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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; Human Factor; Battle with Prostate Cancer

Aired September 25, 2013 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Wednesday, September 27th. Let's get right to Michaela because there are five things you need to know and she knows them.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I know them. I apparently can't hear anything because I've pulled my earpiece out.

CUOMO: That's right, we're only here to hear you.

PEREIRA: Really?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just listen to us.

PEREIRA: Let's listen together.

All right, number one, Senator Ted Cruz speaking all night on the Senate floor trying to rally Republicans to defund Obamacare. We have learned that Americans will pay $328 a month for a mid-tier health insurance plan when Obamacare exchanges open for enrollment next week.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tells the U.N. that Iran is ready to engage in nuclear talks and that nuclear weapons have no place in his country's security. Rouhani says Iran seeks to resolve problems, not create them.

New details emerging about that siege at Nairobi's Westgate Mall. A senior Kenyan government official saying the militants took very few people captive, that they only wanted to kill.

Closing arguments in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. His father's lawyer has painted a dramatic picture to show the concert promoter was negligent. AEG's lawyers say Jackson himself was responsible.

And at number five, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking in about a half hours' time before a panel at her Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting. The panel will look at women decision- makers in our global economy.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


BOLDUAN: Absolutely. No more living in the past. That was the message from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the staff at "The Washington Post." Bezos bought the paper in August, bringing together the worlds of new and old media, bringing them together, and sending shockwaves through both. CNN's Dan Simon sat down for a rare one-on-one interview with the tech titan. He's in San Francisco this morning.

Good morning, Dan.


You know, he is arguably the country's most respected CEO and he is poised to shake up the newspaper industry. We talked about that, but there was something else he wanted to talk about, the company's new tablets and a breakout new feature.



SIMON: Hi, Jeff.

SIMON (voice-over): When you meet Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, you're immediately struck by two things, that legendary laugh and his nearly unmatched focus on customer service.

BEZOS: We know customers like low prices, we know customers like big selection, and we know that customers like fast delivery. And those things are going to be true 10 years from now. They're going to be true 20 years from now. So we can count on those things and we can put energy into them.

SIMON: He met with us at Amazon's Seattle headquarters to personally show off the company's new line of supped up, lightweight Kindle Fire tablets. One of them is priced at only $139. Apple's cheapest iPad is nearly $200 more.

SIMON (on camera): One of the things you've done so well at Amazon is you've undercut all of your rivals by keeping the prices low. Does that same strategy apply to tablets?

BEZOS: Yes. Our approach is premium products at non-premium prices. So we sell the hardware at breakeven, so we don't try to make any money when we sell this hardware, and we hope to make money when people use the devices, not when they buy the devices. And so that's a very different approach from most companies. Most companies are building quite a bit of profit into the sale of these devices.

SIMON (voice-over): The approach this time also includes a feature never even before on any kind of device. It's called Mayday, 24/7 tech support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for using Amazon assist. I see you've hit the Mayday button. I'm your tech advisor James. How can I help you today? BEZOS: And you can tap the Mayday button -- it's just in your -- right at the top of the menuing system -- and a tech support adviser will appear on your screen and can draw on your screen and guide you through things and teach you how to do things.

SIMON: Bezos, of course, has been in the headlines for something else, his $250 million purchase of "The Washington Post." These are among his first public comments on the acquisition.

SIMON (on camera): Why did you get into the newspaper business?

BEZOS: For me, I thought "The Washington Post" is an important institution and I am optimistic about its future. It's a personal investment. I'm - and I'm hopeful that I can help from a distance, in part by providing runway for them to do a series of experiments and in part through bringing some of the philosophy that we have used at Amazon to "The Post."

SIMON (voice-over): That philosophy, he says, comes down to this.

BEZOS: What has worked at Amazon is focusing on the customer, being very -- putting the customer first, which is easy to say but difficult to do. And if you really are customer-centric, it's like being the host of a party. You're holding the party for your guests. Sometimes the host of the party is holding the party for the host of the party. And that's -- that leads to a different kind of party.


SIMON: Well, Bezos also weighed in on the once dominant Blackberry. He says he doesn't know how the company stumbled so badly but that business schools will be studying Blackberry for a very long time. He can't explain the poor decisions that were made. By the way, Kate, those new Kindle tablets go on sale today at Back to you.

