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NEW DAY

Obama Battles Back; Wild Mid-Air Scare; Afghanistan Controls Own Security; Hit Man on the Stand; Mother's Little Helper; Researcher Battles Her Own Breast Cancer Scare

Aired June 18, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls. They cannot and have not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, the president says he's no Dick Cheney, as he gets his strongest defense yet of that controversial NSA surveillance program.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Danger in air. Another out-of-control passenger onboard a plane, this one tied down by fellow fliers. We have the dramatic audio and pictures.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And is it safe? A new study just out suggests that pregnant women can have a glass of wine every day. What you need to know.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: The choice to have those stories appear is not Edward Snowden's at this point. It's the journalists and editors at "The Guardian."

NARRATOR: What you just have to see.

CUOMO: As a superstition, when I'm fishing with squid, I will bite one of the squid.

BOLDUAN: How much do I bite?

CUOMO: I don't think you should do it.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to do it.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA: This is where I say don't do it, Kate, don't do it!

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome, everyone, to NEW DAY. I'm Kate Bolduan. I'm joined here with Chris Cuomo and Michael Pereira.

CUOMO: It is Tuesday, June 18th, 8:00 in the East.

Up first, two things President Obama would like you to know. The NSA is not eavesdropping on you, and also, he hates being compared to Dick Cheney.

White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is traveling with the president. She joins us live in the G8 Summit in Sligo, Ireland. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. That's right. President Obama gave this interview before departing for Northern Ireland to go to the G8. Fifty minutes, so, a long interview and pretty candid and wide-ranging. On the NSA programs, both involving phone records and online activity being monitored, millions of Americans -- he said that they are transparent, he stood behind them.

And when he said, "I'm no Dick Cheney," he was bristling at suggestions from members of his own party that his administration has been heavy-handed in its surveillance.

He also talked about Syria, and, Chris, as you know, a lot of hope had been pinned on the fact that the U.S. and Russia, powerful allies to the Syrian rebels and Syrian government respectively, had agreed to a new round of peace talks.

Well, President Obama kind of tamping down some expectations down there in the interview. We saw this as well yesterday when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They're still very much at odds over whether Bashar al-Assad should stay or go.

So, at this point, it's no breakthrough on the involvement of those two countries and a peace process between Syrian rebels and the Syrian government -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Brianna, thank you very much. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Let's discuss more on -- let's discuss more on all these topics. The president, Syria, all of that with two of our favorite people, Stephanie Cutter, Democratic strategist and a CNN contributor -- Kevin laughs when I say that.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was a lower expectation.

BOLDUAN: I'm sorry. And my least favorite person, Kevin Madden, Republican strategist and CNN contributor. Welcome to NEW DAY, both of you. This is great, to put you guys on the show.

So, let's start first with something that the president said in an interview last with Charlie Rose. And what he said on the issue of the NSA surveillance. Take a listen to this, guys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I stood up a privacy and civil liberties oversight board made up of independent citizens, including some fierce civil libertarians. I'll be meeting with them. But I want to set up and structure a national conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Everyone can understand that that's big machine, this NSA surveillance program, to change and change quickly. But when you hear the president say that I'm setting up a board to try to figure it out and discuss what changes to make, is that going to be enough to satisfy the American people who are scared that their rights are being violated?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that what he's trying to do is have that national conversation that he said that he wanted to have. This is a good way to begin it. The interview last night was a step forward, for him to talk to the American people about the balance that he's trying to strike between civil liberties on one hand and security on the other.

This is just the first step. I think we're going to see a lot more.

BOLDUAN: What did you take from that interview last night? That interview -- he hit on a lot of topics. It was a very long interview. But as John King said earlier, it almost sounds like the president was trying to convince himself of some of things he was saying.

MADDEN: Well, look, even as a partisan, I thought he offered a strong defense of the NSA program. I don't know if it's enough, but it is a good start. I think where a lot of people have been frustrated is -- particularly those that are supportive of these national security policies, is that the president hasn't done more of it sooner.

