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U.S. Shoots Down High-Altitude Object Over Alaska; Kansas City Chiefs And Philadelphia Eagles Face Off Sunday; White House Says Biden's Pre-Super Bowl Interview With Fox Is Off; Super Bowl Betting Expected To Reach $16 Million; Rep. George Santos Caught In Another Lie. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 10, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.
There sure are a lot of suspicious objects flying around our skies lately. Exactly one week ago, it was that Chinese spy balloon. This afternoon, it's what the Pentagon calls a high altitude object shot down by an F-22 fighter jet about ten miles off the northern coast of Alaska near the town of Deadhorse. But what is that object? Who does it belong to and what was it doing up there?
Plus, of course, it's Super Bowl weekend. Bob Costas will be here tonight with what he's most excited about. Americans are expected to bet $16 billion on this game. Is this harmless fun or a new national addiction? Bob Costas will give us all the scoop on the big game.
And Congressman George Santos is still at it. This time he's lying about Senator Kyrsten Sinema, according to her. If people lost track, we'll bring you the full compilation of Santos' deceptions from just this week and what his colleagues are now saying about him.
But let's start with the mysterious object shot out of the sky over Alaska this afternoon. Joining me is Fareed Zakaria, Host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Fareed, great to have you here with us tonight.
So, let's talk about what we know about this strange mysterious object. We know it was flying at 40,000 feet, which they say posed a threat to civilian airplanes. It does not appear to have any surveillance equipment on it. It's about the size of a small car. It was unmanned, did not appear to be self-maneuvering, meaning that it was subject to the winds, it was much less predictable. So, Fareed, do you want to hazard a guess as to what this thing is?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Alisyn, sometimes in life it's best to be honest and say, I don't know. What we do know is the balloon was flying at about 60,000 feet, so much, much higher. This one, as you say, is about 40,000 feet, which means the Pentagon is exactly right, it does interfere with civilian flights. I would have wondered if it could possibly be a drone. That is usually too high for a drone. Commercial drones fly at about 400 feet above, but they can go as far up as I think 20,000. Military drones can get up to 30,000. This one is at 40,000. But the Pentagon says it had no surveillance equipment on it.
It also said that it burst on impact. It shattered on impact, which doesn't suggest it's a balloon. So, if we want to play this game, it's something that shatters on impact, does not have surveillance equipment, is going higher than most drones, lower than these spy balloons, you got me.
CAMEROTA: As my grandfather used to say, animal, vegetable or mineral, and we don't know.
So, the national security spokesman said today they don't know if it's state-owned or corporate-owned or privately-owned. Any idea how they will figure that out?
ZAKARIA: If they get the debris and the problem apparently is that it's also in Alaska, where it's very cold and there's a lot of ice, but once they get the debris, I'm pretty sure they'll be able to figure that out. I'm surprised they were able to determine that it had no surveillance equipment that quickly. It means they probably got a good look at it.
So, I would suspect that we would find out pretty quickly. It's one of the reasons why you sort of (INAUDIBLE) rushes to make judgments. One has to be careful in getting the story right is that, it really -- there's a lot of possibilities. It could easily be a commercial. It could be a military thing. But, again, not having surveillance equipment to me was the most interesting piece of that list of things you read.
CAMEROTA: And I mean also they seemed to be able to quickly deduce a week ago that it was a Chinese spy balloon. And so the fact that they don't know if it's from China, don't even know if it's state-owned is curious.
Today, our Pentagon Correspondent Oren Lieberman asked if the -- what the rationale was to shoot it down so quickly if it was perhaps under political pressure. So, here's that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Was the decision to shoot it down before it entered too far into U.S. airspace the Pentagon bowing to political pressure from the Hill?
BRIG. GEN. PAT RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Look, again, we're going to judge each of these of these objects on its own merits. It entered into U.S. airspace on February 9th. We sent up aircraft to assess what it was. The decision was made that it posed a reasonable threat to civilian air traffic. The president gave the order to take it down, and we took it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What do you think, Fareed? Do you think there was any political calculation there?
ZAKARIA: Well, there's always a political calculation at some level, but I suspect that this is a case where, you know, the judgment of being dangerous civilian aircraft is probably the most important thing. One piece of this that's worth noting is that the administration did brief the Canadians on this, and the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, essentially accepted and supported the rationale.