BOLDUAN: That will be interesting to see how those do. But also I'm wishing him well with "The Washington Post." It's one of my favorite papers. So I hope that he doesn't change it too much but improves it, we'll say. Thanks so much, Dan.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, he says he wants you to hear it straight from him. Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us to share some very good news after fighting a disease in private for two years.

CUOMO: And we have a very special "Human Factor" for you. Leon Harris, beloved CNN anchor, after he left us, he spent 20 years at our Washington affiliate WJLA. And then he was suddenly off the air. Why? Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains.


LEON HARRIS, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Leon Harris.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Leon Harris began his television career at CNN 30 years ago. He was on set for the networks coverage of many big news stories, including the Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Then in 2003, he moved on to local television as lead anchor for WJLA in Washington, D.C. All the time he was the picture of health, but recently Harris had a real and terrifying brush with death.

HARRIS: I sat there on the floor in the worst pain of my life. You would think that somebody with a college degree would know, hey, you know what, maybe you should go get some help.

GUPTA: After an hour, Harris was found by his wife, Dawn, who immediately got him to the hospital.

HARRIS: If she hadn't come upstairs when she did, I wouldn't be having this conversation with you.

GUPTA: The diagnosis?

HARRIS: Necrotizing pancreatitis.

GUPTA: It is severe inflammation of the pancreas, the tissue dies, and that causes more infection. It can often be fatal.

HARRIS: So I ended up dying twice that one week.

GUPTA: In fact, Harris spent the first nine days unconscious on a ventilator.

HARRIS: Good to see you, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to have you back.

HARRIS: All right. Hey.

GUPTA: It took nearly six weeks, but Harris is on the mend, and he recently got back on the air. But Harris has this advice.

HARRIS: Don't wait until you have as close a brush with leaving this earth as I did before you decide that you're worth going to see a doctor.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

For the first time, HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky is making a very personal announcement. He is now cancer free after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. And he's joining us this morning to talk much more about this.

Dr. Drew, it is great to see you and it's great to be able to say that we're talking about you being cancer free after all of this time.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": Absolutely, Kate. Thank you so much for inviting me. And this is becoming the bummer block on NEW DAY. You had before Leon Harris with his necrotizing fasciitis (ph). You have a commercial about colon cancer.

Listen, the one thing this - that the story before the break pointed out, that I'm going to point out, is that men are heard-headed. Even those of us that are physicians. It was thank God my wife that forced me to go get a physical and it was during that physical, in routine screening, that the PSA, which is a screening blood test that men over 50 should get for prostate cancer, was found to be a little bit elevated. One thing led to another. It was the intuition and judgment of my physicians that I ultimately needed a biopsy. Lo and behold, cancer.

The other part of my story that I want men to understand is that, just because it's the "C" word doesn't mean you have to rush out and do something.


PINSKY: There are active surveillance programs I was in. I was watched for a couple - I expected to watch it for 10 years, to be fair. I thought I would go on for quite some time. But I was completely prepared with the reality that I would need some sort of definitive procedure, which I just had a couple of months ago.

BOLDUAN: And that was - actually you pointed out two of the things - you wrote extensively about this and those are the two things that really stood out to me in reading it, it was that it was your wife's kind of intuition to push you to go get a physical -


BOLDUAN: That was what -- where doctors found this. And also then your emphasis on, as you wrote it, don't freak out if men find themselves in a similar situation. You're a doctor yourself, but what did you find that surprised you during this process? Because you're very good at helping other people kind of open up about their health situations, but this is obviously a very different situation for you.

PINSKY: Yes. I mean - that ultimately I'm just - you know, even as a - even though I'm a physician - and, by the way, it was great to have and be informed by what I knew about prostate cancer as I was making decisions with my doctor, so I knew what was coming. I felt very comfortable with things. My wife, as a layperson, not so much. She couldn't be convinced.

Ultimately, I found out, I'm just a hard-headed dude and I'm pathetic like every other man out there and we do rely on our wives and listen to our doctors and ask for directions when we get lost, all those kinds of things. But that this is - it's Prostate Awareness Month. This is a common malignancy. If you live long enough, man, you're going to get this thing, although it's different in different stages of life. If I were 80, there would have been no treatment. Sixty, treatment might have been different. In my 50s, clearly definitive procedures. I had the robotic Da Vinci radical prostatectomy. It was brutal. I'm not going to kid you. It was a brutal surgery but I was back -- I was home in a day. I was back at work in a week. And I really felt myself after a couple of months. So my really purpose in coming out is to help other men understand, a, you're not alone, b, take care of these things.


