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Sandusky Speaks From Prison; Romney Pulls Ahead In New Poll; North Korea: Our Missiles Can Reach U.S.; Merkel In Greece; Skyfall, Not The Bond Kind; Fungal Meningitis Death Toll At Eight; Space Skydive Attempt Delayed By Weather

Aired October 9, 2012 - 06:00   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Blaming the victim. The convicted child molester, Jerry Sandusky, pleads his case from behind bars. It is a stunning audiotape just hours before he is sentenced this morning.

JOHN BERMAN (voice-over): Debate bounce. Mitt Romney erasing President Obama's lead in one new poll, major shift among women voters and an injection of enthusiasm inside these numbers with just four weeks left.

SAMBOLIN: Dogged determination. Dramatic video of firefighters saving a family's pet from a burning home.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. We're really happy that you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. It is 6:00 a.m. in the East. We're going to begin with a stunning audiotape, one more defiant claim of innocence from Jerry Sandusky.

The former Penn State football coach faces sentencing in just three hours for sexually abusing 10 boys during a 15-year period. What did Sandusky do about it? He released an audiotape from behind bars denying he did anything wrong.


JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE COACH, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER: They could take away my life. They could make me out as a monster, they could treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart. In my heart I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.


BERMAN: Susan Candiotti joins us live now from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Susan, in this tape, he lays the blame on his faith on one of his victims. I find this stunning. SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I tell you, John. No one in the public expected to hear from Jerry Sandusky on the eve of sentencing. You're right.

For him there's no shortage of people to blame, everyone from investigators to Penn State, the media and, yes, that includes his victims. He calls them alleged victims.


SANDUSKY: A young man who was dramatic, a veteran accuser and was a sought attention started everything. He was joined by a well- orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won.


BERMAN: And Susan, you have a brand new statement from one of Sandusky's victims?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. We know some of them will address the court directly. Others will have statements read for them. But this is an excerpt from a victim who will speak in court.

And it says in part, "I hope and pray that when your honor sentences Mr. Sandusky that you consider the real harm he's done to me and others and take into account the tears, pain and private anguish I and others have suffered."

Again, we will hear from him as well as some others too.

BERMAN: Susan, what about the jurors here? I mean, they were the ones who rendered this decision. They washed this whole case. I understand you spoke to one.

CANDIOTTI: That's right. They want closure too. This juror says she knows of at least four all together who will be here in the courtroom. What do they want to hear? They certainly would like to hear an apology. It doesn't sound like they will get one.

BERMAN: All right, Susan Candiotti --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like to hear him say he's sorry and I like him to apologize and to recognize that what he did was wrong. But I don't believe that's what I'm going hear from him. I think it's a courageous --


BERMAN: All right, Susan Candiotti live in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania this morning. Thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: So let's turn now to the presidential race with Election Day four weeks from today. Mitt Romney wakes up this morning to some very good news. He had another indication that he's benefiting from his strong debate performance.

A poll by Pew Research Center gives Romney a four-point lead over President Obama, 49 percent to 45. That survey included more likely voters who identified themselves as Republicans. That same poll last month had Romney trailing Obama by eight points with more self- identified Democrats surveyed at that point. Meantime, the latest Gallup tracking poll has Romney leading 50 percent to 45 percent.

CNN political reporter, Peter Hamby, joins us live from Washington. Good morning to you, Peter. So confusing. Can you break down those numbers for us?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I'll try. I mean, they are confusing. We're getting new poll every day. It's one of those poll hungry political classes we've seen in history probably.

Everyone agrees that Mitt Romney got a debate bounce. Everyone agrees that the race is essentially tied or within the margin of the error and then Mitt Romney has got certain movement. But talking about that Gallup poll and why it's different from the Pew poll, the Gallup poll tracked the race over seven days heading in to the debate. Barack Obama was winning. We all know that.

Heading out of the debate, Mitt Romney seemed to closed the gap and pulled away somewhat. And then just yesterday, Gallup released single day tracking showing Obama pulling away again. So that's a nice little data point on Monday for an Obama campaign looking for good news coming out of the debate. The bottom line here, again, both campaigns believe the race has tightened since the debate, their internal polls show that.

And we're anxiously looking ahead to swing state polls, especially one in Ohio that CNN is putting out later today -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I know we're all tracking that. All right, so let's talk about "Sesame Street". A lot of people thought Big Bird would be gone. No way. Big Bird is back with a vengeance.

