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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Sandy Takes Aim at East Coast; Countdown to Election Day; Mother Comes Home to Find Kids Stabbed; SF Giants Up Two in World Series

Aired October 26, 2012 - 05:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sandy takes aim. The deadly hurricane looks like it's right on track to slam the East Coast. We have the latest on the path of the storm, straight ahead.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And a nightmare for any parent. A mother finds her two children stabbed to death in their upscale New York City home. And you'll never believe who police say is responsible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. JOHN SUNUNU, (R-NH), ROMNEY ADVISER: When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: A top Romney adviser backtracking after suggesting that the president won a big endorsement because of his race.

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

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

It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get started here.

Up first, hurricane Sandy is starting to look like a perfect storm, as Berman was predicting, from New England to Virginia and as far inland as Ohio. Everyone is being warned to prepare to take action because of a rare and complex atmospheric setup.

Forecasters fear Sandy could collide with the East Coast early next week as a super storm. Sandy has already done plenty of damage. Eleven people are dead in Cuba. The hurricane ripping roofs off some homes and flattening others. Sandy also killed one person in Jamaica, 10 more people in Haiti. That is 22 people total killed by this storm already.

Heavy rains from the storm's outer bands causing devastating flooding as well. And even though it's several days away, the sandbagging has already started as far north as New Jersey.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is tracking Sandy's every move, and he joins us now live from the extreme weather center in Atlanta.

What is the latest on this?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Still a category 1 storm as you mentioned, already deadly affects across the Caribbean islands, and battering the Bahamas right now. About 150 miles or so east of Miami, and about 480 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. Movement is northwesterly at 13 miles an hour and this thing is beginning to evolve into something larger than a hurricane. The wind field is changing.

This is an extraordinary storm for this time of year. And this time of year, we start to get the impacts of what you would typically see in a fall-like storm. So, that's going to give it the extra punch that we've been talking about for the past couple of days and things are starting to come together.

All right. Florida, you're getting the impacts first, of course. Up and down I-95, along the beaches especially, big-time waves.

Check out some video coming in from Ft. Lauderdale. This is yesterday, late yesterday, with winds driving sideways, certainly looks like a hurricane. The center of this thing still at this point over a couple hundred miles offshore. So, you get the idea of what kind of impacts we see even when you're nowhere near the storm. And this will continue for several days from the Keys, across the Georgia coast, the South Carolina coast, North Carolina coast as well.

Let's go over the forecast track for the National Hurricane Center. Tonight, it gets -- it goes northerly and then northeasterly and almost it mimics the coastline of the U.S., makes a northeasterly turn, Saturday night into Sunday. It will be well offshore of the Carolinas. But they're just going to get peppered with big, big waves, 30, 40-foot waves possibly.

Huge amount of flooding and this is the time as the full moon. So high tides are already unusually high, and you get that with the storm surge, it's going to be almost disastrous coastal flooding up and down the East Coast.

And here is the forecast track as far as what kind of landfall we expect. Monday night into Tuesday morning, potentially Wednesday if it goes further to the right anywhere from Cape Hatteras, really, to Boston under the gun here, keeping it as a category 1 storm. By this time, the wind field is going to be so large it doesn't matter where you actually see landfall. And I know we say that when hurricanes come on shore but this one really -- the wind field is going to be so large, especially to the east. It's going to affect hundreds of miles of coastline and tens of millions of people.

These are the spaghetti models. These are -- each line represents one computer model. And we've been showing you the past couple of days. Over the past couple of days, many -- most have been going out to sea. Yesterday, they were about half and half. Now nearly all of them bring them back towards the Northeast. An extraordinary setup, one we certainly haven't seen in my lifetime. We compare it to the perfect storm of 1991. Guys, this is going to be worse, because this one is coming onshore. That one didn't even come on shore and it had disastrous effects -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh, Rob, 30 to 40-foot waves. All right. I know that you're going to continue to monitor this for us. Thank you.

And, of course, you all stay with CNN for the latest track of hurricane Sandy throughout the day and over the weekend, folks, we have this covered. We're tracking it like no one else can with meteorologists and reporters spread across the East Coast.

BERMAN: That is a big story.

To presidential politics and the battle for the battlegrounds: President Obama waking up in the White House this morning, following two days of virtual "Barack around the clock" campaigning in eight states.