The last two weeks we've seen Edward Snowden as the one that's been talking the most about this program. I know John Boehner said this two weeks ago, he wants the president come out and make a forceful defense on this.

CUOMO: That's the point, Kevin. So, let's pick up on this here. Snowden comes out with the information. Now the president comes out and other people on his team, they all say it's OK, it's OK.

But each day there's something else. Oh, and we should make more unclassified. Oh, and we should have a board, and we should a dialogue about this. If everything's OK, why do you need all these changes? It seems to suggest through the remedy that you have a problem.

MADDEN: That's the big challenge that the president has because so much of this is classified and he has to work and pressure folks, or at least make a case internally that a lot of this has to be declassified so he can make a pretty robust case to the American public.

CUOMO: Sometimes an explanation, sometimes excuse, though, Stephanie, right? You don't have to tell us who you're looking at, but tell us what you do, tell us why it's OK.

CUTTER: Well, yes, but you have to strike that balance of not giving away too much information to your enemies. I think the other thing that the president said last night that's worth repeating is that no American has their phones being listened to or their Internet being tapped. Just like anything else in this country, you have to go to a court to get a warrant in order to do that.

That was what I wanted to hear. I think that's what most Americans wanted to hear and I hope he keeps saying that.

MADDEN: I liked that he said he wasn't Dick Cheney right after he said a whole bunch of statements that would have sounded just like Dick Cheney.

BOLDUAN: It really does put him in a very interesting situation. I don't think the president --

CUTTER: I'm not going to comment on that.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: And Cheney had his back a little bit, too, last night, speaking about the program. He did say don't heap in with all that other Obama stuff.

BOLDUAN: And they also say until you walk in my shoes, until you walk into president shoes, it's difficult to judge from the outside.

MADDEN: And that is something that I've been struck by, too, which is that the president said he was a skeptic, but when he was a candidate, he was an absolute critic of these programs. So, now, we're seeing a whole different type of rhetoric coming from the president.

But that's, again, when you walk in the president's shoes and you get that personal daily briefing every single day, you have a whole new perspective.

CUTTER: I think that's absolutely right.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to talk about the very big issue that's been going on for two years now, more than 90,000 people have been killed in Syria. The president talked about that fine line that he's been trying to walk, how to get involved, how not to get involved, and when to get involved.

Listen here to a little bit of the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you haven't been in the Situation Room, poring through intelligence, and meeting directly with our military folks, then it's kind of hard for you to understand the complexities of the situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the Middle East.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Now, he -- the president all along, I mean the defense hawks, we're talking about John McCain, we're talking about Lindsey Graham. These are people who are very strong in terms of military involvement. They have been really giving him heat for not getting involved in that line, "leading from behind".

But when you listen to what he says in that interview, do you think Republicans need to give him a little more room on this issue? Is Syria-- getting involved in Syria, it's got to be a tough call.

MADDEN: It's very complex. I think there are very few very good options with regards to Syria. I think where the criticism is most valid is that the president hasn't set out a clear objective and hasn't set out a clear goal from what our policy in Syria is.

And so, look, this is not partisan criticism. I think President Clinton recently behind closed doors said that the president's lack of focus or at least his lack of a clear directive here could harm our interest in the regime, could harm the policymaking that comes along with it.

CUOMO: Think they've been clear enough that we're not going to have boots on the ground there, American families don't have to worry if you have servicemen or women? We're not going to go there. You think they have been clear enough?

CUTTER: I think they've been clear. I'd like to see the president speak about it a little bit more. I think as Kevin said, there really are no good options of how to deal with Syria. And taking a little time to get it right I think is worth it if we're protecting American lives. I think that's what the president was trying to do.

BOLDUAN: I do want to ask you real quick in a limited time we have left. There are new polls out -- new polls out yesterday and today, and one of them that was very interesting is regarding this IRS scandal.

