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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Debt Ceiling Deadline Approaches; New Jersey Senate Race Tightens; Red Sox Vs. Tigers

Aired October 14, 2013 - 04:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: In just three days, the U.S. government will no longer be able to pay its bill. Economic disaster looming.

New this morning, all hope seems to rest with two men who hardly ever agree on anything.



SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I thank you for being here! You who have that Jersey fight in you and not backing away from the fight!


SAMBOLIN: Republicans pulling out the stops in a hotly contested Senate race, with all eyes on this New Jersey election.

BERMAN: Trapped on a rising draw bridge. A pedestrian hoisted 20 feet into the air dangling above the ground and waiting for a rescue. How do you get trapped --

SAMBOLIN: That doesn't sound good.

BERMAN: -- on a draw bridge?

SAMBOLIN: That doesn't sound good.

BERMAN: Not on my bucket list.


Welcome back to EARLY START. We are on your bucket list -- 4:00 in the morning, 4:32 this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: Watch us if it's the last thing you do. I'm John Berman. It's great to see you this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right. The clock is ticking this morning on find ago solution that would keep this country from going into default. The debt ceiling deadline is just three days away now. So, it means Congress and the White House only have until Thursday to come up with some sort of a plan to give the administration permission to borrow the money necessary to pay all the bills. If it does not happen, experts say, it will mean economic catastrophe. And talks between House Republicans and the White House fell apart over the weekend.

Now, Senate Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are trying to work out their own deal to try and force the House's hand.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I think there's a view in the Senate that we have to take over, that the House will get nothing done, but hopefully, if we can pass something with a broad bipartisan majority that the House will then act.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We've offered 13 compromises this week to open the government. The Democrats have rejected each one of them. To me, there is a big picture problem. We have the $17 trillion debt. We are borrowing more than a million dollars every minute, so we do have to address that.


SAMBOLIN: One apparent sticking point is the question of spending, with Republicans objecting to a plan that would have restored some cuts now in effect, as a result of the sequester. All this as the deadline for dealing with this grows closer and closer.

BERMAN: Anger over the government shutdown is boiling over at the World War II Memorial in Washington where Tea Party backers faced off with police there and the White House. The memorial has been officially closed though the park service says it will not stop veterans. It will not stop veterans who want to visit.

The protesters wanted to send a message, picking up the barriers and dumping them in front of the executive mansion.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're American citizens and all veterans. We have a right to be here. We have a First Amendment right to speak our mind. We are being shutdown.



BERMAN: This is a very controversial with some controversial things said as well.

"Politico" says another rally planned for later this week also at the World War II Memorial. This one will involve major veteran groups including the American Legion of VFW. They're going to call on Congress to end the stalemate and reopen the government.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-four minutes past the hour.

It could be a closer finish than anyone expected. This is a New Jersey Senate race. Popular Newark Mayor Corey Booker was supposed to cruise to victory here. He is still leading but he's watched that lead shrink over the last few months.

Now, his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, is making a big closing push. With the vote just two days away, he is bringing in the big guns.

Here is CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What does a candidate do if you're down in the polls days from the election and your opponent is a political celebrity?

PALIN: Thank you, New Jersey!

CARROLL: Answer? Bring in your own celebrity.

PALIN: Can the rest of America count on you to send Steve Lonegan to the United States Senate?

CARROLL: That's exactly what New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan did. The former mayor of Bogota is facing an uphill battle on a man well-known on the national stage, Newark's Mayor Corey Booker.

PALIN: Don't measure the drapes there quite yet.

CARROLL: Palin and Lonegan paint the race as a national referendum on the president's policies, including Obamacare.

STEVE LONEGAN (R), NEW JERSEY SENATE CANDIDATE: When we go to Washington October 17th, it's going to be Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that are going to fold!

AD NARRATOR: Cory Booker, radical, liberal, extreme.

CARROLL: Thanks in part to Lonegan's aggressive ad campaign, Booker's double digit lead, 28 points in August, dipped to 12 points, according to a poll released last week -- not surprising to some voters here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that there are a lot of people in the state that have conservative values and just don't know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Republican but I think Lonegan is bit too far to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is very much a movement conservative. I think that makes his uphill battle that much steeper because of his identification as a Tea Party conservative. CARROLL: Lonegan is anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. His and his campaign's views on Mayor Booker seem to be getting all of the attention. Lonegan fired one of his top advisers Friday after that adviser gave a profanity-laced interview ridiculing Mayor Booker for having a Twitter exchange with a stripper, saying, "I don't know. It was like what a gay guy would say to a stripper."