Mitt Romney swarming the swing states as well, Ohio yesterday and again today. He'll also be in Iowa for what his campaign calls a significant economic speech today.

The latest CNN poll of polls has Mitt Romney 48 percent, President Obama at 47 percent. That's pretty much a dead heat 11 days out.

Also, three new swing state polls show just how tight this race is. In Nevada, President Obama up 50-47. That's according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Same poll has the race tied in Colorado with 48. And according to a new FOX poll, in Virginia, Mitt Romney is up 47 to 45.

All of these virtual ties with just 11 days to go.

CNN political director Mark Preston live in Washington.

Mark, what do these campaigns have going on today with things so close?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, as you said, John, Barack Obama has come off the campaign trail, but it doesn't mean he stopped campaigning. In fact, today he will do 10 interviews. Seven of them will be with local affiliates in the battleground states. We'll get the names of those affiliates later on today.

Probably the big interview of the 10 that he's doing. He's going to be with MTV. He's doing about a 20, 25-minute interview with MTV later this afternoon, which just goes to show that Barack Obama is really trying to shore up his base. Part of his base, of course, are the young voters.

As you said, Mitt Romney is in Iowa. He's going to be delivering an economic speech, probably what has been the strongest part of his campaign is talking about the economy, 11 days to go. He'll deliver that speech in Iowa which, of course, is a state that is critical for him.

And right now, he is losing to Barack Obama in that state. A little bit later in the evening, he will be joined by Paul Ryan at a rally.

So, a lot going on in the campaign trail, lot of surrogates out certainly in the battleground states, John. And I would say we are now in the sprint.

BERMAN: So, Mark, while a lot of people may have been sleeping last night, a controversy bubbled up, involving the endorsement Colin Powell gave to Barack Obama. It's the second time Powell has endorsed Obama. It's what a Romney surrogate said about that that's making news.

PRESTON: Yes, John. This is John Sununu. He's the former governor of New Hampshire, somebody -- often people would say he is very outspoken. He has gotten himself in trouble before by saying some things and has had to walk them back. But certainly this is not something the Romney campaign wants to deal with.

Let's just listen to what he will to say about this especially endorsement last night on Piers Morgan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNUNU: And, frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.

PIERS MORGAN, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: What reason would that be?

SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: And there you have John Sununu. He's the former governor of New Hampshire, a top Romney surrogate last night making some controversial comments. He did try to walk them back quickly after those comments were made.

Let's take a quick look at what he said. They release d a statement. Let me read it to you.

"Colin Powell is a friend. And I respect the endorsement decision he made. I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies. Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party and I don't think he should."

You know, John, I have to say, just very quickly. I do know the governor and I do not think he is a racist. I do think that we need to note that.

But this is certainly a controversy that the Romney campaign does not want to deal with 11 days before the election. BERMAN: And they were awfully quick to walk it back just after it happened.

There is another controversy that bubble up overnight. This time, it has to do with the Obama campaign and video they put out. It stars Lena Dunham known as creator of HBO's "Girls" show. What is it about this ad that has conservatives up in arms?

PRESTON: You know, John, this is the video that slightly ties together the first time you vote, to the first time you lose your virginity. In fact, let's go to the video. I think it says it all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENA DUNHAM, CREATOR, "GIRLS": Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful -- someone who really cares about and understands women, a guy who cares whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge.

My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. I was a girl. Now I was a woman. I went to the polling station and pulled back the curtain, I voted for Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESTON: Two controversies right now, John, that are bubbling up 11 days before Election Day. And, you know, what a day. How to begin the morning when talking about sex and race, you know, this early in the morning in the presidential campaign. I hope my kids aren't watching.

BERMAN: All right. Mark Preston, thanks very much. And 11 days more of this to go. Great to see you this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And in the next half hour of EARLY START, we're going to be talking polls and politic and these two controversies with CNN contributor Margaret Hoover and Richard Socarides. They mix it up almost every morning. They will have a lot to say about this.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it will be fun.

Nine minutes past the hour now.

A suicide bombing outside of a mosque in northern Afghanistan has killed 40 people. And Afghan police say that includes fellow officers. It also includes children. Dozens of others were injured.

Interior ministry spokesman says the bomber struck right after morning prayers.

