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Bergdahl Outpatient; Soccer Madness; Interview with President Obama

Aired June 23, 2014 - 08:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here are the five things that you need to know for your new day.

At number one, Team USA looking ahead to Thursday's match against Germany for a chance to advance in the World Cup. Portugal put the celebration on hold with a stunning game tying goal in the final seconds last night.

Secretary of State John Kerry has finished up a meeting with Iraq's prime minister. He is calling for a more inclusive government as Iraq cities continue to fall to ISIS militants.

Israel bombed a series of military targets inside Syria early this morning. Israeli officials said it was in response to a cross border attack that killed an Israeli teenager.

Candidates and voters in seven states are gearing up for primaries tomorrow. Most notable, Mississippi's Republican Senate runoff. Seven- term incumbent Thad Cochran trying to top Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel.

And in the shadow of the World Cup, one of the world's biggest tennis tournaments, Wimbledon, getting underway today. Hometown hero Andy Murray begins defense of his Wimbledon title. So you have lots of choices if you're not into just soccer.

We always update those five things to know. So be sure to go to for the latest.

Soccer, tennis, tennis, soccer or both.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's like a tennis match, you just don't know which one to watch.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: We're going to watch both.

All right, we have new developments this morning on Bowe Bergdahl. He's been shifted to outpatient care in Texas. It's the latest step in the reintegration process for the Army sergeant, freed last month after five years as a Taliban prisoner. The military is still exploring the murky circumstances surrounding his capture. CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon with much more.

Barbara, so what is the update on his status?


A very brief statement from the Pentagon over the weekend saying that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl now is outpatient, has left his impatient status at the hospital in Texas where he's been treated for the last several days. As an outpatient, they are not saying exactly where he's located in Texas to protect his privacy and they say to protect the reintegration process.

So what is going on now? He's getting more exposure to the news, we know that, more social interactions, more counseling from his psychology team to help him reintegrate back into society in America. And the Pentagon says all of this aimed at helping him return to duty. If he is able to return to duty, that does open the door very likely to him undergoing questioning from military investigators who want to know how he left his base that night back in 2009 in Afghanistan and exactly what happened.


BOLDUAN: Yes, that's one of the big questions. But after five years in captivity, you can imagine this process is not going to be a quick one.

Barbara, thank you very much.

Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for us.

Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, more from my interview with President Obama and his push today to help working families. As he gears up for today's big White House summit focusing on the topic, he offers a little advice to first time parents.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Today, President Obama begins a major push to help working families. He's hosting a White House summit with the first lady, Vice President Biden and Jill Biden as well. They're looking at ways to help millions of Americans struggling with the demands of both work and family. Many who simply cannot take time off to help sick loved ones or to care for a newborn. It's just not feasible with their work demands. I sat down with President Obama and asked him how he can get traction, though, on the issue.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The country's already focused on family issues. Every single day there are conversations around the kitchen table where people are trying to figure out, you know what, this child care is costing so much. I'm not sure that we're going to be able to make our mortgage at the end of the month. There are folks who are saying, you know, little Johnny is sick, but if I don't show up at my job because I don't have paid family leave, we're not going to be able to pay the electricity bill. And so the goal for our working families summit on Monday is to lift up a conversation that everybody is already having individually and letting people know, you're not alone out here.

And so what we want to do is to lift up best practices, show that for companies who are offering paid family leave, who are offering flexibility, their workers are more productive, more loyal, there's lower turnover and ultimately they're going to be more profitable. I'm going to be taking some action, a presidential memorandum, directing every federal agency to be very clear to their employees that it is my view that offering flexibility where possible is the right thing to do. We don't want people having to choose between family and work when you've got an emergency situation.

BOLDUAN: You know this, but you talk to 10 different people, you're going to get 10 different challenges that they face in trying to succeed at the work and life balance, to succeed at both. What are the three things that you would like to see companies, employers, businesses do to make it work? Because you know those priorities don't always align.

OBAMA: Yes. There's some things that we know will make a difference in people's lives. Paid family leave. We're the only advanced country on earth that doesn't have it. It doesn't make any sense. You know, this is not just a women's issue. One of the most precious memories that I'll ever have is when my first daughter, Malia, was born, I was lucky enough that my schedule allowed me to take that first month off.

And, you know, staying up at 2:00 in the morning and feeding her and burping her and, you know, creates a bond that is irreplaceable. And a lot of companies are already doing it, and it's working. And Michelle and I have talked about this. You know, when we knew that employers had our backs, and were willing to give us flexibility to look after a family, that made us want to work harder for that employer, even if it meant taking work home with us. So we have unpaid family leave right now, but for a whole lot of families, it means they can't use it because they just can't afford it.

