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U.S. Shoots Down "High-Altitude" Object Over Alaska; Should Students Be Allowed To Use A.I. To Help With Their Work?; Bill Maher And Guests Answer Viewers' Questions; Rihanna To Perform During Super Bowl Halftime Show. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 10, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: President Biden ordering the U.S. Military to take down another high-altitude object that was hovering over the U.S. We're told it was flying about 40,000 feet, making it a threat to commercial airplanes. This coming less than a week after the U.S. shot down that Chinese spy balloon.

I want to bring in CNN national security reporter Natasha Bertrand, military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton, and safety analyst David Soucie. He is a former FAA safety inspector. Great to have all of you.

Natasha, just tell us what your latest reporting is on what happened today.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, Alisyn, this was a big surprise by U.S. officials today. White House official John Kirby, he came to the podium. He kind of went through all of his talking points. In the middle of the briefing, he kind of sprung on everyone that this had happened.

And essentially, what had happened was, off the coast of Alaska, just on Thursday night, there was an object that was spotted. It was unclear what that object actually was, but it was flying at a very concerning altitude, around 40,000 feet, just at that top end of what civilian aircraft normally fly at.

And so, it was deemed potentially risky to civilian aircraft. And so, what the military did was they continue to monitor it. And then on Friday, they briefed President Biden on it, and President Biden did ultimately give the order to shoot it down because it was not seen as able to maneuver by itself and it was pretty much at the mercy of the winds.

There was no surveillance equipment that was detected on this object. So, it was not deemed to be a national security risk, but it was deemed to be potentially dangerous to civilian aircraft. And so, the U.S. really did not feel like it had any other choice but to take it down. And so, around 1:45 p.m. today is when we saw them actually sent up those fighter jets and actually use the same kind of missile that was used just last week for that Chinese spy balloon to take it down.

Now, we still don't know where this object came from or what it even is. It is a lot smaller than the Chinese spy balloon, only the size of about a small car as opposed to the payload of that Chinese spy balloon being about three buses. It is very small.

Now, what we're going to see is this recovery effort. This apparently landed on solid ice just about 10 miles north off the coast of Alaska. The recovery effort has already begun. The next step is it's going to be taken to an FBI lab for further analysis, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Uh-hmm. Okay. So, Colonel Leighton, let's talk about all of the details there that Natasha brought us. It was flying at 40,000 feet. It did not appear to have any surveillance equipment. It's about the size of a small car. It was unmanned. It did not appear to be self-maneuvering. In other words, as she said, it was at the mercy of the winds. What do you think it is?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, RETIRED AIR FORCE COLONEL: Well, Alisyn, that's, of course, the $64,000 question at the moment. I mean, it could very well be a weather balloon, but --

CAMEROTA: It's not a balloon, right? I mean, it's -- it's --


CAMEROTA: -- it's not described as a balloon.

LEIGHTON: Yeah, we don't know that exactly, you know, right now. I'm not sure if Natasha has had any other information on what they're saying. But it definitely is some kind of aerial vehicle that is up there. But it could be some kind of a measurement system, measurement device.

It could be some, you know, may -- even though they say it doesn't have the same kind of equipment that the balloon, the Chinese surveillance balloon had, there's still the possibility that it could have collected information.

What's interesting is this particular object was flying over Prudhoe Bay, which is, of course, a major oil field for the U.S. and there could be some economic interest in deciding, you know, exactly what this is, maybe making some geological measurements, doing those kinds of things.

So, it's hard to say exactly what it is right now, but they're definitely interested in something that the U.S. has, I would believe, and it could be, you know, from a variety of different places.


China, Russia are all possibilities at this point.

CAMEROTA: Hmm. David, it was flying at roughly 40,000 feet. So, how dangerous was that to commercial airlines?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYT, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR: Well, again, until we know what it is, it's hard to assess that risk. And in an abundance of caution, they shot it out of the air, and I think that was a good decision.

But it is definitely lighter than air object. I wouldn't describe it as a balloon yet because it was round which means it is super high- pressure balloon. Usually, if it's a weather balloon, it'll have more of a teardrop shape. So, I'm not sure quite what it was.

But if anything of that size got into one of the engines of an airplane, it wouldn't bring it down. It's not like it would rip off a wing or anything like that. But if it got into an engine, it most definitely would shut down that engine.