BERMAN: Pakistani teen Malala Yousufzai has been reunited with her parents. They arrived in Britain just hours ago. Their 15-year-old daughter is in a Birmingham hospital recovering from a gun shot wound to the head which was inflicted by the Taliban.

Malala has become the symbol of courage around the world for risking her life by demanding equal education for girls in Pakistan.

SAMBOLIN: NBA commissioner David Stern has announced plans to retire in February of 2014, following 30 years on the job. Current deputy commissioner Adam Silver will then take over as the new NBA commissioner. Stern has presided over a period of unprecedented growth for the league. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, all became superstars during Stern's time as NBA commissioner.

BERMAN: It is really the end of an era.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants have taken the first two games of the World Series.

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe this?

BERMAN: It really is unbelievable -- a shootout to Tiger's two-to-zip last night. Giants' pitcher Madison Bumgarner struggled but pitched shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight. San Francisco broke a scoreless tie in the seventh on the double play grounder. The infield actually was a double play hit. That was controversial.

But the biggest play of the game came in the second inning. Detroit's Prince Fielder trying to score from first base on a Delmon Young double down the line. Prince Fielder you will see shortly not a small man, a rather large man, not particularly fleet afoot. He was thrown out at the plate.

That may have cost the Tigers the game. A lot of people wondering if the third base coach should have waved him home. I would say no, the answer to that.

The series moves to tomorrow night, game three tomorrow night.

SAMBOLIN: It is 11 minutes past the hour. It is impossible to understand how anyone could kill a child. It is unthinkable to comprehend coming home to find your two children stabbed to death in your own home. It happened. It happened in an upscale New York City neighborhood. We have that story, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifteen minutes past the hour.

A mother comes home to the unthinkable, two of her three children stabbed to death in their Manhattan bathtub, their nanny in a pool of blood nearby with a kitchen knife by her side. The children's father, a CNBC executive, was reportedly away on business.

Deborah Feyerick is following all the developments for us.

So, Deborah, we understand the police believe that the nanny killed the children before stabbing herself. What -- this is just unthinkable, unheard of. Everybody is nervous about something like this. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes.

SAMBOLIN: What do you know?

FEYERICK: This has sent shock waves through New York city. Parents across the city, holding their kids even more tightly. Some cases they're looking over their shoulder and asking, could their nanny snap?

This is really what this is about, a young mom, 38 years old, comes home. She's with her middle child, 3 years old. They've gone for swimming lessons.

She walks into her home. The home is dark. She's surprised. It's about 5:30 in the evening, the kids are usually getting ready for dinner, having their baths. No sign of anything.

She goes downstairs and says did my children leave with the nanny? Doorman says no. She goes back up in the bathroom, she finds blood everywhere. The two children, 2-year-old little boy Leo, 6-year-old little girl, Lucia -- they are stabbed to death. The nanny on the floor, she apparently has a knife by her side. She has stabbed herself repeatedly in the neck. Police are saying they do believe that the wounds were self inflicted, that after the nanny snapped somehow she became deranged, killed the children, then tried to kill herself.

A neighbor heard these blood-chilling screams coming from the apartment and called 911. That's when police arrived and found in the scene. And the mother is in a complete state of shock. They took her to the hospital as well. But she is described as being beyond comprehensible right now because she is in such a state of trauma.

SAMBOLIN: Of course.

So, the nanny here, I was reading that the mom kept a blog and that they had visited the nanny's home -- I think it was Dominican Republic, spent time with her family. So, this is somebody that they really knew?

FEYERICK: Reports say that the mom had stayed home, but after the birth of the young son, they decided to hire a nanny. They vetted the nanny. They did a background check, criminal check. Usually all this happens in New York City.

They went and spent time with the nanny --

SAMBOLIN: She seems like family, right?

FEYERICK: -- in the Dominican Republic. So, they felt close to her.

So, this wasn't negligence. This wasn't a situation where the parents weren't doing due diligence. In fact, they were.

And the mother was very hands on. As you say, there was this blog. She posted pictures just a couple of hours earlier of the little boy just saying, what a joy and delight he was.

So this was -- really, everyone in this city is going to be talking about this because you just -- you don't know. When you leave your children with somebody else, whether it be a nanny, babysitter, there's always that question, are your children safe and are the caretakers doing the right thing? So, it's frightening. It's really terrifying.

SAMBOLIN: We talked about this earlier. Just really quickly, any chance that something else could have possibly happened here, that it was not the nanny?

