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Surviving the Unbelievable; French First Lady: "Au Revoir"; Music's Biggest Night

Aired January 27, 2014 - 08:30   ET



Time now for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

At number one, no relief apparent from the polar express wind chill. Temperatures are dangerously below zero in the Midwest. And the historic cold will extend east and even into the deep south.

With 11 days to go before the Sochi games begin, the State Department is warning Americans to take extra precautions if they go. Athletes, coaches and staff are being told to not wear their uniforms outside Russian security's ring of steel at the games.

Maryland Police are searching for a motive in that mall shooting that left three dead including the suspect. He has been identified as 19- year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar.

North Carolina officials are taking a second crack at indicting police officer Randall Kerrick who shot and killed a former college football player last fall. A first grand jury declined to indict Kerrick last week.

And breaking news. There are reports that Congressman Trey Radel may resign from Congress today. You may recall this Florida lawmaker went to rehab after getting caught buying cocaine late last year.

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

Kate, over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Michaela.

Now to a truly amazing story of survival. We first showed you this footage over the summer and it is very difficult to watch, just a warning. Back in July, Alexis Fairchild and her friend Sidney Good were parasailing in Florida, like so many people do.

Well, when their tow line snapped and wind gusts slammed them into two buildings and power lines, sending them crashing into a parked car eventually. Incredibly, both girls survived but suffered traumatic injuries in the meantime.

Joining us now to talk about the road to recovery is Alexis Fairchild, along with her mother, Angie, her father, Mike, and their attorney, Debbie Chalik.

Thank you. Good morning to all of you.

A long road ahead, I guess that's kind of the understatement of the year, Alexis, but how are you today?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD, PARASAILING ACCIDENT VICTIM: I'm doing really good, actually. I mean I have setbacks. But, for the most part, I'm on the road to recovery because all my surgeries are done. I have -

BOLDUAN: There was many surgeries.

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: Oh, yes. I just have to get my chin fixed, then I'm done.

BOLDUAN: Just have to get my chin fixed and I'm done. I mean I can't even believe that. Talk me through where you were and where you're headed in terms of your physical recovery right now?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: I mean I went from not even being able to like do every day things from, you know, being able to go hang out with my friends and, you know, get back to life. So, I mean, I'm getting really close.

BOLDUAN: And the main physical problem that you're dealing with right now is that still your back?


BOLDUAN: Your back injury was very severe?


BOLDUAN: But that's still -- but you're working towards that?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: Yes. I mean, I really don't have like a lot of mobility with my back, but it's getting there. Like, it just takes a lot of exercises to strengthen it.

BOLDUAN: And I know, and we're being very careful here in the studio, for very good reason. This happened in July. That just - that might seem like a long time ago for some of us, but that is basically no time at all when you're talking about what you went through. And for that reason you've never seen the video, you never want to see the video and we've been very careful about that.


BOLDUAN: How do - how much of that day, though, do you remember?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: I remember a lot of it. Like a lot. Like most of it.

BOLDUAN: It's - and it's just too painful to recall?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: Yes, I don't - I don't like thinking about it. I have really bad nightmares and the doctor doesn't think it's like good for me physically or mentally to bring, you know, bring it up.

BOLDUAN: For good reason, as we said, right?


BOLDUAN: I mean, and I think when we sit here, I am in awe of Alexis, mom and dad.


BOLDUAN: And I know you are at a constant basis. You're smiling. You're here. You're present. You have such an amazing outlook and perspective. Where did she get this?


ANGIE FAIRCHILD, ALEXIS' MOTHER: We gain it from her. I mean she's helped us through everything. You know, she's a strong girl.

BOLDUAN: Where you were, July, would you ever believe you would be here today in January?

ANGIE FAIRCHILD: No. Not at all.

BOLDUAN: There was a -- how dark were those moments for you as a family?

ANGIE FAIRCHILD: She wasn't -- we thought we were going to lose her.

BOLDUAN: And it was a real possibility. I mean these were - these were injuries that people don't - don't survive, right, Mike?

M. FAIRCHILD: No. Right.


BOLDUAN: How has this then changed your family?

M. FAIRCHILD: In a sense I think it's brought us closer, you know? And we've learned to deal with a lot of stuff. I mean, to go from the day you walk in, trying to hold back tears, let her know that, you know, you're going to be there for her, until now, to see where she's at. You know, it's just amazing.

BOLDUAN: And all it was, was an innocent - innocent day. Parasailing is something that we have -- many of us would say we have all done at one point or another. You were on vacation. It started as such a happy day. Why then -- because it's so difficult for your guys to speak about, and I'm trying to be very careful myself in talking about it, why then, Angie, do you want to speak out? Where does this come from for you?