So, you know, it seems as though to me that this is a reasonable decision based on safety but a little puzzling that they know so little about it. But I'm sure we'll know more as time passes.
CAMEROTA: You just had a piece in The Washington Post saying that the next balloon-type crisis will be harder to deflate. So, what do you mean by that?
ZAKARIA: Well, let's take this one that we're just talking about. One of the things that I think was in some of the reporting was that one of reporters asked, did you try to communicate with China to ask them, is this something coming out of China. And the response that the administration, I think it was Admiral Kirby, gave was we're not talking to China because they didn't answer our last phone call, which sounds a little -- like this is a kind -- we're in a very bad moment with China. And the danger here is it's a very powerful country.
We have lots of issues with it. There're issues relating to Taiwan. There're issues relating to China's enormous military buildup. It now has more ICBM launchers than the United States. That's not nuclear missiles. That's places where you can put nuclear missiles. But it tells you that China is, by the Pentagon's own estimation, triple the nuclear weapons it has and we have no military-to-military dialogue, we have no arms control treaties, we have no hot line between Beijing and Washington. And so when something like this happens, it isn't easy to quickly clear it up and clarify it and say is this something of yours.
And to me that's a very dangerous place for us to be. It reminds me when you look at history of where the United States and the Soviet Union were in the 1950s before arms control, before superpower summits, before regular confidence building measures. There's an enormous amount of mistrust, suspicion, no good lines of communication. And what that means is one of these crises could go bad, right, because it could escalate. And there isn't enough information. There could be a miscalculation. And that's a dangerous place to be. Remember China is a nuclear armed essentially superpower.
CAMEROTA: Fareed, great to get your perspective on all of this. Thanks so much for being here.
ZAKARIA: A pleasure. Here with me in the studio is Republican Strategist Doug Heye, also former Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones and Chris Whipple, author of The Fight of His Life, Inside Joe Biden's White House. Gentlemen, great to have you here with me on a Friday night.
Chris, let's talk about this. You've spent a lot of time reporting on the Biden White House. Do you think that this was a tough decision this afternoon for President Biden to make?
CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE FIGHT OF HIS LIFE: Well, without minimizing what Fareed was just talking about, obviously, that China- U.S. relationship is fraught, it's very serious. But having said that, this was almost the perfect ending to a really great week for Joe Biden. And what I mean by that is that he was able to -- by shooting this object down, he was able to do what he was criticized for not doing in the case of the Chinese balloon by his Republican opponents.
And I think that it's -- again, he's -- while this might have been politically-motivated, I think he's perfectly insulated from that charge because the military recommended that he shoot it down. This is not Afghanistan where he overruled Mark Milley and Lloyd Austin and did his own thing. So, I think he's insulated from that. But it comes on top, you know, the best speech of his presidency, in my view, the state of the union, in which he absolutely owned the zealots in the GOP.
CAMEROTA: And do you think that was planned? Do you think that he built that because he knew there'd be that back and forth the.
WHIPPLE: Well, I think some of it was planned. But I think in the moment he was terrific. He just owned them. And he followed that by going to Florida and toying with poor Rick Scott, who has become the GOP version of the Chinese balloon, you know, lingering over the landscape while Joe Biden shoots at him and smiling. So, it's a great week for Joe Biden, I think.
CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Congressman, I wouldn't say that by shooting this down, he has silenced the Republican critics. What is happening, I think, is they're now casting about for, was the last one too long and was this one too soon? Here is Congressman Mike Waltz of the Foreign Affairs Committee today on this response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE WALTZ (R-FL): I'm trying to understand why this much smaller, by their own admission, much less capable balloon with a much smaller payload was deemed such a threat that the other one wasn't, and it can't just be the altitude.
And to your point on what our red line should be, I guarantee you if we put an object over Beijing or over some of their sensitive sites at 40,000 to 60,000 feet for days collecting sensitive intelligence, they would take action. We need to take reciprocal action and again make that clear up front. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Want the president to shoot it down or not?
