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Shocker in Virginia; Oregon High School Shooting; Iraq in Chaos; Spurs Beat Miami Heat in Game Three

Aired June 11, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A political earthquake. The House majority leader falls in a primary. This is a shocking result that has Washington reeling. And this morning, we break down this stunning defeat. What it means for the Tea Party. What it means for the Republican Party. And what it means for key legislation that might now be dead in its tracks.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Another deadly school shooting. Teenagers running for their lives when a gunman opens fire. What we've learned about this event overnight.

BERMAN: And crisis in Iraq. Terrorists overrun the country's second largest city. The army that the U.S. spent billions to train just melts away. We are live with what happens next.

Good morning, everyone. A lot going on.

ROMANS: I would say so.

BERMAN: Wow. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's Wednesday, it's June 11th, it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

All right. So much for the fall of the Tea Party. There has been a stunning epic upset in Virginia. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor defeated by economics professor and Tea Party darling Dave Brat in their Republican primary.

This wasn't even close, folks. Brat kept pounding home the theme that Cantor betrayed conservative principles on spending and immigration and he knocked off the number two House Republican by an astonishing 12 points despite being outspent by some $5 million.


DAVE BRAT (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: The reason we won this campaign is there's just one reason, and that's because dollars do not vote, you do.


This campaign -- this was basic American values right from the beginning. And the basic premise is power belongs to the people, and that's what we're going to do. REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: It's disappointing,

sure. But I believe in this country, I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us. So I look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause because those solutions of ours are the answer to the problems that so many people are facing today.

Thank you, all, very, very much.


BERMAN: I mean, honest to God, not many people saw this coming at all. As evidence to the fact that there really weren't even good audio equipment or camera equipment at Brat's headquarters there for a victory speech. The loss inconceivable to a lot of people, really shaking up things in Congress in the Republican Party, in the Republican leadership. A lot of people thought Eric Cantor would be John Boehner's successor as House speaker. And soon, by the way. And now people are saying this is a sign of the Tea Party resurrection.

ROMANS: A landmark victory, really, for the conservative movement. Many calling it a political earthquake. I know John Berman last night was sending me furious e-mails as it was clear with the results we're looking at.

BERMAN: Yes. We were looking at it. I'm like, I can't go to sleep now. I can't go to sleep now and Mark Preston, I know you have not been asleep. CNN's executive editor -- political executive editor.

Mark, what on earth happened here?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, you know, really in a very, very simple terms, Eric Cantor lost touch with his district, and out of nowhere came Dave Brat who was preaching a type of conservatism that played very well. It not only caught us all by surprise, but it caught those two men that we just showed on our screen, that we're showing on our screen right now.

Dave Brat had no idea that he was going to win this election. Eric Cantor thought he was easily going to win reelection. The question was not if he was going to win, but by how much was he going to win, John. And as you said, a political earthquake here in Washington. Not only these short-term consequences, they will have long-term consequences. And the short-term just in two weeks now, how will this play in the Mississippi primary.

There is a run-off down there right now where there is a long-term incumbent, Thad Cochran, that is against the ropes. A Tea Party candidate, his name is Chris McDaniel, is slotted basically to win that race. Will he get more momentum out of this because of this Eric Cantor wing? What happens to the Obama agenda, John and Christine? Will it now suffer even more because you will see an emboldened Tea Party up in Congress. And then of course what happens to the future of the Republican Party certainly within the House of Representatives.

ROMANS: You know, Mark, about four days ago, a senior administration official -- I think four days ago, a senior administration official told John and I that he was confident on immigration reform and couldn't say it will get done in the very near term but he was more confident on immigration reform even in a long time. And immigration really played in this -- in this race. This idea that Eric Cantor was too close to the president on wanting, quote-unquote, amnesty for people in the country illegally.

All the time, this is also playing out as you've got these pictures, this controversy about migrant children being moved from Texas to Arizona. So suddenly the president and anybody who was working toward immigration reform really in the hot seat here.

PRESTON: Right. Certainly galvanizing issue for the conservative movement. And I've got to tell you within the past few hours, I'm sure the Obama White House is thinking a lot differently right now. How can they get something done on immigration without the help of Congress at this point? Because what you're going to see happen is that you will see Republicans certainly in Congress.

And you will see conservative Democrats now in Congress who are fearful that they could lose in a general election in November. These are Democrats from conservative states who might now be backing off their support of any kind of immigration reform. A very hot button issue that right that appears against the rope -- Christine.

