Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Southeast Bracing for Hurricane Matthew; Hurricane Matthew Devastates Haiti; Clinton Preps for Debate; Trump Touts Pence's Performance in V.P. Debate

Aired October 6, 2016 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:00]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: I'm John Berman. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. And the breaking news, you will want to pay attention to this, a deadly hurricane getting dangerously close to Florida and other southeastern states -- Hurricane Matthew, now a category three storm.

It has already killed at least 15 people in the Caribbean and it is tearing through the Bahamas right now. It is expected to regain -- regain strength and regain category four status before it makes landfall in the United States. Now, where will that be?

It could be anywhere from north of Miami all the way up to North Carolina. That means millions of people are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders across a wide area right now, including the entire city of St. Augustine, which was just put under mandatory evacuation effective at 6:00 a.m. That's two hours from now.

You can see the traffic jams, people trying to get out. There are (ph) long lines for gas, where they've already (ph) -- where still remains, where it hasn't run out (ph) already, long lines already at grocery stores with folks emptying shelves and buying a (ph) sheet of plywood to cover windows.

Federal state officials are warning residents to take these evacuation orders very seriously. They are suggesting the possibility of devastation not seen since hurricane Andrew in 192.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Just remember that you can always rebuild. You can always repair property. You cannot restore a life if it is lost.

And we want to make sure that we minimize any possible loss of life or risk.

SCOTT: Protecting life is the number one priority right now. If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction that we haven't seen in years.

ROMANS: Well, let's be clear. Weather officials have been saying for the past 12 hours, the decisions you make right now are life and death decisions.

Joining us live from the CNN weather center with the very latest on Matthew's path, Meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Good morning. Where do we think this thing is going to go?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, John and Christine. The path is becoming clearer here to us at the CNN weather center. This is the latest from the National Hurricane Center, still a strong category three.

But there have been some developments overnight, and that -- that the storm is starting to become more and more organized. We're seeing more of a defined eye wall as it passes just to the south of Nassau (ph) in the Bahamas.

The storm is showing signs that it is beginning to strengthen. And we'll likely see that perhaps bump up to a category four before potentially making landfall across the Atlantic seaboard of Florida.

Here is the latest warnings from the National Hurricane Center. From Brevard up to the Florida-Georgia border, that's where we have hurricane warnings, with hurricane watches in effect for the entire coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina. So the likelihood of tropical-storm force winds becoming greater and greater, if not hurricane to major hurricane status across the east coast of the Florida Peninsula.

But of course, the exact track is so crucial. What we're starting to see is our computer models converge on an agreement. But the path is important.

In fact, miles count here because if we see a deviation here from that exact path, the eye wall, where the strongest winds reside, if that were to move 50 miles inland, it would bring the bulk of the devastation with it and become more of a dangerous hurricane than it already is. But if it shifts further to the east, that means offshore, we will miss the worse devastation from hurricane Matthew.

Either way you look at it, these are the major threats going forward, John and Christine -- heavy rains, damaging winds. storm surge will be a major threat, and of course, flash flooding. More details to come. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much, Derek Van Dam. And you can see, just take a look at the map that he was just showing you right there. This goes up right off the coast.

It could be a direct hit anywhere along the Florida coast. So you have to be so careful right now and you know, get out if you haven't already.

Airlines have already canceled more than a thousand South Florida flights as according to flightaware.com. Fort Lauderdale International Airport will shut down in just a few hours, 10:30 this morning. Miami International says it is monitoring wind speeds and other

factors to decide if and when it will close down. Further north, residents are evacuating, though some are planning to ride out this storm.

CNN's Sara Sidner is there for us in Daytona Beach with the latest.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, we are starting to feel some of the effects of this storm -- light winds. And we can hear the surf crashing on the shore. We know that surf is up.

And it's going to get higher and higher and higher as these winds and these bands of rain start coming through here in Volusia County. This is a place where it's normally filled with people who love the beach, love the ocean, and love the night life.

Well, you're not seeing much of that here. Most people are heeding these warnings. A lot of the residents have already evacuated.

And certainly, the tourists have decided either not to come or they've left already. We can tell you this, when we went into stores to see what they still had, things like pallets (ph) of water all sold out, gas canisters sold out, generators sold out in much of this county.

