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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Prepping for Obama vs. Romney Round II; Mission Accomplished: The Man Who Fell To Earth

Aired October 15, 2012 - 05:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Brand new polls out this morning in the race for the White House. This comes just before round two of the presidential debate this week. We break down the numbers for you. That is straight ahead.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, brand-new video just released of the sky dive from space. You're going to see what this crazy daredevil saw as he plunged toward Earth. Oh my!

SAMBOLIN: He's alive, though. We're so happy to report that.

And an epic smackdown. The Yankees lose again to the Detroit Tigers. We have highlights for you coming up.

BERMAN: And, man, are they highlights. When we say highlights, we mean highlights.

SAMBOLIN: Lowlights.

All right. Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We are going to begin with the highly anticipated rematch. The second presidential debate is just a day away and the race is as tight as it gets. Two brand-new polls to tell but this morning. First from "The Washington Post" and ABC News, the president with a slim three-point lead among likely voters. That's well within the poll's margin of error.

And it's even closer in his "Politico"/George Washington University poll released just seconds ago. The president's lead among likely voters just one point, a statistical dead heat.

And in the battleground states, the "Politico"/George Washington University poll has Mitt Romney ahead of the president by two points essentially tied. While the ABC News/"The Washington Post" poll shows the president with a five-point in the battlegrounds. I think we can all agree it's pretty much tied.

CNN political director Mark Preston is live from Hofstra University in Long Island, the scene of tomorrow's crucial presidential debate.

And, Mark, it really looks like it's close.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It certainly is close, John. We just got a few weeks until Election Day and really this race has tightened up so much on the line right now. Mitt Romney is hoping to turn in another strong performance, much like he did two weeks ago while President Obama has to make up for that lackluster debate he had. In fact, one of his advisers was on "STATE OF THE UNION", Robert Gibbs, and he addressed -- gave us a little bit of an insight into what President Obama is likely to do Tuesday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN ADVISER: He needs to walk off that stage and he also knew as he's watched the tape of that debate that he's got to be more energetic. I think you'll see somebody who's very passionate about the choice that our country facing and putting that choice in front of voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: Ed Gillespie was also on "STATE OF THE UNION," John. He's a senior adviser for Mitt Romney. Ed Gillespie did say it's about the choice. And this is what he told Candy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED GILLESPIE, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: This is a choice election and the fact is what we saw was even if he changes his trial and whatever political tactic the president settles on being in his best interest for this debate, he can't change his record and he can't change his policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: So, there you go. So much on the line right now, John. So much on the line, second presidential debate tomorrow here at Hofstra University.

BERMAN: It's so interesting to hear Republicans describe this as a choice election, because for so long that was what the Democrats were pushing to. It shows the confidence in a way that the Republican Party has gained since that first presidential debate.

Mark, this debate coming up tomorrow night will have a decidedly different look and feel to it, though, right?

PRESTON: It will. This is going to involve actual questions from voters, in fact, the voters are going to come from here in New York. They are uncommitted voters. They haven't decided who they're going to work for. Now, New York is not a battleground state but will give us a flavor of some of the questions that the voters have and not necessarily from us journalists.

Mitt Romney, John, will get the first question. There will be no closing statements. All in all, a 90-minute debate.

One more debate after this and then, of course, John, as we said, it is all on the line tomorrow night.

BERMAN: And, Mark, we just a look at live pictures inside the debate hall which will be moderated, of course, by CNN's very own Candy Crowley tomorrow night on Strong Island, Mark Preston will be there. Always great to talk to you. We will see you real soon, Mark.

And just ahead, we're going to get reaction from Republican strategist Ana Navarro and former senior adviser to President Clinton, Richard Socarides. A lot to talk about.

Oh, we're going to show you another live picture inside the debate hall this morning. Encore presentation of the live picture, maybe not. Oh, it is, here it is. This is where Candy Crowley will be anchoring starting tomorrow night. Our coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: And when it comes to the presidential race, comedian Stephen Colbert says there's a difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But he says he doesn't know what that difference is. Colbert clarified what he expects to see from both Obama and Romney on NBC's "Meet the Press."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": I think there's a possibility that Obama would be, say, more aggressive -- a more aggressive reformer changer in the second act of his presidency and I don't really know how -- I also don't know how Mitt Romney would govern. He might govern as a technocrat. That seems to have been his career like the guy from Pepsi who comes in to run G.M. You know, he can't tell us what he's going to do because he hasn't seen the books yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Colbert said he would not run for office, adding quote, "I have said terrible things with a straight face." Can you imagine the political ads that could run against me?

