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Candidates To Replace Santos Clash In Debate; Man Thanks Family Of New York Firefighter Who Donated His Heart; Poppy Speaks With Notre Dame Legend Muffet McGraw. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 09, 2024 - 07:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the election to fill George Santos' empty seat in Congress is coming up on Tuesday -- a very high-stakes contest. And the two candidates aiming to replace Santos had their one and only debate last night. Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Mazi Pilip clashed on issues like immigration and abortion and the attacks -- they got personal at times.


MAZI PILIP, (R) NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: You promise and you never deliver. When I promise, I deliver.


PILIP: I deliver. I deliver.

SUOZZI: Tell me how you're going to do it. How? How are you going to pass legislation?

PILIP: I would. I know how to work. I know how to work.

SUOZZI: How? Tell me how? Just tell me. Tell everybody. Everybody is listening.

PILIP: Don't worry. The way I -- there's nothing coming between me and. You are a talker. I am the person who will deliver. When I promise, I will deliver. You are very good at talking. You are very good at talking.


MATTINGLY: Now, the result of this race could narrow a very already slim majority for Republicans in the House. It's also going to be very closely watched about what it means for November.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has been covering this entire race and he knows it up, down, backwards, and forwards and joins us now. What did you see last night, Miguel? What did you take away from that one and only debate? MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Tom Suozzi is a very good retail politician and she has a great resume but is untested in this world. Mazi Pilip was on the defensive for much of the night. I think Suozzi -- if you had to say somebody won, he probably did better at keeping her on the defensive. But she must have tied him to Joe Biden and the Squad 50 times throughout the night while he tried to keep, sort of, the ghost of George Santos alive throughout the entire debate.

But there was no bigger issue -- there was abortion, gun control, Israel -- all came up. They fought and discussed the SALT tax -- the state and local tax deduction and reinstating that was the biggest moment where they really got into the most intense fighting. Of course, it's about taxes.

But immigration, more than anything. The debate started about that. Here's a little taste of what they discussed on the immigration issue.


SUOZZI: In 2018, when I was in Congress, I was one of only 18 Democrats that voted to fund ICE. When people said let's abolish ICE, I was only one of 18 Democrats -- I went against my party.

PILIP: When you were in the majority in Congress you voted to open the borders. You created the migrant crisis. And yes, you keep ICE from here. Let me tell you, as a county executive, you are in charge of this county. It doesn't matter what the commissioner would tell you. In the end, you make that decision.


MARQUEZ: So, did anyone win this debate? Well, I don't think it changed any minds. He kept her on the defensive. She held her own throughout it. But he did keep that -- sort of, the George Santos thing from the beginning of the night to the very end. This idea of transparency and how much she has answered questions from the press and debated only one debate so far. So I think that will be on voters' minds as they go to the polls next Tuesday.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. Everybody will be watching, Miguel. Great reporting as always.

I want to bring back in Lee Carter, Errol Louis. Hi, Errol. What did you think?



LOUIS: It was almost like partisanship versus policy where Mazi Pilip was arguing that anything that any Democrat did -- basically, you should associate it with my Democratic opponent and vote against him for exactly that reason. He, on the other hand, kept trying to bring in specifics and urge people to sort of take a more moderate position.

One indication of how Suozzi really tried to sort of steer to the center is that Joe Biden was in town -- in New York City a few days ago. Suozzi specifically said do not come to this district. Do not campaign with me. This is a district that Joe Biden won by eight points just a couple of years ago. And so, that's much partisanship in this district, especially around immigration, has really exploded in the last couple of years.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Abortion was also an issue. I want people to listen to that exchange that they had over abortion. Here it is.


SUOZZI: I'm asking you very clearly are you pro-choice?

PILIP: I said I made it again. As a person, as a Christian --

SUOZZI: Just say you're pro-choice.

PILIP: I, Mazi Pilip -- I am pro-life. This is me.

SUOZZI: OK. You sound like you're saying you're pro-choice but then you say you're pro-life. When it comes to the laws you say you're not going to tell people what to do, but you support the Supreme Court decision. You are on the conservative party line.

PILIP: You know, just because I was endorsed by the conservative line, it doesn't mean I'm going to agree with everything they're going to tell.


HARLOW: How do you think she did in that exchange?