We can tell you, though, that there are already voluntary evacuations happening in the barrier islands, including Merritt Island. That's about a hundred to 50,000 people that have to get off those islands.

Those voluntary evacuations are going to become mandatory this afternoon. This storm is no joke. And people here are heeding warnings.

It is a monster storm. And if it comes in as a category four, a lot of folks who grew up in Florida like myself, remember what hurricane Andrew was like and they don't want to be around for it.

John, Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Sara, thank you for that. You know, the preparations are under right now in South Carolina. The governor there has ordered the evacuation of hundreds and thousands of people from two coastal counties, Beaufort and Charleston. That's where we get our latest from Stephanie Elam.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, as you can see, here in Charleston, we are right downtown on King Street. And you can see lots of preparations have been made here.

The street, for one, is pretty deserted. And you can see some of the stores have already been boarded up as people are preparing to evacuate.

In fact, that was one of the big things that the government has wanted here in South Carolina, so much so that they took Interstate 26. And they reversed their direction on both sides. So all lanes now only slow west away from the coast. You can't get

back in downtown on I-26. And that's because they really want people to get out of the way and stay away from this area that could be affected.

Governor Nikki Haley, going as far as to say that people really will be putting other people in danger if they stay here. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: Anyone that's trying to wait this out, we ask you to take caution and -- and try and heed what everybody else is doing. We have been very, very appreciative of the way South Carolinians have responded to this evacuation because we seldom start early.

They've been very patient. Everything seems to be going smoothly. But we will continue to watch this until the evacuation is done.

ELAM: And it looks like people here are taking up that guidance. We know that according to South Carolina, some 250,000 people have already evacuated.

And another 200,000 are expected to evacuate today. They're just saying that people need to not play meteorologists themselves.

And they need to not try to guess where this hurricane is going. They need to pack up and leave for their safety and for the safety of their loved ones.

John and Christine?

BERMAN: Right. Stephanie Elam, thanks so much. This storm already left a trail of destruction in Haiti which, of course, is still reeling from the catastrophic earthquake six years ago. Matthew hit Tuesday as a category four storm with a hundred and 45 mile an hour winds.

It killed at least 10 people there. That death toll is expected to rise with health officials growing increasingly concerned about an outbreak -- a possible outbreak of cholera. The southern part of Haiti, particularly hard-hit, hundreds of thousands people have been flooded out of their villages, and right now, are still without food or medical supplies.

You can stay with CNN throughout the morning for continuing coverage of hurricane Matthew, including that (ph) emergency briefing by Florida Governor Rick Scott. That is in the 8:00 hour of "New Day."

ROMANS: All right, to politics now, the second head-to-head debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is just three days away. What both sides are saying ahead of their big showdown, that's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Millions of people in the Southeast bracing for this -- the arrival of hurricane Matthew. Look at that. It is expected to build in velocity (ph).

We're expecting this to get back to a category four by the time it makes landfall somewhere along the 700-mile stretch of coastline between, you know, just north of Miami and North Carolina. That's where this thing is going to slam.

More than two million people in three states are urged or ordered in some cases to evacuate. We're going to keep you update on hurricane Matthew throughout the morning.

BERMAN: All right, politics now. So how do you get to the second presidential debate? Practice. Donald Trump will be doing that at a town hall tonight in New Hampshire.

It's a sort of a dress rehearsal, three days before his Sunday showdown with Hillary Clinton. That will be a town hall format.

Trump was campaigning in Nevada overnight. He -- he touted Mike Pence as the winner of the running-mate debate. And he couldn't really help giving himself an attaboy (ph) as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mike Pence did an incredible job. And I'm getting a lot of credit because that's really my first so-called choice. That was my first hire as we would say in Las Vegas.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Let's get the latest now from CNN's Jim Acosta, traveling with the Trump campaign.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, Donald Trump is taking a bit of a victory lap after Mike Pence's performance in that vice presidential debate. But Trump is also trying to get back on message.

At a rally here in Reno, he went after President Obama's signature legislative achievement, Obamacare, noting how earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton described the Affordable Care Act as a crazy system. Here is more of what Trump had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Can you imagine when he walked home to that beautiful home in Westchester and he said, "Hi, Hillary. How was your day?

