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Obama vs. Romney: Round 2; Clinton Takes Responsibility for Benghazi; "Chance Of A Decent Recovery" For Malala

Aired October 16, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The rematch. President Obama and Mitt Romney just hours away from debate number two tonight in New York.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department, 60,000 plus people all over the world.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking the blame for the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya.

BERMAN: Those are controversial words.

Meanwhile, dangerous drug or vital medicine? A case before a federal court today could put marijuana a step closer to legalization.

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

First, President Obama and Mitt Romney ready for round two. In about 16 hours, the two candidates will take the stage at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island for the second of three presidential debates. This one, a town hall format moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

BERMAN: And there is plenty at stake tonight for both President Obama and Mitt Romney, with exactly three weeks to go until Election Day. The race is this close -- I'm holding up my hands showing not a very big space.

The latest CNN poll of polls shows Romney leads by the slimmest of leads, 48 percent to 47 percent.

We're joined now in studio by CNN's Paul Steinhauser. He's going to be in the debate hall tonight -- dressed warmly. It's very cold there.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, you're right, it is this close. It is also this close in the battleground states. That is why where there is so much at stake in the second debate.


ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: One thing I know for sure, Mitt's prepared, Mitt's confident, Mitt's got a good presence about him.

STEINHAUSER (voice-over): Ann Romney says her husband is ready for a rematch with President Obama.


STEINHAUSER: The Republican nominee spent the past two days back home in Massachusetts behind closed doors, preparing for tonight's second presidential debate. President Obama's been hunkered down in Williamsburg, Virginia, not campaigning in the crucial battleground state but instead doing his debate prep home work. A senior adviser says the president knows he needs to step it up after the Denver debate two weeks ago.

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: He knew when 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.

STEINHAUSER: Most Americans think Romney got the better of Obama at the first face-off.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit, that's point one. So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut. But that's not my plan.


I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing in the United States. On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we got to boost American energy production.

STEINHAUSER: Polls conducted following the Denver showdown both nationally and in key battleground states have tightened up.

This time around, the candidates will field questions directly from undecided voters in a town hall format moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're standing right where Candy Crowley is going to be. So, be at this table right behind us, and you will beyond her, there's two stools, high stools. That's where the two candidates will be. And then around them, in sort of a semicircle, there will be about 80 people who have been chosen from the area around Hofstra on Long Island. And they're the ones who will ask the questions of the candidates.

STEINHAUSER: In connecting with the town hall audience is crucial.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The challenge is they have to connect with the people that are looking into the television and watching them, but to people that are on the stage with them. They have to keep those folks in mind. It's a much more intimate and up close adventure with voters.


STEINHAUSER: So, who do Americans think is going to win this debate? Check this out from the Pew Research Center. OK, here is the second debate on the left. And, look, Americans are kind of divided on who will do a better job in the debate. It was a very different story, as you can see before the first debate.

And, you remember, we've seen other past presidents have a tough first debate. Ronald Reagan back in '84 and just George W. Bush back in 2004. Having tough first debates, they came back with very strong second debates. That's the big question for President Obama this time around.

SAMBOLIN: And you have some new information. There have been a lot of articles written about this. And both campaigns seem to be concerned about the moderator, our CNN Candy Crowley.

What do you know about that? What's the new information?

STEINHAUSER: Right. There was some criticism from the campaign that she needs to not really go off on a tangent there on the follow ups. But both campaigns are saying, listen, we're going to answer all questions that come our way.

The format, of course, the questions come from the undecided voters but Candy Crowley gets to take that from there and try to kind of facilitate a discussion between the two candidates. I think it was a lot of much ado about nothing. Let's get ready for the debate night.

BERMAN: It should be a great discussion tonight with a great moderator. All right. Paul Steinhauser, thanks very much.

And at the bottom of the hour, we will have more debate preview with Ana Navarro, CNN contributor, and Richard Socarides is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. So, stay with us. We will have more then.

SAMBOLIN: There can always fireworks when they're together as well.

