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Sending a Message; "We Are Ready to Fully Cooperate"; DUI Confessor Back in Court; Moving to Mars?; Breast Cancer Breakthrough?

Aired September 11, 2013 - 05:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What kind of world would we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way?


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The high-stakes primetime speech as the Syrian crisis shifts by the minute. What changed overnight since the president made his latest case to the American people?


MATTHEW CORDLE: My name is Matthew Cordle. And on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: He confessed to the world that he killed a man while driving drunk. Now, this Ohio man is facing a judge.

BERMAN: And how about a ticket to Mars? One way?

SAMBOLIN: You're going?

BERMAN: Hundreds of thousands of signing up to be part of very first Martian colony. And if it sounds like a bad reality show? It is. Seriously.


BERMAN: And no, I'm not going. Thank you very much.

SAMBOLIN: I'd say, sign up, John Berman.

BERMAN: No, thank you.

SAMBOLIN: You can tweet us.

BERMAN: A live tweet by thousand miles -- million-mile trip to Mars.

SAMBOLIN: That would be fun. All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. We're glad you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman, on Earth today. It is Wednesday, September 11th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's start this morning with President Obama, sending a message to the American people and the Assad regime in Syria. Addressing the nation last night, the president laid out some of his case for military strikes against Syria, but also cautiously embraced a Russian plan to try diplomacy first.

Here's senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the East Room Tuesday night, President Obama told Americans why his administration is certain Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is responsible for a sarin gas attack the U.S. government says killed more than 1,400 civilians.

OBAMA: In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad's chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then, they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.

KEILAR: He made the case for a military response.

OBAMA: This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective.

And some members of Congress have said, there's no point in doing simply a pinprick strike in Syria. Let me make something clear: the United States military doesn't do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.

KEILAR: But facing a likely defeat in Congress to authorize a military strike --

OBAMA: However --

KEILAR: -- the president then argued against taking action, pointing to a new Russian brokered proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons.

OBAMA: I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.

KEILAR: It's an extraordinary turn of events. The policy of U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war began with one reportedly off-the- cuff remark President Obama made more than a year ago.

OBAMA: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.

KEILAR: And it has unexpectedly turn on what appears to be another.

REPORTER: Is there anything at this point that his government would do or offer that would stop an attack?

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Sure. He could turn over every single built of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. But he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously.

KEILAR: What one U.S. official initially called an off-message comment by Kerry. It bore the proposal that Russia that the president has yet to endorse.

OBAMA: It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed. And any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: Secretary of State John Kerry is set to travel to Geneva tomorrow to talk about all of this, the latest Syria proposal with the Russia's foreign minister.

But what about the Syrian regime itself? Can it really be trusted to turn over the chemical weapons? Officials there say they plan to go along with the proposal and signed to the international chemical weapons accord.

So, is this a capitulation or is this a stall tactic?

Nic Robertson following that part of the story for us from Beirut this morning.

Nic, what's the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Syrian state TV didn't take President Obama's speech live. What did they run was a ticker that said Obama asked for a delay in vote, allowing the Russian initiative and diplomacy to take over.

This is a country whose president just over the weekend said he couldn't confirm or deny whether or not they have chemical weapons. Now, the foreign minister is saying they're willing to open up those chemical weapon stockpiles to international analysts, international inspectors as well for the country to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention.


WALID AL-MAULLEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINSTER (through translator): I am authorized to reiterate our support for Russia's initiative regarding the Syrian chemical weapons, in compliance with the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons, and to reaffirm Syria's willingness to fully cooperate in implementing this initiative.


ROBERTSON: And, of course, a reality is there's a war going on in the country. Difficult to imagine how any inspectors could get into the country.

So, Syria really seems to be taking advantage of Russia's initiative here. But is it a stalling tactic? Certainly, the opposition thinks so. The Gulf countries that want to see Assad overthrown like Saudi Arabia think the killing is still going on, everyone is missing the point, the discussion about chemical weapons. Seventy-six people died in Syria yesterday. The world is missing the point.

That's what we're hearing from the Gulf countries, John.

BERMAN: And to turn officer the chemical weapons, Nic, it would take some kind of enormous in international presence inside Syria that doesn't yet exist, although that's part of these details that are yet to be worked out?

