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Election Results; Obama's Approval Problem; New Jersey Mall Shooting

Aired November 6, 2013 - 04:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Landslide victory in New Jersey and New York. Plus, a nail-biting finish in a major swing state. What last night's election results mean for you.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And President Obama's approval rating is nearing an all-time low. Is it Obamacare, NSA spying scandal? What's behind the 52-week plunge?

SAMBOLIN: New Jersey's newest mall will reopen its doors after a gunman opened fire Monday night. New details on the note that authorities say the gunman left behind.

MARQUEZ: Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.

SAMBOLIN: Very nice to have you with us this morning.

MARQUEZ: Very nice to be here another day.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Wednesday, November 6th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

There is so much going on. Welcome to this special Election Day edition of EARLY START.

So, two landslide victories and one very tight race in a critical swing state topping the headlines this morning.

In New Jersey, a possible, possible preview of 2016. Republican Chris Christie sweeping the victory for a second term.

In the critical swing state of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is the next governor, surviving a stiff challenge from conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

And the Bloomberg era is over in New York. For the first time in 20 years, the Big Apple has a Democrat in charge. Liberal Bill de Blasio easily becoming the city's 109th mayor.

So, let's get right to Washington and bring in CNN political director Mark Preston who has been up and watching this all night long.

Mark, what's your overall take on last night's results?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, a couple of big wins. A big win for the Republican establishment in many ways, Zoraida, because they won a big contest in Alabama. A huge win for Chris Christie because the fact of the matter is, today begins his run for the White House, even though he won't say he's actually doing it.

And a big win for the Democrats in the state of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe taking back the governorship from a state trending blue.

So, a lot to portend from what happened in this off-year election, but it will have big effect in 2014, certainly 2016.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's start here in New York City. De Blasio won. He's much more liberal than any mayor the city has seen for a long time. So, do you believe he's going to have the same national influence as Bloomberg?

PRESTON: Well, he's certainly going to have major influence because he'll be the mayor of the city that one would argue, the most important city in the world, in New York. He won't have the same influence as Bloomberg, though Bloomberg used his personal fortune to push his pet causes such as gun control and some other political issues.

But Bill de Blasio certainly walking into Gracie Mansion. He will run New York a lot differently than we've seen Mayor Bloomberg do.

SAMBOLIN: What you heard in the background there was Miguel talking about his son's hair. We see that prominently displayed there.

All right. Let's go to Virginia now. It's a so-called purple state. It voted for a Democratic governor, but the state also swung toward Obama in the last two elections. Is this a trend and has Virginia become a blue state?

PRESTON: Well, it's certainly trending blue. You know, before we saw Bob McDonnell, the current Republican governor, there were two Democrats in the governor's mansion. But where I live in northern Virginia, right across the river here in Washington, D.C. is very influential in the state, the most populous part of the state, the most Democratic part of the state. And that's why Terry McAuliffe was able to eke out a victory here in Virginia.

It is trending that way. It will take a few more election cycles. But certainly, Republicans are concerned, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So we can officially say there was no surprise in New Jersey. Chris Christie won. He's a Republican in a blue state.

Can he carry this national race to 2016? I want to read something, the exit polls here. It said, Christie took a fifth of the African- American vote, 45 percent of Latinos, something that's very difficult for Republicans to do.

What do you think this all means?

PRESTON: It all means that he's trying to trap the populous message. He's done so in New Jersey, done so successfully.

I have to tell you, Zoraida, I followed his campaign in 2009 when he first ran, he was not a good candidate. The National Republican Party did not like him. They thought that he was going to lose. He really surprised everyone.

Right now, it's very hard to argue that he's not the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination at this moment in time. That will change. There will be others as they come along. But Chris Christie right now in his speech last night really gave all the clues that he's looking to run for president. And he's going to reach out to voters beyond the Republican Party.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it was kind of the headline across the board. It's really nice to have you with us this morning, Mark. We'll check back in with you again.

PRESTON: Thanks.

MARQUEZ: In a much-awaited Obamacare enrollment numbers are coming. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner who is overseeing the trouble-plagued Obamacare Web site say the figures will be released next week, testifying before a Senate panel Tuesday. She said the end of November is 800,000 signups.