And special coverage of tonight's town hall debate presidential debate that is moderated by our own Candy Crowley. It begins at 7:00 Eastern Time, right here on CNN. Can we get enough plugs in?

BERMAN: All right. This is making big news right now. Hillary Clinton says don't blame the White House because the deadly September 11th attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, she says, is her responsibility.

In an interview with CNN's Elise Labott, the Secretary of State was emphatic. She is in charge of security at U.S. diplomatic outpost, she says. And she insists no one should be blaming the president for the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department, 60,000 plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and vice president certainly wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions. They were made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.


BERMAN: Now Republicans are not buying this. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte releasing a statement, saying, "If the president was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team. The security of Americans serving our national everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the commander-in-chief. The buck stops there," these senators say.

CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott landed that interview with Secretary Clinton. Elise will join us live in the next hour of EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: Federal health officials now say at least two other drugs may be linked to a growing outbreak of meningitis. That's disturbing. And those drugs are made by the same Massachusetts company that produced a contaminated pain steroid that's already been linked to the outbreak. At least 214 cases of fungal meningitis have now been reported in 15 states, 15 people have died.

BERMAN: Six minutes after the hour.

Vice President Joe Biden will attend the funeral today for Arlen Specter, the former long time senator for Pennsylvania who died of cancer on Sunday. More than 1,000 mourners are expected to turn out for service at a temple in suburban Philadelphia.

SAMBOLIN: And a stunning turn of events in the Monday night football game. After spotting the San Diego Chargers 24 first half points, Denver Broncos stormed back, scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half to beat their AFC west rival. Peyton Manning had three touchdown passes and threw for more than 300 yards, 35-24 victory there.

BERMAN: Yes, you know, 35 unanswered points. If you had any questions about whether Peyton Manning still have it, this certainly answers it. What a comeback last night. Man! Whoo! Peyton Mnning can still play.

Seven minutes after the hour. And this is a case that could help put pot back on the path to legalization. Coming up, when a court could decide this week about marijuana.


BERMAN: And for the first time in nearly 20 years, the issue of medical marijuana goes before a federal court today. Right now, federal law list marijuana as a schedule one drug, along with most dangerous drugs such as heroine and LSD, is having a potential for abuse. And today, medical marijuana advocates will try to change that and reclassify pot so it can be used for treating diseases. Similar attempts have failed in the past. But this time, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access feels they have a shot.

So joining me is their executive editor, Steph Sherer. Steph, we're happy to see you this morning.

I want to show people how these drugs are split up, just so we have an understanding of how the drugs are classified. Schedule one drugs include marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, peyote. Schedule two drugs include cocaine, PCP, OxyContin, meth and Ritalin. And schedule three, more prescription they're used to, Vicodin, anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine.

So, that is the breakdown there. You want marijuana move from schedule one to schedule three, which we put in with Tylenol with codeine, medical codeine. Why do you think you'll have success this time?

STEPH SHERER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS: I think since -- the last 20 years, there's actually been a lot more research happening here in the U.S. We know a lot more about how doctors and patients are using medical cannabis. And we think that there's a lot more for the courts to look at.

BERMAN: Go ahead.

SHERER: And this time we're actually -- this case was brought to the courts by medical cannabis patients who are being affected by these laws.

BERMAN: Now, you tried to have marijuana reclassified twice and failed. Last time, the DEA said to you sorry, it was the Department of Health and Human Services said that their evaluation and the additional data gathered by DEA show that marijuana has a high potential for abuse. Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

That's what they say. So, they say a high potential for abuse and it lacks accepted safety for medical supervision. That seems to say they're not in favorite of this being legalized.

SHERER: Well, by saying abuse, what they're really -- it's the same thing as saying use. A lot of people in this country use cannabis. So that's how they're determining at as high level of abuse.

But there are over one million medical cannabis patients in this country now, and they're represented by thousands of doctors who think this is good medicine. And as long as the federal government says that there's no medical value, there's a gap that's now growing between patients and doctors and the federal government.

BERMAN: So what happens if you win this case? All of a sudden pot just legal?