(LAUGHTER)

Oh, did he suffer. And a big part of her campaign is Obamacare -- big part. And she wants to double up and double down. And she wants it go -- I mean, this woman doesn't know what the hell she is doing, folks, sadly (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

There's only one way to stop Obamacare. And that's to vote for Donald J. Trump.

ACOSTA: And throughout the day, Trump was praising Pence's performance in that vice presidential debate. But he was also taking some credit, noting how the Pence pick was one of his first big decisions as a presidential candidate.

And the Trump campaign is also pushing back on the notion that Trump is somehow jealous of Pence's performance. In the words of Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, "That is truly outrageous."

John and Christine?

BERMAN: All right, Jim. Later this morning, Mike Pence will be on "New Day." That's at 8:30 Eastern Time.

ROMANS: Donald Trump mocked Hillary Clinton for taking time off to prepare for their first debate. That worked out pretty well for Clinton. And she's taking the same approach for the second go round on Sunday night.

In her place, some high-profile surrogates are hitting the campaign trail -- Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Bernie Sanders. We get more now on CNN's -- on Clinton's debate prep from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

ZELENY: John and Christine, Hillary Clinton off the campaign trail again today, preparing for her showdown on Sunday with Donald Trump. Call it the St. Louis sequel. She is practicing the same way she did for that first debate last week, when she was surrounded by a small circle of advisers at her home in Washington on Wednesday, before she attended an evening fundraiser.

It was clear she had Trump in that debate on her mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I'm looking forward to our next debate next Sunday.

(APPLAUSE)

I thought the first one went pretty well.

(APPLAUSE)

And just as in that first debate, I feel it's -- it's my responsibility not to defend myself against his attacks because really, been there, done that.

(LAUGHTER)

I -- I think it's my responsibility to defend everybody else against his attacks.

(LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Now, cameras are rarely allowed at Clinton's fundraising events. But they were allowed in last night in Washington, where she spoke at a women's celebration, featuring Eva Longoria, Margulies and others.

She also talked about how close she believes this race still is. And now, her campaign is focusing on registering voters. Now, a key deadline is looming -- next Tuesday, the final day for voters to register in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

But those Florida efforts are now being put on hold because of hurricane Matthew. The president canceled a trip there yesterday, targeting registering voters. And both sides are losing valuable time to register.

So this hurricane has a possible political impact as well.

John and Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Jeff, thank you for that. Clinton running-mate, Tim Kaine, will be live on this morning on "New Day." Tune in for that at 7:30 Eastern Time.

BERMAN: So you have both V.P. candidates this morning.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they face off in their second president debate. That is Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis.

Anderson Cooper will be one of the moderators there. CNN's special coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

ROMANS: All right, to money now, Donald Trump did not pay any federal income taxes, as suggested by "The New York Times" report this week. He's part of an exclusive club, a club of 666 U.S. households that make more than a million dollars in income and don't owe any federal income tax.

That's according to brand new analysis from the Tax Policy Center. Another 3,700 make between $500,000 and a million dollars, also don't have any federal tax liability. Now, the tax code is designed to be progressive.

The more money you make, the more you pay. But wealthy Americans have an advantage. They can score big tax breaks but others can't, like making investments overseas, taking a tax credit at what they pay to foreign governments.

They can also give more to charity and take big deductions, plus, when the rich take big bets and lose, they can take a loss. That applies to investments and businesses.

If the loss is large enough, it can greatly reduce, if not eliminate their tax bill all together any given year.

BERMAN: All right, we are watching hurricane Matthew very, very close this morning. That's where it is right now as a category three.

It will get stronger and it's headed to Florida in the next 24 hours.

ROMANS: Plus, secret files stolen from the NSA. More on the man accused of that crime.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, all eyes on hurricane Matthew this morning. It is closing in on Florida. Look at it right now.

It's already killed 15 people in the Caribbean. The storm is expected to gain strength and hit parts of Florida as maybe a category-four storm.

It has been more than a decade since a storm hit with that force. Governor Rick Scott says people should be prepared for a direct hit.

He and fellow governors in Georgia and South Carolina are urging millions of people along the coast to evacuate. We're going to have much more on the storm's path coming up.