MONDAIRE JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, when you're dealing with people operating in bad faith, you're always damned if you do and damned if you don't. I'm actually concerned, as are you, with the fact that we don't know more information about this object that was shot down. Would it have made more sense to wait another day or so to assess the origins of this, whether it was state-owned, as we heard from Fareed, or whether it was corporate-owned?
CAMEROTA: How would they have done if while it's flying around in the sky?
JONES: Yes, the same way they did it with respect to the Chinese spy balloon, right, which was able to float for several days.
CAMEROTA: I think they were able to identify that more quickly. I mean, I think that just by eyeballing it, they were able to figure what that was. This one seems more mysterious.
JONES: I think it was more complicated than just eyeballing it, I mean, to determine whether it was from China or some other nation. I mean, this is the problem with not allowing the intelligence community and the U.S. military to do its job, to make assessments, but rather to jump to conclusions based on political instincts and criticize depending on the party of the person occupying the White House.
CAMEROTA: But you think that that's what the Republicans are doing or that Biden jumped -- that Biden acted quickly?
JONES: I think all of the Republicans who said, how could he let this happen, he should have shot this down immediately over the state of Montana, for example, were people who were not making informed analyses.
CAMEROTA: Got it. Doug?
DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. So, I used to work for Richard Burr, who was the Senate Intel Committee chair. And the one thing that he always impressed on me, on his colleagues, on staff, was that you listen to the intelligence first.
And what we know at this point is exactly what Fareed was talking about is we still have more questions than we have answers. On the balloon still, on this new object, we know it's not a balloon but don't know what kind of object this is. So, we need to determine what this was, where it came from, why it was there and then why the decision-making process went through that.
As we figure those things out, as we get those answers, that will tell us more about whether Biden did the right thing, the wrong thing, should it have gone further, didn't act fast enough, all these things that he's being criticized for. But we've got to get these answers first and foremost. CAMEROTA: Well, yes. One of the things that he's being criticized for is the lack of transparency. Senator Murkowski of Alaska, who's quite concerned about things flying over her home state, said today we're going to press the White House for more transparency. I think the White House doesn't know yet. I mean, are they -- is there a lack of transparency from this White House or are they waiting to get information before sharing it with the American public?
WHIPPLE: I think they were perfectly transparent in this case.
CAMEROTA: In this one, today, this afternoon and we're already reporting?
WHIPPLE: In this case, yes. I mean, I think they've told us what they know. I think John Kirby was pretty clear about what we know and what we don't know. And you can second guess this thing seven ways to Sunday. But I thought this was really professionally and smoothly handled.
And I think it's also Biden's first decision on Jeff Zients' watch. I wrote a book about the White House chiefs of staff, and my latest book on the Biden White House, The Fight of His Life, spells out just how badly things can go when a president switches White House chiefs in midstream.
But so far, this is a tribute to Zients' and I think also to a foreign policy and nationally security team that is finally really hitting its stride. It wasn't always pretty in Afghanistan, but with Ukraine, they did everything right. And in this case I don't know how they could have handled this latest episode any better.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly, ten seconds.
JONES: One indication that the White House has been operating in good faith is that even after a classified briefing, Mitt Romney came out and said the Biden administration did the right thing with respect to the spy balloon.
CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm sure they appreciated that actually from the senator.
Thank you all very much. This is, of course, Super Bowl weekend.
The big question, apart from who wins, is will President Biden sit down for a Super Bowl interview? Every hour, there's a different answer on this. We'll tell you about the back and forth that has been going on between the White House and Fox tonight. We're going to talk about that and so much more, of course, on the big game with Bob Costas, next.
CAMEROTA: It's Super Bowl weekend. The Kansas City Chiefs and some other team will face in Phoenix on Sunday night at 6:30 Eastern. My Philly cousins are screaming at the screen right now.
And for all of you who are just there for the half time show, this year it will be Rihanna, more on that later. But this game will be exciting for many reasons, and one of them is it will be the first time the Super Bowl will have two starting black quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts for the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes for the Kansas City Chiefs. They talked about that earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JALEN HURTS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES QUARTERBACK: I think it's historic. Keep in mind on what's to come. So many kids out there, so many kids that they may tell them to change their position or do whatever it is, but it can be done. It can be done. And it's a historic moment. I know it would be a show, it will be a fun one.
PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: It's a historic moment and to be a part of it with two historic football teams. And so many people laid the foundation before us. And to be playing with a guy like Jalen who I know is doing it the right way is going to be a special moment that I hope lives on forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right, joining me now is CNN Contributor Bob Costas. Bob, great to have you here. And before we get to that specific historic moment, just tell us what is most exciting to you about this upcoming game?
BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, I see you're wearing your Chiefs red just as Jake Tapper was in green and a full Eagles jersey earlier. I'm sure Michael Smerconish will mimic that tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, Wolf Blitzer doesn't care at all because the Bills aren't in it. But it isn't like people at CNN don't have their allegiances.
The game shapes up as a good one. The odds makers say point-and-a- half, two points in favor of the Eagles. The Eagles have had a great season. They've lost only one game including the playoff. And generally speaking, it's believed that the Eagles have not by a lot but by an observable amount the better overall teams.
But Mahomes, with all due respect to Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes is a gigantic talent. And it would seem to me that if the Chiefs win the game, Mahomes has to have to have a big game, whereas Hurts can just manage the game, not make too many mistakes and have a good game, and that scenario could shape up for the Eagles winning.
CAMEROTA: My husband grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. So, we are outfitted with all of the regalia at our house.
COSTAS: I get it.
CAMEROTA: Yes. I know you do. COSTAS: I get it.
CAMEROTA: So, let's talk about these two brothers, okay, the Kelce brothers, Jason and Travis. They are the first brothers ever to compete against each other in the Super Bowl. I mean, what is their mother feeding them that has made them so fantastic?
COSTAS: Well, apparently, it's a real football family, the dad as well. I remember interviewing Travis Kelce some years ago for Sunday Night Football on NBC and quoting his dad as saying there's no stopping a Kelce boy.
So, these guys were not sitting around dreaming of being astronomers or something which is not to say they aren't bright, but these are rough and tumble kids from the beginning. Jason is the elder of the two at 35. Travis is probably the better player headed for the hall of fame, one of the great tight ends in NFL history. He's 33 years old.
They will not be on the field at the same time. Since Jason is the center, plays offense, and Travis is a tight end for the Chiefs. So, it won't be as if they're hitting each other or tackling each other. But from what we hear from the family, that was often the case in the living room or in the backyard when they were running into each other.
CAMEROTA: Here's what their mom has to say --
COSTAS: And by the way, Alisyn, it's worth noting, yes, they're the first brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl, but John Harball of the Ravens and Jim Harball, then the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, met as coaches in an epic Super Bowl that went right down to the wire, and the Ravens prevailed. And it was really a touching scene when the two of them met because John was exultant and Jim was downtrodden because they had lost a very tough game but they embraced and said to each other I love you. And that is really a difficult thing, the two head coaches, not just players, but the two head coaches think of their parents and their family in that situation.
CAMEROTA: Well, we might see that situation again at the end of this game. Here's what their mom said about who she'll be rooting for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA KELCE, TRAVIS AND JASON KELCE'S MOM: It's going to be easy. You know, I have to stand and scream the entire game. They're both on offense. So, every time somebody has the ball, I'll be clapping. And every time somebody gets a touchdown, I'll be thrilled. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: It's easy.
COSTAS: So, she's rooting for a score of like 50-45 so that both offenses excel and the defenses don't.
CAMEROTA: That's exactly right. Okay. So, now let's talk about the historic nature of this, these two black quarterbacks. And I was just reading today about how hard that has been, I mean, how much discrimination there has been particularly to achieve the quarterback position.
COSTAS: Yes, it goes back generations now. But there was a time when it really made news. A player named Marlin Briscoe, who had also been a wide receiver, played quarterback for the Denver Broncos at some point in the late '60s, early '70s. Warren Moon came out of the Canadian league and went on to a hall of fame career with Houston. But it really was a barrier, and it was pretty clear that the prejudice was that quarterback was a thinking man's position, a white man's position.
To a lesser extent, the same thing was true of middle linebacker. In old school defenses, the middle linebacker was the guy who called out defensive signals and that was shut off for black players for a very long time.
But the barrier for black quarterbacks has come down. Doug Williams won a Super Bowl for Washington in the 1980s, and it was a cause for celebration. It was very, very significant. There had been many black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb for Philadelphia, Steve McNair for Tennessee played in the Super Bowl.