BERMAN: That's as serious as I've ever seen him. That is very, very interesting.

Five minutes past the hour right now. Coming up later this morning, the Nobel Committee in Sweden is set to announce the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for economics. Who will it be? We'll have that for you at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: And the number of fungal meningitis cases keeps going up -- 205 people are now infected. But the number of people who died is unchanged. That number stands at 15. Fourteen states are now reporting cases with Tennessee, Michigan and Virginia, the hardest hit.

BERMAN: Pretrial hearings are getting under way in Grosseto, Italy, for the captain of the Costa Concordia. That's the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy in January, killing 30 people. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is facing manslaughter charges. He's also accused of abandoning ship. Black box data from the ship bridge is expected to be revealed during this week's hearings.

SAMBOLIN: The Detroit Tigers now halfway to the World Series. They beat the New York Yankees, 3-0, on Sunday. That's the second game of their American League Championship Series. The Tigers winning the first two games on the road. Game three tomorrow in Detroit.

The St. Louis Cardinals drew first blood in the NLCS. The Cards beating the San Francisco Giants, 6-4. They'll play game two tonight.

BERMAN: Watch out for those Cardinals. Last team to sneak into the playoffs. Did it last year. Did it again this year. I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: Never know.

BERMAN: I don't know.

All right. Six minutes after the hour.

Felix Baumgartner, he crashed it. The Austrian daredevil rose to the edge of space -- look at that picture -- 24 miles up and jumped. He broke the sound barrier on the way down. No one has ever done that outside of a vehicle.

And for a few scary moments during this free fall Baumgartner spun wildly but he says he managed to stabilize himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, STRATOSPHERE JUMPER: Started spinning so violent, spun me around in all different areas and I was always trying to find out how to stop this. You know, I was putting one arm out, it didn't work. And putting another arm out, but you're always late because at that speed when you travel at that speed and that suit is pressurized, you don't feel the air at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I'd say it's one of the craziest pictures I've seen ever.

Baumgartner is going out on top. He says this was his final jump. I can't imagine why. He wants to become a helicopter rescue pilot.

SAMBOLIN: All right, it's meant to promote tolerance. But nearly 200 schools are backing out of Mix It Up at Lunch Day. What they say this really promotes. That's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Exactly 11 minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman.

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

The 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban is on her way to Britain now. The flight carrying Malala Yousufzai is expected to land later this morning. She'll be treated at a facility for children with severe injuries.

The Taliban tried to kill Malala last week because she is an outspoken proponent of the right of Pakistani girls to get an education. The Taliban condemns that as Western thinking. Their attempt to silence her so violently has sparked outrage in Pakistan.

CNN's Atika Shubert joins us now live from London.

And, Atika, can you give us insight into the decision to transfer Malala to England, with the decision based on where she can get the best care. Is there also a concern that the Taliban could still target her in Pakistan?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's still concerns for her safety and the Taliban have continued to threaten her. She's actually been put under armed guard. However, in this case, it does seem it's really about her medical care.

The decision was taken to transport her to Birmingham here in the U.K. where she will be put in a hospital to specifically treat children with severe rehabilitation concerns. Specifically, you might remember that she was shot basically in the back -- near the back of her head, a bullet was removed from her neck which left her in critical condition and extensive damage to some of the bones in her curl and some neurological damage, as well.

So this is what doctors in Britain will be looking to do to try and rehabilitate her and repair some of the damage. And clearly, it will take a long time.

SAMBOLIN: Malala's two friends, Shazia and Kainat, also injured in that attack. Do we have any update on their conditions?

SHUBERT: Yes, they were injured as well by the shooting. Fortunately, however, they were not in as critical condition and it looks like they'll be OK.

SAMBOLIN: That's good news.

Numerous rallies have been held in Pakistan in honor of Malala and against the Taliban. Thousands have poured into the streets of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city on Sunday. Could this be a turning point in the country's battle against Islamic extremists?

