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Election Results; Can the President Recover?; Gunman's Note

Aired November 6, 2013 - 05:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Landslide victories in New Jersey and New York. Nail biting finish in a major swing state. What last night's election results mean for you.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama's approval rating is nearing an all-time low. What is behind this 52-week plunge and can he recover?

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

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. We're very happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez, in for the lovely and talented, and he is lovely and talented, John Berman. It is Wednesday, November 6th, if you weren't paying attention. It's 5:00 a.m. right here on the East Coast.

SAMBOLIN: Let's get started.

MARQUEZ: You got it.

Welcome to a special Election Day edition of EARLY START.

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

In New Jersey, possible preview of 2016. Republican Chris Christie sweeping to victory for his second term as governor.

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, amazingly enough, the Big Apple has a Democrat in charge. Liberal Bill de Blasio easily becoming the city's 109th mayor.

Let's get right to Washington and bring in CNN political director, and a guy who doesn't need any sleep at all, Mark Preston.

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

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You know, Miguel, there's a lot of winners, individual winners. Chris Christie, a big winner, of course. He won by 60 percent in a blue state, and he never should have done so, but he has done so. So, in many ways, we look towards Chris Christie, what is his next step, is it towards Washington, D.C. where I sit right now?

For the Republican establishment, they won an election down in Mobile, Alabama, that will push back the Tea Party a little bit on its heels. But there's still infighting in the Republican Party.

And in Virginia, we've seen Democrats take back a governorship that has been in Republican hands in a state that is trending blue.

So, a lot to portend in this hurdle of 2013 as we move into the midterm elections and certainly 2016 presidential election, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Do we -- moderates basically to have seem to have won the day yesterday. Is that the big theme?

PRESTON: Well, let's use the word centrist because in many ways, that is what you're going to hear Chris Christie call himself on many issues. He says that he is a centrist in the sense that he can reach out to other voters.

And the thing with Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, he's somebody that was talking a very business friendly agenda, which certainly helped him win a squeaker as you have said in Virginia.

However, New York City, I don't know if we can use the word "centrist" in Bill de Blasio. In fact, he is certainly to the left of the center, which is certainly going to change how that city has been governed, as you know, and I know, and our viewers know, Mayor Bloomberg was very business friendly in New York City.


Amazing night overall. I was interested by the Alabama race. What does that say, the Tea Party favor losing there, an intraparty fight within the Republican Party to have their sort of, you know, mainstream Republican candidate win?

PRESTON: Well, certainly a lot of money going into that race to help the establishment candidate. Now, this is a special election, a runoff. You see the Republican congressman who decided to resign his seat, and it should take a job outside of Congress opened up a seat for a Republican to basically carry on the flag.

What we saw was the Tea Party put up a candidate who actually almost won. And this was a candidate, Miguel, who was a birther, who thought that President Obama was not board in the United States. This would have been very embarrassing for the Republican Party.

However, they have put enough money into the race, the Republican establishment candidate won. He will go on in December to face a Democrat. But look, this is a Republican seat and it's going to stay Republican. MARQUEZ: Yes, yes, yes. Is this a pattern we're likely to see in the midterms coming up with the Republican establishment trying to squelch or smother the Tea Party?

PRESTON: Yes. You know, we're seeing it already, Miguel. There's no question about that. There is a big fight within the Republican Party. Does the Tea Party take control of it, do the Republican establishment, are they able to maintain control of it?

And right now, we're starting to see primaries all across the country against establishment Republicans, very conservative Republicans in many cases. But we are seeing that happen in 2014 it be certainly framed as the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

MARQUEZ: May we live in interesting times.

Mark Preston, Washington, D.C. Thank you very much. Get some sleep, please?

SAMBOLIN: All right. We're going to get our first official enrollment figures of the Obamacare Web site next week. It's expected that those numbers will be lower than the target of 800,000 the White House had initially hoped for.