FEYERICK: Yes, we pressed the police on that question last night. They believe that the wounds are self inflicted. The nanny has been arrested. No charges have been filed. She's in critical condition right now.

The father -- you know, imagine landing at an airport to be told that two of your children --

(CROSSTALK)

FEYERICK: Two of your children have been killed. It's tragic.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thank you so much for that report.

BERMAN: What a shocking story. It is 18 minutes after the hour right now.

There is other big news. Hurricane Sandy, battering the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba and now setting its sights on the East Coast of the U.S. Twenty-one people across the Caribbean have already been killed and everyone from New England to Virginia now being warned to prepare.

SAMBOLIN: Look at that map.

BERMAN: Because of this. Sandy could blend with a winter storm and reach the east coast as a super storm early next week. This is a very serious storm, guys. Stay with CNN. We'll give you all the latest as it develops throughout the day and the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: Rob was saying in his lifetime he has never seen anything like this.

American Airlines says it will hire 2,500 new pilots over the next five years. This is part of a plan to staff new domestic and international routes. About 1,500 of the new hires will replace pilots who are retiring. American parent company filed for bankruptcy protection. That was in November. And the airline has been battling with its pilots union over efforts to cut labor costs.

BERMAN: All right. So, check out these pictures of humanoid robots that will compete in a challenge. At stake millions of dollars of funding. The competition was launched by DARPA. You may have heard of them. They're the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, a Pentagon group.

It required the robots drive a car, travel through rubble, climb ladders, among other tasks. The idea they have is to develop robots to help in disaster scenarios.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty minutes past the hour. Let's get an early read on your local news that's making national headlines.

Shades of 2000. "The Tampa Bay Times" reports 27,000 absentee ballots in Palm Beach County, Florida, can't be digitally scanned.

BERMAN: Really?

SAMBOLIN: Really. It seems there's some kind of design flawed they say. So election officials are duplicating the markings from the bad ballots on to new ones in order to record the votes. Uh-oh, and some are already questioning, of course, the accuracy of the result.

BERMAN: Come on, Palm Beach. That was the home of the butterfly ballots in 2000. Get your act together.

Twenty minutes after the hour.

From "Marblehead Patch" in Massachusetts, a bullying victim at Marblehead High School decided to fight back after hearing a nasty remark about her pigtails. So, she wrote a post in Facebook asking classmates to show up the school the next day wearing pig tails to send a message to the bully. And guess what? Dozens of her fellow classmates obliged.

Within 24 hours, the Facebook page, Pigtails 4 Peace had more than 500 fans. That's awesome.

SAMBOLIN: Great.

BERMAN: The craze is spreading and now parents are posting pictures of themselves wearing pigtails. There are dozens of post assuring the bullying victim that everyone has her back.

SAMBOLIN: Had I known, I would have had you wear pigtails.

BERMAN: Had I could, I would, in support of her.

All right. Twenty-one minutes after the hour.

Microsoft taking a chance, releasing a dramatically different operating system in just a few hours. We'll have more on Windows 8. People are talking about this, coming right up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Minding your business.

And U.S. stock futures are down sharply this morning. European and Asian markets are down as well. The driving factor here, weak corporate earnings. SAMBOLIN: And that includes Apple. Earnings missed analysts expectations for the last quarter. It's very unusual for the tech giant. Some numbers we crunched from its earnings report for you. Apple sold more than 292,000 iPhones per day last quarter and more than 151,000 iPads per day.

So, looking forward, CEO Tim Cook said on a conference call with investors he expects record sales next quarter, of course, during the holiday season.

BERMAN: And later this morning, we'll get a big update on the health of the overall U.S. economy through the third quarter GDP number. Economists surveyed by CNN Money expect the economy grew at a rate of 1.7 percent over the last three months. That's an improvement from the second quarter but frankly still not great.

SAMBOLIN: And today, Windows 8 is hitting store shelves. It's Microsoft's new operating system that works on both P.C.s and touch screen devices. Take a look at your screen. There it is.

It's supposed to be drastically different. It is. From the Windows you seE on P.C.s now. This is a big gamble for Microsoft. The system hasn't changed much since 1995. If you don't like change, you're not going to like this.

Windows alone brought in more than $18 billion in sales last year. And according to CNN Money, Windows on its own could rank among the 150 U.S. largest companies by revenue.