ROBERTSON: Well, absolutely. I mean, Syria has dozens, we're told, of chemical weapons stockpiles around the country. Some of them are in zones or close to zones where there is fighting. Look at the inspectors a few weeks ago, they were shot at when they went into one of those areas. You would need according to experts, multiple teams to be able to go multiple sites. They would need protection, you're talking about tens if not hundreds of thousands, including some diplomats, to get military boots on the ground to secure the inspections destruction teams going in.

And look what happened at Iraq with the weapons inspectors there. The narrative, of course, there weren't chemical weapons in Iraq. But, look, I was there when the weapons inspectors were going on at the sites.

The concern is when they go in the front door, what goes out the back door. They've inspected the site but who's there to secure the site? If the inspectors leave, what do the authorities do? Do they run the weapons off and hide them somewhere else?

So, it's a very, very difficult to get into to control such is a massive, undispersed stockpile of weapons, John.

BERMAN: And it may require even greater U.S. involvement, something that critics here may not be in favor of. Nic Robertson watching the situation for us this morning in Beirut -- thank you so much.

SAMBOLIN: That whole concept of boots on the ground that nobody wants, right?

All right. So, breaking overnight an explosion in Benghazi, Libya, outside a foreign ministry building on one of the city's main streets. Take a look at that. That blast happening a year after a deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. That attack left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead.

It's unclear at this hour if anyone was killed or hurt in that explosion.

BERMAN: While this is happening, a new report claims that extremist groups including Ansar al-Sharia took part in that attack in the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, one year ago today. "The Washington Post" cites counterterrorism officials who believe terrorist groups targeted the consulate in advance of the attacks. They say numerous suspects involved in the Benghazi attack have been identified and several sealed indictments have been issued in recent months.

SAMBOLIN: Well, it is September 11th, and that means solemn ceremonies across the country to mark the 12th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the downing of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

We have a live picture from the World Trade Center site. The 9/11 Memorial, many will pause there, and at the Pentagon and Shanksville to remember the dead, and to remember all of the heroes.

The World Trade Center site looks very different today than it did after the attack. This time lapse video shows construction of the new One World Trade Center rising 104 stories and almost complete. It is expected to open next year.

BERMAN: They will shine those lights.

SAMBOLIN: I was just over at the area. The museum is also expected to open next year as well.

BERMAN: It's amazing the work they've done at that site. Amazing, 12 years.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: The White House easing sanctions against Iran for the second time this year. Restraints on humanitarian services, goodwill activities and athletic exchanges all relaxed. The Obama administration is calling it a reflection of America's commitment to reinforcing ties between the two countries, and also, it might very well has something to do with the election of the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who's indicated he wants much more outreach to the West.

SAMBOLIN: Once secret records released by the Obama administration show the NSA routine avoided court procedures by tracking thousands of phone calls during a three-year period without first determining if the calls could be connected to terrorists. An NSA official tells "The New York Times." no one at the agency had a full understanding of how the tracking program actually operated.

SAMBOLIN: Also breaking news this morning from the tropics.

Indra Petersons is here.

Good morning to you.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. I'm looking at John's face, what?

BERMAN: You do have breaking news, wow. Tell me. What's going on?

PETERSONS: We do. We have our first hurricane.


PETERSONS: We were so close to breaking the record for the latest hurricane possible. That was Gustav in 2002. It formed at 8:00 in the morning today. Now, unfortunately, if you're trying to go and beat the record, three hours early, we now have our first hurricane -- 75-mile-per-hour winds for Humberto. You can see currently moving to the north-northwest at eight miles an hour.

It's far out. I mean, it's way out into the Atlantic. Take a look at the cone here. Still expected to hold on for a little bit longer, but eventually starts turning in towards the West, but weakening as it goes into cooler waters and seeing more wind shear out there. Two things are not good for hurricanes which we do not like hurricanes.

The other thing we're watching, though, keep in mind, as that Gabrielle actually reforms, we have a tropical storm out there. And now, look at the path here. It's actually expected, maybe bringing some heavy rain into Nova Scotia, but not before dumping heavy rain into Bermuda today. A couple into the rain in that area, and, of course, some high as well in the region throughout the day today.

Other big story, the heat. I mean, look at the morning temperatures, not the afternoon highs. We want to see how above normal we're expected to be today. Just take a look -- Pittsburgh, 11 degrees above normal. D.C. today, 95 degrees, 14 above normal. Things are some cold fronts kicking through. Things are always changing here, nothing lasts very long.

