the media, for example, as the whole thing was going down in Libya, it was clear it wasn't a riot, most of the media, to its credit CNN didn't, but the media focused on the Romney 47 percent video as Libya was blowing up. And at least to this network's credit, I mean, we try to balance it out. It's been appalling as a conservative to see a lot of the media focusing so much more on the Romney gaffes.

BERMAN: On that note, CNN has extensively covered the U.S. response in Libya.

But Erick Erickson of RedState.com and Richard Socarides, here with us in New York, Democratic strategist, thank you both for being here with me this morning.

Our live debate coverage begins tonight at 7:00 Eastern on CNN and CNN.com.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It is 36 minutes past the hour.

A unique idea by University of Texas student has been derailed, at least for now. He wanted to use a sophisticated 3D printer to produce a handgun designed on a computer. The printer uses plastic to physically make that product. But the maker of the printer found out about the idea and said, no way. It questioned the legality of the project and took back the printer.

An eighth grade Georgia student suspended for five days because he videotaped a fight on a school bus between two other students. Jason Bigby also had a cell phone confiscated and told he would have to sign a discipline report and delete the video if he wanted his phone back.

His family contacted a local news station in Atlanta. And when they got involved, officials at Conyers Middle School returned Jason's phone, removed the incident from his disciplinary record as well.

And more problems with Apple's iPhone 5. Look at this -- many new owners are recording a burst of purple is showing up on their photos. The tech blog Gizmodo has published an e-mail from Apple's support team suggesting that users angle the camera away from bright light sources in order to prevent this problem.

BERMAN: Space may be the final prison tear but a team of international scientists plans to explore the land deep beneath our feet.

A $1 billion mission to drill into the earth's mantel is being compared to the Apollo moon missions and in terms of the samples it could yield. Wow. That's cool.

Now, few people alive in the world know what a plane crash looks like from the inside. Thank goodness. Until now.

Coming up, a plane without passengers crashed on purpose. Amazing footage. Cameras take us right into the heart of the disaster. We'll show you more, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: It is debate night in America. You're looking at a live picture of the hall in Denver, Colorado, where the debate will take place tonight, in a little while. I'm actually heading down to Washington to take part in our CNN debate coverage. I'll be part of the fact check team and I have a feeling these guys will keep us somewhat busy with the facts. It's been that type of campaign so far.

SAMBOLIN: You've probably been doing a lot of work then.

BERMAN: It's been a busy few days.

SAMBOLIN: Very cool.

BERMAN: It is 42 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

Let's get you up-to-date on this morning's top stories.

BERMAN: American Airlines says it's going to inspect 47 of its Boeing 757s after seats came loose in flight on two planes within days of each other. So far, they've checked 36 planes. Six had seats that were not properly secured. American is saying not all of the seats were loose but they potentially could loosen, and they blame improperly installed clamps for the problem.

SAMBOLIN: And we're learning more about the border patrol agent killed in a shootout along the Arizona/Mexico border. He has been identified as 30-year-old Nicholas Ivie. A second unidentified agent was wounded but his injuries are not life-threatening. The FBI and the county sheriff are now investigating here. Ivie is the third border patrol agent killed in the line of duty this year.

BERMAN: Trying to say that debris floating around in space is becoming a major problem and now Boeing has an idea about how to clean it up. Here's a plan, is to shoot inert gas into space which would slow down fast-moving space junk forcing it to fall toward earth's atmosphere where it would burn up upon entry. Experts say space travel could become difficult by mid-century if something is not done.

Who are the guys sitting around coming up with this?

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness! These are nerds. Thank God we've got them.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: So if you are traveling today, dense fog could be a major factor for you. It's up and down the East Coast. We have a live look at Columbus Circle, you can barely see there. That's in New York City. Rob Marciano has so much more from Atlanta.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The good news, guys, is that it's pretty warm out.

SAMBOLIN: That's true.

MARCIANO: So, you don't need a winter coat to enjoy the fog.