CAMEROTA: I don't know understand, David. It's a size of a car. If an airplane hits something the size of a car, I mean, why wouldn't it rip off a wing?

SOUCIE: Well, because of its structure. Because it's lighter than air, Alisyn, that means that it's of a really fine fabric or that it's a light object. So, I'm presuming that that would be that. But, again, yeah, who knows what it could do to an airplane when it hits. But I don't think it would cause any structural damage.

Airplanes are made to go through the air at 5 or 600 miles an hour and not cause any damage. They are made to withstand geese and ducks and anything of that size, and even flocks of geese and ducks without any structural damage to the airplane. So, I really don't think that that was a high risk of happening, but I do think it would cause problem with the engine and probably shut down an engine should it go through the engine.

CAMEROTA: David, if you don't mind, I'm going to co-op one of your questions that you had for Colonel Leighton because I think it's a good one. David wanted to know, why did it take such a powerful, extensive missile to take something like this down if it was lighter than air?

LEIGTON: Yeah, that's a great question, Alisyn and David. The problem is that we don't have weapon systems that are this cheap or cheaper than these aerial objects. So, the balloon from the Chinese, you know, who knows exactly how much that costs, but it's certainly less than AIM-9 Sidewinder missile and certainly less than an F-22.

The problem that you had is you don't have aircraft that can fly as high as the Chinese balloon and you don't have aircraft that can really on a routine basis go after these kinds of advance rapid succession.

So, this is something that we're going to have to really think about when it comes to protecting our airspace. We're going to find a way to more cheaply down these or at least neutralize these devices or these aerial objects when they come into our airspace like these two have. CAMEROTA: Yeah, particularly if they're going to happen once a week. Natasha, you have exclusive new reporting on new information about the Chinese spy balloon from a week ago. What have you learned?

BERTRAND: Yeah, Alisyn. So, we've learned that the U.S. just within the last year actually developed a very specific method for tracking these Chinese spy balloons based on the very particular signals that these balloons emit.

Essentially what happened was early on in the Biden administration, another one of these Chinese spy balloons transited the continental U.S. and it was detected by its signals. The Biden administration, the intelligence community, looked at those signals and said, I wonder where these have popped up before, kind of ran those signals through the intelligence holdings and saw that not only had they discovered this very particular signatures that these balloons emit but also that they have been able now to track where they've popped up in the past.

So, in that sense, they were able to see that about three of these balloons had actually passed over the United States during the Trump administration and they have gone undetected at the time. But the bigger picture now is that they have this method that is allowing them to track these balloons in real time essentially across the world. And, as we know, the U.S. has determined that this is a major fleet of balloons that is operating really or has operated over 40 countries across five continents.

This is a key distinction, I think, from this object that we saw today where the U.S. didn't necessarily know what that object's path was going to be and, therefore, it wasn't clear whether they should just wait and see where it ended up or what kind of intelligence they could gather. Whereas with the balloons, what we have learned is they have very specific way of being able to track their paths. And so, that has made it a lot easier for the U.S. to learn much more about the Chinese surveillance program writ large.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you. Excuse me. Thank you for sharing all that. Really interesting to understand how they retroactively figure that out. David, colonel, Natasha, thank you all for being here.

All right, so, everybody is talking about artificial intelligence and the amazing things it can do. But can you tell the difference between an essay written by a student, a real student, and one written by ChatGPT? You're going to have your chance. We'll test you, next.




CAMEROTA: A computer program called ChatGPT uses artificial intelligence to help people do just about anything as long as it is text-based. Here's the software writing a five-paragraph essay on the history of the Super Bowl. That's just a computer doing that, and it's coherent. What are the implications when a computer can do this in the classroom? What if students use this?

My next guests are two college professors. Timothy R. Johnson is a professor of political science and law at the University of Minnesota and Alex Lawrence is an associate professor at Weber State University and may feel differently about ChatGPT. Gentlemen, great to have you.

Professor Johnson, I want to start with you. You do not like this idea of students being able to use this to write their essays. Do you think you would be able to determine a paper written by a real student versus the paper written by the computer? Could you suss it out?

TIMOTHY R. JOHNSON, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Well, first of all, thanks for having me tonight to talk about what I think is an important, very interesting topic.