ANGIE FAIRCHILD: Because we don't want another family to be sitting here talking about their incident, you know, their child. You know, what we went through is horrific. I mean, from day one to where we're at now is a nightmare. And to watch our child struggle every single day and knowing that there are things that we could actually do to make other children safe is what we want to pursue.

BOLDUAN: And you guys -- you're so strong and you put on such a good face, but I don't think people understand. I mean we were learning to read again, we were learning to walk again, these are things everyone takes for granted and something that no one should have to be relearning, especially at 17 years old. Where are you finding the strength within yourself?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: I don't know. I just feel like every place I've been -- I've had a really group of - like a good group of doctors that Bay (ph), great doctors of - like team of therapists there. And then I went from there to RHI, where I had a great group of, you know, therapist there and doctors and I had Mark (ph). And then I come to Lutheran (ph), and I have amazing doctors and amazing therapists. Like I feel like --

BOLDUAN: I think it has something to do with you too.

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: Yes. But like when you see other people, especially if they get down, they don't get back up. And you see it when you're in like rehab and stuff. But I just - I knew right away that if I didn't get up and walk or if I didn't get up and just push myself, I wasn't going to tomorrow and I wasn't going to do it in a week. And so I just had to do it.

BOLDUAN: What does the road ahead look like for you?

ALEXIS FAIRCHILD: I don't really know. I'm taking it one day at a time.

BOLDUAN: Probably the best way to take it, right?


BOLDUAN: So, Debbie, as Angie was saying, the family's speaking out, as painful as it is, because they don't want this to happen to another family. And there's a lawsuit against this parasailing company. And after the incident, we haven't heard anything really from the parasailing company at all but they did release a statement.

I know you guys are all well aware of it. In part of it they said that the company practiced - "will adhere to best practices to minimize the risk associated with water sport activities. Sudden weather conditions can and do occur." Talk to me about the lawsuit, though. What's in it?

DEBORAH CHALIK, FAIRCHILD FAMILY ATTORNEY: All right. Well, we have filed a lawsuit, as you know, against the parasailing company, as well as the hotel that offered the parasailing services right in their backyard. It was a few feet away from the property where Alexis was staying. And we're bringing in the rope company as well, the company that manufactured that tow line. So we're alleging negligence against all three companies.

Basically, as far as the parasailing company goes, they exercised poor judgment, first of all, in taking the girls out in horrible weather conditions and it wasn't sudden as they said in their statement. If you look at the weather report from that day, the national weather report shows there was heavy rain in the area on and off throughout the day. The girls were actually taken out earlier that day and the operator at that point said we can't - we can't go out, let's take you back in. They waited about an hour or so and then took the girls back out. And the video footage shows those skies were so dark --

BOLDUAN: You can see those ominous skies behind -

CHALIK: That doesn't happen in a split second. And there was nothing sudden about it. It was just not the right day to be operating. And, interestingly, they were the only company operating that day, parasailing.

BOLDUAN: And, Angie, it's not about the money.


BOLDUAN: What is it about?

ANGIE FAIRCHILD: We don't want another family to go through what we did. You know, if it - if it stops one more person, you know, then it's well worth -- you know, at least there's a positive at the end of this. Her accident didn't not count for anything. You know, I mean there's a positive there if they do get regulations and it stops one person from being hurt or injured or, you know, killed, because that's happened also.

BOLDUAN: It could have very easily happened here.


BOLDUAN: And one thing we can be thankful for is that you're able to sit here today.


BOLDUAN: You are an inspiration with your strength and your fortitude and your ability to find the strength within you to keep on keeping on every day.


BOLDUAN: Thank you, Alexis. Angie, Mike, thank you. Thanks, Debbie.

M. FAIRCHILD: Thank you.



CUOMO: Wow, what a story. What a situation. Continued good health and healing to that entire family.

Coming up on NEW DAY, France's first lady saying au revoir. She's now in India after parting ways with the president. Was his alleged affair finally too much to handle. Also, a bizarre night at the Grammys capped off by two men in helmets getting the biggest prize of all. So what did the members of Daft Punk have to say about taking home all that hardware. Daft Punk is what I wanted to name this show, by the way. (INAUDIBLE).


CUOMO: Welcome back.