LEE CARTER, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT, PARTNER, MASLANSKY+PARTNERS: You know, I don't think she -- it was the strongest moment of her performance but I don't think it's going to do much to change people's mind. It really does seem like this election has really become about immigration. And I think that --

HARLOW: That's all that matters in this one.

CARTER: That seems to be the -- I mean, and it has risen over the economy. It has risen all of these other issues. And so, I can't help by wonder. You look at the polling where Suozzi is ahead by just three points within the margin of error. When you see the surge in immigration being the concern you can't help by wonder which direction this is going to go.

I think it's -- I think Suozzi has an advantage because of the anti- Santos sentiment that we have been hearing and how strongly that came out. When you talk to people in that -- in that district, voters are just so adamant that they don't want to be sort of characterized and known as the Santos district. And I think they've done a pretty good job of keeping that narrative alive.

But at the same time, this immigration concern is so fascinating to me, especially as we were talking about in a community like Great Neck and a community that you're looking at, like, why is it so important to these voters? But it, no doubt, has taken over --


MATTINGLY: And it's going to be --

CARTER: -- as the number one issue.

MATTINGLY: It's going to be fascinating to watch and we will absolutely draw explicit, direct conclusions from Tuesday to November immediately.

CARTER: Exactly.

MATTINGLY: It's a bellwether. Really, people will.

Errol, Lee -- thanks, guys.

CARTER: Yeah. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Well, an emotional reunion between the man who received a heart transplant and its donor's family. How a fallen hero went beyond the call of duty, still saving lives today. That's ahead.


MATTINGLY: A New York firefighter going beyond the call of duty by being an organ donor. Now, one man says he's grateful that the heart of a hero lives on inside him.

CNN's Brynn Gingras has more.


RICHARD GREHL, ORGAN DONOR RECIPIENT: It's part of me. I mean, it feels like it belongs there, thank God.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Richard Grehl now has the heart of a hero --

GREHL: Most generous donor family, I am truly sorry for the passing of your beloved family member. I was told a heart transplant was my only option for quantity and quality of life.

GINGRAS (voice-over): -- but he only recently found that out.

GREHL: On your mark, get set, go.

GINGRAS: So tell me, who was Billy? What was he like as a husband, as a firefighter?

KRISTINA MOON, BILLY MOON'S WIFE: I think the word I keep using for everyone is passionate and a big personality.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Billy Moon, a New York City firefighter, served for two decades.

K. MOON: When they leave the house it was always "Be safe. I love you." And you know that there's a risk involved. He fell while preparing for a training exercise. Unfortunately, it was an accident.

GINGRAS (voice-over): He continues to save lives even in death.

K. MOON: He donated his heart, his liver, his lungs, and both of his kidneys.

GINGRAS: Five lives saved?


K. MOON: Yeah.

GINGRAS: I would think the heart is a special one.

K. MOON: It kind of encompasses everything that was him. The kids had asked, "Are we going to meet the heart? We would really like to hear the heart."

GREHL: I'm taking extra special care of this beautiful new heart.

K. MOON: When he wrote the letter, I was able to say, "Do you really want to meet the man that has Dad's heart?" And they were like, "Yeah."


GREHL: Hello. Hello. Thank you so much.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Nearly a year after Moon's death, his family got that chance.

GREHL: You can hear it? Awesome.

COLIN MOON, BILLY MOON'S SON: I was right next to my dad and it feels like I was right next to him because when I was doing it, I could hear his heartbeat.


K. MOON: Yeah.

GREHL: Meeting Billy's mom, I sat there and I thought the heart that's inside of me was also in Billy. But his mom is the one that made the heart, so I had a direct connection to his mother.

K. MOON: He had the philosophy if you can't take it with you when you die then he wanted to make sure he was there for other people.

GINGRAS: Now I'm crying. Why are you crying? GREHL: Because I'm alive and I'm so grateful.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Thanks to one last heroic act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did it, right?

GINGRAS (voice-over): Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


MATTINGLY: What a story.

All right. Well, for millions of Americans, the Super Bowl is all about the commercials. Next, how some companies are spending up to $50 million to get a 30-second spot on air.

HARLOW: The Super Bowl is not the only game in town. An event that's going to the dogs, truly, ahead.