HAMBY: Yes, that's right. Democrats have really pushed this Big Bird message since the debate. Mitt Romney said part of his deficit reduction plan was to cut funding to PBS. Democrats say, of course, that would be a just drop in the bucket. The Obama campaign has a new TV ad mocking Romney this morning featuring Big Bird. Look at this.


AD NARRATOR: Bernie Madoff, criminal, gluttons of greed and the evil genius who towered over them. One man has the guts to speak his name.


AD NARRATOR: Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about, it's "Sesame Street."

ROMNEY: I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS.

AD NARRATOR: Mitt Romney taking on our enemies no matter where they nest.


HAMBY: There you have it. The evil genius, Big Bird, is coming to a TV channel near you. The campaign says this is running nationally on broadcast and cable not running in swing states. I'm anxious to see how much money is behind this ad.

SAMBOLIN: And whether it works, Peter, right? Because we watched it earlier and I got to tell you the guys are riveted still by it. They are laughing, but could this backfire?

HAMBY: Yes, you know, that's an important question. The Obama campaign has been criticized about small thing not having a plan. That's what the Republican Party is saying. The Republican National Committee take a look at this actually has a new graphic out today.

These graphics are designed to be shared on social media and the like. But they point out that the Obama campaign and president Obama himself have mentioned Big Bird and Elmo in recent campaign events, but no mention of Libya and according to them no plans to fix the economy.

So, before the convention, before Bill Clinton's big speech, before Obama's big speech, reframing the race, the campaign was criticized for being about small things. You know, Republicans are going to seize on that again for sure with this new Big Bird TV ad -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thanks for sharing. Peter Hamby live for us and of course, you can stay with CNN for the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. Our coverage begins at 7 Eastern. You can also go to

BERMAN: It's 6 minutes after the hour right now. North Korea now claims its missiles can reach the U.S. mainland, but some experts are not so convinced. One analyst saying the capability requires a lot of development and testing and based on what North Korea has done so far he's just not convinced. North Korea making the claims just days after South Korea announced the deal with the U.S. to extend its missile range.

SAMBOLIN: Security is very tight for Angela Merkel's visit to Athens today. The German chancellor is very unpopular in Greece. She's seen as the architect and enforcer of drastic cuts imposed on Athens by the European Union. Greek officials are trying to head off protests like this one yesterday. Merkel's visit comes as Greek government officials attempt to pass another $17 billion in cuts to qualify for more bailout money.

BERMAN: In just a few hours high above New Mexico I'm talking really, really high, a sky diver will attempt a record setting jump "from the edge" of space, 23 miles up. The 43-year-old Felix Baumgartner hopes to break a record that's stood for more than 50 years. He's trying to be the first person ever to break the sound barrier in just a pressurized suit, helmet and parachute. I'm terrified.

SAMBOLIN: You know his blood could boil and he could die. BERMAN: Both of which are bad I understand, technically speaking --

SAMBOLIN: We're going to wish him luck though.

This just into CNN, the Nobel Prize for Physics just awarded. The winners, Surge Hiroshi from France and American, David Wineland, for their work for measuring and manipulating individual particles while preserving their quantum mechanical nature.

BERMAN: Congratulations to that. I'm sorry for you. I know you were counting on that.

SAMBOLIN: That was you. Put your name on the list, by the way.

BERMAN: It's 8 minutes after the hour. Still unbeaten the Houston Texans now 5-0 after beating the New York Jets 23-17 in Monday night football. Foster led the way with 252 yards and that touchdown right there. The Texans and the Atlanta Falcons are the NFL's only undefeated teams left.

SAMBOLIN: Thirteen thousand people could have been exposed to the fungal meningitis. It's already killed eight people. It has sickened more than 100. We have a live report with the latest details after this quick break.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 12 minutes past the hour. We're really happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's nice to see you this morning. Startling new numbers this morning on that fungal meningitis outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now say as many as 13,000 people may have received contaminated steroid injections.

So the reported number of people affected may keep going up. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us live now from Atlanta to break these numbers. Elizabeth, your reporting on this has been so good and so informative. But I have to say, this just keeps getting scarier and scarier.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, what I find really scary, John, is how in the world did contaminated medicine get out to 13,000 people? What failed in our system that it got contaminated in the first place and then was sent out?

