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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

North Korea Readies Missiles; On the Set of "Mad Men"; Maryland Overhauls Gun Laws

Aired April 5, 2013 - 06:30   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for Zoraida today. It is Friday -- Friday, April 5th. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

This morning, tensions escalating on the Korean peninsula. Right now, South Korea's news agency reports two missiles are being hidden at an undisclosed facility on North Korea's east coast.

A U.S. official with knowledge of what's going on tells CNN the missile and launch components have been transferred over the last few days. They could have a range of 2,500 miles. That could pose a direct threat to South Korea and Japan, along with U.S. bases on Guam.

CNN's Jim Clancy has the very latest from Seoul, South Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: U.S. and South Korean military sources are firm. They believe that North Korea is planning a test missile firing.

Speculation in the media suggests this may be a Musudan missile, one that was developed with Russian help by the North Koreans and has a range between 3,000 and 4,000 kilometers. Now, that's significant, because it would put not only South Korea but Japan and U.S. air and naval bases on Guam at risk.

But no one thinks that North Korea is planning attack any of those targets. This is more likely a test to provoke Pyongyang's foes.

Here's what Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, had to say. "When you have a country that is making the kinds of bellicose threats that they are making, and taking the steps that they are taking, and when you have allies and treaty commitments, you have to take it seriously. There is no other choice," she said.

And so, the U.S. already has ships in the region including a radar platform. South Korea is said to be moving its own spy ships into the waters off the Korean peninsula to monitor any developments.

Now, it may also be an opportunity for the North Koreans to show off their military, their ballistic military technology. It is precisely this kind of technology that they sell to Iran and other countries to earn export income.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: New this morning the death toll rising in a building collapse India. At least 35 people have been killed, 69 injured. Rescuers are still searching through the rubble there.

Police say the building in a neighborhood near Mumbai was under construction. They say the first four floors were illegally occupied. Five children were among those pulled to safety after the cave-in.

ROMANS: Gunfire and bloodshed inside police headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. A homicide detective as the murder suspect he was questioning both dead following an apparent altercation. The slain detective has been identified as Eric Smith, a husband and father of two teenage sons. It's just not clear yet if the gun used in that shooting belonged to him.

BERMAN: An arrest to tell you about in the killing at Fort Knox. A combat soldier is in custody and charged with murder. The FBI says Marquinta Jacobs shot and killed a worker in a parking lot. He was arrested yesterday in Tennessee where his mother lives.

Authorities think the killing was not random. They think Jacobs had some kind of disagreement with the victim.

ROMANS: We know that children with a full stomach learn better. That's standard in education. But outrage this morning over students who were denied their lunch.

Officials at a middle school in Massachusetts under fire after students with negative balances on their prepaid lunch cards were told to go hungry. About 25 kids left the lunch room hungry after cafeteria employees ordered them to throw out their lunches after discovering the kids couldn't pay for them. School officials and the company that operates the cafeteria blame lunch room workers for making the call.

This frustrated mom owed just $1 on her son's card.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JO-AN BLANCHARD, PARENT: It's bullying. That's neglect, child abuse. He was mortified. All his friends were staring at him, because he couldn't have a lunch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Students are supposed to receive a grilled cheese sandwich along with some fruit, vegetables and milk when their lunch card dips into the red. In this case, they were told to throw the food out in the trash can and they would leave hungry.

BERMAN: Yes, probably a poor decision. One they're reviewing right now, no doubt.

Thirty-four minutes after the hour.

The first lady may have a few questions for the president this morning. Frankly a lot of people do. At a fundraiser in California yesterday, the commander in chief had plenty of praise for state attorney general, Kamala Harris. He called her dedicated, tough, brilliant -- and this -- by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.

The president is taking a lot of heat for that remark. One blogger suggesting he needs gender sensitivity training.

ROMANS: My question is if it were Joe Biden the vice president who said it, would we say oh, that's another Bidenism?

BERMAN: It's an interesting way of putting it. A lot of people said what if a Republican said that, there would be outrage. When you say, what if Joe Biden said it? There's a lot of different ways to look at this for sure.

ROMANS: It is out of character for the president. He usually doesn't say something like that.

All right. One of the best shows on television, "Mad Men," what an appropriate --

BERMAN: Speaking about gender sensitivity.

ROMANS: What an appropriate next story. OK, so "Mad Men" returns Sunday night.

BERMAN: It's the last season, isn't it?