SHUBERT: It certainly could be and what we've seen is some really broad-ranking support across the country. From very high-profile figures, the prime minister and president have been very vocal about supporting her and condemning these attacks. And as we've seen, people pouring out in the streets in support.

Take a listen to just what some of the people said at the rally the other day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want Taliban anymore in Pakistan. And after the Malala incident, this is about time that people of Pakistan stand up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The masses that you can see here in these people, they are condemning the acts of Taliban's.

(END VIDSEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: Now, as you can see there, getting a lot of support for Malala, but this is a lot of urban areas. And where the Taliban is more strong, of course, is in the rural traditional areas. And that's the key. Is this going to change the minds of the people in the villages? Are they going to turn around and say this is a step too far and they have to counter the Taliban? That's something that still remains to be seen.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Atika Shubert, live in London for us, thank you very much.

I just want to remind everybody the full story where it began, CNN.com. It's a nice chronology of how we got to where we are right now.

BERMAN: It's an incredible moving story and we're all pulling for Malala this morning.

Fourteen minutes after the hour now. A lot of news to tell you about. Christine Romans here with the top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to both of you.

Mitt Romney and President Obama are preparing for a battle in the suburbs of the Big Apple. The second presidential debate takes place tomorrow night at Hofstra University on Long Island. Romney is rehearsing in Bedford, Massachusetts. The president is preparing in Williamsburg, Virginia. This right here is a live picture from inside the debate hall, 22 days and counting, of course, until Election Day.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter will be laid to rest tomorrow. He died yesterday of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after a long battle with cancer. Specter served five terms in the U.S. Senate most as a moderate Republican before switching parties at the end of his career. He was known as one of the true political wild cards. Arlen Specter was 82 years old.

After logging 123 million miles in space, the shuttle Endeavour has reached its final destination. Endeavour arrived Sunday at the California Science Center where it will soon go on display. It took more than two days to tow Endeavour from Los Angeles International Airport over to that science center. It's a 12-mile journey.

A record-setting night for Aaron Rogers. The Packers quarterback throwing for a career high six touchdowns. Green Bay handed Houston Texans their first loss, 42-24. That leaves only one perfect team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons. They knocked off the Oakland Raiders 23-20 on a last-second 55-yard field goal by Matt Bryant. The Falcons are now 6-0.

There you go.

BERMAN: That's pretty undefeated, 6-0. Can't get much more undefeated than that. Thank you, Christine.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

All right. It's 15 minutes past the hour. We're getting an early read on your local news that's making national headlines.

First from "The New York Times" -- the controversy surrounding a school program to combat bullying, Mix It Up at Lunch Day on October 30th encourages students to sit with a classmate they normally wouldn't talk to. It was started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This year, the program is being target the by the American Family Association. That's a conservative evangelical group. The AFA claims the project is, quote, "a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools."

While the SPLC does support equality and fairness for the GLBT community, it says Mix It Up at Lunch is not about sexual orientation but breaking up cliques. Some 200 schools have withdrawn this year so far but it is unclear why they have done so. Lots of controversy there.

BERMAN: Talking about controversy right now, Santa Claus controversy. "The New York Post" writes about a new version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" that's drawing some iron. This in the visit from St. Nicholas, the jolly old elf kicks his pipe habit cold turkey. He's been smoking for hundreds of years.

Author Pam McColl added two verses smoking. Some critics say the rewrite is just flat out too P.C., including the president of the bearded Santa group. He says, "Leave my story alone. This change is not officially sanctioned by the North Pole."

This reminds me a couple of years ago, there's a big movement saying that Santa was too fat, that Santa does not promote a fit culture. And I actually interviewed Santa Claus about this.

SAMBOLIN: And what did Santa Claus say?

BERMAN: Santa Claus went negative on me. Santa Claus told me I was too skinny. He said, you're so scrawny, I'm not going to take abuse from you like you scrawny little twerp, basically.

SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: Santa just like unloaded on me completely. Totally uncalled for.

SAMBOLIN: Just turn the table. I like that.

All right Seven minutes past the hour. Coming up, the stock market is on the rebound but just how much when it comes to the year. Christine Romans puts it into perspective for us right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We are minding your business this morning. Christine Romans is here with the skinny on stocks.