The question was asking Americans, that -- do they think the White House was involved in the IRS giving more scrutiny to conservative groups. You have the poll up right here.

Back in May, it was split 37-55. More people leading towards, no, the White House is not involved. And now it looks like the American people are completely split on if the White House is involved or not. Even though they keep saying we have no involvement, we have no involvement, we have no involvement.

Is that -- is that a pr problem? Or is that something more?

CUTTER: I think it's a pr problem. I think when you have the chairman of the investigatory committee in the House selectively releasing transcripts to make it look like the White House is involved, that that eventually has an impact. There's not one piece of evidence that anybody has seen that the White House or anybody involved with the White House was involved with the IRS scandal.

Now, that investigation --

CUOMO: Stephanie, the controlling of it, right? The talking points and the memo and the coming out, how do we control the information -- they were involved there.

CUTTER: After the news struck, yes. But that's not what people are trying to get to the bottom of -- whether or not the White House had anything to do with the investigation, the IRS investigations of conservative groups. There's not one piece of information that that's true.

And I think what we're seeing in this poll is a result of Republicans coming out and making allegations that just don't hold up. I think that there could be more forceful pushback.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Quick final thought.

MADDEN: I think you're right to look at the trend line. I think the trend line shows there's been an erosion of public trust. So, less of a PR problem, more of a trust problem, because the more the White House talks, the less the American people are believing it. That's the biggest problem.

CUOMO: We're hearing it.

CUTTER: One last point on the poll. It is a problem when you ask the American people how is the president doing on surveillance of phone calls? And then the next question, do you trust him? So when you ask questions like that, you know what answer you're going to get.

MADDEN: All good polls are accurate, all bad polls are wrong, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: A little reminder of the 2012 campaign. Thank you, both.

CUOMO: Good round for the next discussion.

A lot of other news to get to this morning. Let's get over to Michaela for the stories developing this hour.

PEREIRA: All right. Chris and Kate, thank you. In the news today: Afghan forces taking over security from NATO-led troops, but the occasion marred by violence. A bomb detonated in the country's capital. The intended target, one of the country's senior Shia Muslim clerics.

Reza Sayah is following developments from Kabul. Reza, what's the latest?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, this attack today was a stark reminder of the challenges ahead for the Afghan security forces who took over the lead in defending the country today. This was a milestone event in the ceremony this morning. NATO officials transferring the lead role for security to Afghan security forces.

This was a process that started back in 2011 and officially ended today. What this means is for the next 18 months, U.S. forces, NATO forces will still be here, but only in a backup role, leading the charge in the driver's seat will be Afghan security forces. Officials say they've made a lot of improvements over the past few years, but critics say they're poorly trained and there's no way that they're going to be able to defend this country on their own.

So lots of huge tests for them and a lot riding for what NATO accomplished here, what U.S. accomplished over here, over the past 12 years.

Another big development today, President Karzai announcing that he has approved the Taliban opening an office in Qatar. That's where the Afghanistan government is planning to hold peace talks with the Taliban moving forward. A lot of unknowns in that process as well, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Challenges ahead to be sure. All right. Reza, thank you so much.

Today, protests in Brazil. Many Brazilians upset about a fare increase that takes the price of a bus ticket from $1.38 to $1.47, which is a large fee based on the average income in that nation. The move has outraged demonstrators. Protesters say the government has plenty of money when it comes to high profile projects, like next year's soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

A cell phone recording capturing part of a rant by a passenger midway through a United Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Newark.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm dead! I'm dead! I'm dead!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PEREIRA: That man screaming about being poisoned, having CIA secrets and information about the NSA leakers. Passengers and crew managed to subdue the man, placing him in plastic handcuffs. He was arrested and is now undergoing mental evaluation. Here's something that might make you wake up a little bit easier at 3:00 a.m. -- or maybe that's just us.

Here's the deal. It's an alarm clock that actually shreds a dollar bill if you let it go off too long.

