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2024 U.S. Election; New York Race to Succeed George Santos Scheduled Tomorrow; Star-studded Super Bowl Halftime Show; Climate Change's Effects on Thousands of Animals Revealed in New Study. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 12, 2024 - 10:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: It is election eve. Special election eve, in fact, in the race to fill the seat of ousted Former Congressman George Santos. So, where do things stand right now and what will this race tell us about November? CNN's Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten is here with us now.

Sir, we love special elections.


BERMAN: You do a great job looking at special elections, explaining why they are so important. Where do things stand right now?

ENTEN: Yes, you know, and I especially love anything that's going on in the state of New York. All right. New York's 3rd District, it's out on Long Island, a little bit of Queens, Nassau County. Tom Suozzi, the Democrat, at 48 percent in a recent Siena College poll. Mazi Pilip, the Republican, at 44 percent.

This yellow bar, very important, no clear leader. This race is within the margin of error, and I've gone back through history, John, and I know when you're looking at a polling average. The polling average, if you were essentially creating a margin of error or an interval would be something along the lines of plus or minus 10 --


ENTEN: -- points.


ENTEN: So, the fact is that we have only a four-point race here and you're dealing historically with a 10 point plus or minus margin of error. This race is very close to call even with just a day to go until election day.

BERMAN: Because it's a congressional election, a special election, people may not be paying that much attention. So, that's a huge margin of error there.


BERMAN: Talk to us about the history in this district.

ENTEN: Yes, you know, a lot of people will remember, perhaps, if you're a real politico that Joe Biden won this district by eight points back in 2020. But in 2022, it was a totally different ballgame. Republicans did very well in this district.

Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor won by 12 points in this district. George Santos, of course, won by eight points. And even Joe Pinion, who lost by double digits statewide won this district by four percentage points. And I'll also note that in the off-year elections in 2023, the local elections, the Republicans did very well here.

So, this is an ultimate sort of swing district, John. You know, you were mentioning, why is this district important? It's because it's one that swung back between Democrats in 2020, then Republicans in 2022. So, this is a district, this is probably the last best sort of idea of where the electorate is in this point. Because if Donald Trump wants to win, come November, he's going to probably have to win in districts like this.

BERMAN: And just to be clear, we should have said this before, every seat matters in the House right now.


BERMAN: It's the difference between, like, a two-vote margin for Republicans and a three-vote margin. And we saw with the impeachment vote of Alejandro Mayorkas how every vote counts.

ENTEN: That is exactly right. The margins are so small. So, this isn't just important for November, it's important for the immediate right now.

BERMAN: All right. There is something else in play for tomorrow, and this is potentially very important. We're getting a lot of weather.

ENTEN: Yes, we're getting a lot of weather. So, you know, back in the day, before I did politics, I actually went to weather camp, and I've been very involved in the weather models. Looking at this data, and this is the New York-3 Election Day Forecast. This is from the National Weather Service, the chance of rain and heavy snow.

Look at this, 100 percent chance. There's currently a winter storm watch out for Long Island, for New York's 3rd District for five to eight inches of snow. And I will note that Democrats do seem to have turned out early. They've made up a fairly large percentage of the early vote out there. So, Republicans are going to probably have to make that up on election day.

[10:35:00] This is just another one of those X factors that we're already potentially looking at low turnout. It may be even lower given that there could be a winter storm on the way for the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island. But as we say, John, special election, special things happen, especially in February, at least when you're in the Northeast.

BERMAN: Special indeed. Our special weather camp veteran, Harry Enten, thank you --

ENTEN: Thank you, my friend.

BERMAN: -- so much for that.

With us now, "Spectrum News", New York State Political Director Bob Hardt. Great to see you. Thank you so much for being here. Just tell me about New York 3. Look, I'm old enough to remember when that part of Long Island was a Republican stronghold, like Al D'Amato.