And let me give the new numbers of people who actually have gotten sick or have died. There are now according to the CDC 105 cases of fungal meningitis related to this outbreak and eight deaths.

Now it can take weeks or even months for someone to get sick after getting one of these contaminated injections, so John that's why the numbers are going to go up because people, some people who got the shot let's say in August or September or even before are just now realizing that they are sick. BERMAN: A lot of people. How do you fine them all?

COHEN: Well, State Health Departments are telling hospitals and doctors get on the phone, send letters, and track these people down. You know who you gave this to. Find them, but I will tell you as an "Empowered Patient" you should be the one to take the initiative because it's possible the doctor or the hospital missed you.

So what you want to do is go to We have a list of all hospitals and the doctors that received these potentially tainted injections and you should call. And say was it made by the New England Compounding Company and if it was then you want to talk to your doctor about possibly getting tested for fungal meningitis.

BERMAN: All right, good note, if you're a patient get on it right now, do it this morning and Elizabeth, if you do not receive an injection, anything to worry here?

COHEN: No, no need to worry at all. If you didn't receive an injection you're fine. This disease does not spread person to person. It's not contagious. Another group, John, that doesn't need to worry is, if you're getting an injection now, you should be fine because doctors know not to use this particular brand of medication.

BERMAN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. As I've said, your reporting of this have been phenomenal. Thank you very much.

SAMBOLIN: It is 14 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date with this morning's top stories.

Sentencing day for Jerry Sandusky. The former Penn State football coach will be permitted to speak at his 9:00 a.m. hearing this morning before finding out his fate. The convicted child predator released an audiotape from prison yesterday, insisting that he's innocent and blaming his downfall on one of his victims, and a well orchestrated conspiracy, he says.

BERMAN: Facebook offering a new deal to set all class action lawsuit over its sponsored stories advertising. The social network says it will compensate millions of Facebook users whose names and pictures were used in a sponsored stories ad with a cash payment of $10 each, 10 bucks. A federal judge rejected an earlier settlement offer that set aside $20 million for lawyers and advocacy groups and no money for users.

SAMBOLIN: You still want your money?

BERMAN: I'll take 10 bucks.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. All right. Maybe you can buy a new coffee.

Newly declassified documents show that the U.S. Air Force was trying to build a flying saucer. This is back in 1956 while publicly denying the existence of UFOs. Officials were prepared to spend over $3 million for a super sonic saucer that could take off and land vertically and reach top speed of mach 4 and altitudes of 100,000 feet. The project was eventually scrapped.

BERMAN: We were trying to build a flying saucer?

SAMBOLIN: We were.

BERMAN: Don't you think we should have led with that? That feels to me like a lead. I can't believe we're only getting to this now. That's a big deal.

All right. Sixteen minutes after the hour right now.

Firefighters in Texas, they refuse to give up responding to a house fire where they found at that lifeless Border Collie named Leah. She wasn't moving or breathing. So, they put an oxygen mask on her one specifically designed for pets. They worked for an hour when she finally popped her head up.

That is just fantastic. Leah is expected to be fine.

SAMBOLIN: That's really great. That family must be thrilled.

BERMAN: Fantastic news.

Now, if you're about to go to work and about to go nowhere fast, you have to stick around a little bit longer for this next story.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans with today's "Road Warriors".

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Because time is money, right? Time is money. Whether your regular commute or you're on unfamiliar territory if you want to beat traffic -- might be able to help. Please do this before you leave and not when you're in the car.

It covers more than 50 cities around the country. Rates traffic in real-time from one to ten. You can engineer your journey and the sites are going to factor in traffic and it's going to suggest the fastest route. You can sign up for, email or text alerts about jams -- traffic jams that might affect you on the way.

Now, let's talk about saving money on gas. GasBuddy is something you can try. This is an interesting Web site where, you know, it's also an app. Users report prices at the pump. GasBuddy crates a chart and rates from high to low, so you can find the best value in your very own area.

And for two for one deal, there's a Waze app, W-A-Z-E, have you heard about this? You have heard -- it's a hands-free voice operated, allows drivers to alert others to traffic, road hazards, fastest routes, where to find the cheapest gas. All of that, you know, you got to save a penny where you can.

And if logging the miles at the end of the tax year is giving you a headache, you might want to use this service. It's called You record your trips on Biz Mile. It calculates the distance travel that IRS approve mileage rates and gives you a summary for your tax return.