V. BECKHAM: Paprika Girls?

D. BECKHAM: No, that's absurd.




MATTINGLY: I think so.

Super Bowl weekend is upon us and if you're one of those people who is more interested in the ads than the big individuals wearing pads, we've got some inside info for you. Stop laughing, Jimmy.

Sunday's Super Bowl commercials feature a mini "FRIENDS" reunion, you just saw, for Ubers Eat -- Uber Eats. And Jason Momoa channeling "Flashdance." And that's not all.

Elizabeth Wagmeister joins us. She's going to tell us everything -- so many spoilers -- and everything else that's on the table.

First, though, how much are companies actually spending on these ads, and what celebrities are we looking for?


So I have some new reporting out today and the numbers are shocking. It shouldn't be so surprising to us that big stars like Jennifer Aniston and Jason Momoa are making big bucks. But an agent that I spoke to tells me that celebrities are making $25,000 all the way up to $10 million for these Super Bowl ads. Now, these ads take one to two days, so not bad work if you can get it, right?

Now, for the advertisers who are putting on these commercials, the talent fees are just one piece of that. So if you're spending up to $10 million on one star -- well, then to produce the whole ad can cost anywhere from $15 million to $50 million.

Now, we all remember Ben Affleck in that Dunkin' Donuts commercial last year. It was genius, right? Well, I have reporting that says that Ben Affleck made close to $10 million for that ad. Now, he also served as director and producer behind it.

But he's not the only one. Larry David, who in 2022 appeared in an ad for FTX -- he also received around $10 million.

Now, that extreme number is rare but if you are a household name, I have learned from my sources that you are not going to be appearing in a Super Bowl ad for less than $1 million. I have heard that there are two stars this year who are making over $5 million.

HARLOW: Those numbers are amazing.

I also find the way that they're gearing these ads towards women this year, largely because of the Taylor Swift effect, to be absolutely fascinating.

WAGMEISTER: Yeah, it is. But, you know, I hear, Poppy, that the ads were largely sold --


WAGMEISTER: -- before we knew that Taylor Swift may make an appearance at the Super Bowl. Now, we all know that Taylor's first appearance at a game was September 24, but I hear from sources that all of the ads for CBS were nearly sold out by November, long before we knew that the Chiefs would be there.

But like anything that Taylor touches it turns to gold. Ratings will be at an all-time high this year largely because of her.

MATTINGLY: All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister. I know you'll be watching and we'll definitely be talking about it on Monday. Thanks so much.

Can we talk about --


MATTINGLY: -- Larry David being so -- HARLOW: That was amazing.

MATTINGLY: Like, the commercial where he was, like, FTX won't work and he's wrong about everything? No, he was right about that. FTX didn't work. Go figure.

A special counsel report on President Biden's handling of classified documents sent shockwaves through Washington. We're going to speak to a Democratic congressman about it just ahead.



HARLOW: So despite being one of the winningest coaches in the history of the NCAA, Notre Dame legend Muffet McGraw learned the most from losing. She grabbed the attention of the world when she lamented the lack of equal opportunity for women across America. And now, after leaving the court, she's got a message for those running the country and for us parents at home.

I sat down with the former Notre Dame women's basketball coach for the latest in our Coaching Life series.


MUFFET MCGRAW, 2-TIME NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPION HEAD COACH: Women need female role models. We need more women leaders. We need to see more women in power.

I was the first woman to coach a lot of my players because they grow up with all these guys.

Awesome job.

We expect different things from women than we do from men. From a woman, we're expecting compassion, and sympathy, and empathy.


HARLOW: You have to be all those things at once --

MCGRAW: We do.

HARLOW: -- and tough --


HARLOW: -- enough, but not too tough.

MCGRAW: Exactly. We're walking a tightrope, right? And they're like stand up for yourself. Speak up for yourself. But you better be humble --


MCGRAW: -- because we're supposed to be a team player.

HARLOW (voice-over): What you allow is what will continue, a motto that has guided two-time NCAA champion Muffet McGraw in basketball and in life.

HARLOW: Where does that come from?'

MCGRAW: As women, we get a lot of -- I call them little paper cuts. We got through our day and somebody says something and you kind of, like, let it go. And you're in a meeting and you get talked over. And the Supreme Court had to change the way they do oral arguments because the female justices were being talked over.