ROMANS: Oh, skinny week for stocks. You know, last week was the worst week for stocks I think in about four months. So, you know, if you look at the futures right now are up bouncing back a little but last week, last week was a pretty tough week overall for stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average down something like 2 percent on the week, the worst performance we've seen all summer.

So a little bit of a pullback there and mostly because a lot of concerns going forward about global growth, about the U.S. growth forecast. Even as we're seeing signs of life in the housing market and elsewhere. So, watching that.

Also a big deal overnight, Japan's Softbank is buying a huge stake in Sprint for something like billions and billions, something like $20 billion. So, we're watching that this morning as well. In retail sales, 8:30 this morning for the U.S. That will give us a good sign of how the consumer is doing. A lot of earnings so tread carefully here.

BERMAN: Ben Bernanke is on a little bit of a rampage.

ROMANS: Yes, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chief, with some very sharply worded remarks in Tokyo to a meeting of IMF folks this weekend. Ben Bernanke basically addressing international critics of the Fed's quantitative easing. It's Q.E. 1, 2 and 3.

The Fed has been pumping money into the system and some people around the world has been saying this has helped developed countries but it's hurting developing countries because these inflows of money into their economies is distorting their currency, distorting their finances. And Bernanke says maybe you shouldn't be holding them artificially weak then. Maybe you shouldn't manipulate your currency markets, and this wouldn't have such a big effect.

He didn't say China but the world read them as he addressing China and to a lesser extent Brazil who complained about the Fed's policies.

BERMAN: You know what they seem to be saying, look, we have to get our ship right and if you're OK here in the U.S., you're all going to be fine.

ROMANS: You said ship, right.

BERMAN: Ship with a "p." ROMANS: Yes, we have to get our house in order here. And if you have strength in the developed countries that is good for everyone. It lifts trade. It lifts flows, everyone makes money.

But at this point, the developing countries have been concerned about rising food prices, commodities markets that have been volatile, currency markets that have been very volatile.

So very sharply worded remarks from Ben Bernanke, more clear than I've heard on this subject.

BERMAN: That's right. He's not an emotional guy. You can't tell what he's thinking. It's time it seemed to be kind of like a Bernanke smackdown.

ROMANS: That's not the way "The Journal" puts it.

SAMBOLIN: I like it. That's a good headline.

ROMANS: All right. There you go.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

BERMAN: You know, you want to have something you never want to hear like ever, a Navy nuclear submarine collides with a ship off the East Coast. Seriously. We'll have that story coming up.

If you leave the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Just three weeks now until Election Day and final prep is in full swing for the next presidential debate. We talk strategy, straight ahead.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, Lance Armstrong may take a lie detector test to prove his innocence. He's accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

BERMAN: And a jump from the edge of outer space. Honestly.

SAMBOLIN: Check that out.

BERMAN: One of the most amazing things you'll ever see. Most importantly, this was successful. We have some brand-new video to show you of this coming up.

SAMBOLIN: I love watching that. I get nervous every time I look at it.

BERMAN: It's unbelievable. I can't believe what it looks like.

All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Twenty-eight minutes past the hour.

Brand-new poll numbers released this morning show President Obama and Mitt Romney in a statistical dead heat. The latest "Politico"/George Washington University battleground poll has Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent.

And a new poll from ABC News and "Washington Post" shows the President Obama with 49 percent, Romney at 46.

So these new numbers raise the stakes even higher for tomorrow's debate on Long Island that is moderated by CNN's own Candy Crowley.

And joining us now to preview the second presidential debate is Ana Navarro, a former advisor to Jon Huntsman and John McCain and a CNN contributor. And we have Richard Socarides, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton in the house.

Thank you so much for joining us.

So, Ana, I am going to start with you. The "Politico"/George Washington University poll, let's stay with that, look at it a little bit more closely. It also asks likely voters regardless of which candidate they were supporting, who they thought would actually win. So, before the first presidential debate in Denver, if we could put that up, 61 percent of likely voters thought President Obama would be re-elected. After the debate in Denver, that number fell to 53 percent.

What do you make of those numbers?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it talks to you about the volatility of this race, Zoraida. It goes up, it goes down, really it just -- it's as mercurial as Barack Obama's debate performance. It can be on one day, off another.