SAMBOLIN: Love that.

ROMANS: For a lot of people who are self-employed, working in the delivery business, a lot of people who travel for work, that kind of -- technology is simplifying the way we do business and use the road.

BERMAN: I try a lot of the traffic apps because I hate getting caught in traffic jams. I tried Waze. I haven't tried yet. They work OK.

ROMANS: They are only as good as the input. It requires people using them and people putting good information in there. I mean, you know, out here on the East Coast, every 10 minutes you get the good stuff. It's cool stuff.

BERMAN: All right.

SAMBOLIN: It's nice to know they exist. Thank you.


SAMBOLIN: So, she might be the most hated woman in Greece. This is a reception German Chancellor Angela Merkel is getting this morning for her visits. These are live pictures. A look at the protesters there.

The story behind the story, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: We're minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are down, signaling a lower opening for markets.

BERMAN: The International Monetary Fund lowered its global growth forecast last night. Easy for me to say. A big reason for that is the risks from the European debt crisis.

SAMBOLIN: And protests are starting in Greece right now. Christine has all of the details.

Are those live pictures of the protests?

ROMANS: They are. We're watching live protests in the streets of Athens. We know that teachers, doctors, public unions, opposition parties have all pledged to take to the street today.

So, if you're, you know, going for your check up in Athens this morning, this afternoon there, you're probably not going to be able to see your doctor because everyone is coming in to the streets. And here's why -- Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is in Greece for the first time since 2008, there to talk to the government to lend her support for all of the things that the Greek people have to do to get their financial house in order so that they can stay a part of the European Union. They can still use the euro currency.

It's the first time she's been there since 2008 which is something that's -- Berman is looking at me -- yes, I mean, it's something that's sort of interesting. People who are Greek citizen, people who are close to this country say, you know, they feel a little offended this country has gone through so much and this is the first time she's come there.

We'll see if things get rowdy or violent. Usually, these have been peaceful but you get small elements of people with Molotov cocktails or petro bombs, as they call them, on the streets there. So, we'll closely watch them.

The signs are pretty telling. Frau Merkel, go home. Frau Merkel, get out.

BERMAN: Subtle.

ROMANS: Yes. A very subtle welcome now from the people of Greece.

You know, is one of the big reasons why the IMF did lower its global growth forecast, because look, Europe has to solve these problems, different countries with different budgets, different spending, different tax patterns but they're all part of the same currency. That's been a slow process with a lot of setbacks.

In the U.S., U.S. has to get its act together with its fiscal cliff.

All of these things are really feeding into this angst that you're seeing about the global growth strategy.

So, again, these are live pictures that you're seeing on the streets of Greece. The German chancellor Angela Merkel is coming today and Greek people taking to the streets.

BERMAN: Here in the U.S. what is one thing we need to know about our money?

ROMANS: The one thing you need to know about your money is that the only thing you can control is your retirement. You need to be saving eight times your salary. That's what you need to aim for to save --


ROMANS: Berman is falling off his chair.

Fidelity says eight times your salary for retirement. You should aim. So, if you're 35 years old, you should have saved one time your salary right now. By the time you're 45, you should have saved three times your salary. That's something that Fidelity has been trying to figure out how to help people with that magic number. Saving for retirement -- saving, saving with these uncertainties in the world. Here you go.

SAMBOLIN: Here you go.

ROMANS: Eight times by the time you're 65.


SAMBOLIN: I put in my age and then my salary and it said you will never retire. What? Eight times. That's incredible.

ROMANS: Some financial planners say that's too low. They think that number is too low.

BERMAN: All right.

SAMBOLIN: There you have it.

SAMBOLIN: Get to work.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Christine, I think.

Twenty-five minutes after the hour right now. In a sex scandal rocking the Detroit Police Department, right now, the allegations go straight to the top. We will have the story coming up.


BERMAN: No remorse. Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky speaking out and lashing out just hours before he learns his fate in court.

SAMBOLIN: Rising up, signs of a Mitt Romney debate bump in a brand new poll.

BERMAN: Falling down. A TV pitch woman passes out on live TV. Scary but apparently no show stopper. You have to see what we mean. Stay with us for that.

SAMBOLIN: It is incredible video actually.

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning. Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.

