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Biden Calls Foul Over Language In Report; Aid Group Warns Rafah Could Become "Zone Of Bloodshed"; Taylor Swift Performing In Tokyo Before Flying To Las Vegas; E.U. Farmer Protests; Interview With Retired NFL Star Tom Brady. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired February 10, 2024 - 05:00   ET




ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren, live from Hong Kong.

Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


IAN SAMS, SPOKESPERSON, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL'S OFFICE: The gratuitous comments in the report are troubling and they're inappropriate.

COREN (voice-over): The White House goes on the defense, slamming the special counsel's report that contests President Biden's memory.


COREN (voice-over): And fear is growing in Gaza as Israel warns the war may soon escalate again with a new ground incursion into the city where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering. We'll go to Cairo for the latest.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first time seeing Taylor Swift and flying into an international country.

COREN (voice-over): Taylor Swift performing in Tokyo before she jets off to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. We've got you covered.



COREN: We begin this hour in Washington, where the White House is in damage control mode, pushing back on language in a new report on the president's handling of classified information. The good news for the White House is the special counsel's report

concluded charges against Joe Biden are not warranted. The bad news is it suggested that age and lack of mental fitness caused him to forget some details during the interviews. CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz has more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden today hosting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss Ukraine. Biden ignoring questions about special counsel Robert Hur's explosive report one day after teeing off.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I've seen the headlines since the report was released about my willful retention of documents. This needs assertion is not only misleading, they're just plain wrong.

SAENZ: Instead today, it was Vice President Kamala Harris who came out slamming the special counsel, suggesting politics was involved.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The way that the president's demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly politically motivated, gratuitous.

We should expect that there would be a higher level of integrity than what we saw.

SAENZ: Biden's aides noting the president fully cooperated with the investigation, including two days of interviews in the opening days of the Israel-Hamas War.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to make sure he had everything he needed and he didn't want to throw up roadblocks.

SAENZ: Special counsel's investigation ending without criminal charges. But Hur's assessment of Biden as a, quote, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory putting the 81-year-old president's age in the spotlight.

BIDEN: I am well-meaning and I'm an elderly man and I know what the hell I'm doing.

SAENZ: The president fiery in the face of reporters' questions last night.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, for months, when we're asked about your age, you would respond with the words, watch me. Many American people have been watching and they have expressed concerns about your age.

BIDEN: That is your judgment.

I'm the most qualified person in this country to be president of the United States and finish the job I started.

SAENZ: Hur's report highlighting a chief issue voters raise about the president. A recent NBC News poll found three in four voters have major or moderate concerns about whether he's fit to serve a second term.

REP. MAXWELL FROST (D-FL): Yes. OK. We know President Biden is old, OK?

Yes but it doesn't sound like breaking news to me.

SAENZ: It comes amid a string of verbal slip-UPS, including Thursday, when Biden mixed up the leaders of Egypt and Mexico.

BIDEN: Initially, the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in.

SAENZ: Hur's report striking a personal nerve with Biden after saying the president couldn't remember when his son, Beau Biden, died from cancer.

BIDEN: How in the hell dare he raise that?

SAENZ: In private, Biden's fury even more direct, telling a group of Democratic lawmakers, quote, how would I effing forget that?


COREN: There have been other flubs recently.


In Las Vegas, Nevada, last weekend, Mr. Biden said the name of the French president Francois Mitterrand, who led France in the '80s and '90s, instead of the current French president, Emmanuel Macron.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right after I was elected I went to a G7 meeting with all the NATO leaders. I was in the south of England. And I sat down and I said America's back.

And Mitterrand from Germany -- from France looked at me and said -- said, you know, why -- how long you back for?


COREN: Mr. Biden also misspoke during another event this week. He used the name, Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor in the '80s and '90s when he meant former German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Biden's not the only one who misspeaks at times. Trump has had a few slipups when discussing Capitol security.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: All of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it. Because of lots of things, like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. Viktor Orban, anybody hear of him?

He's probably like one of the strongest leaders anywhere in the world. And he's the leader of -- right?

He's the leader of Turkiye.


COREN: Viktor Orban's actually the leader of Hungary.

While Nikki Haley has taken aim at the former president's, quote, "mental deficiencies," she says the report on Biden should be a wakeup call for all voters. She says it paints a picture of a geriatric president with memory issues.