You know, I think you've got to take those numbers one by one. I'm not too gung-ho about all those battleground state polls that do one single poll. Here in Florida, for example, you've got Mitt Romney leading right now with a small lead, I would tell you somewhere between three and four points. In Ohio he's about three, four, five points behind. So, that's an average of the different states, but as we know, you win the electoral votes state by state.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And Richard, the Obama campaign advisor, Robert Gibbs, said that the president knows what he needs to do differently. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIBBS: He knew he walked off that stage, and he also knew as he's watched the tape of that debate that he's got to be more energetic. I think you'll see somebody who's very passionate about the choice that our country faces and putting that choice in front of voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: So, this is a really different style, it's a town hall style. What changes do you think that we will see in President Obama, and given this different style, will he have an opportunity to, you know, really step it up?

RICHARD SOCARIDES, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Well, I think he will. I mean, I think what he needs to do is go in and demonstrate that there are two competing visions, two extremely contrasting and competing visions for how to move the country forward, and I think the town hall style will help, you know, because it adds an element of spontaneity, right?

When you have real people asking questions, you know, right? People ask all kinds of things, as you know. And I think if real people asking real question, it will really make it -- well, more interesting and more spontaneous. So, I think that will make for better television.

SAMBOLIN: Ana, what do you think?

NAVARRO: I think he should take a page from the space jumper, drink a gallon of Red Bull, and jump three feet off the stage. But, you know, short of that, look, one of the things he's got to remember is that we are on a split screen now. These debates are on a split screen. You've got to show patience. You've got to show sympathy towards the person asking the questions, because they are real people.

They are outside the Washington bubble. So, I would say to both President Obama and Governor Romney, remember the camera is on your face and, you know, regardless of what the question may be, do not look impatient, do not smirk, do not laugh, do not sigh, and remember the questioner's name.

You know, not only do you have to connect with each other, connect with the audience at home, but you've got to connect with the audience in that room and the folks asking the questions.

SOCARIDES: You know, what I do think these poll numbers that we're seeing this morning and that we've seen over the weekend really demonstrate is that it really is a very close race and that the stakes are really big, and I think that, you know, we say this a lot, but I think the next eight days in this race will really be, you know, the most important eight days with the debate, Tuesday night and then the next -- the final debate, the proceeding week.

I mean, I think we're in a period now where the next president is going to be decided, and it does seem to be very close.

SAMBOLIN: Now, yes, statistical dead heat here. So, Ana, last week, we asked you about taxes, right? Will we get any more details from Mitt Romney on taxes? You said no. And Congressman Ryan has actually asserted that, in fact, we will not get any more details. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal," if we could put that statement up.

Do you think that Romney is going to be pressed about this or asked that question from the audience? And do you think if he doesn't provide any more details, will it hurt him?

NAVARRO: You know, I think that horse has been beaten to death. I think it was an effective issue earlier on in the campaign a couple of months ago. But I think, you know, people have come to the -- to accept the fact that we're not going to get any more taxes out of Mitt Romney and we know what we know.

That he's rich, that he's incredibly charitable, and that he's quite aggressive in using the legal mechanisms available to him through the tax system to pay as little as possible. That he's got a good accountant.

SAMBOLIN: Do you agree with that, Richard? You were smiling about it.

SOCARIDES: Well, I think, you know, I mean, I think you'll hear tonight, tomorrow night a lot more about his Swiss bank account. I think you'll hear about, you know, that his failure to disclose his tax situation, and I think that, you know, his failure to disclose his own personal taxes is important because it's reflective of the fact that he's unwilling to share with the American people what his plan is for their taxes.

I mean, he's talked about throughout this entire campaign of lowering taxes on the rich as a way to spur the economy, but you can't lower taxes on everybody as he's now saying he's going to do and still generate the same amount of revenue. You got to cut, but he won't say where the cuts are.

This is, you know, this is a program without any substance to it. This is a program which promises everything to everyone, and I think that we'll hear a lot about that in the debate tomorrow night.

SAMBOLIN: Ana, do you think that we're going to walk away with a clear and decisive winner this time?

NAVARRO: I have no idea. I think one of the big pre-October surprises was the fact that we walked away with a clear and decisive loser in President Obama last time. And I do want to disagree with Richard who says that Governor Romney has failed to disclose his taxes. Look, he disclosed two. That's what he --

SOCARIDES: Two years.