Cam Newton for Carolina played in the Super Bowl. Colin Kaepernick played in the Super Bowl for San Francisco in the game I just mentioned. They didn't win it, but Doug Williams did win it. Russell Wilson did win it for Seattle. Patrick Mahomes is trying to win it for the second time for Kansas City.
So, while this is noteworthy, it is no longer that noteworthy. There's a dozen or more black quarterbacks in the NFL now ranging from stars to journeymen and everything in between. The bigger barrier, not that it hasn't been broken but it hasn't been fully resolved, is for the head coach's position.
And it's interesting to note that way back when in 2007, Tony Dungy, then the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, met Lovie Smith, the head coach of the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. So, that's nearly two decade ago. So, two black head coaches actually met in the Super Bowl way before two black quarterbacks met in the Super Bowl.
But I think the quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl is as much coincidental now as it is consequential because black quarterbacks are no longer an oddity and there doesn't appear to be as much of a barrier to a black man playing quarterback in the NFL if he has the ability.
CAMEROTA: Great context. Bob Costas, as always, thanks so much, really fun to talk to you tonight.
COSTAS: And what about Biden on Fox or not on Fox? What's up with that?
CAMEROTA: All right, tell me. What do you think? Should he do it? COSTAS: You know, really, I think he should for this reason. If they had offered up, as they almost certainly would Bret Bair or Martha MacCallum or Shannon Bream, who are not associated with the rather extreme and harsh opinion-type programs on Fox, then it would be to Biden's benefit to do it and reach some 100 million people.
Now, what's being bandied about, and as of half an hour ago, the answer was no, nothing at all, but there's an outlet that I'd never heard of and you probably haven't either because it hasn't got much traction, called Fox soul, which is streaming service that's design to appeal or geared toward a black audience.
And so, apparently, at one point, the Biden administration said, yes, we'll talk with two hosts from Fox Soul, and Fox apparently said, yes, that's okay, too, and now the White House has backed away. If I were advising Joe Biden, and he hasn't called me, but if I were advising Joe Biden, I would tell him, look, Fox and every conservative outlet, right-wing talk radio, the internet, they will all call cowardice on you, fair or not. He was afraid to come on Fox. He was afraid to face the questions.
Back in the day, whether it was a Republican or Democrat, it was really more like, hey, it's Super Bowl Sunday, it was a kind of softball interview, unless what team to did you root for growing up, did you play football, what do you like to eat on Super Bowl Sunday, that's the way it usually was, unless there was some issue right in front of us, like when Barack Obama said he might not -- if he had a son, he might not let him play because of the concussion concerns, or Donald Trump when he said get those SOBs off the field, that was just a few months before NBC had a Super Bowl involving the Eagles, by the way, in early 2018 and he refused to be interviewed -- Trump refused to be interviewed by Lester Holt. And Lester Holt is a down the middle fair-minded journalist.
CAMEROTA: Right, and so he broke that tradition.
COSTAS: So, you know, make the (INAUDIBLE) what you will.
CAMEROTA: Yes. No, I hear and, yes, there's just so much back and forth. I don't know anymore who's kyboshing it, but it doesn't sound at the moment as through President Biden is going to sit down.
Bob, I have to let you go. Thank you very much. Great to talk to you, as always.
COSTAS: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Okay, have a great time this weekend.
COSTAS: Have a good weekend.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
More than 50 million Americans will bet money on this year's Super Bowl. Next we talk to one woman who was never interested in sports until she started betting. And she got a little too interested. That's next.
CAMEROTA: This Super Bowl weekend, a lot of money is on the line. Americans are expected to bet $16 billion on the game. For the first time ever, the Super Bowl will be played in a state with legalized sports betting, which means you can place bets on the Chiefs or the Eagles from just feet where they're playing in Arizona.
Joining me now is someone who learned about the highs and lows of sports gambling herself, "The New York Times" reporter, Rebecca Ruiz. Rebecca, great to have you here. So, as I understand it, you had no interest in professional sports whatsoever until you started betting on them and then you were very interested. So, what happened?