SHERER: No, no the at all. What happens is that we're actually finally on the same page with our federal government that it has medical use. It still is going to have to go through FDA testing. There are still going to be decisions about what's going to happen in the states.

But today, this is going to be the start of a process just to get the federal government on the same page as millions of Americans that are using medical cannabis.

BERMAN: What do you think the holdup has been overtime? Because there are states like California that have approved it for medical use.

SHERER: We know there's a lot of theories of why cannabis is still -- one of the largest reasons is that, you know, the FDA and DEA are not really adapt to dealing with herbal medicines. So, cannabis is one of the drugs being used by doctors and patients. The federal government isn't sure how to treat it.

And we also know that because of the war on drugs, the issue of medical cannabis gets kind of pushed to the side and people aren't -- haven't been looking at the medical attributes of the plant.

BERMAN: Steph, we should add, by the way, you are a medical marijuana patient, correct?

SHERER: That's correct.

BERMAN: It works well for you?

SHERER: Yes. I actually use it for anti-inflammatory properties.

BERMAN: All right.

SHERER: Most Americans that are living with pain, they aren't supposed to take high dosage of ibuprofen. And cannabis is actually one of the safest anti-inflammatories known to human kind.

BERMAN: All right. Steph Sherer, the hearings again begin today. Thanks for joining us. She's director for American for Safe Access.

We know this is going to be a big talker today. We want to hear from you. So, comment on our Twitter page. Our handle is at, you can find us on Facebook or head to our blog, You can join our conversation anytime.

SAMBOLIN: It is 15 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

Here's Christine Romans with our top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And good Tuesday morning to both of you.

We're counting down to tonight's debate rematch. The town hall format presents a challenge for both President Obama and Mitt Romney. They'll be face to face in answering questions from undecided voters. It will be harder for them to go on the attack.

The debate moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley will cover both foreign and domestic issues. Special coverage, of course, of tonight's town hall presidential debate moderated by Candy begins at 7:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Hillary Clinton says don't blame the White House because the deadly September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is ultimately her responsibility. The Secretary of State insisting she's in charge of security at U.S. diplomatic outposts and the White House shouldn't be blamed for the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Investigators in Ohio are looking into an accident involving First Lady Michelle Obama's motorcade. Mrs. Obama was not harmed in yesterday's mishap on a highway north of Columbus. Two police officers escorting the first lady on motorcycles collided into each other and they were hospitalized.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Christine.

It is 16 minutes after the hour right now. We're getting an early read on your local news that's making national headlines. We're going to start with the "Arizona Republic". This is a strange one. Uncovering a pattern of criminal and ethical misconduct in the Arizona National Guard.

The paper has found a systematic patch work of misbehavior, including sexual abuse, forgery, enlistment violations embezzlements and firearms violations. Now members also allegedly hunted homeless people with paint ball guns.


BERMAN: Now, a lot of the wrongdoing is reportedly concentrated among recruiters who frequently visit high schools. The investigations blame leadership failures and lack of discipline for the misconduct.


All right. This is from the "San Francisco Chronicle." A snout-less dog who is a national hero in the Philippines. He is getting reconstructive surgery at the University of California, Davis. Reports say the dog named "Kabang" was disfigured after throwing herself into the path of a speeding motorcycle that was about to hit two young girls. Can you believe it?


SAMBOLIN: The collision cost the dog her snout and her upper jaw. Vets at UC-Davis say there is no plan to fit her with a prosthetic snout. Instead, they're focused on closing the facial wound to prevent infection.

BERMAN: Kabang, that's some dog.


BERMAN: We'll pull up for Kabang. Go Kabang.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog,

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, the big time online retailer that's doing some big time hiring for the holidays. That's little good news we're going to share with you right after the break.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Good morning.

We are minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are trading higher and European markets are up as well. Christine Romans is here to tell us why and give us a state of the economy check.

ROMANS: Don't you know -- wow, that's a lot to do in two minutes, isn't it?