She went on to say, "I long said the first party to retire its 80- year-old candidate will win the White House. Democrats appear on their way to doing just that. Trump runs just about even with the enfeebled Biden. He would get crushed by a Democrat with a pulse."

Natasha Lindstaedt is a professor of government at the University of Essex. She joins us now from England.

Tell us how damaging the special counsel's remarks were about Joe Biden.

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: That's a really good question. It was definitely a politically motivated report. It was fairly egregious in the way they felt they had to characterize him as an elderly man with memory issues, memory lapses.

And by pointing out the fact he supposedly couldn't remember the year that his son, Beau, died of cancer, there are questions whether many Americans may think this is a little bit of an overreach.

But Republicans may see this as a real gift that they can hammer again and again that Biden is too old. An NBC poll revealed that some 76 percent of Americans are concerned about Biden's age. And that breaks down to 95 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats.

In contrast, Trump, who has had similar types of gaffes and is only four years younger, only 48 percent of Americans are worried about that.

I don't think the Democrats are handling the age issue particularly well. A recent article in "The New Statesman" said the Democrats need to start admitting it and calling out to the public that Joe Biden is a great president and start touting his accomplishments and stop making apologies about the age issue.

Ask the question, has there been anything that Biden has done wrong because of age or memory lapse?

You have to remember he's very experienced and he's surrounded by people that are very experienced. If you contrast that to Trump, in addition to his gaffes, he tends to surround himself by sycophants, by family members and dangerously incompetent people.

Furthermore, he is facing 91 criminal charges and 61 percent of Americans are worried about that. He's actively trying to subvert democracy. And yet we're having conversations about whether Biden is too old while we don't have any evidence whether this has led to any sort of disaster.

COREN: Let's talk a little bit about that because obviously there's gaffes on both sides, Joe Biden as well as Donald Trump. But the perception is that Joe Biden is the one who has a problem with age.


So what do Democrats do to counter that?

LINDSTAEDT: I think they need to focus on the accomplishments of the last four years. There's been improvement in the economy. We have 3.7 percent unemployment.

Unemployment has been under 4 percent for several years and you've seen the stock market improve. The economic growth taking place and we're seeing prices start to go down.

And there's been stability. The U.S. has improved in its standing in the world. That is in large part due to Joe Biden's statements about diplomacy is back and trying to work multilaterally and with our allies.

Not only did we have an insurrection with Donald Trump, we have someone making it very clear, I want to be a dictator for a day and I will go after my enemies and who knows what happens after that.

I think we need to point out this immunity case and the way Trump perceives the presidency. The Democrats need to showcase that he thinks the president is some sort of king or some sort of autocrat that should be immune from any kind of prosecution and how dangerous this is for democracy.

There are all kinds of weaknesses and flaws with a Trump candidacy that the Democrats need to highlight, along with some of the accomplishments from the last four years for the Biden administration.

COREN: They definitely need to work on their messaging. The special counsel window was there to determine whether or not Joe Biden had committed a criminal offense, not whether or not the president is senile. You believe this was politically motivated.

Do you see this as a gift to the Republicans?

LINDSTAEDT: So it is a gift in some ways. They're going to talk about this endlessly. Nikki Haley has already started to talk about this, interpreting this as Biden is almost senile, that he is completely unable and incompetent to run for president, that he's too old. And he would be the oldest president. He would be 86 at the end of his

term. So I see Republicans talking about this nonstop. And I think that's why there are questions about what Mr. Hur, the special counsel, why did he need to talk about his memory?

In particular some of these personal cases of memory losses and almost refer to him as this sort of elderly, decrepit person?

It seemed a little bit personal. And there are questions whether people think this has really gone too far here. But we're going to see the Republicans use this to the best of their abilities. And what would be best for the Democrats would be to ignore it, move on and focus on the accomplishments of the administration.

COREN: Yes, personal and definitely ageist. Natasha Lindstaedt, thank you so much for joining us.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.


COREN: There are new warnings about Israel's plan to push its offensive into Rafah. One aid group says fighting could turn it into a zone of bloodshed and destruction. Over 1 million people are there. It had a population of 250,000 before the war.

Many have fled fighting in other parts of Gaza. United Nations' humanitarian chief said there's nowhere left to go in Gaza. Palestinians there are saying the same thing.