NAVARRO: -- and that's what he's done. I wanted him to disclose more and I said that. He disclosed two years and he disclosed a summary of many other years. So, he's shown basically --

SOCARIDES: Summary is a very generous description of what he disclosed for the other years.

NAVARRO: Well, yes, but it showed, for example, that, you know, the people who were throwing around the accusation that he paid no taxes as in Senate Majority Leader Reid were not saying the truth and had no base to say such a thing. So, he has disclosed taxes. I think there's a huge difference between saying he's not disclosed any taxes and him having disclosed a couple of tax returns and a summary --

SAMBOLIN: All right. Two difference. We're going to have to leave it here. I know that Richard is dying to jump in here, but you'll have an opportunity at six o'clock.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Ana Navarro, CNN contributor, republican strategist, and Richard Socarides, former adviser to President Clinton and writer for TheNewYorker.com. Thank you both. We'll see you back at 6:00.

SOCARIDES: See you, Ana.

(LAUGHTER)

NAVARRO: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Of course, CNN chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, will serve as the moderator for tomorrow night's presidential debate on Long Island. Our live coverage of that debate starts at 7:00 p.m. eastern time.

At that debate, the candidates may be asked about the deadly attack last month on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Libya. It was a hot topic yesterday on CNN "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley, specifically, was there enough security and who's responsible for it?

A supporter of the president says an investigation will answer those questions, but Romney adviser say the administration is bobbing and weaving.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLESPIE: Vice President Biden directly contradicted the sworn testimony of the state department in the debate the other night.

GIBBS: The administration is responsible. Countries that provide us consulates and missions are responsible also for keeping those people safe, and secure and an investigation is what the president and the secretary of state have asked for so that we can understand directly all the things that happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The House has already held a hearing on the attack. The Senate is planning its own investigation.

SAMBOLIN: A Pentagon investigation is under way after a U.S. nuclear submarine collided with another vessel, navy vessel during a weekend training exercise. The submarine "Montpelier" and the cruiser "San Jacinto" came into contact Saturday afternoon. (INAUDIBLE). Both vessels were able to continue under their own power. No injuries were reported and no word yet from the navy as to the extent of the damage there.

BERMAN: So, you don't like to hear nuclear vessel in an accident.

SAMBOLIN: No.

BERMAN: Cyclist, Lance Armstrong, is still trying to clear his name after being implicated as a ringleader in an elaborate doping scheme, and he may be willing to take a lie detector test to do it. That's the word from Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman. Armstrong is poised to lose his record seven Tour de France titles after being named last week in a 1,000-page report issued by the U.S. anti-doping agency.

SAMBOLIN: The first BCS poll of the season is out and defending champion Alabama is on top after a 42-10 dismantling of Missouri. This was on Saturday. The SEC is looking strong once again. Check out the BCS top ten. The top two teams in the country, Alabama and Florida, play in the southeastern conference, and four SEC teams are in the top seven in the BCS.

BERMAN: It really feels like this year it's Alabama and then everyone else. That's one man's opinion.

Thirty-eight minutes after the hour right now. Massachusetts woman has been reunited with her two golden retrievers. Penny Blackwell thought Baxter and Bailey were gone for good. Their double leash broke and they went missing for two weeks, two weeks, then Baxter showed up at a friend's house and he led Peggy deep into the woods right to Bailey --

SAMBOLIN: No way.

BERMAN: -- who on his leash, but it was wrapped around a bush. He believes the dogs were trapped until Baxter broke free and ran for help. Let's hear it for Baxter and Bailey.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: And some of the best video that you'll see today --

BERMAN: Or ever.

SAMBOLIN: My goodness! Yes, ever. Daredevil Felix and his jump to earth from the edge of outer space. Yes, spin and away out of control, as a matter of fact. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. He broke the sound barrier and lived to tell the tale. Somehow. Austrian daredevil Fearless Felix Baumgartner shattered records with a blood curdling leap from a balloon perched 24 miles up, falling faster than anyone thought was humanly possible. The is one of the most amazing sites you will ever see. CNNs Brian Todd watched it all unfold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Away.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a heart-pounding hop into the stratosphere, Felix Baumgartner makes history. He jumps from 128,000 feet above the earth, 24 miles up, higher than anyone before him. During free fall, he spun for a few harrowing moments but stabilized quickly.