Look, yesterday was a good day for the stock market overall because we had a retail sales number that was pretty strong. I mean, it shows people buying cars. It shows people buying electronics. The iPhone, I'm starting to see iPhone sales come up in these economic reports. So interesting.

The S&P 500 year to date still up about 12.77 percent. Even with these headwinds of earnings, we know that company profits are not going to be as great as they were last year.

This morning, we're going to hear from a lot of different kinds of companies, Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel -- I mean, the list goes on and on. So I'll have a good sense of kind of how these different industries are doing right now overall.

So we're going to also see consumer price index and industrial production, a lot of different data. It's interesting a week of a debate, we're going to get a really good gut check of how the consumer is feeling, how they're spending, how companies are doing, and are people really better off and are companies better off than they were four years ago?

So, just an awful lot of news. Stock futures are up this morning.

SAMBOLIN: So, before we went to break earlier, we were teasing everybody with some jobs that are headed our way. And it's a significant number.

ROMANS: Yes. The holiday hiring, are you thinking about the holidays yet? Because corporate America is, especially if you're a retailer. They have to start hiring up for their peak season if you're a retailer. And Amazon says that they're hiring 50,000 U.S. season workers for the holidays. This is to work in their fulfillment centers. And to give you some perspective -- you see that, these are jobs taking things off of the shelves, restocking, working in fulfillment center for Amazon, as you can imagine, because all of these people who will be using its services for the holidays. Normally there are 20,000 people in these warehouses.

BERMAN: Fifty thousand is quite fulfilling I might say.

ROMANS: It is fulfilling and, you know, these are part-time jobs. They're seasonal jobs. In some cases, these jobs can translate into full time jobs.

We know a lot of other folks are hiring as well. Target, 80,000 to 90,000 jobs, they're planning to hire. Macy's, 80,000, Kohl's, Walmart, Toys "R" Us. You can see the list here of how many jobs they'll be hiring.

We also know it's fewer than half, usually fewer than a third of those jobs translate into full time jobs, permanent, you know, full time jobs for people down the road. But, certainly, if you're looking for a retail job, 30 percent of Target's jobs are last year, they retained those people. Fifteen percent of Toys "R" Us jobs, they retained those people.

But, you know, look, a job is a job. And Challenger Gray and Christmas, these are people who chart, you know, job layoff notices and hiring notices. They say more than 400,000 positions have been, you know, have been advertised over the past few weeks for holiday hiring.

SAMBOLIN: That's really great. The fact it could potentially turn into a full time job is even better.

ROMANS: It can, it can. Now, remember, 60 percent of the jobs we added since the recovery have been low wage jobs, you know? So the thing is, is this going to be your destination or is this a stepping stone until you can get to a career that's going to pay more?

Amazon likes to say that those full time jobs -- they do have stock grants. So Amazon says that its full time jobs are better than a traditional retail job.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: It feels like we are getting drip, drip, drip of positive economic news. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Yes, I think so.

BERMAN: Twenty-four minutes after the hour right now. And this could be a break in the case. The case of a Canadian teen tormented until she took her own life. How computer hackers helped expose the alleged bully behind this. We'll have that coming up. If you're leaving your house, you can watch us any time on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to


SAMBOLIN: Obama versus Romney, the sequel. A different format for tonight's debate number two.

BERMAN: Taking the fall. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talking to CNN about the attack that killed a U.S. ambassador.

SAMBOLIN: Positive signs. There's reason for hope as doctors in Britain treat the wounded teenage activist who took on the Taliban. Nice to share that story with you.

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

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 29 minutes past the hour right now.


BERMAN: And we're counting down to round two tonight between Mitt Romney and President Obama. This time in a town hall style debate which we moderate by CNN's own chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

SAMBOLIN: Tonight's event at Hofstra University holds high expectations for both men just three weeks away from the election on November 6th.

BERMAN: And here to discuss that with us this morning is CNN contributor and Republican strategist Ana Navarro, and Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to Bill Clinton, also a CNN contributor. He's also a writer at You do so many things.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: It's amazing, all before 5:30.

BERMAN: I want to talk about the format, guys, because it's a town hall style format today, which is historically has meant a certain amount of peril for candidates.