GABRIEL: AL-BARDINI, RAFAH RESIDENT (through translator): If by some misfortune there's an invasion of Rafah, it means two-thirds of the population will die. Everywhere else, there's always a way to get out and escape. We can't get out of Rafah. We have no other alternative. Either we die here or die in our homes.


COREN: Nada Bashir has more on what's happening.

Talk us through the conditions that are there for the people on the ground and where they're supposed to go.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Anna, we're talking about some 1.3 million people, many of whom have already had to move and evacuate on multiple occasions.

We've heard the Israeli military telling civilians to move south. Many are taking shelter in what are sprawling tent cities in and around the Rafah area, which is, of course, right by the border crossing, which leads into Egypt, a vital gateway for aid.

What we have seen in the last couple of weeks is continuous aerial bombardment in and around the area. Now the looming warnings of ground operations by the Israeli administration has raised alarm bells.


So the people of Rafah, those displaced there have already gone through unthinkable suffering. They've been forced to move and evacuate on multiple occasions. In his words, there's simply nowhere left for the civilians to turn. The Israeli government has ordered the military to prepare for a mass evacuation of civilians from Rafah.

It's unclear where exactly they'll be evacuated to. There's little to no detail on the Israeli side. Of course, what we have seen in four months of war in Gaza, much of northern Gaza has been completely decimated and the south continues to face the daily bombardment.

Hospitals are completely overrun and the fear is this will lead to even further bloodshed in southern Gaza.

COREN: I believe you're receiving details about a young Palestinian girl, found dead in a car after it came under fire last month. Tell us more.

BASHIR: That's right. We've been following the story of the 5-year-old who disappeared or her whereabouts had been unconfirmed a little less than two weeks ago. She had been traveling with six other relatives, who were attempting to evacuate northern Gaza when their car came under fire.

We had the audio calls of her cousin calling, and begging them to rescue them. She described them being surrounded by tanks before the phone went silent. Later we heard the recording from the 5-year old herself, asking to be rescued.

They Palestinian Red Crescent said they stayed on the phone with her for three hours as they dispatched an emergency team to try to rescue her before they lost contact. Now of course, the tragic, devastating news to our team on the ground from Hind's grandfather, that she has been located, found killed.

The Palestinian Red Crescent citing, confirming there were two paramedics who were dispatched to rescue her and they were also killed under Israeli fire. They say they were targeted deliberately. They had coordinated with the Israeli military in the rescue operation.

CNN reached out to Israel for comment and they said they're looking into this incident. This is devastating and tragic news to many, who have been following the story of 5-year-old Hind.

COREN: Nada Bashir in Cairo, many thanks.

Winter seems to be fading fast and parts of the U.S. could set some warm temperature records today. Details coming up later.

Ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, we're taking a deep dive into the Taylor Swift effect on the National Football League and her boyfriend's team. That's ahead. Plus, we're live in Tokyo. Taylor Swift is closing out four nights of

shows before she's expected to fly to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Her whirlwind travel plans coming up.






COREN (voice-over): Taylor Swift is closing out the Japan leg of her blockbuster Eras tour in Tokyo. She is fresh off winning Album of the Year at the Grammys. Experts say her four nights in Tokyo may boost the country's entire economy.

Japan is one of only three countries she will visit in the Asia- Pacific region. The pop star is expected to perform in Singapore and Australia later this month.

Before those shows, she plans to head to Las Vegas to watch her NFL boyfriend play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. A statement was put out to reassure anyone worried that she might not make it in time.

Swift's final concert at the Tokyo Dome is expected to end in about 90 minutes' time. The Japanese government said despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference, she should comfortably arrive in time to watch her boyfriend, tight end Travis Kelce, take to the field with the Kansas City Chiefs.

We know how Taylor will be moving in the next 24 hours. CNN is covering all of the latest of the Super Bowl weekend and the Taylor Swift craze. Coy Wire sat down with Tom Brady. CNN's Nick Watt is in Los Angeles.

First we go live to Tokyo where Hanako Montgomery is outside the final show.

Hanako, I'm sure you wish you were inside but set the scene for us.

HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna, yes, I absolutely do. We're outside of the Tokyo Dome, where thousands and thousands of fans are enjoying Taylor Swift perform a soldout concert. I am very jealous.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many Swifties. They get to see their favorite pop star dance and sing up on that stage. But it's also time to say goodbye. This concludes this leg of her tour. Fans have been urging her to come back soon.