France's first lady bidding adieu. That's more French than I've ever spoken in my life in the last five minutes. Well, here's the situation. She's in India this morning, two days after the French president announced the couple was calling it quits. The breakup comes after the president's alleged affair with a French actress and now he is finally speaking out. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in London following this saga. Horrible to have your personal business in the news like this, but such is politics at home and abroad, I guess, Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. After weeks of speculation and gossip that included a pretty uncomfortable presidential press conference and a rather awkward trip to see Pope Francis at the Vatican, French President Francois Hollande has confirmed his bachelor status.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): After more than two weeks of wondering, are they on or are they off, now we know. President Francois Hollande has broken off his nearly seven year relationship with Valerie Trierweiler, meaning her days as France's first lady are over. Hollande's salacious love triangle made global headlines. His alleged infidelity to Trierweiler with a new paramour, actress Julie Gayet.

VIVIENNE WALT, "TIME" MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR: He believes, president or no president, that each person has the right to a private life.

MCLAUGHLIN: Trierweiler is now on the move, arriving in India on a private humanitarian trip after a wild week that included a trip to the hospital for exhaustion. She gave a press conference in Mumbai saying she's doing well, for people not to worry. And this weekend, she said goodbye to her staff at the Elysee Palace, tweeting, "all of my gratitude goes to the extraordinary people at the Elysee. I will never forget the devotion or emotion at the time of leaving."

Hours before announcing the breakup, Hollande gave an exclusive interview to "Time" magazine reporter Vivian Walt.

WALT: And so there we were on a Saturday morning. There was no one around except for this one, you know, rather small, physically, president rattling around in this huge empty palace.

MLAUGHLIN: As for Gayet, well she's keeping quiet. But suing the tabloid "Closer" for invasion of privacy after it made public the details of her relationship with Hollande. Meanwhile questions surrounding the alleged affair have clouded his trips to the Netherlands and the Vatican. This week he travels to Turkey and his first visit to the White House is just days away.

WALT: If he goes to arrive in Washington, you kind of have to have your personal life sorted out or you will run the risk of getting eaten alive by the American media.


MCLAUGHLIN: Hollande is expected to arrive at the White House for the state dinner on February 11th. We, of course, now know that Trierweiler will not be by his side. He has not said if he intends to bring a date but most palace analysts say that he'll probably go alone -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Just what the White House needs, more attention like that rather than on what the (inaudible) would be. Thank you so much Erin. We'll talk to you soon.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, much more on music's biggest night of the year including a Grammy moment that Taylor Swift may rather forget but, of course, it's gone viral.


PEREIRA: How about that? That was music's newest star, Lorde, performing her hit "Royals" which becomes song of the year at last night's Grammy Awards. The ceremony is called music's biggest night but did it live up to the name?

Here to walk us through all the highs and all the lows -- the dark lows -- our Nischelle Turner who's still out partying her face off and fresh off the Grammy red carpet in Los Angeles. And here in studio, Christopher John Farley, the editor of the "Wall Street Journal", their culture blog, the Speakeasy. Good to have you both here.


PEREIRA: Here where I can see you --

FARLEY: Exactly.

PEREIRA: And Nischelle where I can almost feel you. Let's talk about this last night. There were highs and there were lows. One of the biggest complaints that seems to be resounding is the fact that it was a long show. And that gets people's goat a little bit, doesn't it?

FARLEY: Yes, it's always a long show but really was a story about partners. You have Jay-Z and Beyonce kicking things off. You have Daft Punk, the French electronic robot duo winning the award of the night with Album of the Year. You have Macklemore & Ryan Lewis sweeping most of the rap categories. And you Queen Latifah presiding over this marriage of various partners.


FARLEY: I think it was all about partners and not to mention Pharrell on that hat -- PEREIRA: Oh my God.

FARLEY: -- and that was the weirdest partnership of the whole night.

PEREIRA: The (inaudible) hat.

Well it's interesting Nischelle and you can attest to that being there is that it really-- it's like almost like the awards are an after thought. It's about those live performances.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well there are. I mean there were some awards given out last night. We don't really remember them. It is about the performances. It is about the out of the box collaboration, It's about the duos that Christopher was talking about that we will be talking about the next day.

And I have to tell you, he spoke to that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performance and everyone was taking about Madonna and Queen Latifah. My favorite part of that performance was my boy Trombone Shorty joining.

PEREIRA: I know. He's my boy.

TURNER: He's so fantastic.

PEREIRA: I love Trombone Shorty.

TURNER: They had a New Orleans second line during it. So that was pretty good.

PEREIRA: Then, this is the thing there's always this discussion about are the Grammys relevant? Do they get what people are actually listening to on their iPads and on Pandora and the radio and they talk about that generational kind of gap that can happen.

So let's bring in The Beatles. Did it live up to the hype? Did you like it?