The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has subpoenaed the figures and wants them by Friday. The official in charge of the Obamacare Web site told the Senate committee is improving, and that it will be fixed by the end of November as was promised.

MARQUEZ: Everything riding on that, isn't it?

Meanwhile, President Obama's approval ratings are taking a nosedive. Just 39 percent of Americans approve of the job he's doing, according to the latest Gallup poll. That's within a single point of his all time low in 2011. Fifty-three percent now say they disapprove of the president's job performance. Those numbers weren't expected to take much of a hit after the government shutdown, Republicans reserving much of the blame for that debacle. But that was before the disastrous rollout of the Web site.

SAMBOLIN: So, some words of advice for President from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Christie suggested a difference response to the one that president offered on his broken Obamacare promise, the one where he told Americans they could keep their health insurance if they liked 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.



SAMBOLIN: All right. So, Christie went on to say that Americans are forgiving people. And if the president would just admit that he was wrong, Americans might say, OK, just fix it now.




Police in New Jersey say that 20-year-old gunman who opened fire Monday night in the Paramus mall didn't intend to hurt anybody but himself. Authorities tell us Richard Shoop left behind a note and used a firearm that was legally registered to his brother. Prosecutors say he had a long history of drug abuse. Shoop was found dead early Tuesday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after firing several shots into the air inside the mall.

SAMBOLIN: He did a lot of psychological damage to a lot of people, though.

All right. Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitting that he smoked crack cocaine, he's also saying that he is not stepping down. In fact, he says he will run for re-election next year.

After months of dodging all the allegations, Ford admitted his drug abuse was a year ago during what he called a drunken stupor. Ford's admission comes just days after investigators recovered a video that shows him smoking a crack pipe.

MARQUEZ: And the oldest woman to run in Sunday's New York City marathon has died, sadly enough. Eighty-six-year-old Joy Johnson of California passed away in her sleep just after -- the day after crossing the finish line. Sad, sweet. She was up there. But she had stumbled and hit her head around the 20-mile marker but managed to finish the race.

And amazing.


MARQUEZ: It was Johnson's 25th time that she completed the marathon.

SAMBOLIN: Attagirl.

MARQUEZ: Yes, amazing. SAMBOLIN: All right. There's evidence that Syria could still have a secret cache the chemical weapons even after the government's promised destruction effort is now carried out.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has all the details.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned there is new classified intelligence showing that Bashar al Assad might not be willing to declare and destroy his entire chemical weapons stockpile, something he has promised to do.

Several U.S. officials telling CNN there have been some recent pieces of intelligence that are raising concerns. One official is saying to me, quote, "There are various threats of information that would shake our confidence." He goes on to say, "They've done things recently that suggest Syria is not ready to get rid of all of their chemical weapons."

Why would Syria be doing this even though it's made the promise to get rid of it all? Well, the U.S. believes Israel might be one reason, with Israeli nuclear weapons next door, Assad feels he needs a hedge against a potential Israeli threat. And he may just hold onto some of what he has.

The U.S. is not saying specifically what the intelligence is, but it's well-known that U.S. satellites fly over Syria routinely, gathering information and taking a look at whatever they can see.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


SAMBOLIN: All right, thank you, Barbara.

It's been a rough six weeks for a North Carolina family that lost everything in a house fire. The Pollards home was destroyed by a kitchen fire. This was late September. The two family dogs were killed as well. Eight-year-old Zane Pollard (ph) turned out to be a hero that day waking up his mop when he smelled smoke.

And now, he's being rewarded for his heroism. Local police officers surprising the Pollards with a new pet, a full-blooded American bulldog. His name is Thumper. And we're told Zane and Thumper hit it off immediately.

And now, as you can see there, they are inseparable.

MARQUEZ: A little sweet spot in a terrible story for that family. How nice. That's right.

Coming up, an NFL star suspended for bullying a teammate. Now, for the first time we're hearing from Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito.

SAMBOLIN: And the latest from two inmates who made a daring jailbreak from an Oklahoma prison last month.