REBECCA RUIZ, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it's fascinating because I was interested as a journalist. My interest was strictly professional, but I was disinterested in that I was dispassionate. I had no horse in the race. I had no emotional connection to sports or to gambling.
And in order to better understand our subject matter, in order to say we want to explain this well to readers and this phenomenon across the country that has really taken it by storm in a really short amount of time, I wanted to see what the experience of these apps was like and what some of these offer in the experience of taking advantage of them and playing and using these platforms was like.
And I found a really striking pace that it was all-consuming. I went from being a dispassionate observer on the side lines to being someone who was rabidly tuned in, toggling from game to game, watching games by myself, stepping up out of my seat and screaming. It was quite the experience.
CAMEROTA: This is fascinating to me because I start from the same place that you do and can't imagine that I would get that invested. But somehow when you're betting money, you do. You describe -- okay, so basically you were betting anywhere from I think 10 bucks to $900 on some of these games.
And you describe being on a three-hour flight during which you basically got itchy because you couldn't check the scores of two baseball teams who you weren't really interested in.
I mean, do you think you sort of developed a -- I mean this is affecting you physically. Do you think that you developed sort of an addiction to this?
RUIZ: It was disconcerting, I will say. And it was really striking and that it came over me so rapidly. I would also clarify that that really significant amount of money, that largest bet of mine, the $900, was promoted by an entry level offer. It was not an amount of money -- I was -- it was not an amount of money I would ordinarily put on the line, but I was incentivized to do so and go to that big amount by some of these rather tantalizing promotions that offer you refunds but often in the form of site credit, which has been marketed as risk- free, but certainly the industry has acknowledged can carry an inherent amount of risk.
CAMEROTA: I mean --
RUIZ: And speaking to addiction, that hurts.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, go ahead.
RUIZ: There really -- there really can be this concept called telescoping in which somebody can get really into something really quickly.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. I mean it lights up the same pleasure centers of the brain that some drugs do. It's -- you know, gambling is an addiction, and it sounds like what you're describing as all the physical reactions that you had. So ultimately, Rebecca, did you end up winning or losing money?
RUIZ: I wound up winning overall on every platform. It was striking, however -- I mean, it really -- the amount of time I put in, the amount of energy I put it, it was quite the experience. Over 10 days in a very disciplined fashion in which I -- as a very controlled individual who had strictly professional interests began to really feel a marked change in myself, which was really, really interesting to observe.
CAMEROTA: It is really interesting. It's also, of course, a cautionary tale. Rebecca, stay with us because our guests may have some questions for you as well.
I want to bring back our panel. We have Doug Heye, Mondaire Jones, and also CNN's senior data correspondent, Harry Enten joins the conversation. So, Harry, I had no idea how much money. More than 50 million Americans are expected to bet on this year's Super Bowl. That's a 61% increase from last year. So what's going on?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah, what is going on? I mean the fact is that we have an addicted country at this particular point in my mind. And, you know, one thing I've noticed here is everyone of this panel seems to have no idea who's actually playing in this game and everyone's like, oh, we're not fans of this -- of the NFL. I'm a huge NFL fan, so I'm coming in with a little bit --
MONDAIRE JONES, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I know who's playing.
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yeah, I know --
ENTEN: Okay. You know who's playing? You know who's playing. Okay.
CAMEROTA: I mean, I do, too, sort of.
ENTEN: Sort of. Sort of. But I'm here with a little reality check, give you an understanding of, you know, who's actually favored in this game so we can all walk away from here with an understanding. It's the Eagles are slightly favored over the Kansas City Chiefs. They're favored by a point and a half in this particular football game.
And you know, this is something that I think is important to point out because the game is going to be so close. There are going to be a lot of people who bet on the Eagles who think they're favored, but they're going to lose out, right? You know, Rebecca might be someone who made money, but there are a lot of people who lose money on these platforms. A lot of people who are addicted, you know. There are 6 million people in this country who are gambling addicts at this particular point.
CAMEROTA: So you're not a fan of these sports betting sites?