Taylor Swift is not out of the spotlight just yet. All eyes are on her to see if she makes it back in time to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the Super Bowl with the Chiefs. Fans are convinced she'll make it back in time for the kickoff.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 100 percent. And the Chiefs to win.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) they're going to win.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a whole like on the field trophy and breaks.







MONTGOMERY: Very fun vibes and atmosphere here. We know Taylor Swift has been to 12 games this past season, has been credited with boosting NFL viewership because more of her fans are watching.

But it's not just the size of the audience she's commanding but more and more women are watching. One game in October saw viewership among teenage girls go up 53 percent, according to Nielsen fast national data.

Even the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, had to tip his hat to Taylor Swift and the Taylor Swift effect because there are more women now watching the sport, Anna.

COREN: She might even upstage the players. Hanako Montgomery, thank you so much.

As the countdown rolls on, we're taking a closer look at the impact music star Taylor Swift has had on football in the U.S. and the Chiefs' team. CNN's Nick Watt has the latest on what's being called the Taylor Swift effect.


PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The anti-hero song. I mean that, that ones pretty sweet. So I would say that but --

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Super Bowl star quarterback days before the big game, answering questions about which of a teammate's girlfriend's songs he'd like the most.

MAHOMES: I do love "Love Story." I mean, it gets me every single time.

WATT: More than 100 men will be on the field Sunday eclipsed, perhaps by one woman in the stands.

Here is Taylor Swift and the NFL by the numbers. The Chiefs won nine of the 12 games she attended this season, you can now bet on what color shirt she'll wear Sunday. Red is favorite. She's reportedly added over $300 million in brand value to her boyfriend's team, the Chiefs and the NFL.

REPORTER: What do you say to those who think it's all scripted by the NFL?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I don't think I'm that good of scripter.

WATT: To the Jets-Chiefs game October 1st, she brought along 2 million new female TV viewers. The director reportedly cut to her 17 times.

"New York Times," all the news that's fit to print, took a deep dive on that stat. How often is Taylor Swift actually shown at NFL games?

They are conclusion, less than many seem to think.

Still, right-wing TV talking heads are getting their boxers very bunched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, around four years ago, the Pentagon psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset during a NATO meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Build them up, build them up, build them up and then at the moment of truth, they're going to endorse Biden

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1949, George Orwell had a vision of the future.

WATT: As Orwell predicted our surveillance age, as Caravaggio predicated our narcissistic selfie obsessions, so Swift predicted falling in love with a football player.

In 2008, "You Belong With Me."

Whether she'll make it in time from a concert in Tokyo to the Super Bowl in Vegas has generated acres of copy, infographics, even an assurance from the Japanese embassy.

Is it only the 49ers quarterback who just doesn't care?

BROCK PURDY, QUARTERBACK, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Obviously, our defense is going against Pat Mahomes and there are great offense, so that's all we're looking at it. We don't -- we're not trying to get wrapped up in us against Taylor Swift or anything like that. So --

REPORTER: Do you have a favorite Taylor Swift song? PURDY: I don't.

WATT: Perhaps Brock Purdy doth protest too much.

More than 100 million will watch the Super Bowl Sunday. While we're all watching, it's worth remembering this: in the middle of all of this razzmatazz, they're two kids in love, getting to know each other, their pastimes and their professions.

Swift told "Time" magazine, "Football is awesome, it turns out. I'm just there to support Travis."

There. I said his name for the first time in this entire story -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


COREN: Well, just ahead, while the White House says a special counsel report on Joe Biden's handling of classified documents was politically motivated, Donald Trump tells supporters it proves he's being persecuted. We'll have those details after the break.





COREN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The fallout from special counsel Robert Hur's report about President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents, it exonerated him but language suggesting age and lack of mental fitness caused him to forget details has caused a great political headache.

The White House is in damage control, Vice President Kamala Harris leading the fight, pointing out the interviews took place during a major international crisis. The White House says it's now considering whether to release a redacted transcript of the interviews.

The portrayal of Mr. Biden in the report is affecting the 81-year- old's pursuit of re-election. Zachary Cohen has more.


ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The White House continues to deal with fallout from special counsel Robert Hur's report, which concluded President Biden will not face criminal charges but detailed several concerning conversations Biden had with his ghostwriter and included observations about his memory.