So, in just a few hours, Jerry Sandusky will find out whether he will die behind bars for molesting and raping 10 boys. Ahead of the sentencing hearing today, Sandusky spoke out last night, talking to a student radio station. And essentially blamed victims -- the media, the system, and the school for conspiring against him.


SANDUSKY: They can take away my life. They can make me out as a monster. They can treat me as a monster. But they can't take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage.


SAMBOLIN: What are the effects of this tape on today's sentencing?

So, let's ask Gloria Allred. She is a victims' rights attorney and she is joining us this morning. Thank you so much for spending time with us. So, you've been on the other side of trials like this. You represented a man who says Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine sexually abused him.

What is your reaction to this tape by Sandusky?

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Well, this is very, very bad timing for him. It sounds as though he made that tape probably against the advice of his attorneys. But he did it anyway. Why? Because he's Jerry Sandusky. He's used to being in charge. And he wanted to say what he wanted to say.

SAMBOLIN: Gloria --

ALLRED: And that is not smart. Now, the judge should not take it into account because it's not said in the courtroom, but judges are human beings too. They know what's going on out in the world. It's hard to ignore this one.

SAMBOLIN: Gloria, apparently his lawyers did know about this, at least the lead lawyer. He was the one who set up that interview, although he claims that he didn't know what Sandusky was going to say. Are you surprised here?

ALLRED: Well, I think it's a big mistake. And maybe his client said, look, I really want to do it, it's important so he went along with it. But I think Jerry Sandusky got himself into just a heap of trouble by doing interviews even before he was convicted. That really hurt him. And here, he's calling the victims accusers. They're not accusers. They are victims. He was convicted. And he needs to stop blaming anyone else and everyone else and take responsibility himself. He's not helping himself by doing this. He's hurting himself.

SAMBOLIN: Well, he claims he's innocent. Lawyers said that they're going to appeal this because they said they didn't have enough time to prepare for this trial. Do you think maybe that's why he's doing it and its valid in that case?

ALLRED: Well, he is going with the theme and his narrative of "I didn't get a fair trial, my lawyers didn't have time to prepare." But that really isn't something that is going to get him anywhere by saying it on the radio. Maybe they can use that as a ground for appeal, one of the many grounds that they may have for appeal, they may or may not be successful for it, but this is really sad.

And talking about not having sex with anyone other than his wife, really this is not about sex, this is about child molestation. And maybe he doesn't think that what he did was sex, maybe he thought he was just loving children. But it was a criminal act and he needs to stand up and take responsibility.

SAMBOLIN: Well, we know Sandusky is going to be speaking today at the sentencing and some victims will speak as well. As a matter of fact, we have an excerpt here from victim number five. And this is what that victim is expected to say, "I hope and pray that when Your Honor sentences Mr. Sandusky, that you consider the real harm he has done to me and others and take into account the tears, pain and private anguish I and others have suffered."

When a judge sentences in this case, how much weight do defendant and victim statements have on what the judge doles out?

ALLRED: Well, there are some judges that don't actually even hear victim impact statements until after the sentence. Some hear it before. There are guidelines for the crime and for what the sentence should be. I'm sure that this judge, having heard all of the victims' testimony because after all many of the victims did, in fact, testify, does understand what they have suffered, and that will be a factor in the sentencing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Gloria Allred, a victims rights attorney. We really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

ALLRED: Thank you.

BERMAN: Fascinating.

SAMBOLIN: It really is.

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

Joran van der Sloot may become a father. The Dutchman was arrested but never charged in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba back in 2005. Van der Sloot is in Peru, serving a 28-year sentence for murdering another woman, Stephany Flores. A Dutch newspaper reports he apparently got a woman pregnant during an unsupervised prison visit. Wow.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. A scary moment on QVC. Look at this. A guest host Kathy Slain, she was on to sell an Android tablet for kids. She faint on live television. Watch carefully.


KATHY SLAIN, QVC HOST: You know, is it --


What it does is it gives us an opportunity --


SAMBOLIN: He didn't miss a beat. Did you hear that? Even as cameras cut away the co-host did not skip a beat. He just kept on pitching.

Slain posted on her Facebook yesterday she's feeling a lot better. Another QVC host says she was suffering from low blood pressure.

BERMAN: You know, I thought about this and I think I would help you first and then go on reading the news.