JOHNSON: And in fact, yeah, I do think that it is relatively easy, especially in entry level courses where knowledge is considered more general, where students don't need to have the depth of knowledge that they might in an advanced course, whether that would be in an advanced course of business or political science on law.

And so, while it may be more difficult for me to suss out 1000 level course, it is relatively easy, I suspect, in a high-level course just because the critical thinking and the depth of the thinking that needs to go into writing a paper is so much more important and needed when those assignments or those papers are given.

CAMEROTA: And Professor Johnson, have you had this situation yet? Have you had to grade a paper or look at a paper that you thought was ChatGPT?

JOHNSON: You know what, I have, and it was an entry level course. One of the teachers with whom I work brought that paper to me. The two of us looked at it.

And even before running it through plagiarism software and running it through the programs that have been created with the same A.I. technology to detect an A.I. written paper, we can tell just by the generalized ability, by the factual issues that were seen right but not necessarily accurate, and then things like punctuation and grammar not being what you would expect from a college student. So, it's relatively easy to discern within a couple of minutes.

CAMEROTA: I am comforted that it has not outpaced that yet. But, I mean, obviously, it is headed there. So, Professor Lawrence, I get the sense that you are from the "if you can't beat them, join them" school of thought on this.

ALEX LAWRENCE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY: I would say I'm more from -- I'm not a traditional academic. I come from entrepreneurship and business. And so, I'm thinking about these terms of what I'm seeing out in the real world, what I'm seeing happening for careers in business and what students are going to be doing. And so, I'm thinking about it from that perspective. It is my role and my job to teach them and prepare them to use the tools that they're going to see in the real world and the business world. It is already happening now. It is going to accelerate quickly.

And while Professor Johnson was able to detect that now, you know, the A.I., by definition, is intelligent. It's going to learn. And there is already tools out there that you can take the results from, put them into, have it spun around, change the vocabulary, the addiction, the tones, the phrasing, the language.

I told GPT to write a paper for me as if it were a freshman in college with a 3.0 grade average and to use the language that that kind of a person would, and that result was much different when I just asked generic questions.

So, students know how to game the system, they know how to beat the anti-cheating stuff. It is kind of a useful game of cat and mouse in my opinion. So, yeah, if you can't beat them, join them, I guess, is one way I would say it.

CAMEROTA: That's incredible that you are able to give it such specifics of write the paper as if I am this actual demographic of a student. But Professor Lawrence, what practical application is there? I mean, why -- when would you have your students use it?

LAWRENCE: Yeah, I have them use it. I fully embraced it. That's why I'm on the show. I'm having students use it. I decided to teach them how to use it and to tell me that they're using it. And not just ChatGPT but other A.I. business tools, so we can have open conversations about, so I can show them how to get better at it, how to use it as a tool, as research.

And it is not just ChatGPT. Pretty soon, it is going to be integrated into Google. So, going to outlaw search engines. You know, it is going to be built into a Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. It is just going to be a click, click away. These are months away, not years away. So, you know, again, I felt my job was to prepare them for that, to make the best out of it, help them leverage it, not just to try and figure out if they are hiding it from me.

CAMEROTA: Professor Johnson, what do you think of that?

JOHNSON: Well, I mean, I don't have a problem with what Professor Lawrence is arguing. What I do have a problem with is that my job as an educator and as an educator for almost 30 years at this point is teach my student to think critically, to make logical coherent arguments. And to do that, they need to actually be doing the research. They need to be putting in the time, they need to be reading the articles or the books that maybe cited with an essay.

And I actually do think that Professor Lawrence has a good point that there will be practical applications for this, but when I'm trying to prepare students for those skills, beyond the tangible ones we can think of and the key one, as I said, is critical thinking, I need them to do the work, not artificial intelligence programs to do so.

CAMEROTA: Understood. I am old school like that, too. Okay, Professor Lawrence, Professor Johnson, thanks so much for explaining it to us and giving us your various perspectives. Great to talk to you.

Joining me now, CNN political analyst Natasha Alford. Back with me, Doug Heye and Harry Enten. Okay, I have a test for you, guys. Do you want to take the test to see if you can determine?


CAMEROTA: Okay. So, yes. We will see if you can figure out which one is ChatGPT or which one is a paper written by my 17-year-old daughter.



CAMEROTA: She is a senior.

HEYE: This is a no-win situation.