SAMBOLIN: And President Obama is nearing an all-time low in his approval numbers. According to the latest Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans approve of the job that he's doing. The majority, 53 percent, disapprove. The president's lowest rating was 38 percent, and that was in 2011. Problems with the Obamacare rollout are likely to blame for these plunging numbers.

MARQUEZ: As for Obamacare, Chris Christie has some advice for the president. Speaking exclusively with CNN's Jake Tapper aboard his campaign bus, the New Jersey governor offered a suggestion to the president about backtracking on a promise, that Americans who like their health insurance would be able to keep it.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Here's my suggestion, don't be so cute. And when you make a mistake, admit it. Listen if it was a mistake in 2009, if he was mistaken in 2009, 2010 on his understanding of how the law would operate, then just admit it to people. Say you know what, I said it, I was wrong. I'm sorry, and we're going to try to fix this and make it better.

I think people would give any leader in that circumstance a lot of credit for just, you know, owning up to it. Instead of now trying to -- don't lawyer it. People don't like lawyers. I'm a lawyer. They don't like them.


MARQUEZ: People don't like lawyers. Good advice for a political candidate. Christie went on to say that Americans are forgiving people. And if the president would just admit he was wrong, Americans might say, OK, now, just fix it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's get an early look at our weather with meteorologist Chad Myers.

Good morning.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good morning, guys.

Now, D.C. metro, some fog. Pittsburgh, same story. We're going to see some winds in St. Louis and Detroit. Really windy across parts of Florida, Dallas, Seattle, gusty winds, some low clouds, also Seattle and Portland. I know this looks like a mess, in fact, really short delays there. Not a real big trouble ugly day.

Warm air across parts of the East Coast. Rain showers all the way from Canada, Texas, Ontario, Quebec, get wet again. The cold air is kind of coming into the West, warming air in the East, 70 for Atlanta today, 51 in Denver. It doesn't make to 40 degrees in Minneapolis today.

Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you very much, Chad.

MARQUEZ: New Jersey's largest mall is set to reopen this morning. It's been shuttered since a gunman opened fire there Monday night. Police now it say the 20-year-old was not out to harm anyone else except himself. Richard Shoop committed suicide in the corner of the massive mall this morning.

We're learning new details about the incident and what may have sparked it.

CNN's Jason Carroll has the story.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A picture of happier time, Richard Shoop with his brother Kevin. But now, Kevin is trying to explain what went so terribly wrong with his brother. Why he went to the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall last night armed? Why he fired at least six shots with a modified rifle? Why he took his own life?

KEVIN SHOOP, BROTHER OF RICHARD SHOOP: My brother intended to harm nobody else but himself. He just sadly decided to make an act of -- an act of self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly, and it's a tragedy to us all.

CARROLL: Shoop called authorities last night after hearing about the shooting, concerned his brother might be the one responsible.

SHOOP: My brother, this was a sporadic act, this was something none of us saw coming. We're not sure exactly what caused him to do this. We're -- I mean, we're always devastated.

CARROLL: The Bergen County prosecutor said a note from Shoop was found inside the family home where he lived in Teaneck, New Jersey.

JOHN MOLINELLI, PROSECUTOR, BERGEN COUNTY, NJ: It was a note that you could definitely interpret as such. It made reference to the fact that the end was coming. That could mean going to jail, getting arrested. Or it could mean suicide.

CARROLL: Shoop worked here, at Victor's Pizza in Teaneck. Robert Gega Shoop's manager and friend said that the last time he showed up for work was Halloween last Saturday.

He says Shoop escaped work last Friday, and Saturday, and that's when suspected something was wrong.

ROBERT GEGA, MANAGER, VICTOR'S PIZZA: I went to his house, I just passed, because I tried to call him like 50 times. I sent him messages, nothing.

CARROLL: Gega says he believes something or someone set off Shoop the weekend after Halloween.

(on camera): Were there any signs that he was troubled to you?

GEGA: No. Lately, no. I mean, the past two weeks, he was a little bit quiet. But we thought just tired because working together.

CARROLL: In the four years Shoop worked at the pizza place, Shoop had developed a reputation for cleanness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really sweet guy. Always helpful, went out of his way with our 5-year-old.

