tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN September 28, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT
because we need to pay more attention to our surroundings and be safe. he did it because he's a dangerous, attention seeking gutless little twerp. that's all for us tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. because we need to pay more attention to our surroundings and be safe. he did it because he's a dangerous, attention seeking gutless little twerp. that's all for us tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. breaking news tonight in the wake of the libya tragedy. late word tonight from the u.s. state department they're pulling more staffers out of the embassy in tripoli because of security concerns. also tonight, also security related, new details. they're coming in reaction to our exclusive reporting last night on how quickly officials actually suspected that the killing of four americans in benghazi was, in fact, an act of terror, and how troubled the subsequent investigation into that deadly assault is turning out to be. today, 16 days after the attack, defense secretary leon panetta stated plainly what was obvious to many, including senator john mccain, who joins us shortly,
almost from the beginning. >> as we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack. >> the best we can tell, this is the first time any administration official has uttered the word "planned" to describe what happened. asked how long it took to reach his conclusion, secretary panetta said, quote, it took awhile once information from benghazi came back. but keeping them honest, multiple sources now tell "360" that officials knew this was a terror attack almost from the get-go within 24 hours, at least intelligence officials. yet this is what they were saying for more than a week publicly after the killing. >> it's important to know that there's an fbi investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. that will tell us with certainty what transpired, but our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at
present, is that, in fact, what this began as was a spontaneous, not a premeditated, response to what had transpired in cairo. >> now, there are many possible explanations for why the administration took so long to budge from that line. everything from an excess of caution to the fog of war to incompetence or domestic politics. we don't have the answer nailed down on that. what we do have, though, is a collection of inconsistencies between the administration line and our own understanding of the facts. now, recall our exclusive reporting last night based on several sources that not one single fbi investigator has yet to even set foot at the crime scene in benghazi. that remains true tonight. yet when asked to comment, an american official told us that fbi investigators on the ground are not experiencing any roadblocks and are working well with libyan officials. that same official attributed the fbi's absence from benghazi to security concerns. keeping them honest, though, libya's newly elected prime minister told cnn's arwa damon that investigators had been invited into benghazi and the
libyans would provide needed protection. whether or not the libyan government could have delivered on that promise, we'll never know. what we do know is that no fbi agents are in benghazi, according to our reporting, the crime scene remains unprotected and the official line seems to be everything is going fine with the libyan government and the fbi investigation. as we said, new details tonight. national security analyst fran townsend got some of them. so did cnn contributor bob baer. fran, of course, is the former white house homeland security advisor, a current member of the cnn's external advisory board. she recently traveled to libya with her employer, mcandrew and forbes. bob is a former cia officer with deep experience in the middle east and the arab world. also on the phone from tripoli, cnn cnn's jomana karachi. i'm a little surprised, fran, how they can say -- how they are painting what's happening on the
ground in libya, especially based on what you're hearing from sources. >> look, anderson, we have not -- this is not the first international terrorism investigation regrettably going back to the east africa embassy bombings in the late '90s, the "uss cole" in 2000. we understand how to do these. the fbi's got protocols about what does it look like when you have to deploy investigators and forensic folks to collect evidence overseas. so this is not the first time they've done it. they understand that in order to do that effectively, you have to have protection on the ground, you've got to have somebody who can do a perimeter. you ask in the first instance the host government to do that. if for some reason the libyan prime minister suggested to arwa that they thought they could provide that protection safely, but even if u.s. officials had security concerns where they didn't think that was enough, the next step is to ask the united states military, will they and can they provide protection and to get -- request permission from the host government to allow them to come in, the u.s. forces, solely to protect the perimeter of the scene and the investigators while they are there. and best we can tell, we don't know if that's ever happened. >> so does it make sense to you, the claim that security is the concern for why fbi agents
aren't on the ground? >> it doesn't make sense to me because i understand that there are procedures in place to try and mitigate against those risks and concerns and ways to deal with it. >> procedures that 16 days on, you would think could be in place. >> yes, exactly. >> bob, you have been talking to sources at the pentagon. you say the u.s. is really at a standoff here. how so? >> it's in a standoff, anderson, because the fbi and the military have decided they have to go in with extra protection. the military wanted to send in a special package which would have included counter battery because remember, the annex was attacked by mortars. this was a military attack, well planned. the military and the fbi don't know what they're up against in benghazi and they have to go, you know, they put a lot of force on the ground. >> when you say counter battery, you mean capable of returning fire and mortar attacks?