ENTEN: I am not a fan of these sports betting sites. I'm of the belief while there are certainly some people, you know, who can make money, there are a lot of people who lose a lot of money and I'm not just talking $500, $600, I'm talking $50,000, $60,000, $70,000.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. It's an addiction. Rebecca, I don't remember if it was in your piece or where I read it, maybe in your piece, but basically, gambling is the invisible addiction. You know, with somebody being an alcoholic or a drug addict, people see the wear and tear on them and then they stage an intervention. With gambling, you can be doing it right next to your family, you can be doing it secretly and then suddenly you've lost your house.
JONES: Hopefully your family is intervening in that situation.
CAMEROTA: They might not know. The point is they make it so easy on your phone to do it.
JONES: I don't -- I don't know how we distinguish it from going to casino, right? Are we going to shut down casinos? I think people should be allowed to do what they want to do in this context and not have the government sort of overreach.
CAMEROTA: Well, the Supreme Court is -- what -- in 2018, the Supreme Court changed basically the laws to legalize it in more places, and that's when you've seen this tremendous spike in how much money Americans are spending on these things.
HEYE: You know, Rebecca's story ultimately goes to a sentence we've all said in our lives at one point or another whether it's on sports or something else, care to make it interesting. And that may be the loser buys dinner, that may be a sports bet, maybe something else. But the interest is what we're there for, and that's when you get caught up in those pleasure centers and all that.
I can tell you I learned my lesson fortunately very young, 1992 Atlantic City, June 20th. I remember the date specifically --
CAMEROTA: What happened?
[22:39:57] HEYE: -- because I was seeing Frank Sinatra at the Sands and I decided I was going to play craps and I lost $400 in less than an hour. And I said, we're good.
CAMEROTA: That's great, Doug. That means you don't have a terribly addictive personality.
CAMEROTA: If you can walk away, right?
HEYE: Well, if you saw the number Frank Sinatra songs I had on my phone --
HEYE: -- might not agree with that, but yes.
CAMEROTA: Okay. That's a different kind of addiction. But in terms of the numbers, they are staggering. Do you have some that you're (inaudible).
ENTEN: Well, I mean -- I mean, look, I think the fact that, you know, we put up the slide a little bit earlier that 33 states -- 33 states, the majority of states now have it so you can legally bet on this football game. And this to me is everything, right, which is this is a story in the making over the last five, six, seven years, whereby, you know, it used to be gambling was something that took place sort of in the shadows. You made it with your bookie, you kept, shh, quiet, quiet, quiet. Now, all of a sudden -- look at this.
ENTEN: Look how easy online gambling has made things, 30 million American adults plan to wager [ph] online or retail sports book or with a bookie. And then there's an addition --
CAMEROTA: That's up -- by the way, that's up 66% just from last year.
ENTEN: That's exactly right. The amount of people who are gambling this particular year is going to top 50 million. That is up. We were just north of 30 million last year. It's an explosion. You know, I'm interested in following trends.
Normally, when we talk it's political trends, but this is a trend that is changing every day in America. People are really feeling this. And guess what? We're talking about it right now. So, it's something.
HEYE: We can -- we can have the same conversation on another type of gambling that isn't necessary looked down and that's lotteries.
ENTEN: Yes. Absolutely.
HEYE: Where states are basically saying to themselves, we're leaving money on the table if we don't have a lottery.
CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Rebecca, thank you very much for sharing your story.
All right. More accusations of lying by George Santos. We're going to tell you what one of his colleagues is saying about him, next.
CAMEROTA: We're hearing all about the food that we'll be eating at Super Bowl. We'll get to that later. Meanwhile, truth challenged New York Republican Congressman George Santos accused of a new lie today, this one by a colleague.
You'll recall, of course, that Senator Mitt Romney called Santos out on the floor -- on the House floor before the State of the Union saying, you don't belong here. Well, Santos had this to say about it on News Max last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Kyrsten Sinema, as she was walking by the Senator from arizona, she said something to the effect of hang in there buddy or something like that. I said, thank you -- thank you, Madam Senator. She was very polite and very kindhearted as I've learned to see her. She's a good person unlike Mr. Romney who thinks he's above it all and an all mighty white horse trying to talk to us down on morality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. Well, Senator Sinema's office tells CNN this is a lie. And it's just the latest in a string of problems for Santos this week. Back with me to discuss, Doug Heye, Mondaire Jones, and Harry Enten. What's so funny, Harry?