The little gadget basically punishes you for procrastinating.

BOLDUAN: That's pretty fabulous.

CUOMO: What?

PEREIRA: Pretty fabulous, but I think it's also illegal to destroy --

CUOMO: Oh, good one. Give it to him.

BOLDUAN: Great point.

PEREIRA: Do I need to cite the section? Section 18, article whatever. It's illegal. The U.S. Department of Treasury would not be happy.

CUOMO: You can't destroy money.

PEREIRA: I kind of channel Cuomo there, didn't I.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I know. I was like, are you Michaela or are you Chris Cuomo right now?

PEREIRA: My goodness.

CUOMO: A much better looking Chris Cuomo in case.

BOLDUAN: No doubt about that.

CUOMO: First of all, you're burning money, what's the chance you ever wake up happy?

BOLDUAN: Definitely is not going to contribute to a happy morning.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You know what does make you wake up happy? Working with you guys.

CUOMO: Oh, very nice. Every day is a NEW DAY.

BOLDUAN: Everyone is (INAUDIBLE), yes, right. Yes, right.

(CROSSTALK)(

CUOMO: An admitted hit man is back on the stand today in Boston to testify in the trial of accused mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. They were once said to be very close friends, but in court Monday, they couldn't even look at each other.

CNN's Deb Feyerick is live in Boston. Deb, what do we expect?

DEB FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, what we can tell you is this the government's star witness. He actually objected to being called a hit man, he said, because he said he wasn't paid to kill people. And he confessed killing about 20 of them. He was part of Whitey Bulger's intimate gang who terrorized not only the law- abiding citizens of the city of Boston, but also terrorized the criminal underworld itself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): Describing one murder after another, confessed killer John Martorano betrayed little emotion. Yet, when he learned his best friend and partner in crime, James "Whitey" Bulger was an FBI informant, he says, quote, "it broke my heart. It broke all loyalties", a way to explain why he was testifying.

Bulger stared straight ahead while his former friend less than six feet away described how they would carry out their hits. Martorano, in one car was the trigger man, armed with a machine gun. Bulger, in a second car, made sure the hit was successful. In one case, so close, he felt the bullets flying over his head.

Quote, "we would follow that car, and when we caught up, we pulled up upside and gave it what you called a broad side, both guns shooting at once."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not my associates served (ph) you. That was quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things done already.

FEYERICK: it's the kind of cold-blooded brutality like that shown by Jack Nicholson in "The Departed," a movie that was modeled after Bulger's almost 20-year reign of terror in the streets of Boston. Under his plea deal, Martorano served 12 years in exchange for fully testifying against Bulger and rogue FBI agent, John Connelly (ph), with promised Bulger's powerful brother and later Senate president, Billy Bulger, that he'd keep Whitey out of trouble.

Martorano, Bulger, and Connelly met, and not long after, Bulger began giving the rogue agent money and gifts, including diamonds. The relationship went on for years, resulting in several murders.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (on-camera): And Chris, without protection from these rogue FBI agents and state police, many say that Whitey Bulger's reign of terror would never have lasted as long as it did. But he was protected. He was also tipped off to when he was being surveilled when his moves (ph) being bugged. He knew instantly when his headquarters were basically wiretapped, and that allowed him to elude detection for a very long time.

This trial is very important to the city of Boston, because it really deals with a period of time from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s in which there was corruption, there was crime. There was also so many people who were involved. And prosecutors have been preparing this case for decades. Now, they are sitting and they are having their witnesses come one after another to testify against Whitey Bulger, a man who is said to have made the streets of Boston shake -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Deb, thank you. Many people there believe they are closing this chapter on a dark part of their history.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we've long heard don't drink if you're pregnant. But new research is turning that advice on its head. What does this mean for you, and more importantly, your baby?

And you know what I love to do?

BOLDUAN: What?