Plus, folks, it's times for your morning rhyme. Tweet us with your own original verse that can be about anything. Had to be #earlystart, #morningrhyme, so we get it. We're going to read the best ones on the air in our next half hour.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

It happened again this week -- a disturbed gunman opening fire in public. We're seeing it in airports. We're seeing it in malls, school halls. And it's leaving a lot of Americans feeling uneasy.

As Brian Todd reports, there's no solution in sight.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Panic and terror inside a New Jersey shopping mall. Bullets fly, but no one except the shooter is hurt.

JOEL CASTENADA, WITNESS: We heard four gunshots and everybody was scared, everybody was panicked.

TODD: Authorities now believe the gunman only intended to kill himself.

Days earlier, a man wielding an assault rifle kills a TSA officer at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Every time we turn on our TVs, it seems there's more breaking news coverage of a high profile shooting.

(on camera): Is this the new normal in America, this trend of people wanting to go out in a blaze of glory?

DR. ALAN LIPMAN, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF VIOLENCE: It's not the new normal. Since the 1980s, we have seen crimes exactly like this -- angry, psychotic, depressed young men, mentally ill, haven't been treated, with a triggering event that causes them to emerge into rage and want to go out in a blaze of glory.

TODD (voice-over): Criminal psychologist Alan Lipman says often at the peak of that range, those people have easy access to the deadliest weapons. Collectively, it's put America on edge.

In Connecticut, a student's Halloween costume put a college campus on lockdown for hours.

In California, a sheriff's deputy mistakenly shot and killed a teenager who carried a fake assault rifle.

Even an overnight break-in at a Colorado middle school, with the perpetrators brandishing BB guns, prompted police to surround the building. LIPMAN: We're jumpy because the impression has been created by interest groups that any mentally ill person might jump out around a corner and harm someone. That is false.

TODD: Why can't gun violence be solved politically in America?

DARRELL WEST, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Even Democrats don't want to do this. You have Democrats who are representing rural areas where the right to have the gun is sanctimonious and nobody wants to put any limits on that.

And so, you just simply don't have a political situation where you have a ban on weapons.

TODD (on camera): Even lesser measures like tightening gun regulations, closing sale loopholes at gun shows, more stringent background checks on mental health and criminal history are no likely to pass in Congress anytime soon. Analysts say there just isn't the political will to do that.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to Brian Todd.

We're having -- we're hearing from the parents of a Nevada boy who wounded two students and killed a teacher before turning the gun on himself last week. Jose and Liliana Reyes said they had no idea their son Jose was so angry about his life at school.


JOSE REYES, FATHER OF SCHOOL SHOOTER: We wish this had never happened. And we are hopeful that everybody involved can heal and go forward as best as can with their lives.


MARQUEZ: Reyes also says his son had been teased and was working on a speech problem.

SAMBOLIN: And the search for a missing family sadly ends in tragedy after three bodies are discovered in a wooded area in Mississippi. The victims reportedly died of gunshot wounds. That family was last season Friday night in their car, later found on fire, bloody clothes were discovered nearby as well.

Now, police say a suspect is in custody. He's held on suspicion of arson. A 7-year-old boy, as you saw in those pictures is among the dead.

MARQUEZ: Now, two inmates who made a daring jailbreak last month are back in custody in Oklahoma this morning, James Mendonca and Triston Cheadle were among four convicts who escaped through the ceiling of a prison shower in October. The other two were arrested shortly after. Three of the men are serving time for drug offenses. The fourth on a federal gun charge.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up rapper Jay-Z is in hot water. Why Major League Baseball is investigating the entertainer-turned-sports agent.


MARQUEZ: Here we are.

For the first time since being suspended by the Miami Dolphins for allegedly bullying a teammate, Richie Incognito addressed the scandal.

The very public Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Well, Incognito, he remains away from the Dolphins while the NFL investigates accusations of harassment and misconduct toward teammate Jonathan Martin, and he's remained quite on the allegation against him. But yesterday, WSB Channel 7 in South California caught up with Incognito in a parking lot and they got his first comments on the scandal.