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, STRATOSPHERE JUMPER: Started spinning so violently, it spun me around in all different exits, you know? And I was always trying to find out how to stop this, you know? I was putting one arm out, and it didn't work and putting (INAUDIBLE), but you're always late because at that speed, when you travel at that speed with that suit and it's pressurized, you don't feel the air at all.

TODD: In those first seconds, he broke another record. No one had ever gone through the sound barrier outside a vehicle. Baumgartner reached a top speed of more than 700 miles an hour, well past the speed of sound. Free fall lasted 4:19 before his parachute opened. That's short of the record for the longest free fall in history. But after he safely touched down, the man known as Fearless Felix was hailed as an arrow space pioneer.

BAUMGARTNER: It's hard to realize what happened right now, because there are still so many emotions, you know? I had tears in my eyes when I was coming back a couple of times, because you're sitting there and you thought about that moment so many times, you know, how it would feel and how would it look like and this is way bigger than I anticipated.

TODD: This mission had been five years in the planning. In Baumgartner's ear during the ascent, Col. Joe Kitinger, the man whose record Baumgartner broke. Kitinger had jumped from 102,000 feet in 1960. I interviewed Baumgartner and Kitinger together earlier this year.

Are you jealous of Felix that he's going to break your record?

COL. JOE KITTINGER, PREVIOUS RECORD HOLDER: Oh, no. I'm delighted. I'm delighted he's going to do it. He's advancing science, and he'll do a great job.

TODD: Mission leaders and space officials hope this jump will show them if astronauts, space tourists, or high altitude pilots can survive for any extended period outside a vehicle if there's a malfunction. If it held up as expected, Baumgartner's high-pressure suit could be the next generation suit for future missions.

(on-camera) What will Felix Baumgartner do next? He told me that after this jump, he wants to pursue an occupation as a helicopter rescue pilot. Might be a bit of a letdown.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Later on "STARTING POINT", world renowned high wire artist Nik Wallenda joins Soledad to talk about Felix Baumgartner's death- defying feat. I have to say this, so we watched that amazing video him jump from like a billion feet in the air and what's the first thing you say?

SAMBOLIN: What did I say? I don't know what I say.

BERMAN: You said he's really cute.

SAMBOLIN: I -- but that wasn't the first thing I said. I actually thought how does he put his mother through that, you know, because she was there, tears in her eye.

BERMAN: That was like the fifth thing you said.

SAMBOLIN: Not true. Anyway, 45 minutes past the hour. I cannot tell this guy anything. All right. This one you don't hear often, a coach not a football player, gets a concussion. A concussion during practice. That story straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning again, you two.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): President Obama and Mitt Romney square off in a second presidential debate tomorrow night. Both candidates are off the campaign trail. The president is preparing in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the GOP nominee is getting ready in Bedford, Massachusetts. CNN's Candy Crowley, of course, moderates the debate at Hofstra University on Long Island. Our live coverage kicks off 7:00 p.m. eastern.

The 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban is being flown to Britain at this hour. Malala Yousafzai will be treated at a facility for children with severe injuries. The Taliban tried to kill her because of her outspoken support for the right of Pakistani girls to get an education.

What's believed to be the first government sanctioned prisoner exchange in Syria happens over the weekend. A human rights group says rebel fighters traded the son of a Syrian government official for two prisoners who had been sentenced to death.

The same group reporting Syrian troops pushed rebels back regaining control of a historic mosque in Aleppo. Opposition activists say at least 220 people died yesterday.

Two down, two to go for the Detroit Tigers after beating the Yankees in the second game of the American League Championship Series.

BERMAN (voice-over): Go Tigers.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: The Tigers shut out the Yanks 3-0 to take a two game series lead back to Detroit. Do I have to do the sports stories because you can't --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: The St. Louis Cardinals open the NLCS with a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco giants. Game two is tonight in San Francisco.

San Francisco Giants first base coach, Roberto Kelly, is recovering from a concussion that forced him to sit out game one of the NLCS. The 48-year-old Kelly was hit in the back of the head with a foul ball during Giants batting practice on Saturday. Right. He's going to miss tonight's NLCS game two in San Francisco. Right smack in the back of his head.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): You got to watch out when you're there at batting practice, because those balls go flying everywhere.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: We hope he's OK.