CUOMO: NEW DAY. But other than that, when I'm not. Fish. I love to fish. And so, I shared that with my new TV sisters. And you won't imagine what happened next. That pelican, you won't believe it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A new study that may settle a question that pregnant women have been grappling with for decades. Is moderate wine drinking, up to one glass a day, safe? So, to drink or not to drink during pregnancy. A study says it does no harm to the brain development of babies in the womb. Interesting.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta with more on this. A lot of women paying attention to this very segment this morning, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. I know when I was pregnant, I thought to myself, well, of course, I'm not going to drink. But there was always that question in the back of my mind, what exactly does the science say? So, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN (voice-over): For most pregnant ladies, enjoying a drink at the local bar is not an option or is it? Susan, a mother of three girls, says she drank wine in moderation during her pregnancy to relax.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the advice of my doctor, I was able to drink during my pregnancies. I had three girls. They have been perfectly fine.

COHEN: A study just released in the British Medical Journal found that when mom consumed a moderate amount of alcohol, it had no adverse effect on her child's balance years later, and balance is a marker for brain development. So, what's a moderate amount? Three to seven glasses of alcohol a week. This isn't the first time the study has found that a little bit of alcohol might be OK for pregnant women, which makes the question, to drink or not to drink, confusing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. Thank you very much.

COHEN: In Britain, for example, doctors tell women if they have a drink or two once or twice a week, there's no evidence of any harm to their unborn baby. But don't expect that same recommendation on the other side of the pond. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say studies have consistently shown even a little bit of alcohol is risky. Their advice, don't chance it.

DR. ROBERT SOKOL, WAYNE STATE UNIV. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Some women are more sensitive. Some fetuses are more sensitive or vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than others. So, you really can't be sure. We don't know a safe level. So, the smartest advice is what the American college of OB/GYN says, don't drink. If I were pregnant, I wouldn't drink.

COHEN: So, even with this new study, pregnant ladies aren't supposed to be raising their glasses any time soon, unless, they're filled with water.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN (on-camera): And so, this new study brings up, in some ways, more questions than it answers. But still, again, the bottom line from American, from U.S. obstetricians is just don't drink.

BOLDUAN: But still, now you've got this new study and you've got women talking about it all over the country. I mean, clearly, opinions divided on this. So, should pregnant women change their behavior based on these results or are you thinking there should be more be research, or still, you need to decide what's best for you.

COHEN: Right. Kate, I'm going to use a technical term here. The science on this is smushy. It is --

BOLDUAN: Very good technical term.

(LAUGHTER)

COHEN: It is just kind of smushy. You know, some doctors are convinced that you shouldn't drink at all. Other doctors will say look, you know, a glass of wine a day or maybe every other day, it's probably not going to do anything. You know, The decision that I know I made when I was pregnant was go why -- you know, I can go without a drink for nine months. It's not a big deal.

Why would I want to risk it? But you know, this is certainly something that you can talk to your doctor and make your own decision about. But I will tell you, if your doctor is in the United States, 99 percent chance they're going to tell you not to drink.

PEREIRA: Elizabeth, it's interesting that they talk about the question of balance. Is that enough of an indicator? Really, it seems like that would be just one minor aspect.

COHEN: Right. That's an excellent question. It is just one indicator. It's a pretty good one. I mean, a balance does tell you quite a bit about a child's brain development. But you're right, it's not everything. So, they can't test absolutely everything, but just for the sake of study, that was the metric that they chose.

BOLDUAN: Interesting. It had all of us talking this morning.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- assure you of that. Christopher, any opinion?

CUOMO: The issue of science. Is it scaring us? Is it just scaring us? We never really know. This story is going to dance (ph) all over the place.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Elizabeth.

CUOMO: But a good unintended segue. You know, how sometimes you're always like oh, boy, the news, it's so dark. It's always been about bad things. We agree, and that's why here on NEW DAY, every day we'll be featuring stories about some of the good news that's out there, stories about people doing the right thing.