Let's look at some videotape of this famously George H.W. Bush in the debate in 1992 against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. There he is looking at his watch right there. A lot of people thought like he looked he was bored. There were some place he would rather be.

And then fast forward, eight years after that, you had Vice President Al Gore against George W. Bush. And a lot of people thought Gore got a little aggressive. Let's look at that tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not only what's your philosophy and position on issues, but can you get things done? And I believe I can.


BERMAN: So, that's a moment that a lot of people remember. Al Gore didn't even say anything. He just walked right up to George W. Bush, Bush gave him the head nod, and a lot of people thought that was a key moment in the debate. So, Richard, we'll start with you. This town hall style format, who does it favor?

RICHARD SOCARIDES, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Well, I think it will be good. I think it will be interesting. I think it can be more fun, right? I think that Barack Obama does well when he's talking to, you know, so called real people, people that he hasn't met before, you know, people who are voters, regular voters, average voters. So, I think that the president will do great.

I think it's a challenge. In the past, it's been a challenge for Governor Romney. I mean, I think he knows plenty of real people. He probably meets them every day. So, he probably has some experience at this. But, in the past, he's had some tough moments. So, I think it favors President Obama.

But I think you're going to see an energized and, you know, fired up President Obama today.

BERMAN: Ana, you've been a sharp critic in the past of Mitt Romney's human interaction capabilities. What kind of threat does this pose to him tonight?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, he's doing better. When he's on --



NAVARRO: When he's on, he really gets on this momentum drive, and I've seen that happen since the debate. I saw it happen exactly in Florida when he started winning those two debates in Florida. He just, you know, he went on a roll. And I just saw them last month, I think, it was at the Univision forum in Miami where it was sort of a town hall style.

There were questions from the audience. And Romney was very on. And Obama was very off at that day. A lot of it had to do with the interaction with the audience. I think they should remember the questioner's name. And it's very important for them to see and touch and connect with the common people.

Not just about -- you know, legal ease is spoken and parsing of words are spoken within Washington, but to be able to connect with them. Know the price of milk. Know the price of gas. You know, know some of the common things that all -- SOCARIDES: Study up on that stuff.



SAMBOLIN: You wanted to talk format. I want to talk women. I want to talk about this latest poll that's out. It's "U.S. Today"/Gallup poll, and it shows that the gender gap is closing for Romney among women in the swing states.

So, Richard, should this be a concern for the Obama campaign? Because these numbers were swaying in Obama's direction. Look at them now, 49 percent to 48 percent.

SOCARIDES: You know, well, it should be a concern if it holds up. I mean, I think that -- you know, I think that the last debate we see now was, you know, very difficult moment for President Obama. And I think a lot of people who were supporting him, many of them women, had some second thoughts.

So, I think now is his opportunity to go in and demonstrate to people why he's doing this, why this is important, what are the contrasting visions? You know, I mean, we can't -- we say this a lot, but I would say that tonight is probably the most important night of the election for President Obama.

Now, I think, on the other hand, For Governor Romney, you know, he had such a strong debate performance last time that I think, you know, he can probably coast a little bit more. But if Obama doesn't show up and demonstrate that he is really in this to win it, you know, it's going to be a big problem.

SAMBOLIN: Are you surprised by those numbers, those women numbers?

NAVARRO: I have to tell you, I am. I saw the headline this morning when I left my hotel room, and it was amazing. I can't -- you know -- what's amazing to me is how soft the support for President Obama has been. That he has lost so much support over one bad debate. You're talking very soft support.

SAMBOLIN: What does that tell you? What do you think?

NAVARRO: It tells you they're not -- that tells you his base is not as committed as it was four years ago. And I can sense that in the streets of Florida. I can see it, you know, I live in a battleground state, remember. And I can see it in the signs in the homes. I remember what it was like four years ago. I was the only McCain sign. Today, it is full of Romney signs, and there is (INAUDIBLE) Obama sign.

