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Interview with the Clamp Family; High-Wire Walker Attempts Grand Canyon; Anderson Cooper Special Edition

Aired June 21, 2013 - 08:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Little Eminem this morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. With Michaela Pereira. It is Friday, June 21st. We'll get to little Grayson in just a minute but first, let's get straight to Michaela for the five things you need to know for your new day.

MICHAELA PERIERA: Ok, here we go, Kate. Number one, we expect official autopsy results later today in the death of actor James Gandolfini. His family currently at a morgue in Rome where his body is located.

President Obama expected today to name a new FBI director. James Comey was a top official in the Justice Department under George W. Bush.

The nation's mayors taking aim at guns at their annual conference this weekend in Las Vegas. They are expected to call on Congress to stiffen background checks for lawmakers.

Today a federal judge will decide whether former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling will get an early release from prison. Skilling cut a deal with prosecutors. Now, if the judge approves, Skilling could be free by 2017.

And at number five, at the movies this weekend it's monsters or zombies, take your pit. Brad Pitt's big budget film "World War Z" goes up against the animated sequel Monsters "University." For everything you need to know for your new day, go to

CUOMO: We're all, obviously, we want to be mindful of giving the Gandolfini family their space. You know, they're going to be mourning. It does look like according to the autopsy it was natural causes of a heart attack that tool Jim Gandolfini's life.

So again, our respects and the best to his family as they mourn the loss of this good man and a great actor. We also have an update now on Grayson Clamp (ph). Three-year-old boy we introduced you yesterday in this amazing video.

He was born completely deaf and became the first child to get a new kind of implant and we showed you the incredible video from hearing his father for the first time. That's what he's pointing at. He hadn't heard a sound until then. This morning Grayson and his parents are here live and we'll talk to them in just a minute. But, first, we're going to take a look at why this little boy is capturing so many hearts.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Grayson. Talk to him, daddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy loves you.

CUOMO: A baby's first experiences are a wonder to any family. But a moment like this is a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear daddy?

CUOMO: 3-year-old Grayson Clamp isn't saying his first words, he's hearing them. Listening to his father's voice for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's you. Grayson.

CUOMO: This video has gone viral. Social media exploding with well wishes. "Oh, my God, Grayson Clamp hearing his daddy tell him he loves him for the first time. Heartbreakingly lovely."

"Absolutely amazing. His face was one to never forget."

"Grayson Clamp is precious. So happy for him."

Grayson was born without the nerves that carry sound from the ear to the brain. He was fitted with a cochlear implant, but without nerves it didn't work.

That's when doctors at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine gave him this, an auditory brain stem implant. The device is typically used in adults whose nerves have been damaged. Just two months ago, thanks to an FDA approved trial, Grayson became the first child in the country to undergo the procedure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talk to him, daddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you. Daddy --


CUOMO: A priceless moment Grayson's family and all of us here will never forget.


CUOMO: Everybody's happy to be here, except Grayson. He almost took off on us.

BOLDUAN: He's on the move.

CUOMO: We're going it let him move. Watch the cord.

BOLDUAN: Wherever he wants. Cord right there. There he is. He's walking around. We can see he's getting around great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's having a lot more fun in the fish bowl room. I might owe you a new fishbowl room after this.


CUOMO: Well, you're going to owe us a little bit more because that camera is about to break. That's a lot of money.

Guys, just make sure he doesn't hurt his head on the camera. So, they'll keep an eye on Grayson while we talk about him. How is he doing?

LEN CLAMP, FATHER OF GRAYSON CLAMP: He is doing fantastic. He really is. It has been several weeks now since his implant was activated and we have already seen a lot of signs of progress. Really, really a lot of signs of progress.

PERIERA: Were you at first careful to not expose him to too much because this would be an auditory assault on his little ears.

L. CLAMP: Not really. Our audiology team at UNC hospitals is just phenomenal. As long as he is enjoying the sound that he's getting, then sort of the plan is, give it to him. He needs to experience it. He has to associate sounds with objects or other things.

CUOMO: He has a whole bunch of new uncles.


CUOMO: Also, let's introduce the man on the ground. Who is the guy on the ground signing to him.

L. CLAMP: This is my brother --

CUOMO: That's his uncle.

L. CLAMP: Uncle Luke.

CUOMO: He has like five new uncles.


BOLDUAN: And this is Ethan, who is also his brother.

CUOMO: This is a good test for the NEW DAY crew.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. The guys have never been so busy. Len, Nicole, I want to take you back to the moment when we just fell in love with your son. That moment when he heard your voice for the first time. Was he, it looked like he was signing something.