Number two, workplace flexibility. If I've got a parent/teacher conference, you know, we always say that we want parents involved in our kids' education. There are millions of families out there who can't even imagine taking time off to go to parent/teacher conferences.

And then, third thing is the issue of child care. You know, we don't do a very good job at providing high quality, affordable child care. And there are a lot of countries, a lot of our competitors do it. That means that it's a lot easier for women to be in the workforce and not have to make choices that ultimately mean they're in some cases getting paid less or having less opportunities.

I should add on that list equal pay for equal work. We've done some things administratively on that front. I always say that shouldn't be a women's issue because I always wanted Michelle to make sure that she was getting paid fairly because when she brought her paycheck home, that went into the overall pot to help us pay our bills.

BOLDUAN: You know Republicans, they will be critical of some of the initiatives you try to --

OBAMA: I think - I think that's fair to say.

BOLDUAN: There we go. But it is no secret --

OBAMA: Shocking.

BOLDUAN: It's no secret that Democrats midterm election strategy is to pitch to women, to get the women to come out to vote. They've said that.


BOLDUAN: Is this all politics?

OBAMA: I was raised by a single mom who had to work, go to school, raise two kids. I didn't come from a wealthy family. We were helped by my grandparents and the primary breadwinner there was my grandma, who never had got a college education but worked her way from a secretary to being a vice president of a bank, but also hit a glass ceiling.

I've got a strong, successful wife who I remember being reduced to tears sometimes because she couldn't figure out how to juggle everything that she was doing. And I've got two daughters that I care about more than anything in the world and so this - this is personal for me. And I think it's personal for a lot of people. This is not just a women's issue. This is a middle class issue and an American issue.

I'd welcome a bipartisan effort with ideas coming from the private sector and from Republicans and from Democrats and, you know, from non-profits and the faith community about how we make sure that we're supporting families and reducing their stress. And that's what this Monday summit's all about.

BOLDUAN: Mr. President, we need to wrap up, but since she has been kicking throughout our entire interview, the little miss would probably want to know if you have any best advice for first time parents, this one included.

OBAMA: You know, you're going to do great. Michelle and I talk about this. Kids are more resilient than you realize. You give them unconditional love and then you give them some structure and some rules and they usually turn out really, really well. And they'll bring you a lot of joy. But, you know, we were pretty big believers in, as early as - as soon as they could understand words, you start giving them some assignments. Nap, eat your peas, you know, pick up the toys off the floor and, you know, by the time they're 16, they turn out pretty good, although they don't always give you as much time with them as you want. BOLDUAN: Yours have turned out pretty well. Thank you, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Good luck.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

OBAMA: You bet.


BOLDUAN: And on that important issue of the family summit that is happening today, I mean it is a real question (ph). There are important issues, but what can and should the federal government do to take on the challenges and what -- where can and should private businesses be stepping up to do their part as well. That's some of the issues they'll be discussing today. And they're being discussed on Capitol Hill and should probably be discussed a little bit more.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate. The president was definitely right, you're going to be a great parent. But I think he made it sound a little bit easier than it has been in my experience, that's for sure, but we'll talk about that later.

BOLDUAN: Letting me - easing me in.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Brazil, not just a place, it is an experience. The soccer Mecca. You can feel the World Cup fever spreading around the U.S. we're going to show you why because it starts right aki (ph).


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Brazil is gearing up for another big day of World Cup play. The host country is playing, so that's going to create even more excitement. Is it possible to be more exciting? Yes. Why? Well, as passionate as the players are, got to say the same for the fans. And soccer here in Brazil, much more than just a ball and a pitch or a game. It is a way of life. Who tells me that? I'll tell you who tells me that. CNN's Lara Baldesarra tells me that.

Great name and also great knowledge about what's going on in the world of soccer. Let's talk before the game, just the environment, because it is culture here.


CUOMO: What have you felt?

BALDESARRA: I have felt a pure overjoy and excitement for this World Cup, for every single game that's being played. You cannot walk past any convenience store, any little grocery store, any cafe without multiple, very large TVs I might add, that are positioned everywhere so that you do not miss a second of this. Even in grocery stores. You walk down the aisles and you see TVs.

Now, today, like you mentioned, Brazil is playing, which means it's national holiday day. Everybody gets off work. Not just because their employers look the other way, but because they're actually allowed, the government says, yes, go watch Brazil. The traffic is a mess. So they say, get out of here early. Go and sit down and watch the game.

You'll notice that - you'll notice that the traffic will be very heavy and then during game time, nobody is on the roads. You can drive from point a to point b faster than you'd ever imagine. They're all stationed in front of those TVs watching the game.