CAMEROTA: No. Why? You'll be able to figure it. Maybe you will, maybe we'll figure it out. This -- the question was, what is the role of Desdemona in the Shakespeare's play Othello? Okay? So, here is the first one and you tell me if you think this is a real 17-year-old senior in high school --

HEYE: Okay.

CAMEROTA: -- or if this is ChatGPT. "Desdemona is the incarnation of female purity and innocence. She is young and beautiful as well as the daughter of an affluent and established senator in Venice. So when she professes her unbridled love for Othello, the exotic and older warrior, it is an unpredictable divergence from the script she has been handed by her father and society." Okay?

This is writing sample number two. "Desdemona is the wife of the titular character Othello is Shakespeare's play. She is a beautiful, virtuous, and obedient woman who is deeply in love with her husband. Despite her goodness, she becomes the victim of Othello's jealousy and suspicion, leading to her tragic death. Desdemona represents the ideal of a faithful and loving wife, and her death highlights the destructive power of jealousy and manipulation."

Which one was the real high school senior?


CAMEROTA: How do you know?

ALFORD: I don't know.


ALFORD: But it sounded more authentic. The other one sounded as if it was trying a little bit harder or, again, as a A.I. uses all the source techs to come up with an answer, that it had pulled from other source.

CAMEROTA: The second one sounded like it pulled from --

ALFORD: Right. But your daughter is brilliant, I'm sure.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. That's the right answer.

ALFORD: That's the answer.

CAMEROTA: The right answer is that. Which one did you think?

HEYE: I thought the second.

CAMEROTA: The second one was the real person?

HEYE: Yeah. No, was the -- no.

CAMEROTA: The second one was ChatGPT?

HEYE: Right.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Which one did you think?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: That second one seemed to have awfully good grammar. You know, when I was trying to do this before, you know, like a few weeks ago, it was always, okay, where is the comma? Is the comma in the right place? Are the dependent clauses in the independent causes lining up? But now, as it seems to get -- it almost seems like it's getting smarter as we are going along.


HEYE: You automatically overthink it.

ENTEN: I overthink it. I'm, like, well, you know, looks really good, so maybe it is not that one. You are trying to (INAUDIBLE), you know. Nothing quite like test at 11:21 p.m. on a Friday night.

CAMEROTA: I sprung on you without telling you.

HEYE: The word "obedient" that I'm, like, ahh.

CAMEROTA: Yes, obedient. Okay. So, that was -- let me see. So, obedient is in the --

HEYE: Number two.

CAMEROTA: Number two, right. Okay, yeah, virtuous and obedient woman. We are trying to do --

ENTEN: I thought I was to get away without actually answering the question. You know, I can't go wrong if I join everybody else on this. That is what I feel like. I'm going to go with the -- with our fine panelist on the -- CAMEROTA: So, number two is ChatGPT?


CAMEROTA: You are all right. You are all right. So, the first one -- and I can kind of see it, like the first one does have more personality. But here is what -- here is what it -- here is how it did it. Okay? So, this is us giving ChatGPT the assignment. And look at -- I can tell you my daughter did not do it that fast.


CAMEROTA: She did not do that paper as fast as they just did. I mean, it is so tempting. It is so seductive. How can students not want to use it to cheat, Natasha?

ALFORD: And I think teachers have to learn how to work with it. I actually do fall along the lines of, you know, if you can't beat them join them. A.I. is here. It is already a part of our day-to-day: products, services, cars, financial instruments. And so, it is no surprise that it would be in schools.

I think teachers and professors can create boundaries and guidelines. We use A.I. or ChatGPT for these particular projects, with these parameters, and then other times, you are expected to do other things. But I think it is too late to kind of, you know, stop the flow.

CAMEROTA: Put that genie back in the bottle. We should tell everybody, you were a teacher, and so you know the challenges.

ALFORD: Oh, absolutely. I think that you can, again, lean into using it. I read one teacher who said they were using ChatGPT to create outlines for students --

HEYE: Hmm.

ALFRORD: -- and then asking the students to write the essays. So, our students are smart, you know? As parents, we know this, too. They are going to find a way around it. So, I think, again, leaning into that because it is here. It is here to stay.

HEYE: You said old school, earlier. And I immediately thought of getting Rolling Stone and going to the back and you could send in and get your term paper written for you. So, this is just the technological progression.