BERMAN: And what does this mean for the House leadership, Mark? Because Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, a lot of people thought he'd be speaker. A lot of people thought he'd be speaker soon because they thought John Boehner might retire.

PRESTON: Right. And look, the succession plan right now for the House Republicans is all thrown up in the air. We don't know who is going to now try to seek the majority leader's position after the November elections. House Republicans are going to maintain the majority. The question is, who's going to be number two?

The question is, too, will John Boehner still retire after the November elections? He's given no indication he plans to or that he does not plan to but we do know this, Eric Cantor who was in line to become the next House speaker is no longer in that position.

And I've got to tell you what. What happens in the next few months will certainly have a lot of ramifications for the next few years because whoever gets into that position will certainly be able to hold it for many years to come.

BERMAN: And we don't even know if Eric Cantor is going to hang on to the job for the next seven months. A lot of people think he should, you know, give up the House majority leadership now.

Mark Preston, great to have you with us this morning. Fascinating, fascinating evening.

PRESTON: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Six minutes after the hour right now. This is not a drill. That is a chilling warning from the assistant

principal moments after a student armed with a rifle opened fire Tuesday at Reynolds High School near Portland, Oregon. When the gunfire stopped, two young people were dead, a teacher was injured and a quiet Columbia River community was shattered.

Let's get more now from Sara Sidner.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The community here is trying to regain its strength. Trying to be strong for the family of Emilio Hoffman. He died in the shooting. The 14-year-old freshman was at the school inside of a locker room when he was shot and killed by the shooter.

Now this is the vigil that hundreds of students and parents have shown up, including the family of Emilio Hoffman. They are here and they have been weeping. But all of these people are just trying to remember who he was.

We spoke with someone who knew him quite well saying that he was a great kid, and that anyone would've been honored to have been around him.

What we can also tell you is that the sheriff's department has said that he and the shooter are the only two people who have been killed in this incident. A teacher and coach has been wounded but is expected to survive. He was grazed by a bullet.

We can also tell you that the sheriff's department will release more information throughout the morning.

We also managed to talk with someone who was at the school when it all happened sitting outside a gymnasium when the shooting started.


BRANDON BLOCK, STUDENT: We heard a lot of loud bangs and at first we didn't even jump. We thought it was like fireworks or something. And we see one of the teachers run out of the building with more shots, like the sound going off. And he kept running right by us. And then right after that another teacher came out asking if she heard -- if we heard fireworks, and we said it was Mr. Rispler. And then we -- I went in to look at where he was running from and there were just other students standing around asking what happened. So it was all kind of, you know, fast.


SIDNER: John and Christine, this community is reeling from yet another school shooting.

BERMAN: Our thanks to Sara Sidner for that.

Now the big question is what happens to the gun control debate in Congress right now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying lawmakers may bring back a bipartisan background check bill that really died out last spring.

The president addressing the issue during a tumblr chat Tuesday at the White House.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're the only -- we're the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this.

I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners to craft some solutions, but right now, it's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress. And that's -- we should be ashamed of that.


BERMAN: Now the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said if the Senate can break -- gather 60 votes to break the threshold for a filibuster, the chamber will take that legislation back up but that's very much in question.

ROMANS: All right, happening today, Congress holding its first public hearing into the prisoner swap that freed Bowe Bergdahl. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify before the House Armed Services Committee. House Speaker John Boehner, though, latest in the long line of lawmakers to sound an alarm about that swap.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We've made Americans less safe here and all around the world. And we're going to pay for this.

SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D-MI), SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The admiral has assured me many times that both he and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, strongly supported this decision to make this exchange.


ROMANS: Briefings from the White House have done little to ease lawmakers' concerns about that deal.

BERMAN: Congress making quick work of a Veterans Affairs reform bill which unanimously passed the House Tuesday. It's expected to hit the Senate floor this week. The House acting less than 24 hours after an audit found more than 63,000 veterans nationwide were waiting for medical care.

The bill would reduce wait times, would allow veterans to see private doctors and would hold V.A. officials accountable for misrepresenting delays.

ROMANS: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning. European stocks are down, futures here pointing lower right now after

a record, barely, a record yesterday. The Dow inched up to close at a record high for the fourth day in a row. The World Bank, cut its growth outlook overnight. The bank expects the global economy now to grow 2.8 percent this year. That's down a little bit from its prior forecast. Tensions in Ukraine and bad weather here weighing on growth, the World Bank says.