ROMANS: I think there's one more after this. OK, and before season six kicks off, CNN's Jake Tapper sat down on the set.

BERMAN: And the show's creative genius.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you alone?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a long ten months since we left Don Draper at the bar.

But this Sunday, millions will return to the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce for the season's sixth premiere of "Mad Men" on AMC. The series creator, Matthew Weiner, invited us to come early.

(on camera): So this is going to be the second to the last season.

MATTHEW WEINER, "MAD MEN" CREATOR: Yes.

TAPPER: It's going well? There doesn't seem to be any compelling reason to end it any time soon, for me.

WEINER: I feel like, you know, first of all it's exhausting. I need a break, but the reality of it is that the show has a life span. It is mortal. And you really want to end it before you have exceeded the ability to tell the story.

TAPPER (voice-over): Heavy drinking, heavy petting, and heavy drama have kept viewers tuned in to a bygone era of boy's club.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, girls, come on in.

TAPPER: How worried or concerned or aware are you when you're writing for your women characters about them not just being Joan and Megan and Peggy, but them being symbolic of women in general?

WEINER: That's a really good question. I don't want the characters to ever be symbolic, in general.

Did women have it harder? Yes. There were women pioneers? Yes. Were there exceptions to every rule? Yes. How does someone succeed in that world?

I think the show resonates because things are not that different. I don't want to give a history lesson. I want people to know that these people could be their mother.

TAPPER (voice-over): But the dark heart of mad men is mysterious, womanizing, ad man Don Draper.

(on camera): Is he alone? Is Don Draper alone? Is this what the show is about?

WEINER: I think it's a big part of his life, yeah. And the ambiguity of that statement, after we've seen this man having found love, and being left alone, I think, you know, there's -- there's an existential quality to him as a hero.

TAPPER: I don't even know how Don Draper dies, but if the show is about this existential question, am I alone? Can I ever be happy? Those questions, there needs to be like a hint at the end about --

WEINER: I am going to try to use the machinery of my show to give a satisfying ending.

TAPPER: Of course we can't talk about the new season of "Mad Men" without mentioning the worst kept secret in town, part of the new season will include scenes shot in Hawaii featuring actors Jon Hamm and Jessica Pare. Let the speculation begins.

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: I didn't think it was possible. But now I am even more excited for "Mad Men."

ROMANS: I know. I sat and watched a whole season straight one time on a business trip. It was really, really decadent.

BERMAN: I'm going to watch Sunday night. If I'm a basket case here Monday morning, you know why.

All right. In other exciting television news get the water ready. We know when "Arrested Development" will hit Netflix. And there's an extra treat for fans, a bonus episode.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it together, buster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, the Bluths will be back with not 14, but 15, count them, 15, episodes. Netflix says it will release all 15 on May 26th, over memorial weekend. This cult show aired for three seasons on FOX.

The new episodes are supposed to be a prequel to an upcoming "Arrested Development" movie.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, it's never been seen in people before until now: death from a strain of bird flu still rising this morning. Now, China is taking action. That's coming up.

BERMAN: Plus outrage this morning over a gray dress that has some target shoppers seeing red. This is really interesting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back. Forty-two minutes after the hour right now.

If you haven't had enough of us already, coming up later this morning on "STARTING POINT" --

ROMANS: I have enough of you already --

BERMAN: That would be true.

North Korea moves a second missile into position, putting the international community on edge. Are they preparing to launch a test or possibly worse? We're going to talk with the Ambassador Nick Burns and Congressman Ed Royce.

ROMANS: And a second hiker who's been missing for five days she's finally found. We're going to talk to the heroes who found this young woman clinging to the side of a mountain. They lifted her to safety.

BERMAN: Plus, the Winter Olympics just one year away. We're going to get a preview with five of the U.S. Olympians. They'll be here talking to us live.

ROMANS: And Nick Cannon, he's going to drop by. He's helping lead the way to end slavery around the world. He's going to join us live with his work for the End It Movement. Look forward to meeting him.

BERMAN: Fantastic show straight ahead. Meanwhile, spring showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for today. Let's get an update on your weather with Jennifer Delgado.

Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, guys.

It seems like we've been talking about rain all week long and still on the radar. We are still tracking showers and thunderstorms right now through southern parts of Florida. You could see a lot of lightning has been associated with that from Key West, Miami, all the way over to areas including Fort Myers.