>> returning fire at mortars, yes, exactly, because if they've got the coordinates of that consulate and they start shooting again at the fbi and the military, they're going to have to be able to defend themselves. the libyans are saying we can do fine, but why should we trust the libyans at this point. on the other hand, look at it from the libyan position. it's a weak government and having a significant military force on the ground in benghazi would be an embarrassment and would cause them internal problems. >> is that what you're hearing is the main reason why the fbi team has not yet made it into benghazi? >> well, the fbi can't go in with sidearms and hope to defend that consulate any better than the ambassador did. they would need heavy weapons to counter another one of these attacks. we don't really know who led the attack and whether they're still active or not. >> right. >> and if you're in the fbi's position and the military's, you have to go in with full force. i mean, this is nobody's fault. it's just the fault that there is no stable, strong government in libya. >> jomana, you're in tripoli.
you have been talking to diplomats about the security situation there. what do you make of the fact the state department is pulling more staff out of tripoli, out of the country? >> reporter: well, anderson, the embassy in tripoli here has really been on high alert since the attack in benghazi. they evacuated nonessential staff and travel within tripoli has been really restricted for the remaining staff. the concern here among the western community in tripoli and diplomats, i earlier spoke with a security advisor for one of the western diplomatic commission and they say they're concerned about the demonstrations that are expected tomorrow in tripoli. there are also other demonstrations also in benghazi. but he said that a senior libyan security official in tripoli told his mission that they were worried about the possibility of these protests turning violent tomorrow. but, anderson, these are not anti-american or anti-western protests. they are protests, a continuation of what we saw in benghazi last friday, people taking to the streets, putting
pressure on the government to disband militias and create security forces. they actually protest against extremism, but we did see these protests turn violent last friday, and there is that concern that could happen tomorrow in tripoli. we did see the u.s. embassy this evening posting on its website a warning for u.s. citizens in tripoli and in benghazi who remain in country to avoid the two main squares in these cities because of these demonstrations, saying that while they are expected to be peaceful protests, that they can be unpredictable and could turn violent. >> and, bob, as i said earlier, we heard leon panetta, the defense secretary, using the word planned. and we think that's the first time we've heard that from administration officials. you say the way in which the mortars were used in this attack would right away lead to that conclusion. >> well, it's very hard to walk in mortars on a target, and
apparently, as i hear, they were hit, the annex, very quickly by mortars, so somebody had the exact coordinates, somebody knew how to fire mortars, direct fire, and i think that's what has the pentagon concerned that this was a military-style attack and the people who did attack it knew what they were doing. and, you know, in defense of the secretary of defense, the details are coming in very slowly simply because it's been difficult to get people out of the country. the debriefings have gone slowly, and we can't put people on the ground because of the security situation. so the truth has come out very slowly, even inside our government. >> and, fran, i mean, a lot of people are being critical of the administration. to play devil's advocate here, though, it's one thing for politicians who are not part of the government to say -- or not part of the administration to say, well, look, we should have known this earlier. it's another thing for administration officials to come out in front of an investigation and say, oh, it was a terrorist attack. there was a level of caution that an administration official would have that a congressman would not, who is more critical.