CARROLL: But police say they were aware Shoop had a history of drug abuse, specifically MDMA, a pure form of ecstasy.

MOLINELLI: He was going through a difficult time, family members tell us. So, perhaps my thought is that that would be the reason why he did what he did last night.

CARROLL: And while he did not shoot anyone, some say they were hurt in another way, so says Cheri Maddox who saw Shoop last night just before she ran for safety.

CHERIE MADDOX, WITNESS: I think that's always going to play in the back of my head for the rest of my life. I don't think that's something I can forget.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Paramus, New Jersey.


SAMBOLIN: New U.S. intelligence suggests Syria may not fully declare its chemical weapon stockpile for destruction. That would mean the Assad regime will maintain a secret cache of chemical weapons, even after the agreed to plan for the elimination.

U.S. officials say the intelligence is not definitive, but they claim Syria's recent actions indicate the government's not ready to get rid of its entire chemical arsenal.

MARQUEZ: And coming up, a Miami Dolphin star suspended -- this amazing story -- for bullying a teammate. Now, Richie Incognito is making his first statement since the scandal broke.

SAMBOLIN: And it is a stunning admission from the mayor of Toronto. He said he did smoke crack. And wait until you hear his excuse for it.


MARQUEZ: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Those alleged racist taunts by a Miami Dolphins player suspended this week weren't this first, according to new reports. Richie Incognito was sidelined Sunday after allegations he viciously bullied a teammate who later left the team. Now, some say that abuse was part of a behavior going back years.

Tuesday, Incognito addressed the scandal for the first time.

Here's CNN's John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leaving a doctor's office, Richie Incognito had little to say over the firestorm of allegations that he bullied a Miami Dolphins teammate.

RICHIE INCOGNITO, MIAMI DOLPHIN: I'm trying to weather the storm. And this will pass.

ZARRELLA: In his first comment about the controversy, he was calm, even-tempered.


ZARRELLA: A far cry from the shirtless Richie Incognito screaming racial slurs and profanities at a south Florida bar.


ZARRELLA: He prances around the table. At once point he hugs Mike Pouncey who seems unfazed by the slurs. Incognito representatives would not comment. But what you see here is an example of former Dolphin Channing Crowder of what likely happened in the team locker room.

CHANNING CROWDER, FORMER MIAMI DOLPHIN LINEBACKER: There's nobody there to tell him what's too far. There's no other alpha males to stop him. And he's running crazy.

ZARRELLA: Crowder, now a radio talk show host in Miami.

CROWDER: You're expecting out this media thing.

ZARRELLA: Played with Incognito. Crowder says strong personalities on those Dolphin teams kept him under control until now.

The NFL is investigating whether Incognito bullied another player, Jonathan Martin, into leaving the team.

Incognito's reputation goes all the way back to his college days a decade ago. He was suspended twice in Nebraska, and dismissed at Oregon.

Tony Dungy who was then the coach of the Indianapolis colts says Incognito was not on his draft board in 2005.

TONY DUNGY, FORMER HEAD COACH, INDIANAPOLIS: We had the category DNDC, do not draft because of character. Richie Incognito was in that category for us.

ZARRELLA: Controversy follows Incognito. Last year on a radio show, he talked about getting then rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill to get him and Pouncey jet skis.

INCOGNITO: This is how it works -- he's going to buy us a gift because we protect his butt.

ZARRELLA: But here's the irony -- if either Incognito or Martin ever play again, Crowder believe it's Martin who will be shunned by teammates.

CROWDER: If he goes to a team, the word "snitch" will be thrown around. You made a fellow frat member, as we are a frat, you made him lose his job.

ZARRELLA: John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


SAMBOLIN: Miguel, you were mentioning an interesting twist here.

MARQUEZ: Crazy, crazy. "The Sun Sentinel" reporting that the coaches, the coaches instructed Incognito to toughen up Martin and that may have led to some of this behavior, at least in this particular case.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I was wondering why it was that the coach came out, he said, listen, if this is anybody's fault, it's my fault. Maybe that explains.

MARQUEZ: It's going to get ugly and it could be much more interesting. Fascinating story.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Seventeen minutes past the hour here.