SAMBOLIN: Good thing you're here.

BERMAN: Dragging herself out of the sick bed to bring us the breaking weather news.

SAMBOLIN: We really appreciate it.

BERMAN: Thank you for coming. Appreciate it, Indra.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, here's a question this morning, would you want to live out the rest of your life on Mars?


SAMBOLIN: More than 200,000 people worldwide now say yes, sign me up. They have submitted their video applications to be part of the Mars One project. Just under 50,000 of those folks are from the United States.

A committee will whittle down the list when all is said and done, only a few dozen will be chosen to take part in the rigorous training that eventually will have them blasting off for Mars in 2023. And they never return back to Earth.

The organizers say they may pay for it with a reality show.

BERMAN: I don't want to editorialize here, but I think this is a load of -- you know, you fill in the blanks here. I don't think anyone's going to Mars. Sign you 200,000 people.

SAMBOLIN: But it's so much fun to talk about, isn't it? They're going to do a reality show. They're going to raise a ton of money. What are they going to do with all that money?

BERMAN: Absolutely nothing. I mean, they're not going to Mars.

Good luck with your endeavor, though. Really, I mean it. Not to editorialize, to be completely objective. I hope it works out for you -- but it's not going to.

Coming up, his deadly drunk driving confession went viral. But now, this Ohio man must explain himself to a judge.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm really excited about this. It's a possible breakthrough treatment for women in the earliest stages of breast cancer. We have all the details coming up for you coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 16 minutes past the hour.

Sentencing today for four men convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi. A rape that led to her death.

Many are calling for the men to be hanged, including the prosecutor who called the attack diabolical. But the defense argued for leniency saying each of the men's roles in the attack should be taken into account. The court won't announce the sentence until Friday. That rape led to the protests around India and tougher prosecutions of those accused of sexual abuse.

BERMAN: Another court appearance is set today for an Ohio man who admits that he drove drunk. He wants to plead guilty to killing a man while he was behind the wheel. Today, he may get his wish.

Pamela Brown explains.


CORDLE: I killed a man.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Matthew Cordle's YouTube video confession where he admits to killing 61-year-old Vincent Canzani in a drunk driving accident has gone viral, viewed more than 1 million times. But his first court appearance didn't go exactly as planned.

JUDGE JULIE LYNCH, FRANKLIN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS: I'm sorry you all came. I'm sorry you all came to this whole big thing. But this is -- there's nothing unusual. There's no reason to be arraigned here today.

BROWN: Had Cordle pleaded guilty, everything might have gone differently. But Judge Julie Lynch said she was thrown for a loop when he changed his plea from guilty to not guilty.

LYNCH: We're not going to take an arraignment. Have somebody run downstairs and pick a new judge so that he gets a sentence from another judge.

BROWN: She says Cordle doesn't deserve special treatment. He should come back on a regularly scheduled day for arraignment.

Cordle was officially charged with aggravated vehicle homicide and driving under the influence, just before he turned himself in Monday.

(on camera): Had not gone at all this attention on (INAUDIBLE) video, would you still request an for the arraignment today?

MARTIN MIDIAN, MATTHEW CORDLE'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Had that not happened, the circumstances would have been far different.

BROWN: But you said you didn't want to give him special treatment. So, why did you want to expedite the process today?

MIDIAN: For the victim's family. They want closure.

BROWN (on camera): Cordle's attorney says his client has not spoken to Canzani's family but wants to apologize to them in person. Meantime, Cordle is expected to enter a not guilty plea Wednesday and then plead guilty once a sentencing judge is assigned to his case.

Pamela Brown, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.


BERMAN: Police now say they're confident they would be able to retrieve video of an alleged altercation between George Zimmerman, his estranged wife and her father. They're going to get that from a smashed iPad, and saying that evidence will help them decide if charges should be filed and who will face those charges. They also released dash cam video of Zimmerman taken into custody. This has happened two months after Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

SAMBOLIN: A potentially ground breaking breast cancer treatment may be on the horizon. An FDA memo is endorsing drug Perjeta, based on trial data. Drugmaker Roche wants the FDA to approve expanding Perjeta's use, including right after women are diagnosed in order to shrink the tumors before they have surgery. If the FDA's cancer drug advisory committee approves Roche's proposal tomorrow, Perjeta would be the first drug ever approved to treat breast cancer before there is surgery. This shows really promising results. They started with late-stage cancer. It was so promising that for the first time ever, they're saying to move this drug through because it is so groundbreaking. And hopefully, it will help women with early stages of breast cancer, so they can actually wipe it out.