BERMAN: You can see how different it is, with the tiles there.

SAMBOLIN: Tremendously.

BERMAN: A lot of people are talking about that.

Twenty-six minutes after the hour right now. So, U.S. warships armed with lasers, lasers that could blow up missiles and aircraft. Now, if it sounds like part of the next blockbuster movie, it's not. This is real. We'll explain later this hour on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Ready or not, forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is probably headed right for the East Coast.

BERMAN: Neck and neck. President Obama, Mitt Romney. This thing pretty much all tied up with just over a week to go.

SAMBOLIN: The underdogs triumph again. Can you believe it? The Giants just two wins away from upsetting the heavily favored Tigers. I was shocked when I woke up this morning, shocked.

BERMAN: Shocked and thrilled, to be honest. But that's okay.

SAMBOLIN: Well, welcome back to EARLY START. Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It's 30 minutes after the hour right now and millions of Americans from New England to Virginia are bracing for a potential super storm. Hurricane Sandy is serious; it has already killed 21 people in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba and is setting her sights on the East Coast of the U.S.

SAMBOLIN: Take a look at the storm from space. Sandy is packing sustained winds of 90 miles an hour. And it's looking more and more likely that the Northeast will be in harm's way. This is supposed to happen early next week. Meteorologist Rob Marciano is tracking the hurricane from the Extreme Weather Center in Atlanta. This is super serious. You said you've never seen anything like this in your lifetime?

MARCIANO: No. When you take a large hurricane like this and i's getting bigger, even though the winds are down to 80 miles an hour, the wind field is getting bigger, the cloud canopy well over 1,000 miles, so it's reaching across about half of the East Coast. And then you combine it with this extraordinarily strong cold front and deep trough coming across the U.S., almost winter-like air, a lot of jet stream energy with that, so when this storm is going to start to weaken, as it goes to the north, as they typically do, the jet stream is going to give it some energy and just blow this thing up. So that's what we haven't seen.

When we show you these computer model models, what we're seeing now, a couple of days out, is typically what we see, you know, 12, 13 days out and we blow it off. But now it looks like it's happening.

Eighty mile an hour winds, about 200 miles to the east of Miami, about 480 miles south of Charleston and it's movement is northwesterly at 13 miles an hour. They're feeling the effects here in Florida. We showed you video earlier of Florida. Let's look at the video out of Eastern Cuba where they had a Category 2 storm make landfall yesterday. So you're talking about winds that were easily over 100- mile-an-hour, doing serious damage to the eastern tip of that island nation. Power lines, trees down of course and infrastructure heavily damaged. And these are scenes that we're going to see even with winds less than that across the northeastern U.S.

The rain across Florida, what you saw, is going to combine with this front moving across the Great Lakes. Doesn't look to be much right now but temperature gradient is huge, it's dramatically colder behind this. And the jet stream energy, as I mentioned, it's going to infuse some juice into Sandy as it gets a little bit farther north.

Here is the forecast track for the National Hurricane Center. We get more of a northeasterly movement, almost mimics the coastline of the U.S. It'll be close enough to give you folks tropical storm force winds across the Carolinas. We've got a tropical storm watch that's been posted there. And big waves. We'll see 30, 40-footers across the Carolinas, on probably Eastern Long Island as well and maybe as far north as Maine.

And here's your cone of uncertainty. Here's the track. We say this time, again, about hurricanes, don't pay much attention so much to the track because it will have wide-ranging effects. This one especially because it may not have a tight eye as we typically see. It will have a huge, huge wind field. Not only that, it's going to stick around for a couple of days. So you're talking about a long duration event, guys. These computer models, each line represents a model. Remember yesterday they were about half and half. Now nearly all of them bring it back into the northeast. It's certainly time to take action and prepare for this storm upcoming on Monday and Tuesday.

SAMBOLIN: Well, thank you for the warning. Rob Marciano, live in Atlanta for us.

BERMAN: All right, we have a shocking story out of New York City. A New York City police officer is being held without bail this morning, charged in a bizarre plot to kidnap, rape and torture women, then cook them and eat them. 28-year-old Gilberto Valle is accused of accessing a national crime database to locate potential victims. Federal prosecutors say the six-year NYPD veteran used his patrol car to spy on women he was targeting. He's also accused of e-mailing with alleged co-conspirators.