LONEGAN: I have hundreds of activists, volunteers, donors, people on this campaign and I can't be responsible for all of them say. But I will take responsibly, so I terminated the gentleman for his inappropriate comment.

CARROLL: Lonegan has been criticized for his comments about Booker. This after Booker addressed questions about whether he was gay, saying, "What does it matter if I am?"

Lonegan weighed in during an August radio interview.

LONEGAN: It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy.

CARROLL: And then there was the comment Lonegan made during last week's debate, and that where taxpayers money from the suburbs and rural areas goes.

LONEGAN: All that income tax and sales tax money is gets poured into the big black hole of Newark.

But the liberal media is going to say what they want to see. Newark's budget is a big black hole and it sucks millions and billions of suburban taxpayer dollars and we'll never see it again, period.

CARROLL (on camera): The last time Sarah Palin appeared at a Tea Party Express really was more than a year ago. Whether or not she has any influence this time will be determined when voters head to the polls in New Jersey this Wednesday.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Jason Carroll for that.

You know, Cory Booker's lead was up at 28 points, and it is, in fact, shrinking but 12 points in the latest poll is still a pretty wide margin.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's still a nice lead.

BERMAN: Thirty-eight minutes after the hour.

Torrential rain wreaking havoc in central Texas. Look at that, more than a foot of water following in just 12-hour period. This is just outside of Austin.

SAMBOLIN: Turn around, don't drown. That's a good sign. BERMAN: It shouldn't be on the road at all.

First responders made several high water rescues as cars were completely submerged. At least one community was evacuated in the flash floods as one's parts creeks turned into raging rapids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the front of my house, it was three feet deep at least deeper and it was like a raging river going through. I couldn't have got out of my house because it was such fast water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I saw the red lights blinking and I found out my neighbor was household out through four feet of water in her house.


BERMAN: Long time residents have never seen anything like this there. This led to the cancellation of the final day of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. There could be more rain on the way. Flash flood warnings are effective until midnight tonight.

SAMBOLIN: What a mess they have to clean up.

All right. Karen Maginnis has an early look at the rest of our weather.

Good morning.


It does look like we'll see some problems as far as the airport delays are concerned, primarily in Texas. That looks to be where you might expect some lengthy delays when these thunderstorms kick up once again. Dallas and Houston, the rainfall could be heavy at times. Minneapolis, low clouds and rain first. Denver, windy weather conditions and low clouds because area of low pressure that is moving across the interior west will move into the northern tier on the back side of this enough cold air that all the way from Sawtooth to the Wind River Mountains and Front Range and Gunnison and Wasatch, look for some snowfall an higher elevations expecting maybe 10 inches.

Rainfall, thunderstorms across Texas, Dallas expecting a high of 75. In the I-95 corridor, New York City, 69 degrees expected and Washington, D.C., 72. And Atlanta is cooler with 76.

Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Karen.

An amazing story for you from south Florida now. Take a look at this, it is a woman on a railroad bridge dangling about 20 feet in the air. This all happened in Ft. Lauderdale and it's not clear what she was doing there.

BERMAN: Seriously.

SAMBOLIN: Seriously.

Pedestrians are supposed to walk across another nearby crossings but the bridge is remote controlled. So, once it started going up, there was no one around to stop it.

You know I have dreams about it. Actually nightmares I guess.

BERMAN: You have dreams about being on a draw bridge?

SAMBOLIN: A draw bridge going up and nobody able to bring it down and I'm on it. So, she dangled for about 20 minutes.

All right. The most surprising thing, she never let go of her purse!



ANNA MATLACK, WITNESS: I would have been flipping out, oh, my goodness, oh, my goodness.

REPORTER: Would you have let go of the purse?

MATLACK: Well, it depends on what is in the purse. It depends what's in the purse. I would have held onto it if there were some valuables in there.


SAMBOLIN: Seriously?

All right. The bridge has loud sirens that goes off every time that it rises so it is unclear why this woman was still there when it went up. There's some calculation, however, that woman may have been disoriented after taking part in a breast cancer walk nearby.

BERMAN: Obviously she is to go OK.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

BERMAN: But, back to you. You have dreams about being on a draw bridge?