BERMAN: I should point out that the Obama campaign disputes these --


BERMAN: -- saying is a strange likely voters screen among registered voters. Obama still leads among women by nine points. We will leave that there, because I do want to shift to Libya right now, because Hillary Clinton has been giving interviews, including to CNN's Elise Labott on the issue of Benghazi, and she took an extraordinarily high level of responsibility for what happened there. Let's listen.


CLINTON: I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department, 60,000 plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president certainly wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decision that's are made by security professionals.

They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.


BERMAN: Does this free the president the questions tonight on the subject of Benghazi?

NAVARRO: Absolutely not. You know, it was his U.N. ambassador, it was his administration that's been fumbling this answer for a very long time. It really took them a long time to say the word terrorist attack, an act of terror. And I do agree with Secretary Clinton, and you know, I think it's commendable that she's taking responsibility, she should.

But let's be clear about something. We're talking about Benghazi, Libya. We're not talking about the consulate in Cancun or the consulate in Paris, France. And I would tell you that different consulates have different levels of responsibility, and it's Benghazi (ph). Certainly, the administration should be well aware.

SOCARIDES: You know, I think that what she said last night reflects her personal opinion and her personal upset over what happened. And I think as secretary of state, she does feel responsible. But I think that we can't -- we shouldn't try to parse this too much, because obviously, if she's responsible, she works for the president, and that president is responsible, too.

I mean, I don't think she was trying to shift responsibility away from him so much as to say that she takes personal responsibility for the decision that's were made. So, I think it was a nuance to answer. But I think, certainly, you know, the president is responsible, right? I mean, any time an American, it seems to me, is killed in the line of duty in an area like that, it represents an intelligence failure.

And I think the administration has been willing to say, you know, willing to share with the American people what they know when they knew it, but this effort like we saw yesterday of Mayor Giuliani with Soledad to, you know, cover it up, to say that there was a cover-up and it is (ph) ridiculous.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Richard Socarides, Ana Navarro, we're going to ask you to join us again in the 6:00 hour. Thank you. And at the top of the hour, we'll have more debate preview with Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and editorial director for "The National Journal."

BERMAN: And special coverage of tonight's town hall presidential debate moderated by our very own Candy Crowley begins at 7:00 Eastern time right here on CNN.

The man who allegedly tormented Canadian teen, Amanda Todd, before she took her life has reportedly been identified.


BERMAN (voice-over): Canadian media reporting that the hacking and activist group, Anonymous, has posted a Vancouver area man's name and address. Todd took her own life after posing this chilling YouTube video where she described being sexually exploited by a cyber bully.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The second of two female volunteers has washed out of marine infantry officer training. The "Marine Corps Times" reports a second lieutenant was dropped from the program for medical reasons. The other female officer dropped out last month after failing to complete an introductory endurance test. They were the first women to try and join the marine's elite combat ranks.


BERMAN (on-camera): There will be others.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes, there will.

BERMAN: They're coming up over the next year.

Thirty-seven minutes after the hour right now. And targeted by the Taliban just because she wanted an education. There is new hope this morning for a Pakistani teenager and her recovery. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with a prognosis coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 40 minutes past the hour.

Guarded optimism about anti-Taliban activists, Malala Yousufzai's, chances of recovery. The medical director at the British hospital she is now at says specialists think there is a chance of a decent recovery. The 14-year-old is in a chemically induced coma as doctors evaluate the extent of the damage she sustained when the Pakistani Taliban shot her in the head.

Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is a neurosurgeon takes a look at her prognosis.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What we know is that she had a point blank gunshot wound injury exposed with a nine- millimeter handgun. And surgeons spent about three hours operating on her to try and probably remove fragments of a bullet, control bleeding, and also take pressure off of her brain.

As you might guess, the odds are usually not in the favor of somebody who suffered this type of injury. Around 10 percent, fewer than 10 percent of patients survive at all, and even smaller percentage have significant neurological recovery after all this. But we did hear some good news about Malala.

Just yesterday, she was moving both hands and both feet, plural. And I emphasize that because, again, as a neurosurgeon, I will tell that you to be able to move both sides of the body even spontaneously is a very good sign. If she did this because someone asked her to and she was responding to a command, that's even better sign.