And we have seen this before. When we initially see the robots and they don't scare us. And now, we see the robots and we think, we are all doomed as a civilization. They are going to take over. This is just another way of doing that.

CAMEROTA: I feel that.

ENTEN: I would just say this. I know this will sound kind of lame. I think the ultimate question is, are the students going to cheat themselves out of actually learning to put together thoughts on a piece of paper? Right?

You know, I was someone who struggled greatly with writing essays. It is kind of ironic now that I actually make part of my living writing for a living. I would never have thought that 20 years ago. But I got better at it by working at it, working at it, working at it, and I think that is ultimately the question that I think students will have to ask themselves.

And, of course, we are going to play this cat and mouse game of whether we can actually figure out which is the paper that was done by artificial intelligence. I'm not sure we will able to stay ahead of the game that much longer, but I think the question will ultimately be, are we going to really just have to rely on essays being something that is given in classrooms so that we know for a fact that the students are not using some artificial intelligence?


ALFORD: Or are the essays really the measure of intelligence?

ENTEN: Great question.

ALFORD: How many ways do we have to kind of break the mold? How can we break the mold and think about other ways that students are showing their schools and their talents?

CAMEROTA: I don't want the essay to go the way of the dodo. I don't want to be like the dodo bird. I don't want us to do away with the essay just because that is just only one way of showing you're smart, that's true, and if weren't great at it, you obviously exceeded in other areas. But I don't -- this is very sad like, you know, cursive has gone away and everything. The idea that you wouldn't be able to write an essay anymore because of this possible ChatGPT is just a shame.

ALFORD: I don't think it's taking it away entirely, but --

CAMEROTA: They're telling me I have to go.



CAMEROTA: -- "Overtime with Bill Maher." We'll be right back.




CAMEROTA: And now I'm going to turn it over to our friends at HBO. Each week, following "Real Time with Bill Maher," Bill and his guests answer viewer questions and bring their unique perspective to the topics driving the national conversation. We're excited to bring you this lively discussion first every Friday night. So, here is "Overtime with Bill Maher."



BILL MAHER, HBO POLITICAL TALK SHOW HOST: Okay, we're here on "Overtime" with Paul Begala, Democratic strategist, Kristen Soltis Anderson was on our show tonight, and counterterrorism intelligence officer Malcolm Nance was at the front of the show. Now we're on CNN. I can't believe they're still doing this, but I'm glad we're here on CNN.


MAHER: And as I said last week, if you don't watch this, what happens is people write things. I don't even know what these questions are, but I'm going to ask them.

This is for you, Malcolm. How much longer will the American public tolerate our involvement in Ukraine? Well, I think they're more than tolerating it. I think they're pretty much four-square behind it, most people. Aren't you?


MAHER: Yeah.

NANCE: And we're going to tolerate it as long as we can feel that we are upholding the democratic values we established in the world for the rest of the world.

MAHER: Yeah.

NANCE: I mean, did we give up in the civil war? Did we give up in World War I, World War II? We put up with it. I mean, it's not going to Burger King.


NANCE: We gave up in Vietnam.


MAHER: No, we didn't give up, but we, you know.


MAHER: I'm slacked off as far as our war.


NANCE: We're a country of good tolerance.

MAHER: Right. All right. To the panel, does the fact that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is -- does the fact that -- this is written by Elaine (ph). But Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a Nepo baby --


MAHER: -- detract from her political accomplishment. I guess they were hearing me talk about the Huckabee dynasty. But, yes, that's a big saying these days, Nepo baby. You know what that is? It is like -- you mostly refer to people in showbusiness as Nepo. Anybody whose mother or father was a star and then you're a star, that makes you a Nepo baby. I could name many of them. They're very upset about being called that.

I've noticed this phenomenon as many people have out here. It's fine if your parents were in showbusiness. Just don't say, as I've heard some of them say, well, it wasn't any easier for me. Yes, it was.


MAHER: It was easier, or the other thing they say a lot is, well, it just got me in the door. Well, that's a lot of it in showbusiness --


MAHER: -- is getting in the door. Anybody can act. It's not that fucking hard. Oh, sorry.