SAMBOLIN: I have. I have nightmares about it. I'm really scared of bridges. I have these nightmares about it going up and I'm stuck. I'm either on a car or falling off of it or I'm hanging on. A nightmare. It's terrible.

BERMAN: So, there's a whole genre. This is like a type of dream you have repeatedly?

SAMBOLIN: The worse is when you plunge and you're in a car and you can't get out. There you have it.

BERMAN: OK. We're going to get some help and move on.

Forty-one minutes after the hour.

Thirty boaters had been rescued from Miami's Biscayne Bay when their 41-foot party boat took on party and capsized. Fellow boaters immediately rushed over to help them. Emergency responders led by the Coast Guard quickly followed suit. Everyone on board, including a dog, was rescued.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, good.

BERMAN: N reports of injuries. Investigators are looking over whether overcrowding was an issue on this boat. They say the captain may not have been licensed.

SAMBOLIN: The Oklahoma City Thunder helping three schools come back after they were destroyed by a powerful tornado. That was back in May. The NBA team agreeing to rebuild the basketball courts, complete with thunder branding. This is at Briarwood Elementary, Plaza Towers Elementary and Highland East Junior High School.

Over this academic year, classes are being held another locations while the schools are being rebuilt. That is wonderful.

BERMAN: We're getting a better sense this morning of the impact of devastating snowstorm that it had on South Dakota's cattle industry. Some ranchers there now say the storm brought up to four feet of snow on the state and it may have killed 90 percent, 90 percent of the herd. It's unbelievable.

An industry group says at least 5 percent of the cattle in western South Dakota was wiped out. That is hundreds of thousands of cows and most ranchers did not have insurance to cover their losses.

SAMBOLIN: They said there were carcasses everywhere. It was really catastrophic for the industry there.

Forty-three minutes past the hour.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continuing her push to stem the tide of gun violence, this time with a weekend visit to a gun show in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was her first trip to a gun show since surviving an assassination attempt in 2011. Alongside her husband and New York's attorney general, Giffords chatted with the gun dealers and told reporter it is time for Congress to take action on gun laws.


GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do what's right, the courage of new ideas. I've seen what occurred when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together.

Fight, fight, fight! Be bold! Be courageous. The nation is counting on you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: We can call her bold and courageous.

New York state has some of the nation's toughest background checks for gun fires and including a gun show where all buyers must be cleared before they can make a purchase.

BERMAN: So, Halloween just a few weeks away and it seems like haunted houses are popping all over the place. What a better place than one to show his love for his girlfriend.


BERMAN: That is Nick Shulman (ph) and he was a showman, asking for his girlfriend Stephanie Hill to take his hand literally at a Phoenix haunted house.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take my hand and marry me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know what he was doing. He just sort of stopped on the bridge and there is like zombies. I'm like what are you doing? Let's go? My hand is shaking, sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best way to ever do it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, best way to ever do it. I live that.


BERMAN: Marriage is less scary --

SAMBOLIN: He knows his woman. I loved it, I loved it.

BERMAN: Would you like that? Would that go over well?

SAMBOLIN: No, no! Not go over well.

BERMAN: So, we're told they got out unharmed. Zombies did not catch them and wishing them a happy Halloween in a very happy and scary life together.

SAMBOLIN: It's memorable. You have to be unique.

BERMAN: Coming up, we are counting five major event set to make headlines this week. What are they? We'll tell you just ahead. "The Weekly Five" is coming up next.


BERMAN: Wake me up when it's all over. It's EARLY START theme song, right?

SAMBOLIN: I like it. BERMAN: It is time to take a look at the stories making news this week.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONKDENT (voice-over): With your "Weekly Five," I'm Rosa Flores.

Want to get up close and personal with an American icon? The assembly plant that turns out the new C-7 Corvette Stingray reopens its doors to the public on Monday after a major renovation. Touring the facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, costs $7. If you want to drive away with a pricey souvenir, a new Vette will set you back around $52,000.

High honors at the White House when President Obama awards Army Captain William Swenson the Medal of Honor. Captain Swenson, a trainer and mentor to Afghan border police, was ambushed in the Kunar Province in 2009. Swenson becomes the sixth living recipient of the medal for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Voters in the Garden State head to the polls on Wednesday. They elect a new U.S. senator to replace Frank Lautenberg who died in June. The race pits Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan. It's been a messy campaign as both sides took aim at each other launching personal attacks.