>> no, anderson, that's exactly right, and, remember, after the bin laden raid, they came out initially with details that turned out not to be accurate, and they were really criticized for it. so in some ways, that is understandable. what i don't understand, though, is if you were going to be cautious, why then proffer as ambassador susan rice did an alternative that it was related to this protest. that doesn't make -- if you don't want to speculate, then don't speculate either way. and so i just think now they're being criticized because they guessed wrong. >> right, and it raises lots of conspiracy theories as well that people have, right or wrong. fran, appreciate it. bob baer. and jomana, stay safe. senator john mccain is a long-time supporter of freedom for libya. he supported president obama's action to remove gadhafi. he's been critical of how the administration has handled the benghazi aftermath. we spoke earlier today. take a look. what do you make of the response by the administration in the
early days, ambassador rice, and now what they're saying now, they're now saying it was a terrorist attack. the president did use the word terror early on in the rose garden, but we heard from ambassador rice, who is saying link this to the video that's been released. what do you see as going on? >> i see a fundamental misunderstanding in the larger picture and then on the smaller picture. on the smaller picture, they were either incredibly naive or willfully deceiving the american people. i don't know which, but to think an attack of this nature with heavy weapons, mortars, and a very sophisticated direct fire and indirect fire, that somehow that could be the result of a spontaneous demonstration is just impossible for me to understand. >> let me just throw in a third option, though, which supporters of the administration would say, was, look, they want to be cautious about how they characterize it early on, and so they were, you know, taking a go slow approach and saying -- not jumping the gun and saying it was a terrorist attack, but basically kind of wanted to see where the investigation led. >> a casual observer, a first
year cadet at west point will tell you that that kind of attack is not a spontaneous demonstration. here, darling, let's go to a demonstration, bring the mortars. this is -- it's insane that they would somehow believe that could be the result of a spontaneous demonstration. and, second of all, they've got it all wrong when they blame the video. it's not the video. it is the people, the islamists, the radical islamists that are pushing this video throughout media in the middle east to crank up the anti-moderate, anti-pro-democracy forces. >> there was reporting yesterday from fran townsend at cnn with sources and also a writer for "the daily beast, who said intelligence sources he had talked to said in the intelligence community, it was within the first 24 hours they were saying this was a terrorist attack, even had some people identified. have you heard that? can you comment on that, and if
that is the case, why does information that the intelligence community has not something that the administration is saying publicly? >> i don't know, but it doesn't take intelligence information to watch an operation take place with heavy weapons, mortars, that is not then a spontaneous demonstration. this is why it's reprehensible for our ambassador to the u.n. to go on all networks and say -- and deny that. i mean, it flies in the face of the facts, and so i don't know what intelligence we had or what we didn't have, but i know that when you have that kind of operation, even the most casual observer knows that it is a terrorist attack. >> has the state department given you or the lawmakers information? >> as i'm sure you may have heard, we had the worst, most disgraceful hearing -- meeting with the secretary of state and general clapper, the head of dni, an fbi guy and a navy admiral. they told us nothing, and the
very next day, in "the new york times" and "the washington post" was the hour-by-hour operation that took place. their answer when we asked that in this secret room, they would say, well, the investigation is still going on. well, obviously the investigation is still going on, but somehow, the media had -- i mean, almost exact detail, as you know. it was really an insult to the congress, to tell you the truth. >> so what needs to come out of this? i mean, does there need to be an investigation? are you confident in the investigation going on? secretary clinton has come forward and said, look, the fbi's in the early stage of the investigation -- >> so early they haven't gotten to benghazi. >> that's the thing. they're not even able to go to benghazi and the site is still not secure. what does that tell you? >> i think it tells me that over time, the details always come out. i'm not sure what we can really be gained in immediate investigation of the kind you're talking about because the crime scene is basically so badly compromised but over time, we will -- there were intercepts,
there were other information. there's some information that convinced the president of the legislative assembly to go on our nationwide tv and say we know it's al qaeda. now, i don't know that, but it was clearly a terrorist attack and the administration described it as not being so. they owe the american people an explanation. >> there are some republicans who are saying, though, that this is -- i talked to a congressman last night who said this is a failure of the obama administration. do you see it as that, the way, what we're seeing in the arab spring, what we're seeing happen in libya? >> i think obviously because of the tragedy that we have to know whether measures could have been taken, and there is already evidence coming -- forthcoming, including chris' diary that there were threats, and, you know, i think we need to investigate that aspect of it. but this is still a very dangerous part of the world. we still have these jihadists coming across their borders. if there's anything we can help them with, it's border security.
and so all i can say is it's a great tragedy, and i'm not so concerned about the fact there may have been intelligence failures as i am about not telling the american people the truth. >> senator mccain, thank you. >> thanks for having me back on. you can see the whole interview with senator mccain shortly on ac360.com. we're going to put it on there. let us know what you think. we're on facebook, follow us on twitter. a short time ago, secretary of state hillary clinton sat down with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu hours after he made one of his boldest statements yet about military action against iran. the white house says president obama will have a follow-up call with netanyahu tomorrow. the israeli ambassador to the u.s. joins me ahead. hey, we.
at the u.n. national assembly, israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu devoted much of his speech to iran and the perceived threat of its nuclear program. he has been pushing the united states to declare a red line iran cannot cross if it wants to avoid war. well, today, armed with some props, he literally showed where he thinks that line should be. take a look. >> where should a red line be drawn? a red line should be drawn right here. before, before iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.