MAHER: Sorry, CNN. I know. I forgot. You're not supposed to -- Not on HBO.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: When you're in politics, one of the things that you want generally is higher name I.D. When a pollster like me goes out and they do a survey, we want to know how many people know what your name is at all. And if you have --

MAHER: Right.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: -- a dad or increasingly a mom that has been in politics before, it does make it easier for voters to just go, I liked your dad.

MAHER: George Bush --

SOLTIS ANDERSON: So, you know.

MAHER: -- the second, that guy, when he ran, he went to the top of the polls, I remember this story, I think, in 1999, the people thought it was his father. That is what they were responding to. He had the same name and, oh, George Bush is running again. He was a one-timer, he could do it.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And Franklin Roosevelt's cousin, Teddy, was president before him.

MAHER: Sure. BEGALA: John Quincy Adams's dad was president before. I mean, there is a tradition of that in America. But you still have -- I don't support Governor Sanders. I don't know her. I probably wouldn't like her. But she earned that job fair and square. She won -- by the way, she didn't cheat. Nobody cheated. It wasn't rigged. She won the election fair and square and she's entitled, I think, to the respect that a governor of a state --

MAHER: I noticed that she made a big point of age. She said --


MAHER: -- Biden is 80, and I'm 40. By the way, I thought she was 60, but okay.


MAHER: I was -- no, I'm not 60, but I was shocked that she was only 40. I mean, Washington has a way of taking a toll on you. Let's just leave it at that. But, I mean, that was kind of a strange thing to brag about, I thought.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: I don't think it's a strange thing to brag about, especially if your core argument going into 2024 is that Joe Biden is past his prime and we need to do something new. Now, this -- it depends upon, does the Republican Party not nominate someone who is also approaching 80?


SOLTIS ANDERSON: And so, that' why some people thought --

MAHER: Don't say depend when you're talking about age.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: Something that I thought was very --


SOLTIS ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) response. She talked a lot about a new generation of republican leadership. And when she talked about her time working for the former president, she did not use the word "Trump" once.

MAHER: Yes, and I understand he was pissed. Yeah.


Okay, public schools saw 1.2 million students depart during the pandemic and many have turned to home schooling. Are we in the midst of a public education crisis? Yeah, I saw that today in the paper also. A lot of the students who went away during the pandemic never came back. What do you make of that?

BEGALA: I -- school is good. Community education -- community education is good because you have to develop social skills. The hardest part about school is like recess and gym and all the times you have the interact with all those other little 10-year-olds. So, I think it's really important for kids to be back in school.

MAHER: I do, too.


MAHER: I mean --

SOLTIS ANDERSON: It can create a fiscal problem for schools, too. Most schools, the way they get their funding is how many kids are enrolled. If all of a sudden, your enrollment falls by 5 or 10%, your funding falls by 5 or 10%.

So, the fact that public schools for so many parents, they said, I don't know if I trust this institution to educate my child anymore, it's also going to potentially make the schools worse or have to do more with less when that student funding is now gone.

MAHER: And also, I mean, you say you think kids should be in school. It's the Democratic Party, your party that is blamed for that not happening during the pandemic.

BEGALA: Right and it happened in republican states and democratic states. All those states --

MAHER: Well --

BEGALA: -- were doing the best they could with the science that was available. But there were some -- Zeke Emanuel is a doctor who is advising Biden. He was saying at the time, this is going to hurt kids, we should be really careful about closing schools. And I remember Zeke saying that. But I don't want to bank on people who were trying to save lives when we lost a million people to the stinking virus. We're still losing 5, 600 a day.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: But it was -- it was clear much earlier on than many Democratic leaders in particular --

BEGALA: Republicans (INAUDIBLE).

SOLTIS ANDERSON: They did it a lot faster.

MAHER: Yeah, I mean, I think the Republicans would say that it was the teachers' union, which is very strong and democratically- controlled, that made sure that the schools did not reopen. And also, that you're not -- it's not the kids who were dying from it.

BEGALA: Right.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: And that's the big shame. The kids who were getting hurt the most by it were the ones whose parents don't have the resources to say, well, the public school is bad, let me take them out and put them in a private school. Sure, I can home school, I have the bandwidth to do that. It was poor kids, kids of color. They are the ones who have seen biggest learning loss as a result of all this.

(LAUGHTER) MAHER: Malcolm, if the cops who killed Tyre Nichols had been white, would we be seeing a different response?