It's a tragic ending to the mystery of a missing family in Mississippi. There they are right there. The body of Atira Hugues Smith (ph) and her 7-year-old son Jaidon Hill (ph) and his stepfather Latery Smith (ph) found shot to death in their home.

Forty-two-year-old Jesse Burns (ph) of Jackson was taken in connection with the case. He led police to the bodies. There's no word yet on the motive here.

And coming up, prime time pop, featuring the big winners of election night 2013. You're going to hear the victory speeches when EARLY START continues.

MARQUEZ: We love that.


MARQUEZ: Welcome back to EARLY START. Time now for a special edition of our "Primetime Pop" -- the best -- can it be a best?

SAMBOLIN: Are you sure?

MARQUEZ: -- of last night's annual victory speeches, starting with the landslide in New Jersey.

SAMBOLIN: Governor Chris Christie romping to re-election by more than 20 points, taking aim at Washington in his victory speech.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We don't always agree with each other, New Jersey. Some folks don't agree with some of the things I do. Certainly, they don't agree with some of the things I say sometimes.

But they know, they know they never have to wonder. They never have to wonder, when they walked into the voting booth today, they didn't say hey, I wonder who this guy is. And what he stands for. What he's willing to fight for. What he's willing to do when the chips are down.

You can agree with me, you can disagree with me. But I will never stop leading the state I love.

Leadership is much less about talking than it is about listening. About bringing people around the table, listening to each other, showing them respect. Doing what needed to be done. To be able to bring people together and to achieve what we need to achieve to move our state forward.

Now, listen, I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune in their TVs right now, see how it's done.


MARQUEZ: A subtle little --


MARQUEZ: Just a little bit maybe.

In Virginia, a squeaker in the race for governor. Democrat Terry McAuliffe scratching out a narrow win over conservative Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe used his victory speech to all for unity.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), GOVERNOR-ELECT OF VIRGINIA: One particularly famous Virginian confronted a very bitterly divided electorate, after the presidential election in 1800. Instead of relishing his victory or governing only for his supporters, Thomas Jefferson devoted much of his first inaugural address to bridging partisan divides.

He said, quote, "But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle."

Two hundred and thirteen years later, the truth is, is that our differences of opinion are still often not a difference of principle or goal.


SAMBOLIN: And in New York, the first Democrat elected mayor in over two decades. Bill de Blasio absolutely routing his opponent. De Blasio channels frustrations over income inequality throughout his fiery campaign. And he kept that up last night.


BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR-ELECT, NEW YORK CITY: The best and the brightest are born in every neighborhood. We all have a shared responsibility and a shared state in making sure their destiny is defined by how hard they work and how big they dream, and not by their zip code.

So when we call on the wealthiest among us to pay just a little more in taxes to fund universal pre-K and after school programs.

We aren't threatening anyone's success. We are asking those who have done very well to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to do just as well as they have.

That's how we all rise together.


MARQUEZ: Interesting to see if this famously liberal city is ready for a liberal mayor. Fascinating.

To commemorate election night, late night funnyman David Letterman invited House Minority Nancy Pelosi to deliver the top 10 list. The topic: ten things you don't know or didn't know about the House of Representatives.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Every month, we're tested for steroids.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: Tax dollars. Number two?

PELOSI: We have the power to impeach talk show hosts.


For God's sake, what are you waiting for?

And the number 1 thing you never knew about the House of Representatives --

PELOSI: The Tea Party isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.

LETTERMAN: Yes, well, there you go.


MARQUEZ: That makes sense, I think. Particularly for her, I'm sure.

Coming up, more results from Election Day 2013, including the first East Coast city to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

SAMBOLIN: And the mayor of Toronto, finally admitting that he smoked crack cocaine. So will he be stepping down? You know the answer to this one, don't you? If you've been following the story.

MARQUEZ: I was going to surprise you, but it's our drug corner of the day, I guess.

SAMBOLIN: Our drug corner of the day.


MARQUEZ: Well, election 2013 results are in. Landslide wins nail biting finishes and unexpected upsets. We have all the results.

SAMBOLIN: And now that Chris Christie has secured a second term as governor of New Jersey, will his focus now shift to the White House?

MARQUEZ: And Toronto's embattled mayor finally coming clean, admitting he smoked crack turn a drunken stupor. But that doesn't mean he's about to step down. Amazing.