But, you're right. It's up and down the East Coast, a lot of tropical moisture in place, long fall nights, stagnant air and some of the visibilities are down below a quarter of a mile.

Teterboro, there's a ground stop there; delays at Philadelphia already and we expect delays to continue.

So, dense fog advisories for Tri-State area of New York, stretches down towards D.C., includes the Shenandoah Valley. Even places behind this front, we've got some patchy fogs as well. But this is a very slow-moving front, as well. We expect to see more showers today but it's just going to be kind of be soupy and damp and warm. Temperatures will be well above average across the I-95 corridor.

Showers that are popping up on the radar. Again, no big deal. You can get away without the umbrella. But you might want to bring a rain jacket because it's kind of -- it will be London-esque, I suppose.

Down across Florida, they continue their extremely wet fall. And rain in the forecast from Tampa back to Miami. This computer model that shows a forecast for snow, Northern Montana, North Dakota, and not just the upper elevation where we could see five to 10 inches of snow but even some of the local country of the arrowhead of Minnesota, four to six inches possible with winds gusting at 30 miles an hour.

There's nearly blizzard conditions, and we're just in the beginning of October. Meanwhile, 83 in Denver for the debate and then cooling down for tomorrow.

BERMAN: It's going to be hot inside that debate hall, though, Rob, no matter what the temperature outside. Thanks very much. Nice to see you this morning.

It is 45 minutes after the hour. Soledad O'Brien is here. I understand there will be a debate tonight.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, apparently. It's going to be hot inside that debate hall and outside, as Rob just said. We're talking all morning about the presidential debate, of course. For the first time, Mitt Romney and President Obama will meet face-to-face. It's going to happen, as you just heard, in Denver tonight.

The questions are, what would you ask if had you an opportunity to pose a question to one of the candidates? What should you be watching for, both in content and in body language? Who goes in with an advantage and who has a disadvantage?

This morning, we're going to talk to the Obama campaign deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter is going to be our guest. Romney's senior adviser, Barbara Comstock, will join us as well. And top debate coach, Brett O'Donnell, is going to talk us through -- handicapping this debate. It's happening tonight. All that ahead this morning at 7 a.m. Eastern Time when we kick off "STARTING POINT".

BERMAN: Excellent. SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

Forty-six minutes past the hour. It's must see video. We have been showing this to you all morning long. Cameras are mounted inside a plunging empty jetliner to capture the moment it crashes to the ground. Coming out, find out what was learned about seat location and your chances of survival.

BERMAN: Amazing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: We've heard it all morning long it, and it still makes us jump. That terrifying sound you just heard, that's a huge 727 passenger plane crashing in the desert. This is by remote control. It is on purpose. It's all part of the Discovery Channel's new "Curiosity" series, in which a controlled experiment was captured by nearly 40 specialized cameras and sensors to give researchers a closer look at exactly what happens during a crash landing.

BERMAN: It's an amazing look. The premier episode of "Curiosity" airs on the Discovery Channel this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern. And two of the project's top experts are here with us now, accident investigator and survivability expert, Dr. Tom Barth, and biomedical engineering professor in Wayne State University, Dr. Cindy Bir.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you so much for being with us this morning. We're very excited about this. And I asked you, Dr. Bir, earlier, have you ever attempted to do this before? And you said, yes, you have. This took over four years to plan, I understand. Why did you want to crash a plane?

BIR: Well, we were -- I was approached by a production company to do this about four years ago. I think both Tom and I were approached about the same time. And, it was just such an interesting project. I didn't attempt it before, but it was attempted back in 1984.

And they had lessons learned. And we have new technology. And so it was a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to try something like this and get some really important scientific data from it.

BERMAN: So, walk us through this. I mean, how do you actually go about crashing a plane by remote control?

BARTH: Well, there was a group of pilots that organized it and set up a remote control system and a parachuting plan to, you know, to make sure they had control of the airplane and make sure they could get out so that they could get it on approach and get it the right attitude to crash.

I mean, what we were interested in was having the appropriate angle and have the crash be in a realistic like failed approach or failed takeoff circumstance so that we could learn something usable. You know, if it wasn't -- if it didn't mimic a real crash scenario, it wouldn't be much worth to us.