ROMANS (on-camera): I'm sure he'll be fine. Go Yankees!

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour right now. Go Tigers. Tropical storm Rafael is gaining strength this morning. It's still hurricane season. Detroit Tigers fan, Rob Marciano, joins us now --

SAMBOLIN: Yankees. Yankees. I know he's a Yankees fan, right?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's a painful morning, I'll tell you that, especially with Jeter out. You know, Rafael, that sounds like it could be a great shortstop name, maybe he can fill in for Jeter and maybe win a game three, but it's going to be tough.

Good morning, guys. And northwesterly move at ten miles an hour. This thing is about 300 miles north of Puerto Rico. No threat to the U.S. but still notable because we're so late in the season. Seventy- mile an hour wind. It's probably going to become a hurricane here in the next day or two and maybe make a run at Bermuda right now.

The forecast track is to bring it just east of Bermuda and maybe head it off towards Greenland or Iceland, maybe even Europe. So, that's not a big deal for the U.S., although, it would bring in some waves and maybe some rip currents into one of those -- if you're a late season beachgoer. And it's warm enough for that.

Temperatures today are going to be mild ahead of this front which has some scattered showers especially down to the south heading across North Georgia now and parts of Alabama. Some of these, more just garden variety type thunderstorms, nothing too severe at the moment. And finally, some rain across the pacific northwest.

Incredibly dry, really past 80 or 90 days, and Portland, Seattle, they've had less than a quarter of inch of rain at that time, and now, all the spigot has opened up. Matlock, Washington, Quileute seeing over 2.5 inches of rainfall. And the rains will keep on coming there. So, very active pattern setting up.

So Cal, by the way, warm and dry with the Santa Ana winds blowing, and this front slowly pushes across the east coast, and it will be drier tomorrow, but warm today. Temps well into the 70s in places like Boston, John Berman, which is where most folks are on vacation right now.

BERMAN: Indeed, they are. They are enjoying some time off. Much needed time of. Rob, run to a television set, because you have to see this video.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: An NFL network reporter, his first year on the job, gets smacked in the face with a football. That really happened. We'll show you how he recovered on live television coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back. It is 56 minutes after the hour. I am still John Berman along with Zoraida Sambolin taking a look at what is trending on the web this morning.

And folks are checking out some classic NFL trash talk on Twitter. I find this very unfortunate, but I will read it straight. Seattle Seahawks defensive back, Richard Sherman, caught in their session (ph) yesterday after off of the glorious Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. After the game, Sherman tweeted a picture to Brady, saying, "You mad, bro?"

He also put out a second picture of a sad-looking Tom Brady with the caption reading, "Brady sure looks like a man who turned the 12th man against us." Sherman then went after New England's fans saying "Patriots fans mad lol... Talking bout Super Bowl rings.... What have you done lately? Oh you're 3-3 lol." The Seahawks, by the way, have won a lot of Super Bowls for the last few years.

SAMBOLIN: So --

BERMAN: Actually, they won zero.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Were you on Twitter chiming in? BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I stayed up for the end of the game and I went to sleep angry, which is nice.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, you poor thing.

All right. Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. Another Hollywood marriage bites the dust. The "Sydney Morning Herald" reports actor, Russell Crowe, and his musician wife, Danielle Spencer, have separated. The couple's been married for nine years. They have two children. They met on the set of the 1990 film "The Crossing." That's sad.

BERMAN: Ever want to know what it's like to cover a national football game and work in the national football league? it can be bruising down there. Just ask NFL network reporter, Ian Rapoport. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, there really have been questions about this defense which has ranked 21st. Not (INAUDIBLE) is going to hurry. I had an interesting talk with offensive coordinator -- with -- did you, guys, see that football?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyway, anyway --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Did you just see the football hit me?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Yes. Yes. You know, we saw the football hit you in the face. He handled it like a pro on live TV. This is Rapoport's first season working for the NFL network. No word on how that football happened to find him, but we give him serious props because that's not easy.

SAMBOLIN: I think he did it on purpose.

BERMAN: So, next hour, we're going to throw footballs at Zoraida and see how she handles it.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, all right. See what I throw at you.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.