L. CLAMP: Yes, he was. So, sort of an audiology trick or test is to train the child to give a response when they hear a sound. So, prior to that point, our audiologist had been turning a TV on when she initiated a sound. So, he was associating sound with the TV turning on and there was a cartoon on there.

BOLDUAN: What was that moment like when you saw that reaction? Both for you, as well as you, Nicole. What was that moment like?

NICOLE CLAMP, MOTHER FOR GRAYSON CLAMP: Just overwhelming. The relief for me because it was a long journey getting there and I knew it would work, but just seeing it work was just a huge, the culmination of a long journey to get there.

L. CLAMP: I think it was just, it was joy, it was excitement. I think, too, for us it was validation for what we have really seen as a plan that God set out for for our lives and for Grayson's life. I think in that moment, we just got an overwhelming sense of God and his faithfulness to us, and all we did was step out and one step of obedience in fostering and adopting Grayson.

PERIERA: Can I talk about that? I'm an adoptee myself. I think foster mommies and daddies and adoptive mommies and daddies are very special. You took on a real challenge here, but I can tell -- and Nicole as a mom, you always worry. You always worry. Has this been such a relief for you? Has it been such a relief to know that this little guy has got the greatest shot now?

N. CLAMP: Yes. Not so much relief, but more like wow, we made it. We finally made it.

PERIERA: Accomplishment, sure.

BOLDUAN: This journey didn't come without risk. This is the first FDA approved procedure on a child. And it's a surgery and it's a serious one.

L. CLAMP: That's right.

BOLDUAN: You guys are parents and loving parents and, clearly, thought about all the risks and challenges associated with this. What tipped the balance for you? What made you decide this is what we're going to do for Grayson?

L. CLAMP: I think we had a peace about it from very early on. You know, we knew Grayson was hearing impaired from birth, really. So, we really just felt, we just felt God's hand walking us down this path from him being placed with us and then us deciding to adopt him. That's just, we were just following what Jesus asked.

CUOMO: And, now, I hear, I got the little ones at home, and I hear he's making sounds now, which is new for him and that is a sign of the progress, right?

L. CLAMP: It is.

CUOMO: He's taking in music especially. Any kind of music he likes in particular?

L. CLAMP: You know, I don't know if there is any he doesn't like. Yes, we had a few times where there has been live music that he has been drawn to.

PERIERA: And I'm curious about the relationship between the boys, too, because I imagine they have their own way of communicating as siblings often do. Have things changed? Are you seeing how they're discovering new things together?

L. CLAMP: I don't think -- yes, they like to communicate through wrestling moves.

PERIERA: Very important way to communicate.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, I'm sure you want to thank the doctors who helped you through this process.

L. CLAMP: Absolutely. The UNC hospitals. I call it the Ritz of health care. Our primary ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dr. Craig Buchman he's been the pioneer of this and then the neurosurgeon, Sr. Matt Ewend, and then our primary audiologist Dr. Holly Teagle.

CUOMOM: Because of them and your bravery and most of all Grayson's now a lot of other kids.


PERIERA: I think we might have a future cameraman.

CUOMO: That's actually my camera. That's my single. I love you, buddy, but not my single. No way.


BOLDUAN: We're going to grab the kids and at the same time --

He wants back to that camera.

Coming up next on NEW DAY we'll hear from the amazing Nik Wallenda as he prepared to cross the Grand Canyon on a two inch metal wire. See what happens when, unfortunately, I step on the wire myself.

PERIERA: You did not.


CUOMO: Coop is going to be back, too. We'll be back here with John Berman, what he learned on the internet. Maybe we'll get Grayson to stay. He hasn't destroyed my camera.


BOLDUAN: All right, all right welcome back to NEW DAY. We're trying to settle ourselves on --

CUOMO: I'm fixing my tie.

BOLDUAN: Millions will watch live this Sunday as Nik Wallenda attempts to cross the Grand Canyon on a two inch thick wire. Wallenda -- there you see some video -- already holds seven high wire world records including the longest walk over a waterfall crossing Niagara Falls on live TV last year.

But this time, there is no safety harness.


BOLDUAN: And I had the fortunate pleasure to talk to him, watch him train and even try it myself.


BOLDUAN (voice over): Step by step, Nik Wallenda has walked on wires around the world and most recently across Niagara Falls. So what's next? His biggest, most nerve racking wire walk yet -- the Grand Canyon.