ENTEN: I mean he's -- how long has he been in Congress for? What is it, like a month? It seems like he's telling a lie every single day. So, you know, it's so ridiculous. It would -- you know, the sad thing is he's not actually serving the people of the third district in the way he should be serving, which is why it shouldn't be surprising his favorable rating there among his constituents is just 7 percent. And I can tell you, I study a lot of polls and when --
HEYE: -- seven -- Just seven people or percent?
ENTEN: I think 7% of voters may be pathological liars. But, look, the fact is when your favorable rating is lower than the percentage of Americans who believe we faked the moon landing which is 10 percent, I can tell you your favorable rating is quite low.
CAMERORA: I just like that he was like, you know, Senator Sinema is a wonderful person, she's just a good person. She's really nice. She's like, he's lying, like even the compliment didn't get her to say he's not lying.
So, here's just a week in George Santos, okay? I mean -- and we only have two days because we don't have all day with people. So on Tuesday, Santos expected to face House Ethics inquiry. Senator Romney told him, you don't belong here at the State of the Union. The FEC orders Santos to formally declare his 2024 candidacy or disavow his recent fund-raising. On Thursday, the 2017 charges of theft for bad checks to these Amish dog breeders came to light. And then later, Senator Sinema's office denied that they had that friendly exchange.
Back to the dog breeders for a second. So, there were all these checks. He said his checkbook was stolen. Well, now, some of these dog breeders are coming out, and saying, oh, no, I recognize that guy. He's the one that came and passed the bad check to me and he drove off with four puppies that I had.
JONES: I worry he's going to be so known for lying that we're just going to become numb to it as we get deeper into this congressional term. I'm glad the House Ethics Committee is doing an investigation. I used to serve on the House Ethics Committee. I am hopeful that that will result, culminate in a vote to expel him, which requires two thirds. I think you might get to two thirds at this point in the bipartisan vote to expel this guy.
But you know, Kevin McCarthy still got his own political considerations. By the way, I'm so glad this guy wasn't able to attend the classified briefing on China. I mean, he has a connection to the cousin of a Russian oligarch, like we still don't know who was funding this guy's campaign. He's like a Manchurian candidate.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly, Doug, before I let you comment. This -- just tonight, Erin Burnett interviewed "The Washington Post" reporter who went to speak to these Amish dog breeders about him and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN O'CONNELL, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: We did drive through and meet some of the farmers who -- so that we can show them his picture, show them the checks that we thought they had received, and they could actively identify for us, yes, this person did promise us money, he took the puppies that we had bred, and he cheated us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Yeah, these are not victimless crimes.
HEYE: They're not victimless crimes, and they're so bizarre and things we wouldn't expect to hear, not just in politics but this would be a weird story regardless. By the way, Amish dog breeders is my band name, incidentally.
But there's a reality that I think people lose sight of and it comes down to that two third vote in the House. When you're elected member of Congress, you essentially have an unshakable two-year contract of your job. And unless you quit or two thirds of your colleagues say you're out of here, you're not going anywhere.
And the last two times this has been done, it's been done twice since 1980, it's been for members who have been convicted of bribery and racketeering or other things, not accused, not bizarre lie stories, convicted of bribery. So, that's how high the bar is on this. So Santos, not only is not incentivized to resign, in fact, he's getting paid maybe for the first time in a while. It's clear he's going to stay there as long as he can until he's kicked out.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Gentlemen, thank you very much. It's been a busy few weeks when it comes to stories in the animal kingdom, as you know, if you've been watching our program and certainly for owls. We'll explain, next.
CAMEROTA: Ever heard the story of the wise owl that went to the library? Turns out it's true. Take a look at this owl, which got into the library at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia this week, hanging out in the rafters there. Library staff called a master falconer to safely capture the owl. The bird appeared healthy so the school officials ultimately opened the doors and let it fly away.
Now, here in New York City, the Eurasian eagle owl named Flaco that escaped the Central Park Zoo last week is still on the loose tonight. Zookeepers almost nabbed him yesterday, as we see in this photo, tweeted out by Manhattan Bird Alert, officials lured him to a trap in the park using a white lab rat inside the cage as bait, but he flew off before they could grab him.
All right, another mysterious object in the sky shot down over Alaska today. What is it? That's next.