BERMAN: You think it's a very exciting development?

SAMBOLIN: I do, I do. You know, you always wonder when a drug comes on the market that quickly. It shows really good signs in late-stage cancer. So, I'm really excited about this and hopeful.

BERMAN: Coming up, the new iPhone revealed, but could it be enough to help Apple get back on top? "Money Time" and the "Money Time" dance is next.


BERMAN: "Money Time" dance.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, look at that. It makes Christine (INAUDIBLE) a little bit.


SAMBOLIN: I like this one.

BERMAN: Hey, welcome back, everyone. It is EARLY START you're watching right here.

SAMBOLIN: "Money Time".

BERMAN: It's "Money Time" with the "Money Time" dance.

Christine Romans is here.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We're dancing because stocks had a great day again yesterday. You know, an impressive performance for the Dow yesterday.

Stocks is mixed this morning, but it was a good day for the Dow. The blue chips finishing with a gain of what, 128 points? The other markets also closing higher. The Dow, you guys, now less than 3 percent from its high set in early August.

Now, listen, Apple, finally, holding the bell back, right, on two new iPhones Tuesday. The markets weren't really impressed. Apple's stock fell 3.3 percent. They close just below $500.

We see that usually. We see a big run in anticipation, and then shareholders finally sell off. Who cares about shareholders? Let's talk about people who have the iPhone, right?

BERMAN: Yes. ROMANS: Much of the news about the Apple 5S. So, no surprises. It did have that fingerprint sensor that would make passwords passe. That's exciting.

SAMBOLIN: That's cool.

ROMANS: The plastic iPhone 5C, no surprises on that. Look at those colors. Also, it's going to cost customers up in China more than 700 bucks up front.

China, China, China, that's a big important market right now for Apple. That's important for shareholders. The wireless carriers in China don't offer subsidies for the first purchases like we do here. The other particulars, there's still no deal yet with China Mobile. China Mobile has 750 million subscribers, it's seven times larger than America's biggest carrier Verizon.

SAMBOLIN: They can have Berman's old phone.

ROMANS: How old is yours, two years?

BERMAN: Two and a half, almost three.

ROMANS: It's so interesting because they're not going to -- you know how -- so, they used to offer a cheaper cost for the original version, this 5C is going to replace that. It's going to replace that 5. Is that a 4?

BERMAN: This is a 4, early generation 4.

SAMBOLIN: The buttons are not working.

BERMAN: I'm going 5S. I've been saving up for this.

SAMBOLIN: There's also a trade-in program. Walmart has a big trade- in program. You can go online for a lot of different trade in programs. So, shop wisely. Is that from work?

BERMAN: No, my personal. This is --

SAMBOLIN: But he did say if you could offer any advice to Apple he would like to see the phones be more sexier.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, the fingerprints are OK, but I can wish there are holograms, dancing --

ROMANS: Some people are complaining they're not going to have the slick black, that like slick black that you have will not be there, you're going to be able to get gray, slate gray, gold or silver. So --

BERMAN: I haven't decided. Please, tweet us, help me choose what color to get.

SAMBOLIN: Get a good color, the makeup actually on the white one is a problem. (CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that's a problem.

BERMAN: Job hazard.

ROMANS: So, we want to know what you think about it, tweet us and let us know. But that's Apple --

SAMBOLIN: We told you.

BERMAN: Please, let us know. Fantastic. Thanks, Christine.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Twenty-six minutes past the hour.

Coming up, President Obama agreeing to a diplomatic deal with Russia that could avert an air strike in Syria.

BERMAN: Jill Dougherty live in Moscow with more on the unlikely partnership. That comes up after the break.



OBAMA: This initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies.


SAMBOLIN: President Obama joining forces with Russia to solve the chemical weapons crisis in Syria. But can this diplomatic deal really work? We're live with the very latest there.

BERMAN: Breaking news overnight: an explosion outside a government building in Benghazi, on the anniversary of the consulate attack there that killed four U.S. citizens.


CALLER: They've got him on the ground.

DISPATCH: The police have him?

CALLER: The managers are out here. They're trying to hold this man until somebody get here.