>> when netanyahu pulled out that red marker, he turned up the heat on a disagreement he's had with the white house. obviously i think i said national assembly. it's the general assembly of the u.n. president obama has said the united states will do everything it must to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but he's resisting setting a timetable for military action. secretary of state hillary clinton sat down with netanyahu just a short time ago tonight. the highest level face-to-face meeting he's going to have while in new york. a lot of republican critics hammered obama for not meeting with netanyahu in person. the white house said it was because their schedules didn't match. they were not in new york at the same time. today, the white house said the two men will talk by phone tomorrow. i spoke about all this earlier with the israeli ambassador to the united states, michael oren. has the obama administration made clear enough for your government where the red line is? >> well, the obama administration said time and again they're determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. the red line is designed to
show -- help, you know, persuade the united states where, how you could achieve that goal of preventing iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities. >> you make a distinction though between acquiring or having the capability of having a nuclear weapon? >> well, the capability from our perspective would probably set up a nuclear arms race in the middle east. it would greatly impair our ability to respond to terrorist attacks, say, from lebanon or gaza. if we go to defend ourselves, whether iran could break out and use a nuclear weapon, and it could do so in a small room somewhere, put this bomb together, and this is a country half the size of europe. there's a good chance you're not going to know where that room is. what we're saying is the one part of this nuclear program that we can see, because there's a warhead part, there's a weapon part, there's a missile part. the one part that we can see is the enrichment program. and it's observable, it is
vulnerable, we can target it, and we want to show literally on that line, that process of enrichment, where we can stop iran in its tracks so it will not get a weapon. and the major issue here is not when iran gets a bomb or even when it decides to get a bomb. the major issue is when -- what is the last point at which we can act to prevent iran from getting a bomb. >> where is that point as far as you're concerned? >> as far as we're concerned, if you look on the chart, they have now completed all of the low enriched uranium that they need. that's 70% of the way there. that took them many years. the next stage was getting to the 20% enrichment. and they are well along that way as well. once they complete the 20% enrichment, which will give them 90% of the bomb, then they can sprint out to finish the weapons grade enrichment, which could take them at most several months and at the very least, a matter
of weeks. they can do that. and they can do that maybe when the world community is distracted by other issues, and so that is where the red line is. the red line is when they complete that 20% enrichment, you stop them there, and you've done a major effort to -- you've gone a long way from stopping them from getting that nuclear weapon which the obama administration says we're determined to prevent them from acquiring. >> do you think the obama administration is on the same page as you because president obama just this week, he told "the des moines register," we have been very clear about certain red lines and sending a message to everybody in the region when those red lines are crossed, they are going to have a problem with us. >> well, we are engaged in, again, a candid and continuous dialogue with the united states about this issue. and when the administration, when the president says he's determined to prevent iran from acquiring or developing a nuclear weapon, we are coming to the administration saying this is how we believe this can be stopped. the purpose of creating a red line is not to start a war. the purpose of creating a red
line is to prevent a war. that's how president kennedy prevented a war with the soviets during the cuban missile crisis. he drew a red line, they didn't cross it and that ensured peace between the united states and the soviet union. if the western powers had drawn a clearer red line against nazi expansionism in the 1930s, you might have avoided world war ii. red lines are the way that we gain time for diplomacy and sanctions to work. >> i was talking to former mayor rudy giuliani last night, who says he feels the obama administration has not been clear enough. i know you don't want to get involved in u.s. politics -- >> i don't. >> but i mean, has he been clear enough for your government? >> he's been clear in stating that he's determined to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. and we are engaged in a dialogue to reach an understanding with this administration, how we can achieve that goal, which we both share. >> obviously the whole issue of the relationship between the president and prime minister has become a huge political issue in the united states.