SAMBOLIN: A death row inmate in Ohio who says he's to fat to be executed has lost a round in his battle. Ron Post weighs about 400 pounds. His lawyers say he's closer to 480 pounds. A warden says he puts 540 pounds of weights on an execution table for two hours and the table held up just fine. Post is scheduled to die by lethal injection in January.

BERMAN: 34 minutes after the hour and the San Francisco Giants are halfway home. They beat the Tigers last night 2-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series. And the game may have been decided in the second inning here. Detroit's Prince Fielder, you see him rounding third there, he was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double. This guy is not very fast. That may have been a bad move. The Tigers manage just one hit the rest of the way. Game three Saturday at Comerica Park in Detroit.

SAMBOLIN: Who predicted this?

BERMAN: Not a lot of people. Tigers were favored here.

SAMBOLIN: Seven different polls from across the country all adding up to the same thing: a race for the White House that is simply too close to call. And you know there's only a little over a week left. We're going to take a closer look, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. 38 minutes past the hour. Just 11 days to Election Day and CNN's latest poll of polls shows the candidates locked in a dead heat. Mitt Romney has a one point lead over President Obama, in an average of seven surveys across the country.

BERMAN: And some brand new battleground state polls showing pretty much just the same. A survey from NBC/Marist/"The Wall Street Journal" showing the candidates tied at 48 in Colorado. The president three points ahead of Romney in Nevada but in Virginia, Fox News says that Mitt Romney is on top by two points. Now, all these polls are within the three-point margin of error so pretty much tied in three of the biggest swing states in the country.

SAMBOLIN: And joining us now are CNN political contributor, Margaret Hoover, and former senior adviser to President Clinton and NewYork.com writer, Richard Socarides. An extremely close race. We're looking at the polls. Is there anything that could possibly happen, do you think, that could affect the outcome here now, or it just going to come down to the wire?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Look, you could begin to conceivably -- I will couch this by saying I'm the Republican here and I'm the one supporting Mitt Romney -- but you could see the trend lines continue to increase for Mitt Romney because that is what has been happening. All the pollsters say don't look at the snapshot of the polls, look at the trend lines. And the trend lines have been increasing for Governor Romney.

However, my Democratic opponent will tell you the other side of that coin.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: Actually, I think the smartest thinkers on this suggest that the trend lines are now in favor of President Obama. I mean, we could argue back and forth about this. The truth is, it's a very close election. We always knew it was going to be close, down to the wire. The country is divided on a lot of issues. And thank god we only have 11 days left.

BERMAN: Can I be an independent arbiter here? There are pollsters on both sides that say it's flat right now, that it has settled, that it's not trending one way or the other, that it's settled right in at pretty much tied. So that's what a lot of people are saying on both sides.

HOOVER: I'll make a couple of predictions. First of all, you showed Colorado, Nevada. With Nevada, you have some really nteresting dynamics there, hit very terribly by the housing market. The Democrats over the last four years have taken a lot of effort to register Hispanic voters. So I am not surprised as a Republican to see Nevada going in Obama's direction.

On the flip side --

SOCARIDES: So we've got Nevada. That's good. Margaret is giving us Nevada.

HOOVER: I do think there's a chance you could get Nevada. On the flip side, I don't think you're going to get Virginia. And Colorado, my home state, is a pure toss-up. What generally ends up happening in Colorado, it's a purple state. But in the last few days, it's these independent women and suburban women voters that end up tipping the scale. So if something happened like another Richard Mourdock or another Todd Akin, that could tip the scales in the direction of President Obama. Vice versa, if it stays on the economy, Romney could get it. BERMAN: Well, since you brought up women, let's talk about women. Because there was a video overnight that the Obama campaign put out that is causing some waves, mostly with conservatives. They're the ones upset about it. It stars Lena Dunham, who I know you all know is the star and creator of the HBO hit series, "Girls". And it talks about voting. Let's watch this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DUNHAM: Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful -- someone who really cares about and understands women. A guy who cares whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge. My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman. I went to the polling station and pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So there are a lot of conservatives -- our friend Erick Erickson last night really up in arms, thought this went too far, comparing voting for the first time to the other first time. Margaret, what do you make of this? Too far?

HOOVER: Well, there's so many analogies one could use to extrapolate this. I mean, he said the nice things to you the first time, too, and what's happened over the last four years? Has he treated you really well?