CUOMO: Now, I've been very lucky down here because Lara has been kind of like my Virgil, kind of guiding me through the whole World Cup world. And one of the teasing things we've been having is that I'm stuck on this Kumbaya feeling about this. But it's also because of the different perspectives we have on this. To me, seeing all these countries together, and I'm not covering war, I'm not covering toxic politics, is unusual. And I think that that's something that's resonating with people, to see all these different nationalities cheering for one another.

BALDESARRA: Yes. Everyone's here for the one reason, which is the World Cup. So they're all excited that their teams made it. That's why they're here. They've all made this big trip to come to Brazil to watch these games or be in this environment. So you know that they're happy to be here. They want to be here. They want to show their passion and their pride and they kind of want to out cheer each other. So almost the loudest that you ever see people get or when they're in each other's faces it might look like is when they're kind of cheering at each other.

You noticed last night that there were the Portuguese fans and the American fans and they were just having fun with each other. They weren't -- there was nothing aggressive towards each other. The Portuguese guys are saying, yes, Portugal's going to win. The American guys were saying, ah, no way. And they were both just trying to out scream each other.

CUOMO: Yes, I mean, look, one of our producers is Portuguese and he actually wound up wearing a U.S. soccer jersey just to kind of show how it all just kind of came together like that very nicely.

Now, help me with this because they don't win, the U.S. team, they tie. You told me a tie is good.


CUOMO: But there's this feeling they blew it.


CUOMO: Is that because we just don't understand how it works or did they -- would they have been in a much better position had they won?

BALDESARRA: No, it -- well, yes, they would have been through had they won.

CUOMO: So it would have been over.

BALDESARRA: But I think it -- yes. But it's the way in which they ended up tying. We're talking 30 seconds left in extra time and stoppage time and that's when you concede (ph) a goal. That rips your heart out.


BALDESARRA: You just don't want to see that. It was sure - it was a done thing. We saw it was going to be a 2-1 victory. But then, no, that last minute and that's what really hurt. It just took it away from you. The crowd, when we were at Fan Fest in Rio at Copacabana, you could just feel it. Everyone just kind of went oh, and they were deflated. I breathed in, but everyone was kind of deflated and breathing out, Chris, at that point. Anyways --

CUOMO: An important distinction.

BALDESARRA: Yes, it is a very important distinction. But, no, you could feel it. And everybody just sort of slowly and quietly and casually left. There was no more excitement or anything from the American fans because you feel like it was taken away from you.

CUOMO: Right. But now when they have the benefit of perspective, they know they've still got a chance here going for it.


CUOMO: So we'll see what happens.

Lara, thank you so much for helping me down here with it.

BALDESARRA: Of course.

CUOMO: It made it even more enjoyable.

So, we'll take a quick break. When we come back, what a story we have for you from Brazil. OK. How do you share the joys of soccer with a huge fan who can't hear or see? You use the power of "The Good Stuff." It's a great story. We're going to tell you about it in a second.


CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff."

Futbol fever spreading all over the world, no question about that, to people of all ages, all abilities. Now, one young fan who loves the Brazilian team just got to experience Brazilian World Cup futbol, even though he recently went deaf and blind. It started about when he was 14 years old. He's now 27. So how -- how did this happen? Two of the young man's friends came up with this amazing way of helping him experience the game.

They built a miniature soccer pitch. It had raised lines that he can feel. And they basically simulcast the game using their hands. One friend takes him through the action on the pitch. The other one signs on the man's back. Watch as he's able to figure out and then react when Brazil scores a terrible own goal. They score in their own goal. Oh. Then his friend go even one better. They blow one of these vuvuzelas, these sound machines that make you crazy, into his back so he can feel the vibrations and celebrate. Just another example of goodwill of the World Cup and the spirit of love and togetherness it can breed. Am I right, Lara Baldesarra?

BALDESARRA: Oh, my gosh. I can't even imagine not being able to watch or hear soccer anymore. That's incredible. That's a shame.

CUOMO: So, great friends and a great "Good Stuff." Thank you for the help.

PEREIRA: That's the best stuff.

CUOMO: Back to you Kate and Mikey (ph). I miss you very much, but I know you're OK with me being here because it means gifts.

PEREIRA: We miss you too.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

PEREIRA: Good gifts too.

BOLDUAN: Good gifts from Brazil.

Thank you, Chris. That was really great.

PEREIRA: That was one of the best ones we've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love the game on another level.

BOLDUAN: That was perfect. Above and beyond, those friends.

PEREIRA: That was really beautiful.

BOLDUAN: What a great way to end the show today. Thank you for joining us.

Lots of news happening, of course, so let's take you over to "Newsroom" with Carol Costello.

Hey, Carol.