NANCE: I'm afraid to say that we would have. I mean, I think that we would have had a slow walk of the indictments. But, you know, the issue here isn't about the color of the policemen. The issue is that the tactics, techniques, procedures, and training of these law enforcement officers on these special teams.

You know, way back when I went through a SWAT officers' course with Capitol Hill police and some other police forces that were there to learn how to be SWAT cops, the techniques that we were shown back then were not always guns forward, guns all the time.

Now, the average police officer is trained to believe that his, you know, number one job is to come home at night. I agree with that a thousand percent. But there are jobs there, there are things there that are just clearly requiring an intervention that does not require you to draw your weapon.


MAHER: Yeah, I mean, this doesn't -- that certainly -- everything you said is valid. All that is an issue. This seemed to be just five cops who wanted to whale on a guy for no apparent reason. If that kid had been white, would they have not done that?

NANCE: No, they wouldn't have, period.

MAHER: So, five Black --

NANCE: There is a color -- there is a color issue within law enforcement altogether.

MAHER: Even among Black cops?

NANCE: Yeah, because they're cops.

MAHER: Because they're cops.

NANCE: This is a mindset, the same way we have in the military. We have a mindset. Right? I think policing now has moved so far away from community service towards self-preservation. You know, they go to courses like the on-killing program, on how to do self-preservation, how to battle, you know, like a special forces soldier. What they need to do is they need to start thinking more along the old beat cop protecting the community by knowing the community and not seeing -- I don't understand it.

I'm a big gun guy. Not every Black man is the one who has the firearm, right? They assume this Black is all armed. Maybe that's because some of them are. But I'm going to tell you, there's a large proportion of the white population in the United States who routinely carry guns openly, brazenly, have stickers on their cars, and cops just say, oh, these are the kind of guys that I go to range with, good job. Kyle Rittenhouse, for example -- MAHER: Right.

NANCE: Right? They gave -- threw him water that night. If I'd been out on the street with a long rifle like that, they would have been throwing lead down there, freedom bullets at me, right?

MAHER: Okay.


MAHER: Should Biden -- should Biden do the annual pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox? Yes, that's a tradition.


And Biden has turned it down or has been done by other presidents.


MAHER: Why do you think he declined that?

BEGALA: It raises the all-important question, who cares?


BEGALA: I'm sorry, he has no obligation to the Fox. I just don't care. I'm always on trying to communicate more, not less. I guess if I were advising him, I'd tell him to do it, but Fox is not entitled to the time of the president of the United States of America. I'm sorry, they're just another corporation trying to make a buck.


MAHER: Kristen, what do you make of Ron DeSantis installing a conservative anti-woke board at the New College of Florida?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: So, he has made a big name for himself as being someone who is pushing back against what he views as an education system, both K12 and higher, that's gone too far off. I don't know that the answer to liberal overreach in higher-ed is conservative overreach in higher-ed.

MAHER: Right.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: So, I'm much more interested in, when I'm thinking about higher education in Florida, my home state, is I look at the University of Florida where Ben Sasse was just installed as president, there were some protesters but not as many on the day of his actual installment, and he has really said, I'm not coming at this with an ideological lens.

He is certainly conservative himself. But can he take an institution and actually do interesting things with it that are not about owning the libs or about proving this is what a conservative school is like?

This is something that frustrates me about the right. Every time they see something on the left, they think they've gone too far, we need to create a conservative version of it, let's have conservative Wikipedia, let's have conservative Twitter.

MAHER: Right.

SOLIS ANDERSON: It's just silly. Why not just try to thrive in these institutions and do what you can to make them work for everyone from within?


MAHER: Perfect sense. I love it. Thank you very much. Thank you, folks. Thank you, CNN. I'm sorry about it. I went one week without saying a bad word.



CAMEROTA: And you can watch "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday nights on HBO at 10:00 p.m. And then watch "Overtime" right here on CNN Friday nights at 11:30. We'll be right back.




CAMEROTA: Rihanna making her highly-anticipated return to the stage this weekend. She will perform during the Super Bowl half-time show, and it will be her first time on stage in seven years. Last night, Rihanna talked about how she's preparing.