FARLEY: Well, here's the thing. People are complaining at The Beatles saying they were hyping for a long time. Why wasn't it more but I think 50 percent of The Beatles and Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney -- that's better than 100 percent of almost anybody. So it worked for me.

PEREIRA: OK, Nischelle, your thoughts on that?

TURNER: I agree. I agree with Christopher. You know, whenever you can -- I was talking to Dave Grohl on the red carpet and I said, you know, you were working with Paul McCartney. So once you got over that whole hype of Paul McCartney. He's like no, no, no, you never get over the hype of him being Paul McCartney. He just is. He and Ringo Starr just are. So anything that they do together I think is a moment. And I loved it.

PEREIRA: You know that argument about people saying I'm to young to understand that it's music and is music at its finest that's the thing you have to recognize and it really should be about, you know, music's greatest night.

FARLEY: It should be about music. But, you know, people on the show these days are trying get social buzz, social media buzz, trying to get hash tag. Things like Madonna shows up with a cane and with a grill and I don't know about the cane. All the jokes about Madonna and stuff; she should avoid canes and walkers and things like that. It's not such a good idea. I didn't feel it was the smartest move the Material Girl has ever done.

PEREIRA: The 10-gallon hat was a lot.

Let's speak about the social media buzz. What's certainly interesting is there were some snubs and I want to get to that. And in terms of social media one of the biggest things that we saw some people were surprised, I know Chris was really stoked that Macklemore won and then there were folks that were thinking that Kendrick Lamar was snubbed. Interestingly enough, Macklemore themselves they felt as though Kendrick Lamar was snubbed. What are your thoughts on that?

FARLEY: You know Kendrick Lamar didn't go home with anything despite his nominations. Macklemore, though, you know, he did break new ground with "Same Love". That was a song that challenged some of the conventions of pop radio by talking about same sex marriage and championing it. So I mean when you're going to put yourself out there like that you're going to get rewarded by Grammy.

And it's funny, the rep committee for the Grammys didn't want to have Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in those categories. They wanted to push him out but he got himself in there. You have this indie artist talking about materialism with sneakers, talking about materialism with his song (inaudible). Getting some rewards for putting himself out there and sort of challenging some of the conventions you hear on radio.

PEREIRA: We can't talk about the award show without talking about Taylor Swift. The face -- what was the face about? There was a bit of -- some people feel that she was snubbed. She's not very good at not emoting. This face right there --

TURNER: Listen Taylor Swift has definitely had her fair share of Grammy moments. I think Kasey Musgraves is new onto the scene. I think she deserved a Grammy. Yes, Taylor Swift was probably surprised that she didn't win. I mean she probably thought her album was pretty darn good like a lot of people did. She had a good performance. I think she had a good time though because every time I looked up she was up dancing to Kendrick's (inaudible) or dancing to Jay-Z or something.

FARLEY: Here's the thing, you know. Sure she lost. She's going to win more but I have a suggestion. Maybe she should get a helmet, a Daft Punk helmet. No one will know what's going on there. No one will see it. I think all awards show --

PEREIRA: We still haven't seen their faces yet.

FARLEY: -- all award shows should have a daft punk helmet I think -- right? PEREIRA: There you go. Just for back up for those bad hair days. Go ahead, Nischelle.

TURNER: Michaela and Christopher -- can I tell you guys though, I think last night was, as much as it was about Daft Punk winning and things like that.

I think this was about Pharrell Williams and about the mark that he's making on the music industry because if you think about what he's done this year, he was producer of the year. He worked on Jay-Z, Daft Punk, Robin Thicke. His own song is nominated for an Oscar. Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar -- I mean he has been with everybody, everybody that's doing great.

PEREIRA: So he can wear the hat is what we say. He can go ahead and wear that hat.

FARLEY: Yes. Producer of the Year that's certainly great but I do think you're right. A lot of it is undone by the fact he's wearing that hat. R and B tweeted they want their hat back. Smokey the Bear wants his hat back. I mean come on.

PEREIRA: Christopher good to have you here. Nischelle, you take care and come home to us soon.

TURNER: All right guys. See you soon.

Chris, Kate -- that's a wrap of the Grammy fun. I know you had your opinions too. Over to you guys.

BOLDUAN: RBs (ph), yes.

CUOMO: RBs, Christopher Farley coming up with that.

Coming up a surprise announcement which congressman is saying good-bye to Capitol Hill. Details ahead.


CUOMO: All right. Let's get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello down in Washington -- Carol

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks guys. Have a great day. "NEWSROOM" starts now.