PINSKY: You know, there was a commercial before I came on about colon cancer. That's another condition mentioned no one should get. You should be screened for that. So we pick these things up early.

These things are inevitable. We're biological. Things are going to happen. But there's so much that can be done to prevent these things from being devastated. Although I didn't like this, I was -- I felt alone. I felt -- it's an awful feeling when you get this diagnosis no matter what you know. It's awful. But there's so many worse things than this one. I ultimately felt grateful to just be able to have something that had a definitive and hopefully curative intervention.

BOLDUAN: Right. And also part of this is that -

PINSKY: And I'm getting emotional talking about it.

BOLDUAN: Is -- also part of this, and this probably is an emotional part of it for you as well, is that this is something that runs in families. Your father had prostate cancer. Have you had -- now has this really brought you to have a conversation with your sons?

PINSKY: You know, I don't want to burden them with that -


PINSKY: But we are going to have to have that conversation, absolutely. I mean that's, again, the context in which I was being evaluated, why, you know, somebody -- there's debate about whether a 50-year-old man should even have - you know, what we should do with PSAs, or should we have PSAs even drawn? Some screening guidelines don't even - don't even put any.

If I hadn't had a PSA and if my team - my doctors hadn't used their intuition of evaluating that PSA in the context of my family history of prostate cancer, I probably would have died of prostate cancer. So this business about guidelines being the last word in how people are screened and cared for by physicians is a huge mistake. These are just guidelines. You, the patient, with your - your caring physician need to be the ones making these decisions in highly individualized settings.

BOLDUAN: And you mentioned it. I mean this is a very private struggle that men deal with. They don't - a lot of them, obviously, don't talk about it with many people other than those in their family.

PINSKY: Right.

BOLDUAN: But you are really going public and revealing this diagnosis very publicly.

PINSKY: Yes. Yes.

BOLDUAN: In - so what is the big message? I mean you're kind of hitting on it. You're not alone and don't freak out. But is that really the big message for guys?

PINSKY: Well, there's a bigger one. There's a bigger one too because men are afraid to get screened and afraid to have these surgeries because they're afraid they're going to have urinary incontinence, they're afraid they're going to have erectile dysfunction.


PINSKY: And with - you know, this used to be a three week hospitalization with an open procedure. With the robotics, you can look forward to going home the next day and none of those problems, gentlemen. I'm fine. I am fine. I'm not only cancer free, I am functioning normally. And you can look forward to that. So, relax. We - you know, this is a part of our body that we get a little, mmm, touchy about, shall we say, and we don't want anybody messing with that. Understandably so, it's an important part of our relationship with our spouses and I get it. Don't worry about it. Everything is going to turn out fine.

BOLDUAN: It's a great message and it's great to see you and even better to hear that you're feeling well. Thanks for sharing your story Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Thanks Kate I appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you.

PINSKY: You bet.

BOLDUAN: You might as well, of course all of our viewers "Dr. Drew on Call" airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on HLN and his nationally-syndicated radio show "Love Line" 10:00 p.m. to midnight.

CUOMO: All right now both Leon and Dr. Drew made a good point. You have to be your own advocate that was good advice and now let's get to some good stuff, today's edition, a weapon of war becomes a symbol of peace.

On his way out of Japan at the end of World War II, Marine Corps Captain Orvall Amdahl was told by superiors he and others were allowed a souvenir from the Japanese weapons warehouse. He chose an exquisitely crafted samurai sword.


ORVALL AMDAHL, WAR VET: I pulled mine out and almost fainted it was so beautiful. Sharp, I wouldn't want to get too close to it. To this day I -- I admire that sword.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: More than admiration, even though Captain Anvil held the sword and took meticulous care of it for 68 years, literally made sure it was always oiled he never felt it was really his.


AMDAHL: I felt that this had a home and should be returned to it.


CUOMO: The sword came with a hand carved wooden set of tags, the translation revealed a name, a decade-long hunt -- a decade-long for that man revealed a man at the end of the hunt, Tadahiro Motomura, son of the sword's owner and on the International Day of Peace, of all days, Orvall Amdahl finally returned his treasured souvenir.



AMDAHL: Nice to meet you, too. I've waited for this.