BOB HARDT, NEW YORK STATE POLITICAL DIRECTOR, SPECTRUM NEWS: Right. It's -- plurality are Democrats now and then an equal mix of Republicans and Independents. So, like, Harry really broke down a district very, very well. It went for Joe Biden in 2020. There was redistricting after that. And it's now trending more Republican, so that's where we are.

And then Harry's other point about the weather's really good. Mayor Adams in New York City just declared city schools closed for tomorrow. I'm sure that will also happen in Nassau County. That's going to -- a whole other mix -- ingredient in the mix that we just weren't counting on before.

BERMAN: Who do you think that might favor? Harry's been -- we've been talking for the last year about special elections. Actually, intensity has been on the Democrat side in special elections. And in a low turnout election, that might favor Democrats but is it going to be different here?

HARDT: Well, Donald Trump, as we all know, has been putting down early voting and absentee voting for a while now. So, not surprisingly, those numbers are trending Democratic. You saw more Democrats voting early. You're seeing more Democratic ballots coming early. That's a problem if there's snow tomorrow. So, I would say the snow right now would favor the Democrats if the idea is that snow keeps people home.

BERMAN: All right. Now, everyone wants to see if this is some sign of what might happen in 2024. Do you see this as a bellwether.

HARDT: It's a partial bellwether. We forget -- I mean, Former House Speaker Tip O'Neill said all politics is local. These are actual flesh and blood candidates. Tom Suozzi represented this district in Congress. He's a known name. Mazi Pilip's a newcomer.

So, the question is, are people excited about someone new or do they want to go something trusted and tried? And that's where the dynamics of the race are. So, yes, we can get all excited about the winner, but at the end, it's not, oh, Donald Trump will win because Mazi Pilip won, or vice versa with Joe Biden and Tom Suozzi. So, I caution everyone not to read too much into the race.

BERMAN: Suozzi was the perfect candidate for Democrats. He is the guy that they wanted on this ballot.

HARDT: Yes, he held the district. He's known. He was the county executive before, but he also lost re-election as a county executive. So, it's a purple district now. It used to be blue. It's trending Republican. Tom Suozzi is the candidate the Democrats wanted, but it is going to be, I think, a very close race in the end.

BERMAN: All right. I know you'll be watching it all day and into the night. New York doesn't count very quickly, so --

HARDT: No, especially in Long Island. In New York City, it does now, but Nassau, it could be a late night.

BERMAN: All right. You'll be up, so will we. Thank you so much --

HARDT: Thank you.

BERMAN: -- for being with us, Bob Hart. Really appreciate it.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: All right. A star-studded Super Bowl Halftime Show featured Usher, Little John, Alicia Keys, and a whole bunch more. We'll show it to you in just a bit.




ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: It started when we were younger, you were mine.

USHER, SINGER: You were mine. My boo.

KEYS: Now another brother's taken over, but it's still in your eyes. That's my baby

USHER: And I can see it no matter how I try to hide.

KEYS: I can't hide it, no.


BERMAN: So, there was a really good football game last night. Like, really good. I mean, incredibly good. Historically good. And for the record, I would like to say that a lot of people watched the game. And for them, the game is the most important thing. But --

SIDNER: Some people.

BERMAN: -- I acknowledge, some people like to talk about the ads and the Halftime Show. And I can report, they were both last night, ads and a Halftime Show. Usher, for instance, put on a show.

SIDNER: Listen, that was him and Alicia Keys. I was a little worried about Swizz Beatz. I was wondering if there was going to be some sort of entanglement. But anywho, he brought out everybody from Lil Jon, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, Will I Am, H.E.R. He had everybody on that stage. He sang a 12-minute set with hit after hit, including "Caught Up", "Let It Burn", and "Yeah".

CNN Entertainment Correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister, joins us. One of us is being a little grumpy because he stayed up late and watched the whole game.

BERMAN: It was late. There was a game. There was -- it went into the game, went into overtime.