SAMBOLIN: No, I don't think you would do that. You would say, you know, get off of us so that I can move her off. Roll her off the set.

BERMAN: I would help, that's my story. I'm sticking to it.

Thirty-five minutes after the hour right now. The Great Lakes and the East Coast have been dealing with a bitter blast of cold weather. When will this chill loosen its grip? Rob Marciano in Atlanta, please tell us now.

SAMBOLIN: There's a job opening over here, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can see the tension this morning. It's not good. Listen when you got to sell, you got to sell. QVC, that time is valuable. Keep going.

SAMBOLIN: The guy mentality.

MARCIANO: Everybody is OK, right?


MARCIANO: Boston, New York and back to Philly and Baltimore, a little bit of rain this morning. Talk about the chill, it's going to hang around with us probably to about March or April. I mean, we're getting to that time the year where it gets colder and colder, right?

Well, it's certainly for the rest of the this week. Where it's raining this morning across the I-95 corridor, couple with temperatures in the lower 50s, upper 40s and kind of fall mass (ph). But you got away from that it's drier but chillier.

Thirty-three degrees currently in Pittsburgh. And we have temperatures that are in the 30s down across parts of the Tennessee and Kentucky area. Because of that frost advisories and freeze warnings have been posted for temps in the 20s and 30s this morning.

Probably be posted again tomorrow. There are some record lows from yesterday. Dalhart, Texas, 25. Lisbon, Ohio, 29, Oklahoma City also seeing a record breaking. This next front will come through and reinforce the cold shot.

So, at least for the rest of the week, guys, maybe the weekend, beginning of next week we'll warm up a little bit, but we're getting closer to winter -- John.

BERMAN: We'll hold until next week at least, Rob. Thanks very much.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

SAMBOLIN: Six-thirty-six on the East Coast. One second, it's business as usual. The next it's chaos. Wow. At the cash register. That's a lot of chaos. That story is coming up.


BERMAN: And this is some of the most welcome news that the Mitt Romney campaign has received this entire race, but with less than a month to go until Election Day, at least one new poll shows the Republican leaping over President Obama. This is from the Pew Research Center. It shows Romney leading 49 percent to 45 percent.

We should point out the Pew survey did include more likely voters that identified themselves as Republican.

SAMBOLIN: Better news for the Obama campaign in Gallup's daily tracking poll. That one still has the president leading by five points, a lead that grew yesterday actually though some pre-debate numbers factored in there as well.

So, we're going to talk all about this with Ryan Lizza. He's a CNN contributor and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" as well.

Let's talk about the Pew poll --


SAMBOLIN: -- and that Romney lead. Could you break down some of those numbers for us? Because it gets a little confusing.

LIZZA: It's confusing. That's a huge lead. I mean, if that number is correct, you know, it seems to be a little bit of an outlier. We don't have a lot of information. But I was looking before I came on, all the polls that have been released since the debate, state polls, national polls and it looks like the average for Romney is he's increased his performance by about four to five points. That's a big deal.

So, since the convention, Obama seemed to have a lead of about four points. Now, it's gone back to the pre-convention period where it was tied or Obama had a one to two-point lead in all the polls. But the best thing to do is to wait for the -- by the end of the week, we'll have more national poll. We'll see what's showing up in the swing state and not get too excited by anyone poll.

But it does seem -- just like Obama got a big bump out of his convention -- Mitt Romney has a significant bump out of his first debate performance.

BERMAN: And one of the things that makes sense to do with polls is to look at overall trends here. You have the number here -- overall trends clearly moving towards Romney, including in key voting groups. Look at women voters, for instance.


BERMAN: If you look at Pew, a month ago, Obama had an 18-point lead in the Pew poll. Now that number is essentially tied at 47 percent. That's not a number that's sustainable for Barack Obama.

LIZZA: Yes, that's shocking to a lot of people that study the demographics of this race. If it's tied, if Obama goes into Election Day with women splitting evenly between Mitt Romney and Obama, Obama can't win. He needs to run a big, big lead among female voters to win.

Romney also improved his numbers among Hispanic voters. Now, they're really important constituency for Barack Obama. So, if the Pew Poll is right and consistent and continues through Election Day, you know, Obama can't win. That's why you have to take it with a grain of salt, be a little bit cautious. There were more Republicans in that poll and that just might be a factor of Republicans being really excited.