But again, the swelling of the brain sort of issue number one over the next several days, make sure that swelling can be controlled. As far as finding out how she's going to do overall, what doctors will typically do is they'll take the sedation that is sort of keeping her brain at rest and decrease it a few times and see is she able to respond well? Can she understand her name? Can she understand things?

That's going to be the most critical sign moving forward over overall recovery. The only thing the doctors have said, so far, is that it's going to be months, perhaps, before we actually have knowledge of just how far her recovery is going to go.

Oftentimes, as we saw in the case of Congressman Giffords, for example, if someone has weakness on one side of the body or the other because of where the injury is in the brain or if they have problems with language, that rehab can take a significant amount of time and that may be what Malala has in store for her.

She's young. She's 14. That's important because the brain is more plastic, if you will, at that age, better to rewire itself and that may work in her favor. But as we get more information, we'll certainly bring it to you. Back to you for now.

SAMBOLIN: So many people praying for this young girl. I was reading online that the hospital that they chose to take her to in Britain is a hospital that is world renowned for being able to treat patients with these serious gunshot wounds. So, there's anyplace that could really help her in her care and her rehab. It is that particular hospital.

BERMAN: She is in the right place. That is good news.

Forty-three minutes after the hour right now. Turning gears now, a circus like scene on a Mississippi highway. Coming up, how elephants, elephants ended up all over this road?

And if you're leaving the house right now, you better watch us on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to --

SAMBOLIN: What are the consequences?

BERMAN: --/TV SAMBOLIN: Hey, welcome back. Good morning. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine.

ROMANS: And thank you, you two.


ROMANS (voice-over): We're just over, what, 15 hours now from the second presidential debate with President Obama and Mitt Romney duking it out at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. We may see the candidates more polite, though, than pugnacious due to the town hall format.

They'll field questions directly from undecided voters. The debate covers foreign policy and domestic issues. Special coverage of tonight's town hall, of course, moderated by our own, Candy Crowley, begins at 7:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Don't adjust your television. This really is video of elephants on a highway. A trailer carrying four elephants from the Cole Brother Circus got into a traffic accident and went off the road Sunday night in Hancock County, Mississippi. The elephants were allowed to roam around while the trailer was put back on the road.

BERMAN (voice-over): Zoraida said elephants on a road, that's a very curious story.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): You know, elephants, they're very dangerous.

ROMANS: Yes. Well, no one was hurt. And apparently --

SAMBOLIN: I don't see the elephants.

ROMANS: There's one. Wow!

SAMBOLIN: I thought that was the back of a human.


SAMBOLIN: There is an elephant. The gray there in the middle of your screen, folks.

ROMANS: Today, a three judge panel with the U.S. court of appeals in Washington is being asked to redefine how the government classifies marijuana. The group, Americans for Safe Access, is challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of marijuana as a schedule one drug.

Schedule one drugs include heroin and LSD and are considered by the DEA to have a high incidents of abuse and no acceptable medical use.

The San Francisco Giants pulling even the national league championship series with a 7-1 blowout of the St. Louis Cardinals. The series now tied at one game apiece. The teams will play the next three games at St. Louis with game three set for tomorrow. Game three in the American league, the Yankees and Tigers, John --



BERMAN (on-camera): You saw Marco Scutaro there. He's the player for the Giants right now. He actually had to come out of the game after a really hard slide by the Cardinals, Matt Holiday. Really controversial. Actually, it turned the game around.

The Giants kind of rallied around Scutaro and took over the game and ended up winning. And that series now tied at one game apiece. We will see what happen there.


BERMAN: I watch the replays when I wake up. I can't like not know what happened. The first thing I do is check the replays.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Well, that's good for --

BERMAN: Forty-nine minutes after the hour right now. And not one but two hurricanes on the radar in the weather center this morning. Rob Marciano joins us. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Still hurricane season. Hurricane Rafael about 390 miles south of Bermuda, has winds of 85 miles an hour heading towards Bermuda but likely will miss it just to the east. Nonetheless, we're going to get tropical storm force winds it looks like with this thing.