ROMANS: A contractor at the NSA is in federal custody for allegedly stealing top-secret files. The arrest is drawing comparisons to the Edward Snowden case. Fifty-one-year-old Harold Thomas Martin was detained back in August, but was not announced until Wednesday.

According to the FBI, some of the documents Martin allegedly stole contained details of a hacking tool the NSA developed to break into computer systems in other countries. So far, the FBI does not believe Martin was acting on behalf of a foreign nation.

BERMAN: Russia is denying its -- its agents drugged two U.S. diplomats last year at a U.N. convention at St. Petersburg. Officials in Moscow claimed the diplomats were drunk and accused the state department of making up the claim to get revenge for the recently collapsed Syrian peace talks.

A report by Radio Free Europe earlier this week revealed the State Department launched a protest with Russian officials over the alleged use of a date-rape drug on the diplomats. All right, the best big- game pitcher on the planet struck again.

Giants' ace Madison Bumgarner, hit (ph) a four-hit complete game shutout. This guy is just too good. The Giants beat the Mets three- zip (ph) in the national league wild card game.

The Mets did not have a chance against Bumgarner. The Giants' other hero was third baseman, Conor Gillaspie. He hit a three-run homerun to break open the score of this game.

The Giants will now face the Cubs in the national league division series. That's game one Friday in Chicago. ROMANS: All right, Florida bracing for hurricane Matthew, this (ph)

-- this powerful storm expected to gain even more strength as it -- it approaches Florida. We've got live breaking news coverage from Florida next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, welcome back to "Early Start," everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. A very big morning here. It's about 30 minutes past the hour. Breaking news and you're going to want to pay attention to this.

A deadly hurricane is getting dangerously close to Florida and other southeastern states. Hurricane Matthew is now a category-three storm. It has already killed at least 15 people in the Caribbean.

[04:30:07]

It is tearing through the Bahamas -- a very harrowing night in the Bahamas, folks. This is expected to regain strength and regain category-four status before it slams into the U.S.

It is expected to make landfall anywhere from just north of Miami up to North Carolina. That means millions of people right now are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders across a wide area.

We're talking the entire city of St. Augustine which is just put under mandatory evacuation. That's effective 6:00 a.m. The exodus is leading to traffic jams, long lines for gas out -- some places' gas has already run out.

Long lines also of people stocking up because they have decided to ride it out, crowding in the grocery stores, emptying shelves, buying up every sheet of plywood to cover up their windows. Federal and state officials are warning residents to take these evacuation orders in deadly earnest (ph). They are suggesting the possibility of devastation not seen since hurricane Andrew in 1992.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Just remember that you can always rebuild, you can always repair property. You cannot restore a life if it is lost. And we want to make sure that we minimize any possible loss of life or risk.

SCOTT: Protecting life is the number one priority right now. If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction that we haven't seen in years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right, let's go now to the CNN weather center with the latest on the path. Meteorologis Derek Van Dam joins us.

What do we know, Matthew -- Derek? VAN DAM: You know, John, Christine, you talk about evacuations. And

what strikes me is that two million new residents call Florida home since the last time this state was impacted by a major hurricane. Those two million people may not know that they even live in an evacuation zone.

So they're not going to have the hindsight to actually evacuate regardless if -- if they hear the warnings from the National Weather Service or meteorologists here at CNN weather. I'm showing you the current path from the National Hurricane Center.

Two things I want you to note from it. One is this is expected to strengthen, hurricane Matthew, to a category four, as Christine mentioned, hundred and 30-mile-per-hour winds by Thursday evening, before potential making landfall.

The second is the trajectory of this storm, as it rides parallel with the coastline of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. That is going to potentially maximize the devastation from this storm going forward.

Let's time things out. We do expect deteriorating conditions in Southern Florida, from Miami northward by Thursday evening. We'll start to feel the tropical storm force winds.

Then let's get into the overnight period into early Friday morning. That's when the potential for a land-falling category-four hurricane is expected anywhere between 100 to 130-mile-per-hour sustained winds.