All right. So, in today's edition of "The Good Stuff," we have Eric Cloutier in the dog house. Why selling his wife's $23,000 engagement ring? Just listen why. His pregnant wife, RAQUEL, had taken off the three karats before heading to the hospital to give birth to the couple's fourth child. She hid it in an old watch box. So, what happens? Her husband inadvertently sells the watch box at a garage sale for five bucks.

How is this good news? Here's how. The story has a happy ending. Good Samaritans, Elisa Lossau (ph) and her husband who've been given the box by Elisa's mom found the ring and return it. Take a listen to the goodness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW KISSAU, FOUND AND RETURNED 23K ENGAGEMENT RING: We definitely knew from the second I saw that ring that that was somebody's ring and we did everything we could to get that ring back to its rightful.

CUOMO (voice-over): Good for them.

ERIC CLOUTIER, ACCIDENTALLY SOLD WIFE'S $23,000 ENGAGEMENT RING: I've been in business for a very long time, and I see a lot of bad things, and a lot of bad things actually happened to me in my past a few years ago. And, I just lost faith in people. When the ring came back, I was a little bit surprised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Renewed his faith.

CUOMO: And that's what it's all about. That's what it's all about. Happens all the time, all over the country, all over the world. We want to bring it to you. Both families feel like they found friends for life. BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: They even attended church together. All right. So, this is beautiful stuff. We'd like to hear about your good stuff. Send it our way. How? You can tweet us, @KateBolduan, @ChrisCuomo, @MichaelaCNN.

PEREIRA: That's right.

CUOMO: That was beautiful (ph). I'm getting it. I'm getting it.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Or you can post on Facebook with the #NEWDAY.

BOLDUAN: I'm like holding on to my ring just imagining --

PEREIRA: Tape it on your hand.

BOLDUAN: Your heart would be in your stomach if that would happen. Well, glad it ended well.

And even more good stuff for you this morning in this morning's "Human Factor." A renowned cancer researcher driven by her own diagnosis to change and ultimately save lives. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Her research got national attention.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Cases of advanced breast cancer in younger women are actually on the rise. That is the alarming headline just published in the journal of the American Medical Association.

GUPTA: But it was Dr. Rebecca Johnson's own diagnosis of breast cancer at age 27 that motivated her to conduct the study in the first place.

DR. REBECCA JOHNSON, ADOLESCENT AND YOUNG ADULT ONCOLOGY, SEATTLE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: When I was diagnosed and read the medical literature, I really was trying to figure out how common breast cancer was in young women and it was hard to do, because all the articles I read at that time, this was back in the late 1990s, said breast cancer is rare in young women.

GUPTA: Dr. Johnson was a medical resident in 1995 when she discovered a lump in her chest. A biopsy confirmed it was a malignant tumor.

JOHNSON: I look over at the surgeon and his eyes were just huge and stricken looking. And I said, "what?" And he said, "I think this is cancer."

GUPTA: A mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy quickly followed and that put Dr. Johnson in the unique position of being a patient in the same hospital where she worked as a doctor. Today, Dr. Johnson heads the adolescent and young adult oncology program at Seattle Children's Hospital. Her parents are typically in their teens to mid 20s.

When she's not at the hospital, she's conducting research focused on studying cancer in younger people. She wants to be able to give her patients vital information that she didn't have when she was in treatment.

JOHNSON: How are you doing today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm good.

JOHNSON: Good.

The chance to be able to do something for these patients that are having a hard time in a way that I understand very well, it's a tremendous opportunity, a tremendous gift to be able to help.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: She's a tremendous gift to all those people. My goodness.

CUOMO: What a healer -- what a hero (ph). That story got me. Got me more even than the last one.

Coming up on NEW DAY, moving on, they say a team that plays together stays together. So I love the fishing - that's me in the hat and the glasses. That's a pirate. So we all went out together, hit the high seas. That bird plays a role. Lots of fun when we come back. Get to know me!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)