Hurricane-force winds only go at about 40 miles. So, Bermuda, conditions will go down hill here in a hurry. And tonight, they will bypass you off towards this. Also, Hurricane Paul, 110-mile-an-hour wind. This will begin to weaken as it heads towards the Baja of California.

It may actually get a little bit of this moisture heading into the desert southwest of the U.S. and maybe even Southern California, but that's about it from Hurricane Paul. We have a little front that moved through the East Coast last night. Some heavy rains in spots. That's pushing off the New England coastline and Cape Cod.

And the Seattle to Portland to me Medford, more in the way of rainfall there, but this is -- has some wind with the both (ph) behind and the head of the front. Winds could gust to 60 or 70 miles an hour with highway watches and wind advisories up for that part of the world. Some winds ahead of it going to kick temperatures up into the 70s and 80s. Well above average there.

Expect 80 degrees in Kansa City. Speaking of numbers, John Berman, quoting that I'm much shorter in person than I am on television.

SAMBOLIN: That is awful.

BERMAN: You look taller -- (CROSSTALK)

MARCIANO: I stand on this platform every day. I was born 21 inches. So, I haven't grown much.


MARCIANO: Magic of television.

BERMAN: You're a giant in our eyes, Rob.

MARCIANO: I appreciate it.

BERMAN: Very nice to see you this morning.

SAMBOLIN: He's a tall guy.

All right. A packed hour ahead on EARLY START, including the rematch. Round two for Mitt Romney and President Obama and tonight. Will the president get off the ropes after their first head-to-head meeting? The tale of the tape, Ron Brownstein breaks it down for us.

BERMAN: And right before foreign policy takes center stage, Hillary Clinton is taking responsibility for security at the consulate that was attacked in Libya. CNNs Elise Labott landed an interview with Secretary Clinton and it's making big news. Elise will join us live.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, video of NYPD officers beating a shirtless man at a Jewish youth center sparking an investigation now. A male and a female member of the force are involved.

BERMAN: Wow. Alarming video.

But first, in 2008, we had Obama girl. Now, we have the Ryan girl, and she's going all Olivia Newton-John on this to show her support for the vice presidential nominee. This is shocking.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman, and we are taking a look at what is trending and it's all, all about the big debate.

BERMAN: Absolutely. What is trending this morning, leg warmers. Break out the leg warmers for Paul Ryan.




BERMAN: She's singing "let's get fiscal," not physical.

SAMBOLIN: I think everybody got that, Berman.


BERMAN: Mitt Romney's running mate, you know, is turning heads. You know, that's model and actress, Meredith Walker, is singing right now. She's doing (ph) her support for Paul Ryan, Mr. P90X (ph). She's kicking the old school with "Let's Get Fiscal" (INAUDIBLE) of the Olivia Newton-John from the 1980s.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. I'm sure you do. All right. On debate day, the endorsement everyone has been waiting for, Miley Cyrus showing her support for President Obama tweeting a photo of herself in a cutoff T- shirt with a picture of the president and telling her followers to, quote, "Rock the Vote. Cyrus has a little history with the Obama family. She sang at the kids inaugural Obama concert in 2009 for Sasha and Malia.

BERMAN: So, Obama has won the Miley Cyrus primary.


BERMAN: The Miley Cyrus (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: And the death defying potentially blood boiling leap from the edge of space and this is the thinks he gets. Colbert covering the super sonic leap. Take a look.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": As daredevil Felix Baumgartner became the first man to -- Ooohh!


COLBERT: Felix Baumgartner became the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall. Parachuting from a record altitude of 24 miles. Ladies and gentlemen, this proves that our days of human exploration are not over because we did it. We put a man on the earth.


COLBERT: It's a brave same world.


COLBERT: And, folks, millions around the world tuned in to witness this historic event and/or hideously gruesome death.



BERMAN: I had not seen that. That was hilarious. All right, everyone. EARLY START continues right now.

SAMBOLIN: I love that we replay this.