And then look how the winds just wrap around the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. The concerns going forward, not only the strong winds but the storm surge threat -- storm surge warnings from Boca Raton to Jacksonville with watches (ph) from that point northward into savannah, Georgia -- the potential for five to eight feet above normal tide value.

So let me try and put this into perspective for you and throw up this 3D model. You heard about storm surge. But what exactly is it?

Let's say you have built a home right on one of the beaches along the Atlantic-facing shores there in the Florida peninsula. And the five to eight-feet of storm surge is realized with our forecast.

Just think about the wind pushing up all of that sea. Well, let's take an average man, for instance. You're roughly five and a half to six-foot tall.

Well, you can imagine that that amount of water will definitely inundate at least the bottom portion of your home flooding it at very least. Remember that the majority of deaths in a hurricane come from not wind, but from storm surge.

So that is a major concern going forward. Look at the rainfall totals (ph), John and Christine, easily in excess of eight to 10 inches. That'll be...

ROMANS: Wow. VAN DAM: ...the flashflood increase (ph) as well.

BERMAN: Any areas -- the path of the storm that is cause for so much concern right now, hugging the coast of Florida, maybe even just directly over the coast of Florida for hundreds and hundreds of miles -- so much opportunity for devastation.

Derek Van Dam, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. So airlines have already cancelled more than a thousand flights to South Florida -- in South Florida. That's according to flightaware.com.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport -- it's going to shut down in a few hours, at 10:30 a.m. this morning. Miami International says it is monitoring wind speeds and other factors to decide if and when it will close down.

Further north, the residents are evacuating, though some are planning to ride out this hurricane. CNN's Sara Sidner is -- is there for us in Daytona Beach with the latest.

SIDNER: John and Christine, we are starting to feel some of the effects of this storm -- light winds. And we can hear the surf crashing on the shore.

We know that the surf is up. And it's going to get higher and higher and higher as these winds and these bands of rain start coming through here in Volusia County. This is a place where it's (ph) normally filled with people who love the beach, love the ocean and love the night life.

Well, you're not seeing much of that here. Most people are heeding these warnings. A lot of the residents have already evacuated and certainly, the tourists have decided either not to come or they've left ready.

We can tell you this, when we went into stores to see what they still had, things like pallets of water all sold out, gas canisters sold out, generators sold out in much of this county. We can tell you, though, that there are already voluntary evacuations happening in the barrier islands, including Merritt Island.

That's about a hundred and 50,000 people that have to get off those islands. Those voluntary evacuations are going to become mandatory this afternoon.

This storm is no joke. And people here are heeding warnings. It is a monster storm. And if it comes in as a category four, a lot of folks who grew up in Florida like myself, remember what hurricane Andrew was like, and they don't want to be around for it.

John, Christine?

BERMAN: Right. Sara Sidner for us in Daytona Beach. Hurricane preparations also under way in South Carolina. The governor there ordered the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from two coastal counties, which is where (ph) get the latest from our Stephanie Elam.

ELAM: John and Christine, as you can see, here in Charleston, we are right downtown on King Street. And you can see lots of preparations have been made here.

The street, for one, is pretty deserted. And you can see some of the stores have already been boarded up as people are preparing to evacuate.

In fact, that was one of the big things that the government has wanted here in South Carolina, so much so, that they took Interstate 26. And they reversed the direction on both sides.

So all lanes now only flow west away from the coast. You can't get back in downtown on I-26. And that's because they really want people to get out of the way and stay away from this area that could be affected.

Governor Nikki Haley going so far as to say that people really will be putting other people in danger if they stay here. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: Anyone that's trying to wait this out, we ask you to take caution and -- and try and heed what everybody else is doing. We have been very, very appreciative of the way South Carolinians have responded to this evacuation because we saw them start early.

They've been very patient. Everything seems to be going smoothly. But we will continue to watch this until the evacuation is done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ELAM: And it looks like people here are taking up that guidance. We know that according to South Carolina, some 250,000 people have already evacuated and another 200,000 are expected to evacuate today.

They're just saying that people need to not play meteorologist themselves and they need to not try to guess where this hurricane is going. They need to pack up and leave for their safety and for the safety of their loved ones.

John and Christine?