Those fueled attacks from Republicans and allies of Donald Trump. A spokesperson for the White House pushed back, pointing out the current president never took any actions to obstruct the investigation.


IAN SAMS, SPOKESPERSON, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL'S OFFICE: He did not intentionally take classified documents. He understands documents like that belong with the government. He never, never made any attempt to obstruct.


COHEN: Now a spokesperson also criticized the special counsel's comments, calling them gratuitous and wrong.



SAMS: And in the pressurized political environment, when the inevitable conclusion is the facts and evidence don't support any charges, you're left to wonder why this report spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms of the president.


COHEN: So the White House has noted it may open to releasing the transcript of Biden's interview with prosecutors, materials the Republicans are now seeking from the Justice Department.

It ultimately remains to be seen if and when those materials are released. Meantime, Biden and the White House are grappling with the political repercussions of the report -- Zachary Cohen, CNN, Washington.


COREN: Well, the likely Republican presidential nominee discussed the report briefly at an NRA event on Friday.

While Trump spent the majority of the time in Pennsylvania drawing a sharp contrast between himself and Biden over gun rights, he did take the opportunity to claim that the report that shows federal charges against him should be dropped.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If Biden is not going to be charged, that's up to them. Look, if he's not going to be charged, that's up to them. But then I should not be charged. This is nothing more than selective persecution of Biden's political opponent, me.


COREN: Trump took a jab at Biden's capabilities as well.

Still ahead, Italian farmers join the fight against E.U. restrictions. Why they say they won't stop until their demands are met -- when we come back.

Plus, could the climate crisis cause key currents in the Atlantic Ocean to just stop?

How scientists are answering the question -- coming up after the break.





COREN: It's early February but mild, almost springlike weather is on tap across much of the U.S. Temperatures will be 10 to 25 degrees above average in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states today. It could reach into the 70s across portions of the Southeast.

But the warmth in the South will be coming with rain, stretching from Texas to the Tennessee Valley with a slight risk of flooding. There could be 1 to 3 inches, even 4 inches across the region between now and Monday.


COREN: Scientists are warning that a crucial system of ocean currents in the Atlantic could be on course of collapsing. The system carries heat and nutrients and the Gulf Stream a part of it.


COREN: Well, new images from the European Space Agency show the extent of the lava flow from Iceland's latest volcanic eruption. The country's meteorological office estimates about 15 million cubic meters had flowed in the first seven hours of the eruption on Thursday.

Iceland's civil defense chief said the amount was much greater than initially anticipated. Schools and facilities were closed Friday. At last report, no eruptions are currently underway and seismic activity has now stopped.

Well, farmers across Europe are stepping up their protests against E.U. regulations and what they say is unfair competition from Ukrainian agriculture. They're even flooding highways with tractors to make their point. Michael Holmes has this report.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Truckers roll past some of Rome's famed sites but these farmers aren't here for the scenery. It's a protest by Italian farmers, who say they're overregulated and going broke because of high energy costs and cheap imports from non-E.U. countries. And they want to know what the government is going to do to help them.

This protest deliberately kept low key.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It did not want to disturb the Roman citizen because there is a connection between us and the citizen, who is also a consumer, the one who consumes our products. Basically, we didn't want to create discomfort or make strong demonstrations.

HOLMES (voice-over): But it's a rowdy scene in Poland, where farmers blocked roads and clogged the borders with Ukraine.


The farmers say they are losing money competing with Ukrainian exports, which aren't subject to strict E.U. regulations.

Many of Ukraine's agricultural goods across Europe avoid import duties amid the Russian invasion. Their complaints heard at least by Poland's agriculture minister, who says there could be import bans for more products in the future, something Polish farmers say is only fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We expect inspections of products entering the country. We, as agricultural producers and fruit growers, must meet many directives imposed on us. If goods enter from outside the E.U., they should also meet these requirements. There are no such controls.

HOLMES (voice-over): Hungarian farmers joining the protest movement also upset over cheap Ukrainian goods.

Spanish farmers shut down roads across the country yet again, blocking a major highway near Madrid and stranding hundreds of vehicles there.

Meanwhile farmers in Pamplona rallied outside a government building to put pressure on the government to cut down on the red tape that they say is eating away at their profits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In the future we're seeing ahead, the young people will not join this sector. They just don't join because it's not profitable. Things are not OK under my point of view.