SAMBOLIN: Exactly. I mean, we're seeing that as well, right? This excitement is building, this momentum is building.

LIZZA: There's a huge change in Republican enthusiasm from the September poll to the October Pew poll. It might just might be when Pew was out there calling people, Republicans were excited about Mitt Romney's debate performance and more willing to respond to the poll. And that's why you saw a jump in Republicans in that poll.

BERMAN: I talked to a lot of Democratic strategists and insiders in the last few days, and they admit this race has shifted somewhat. They're not in full panic mode yet. I do have to say that. And they say what they have going for them in the next few days and weeks, again, they think they have a backstop on the swing states namely Ohio. But they also say, look, we have two debates left.


BERMAN: And if Barack Obama does well, wins it, not have a blow-out like Romney have, but they say if he wins them, they should be OK.

LIZZA: Yes, he can't suffer a loss the way he did -- he can't suffer three in a row the way he did the first night. You know, one thing important to remember, I've been arguing that historically debates have not been as crucial or defining as we say they are --

SAMBOLIN: And on this show, as a matter of fact.

LIZZA: Zoraida has been reminding me of that. One exception, 2004, John Kerry who lost the race, of course. He did make up about three to four points during the debates. Not enough to win but it had some impact. So Romney still got a lot of work to do.

SAMBOLIN: Is the vice presidential debate going matter?

LIZZA: You know --

BERMAN: Don't say it again.


LIZZA: The vice presidential debate will determine the winner -- no. Historically -- people pick the top of the ticket. But it can change the atmosphere, it can change the narrative a little bit, depending on what happens. If Paul Ryan does something dramatic it can change the story line. It can turn things away from the pro-Romney story line. A lot of pressure on Ryan not to screw things up now that Romney has some momentum.

BERMAN: All right. Ryan Lizza, CNN contributor from "The New Yorker," I think elections are one big cake and every ingredient matters. SAMBOLIN: That's good to know. That's fair.


LIZZA: The hardest thing for the campaign is trying to determine what specific things actually make a difference, right? Day in and day out, we talk about these things having monumental effect. It's hard to know in hindsight to know what really matters.

BERMAN: But you should watch all of it, every last part of it right here on CNN. So, stay with CNN for the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. Our coverage begins at 7:00 Eastern. You can also log onto any time.

SAMBOLIN: It is 45 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on this morning's top stories.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Jerry Sandusky faces life behind bars when he's sentenced in just over two hours. The former Penn State football coach released an audiotape from prison yesterday proclaiming his innocence. He also blamed his child sex abuse convictions on one of his victims, victim number one, and what he calls, also, a well- orchestrated conspiracy.

BERMAN (voice-over): The Nobel Prize for physics has just been awarded. The winners, Serge Haroche from France and American, David Wineland, for their work measuring and manipulating individual particles while preserving their quantum mechanical nature. I was this close to that as covering (ph) myself.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. You out your name on the list, actually.

OK. The owner of a liquor store in California was nearly killed -- look at this -- while ringing up a customer. A pick-up truck crashed right into the store, trapping the owner. The incident was caught by surveillance cameras. The driver was arrested, charged with driving under the influence. My goodness. The owner's legs were broken.

BERMAN: Holy cow!

SAMBOLIN: But look at this, being carried up. And at least, he survived.

BERMAN: All right. Take a look at this play from last night's Yankees/Orioles playoff game. A double down the line. And you're about to see a play at the plate that will last for the ages. Ichiro Suzuki, he should have been out but by a mile, but was an unbelievable move, he dodges the tag and manages to score if you believe what the umpire says.

I actually think he was out, but hey, that's fine. It didn't matter, though, because the Yankees blew an early lead, the O's came back to tie the series at one game apiece. Yay Orioles. In the National League, the Cardinals even the series at one. Center fielder, Jon Jay crashed full speed into the wall to make this amazing grab. Wow!

SAMBOLIN: I got it.

BERMAN: He's happy. Carlos Beltran hit two home runs in that game at a 12-0 win. The series now goes to Washington, D.C. That is the first playoff game in the nation's capital in 79 years.

SAMBOLIN: That should be sold out.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): All right. Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look at what is ahead on "STARTING POINT." Good morning, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Yankees needed like eight more of those.


O'BRIEN: -- last night.