ROMANS: All right, thank you so much for that (ph), Stephanie. Hurricane Matthew left a trail of destruction in -- in Haiti, a nation still reeling from a catastrophic earthquake six years ago. Matthew hit Haiti Tuesday as a category-four storm, 145-mile-an-hour wind, killing at least 10 people.

The death toll is expected to rise, health officials growing increasingly concerned about an outbreak of cholera now. The southern part of Haiti simply devastated.

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded out of their villages. There is no food. There is no -- there are no medical supplies right now.

BERMAN: All right, I want you to stay with CNN for coverage of hurricane Matthew throughout the day. The track here is extremely concerning.

There is a 5:00 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. We will get you that information as soon as it hits. And -- and Florida Governor Rick Scott, he will brief sometime in (ph) 8:00 hour, which, of course, CNN will cover as well.

ROMANS: All right, the cost of this hurricane will likely be in the tens of billions of dollars. Of course, it depends on the path of the storm.

But right now, it's headed straight for the tourism-rich Gold Coast. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 -- that was the most expensive storm in U.S. history -- a hundred and $53 billion, Sandy coming in second there, $67 billion, then Andrew, which hit Florida, remember in 1992, and Ike which made landfall in Texas in 2008.

The last major storm to hit Florida was Wilma in 2005. So insurers have not paid out big claims in more than a decade. That should help with the potentially huge costs of Matthew.

But more people in Florida have bought hurricane insurance since then. Property values are up. The state's population has grown -- look at this -- 27 percent over the past 15 years.

BERMAN: That's an (ph) unbelievable.

ROMANS: There are more people in the path of this storm. And now, 98 percent of Florida residents live in coastal counties. There's also the cost to state and local governments plus lost wages and revenue in -- in evacuation zones.

Officials have made it clear, folks. Keeping people safe is their top priority regardless of cost or inconvenience. But that is shocking to me. I didn't realize how much the Florida population has grown.

And -- and you just think how many more people are in the path of this deadly storm.

BERMAN: Hopefully, more people now listening to these orders...

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: ...to get to safety. Just 33 days to go now until election day, the debate Sunday night -- a huge moment for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

We will tell you what both are saying new before the next showdown, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Millions of people in the southeast now bracing for hurricane Matthew. It is expected to build in strength back to category four by the time it makes landfall somewhere along the 700-mile stretch of coastline between Miami and North Carolina. The track of this storm brings it right along the coast there.

So any deviation left, meaning west, could be just devastating for parts of Florida. Two million people in three states are being urged or ordered to evacuate.

We're going to keep you posted on hurricane Matthew throughout the morning.

ROMANS: Yes, the rain and the storm surge forecast just really terrifying. Even if this thing moves a little to the east or a little to the west, you're talking about...

BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: ...an awful lot of water there and property damage for people, and hopefully, no loss of life. But they're really preparing. People are evacuating right now.

All right, so how do you get to the second presidential debate? Practice, practice, practice. Donald Trump will be doing just that at a town hall tonight in New Hampshire, a kind of dress rehearsal three days before the Sunday showdown with Hillary Clinton in the same format, Trump campaigning in Nevada Wednesday.

He touted Mike Pence as the winner of the running-mate debate and couldn't help himself with an old attaboy, too (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mike Pence did an incredible job. And I'm getting a lot of credit because that's really my first so-called choice. That was my first hire, as we would say, in Las Vegas.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: We get the latest now from CNN's Jim Acosta. He is with the Trump campaign.

ACOSTA: John and Christine, Donald Trump is taking a bit of a victory lap after Mike Pence's performance in that vice presidential debate. But Trump is also trying to get back on message at a rally here in Reno.

He went after President Obama's signature legislative achievement, Obamacare, noting how earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton described the Affordable Care Act as a crazy system. Here is more of what Trump had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Can you imagine when he walked home to that beautiful home in Westchester and he said, "Hi, Hillary. How was your day?"

(LAUGHTER)

Oh, did he suffer. And a big part of her campaign is Obamacare -- big part. And she wants to double up and double down. And she wants it to go -- I mean, this woman doesn't know what the hell she is doing, folks, sadly (ph).

There's only one way to stop Obamacare and that's to vote for Donald J. Trump.