Another factor hurting growth here, crushing debt. In a new Wells Fargo study, 4 in 10 millennials say they are overwhelmed by debt. 4 in 10. Credit card debt, the biggest drain on their wallets. Their credit card debt eats up 16 percent of their pay. Mortgages and student loans, no surprise, are a big factor.

What's surprising to me, though, is that credit card debt, a bigger problem than student loans for these millennials, eating up more of their pay than student loans.

BERMAN: The combination. Not a good thing either.

ROMANS: Not a good thing.

BERMAN: All right. You're talking about record highs in the markets, now you're modest and I know you don't want to take credit for it. But you know why we had a record high on Wall Street? Look at this.

Who's that ringing the Closing Bell? Why, that's Christine Romans along with Richard Quest clearly trying to seize the spotlight there. And the rest of the "CNN MONEY" team. That honor and that celebration is part of the re-launch and expansion of CNN Money. There she is banging that gavel. Wow.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: Record high. Thank you, Romans.

ROMANS: Our boss, Jeffrey Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, told me to really hit the gavel hard. He wanted to see me really hit that hard. But it was Richard Quest who actually rang the Opening Bell. He hit the button. And Richard Quest, it has been his lifelong dream to ring it since 1987 when he came here, where there's a stock market crash. He was actually, you know, he couldn't speak.

BERMAN: I know Europeans like to see what a free market looks like.


(INAUDIBLE) for him to see the stock market. It's a big deal.

ROMANS: It is a big deal. So thank you.

All right. Iraq in a state of emergency right now. A terrorist overrunning a major city. Is al Qaeda taking over the country? We're live.

BERMAN: And severe storms moving across the country. Millions in the path. Who needs to be on alert today?

ROMANS: And is red meat causing cancer in women? What researchers are now saying really important health and medical information after the break.


BERMAN: Chaos in Iraq this morning. Al Qaeda-backed insurgents seizing control of the country's second largest city Mosul. U.S.- trained Iraqi soldiers just melted away, abandoning their posts, fleeing when the fighting began. The U.S. spent billions training them.

Also fleeing that city, tens of thousands of civilians. This is a very serious situation.

Our senior national correspondent Nic Robertson is tracking developments live from Qatar this morning.

Nic, what's the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, of course the Iraqi military not just trained by U.S. forces but armed and equipped by them, as well. And when they fled their posts and police stations, they left behind ammunition, they left behind weapons, they left behind armored vehicles. And these are all now in the hands of the insurgents there. ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda-linked group, actually more radical than al Qaeda even. They've been extending their influence across the country.

What we are seeing is they have not only attacked this very important city in the north, a transportation hub, an administrative hub for the region. It links Baghdad to the north of the country, to Turkey. One major highway. These Islamist insurgents have now taken or trying to take another town, 100 miles south of Mosul -- again on the main highway to Baghdad.

This is a strategic move. They are trying to cut off Iraqi -- Iraqi government re-enforcements from getting back to Mosul to try to retake the city. The Iraqi government can't really use the back roads in that region because the insurgents already have pretty much control there. So this is looking very, very bad for the Iraqi government. There have been appeals by the government for a state of emergency for men just to come forward and take weapons.

And this is becoming more and more sectarian and damaging and underlying the root causes in Iraq at the moment. Very damaging here and very dangerous -- John.

BERMAN: Very dangerous indeed. I cannot tell you how discouraging it is for Iraqis who have lived through so much over last 11 years.

Nic Robertson for us, monitoring the situation. Thanks so much.

There's some severe weather in the forecast in the east and into the south. I want you to look at the map right now. Dangerous thunderstorms, possible flooding from the Gulf Coast here to New York. The northern plains and the western great lakes also facing some pretty damaging storms.

ROMANS: Thousands of customers without power in southern Kentucky. A late afternoon thunderstorm packing powerful winds there, taking down power lines, taking down trees, several homes reportedly damaged but no serious injuries.

BERMAN: Torrential rains in central Maryland.

ROMANS: Oh, my.

BERMAN: Some dangerous flash floods. Look at that. That's the College Park area hit especially hard. Homes, highways flooded. There could be delays on the trains this morning. An ugly commute.

ROMANS: I'll say.

BERMAN: All right. Indra Petersons is watching all of this for you this morning.