Thursday, a treasure trove of historical documents from Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. hit the auction blocks. Handwritten notes by Dr. King and a page from "I Have a Dream" speech are part of the rare collection. King's personal secretary, Maude Ballou, is selling the items, with some of the proceeds going to Alabama State University.

Also on Thursday, millions of people will be preparing for the big one, the great shakeout are earthquake drills being held from coast- to-coast? It's part of an effort to make people aware what to do when an earthquake strikes.

And that's your "Weekly Five".


BERMAN: Our thanks to Rosa for that.

And coming up, pandemonium at the American League Championship Series! Boston explodes! The Red Sox pulling off a stunning, stunning come from behind victory. You know, as I said, it's not over.

SAMBOLIN: I'm shock that you're here this morning.

BERMAN: It is not over until Big Papi says it is. How did this happen? Andy Scholes will bring it to us in "The Bleacher Report."

SAMBOLIN: Relax, Berman, relax!

BERMAN: Hopefully, we'll hear about Tom Brady, too. It's all coming up next!


BERMAN: Tom Brady is so much more than just dreamy, although he is quite dreamy. Let's leave it at that.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: Just when it looked like the Patriots were out of it. Like they lost that game four times over and somehow Tom Brady still finds a way to win.

Andy Scholes is here with "The Bleacher Report".

Zoraida refuses to acknowledge any of this anymore. She's done with me completely.

SAMBOLIN: I'm done.

BERMAN: Good morning, Andy.


You know, what a game and what a play by Tom Brady. This comeback win was so improbable the stadium was already half empty. Patriots down by four and Brady throws an interception. Fans thought the game was over. They started heading to the parking lots.

Patriots got the ball back one more time, Brady drives them right down the field, and with under 10 seconds left he makes an amazing throw to Kenbrell Thompkins. He gets to beat in. Touchdown, Patriots! They win the game 30-27. The Saints, they lose for the first time this season.

All right. Cowboys and Redskins renewing their football rivalry on Sunday night football. Tony Romo coming off his amazing game against the Broncos. Check out this play. He finds Terrance Williams in the third quarter. That was Romo's only touchdown pass from the night but it was enough. RG3 struggles continue completing less than half of his passes.

Cowboys wins 31-16. Redskins are a disappointing 1-4.

All right. Number one on the today is the amazing comeback by John Berman's Red Sox in game two of the ACLS. Down 5-1 in the eighth. Bases loaded for Big Papi. First pitch he sees, he puts it in the bull pen!

BERMAN: Did you see the top of the bull pen there cheering?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, good gracious.

SCHOLES: Grand slam tied the game. Bottom of the ninth runner on third for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he comes through with a single. Walk off win for the Red Sox. They even the series one game apiece. ALCS now shifts to Detroit for game three on Tuesday. Dodgers and Cardinals play game 3 of NLCS. The first pitch is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on TBS. Cardinals lead the series 2-0.

And, guys, I was watching that Saint-Patriots game. I was even yelling at the TV and I thought, I wonder what John Berman is doing watching all of this?

BERMAN: I was so mad at that point. Honestly Brady threw the pick and I was sure they lost that game twice over. I was barely paying attention at the point when they got the ball back and started to drive. Really? I couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable.

SCHOLES: Yes. And then you got to relive it all over again with the Red Sox.

SCHOLES: Craziness.

SAMBOLIN: I thought he was going to stay up all night. He was kind of in and out.

BERMAN: The playoffs in general both ALCS and NLCS, man, are they good right now.

SCHOLES: Good games. Very good games right now.

BERMAN: All right, Andy, great to see you this morning.

Bring us more news like this any time, any time you want!

SAMBOLIN: We'll be right back.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's the height of hypocrisy to not pay our bills. Height of the responsibility.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it's not a good idea to go through the debt ceiling deadline. I think we should go ahead and have an agreement in advance.


BERMAN: Days away now from a dangerous debt ceiling deadline. The Washington makes shift for a whole new battlefield now. This morning, is time running out to avoid the disaster?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to get out of my car. My door wouldn't open.


SAMBOLIN: That is a pregnant woman rescued from the rising water as Texas gets pounded with rain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have no food for 18 days, whatever protein you can get, he did.


BERMAN: Lost and alone in the woods --

SAMBOLIN: Incredible story.

BERMAN: -- for 18 days. One 72-year-old man's stunning story of survival.

SAMBOLIN: Really, stay tuned for that one.