ACOSTA: And throughout the day, Trump was praising Pence's performance in that vice presidential debate. But he was also taking some credit, noting how the Pence pick was one of his first big decisions as a candidate.

And the Trump campaign is also pushing back on the notion that Trump is somehow jealous of Pence's performance. And the words of Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, "That is truly outrageous."

John and Christine?

ROMANS: Right, Jim, thanks. You know, later this morning, Mike Pence will be a guest on "New Day" at 8:30 Eastern Time.

BERMAN: You remember that Donald Trump mocked Hillary Clinton for taking time off to prepare for the first debate. Turned out it worked out fairly well for Hillary Clinton.

And she is (ph) doing the same thing for the second debate. That is Sunday night. In her place, there are some high-profile surrogates on the campaign trail -- Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Bernie Sanders.

Let's get more now on the debate prep from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

ZELENY: John and Christine, Hillary Clinton off the campaign trail again today, preparing for her showdown on Sunday with Donald Trump. Call it the St. Louis sequel.

She is practicing the same way she did for that first debate last week, when she was surrounded by a small circle of advisers at her home in Washington on Wednesday, before she attended an evening fund- raiser. It was clear she had Trump and that debate on her mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I'm looking forward to our next debate next Sunday.

(APPLAUSE)

I thought the first one went pretty well.

(APPLAUSE)

And just as in that first debate, I feel it's -- it's my responsibility not to defend myself against his attacks because really, been there, done that.

(LAUGHTER)

I -- I think it's my responsibility to defend everybody else against his attacks.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Now, cameras are rarely allowed at Clinton's fundraising events. But they were allowed in last night in Washington, where she spoke at a women's celebration, featuring Eva Longoria, Julianna Margulies, and others.

She also talked about how close she believes this race still is. And now, her campaign is focusing on registering voters.

Now, a key deadline is looming -- next Tuesday, the final day for voters to register in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. But those Florida efforts are now being put on hold because of hurricane Matthew.

The president canceled a trip there yesterday, targeting registering voters. And both sides are losing valuable time to register. This hurricane has a possible political impact as well.

John and Christine?

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny for us. Now, Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running-mate will be on "New Day" at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time, again (ph) both running-mates today.

ROMANS: One at 7:30 and one at 8:30. And of course, do not miss Sunday night, the next presidential debate. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they face off in St. Louis.

Anderson Cooper will be one of the moderators. We'll be there all day on Sunday.

ROMANS: All right, we'll get an "Early Start" on your money next. Also, we'll continue to keep an eye on this hurricane -- hurricane Matthew. This is the storm track as we have it now.

We're going to get another update on where this is going to land and when in about 11 minutes. We're going to keep you fully abreast of all of this news.

This could be a category-four storm again, folks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, our breaking news, hurricane Matthew is pounding the Bahamas right now as a category-three storm. It is expected to intensify, get even stronger as it heads towards Florida. Let's get the very latest on the track. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now.

Derek, what are you seeing?

VAN DAM: Well, John and Christine, we've highlighted what we believe the concerns are, at least in the next 24 to 48 hours for the Atlantic coastal areas of the Florida peninsula through Georgia and into South Carolina -- heavy flooding rains, damaging winds, potentially major hurricane force, storm surge a major potential, and the potential for tornadoes also exist. Anytime you get a landfall in (ph) hurricane, severe weather threat goes up.

And what we've done here for you is highlighted moment-by-moment, just to give you an exact time reference so you can plan ahead if you are perhaps wrapping up your last measures to protect your property and your life. This is what we're anticipating.

We're looking at Thursday evening across the extreme southern portions of Florida to start to feel the tropical storm-force winds. That's 39 miles per hour or higher.

Storm surge above high-tide values, one to three feet, rain from the system, one to three inches possible. Miami-Dade northward through about (ph) the Palm Beach County region.

But as we work into the overnight period, sometime between Thursday evening and early Friday morning, that's when we start to believe that major hurricane-force winds will start to impact the coast of Florida -- not a land-falling hurricane just yet but very strong winds, storm surge starting to pick up as well, three to five feet potentially, and extremely heavy rain leading to flash flooding. Then we move into early Friday morning -- a land-falling hurricane across the Space Coast, that's a possibility, Cape Canaveral, northward into Daytona Beach. Storm surge there, anywhere between four to eight feet above normal high tide values -- that will be a concern.