Now yes, it's going to be raining today. If you're going to be in Florida, the same for northern parts, including Jacksonville. Even into areas like Georgia, into Alabama, showers and thunderstorms, but they will start to taper off except for Florida. You're going to be sticking around with those showers as we go through the afternoon.

Now, across the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic areas, like Maryland, as well as into Dover, they're looking at showers and thunderstorms, getting hammered. That will move through New York, but we're just talking light showers for you. It's not going to be washouts. And then about 2:00, the skies are going to start to clear out and sunshine for areas including the Southwest.

I want to point out to you a problem spot for areas including New Mexico and Texas, we do have a fire threat and that means we're going to be looking at wind gusts roughly right around 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Now, for temperatures, as we go through the next three days, we are going to start to warm up especially out towards the West. But Christine and John, we are going to be changing the jet stream. By next week, you're going to see temperatures in parts of the east running 15 degrees above average, while the West will be suffering with temperatures below average, roughly about 15 degrees with a chance of snow for parts of Colorado.

We'll send it back over to you two.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Jennifer.

ROMANS: Chinese authorities this morning closing down poultry markets in Shanghai and they're slaughtering birds because of a growing concern over H7N9, also known as bird flu.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): Scientists say this strain has not appeared in humans until now, and it has left six people dead in Eastern China, so far. Researchers in the U.S. working now very quickly on a vaccine.

BERMAN (voice-over): Maryland lawmakers passing a sweeping overhaul of the state's gun laws last night. Maryland's governor has promised to sign this measure which bans assault-style weapons, requires gun buyers to be fingerprinted, and puts a 10-bullet limit on magazines. Opponents had threatened to petition the bill and put it on a ballot for voters to decide.

ROMANS: The U.S. commander in charge of the Horn of Africa, there he is, he's out of a job. The defense official in Washington says Major General Ralph Baker (ph) was fired late last month. There are reports circulating it had to do with alcohol and sexual misconduct. Baker is appealing.

BERMAN: So, slip of the tongue by the first lady is causing something of a buzz this morning. Michelle Obama sitting down for an interview with a reporter from Burlington, Vermont. Listen to her discussing the struggle many parents face in balancing work and home life when she sort of misspeaks here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Busy, single mother or I should say single, as a busy mother, sometimes it, you know, when you've got a husband who's president, it can feel single. But he's there. But as a busy working mom, and before coming to the White House, I was in that position, you know, as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): Busy single mother. So, both Obamas having some explaining to do over comments they made over the last 24 hours.

ROMANS (on-camera): I think both Obamas have been very busy talking -- I mean, you can see maybe after she said it she was thinking, OK, now, how do I walk this back?

All right. Target, meanwhile, speaking of walking back, Target is apologizing to offended shoppers over the color of a plus-size dress. Shopper, Susan Clements (ph), noticed a kimono dress was listed on Target's website as dark heather gray for smaller sizes. The color of the same dress, but the plus-size version, was manatee gray.

Clements (ph) tweeted saying -- she tweeted to Target saying, "What the -- plus-size women get manatee gray while standard sizes are dark heather gray?" Target says the two versions of the dress are from different merchants. They also say the color manatee gray is a common color used in a number of the products on its websites. Still, Target has taken the dress off of its --

BERMAN: I was shocked when I first read that, because I didn't even know manatee gray was a color.

ROMANS: Manatee gray.

BERMAN: But it apparently is.

Forty-seven minutes after the hour right now. So, who knew there was a lighter side to breaking your leg on national television? Coming up, Louisville's Kevin Ware takes on David Letterman. It is awesome.

ROMANS: Plus, Prince William gets the Heisman (ph) stiff-arm as he moves in for a kiss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Final four, almost here. The talk of the tournament, so far, has been Louisville's Kevin Ware. And last night, he made his "late night" TV debut.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes joins us now with more for today's "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Good morning, guys. After suffering that gruesome injury on Sunday, Ware has been an inspiration to his teammates and last night proved that he's also not a bad comedian as he presented the top ten on Letterman. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": The category, thoughts going through Kevin Ware's mind at this moment right here. Here we go. Number nine.

KEVIN WARE, INJURED LOUISVILLE GUARD: I hope this doesn't leave a bruise.

LETTERMAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: Number eight.

WARE: Hey, look, my tibia.

LETTERMAN: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: Number three.

WARE: They fired Leno?

LETTERMAN: And the number one thought going through Kevin Ware's mind at the moment of the broken leg?

WARE: At least my bracket is not busted.