SAMBOLIN: Can you walk us a little bit through that? What was that scenario that would have made it an ideal situation for a crash?

BARTH: Well, essentially, most survivable -- we wanted it to be severe but survivable.

SAMBOLIN: Right.

BARTH: You know, because -- you know, if an airplane drops out of the sky at 30,000 feet, it's not survivable. But most crashes are survivable, because they take place pretty close to the ground near takeoff and landing phase. And so, we wanted the airplane roughly level. We wanted a descent rate to be appropriate and the gear down, which is typically what happens in a crash.

BERMAN: See the all kinds of cameras. You took, you know, pictures from every possible vantage point here. What did you learn?

BIR: Well, we had 38 cameras on board, and what was, I think, the best shot was the high-speed video of seeing the crash test, exactly the kinematics that occurred during that crash. We had three instrumented crash test dummies and one of them was in a braced position, one of them was in an unbraced position and the cameras were right on it, so we could really see what would happen to a person during that crash event. So, just --

BARTH: See how they move and --

BIR: See how they move and see kind of, you know, did their head hit first or what exactly happened. And so, that information, I think, was critical to really kind of piece that together with the data we actually got from the crash test dummies and from the accelerometers that Tom had on board and just put it all together into one big picture.

BARTH: Yes. What we have was -- I was measuring the floor accelerations, and that's important because it looks how the forces come through the airplane and then into the interior and into the seats. And Cindy was focused on the occupants on board, measuring their -- the loads on their body. And so, putting the two together from the airplane to the body, we can learn how they were injured.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody wants to know, where do you sit on the plane in order to survive? Bottom line question, right?

BIR: Yes. Well, you know, we've talked about this quite a bit in terms of, you know, is it the front, it's in the back, where's the best place to sit? And I really think it depends on the crash. You know, there's some key things you can do when you get on the plane to kind of prepare. You know, look where the exit rows are. They may be behind you. Count the number of rows to the exit row.

When the crash actually occurs, our data shows just like, you know, we've been told, to brace, to stay down, to not make yourself vulnerable. If you're sitting upright, there's going to be debris flying around. You can see on the video all that debris comes flying in after the crash. And then, after the crash, keep calm. You know, don't panic. Think about your exit plan. It's not necessarily the door you came in. I think that's one of the things what we see with accidents is people come in that front door and that's the first door they think of to go out, and that may not be the closest exit.

BERMAN: We certainly hope that none of you and none of us ever has to live through this for real, but this is really interesting information. Thank you so much for sharing it with us here. Dr. Tom Barth, accident investigator and survivability expert, and Dr. Cindy Bir, biomedical engineering professor at Wayne State University. Thank you guys both very much.

SAMBOLIN: How often do you get to see that?

BERMAN: All right. Today's "Best Advice" comes from one of the stars of the cable TV hit "Covert Affairs." That will be coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Fifty-eight minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: And we wrap it as always with "Best Advice." Here's Christine.

ROMANS: This one makes me giggle so much. Today's "Best Advice" comes from actor Christopher Gorham. He stars in the show, "Covert Affairs." This is what he said is the best advice he's ever received.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER GORHAM, ACTOR, "COVERT AFFAIRS": The best advice my grandfather once told me and I think because of the economic troubles we've been going through and the reasons for them, it's particularly valuable: Never trust a stock broker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Do you agree?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Oh, man. I love that one. My grandfather used to say actually the same thing, but it was because of, you know, his years after the Great Depression. Never trust stockbrokers. They're always trying to sell you something.

BERMAN: We've been talking about plane crash video all morning and the simulation and we got some advice during the commercial.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I wanted to know whether there have been any fatalities on that particular plane crash, and the scientist, Dr. Bir, she said yes, in first class. So there you have it. I just want to share that tip of information. ROMANS: Fatalities were in first class.

SAMBOLIN: In first class. Yes.

BERMAN: All right. That is all for EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

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