This has the potential to be very devastating for the coastal areas.

John, Christine?

ROMANS: And when you see that category three heading then right up to Savannah, you know, sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, airlines don't fly.

BERMAN: No...

ROMANS: Fifty-five miles per hour, they close -- you know, they close the towers. We know that -- I think it's Fort Lauderdale?

Fort Lauderdale is already closed. That airport is closed. Miami is still open but...

BERMAN: Yes.

ROMANS: ...just unbelievable. This -- they're saying now -- thank you so much, Derek -- they're saying now...

VAN DAM: You're welcome (ph).

ROMANS: ...look, the decisions you make in the next 12 hours are going to be life and death decisions here.

BERMAN: We had a really good depiction right there from Derek, gives you a sense of exactly where you need to be concerned and when. Basically, if you're on the coast of Florida, you need to make a decision now.

ROMANS: All right, there is that path. OK, we'll continue to monitor this for you. Let's get with "Early Start" in your money this morning.

A strong day for stocks yesterday. It appears to be holding this morning. Dow futures are pointing higher, a solid report on the service sector of the catalyst. Tomorrow is the big jobs report.

So a lot of information here this week. Right now, stock markets in Europe and Asia are mostly higher, two stocks hit record high yesterday.

Priceline -- look at that. It hit above $1,500 a share during Wednesday session, and now the most expensive stock in the S&P 500. Amazon also a record high yesterday, now, well above $800 a share.

Several (ph) good news in Silicon Valley, though shares of Twitter jumped yesterday on buyout (ph) rumors. Now, they're plunging 11 percent, free market trading this morning on reports that Google will not bid for the company.

So a lot of -- of big-name stocks likely in your portfolio on the move this morning. White male voters without a college degree are frustrated.

And a new report shows the big part of the reason why. Income for working-class white men, defined as those with only a high school diploma dropped from more than $40,000 a year in 1996 to less than $37,000.

Look at that, in 2014, a plunge in (ph) their income of nine percent. This is according to Sentier (ph) Research.

Over that same period, income for college-educated white men soared nearly 23 percent from 77 grand to more than $94,000.

I think those numbers, John, are a big, big factor on the campaign trail here this week. There is an unease among this demographic that has really played out.

All right, after years of complaints, finally, stricter regulations for one of the fastest-growing financial products -- millions of Americans use prepaid debit cards to shop and pay. Consumers loaded $65 billion on the prepaid cards in 2012.

By 2018, the government estimates that number will be a hundred and $12 billion. On prepaid cards. But guess what? Many of these carry big fees.

They have very few protections that regular credit cards offer. And now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will limit overdraft fees and other charges.

It's going to put restrictions on interest rate hikes, will require a long and short disclosure forms that list (ph) all the fees and services. There are people, especially low-income people who use these prepaid debit cards who are nickled (ph) and dimed (ph) death.

They are charged so much money to use their own money that it's really -- it's just really a shame. And now, regulations are on the way.

BERMAN: Anytime you have to pay to use your own is not a good thing.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: All right, hurricane Matthew headed right for Florida at this moment. "Early Start" continues right now.

(UNKNOWN): This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, welcome to "Early Start," everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I am Christine Romans. It is almost 5:00 a.m. in the -- in the East. And our big breaking news this morning, you're going to want to pay close attention to this -- deadly hurricane dangerously close to Florida and other southeastern states.

Hurricane Matthew now a category-three storm. It has already killed at least 15 people in the Caribbean. It is tearing through the Bahamas, just a harrowing night -- overnight in the Bahamas.

It is expected to regain strength. This is expected to become a category four before it makes landfall in the United States. That landfall could be anywhere from just north of Miami up to North Carolina, a 700--mile stretch where this could hit.

You've got millions of people under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders across a wide area, including the entire city of St. Augustine, which was just put under mandatory evacuation effective 6:00 a.m., the exit is leading to traffic jams, long lines, also lines of people stacking up because they've -- they've decided to ride this out, crowding in the grocery stores, emptying shelves, buying up every single sheet of plywood to cover up their windows. Federal and state officials...

[05:00:00]