What can you tell us, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think the ugly this morning is how, like, swampy it feels. Right? The humidity. Like, what is this? This is New York City, we're talking about temperatures even in these early morning hours into the 60s, but D.C. right now already 75 degrees. It's obviously not the temperature we're worried about. It is that humidity in these overnight hours. We're still talking about 80 percent humidity, almost 85 percent humidity. You combine those two and it does not feel good out there.

Now the one thing they're really going to notice, the big change, is going to be a threat for severe weather again. Yes, the typical spots out towards the plains. But also places like Pittsburgh and D.C. We're going to be focusing on the threat especially towards late afternoon and the overnight hours. You may see a lull in between during the day. But watch out, there's going to be the threat for even some tornadoes, but definitely some strong winds and potential for large hail out there.

You're going to feel live instability that's currently out there with the systems. But that's going to be we're going to be watching. Meanwhile, still that same story, otherwise. Still watching some frontal systems making their way across. More frontal showers day after day, all the way really in through Friday. It looks like for the northeast until it kind of clears out of here. It's a rainy weather, we're really watching D.C. today for that threat of severe weather.

BERMAN: Swampy mess.


BERMAN: Thank you, Indra. ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

A new study finds a possible link between red meat and breast cancer. Harvard researchers tracked more than 88,000 women for 20 years and found .5 percent more cases of breast cancer among women who ate the most red meat. The study does not rule out the possibility that other factors could've caused that spike. Certainly an important study people are looking at this morning.

BERMAN: Yes. It's one of those headlines you want to look and find more about right there.


BERMAN: All right. Coming up for us, a record setting night in Miami. Heat-Spurs, game three of the NBA Finals. This one was insane at the start, over really within 16 minutes. Record-setting and Joe Carter has all the details on the "Bleacher Report" next.


BERMAN: So it was kind of ridiculous, actually, last night. The San Antonio Spurs could not be stopped. Not at the beginning for sure. Setting an NBA Finals record for shooting in the first half to retake control of the series.

ROMANS: Joe Carter has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Hey, Joe.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. Yes, the Spurs were lights out. They made 76 percent of their shots in the first half. It was the most accurate first half in NBA Finals history. And what's even more impressive is they did it on the road in Miami.

Now the Spurs came out and made 19 of their first 21 shots. They were 6 for 6 from behind the three-point arc and they scored 70 points by halftime. Now Miami didn't play bad. The Heat actually shot over 50 percent. But they still lost the game by double-digits and it's because the Spurs found a shooting rhythm that simply could not be stopped.


GREGG POPOVICH, SPURS HEAD COACH: I don't think we'll ever shoot 76 percent in a half ever again.

LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: They jumped on us. And they were the aggressor tonight. And they had us on our heels from the beginning. And this is something that's -- at this point in the season shouldn't happen.


CARTER: All right. So here's a stat for you, when a final series is tied 1-1, the game three winner goes on to win the series 83 percent of the time. That's something to think about this morning. Game 4, by the way, is Thursday night in Miami.

Hey, check out late-night baseball. This could be the play of the year. The A's young stud, Yoenis Cespedes, babbles the ball left field but totally redeems himself by throwing a 300-foot strike.

Check it out again. He nails Howie Kendrick at the plate, he turns a bad play into an amazing out. But the Angels would get their revenge by winning the game in the 14th. Collin Cowgill says make a play on that one, Cespedes. A walk-off homerun, Angels win their fifth game in a row.

Well, tonight, it's do or die for the New York Rangers. Game four of the Stanley Cup Final is in New York and the Rangers down 0-3 have to beat the Kings or their season is over. Now L.A. is on the verge of being the first team to sweep through the final in 16 years.

For a full preview of tonight's game and in-depth analysis, you can go to

And that is your "Bleacher Report" update. It's so wonderful to see the both of you this morning at 5:27, your smiling faces.


ROMANS: John has been up all night between the Virginia primary, Republican primary.

BERMAN: Exactly.

ROMANS: And that game, he was just like, he knew --

BERMAN: The Spurs just didn't miss. What they did is mathematically impossible. It doesn't happen like that.

CARTER: Yes. This series is going to be one of those that goes game to game. So I don't expect Miami to lose two in a row. They never lose two in a row in the playoffs at home. So I expect Miami to take game four, and then it'll go back to San Antonio, go back and forth. So it's going to be a good one to watch for sure.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Joe.

BERMAN: Joe Carter, great to see you.

CARTER: You, too.

ROMANS: All right. And that stunning victory overnight for the Tea Party, taking out one of the country's top Republican leaders. The shocking defeat and the impact this is going to have on Congress and the president's agenda right after the break.