SIDNER: Overtime. It did. I was there with you. Elizabeth, what has been the reaction to this Halftime Show this morning and the game? Fine, fine.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: First of all -- yes, I was going to say, first of all, I am that person who tunes in for halftime and the commercial --


WAGMEISTER: -- and not the game. I'm sorry, John. But I loved Usher's halftime performance. And people are loving it. This was one of those shows where you are reminded that he just has hit after hit after hit from a 30-year career. As you said, Sara, he brought out so many stars. He brought out the dance moves. He took his shirt off, as we're seeing right there. Everybody loved it.

But I will say, there were rumors before the Super Bowl, that Justin Bieber might come on stage and be a surprise performer. Now, Bieber was in the stands, and he was at the game, but he didn't come out. So, some people a bit disappointed over that, but overall, rave reviews for Usher, and he was really, really fantastic. And you know, the choreography, the hits, it was just great.

BERMAN: I had no idea about Justin Bieber gate (ph). I mean --

SIDNER: I didn't either, but I love the skates. The skating is what laid me out. I was like, is he going to -- oh, he's doing it. I can't believe it.

BERMAN: There were stilts, I will say.


SIDNER: And there were stils.

BERMAN: There was a person on stilts, which automatically means it's a wild success.

Taylor Swift, is she going to the Kansas City Victory Parade on Valentine's Day no less?

WAGMEISTER: So, this is what everybody is wondering. So, there is going to be the parade on Wednesday. Now, this is the latest chapter in the Taylor Swift travel saga. OK. So, she made it to the Super Bowl after her tour was in Tokyo. We all know that she got on her private jet, she landed just in time to make it. Well, her tour goes to Australia. She'll be in Melbourne on Friday.

So, now the Swifties are wondering, can she make it in time? Well, if she is in Kansas City for the parade, it would take 20 hours -- a bit over 20 hours, to make it to Melbourne. So, she could be there, and she could make it to her tour.

Now, as we see there, Taylor was having the time of her life at the Super Bowl. She didn't perform, which we knew wouldn't happen, but a lot of people were hoping, but she really stole the show. She's there with Blake Lively, with Ice Spice. She was kissing Travis Kelce on the field after. She was chugging a drink in the stands. I mean, this was really the Taylor show. And then afterwards, they were celebrating at a nightclub in Vegas and she was dancing to her own music because what else do you do if you're Taylor Swift, right?

SIDNER: Look, I'm going to make the argument that Mahomes stole the show. And I know you like this show.

BERMAN: There was a game. I'm just saying there was a game.

SIDNER: There was a game and he was incredible. I do want to ask you about somebody else who was in the stands. Jay-Z -- no, I'm just kidding. Sorry, Jay Z too. Beyonce, capitalizing on the big game. Releasing two new songs during the game and teasing a new album. What do you know about it?

WAGMEISTER: Yes, so Beyonce also stole the show. So, she appeared in a Super Bowl ad for Verizon. In there, she teased that she had new music, and as you said, Sara, she released two new songs. By the way, country songs. So, these are the first two songs to come from her upcoming album which is going to be part two of "Renaissance", which is coming out at the end of March.

Now, this just proves once again that Beyonce can do it all. She's conquered, it seems, everything, and now she is conquering country music. So, that was one of the big headlines to come. Again, John, I'm sorry. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about Beyonce and Taylor and Usher, that's what I care about.

SIDNER: I mean --

WAGMEISTER: And Sara cares about too, right?

SIDNER: -- it's literally your job, to be fair. This is --

BERMAN: I know -- no, no, no. SIDNER: You cover entertainment and --

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SIDNER: You know, but I would argue that Mahomes was a star and then everybody else was second.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, Beyonce did, kind of, catch the touchdown pass in overtime.


BERMAN: All right. And we gave the Chiefs a suitable victory. Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you very much for playing.

A new report reveals the impact of climate change on thousands of animals. Whales, sharks, birds, elephants, some species that risk extinction.