HOLMES (voice-over): The E.U. made a concession to farmers earlier in the week by scrapping a plan for a targeted 50 percent cut in the overall use of pesticides by the next decade, something agriculture groups say would have gutted their businesses.

But with little letup in the protests sweeping Europe and more farmers taking to the streets, there will likely need to be more concessions to come before these tractors go back to the fields -- Michael Holmes, CNN.


COREN: Still to come, CNN speaks with NFL legend Tom Brady. We'll get his take on Super Bowl LVIII, plus his thoughts about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. That's next.






COREN: It's Super Bowl weekend in the U.S. and, from TV ads like that cosmetics commercial to celebrities in the stands, the action is not just on the field. Taylor Swift is one of the biggest stars, assuming she gets back from her concert in Japan.

Fans will be watching for her as she watches her boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs fight for supremacy.

A 30-second spot will run you $7 million. Companies willing to shell out are making the most of their investment by showing those ads early.


COREN (voice-over): A spot for Oreo cookies came out last month. It's their first Super Bowl ad since 2013.

Beyond the ads, there's the big game. Super Bowl LVIII is a rematch between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. Coy Wire is in Las Vegas. He was able to speak with newly retired NFL star, Tom Brady.


COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, caught up with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady at Fontainebleau Las Vegas, unveiling the new hall of excellence, with Fontainebleau Chairman and CEO of development Jeffrey Soffer and legendary broadcaster Jim Gray.

All seven Super Bowl rings in this sort of Louvre, this new sports mecca here in Vegas, along with loads of other iconic sports artifacts. I asked him about that and the big game too.


WIRE: Fontainebleau, this new hall of excellence, your Seven Super Bowl rings here.

What does this signify?

Is it like Vegas, the new mega sports capital of the world?

TOM BRADY, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: I think it is. There's the NFL draft versus F1, a baseball team coming, a basketball team coming, a women's basketball team here that I'm a part of, MMA and 4ufc fights all the time and boxing events.

So it's really an incredible sports capital. When you think of 40 million visitors coming through every year and doing it in the Fontainebleau casino, which is the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen in my life, it's a destination to people to come.

WIRE: What does the GOAT, the greatest quarterback of all time, have to say about the quarterback matchup?

BRADY: Well, Patrick has been a great player since he came in the league and so is Brock. Both well coached, both organizations are doing it the right way. I was part of organizations doing it the right way. So I love when I see matchups that, it's truly the two best teams.

One's going to get one of those rings and the other one's going to be looking for answers like the other 30 teams that aren't in the game.

WIRE: What do you make of all the added hype, the Taylor Swift mania for this Super Bowl?

BRADY: For me, I'm happy for them. They should -- that's their personal journey. To me, this is really about a great football competition and the magic that's created on the field. And these players have all worked their entire lives to get to that moment.

So being in the locker room, I know exactly how they're feeling on the Friday before the big game. And to have them go out there and prepare for two more games and to try to put all the other stuff aside and leave it on the field and be at your best so you can try to win a championship.


WIRE: Brady, all business. Locked in and focused on the game just like he was as a player. Anyone saying Patrick Mahomes is nearing GOAT status with his two Super Bowl rings just doesn't understand how far they have to go to compete with Tom Brady.


COREN: Las Vegas is known for instant weddings like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't get married because you're Travis and Taylor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get married because you're really in love and you want to spend the rest of your life together.


COREN (voice-over): Now they're offering a special to any couple named Taylor and Travis, a free wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've obviously offered Taylor and Travis to come and get married with us if they're so willing. And we have major plans for them once they arrive. If that doesn't happen, we've offered any couple that wants to come down named Taylor and Travis. They're free to also get a free wedding with us.


COREN: Well, so far four other couples have expressed interest.

Turning to some news just coming in to CNN. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Israel Defense Forces operation in Rafah must be complete by the start of Ramadan on March 10th.

An Israeli official tells CNN that was his message to his war cabinet. Netanyahu's office said in a statement Friday he had directed the military to plan for the evacuation of the population from Rafah, adding that the IDF would soon go into Rafah, Hamas' last bastion.

The United Nations says over 1.3 million are believed to be in Rafah. The majority displaced from other parts of Gaza.

That wraps up this hour of CNN. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Viewers in North America "CNN THIS MORNING" is next. For the rest of the world, it's "AFRICAN VOICES: CHANGEMAKERS." Thanks for your company.