MOTOMURA: Thank you.


PEREIRA: Oh, my.

CUOMO: 94 years old. He knew he wanted to do the right thing, at the time it was a souvenir, became something different to him, gave close hour to two different families, certainly the good stuff.

PEREIRA: And what a different time when that was happening and the relations between our nations now. Wow. And on the International Day of Peace.

CUOMO: Right. And one of the reasons I love "The Good Stuff" is that the stories come from you. And we want more of them so we just announced a brand new CNN iReport campaign, to catch all of your good stuff. Please log on to to find out how to be a part of the NEW DAY family.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, goats in the garden, how often do you say that? I say it all the time. A homeowner's response earns her the NEW DAY award of the day. John Berman of course has the details.


CUOMO: All right it is time for the NEW DAY "Award of the Day", isn't it Kate -- seeing how it says your name on the teleprompter.

BOLDUAN: Yes and for that that means we go to the couch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: You want to say this one?

BOLDUAN: No, I'm fine. Thank you very much.

CUOMO: It gives back when it's even. It's that time of the morning, as I just said. John Berman is here with his NEW DAY "Award of the Day" award.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know I feel like we should have a whole separate category for goats. You know how Discovery Channel has "Shark Week", we should have goat week right.


BERMAN: Check this out Fort Worth, Texas Sharon looks outside and what did she notice on her lawn, not one but two goats, two very menacing goats. So she's worried that they might destroy her precious garden which is completely reasonable. She does a reasonable thing she calls animal control who apparently tells her it's the sheriff's problem there, and she ends up on the phone with the cops. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is somebody coming to help me or no?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm checking with the supervisor now ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need somebody here to help me get these goats out of my backyard. Because they're stubborn and I'm scared they might bully me or something too.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's coming. No, don't eat my stuff. Get out of there. Yes, there's goats -- get out of my stuff.


BERMAN: Get out of my stuff. Who hasn't shouted those words before? Who hasn't wanted to shout those words before? Goats, anything, get out of my stuff. So for behaving with gallantry under extreme pressure and under siege from goats this woman wins her award today.

She wins the "3:00 a.m. Call Award because in a crisis I want someone like Sharon on my side beating away those goats, get out of my stuff. Ultimately, by the way, she said the goat's owner actually came by and removed the goats. The goats did get out of her stuff and so Sharon wins in the end.

BOLDUAN: the sheriff was no help. The sheriff was like I got better things --

PEREIRA: They're not used to those calls on 911 are they?

BERMAN: They have a goat department as we do.

CUOMO: They have horns.

BERMAN: They were mean-looking goats.

PEREIRA: They're not going to poke you with them. They're just going to ram their heads.

BERMAN: I'm not saying it was unreasonable.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.

PEREIRA: Yes, just like that.


BOLDUAN: All righty, all righty, all righty. Welcome back. This is one of our favorite moments of the day. We just couldn't pass it up to do it again. U2 rocker, Bono has an awesome impersonation of President Bill Clinton, there's just no other way to put it.

Take a look.


BONO, SINGER: They walked into the Oval Office and actually I thought it was a member of his own road crew. He wasn't really dressed right. Actually I felt like the rock star on that occasion. But together, you know, we did this drop the debt thing and my God, there's 51 million children going to school in Africa because of the drop the debt and that's pretty good, is that right?

BOLDUAN: If you close your eyes it sounds just like Bill Clinton.

BERMAN: And no accent. If he wants to sound like an American, he has to impersonate Bill Clinton. The island leaves immediately.

CUOMO: The question is when Bill Clinton closes his eyes does he imagine that he's Bono?

BOLDUAN: And can Bill Clinton do a Bono impersonation?

PEREIRA: I feel like on the buses between gigs he's been practicing that for years.

BERMAN: If Clinton does Bono, Bono does Clinton --

BOLDUAN: This is about to get real.

BERMAN: The Edge does Al Gore it's all this weird thing going on in the bend.

CUOMO: Conspiracy of the left.

BOLDUAN: It will happen.

That is it for us on NEW DAY. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello is beginning right now. PEREIRA: Hey Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It was timed perfectly. Have a great day, thank you so much.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in "NEWSROOM."


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I do not like them Sam, I am, I do not like green eggs and hams.


COSTELLO: Senator Ted Cruz is still standing. Love it or hate it your government at work.

And the president of Iran has a message for you.