SOCARIDES: Oh Margaret is very quick this morning. Listen, I think it's clever. It's cute. It's a little edgy. But obviously it's aimed at young people and I think it's all in good humor.

HOOVER: No, no. Of course, conservatives, especially social conservatives, are going to say this is deeply inappropriate.

SOCARIDES: Conservatives, take a joke. Get a life. Take a joke.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: OK. Let's move on here. We have on other thing that we want to play here, President Obama picking up a big endorsement yesterday from Secretary of State Colin Powell. So let's listen to this and then we'll talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'm not angry about it. I just wish he wouldn't call himself a Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOCARIDES: I love that.

BERMAN: That was John McCain. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNUNU: Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": What reason would that be?

SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being President of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: So that's what's making news today, is the reaction from Romney adviser John Sununu.

SOCARIDES: Can I just say this? You asked at the beginning of the segment, what could happen? And it's stuff like this that could happen.

SAMBOLIN: Anything major.

SOCARIDES: I mean, I think that Republicans feel like they're so close, but they're kind of tripping over each other. And people are saying, you know, kind of things that are a little bit over the line. I mean, I think that clearly Senator McCain is angry that Colin Powell didn't endorse him four years ago. I think Mr. Sununu, who likes to make news by saying provocative things. But we see these comments about rape and women's rights and those are going to make big news.

BERMAN: Let's focus on Sununu though.

HOOVER: We will focus on Sununu but the other thing is, when you're saying these little things that are happening, I mean keep in mind, the president also called Mitt Romney a BSer yesterday, too. So all these little things --

SOCARIDES: In "Rolling Stone".

HOOVER: Who cares? It's totally unpresidential.

SOCARIDES: Well, actually, he didn't actually say that. He referred generically to an opponent.

HOOVER: The point is, if you're saying these little things are going to tip the balance of the race, they're happening on both sides. In terms of Sununu, look, that is a very unfortunate comment. In terms of President Obama's endorsement from Colin Powell, I think it made a really big difference four years ago. There are a lot of independents and, frankly, Republicans who ended up voting for President Obama, Senator Obama into being president, who were swayed and influenced by that. I think now, four years later, a lot of those independents who ended up voting for President Obama may not vote for him again because of conditions that have absolutely nothing to do - have to do with the economy and nothing to do with Colin Powell's opinion.

BERMAN: All right. Margaret Hoover, Richard Socarides, always great to have you here. Always a great discussion.

And coming up, we're going to go to Margaret's home state, she just mentioned it, Colorado, for some Rocky Mountain high. We're on the ground as both candidates hope to carry that key swing state in order to reach the top of the political mountain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. 48 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up- to-date.

Hurricane Sandy killing 21 people in the Caribbean, and setting its sights on the East Coast of the United States. That storm slamming the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, flattening homes, flooding a lot of roads. Everyone from New England to Virginia now being warned to prepare because Sandy could combine with a winter storm and reach the East Coast as a devastating super storm. This could happen early next week.

BERMAN: Star Wars is almost here. It really seems that way. The Navy says it's two years away from arming warships with lasers that can zap incoming missiles and fighter jets. And tapping is cheap, apparently. A shot from a laser reportedly costs less than $1. Firing one intercepter missile can cost more than $1 million.

All right, going back to politics now. Colorado and its nine electoral votes, crucial to both the Obama campaign and Romney campaign. It's one of eight swing states that could really decide the outcome of this election.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is going to extremes to take the pulse of Colorado voters. This morning, he is in Golden, Colorado, which many of us know is the home of the Coors brewery, located in Jefferson County. Miguel, I can't wait to see what you have for us this morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So I did not go into the Coors brewing company, unfortunately. It's right down the street from us. But we are in Jefferson County. This is the fourth most populous county in the state. There's a new poll yesterday, overnight, "Wall Street Journal"/NBC/Marist poll showing Colorado all locked up. That's where it's been for a long time. So we came here to find out why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Here we are, Rocky Mountain high in Golden, Colorado. This is Jefferson County. It's one of the most competitive counties in this state. Both campaigns are working this county very hard. It's because as little as 20,000 or 30,000 votes across the entire state of Colorado could paint this state red or blue.

(voice-over): That's as little as 1 percent of the overall votes statewide.