BERMAN: 13 people were rushed to the hospital after a tour boat collided with another boat near Port Miami in Florida. Several ambulances and fire engines were at the scene as passengers were brought to shore. Their conditions are not known this morning. Investigators are looking into what caused this crash.

Authorities have added more than 150 law enforcement officers to the manhunt for a suspect accused of fatally shooting a Tennessee deputy last week during a traffic stop. The reward for 42-year-old Kenneth DeHart's capture has also been increased to $100,000. Now, his brother is due in court today. Both he and the suspect's girlfriend had been charged with being accessories after the fact.

Sources, now tell CNN that the woman who opened fire inside a Houston megachurch used an AR-15 with the words, Free Palestine, written on it. Two off-duty officers shot and killed her. A man was injured in the shooting, so was a child who walked in with the shooter. It is not clear who fired the shot that hit the child, and so far, police are not saying how the child is connected to the shooter.


SIDNER: All right. A new U.N. Report reveals that nearly half of all migratory species are shrinking in population, with one in five at risk of total extinction. One of the biggest contributions to this decline is manmade climate change.

CNN's Bill Weir is joining us now. Boy, that's depressing, Bill. I mean, that is seriously disturbing. What are some of the species that are on this decline that we are seeing?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's everything from charismatic elephants and jaguars and narwhals to things you may not think about as charismatic bats and certain songbirds and insects as well. They looked at about 1,200 species around the world, 44 percent of them in decline.

And the threats are as a result of over exploitation, there is illegal hunting and fishing, poaching that happens on land and in the sea. Loss of habitat, human activity, of course, cutting down forests to make way for developments or roads, pollution in the air and in the sea. And then of course, climate change is the one that hangs over everything, just making some places unlivable for some species now.

And if you look at the numbers, 44 percent of these 1,200 in decline and 22 percent on the brink of extinction. It really is sobering. I talked to biologists and colleges all the time, worried about their areas of study. But when you see it written whole like this, it is really sobering.

SIDNER: And I get -- I mean, you think about these extinctions and the -- what it would do to us. I mean, if each of these groups of animals are gone, what would that do to the world that we live in? Because we're already suffering from it too. It's not like humans are immune --

WEIR: Sure.

SIDNER: -- to climate change problem.

WEIR: Well, we don't often think about the fact that, you know, every couple bites of food on our plate is thanks to bats who pollinate fruits and vegetables and -- or migratory species of insects, butterflies. Whales are the fertilizer pumps of the ocean. They provide so much sea life just by existing there as well.


And so, if these little pieces of our food chain suddenly check out or are blinked out of existence, the whole system breaks down. We've seen this years ago in China, they lost pollinating insects and had to pollinate apple trees with little paint brushes by hand. Can you imagine the cost of trying to do that? So, our planetary roommates are worth a lot more to our economies than just, you know, cuddly creatures on nature films.

SIDNER: I just want to say, the pictures that you and your producers pulled off the bats, they are so freaking cute, and I know someone's going to come at me. But just looking at these animals, it's -- it really hurts to hear these numbers. Is there any good news? You always find the good news. Is there any good news in this report?

WEIR: You know, we do. I mean, we just looked at the humpback whale comeback, one of the great success stories because humanity focused on that species, brought it back from the brink there. And there is, right now, agreements from all governments to set aside 30 percent of the wilderness by the year 2030.

And if that can be implemented, the authors of this report says, that will do so much of the work for us. Just protecting the high seas where nobody owns it so nobody takes care of it. There's a high oceans treaty that needs to be ratified ASAP. It really is in the hands of humans to determine the fate, not just of ourselves, but life as we know it. And by saving bats, which you may not be fond of, or whales that you never see, we're ultimately saving ourselves.

SIDNER: And that, I will leave it there because that is the point. We are saving ourselves and we can save the animals around us. Bill Weir, thank you so much.


BERMAN: And thank you, bat lover, Sara Sidner.

All right. Literally insane, that is what Christiane Amanpour just told us is the response around the world to comments from Donald Trump essentially inviting Russia to invade NATO countries.