All right. Ahead this morning, we're going to take a closer look at what's going to happen to Jerry Sandusky when he goes to court. Obviously, those tapes that you were talking about in those tapes, he's been proclaiming his innocence, pointing fingers as well at his victims. We'll have live coverage from outside the courthouse this morning.

Also hear from the attorneys of one of the victims to know what that young man will say today in court.

And this man, free falling daredevil. Felix Baumgartner is preparing to literally fall from the edge of space, 23 miles above New Mexico. He's going to bring news (ph) his launch live. Also, we'll chat with another daredevil, Nik Wallenda, get his take on just how risky this is.

Plus, they're teaming up for a good case. We'll tell you how singer, Ashanti, New York Knicks assistant general manager, Allan Houston, is helping kids' dreams come true. They're going to join us live here. Much more of that straight ahead at seven o'clock.


SAMBOLIN: This just in. The dive from space that we've been telling you about all morning, it is on hold due to weather. Felix Baumgartner who will attempt a record setting jump from the edge of space. This is so hard to even talk about. That's 23 miles up. On the way down, he's hoping to break the sound barrier.

The supersonic skydive is not without risk. Baumgartner could freeze or have his blood boil, nothing major, really.

BERMAN: Yes. That's not so bad, right? CNNs Brian Todd is in Roswell, New Mexico to witness the big event. He joins us live right now. Brian, I understand, this big event has been put on hold because of weather. Any chance it will be canceled today?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Slight chance, John. It's been put on hold for now, because the winds at about 700 to 800 feet above the surface of the earth, that's near where the top of the balloon would be are a little stronger than they're comfortable, about 17, 18 miles an hour. They want it to calm down to about five miles an hour or lower than that.

They have about a three-hour window in which to launch this. So, they still could go later on this morning. That window starts about 6:30 local, 8:30 eastern time. We'll go about 11:30 eastern time. Beyond that, it may have to be postponed by a day. We'll show you live picture here. Our photojournalist, Mike Loft (ph), can zoom in behind me to the capsule.

You see it at the end of that crane right there. So, everything is pretty much set on the field here where the balloon and capsule will launch from the balloon is just behind that, not quite as visible, but you can see the capsule there. That's where this mission is going to launch from.

The surface winds here are almost non-existent where we're standing. It's not windy at all. So, it may just be a very slight hold due to the weather, and we'll see what the weather conditions bring us in the next couple of hours, guys.

SAMBOLIN: So, Brian, we know that he's trying to set a world record, but as you pointed out, his blood could boil or he could freeze. Have you spoken to him? Is he scared?

TODD: I did speak to him a couple of months ago when I met him at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. I spoke to him and the man whose record he's trying to break, Col. Joe Kittinger. I did ask Felix that question. Take a listen.


TODD: Are you scared? Are you nervous?

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, ATTEMPTING TO BREAK WORK RECORD: Actually, I'm not scared and I'm not nervous, because there's so much preparation. We rehearsed everything. And just getting out of the capsule is a procedure which includes 43 steps, and we have been properly train every step.


TODD: So, that gives you in a nutshell 43 steps just to step out of the capsule. That's amazing, you know, the detail to which they planned this. So, they are -- you know, they're really concerned about the weather right now, but they think that, you know, this could still go off maybe, you know, any time in that three-hour window starting about an hour and a half from now.

BERMAN: All right. Brian Todd in Roswell, New Mexico. We are looking forward to this. We're on the edge of our seats. This really sounds like an amazing thing that's about to happen today.

And in next hour at 7:30 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," astronaut Mark Kelly, we all know Mark Kelly, he will talk to Soledad about Felix Baumgartner's supersonic skydive.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. What he must be feeling, what does it feel like, crazy stuff. Today's "Best Advice" from the first man to be named White House videographer. That's coming up.


BERMAN: Just a couple minutes left.

SAMBOLIN: We wrap it up as always with "Best Advice." Here's Christine.

ROMANS: And today, we hear from Arun Chaudary, the first ever official White House videographer.


ARUN CHAUDARY, FORMER FIRST CAMERAMAN: The both best pieces of advice I ever got came from the president. And the first is that hard step is hard. And the second is, if you ain't doing it, it ain't getting done.


BERMAN: Also, the president said make sure you get my good side.


BERMAN: --filming here.

ROMANS: Not many people can say the best piece of advice I ever got was from the president.

SAMBOLIN: I know, right? --


SAMBOLIN: All right.

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

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