REPORTER: Richie, how are you?



INCOGNIO: You know, I'm just trying to weather the storm right now and this will pass.


SCHOLES: Many are wondering why Incognito has not been cut by the Dolphins. Well, this maybe part of the reason -- according to the "Sun-Sentinel," Incognito was asked by the Dolphins coach to toughen up Martin last spring after Martin missed a voluntary team workout. According to a source, Incognito took the request too far. Now, the Dolphins have not commented to CNN regarding that claim at this time.

One of the top stories in the lineup section on today, Jay-Z may be in hot water with major league baseball for being a little too generous. The Players Association is investigating whether Jay-Z violated a rule by giving his client, Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, a $34,000 gold watch for his birthday.

Cano posted a pic of the watch on his Instagram account. Agents, they're only allowed to give gifts up to $500 to their clients.

All right. They say embracing your fan is a good thing. Well, not for swimmer Ryan Lochte. According to "USA Today", Lochte suffered a torn NCL and sprained ACL when an overzealous teenage girl in Florida ran into him on the street and intended to jump into his arms. Both of them fell. Lochte was hurt. The 11th time medalist is now going to have to take time off. But guys, he is expected to make a full recovery.

MARQUEZ: Andy, it is your job to find that girl and talk to her about what happened there.

But I have a really dumb question, do you know if Incognito is Richie Incognito's real name?

SCHOLES: I believe it is. It might be Richard Incognito.

MARQUEZ: All right.

SAMBOLIN: Incognito will be his last name.

MARQUEZ: I'm going to change my name to Miguel Incognito. It's a great name. I love that name.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Andy.

Coming up, Chris Christie winning a landslide re-election in New Jersey. Is it a prelude to a White House bid in 2016?

MARQUEZ: And Michelle Knight on the torture she endured at the hands of her kidnapper, Ariel Castro.


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

SAMBOLIN: It was dramatic. Stay tuned for that.

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

MARQUEZ: Maybe, just maybe.

And Michelle Knight speaking out about that horrible torture she endured for more than a decade by hands of Ariel Castro.

SAMBOLIN: So brave and courageous to talk about those horrifying details.

MARQUEZ: Amazing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. We are very glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez in for John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: The lovely John Berman.

MARQUEZ: Yes, the lovely and talented John Berman.

It's 28 minutes past the hour. Amazing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's get started here.

Election Day 2013 is history now. Here's a look at results of pivotal races and initiatives across the nation.

Martin Walsh nearly edged out fellow Democrat John Connolly to become Boston's new mayor. He takes over for outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino.

Voters in at least six of 11 rural Colorado counties voting down a proposal to secede from the state. Results are being tallied in the remaining five counties.

In Maine, Portland voters gave a thumbs up for legalized marijuana. It's now the first East Coast city to do that.

For more nationwide results, here's CNN's political director Mark Preston live in Washington.

Mark, we're not going to let you sleep for now. What's interesting out of last night's elections with all these ballot initiatives?

PRESTON: Well, you know, Miguel, we've been talking all morning about Chris Christie and Terry McAuliffe winning the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia respectively. But it's the ballot issues that are very interesting.

We've seen in Houston, for instance, that money that would go towards converting the Astrodome into a convention center failed. It did not go down. The Houston Astrodome, an iconic sports arena, which, Miguel, I'm sure you remember, was a key venue for the Bad News Bears when they went to play.

Back then, but then really, in ways and in a more serious note, we saw out in California, some valid initiatives that were very important. You mentioned one of them in regards to secession, where we saw 11 counties up in Colorado who decided to secede from the state. In many ways, it's foolhardy. It's never going to happen. It hasn't happened since 1863 when West Virginia broke away from Virginia, to form its own state. It will not be the 51st state.

But it just goes to show, the anger that we see right now across the country, a very divided country. That's what we saw in Colorado.