HARLOW: Paper cuts. It's really interesting.

MCGRAW: There's just little slights, you know?


MCGRAW: Little slights.

HARLOW (voice-over): Slights that embolden the history-making former Notre Dame women's basketball head coach --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw made news before her team's game addressing an issue far beyond basketball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notre Dame's coach, Muffet McGraw, is taking on gender inequality in sports and just about everywhere else.

HARLOW (voice-over): -- and led to the clip heard around the world.

MCGRAW: I'm getting tired of the novelty of the first American -- the first female governor of this state. The first female African-American mayor of this city. When is it going to become the norm instead of the exception?

We don't have enough women in power. Girls are socialized to know when they come out, gender rules are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power.

HARLOW: You'd had it.

MCGRAW: I did.

HARLOW: What did you make of the reaction to that?

MCGRAW: We got on the bus and somebody said Barack Obama just retweeted what you said. And I was like whoa. And I got a letter from Hillary Clinton, which I had on my fridge for about five years.

I'm just so tired of being the first. Men don't have that. They've done it all already so we're always looking for somebody to shatter the glass ceiling and make another break. Do something we haven't seen before. When are women going to coach men's teams? When are we going to make more strikes? HARLOW (voice-over): Just months after leading the Fighting Irish to the 2001 NCAA title, 9/11 changed everything. While on the road recruiting, McGraw was originally scheduled to be on United Airlines flight 175, which crashed into the World Trade Center, but one of her assistant coaches changed her plans.

MCGRAW: He kind of convinced me to do it and I'm like you saved my life that day because I would have been on that flight that went to New York.

HARLOW: So when you saw what happened what did you think?

MCGRAW: First, I thought how did they now see that building? They just ran into the building. And it was emotional.

HARLOW: And still is.

MCGRAW: Um-hum.

HARLOW: Did it change how you live your life?

MCGRAW: I like to think, for the better, that I appreciated things a little bit more. And I think that's why I'm not afraid to speak out on certain things.

It has been my great honor to represent the University of Notre Dame these past 33 years, but the time has come for me to step down as your head coach.

HARLOW (voice-over): Muffet McGraw has left the sidelines but she is not done teaching.


MCGRAW: I'm trying to use my platform for women. For social justice for women. Having the right to choose what happens to their own bodies. And I think trying to be a spokesperson for all women.

HARLOW: So let's talk politics.

MCGRAW: I would love to be in politics but I don't want to run. I don't want --

HARLOW: Well, you gotta.

MCGRAW: I don't want to do that. I want to be appointed to something.

HARLOW: So not how it works in this country.

MCGRAW: Exactly.

And I hate where we are politically right now in this country.

HARLOW: Then why --

MCGRAW: I mean, we're just -- HARLOW: -- not try to change it?

MCGRAW: We're just so divided. And all you hear about from candidates is what's wrong with the country and who is at fault for it. They blame -- they never take responsibility. There's no accountability.

HARLOW: What do you think about Congress as a team?

MCGRAW: If I was -- had to say one thing, I would just say do your job. Do the job that we hired you to do. Do the job you got elected to do. Take care of us.

Yeah, you have to give a little bit. You're not always going to get exactly what you want. But it's about building consensus. It's about doing what's right for the people.

HARLOW: It sounds like Congress needs a coach.


HARLOW: You haven't failed very much in your life. You've talked about losing and how that weighed on you. But how do you think about failure? Do you think it's important?

MCGRAW: Oh, absolutely. Failure is how we grow. That is what we learn from. We learn so much more from a loss than we do from a win.

HARLOW (voice-over): A lesson in losing from one of the winningest coaches on the court and something she thinks us parents should let our kids do a little more of.

MCGRAW: Parents don't let their kids fail. That's the problem that we're having right now with this generation. Parents fixed everything.

HARLOW: Everyone gets a participation medal.

MCGRAW: Right. Everybody gets a medal. Everybody gets a trophy.

You know, there's a snow plow on the road. Make sure there's no bumps in the road for their kids when they come through. What are we doing? We're not teaching them how to handle adversity.

The life lessons you learn playing sports -- how to be a great teammate, the discipline, the work ethic. How to persevere. How to be relentless in going after your goals. And it teaches you about mental toughness. You learn how to fight through adversity.