(on camera): The man --


BOLDUAN: Exactly.

(Voice over): We met in his home town, Sarasota, Florida where aerialist has been practicing twice a day for weeks on a replica of the wire he'll take on over the Grand Canyon.

(on camera): Why the Grand Canyon?

N. WALLENDA: Why not the Grand Canyon?

No one in the world has ever done it before and the Grand Canyon is just breathtaking in itself. Just to walk up and look over the edge.

BOLDUAN: Wallenda's first steps off the edge will put him 1,500 feet above the Canyon floor. That's higher than the Empire State Building. He'll walk for almost a quarter mile facing wind gusts some 24 miles an hour all without a safety harness.

N. WALLENDA: Wearing a tether or having a net is a false sense of security. If you don't have it, you know you better train popularly to make it all the way across. The only scary part about walking across Niagara Falls was wearing a tether. Because in my mind I'm thinking is this thing going to trip me? Is it going to get caught?

BOLDUAN: What is the different about the Grand Canyon from Niagara Falls?

N. WALLENDA: The heights and the winds. The winds are extremely unpredictable, but it's eight times higher than Niagara Falls.

BOLDUAN: And before he heads to the Grand Canyon I get a quick lesson, only two feet off the ground.

(on camera): All right, I want to get two steps, at least.

N. WALLENDA: One, you're doing really well.

BOLDUAN: Coming down.

(voice over): But enough of our fun, back to the real practice for the main event.

(on camera): All right, the real muscle coming in. Get excited.

(voice over): And time for Nik to show us just how he does it.

(on camera): Do you get nervous? Do you get anxious?

N. WALLENDA: Yes. The biggest challenge of doing live TV is waiting for the director to say "go".

BOLDUAN: Not that I ever want this to be, do you practice falling?

N. WALLENDA: I do. I mean if something were to happen, I would go down to the wire and I would wrap my legs and my arms around it sort of hug it.

BOLDUAN: It's a nightmare scenario for anyone but Erendira Wallenda a former performer herself understands.

(on camera): If you had your choice, would you have him wear a tether?

ERENDIRA WALLENDA, WIFE: No. It's something that he's trained for and it's something that we do. We are professionals. He is the real deal.

BOLDUAN: He is the real deal. I'll give that to him.

N. WALLENDA: It's about focus and -- and really determination.

Once I get on that wire, that's it. I'm going.

BOLDUAN: There's no turning back.

N. WALLENDA: There isn't. You know and it's about the mind-set.

BOLDUAN: And he's not kidding. We soon got a first-hand look at what it really takes to stay on that wire.

(on camera): All right. Remember, we're only 30 feet off the ground. But I slowly step out on that two inch wire gripping Nik's shoulders. No net, no harness, not really breathing and then --

N. WALLENDA: Going down.

BOLDUAN: They lower the lift. I have never been more scared probably than right now.

(voice over): If not terrifying enough, he wants to take a step.

N. WALLENDA: Ok just one step, there we go ready? BOLDUAN: Oh my God.

Thankfully my first and only wire walk is over.

I would kiss the ground. I'm just trying to take a breath. But for Nik as he often says, life is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting.

N. WALLENDA: I want people to be inspired by what we do. Through tough times, through triumph, through tragedy, we continued on.


PEREIRA: I'm looking at her like, are you crazy? I know your mother raised you better than that -- what you walking out on the wire -- no safety harness.

BOLDUAN: In retrospect -- in retrospect, maybe a little riskier than I was anticipating. It might have -- I didn't tell my husband about it until I got home.

CUOMO: I was more worried for Nik, the way you were grabbing his neck. You were like oh poor guy.

PEREIRA: If you get -- no pun intended.


PEREIRA: He is wired differently isn't he? Like he's just on a different plane.

BOLDUAN: He is born to be on that wire, watching how comfortable he is, he's almost as more comfortable on the wire than he is on the ground. And I asked his wife, I said would you let him do it, why is he doing this? Why do you let him do it? And she said, I would never let him do something that I didn't think he could handle. She said because look, he is a performer, but he is a dad, a father.


BOLDUAN: A son and a husband first and he's not going to do anything crazy.

CUOMO: Well, guess what, that's crazy. What he's doing up on that wire is the definition of crazy.

PEREIRA: He's crazy.

BOLDUAN: His big walk is the Sunday and he also told me to tell you he's going to likely announce his next big stunt on Sunday.

PEREIRA: What could it be?

BOLDUAN: On big event -- I said, how do you top this? He's like, oh, there are plenty of places I can go.