(on camera): This is always the scariest bit of this, isn't it?

SPENCER HENNIGAN, APEX EX ADVENTURE TRIPS: The first step is always the hardest.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Spencer Hennigan has run Apex EX Adventure Trips for two years.

(on camera): So this is the office?

HENNIGAN: True, true.

MARQUEZ: Not a bad office.

HENNIGAN: I like it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Business has grown. Starting with four guides, he now has 20. This year the company's biggest, 3,000 trips, everything from rappelling to back country skiing.

HENNIGAN: It's a lot of hard work.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The business expanded, he says, by keeping prices low and taking advantage of Coloradoans staying close to home.

(on camera): What do you hope for the next four years?

HENNIGAN: The more people that we can raise the bar for equal pay, the more that we can feel inclusion in this state.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): While some have weathered the recession well, Colorado continues to struggle. The unemployment rate across the state about 8 percent. Here in Jefferson County, it's about 7.4 percent, just a little better.

(on camera): This is the new restaurant.

LORENZO NUNEZ, EL CHINGON RESTAURANT: This is it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Nunez family, all ten of them, pitching in on a new venture, a family restaurant. The restaurant's draw: authentic cuisine prepared by Gloria Nunez, who moved here from Mexico City when she was 21.

(on camera): How many recipes are in your head?

GLORIA NUNEZ, EL CHINGON RESTAURANT: I don't know. I can never count them.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Now at 74 she is known as abuelita -- grandma.

(on camera): What do you hope to see in the next few years?

NUNEZ: Well, I think one of the most important things is the economy to go up a little. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Now, the restaurant is run out of a strip mall. Soon a new building, liquor license and as many as 15 new employees. But this family is still agonizing over which candidate is best for the future.

(on camera): What makes this area so competitive?

L. NUNEZ: As you consider the numbers in terms of how the Hispanic population is growing not only here but across the country, we have an important voice.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Latinos, business owners and newer residents ready to deliver Colorado's crucial nine electoral votes. They could decide who takes the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now early voting started here in Colorado this past Monday. So far, just a slight number of more Republicans have returned those ballots than Democrats. The thing about Colorado, the thing about Jefferson County, it's evenly split. About a third Republicans, a third Democrats and a bit more independents in this state. And that's where the big fight is between these two candidates. It's always come down to the wire here and it looks like it's going to be that way until Election Day.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: All right, Miguel Marquez, can't wait to see what you have in store next. Always great to see you.

SAMBOLIN: Remember this movie?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Barbarian. Warrior. Thief. Conan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: It's coming back. Or at least that's what Arnold Schwarzenegger says. We'll explain after this quick break.

BERMAN: Oh, my.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: 57 minutes after the hour now. John Berman here along with Zoraida Sambolin. Taking a look at what is the CNN trend, the top CNN trends this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to reprise the role that launched him from bodybuilder to movie star. He will play Conan the Barbarian in "The Legend of Conan". Even though the star is attached, the new Conan sequel has no director and it also has no writer. There's talk of a possible release in the summer of 2014, however.

BERMAN: From Conan the Barbarian to Conan the septuagenarian.

A University of Arkansas freshman who had her left leg amputated before her first birthday is now showing off her skills as a college cheerleader. Patience Beard cheers for the school's spirit squad. She does it with impeccable moves and zebra print prosthetic leg. The Razorbacks cheer director says Patience earned her spot on the squad with her talent and she gets no special treatment. Great.

SAMBOLIN: And with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by "Jimmy Kimmel Live".

BERMAN: There wasn't many presidential punchlines. They mostly talked about their kids, especially First Daughters, Sasha and Malia, and whether they can trick or treat incognito.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Can you trick or treat?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, yes. They trick or treat. They trick or treat every year. Halloween, we do a couple things. We host thousands of kids from area schools.

KIMMEL: Right.

OBAMA; Who come to the North Portico and trick or treat.

KIMMEL: And you force vegetables down their throats?

OBAMA: No, we don't.

KIMMEL: So I've heard it's the worst party ever.

OBAMA: There are times of the year when candy is good and Halloween is one of those times. So they get their stuff and some cookies.

KIMMEL: Your kids, when they get candy, does the Secret Service guys like eat half of every one of them to make sure they're okay?

OBAMA: No, because as long as nobody knows it's them, which usually they don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. EARLY START continues right now.