LETTERMAN: That's right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHOLES: Ware will be on the bench tomorrow night when his Cardinals take on the Shockers. And as can you see, the court is ready to go over at the Georgia dome. And here's a look at what the schedule looks like for the final four. Louisville and Wichita State tip off at 6:09 eastern. That game is followed by Michigan and Syracuse. The winners from these two games will meet in the championship on Monday night.

The dark cloud surrounding Rutgers University doesn't seem like it's going to clear out any time soon. A day after Mike Rice was fired by the university, one of his top assistants, Jimmy Martelli (ph), resigned. Martelli had coached with Rice since their time together at Robert Morris and had earned the nickname "Baby Rice" for his similar coaching practices.

Yesterday, ESPN'S "Outside the Lines" aired video of Martelli using homophobic slurs and throwing balls at players. Now, athletic director, Tim Pernetti, and president, Robert Barchi, they remain employed by the university despite many members of the faculty signing letting calling for their dismissals.

Finally, it may only be the first week of the season, but fans out of the ballparks are in midseason form. Check out this catch in Oakland last night. This ball ripped foul into the stands. This fan makes a one-handed catch while managing to still hold onto his beer and not spill any of it. What a catch by that guy. What concentration. And guys, you know, we've already seen fans fleeing in the stands when balls are headed this way.

This guy didn't even flinch, just reached one hand out, grabbed it, still held onto that beer. You know, that's the way you get it done.

BERMAN: With his priorities in check.

ROMANS: Look, you don't want to miss a game to wait in line. An ounce per ounce that beer is the most expensive thing at the baseball game, isn't it?

BERMAN: And take a big sip right after that. All right. Andy Scholes, our thanks to you.

ROMANS: All right. A robber in Arizona probably wishing he'd stopped at just one drugstore, but he got a little greedy. Phoenix police say the suspect pulled a gun at one pharmacy and got away with OxyContin pills. About two hours later, he's at another drug store doing the same thing, but this time, an employee points a gun at him.

The thief runs out empty handed. About half an hour later, he's at a third location. He gets his pills and is out when two citizens with guns order him to the ground. They took his weapon and held him until police arrived.

BERMAN: Wow!

So, how many grown men does it take to catch a 400 pound alligator? In this case, it was five. A ten footer made an appearance near an apartment complex in Gulf Port, Mississippi. We can't blame the trapper for not tackling. Wow! Check that out. That guy is just huge. Good thing to get help.

ROMANS: A lot of help. And see the one taking the pictures, not actually --

BERMAN: All right. This is sort of my favorite story of the day. So, Prince William, you know, found his princess, Kate, but he may be losing his charm. William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, touring Scotland yesterday when they encountered a little four-year- old girl holding a single red flower. Watch what happens when the prince stops to greet her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: You want a kiss?

(CHANTING) Oh!

PRINCE WILLIAM: Oh, no! There you go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That is just a total complete rejection.

ROMANS: She's like, wait, wait, I thought it was going to be Harry.

BERMAN: Do you want a kiss? Not a chance. Right before that the prince asked the little girl if the flower she was holding was for him, and she pulled it away. Clearly, he didn't get the hint. She just doesn't like you, Prince William.

(LAUGHTER)

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

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "Starting Point" next right after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Breaking news this morning, North Korea asking Russia to consider removing its embassy personnel. Is it a sign it's preparing for attack? We are live in Seoul.

BERMAN: Then, a CNN exclusive. An emotional interview with the wife and daughter of Colorado's murdered prison chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the rest of my days, I could be angry that someone made a mistake, but it won't bring Tom back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: How they are coping with unimaginable grief?

ROMANS: And missing for days. A teenage hiker found clinging to the side of a cliff, screaming for help. We'll talk with the heroic rescuers who lifted her to safety.

BERMAN: Plus, two-point takedown at the airport. A passenger jumps into action when a woman attacks a TSA agent. Look at that.

It is Friday, Friday, April 5th, "STARTING POINT" begins right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BERMAN: And we do begin this morning with breaking news. Reuters reporting that North Korea has asked Russia to consider evacuating its embassy staff from Pyongyang. That, as CNN has confirmed that more missiles are on the move in that country. A U.S. official telling CNN that those missiles and their launch components were transferred in the last few days.

And with a range of about 2,500 miles, they could strike South Korea, Japan, and U.S. bases in Guam.

ROMANS: This comes along with escalating rhetoric from the north, which accuses the U.S. of pushing the region, quote, "to the brink."