I said ok, we'll be watching.

CUOMO: It's amazing. It's a great spectacle (ph) to walk. We wish him well and we hope it's a non-event in terms of safety.

BOLDUAN: He was really great.

PEREIRA: You consult with me the next time you go.

CUOMO: You guys consult.

Coming up on NEW DAY what a way to end our premiere week. We've got John Berman telling us what he learned on the Internets about Anderson Cooper -- the real story.

BOLDUAN: We're bringing it back to you.

PEREIRA: He wants retribution.

CUOMO: A career turned sour -- he's looking nervous.

BOLDUAN: Oh and you're looking, oh this was -- he's looking at his favorite person in the world -- himself.

CUOMO: Take your shot at Kate Bolduan now you've got a problem Coop, now you've got a problem.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sorry, this actually never happened to me.

BOLDUAN: You know what that is? That is payback, Cooper.

COOPER: Oh yes, yes that's going to follow me to my grave.

BOLDUAN: He ordered that specifically. You know that. You know that.

CUOMO: Listen, I was proud of you in that moment.

I want you to know I watched it live on television. Anderson Cooper, ladies and gentlemen. Here on NEW DAY. What a great week. We have a great way to end.

We have something special in honor of our special guest. We have John Berman here with what he learned on the Internets -- Anderson Cooper edition.

COOPER: You were tasked with just looking stuff up on the Internet?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: This is like the easiest project ever. Things have gone well for me here at CNN. I'd like to see if you like that.

COOPER: This must be a career high point for you. BERMAN: Indeed, it is.

BOLDUAN: He is stalling. Don't let him stall you.

BERMAN: This is right now -- this is where I'm getting my Pulitzer. There were 1.2 million hits of that video of you giggling, right. I mean -- so that's huge on the Internet. Also big, you know, there's a heavy metal song as you well know.

COOPER: Yes, I heard that.

BERMAN: It is titled "Anderson Cooper" -- cleverly named "Anderson Cooper".

CUOMO: The lyrics lose it a little bit, though.

BERMAN: Do you like it?

COOPER: It says I got my hair from like the mane of a Pegasus.

MICHAELA: Was that actually --

PEREIRA: Did they sing that in English?

COOPER: It was in fact English. It's a heavy metal thing.

BERMAN: Also on the Internet I learned, you know, you were asked, you know of all the interviews you've done, what is your favorite one? You have a lot of shows. You've got like three television shows at least. The answer to your favorite interview ever was grumpy cat -- it was grumpy cat. We have the video of it.

CUOMO: Show him the picture. There's you with the grumpy cat. Your favorite interview ever.

COOPER: Grumpy cat has now like a movie deal or a TV deal. I have to give him that.

BOLDUAN: Are you getting a cut of that?

COOPER: I wouldn't mind, yes.

BERMAN: You know what, though. Adele called that (inaudible). You said the grumpy cat.

COOPER: I tell you it was a great interview. She's fun, actually.

Adele has such a dirty vocabulary you have to edit all around what she says. Grumpy cat -- was that another problem.

COOPER: No, that was --

BERMAN: The grumpy cat was --


BOLDUAN: You didn't have to bleep him out.

COOPER: No, not.

BERMAN: Also, there's an edition of the song about you is also now a comic book.

COOPER: I heard this. Yes, yes.

BERMAN: Which is titled "Anderson Cooper" much like the song even (inaudible)


COOPER: They're worried about some middle-aged TV anchor.

BOLDUAN: What do you have to say for yourself, Anderson Cooper?


BOLDUAN: What do you have to say for yourself -- all these Internets?

CUOMO: She's calling you out.

COOPER: Nothing. I'm just doing my job.

I saw the cover of the comic book though. I'm curious -- I don't know how they could fill an actual comic book.

CUOMO: Oh they could do that. You've got one for this career going.

BOLDUAN: A humble brag by Anderson Cooper.

CUOMO: Anderson thank you for coming on the show.

BOLDUAN: Thanks Anderson.

CUOMO: Thanks for making this first week career highlight. Thanks to all of you for making NEW DAY special for us. We'll be back with you on Monday. Thank you very much.

Right now, "CNN NEWSROOM" --

PEREIRA: Thanks Anderson. Have a happy weekend everybody.

CUOMO: Carol Costello begins right now. Thanks to you, too Carol. It was great going to you everyday.

BOLDUAN: We're thanking everybody.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It was fun listening to you guys. Thanks for the laughs this morning.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.