RIHANNA, SINGER: I've been so focused on the Super Bowl I totally forgot that my birthday is coming up. I totally forgot about Valentine's Day. I am just like Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl. So, a lot of preparation, a lot of moving parts. And this week, this is the week that it -- it really is being tested. I mean, it's literally like 3 to 400 people breaking the stage down and building it back up and getting it out in 8 minutes. It's incredible. It's almost impossible.


CAMEROTA: Back with me now, Natasha Alford. Are you excited about Rihanna?

ALFORD: Oh, beyond excited. I'm part of the navy, the Rihanna Navy. So, we've been waiting. It has been seven years.

CAMEROTA: I was so stunned to learn that. Why has she been out of the picture for seven years?

ALFORD: Because she's a boss woman. She launched Fenty. We know that, you know, her beauty line, her lingerie line has made her a billionaire. So, I could understand why. You know, if you're off making a billion, maybe you're a little bit too busy to make some music. But we're going to hear classics so I'm very excited about it.

CAMEROTA: She also made a baby.

ALFORD: Oh, yeah! That, too. That, too. I think it's inspiring, actually. I think there's a lot of pressure when -- you know, I'm a relatively new mom and I remember feeling this pressure to get back to work. But Rihanna talked about this being a moment for representation, that she's doing this to show what is possible for Black women, for immigrants. She's very proud to be from Barbados. And so, this is -- this is her moment to kind of bring her whole career journey together.

CAMEROTA: She also said something very cool about that she's three months postpartum, she said, but when you become a mom, there is something that just happens, where you feel like you can take on the world and you can do anything. So, that's why she chose to do it.

ALFORD: I could understand that. You know, this is part of her legacy kind of coming together. Right? You've got the businesses lining up, incredible music, and now this is the moment that every artist wants, that Super Bowl moment. So, she was saying that she was doing it for her son, too, which is a great example. Just because you become a mom doesn't mean that all of a sudden, life stops, and she's showing that it moves forward.

CAMEROTA: I agree. There's something about having an infant that does put everything else in perspective, and you do feel like, okay, yeah, what do you want me to do? Where I should stand? All right, I will do the Super Bowl.

ALFORD: You show up. You show up, yeah.

CAMEROTA: All right. So, what was some of your favorite half-time shows?

ALFORD: Bruno Mars.

CAMEROTA: Bruno Mars. That was in 2014.

ALFORD: Yeah. I love that because it was unexpected. Right? I can't say I was a Bruno Mars fan, but he shut it down, the dancing, the singing. Beyonce, of course. She was the queen. Lady Gaga, when she caught that football.

CAMEROTA: And she jumped off of something into a net.


ALFORD: She's so little, but it was such a moment, right? She gives us drama. She gives us theater. We love it. So, Lady Gaga is a top for me. CAMEROTA: Totally agree. I thought the Lady Gaga thing was incredible just because she was dancing, she was singing, she was catching a football, she jumping off things. I would have dropped that football. Of course, I can't dance or sing like her, but I would have dropped that football.

ALFORD: I think these days, we appreciate talent more and more, true talent, and if you got it, it's going to show on that Super Bowl stage.

CAMEROTA: Where are we on the weekend? Did you like it or didn't you?

ALFORD: It was -- it was interesting. I love the weekend's music.


CAMEROTA: Me, too.

ALFORD: I have no problem with it. It was, again, interpretive. If you liked the art of it, then you would have enjoyed it.

CAMEROTA: I love it. But I agree with you, Beyonce was great. And Madonna 2012 was great.

ALFORD: Yeah. She's a legend.

CAMEROTA: She is. All right, Natasha, thanks so much for spending Friday night with me here. Have a great weekend.

ALFORD: Thanks. You, too.

CAMEROTA: Have a great weekend, everybody. We will be right back.


CAMEROTA: The devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria this week has claimed more than 23,000 lives. But rescuers are not giving up. They are still finding survivors in the rubble. A 16-year-old boy was pulled tonight from under a collapsed building in Turkey.


CAMEROTA: His name is Camille (ph). And officials say he had been trapped for 119 hours. They say that Camille (ph) was smiling as they pulled him to safety. And miraculously, he appears to be in okay condition.

Another young man in Turkey was rescued just a few hours earlier. His name is Mohammed (ph). He is 20 years old and was clearly alert as rescuers put him on a stretcher. He managed to stay alive for five days under that rubble.

For more information about how you can help victims of the earthquake, you can go to Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our coverage continues.




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. This time, no one waited.