did prime minister netanyahu feel snubbed by president obama not meeting with him when he was in the united states? >> we had a schedule problem. no one was out to snub anybody. the president of the united states, busy. the prime minister's schedule was very narrow, and we couldn't make it happen during that time slot. but the prime minister is meeting with the secretary of state clinton tonight. he's having another conversation with president obama tomorrow on the phone. president obama has said he has spent more hours face-to-face talking to prime minister netanyahu, talking to him on the phone than any other foreign leader, and that's going on -- that level of conversation is going on at all different levels. >> ambassador, thank you. >> always. well, president obama, as we said, and obviously as you know, has been getting a lot of heat from his critics for not meeting face-to-face with prime minister netanyahu or any other world leaders during the u.n.'s meeting or at least scheduling such meetings. the fact he made time this week to go on the talk show "the view" only gave his critics more fuel. i spoke earlier to cnn political analyst david gergen and white house correspondent dan lothian. david, you heard the ambassador
talking. obviously he's not going to wade into the u.s. politics in the midst of an election. what do you make of what he said of where israel stands? >> well, i think the first thing was that the deadline has been pushed back to six to nine months, which means there's not going to be an attack during the elections, which from the white house point of view is a great relief. but we've got a very serious issue on the table, the next president. that is, the israelis are telling the united states, look, the red line is when the iranians get the technological capability to build a bomb, we then feel we have to attack. previously, the united states government has been telling israel, no, the red line should be when they actually get a bomb. >> acquire it, right. >> had they acquire it. >> the difference between acquiring and the capabilities. >> exactly. you brought that out in the interview. from the israeli point of view that's way too late. but there's a great deal of distrust on both sides of the other side, and on the israeli side, they just don't trust president obama whether he's going to use force or not. they think he's going to keep stalling, keep talking, saying we'll negotiate more, we're not really sure they have a bomb. >> do you think this phone call
between the prime minister and the president tomorrow is enough to quiet the critics on that? >> i think so. and it should be. the issue is so much more important than whether they sit down together. i think that the fact they didn't sit down together signals the lack of harmony between them, the personal harmony between them. but they do talk a lot. they just have very different points of view. the united states really does not want to get into a conflict with iran, and when you talk to the israelis now, if they thought there was well over a 50% chance that israel was going to use force to attack in the next six to nine months. >> more than 50%. >> more than 50%. >> dan, clearly the white house is aware of the criticism. the phone call between the two leaders, i mean it's obviously not a coincidence. were you surprised to even gets a heads-up about it? >> you know, i really was surprised about that, because it's not every day that we get a heads-up from top aides here at the white house or other u.s. officials that the president is planning to hold a phone conversation with a world leader the next day. the way this typically works is that the president has the phone conversation, then the white
house has a read-out, which is a short statement, a few lines explaining what the leaders talked about. and sometimes we don't even find out about these phone conversations. in fact, jay carney, the white house spokesman, likes to say that not every phone conversation that the president has with world leaders is read out. >> david, do you think, i mean, that the daylight between these two leaders, i mean, it's going to become more stark as the threat becomes closer. >> absolutely. bob gates, our outgoing defense secretary, has been in government over 30 years, told me before he left, this iranian problem is the most difficult problem he had seen in government in over 30 years. the hardest problem to solve. there are no good solutions. >> no good solutions because the difficulty militarily of actually -- >> if you go in militarily, if you strike with the air force, "a," you only set them back two or three years, but secondly, there may be so much mischief that they could do that you then feel under a lot of pressure to go in and decapitate the regime. and that means you have to put
boots on the ground. there is nobody in the u.s. army wants to do that. they have done a lot of work with the israelis on defense, protection, missile protection and that sort of thing, and there has been a lot of cooperation, but on this issue of when you go after iran, there are serious disagreements. >> dan, is anyone inside the administration saying that it was a mistake not to meet face-to-face with netanyahu? >> no. they are not calling this a mistake. i mean, after all, if they thought it was a mistake, then they could have arrange d a meeting here in washington today. the president had a campaign event but his afternoon was free. tomorrow's schedule looks relatively light. now, i should point out, just because we don't see anything on the president's public schedule, it doesn't mean that he isn't doing other important things behind the scenes. they point out that the president speaks to him all the time by phone. white house spokesman jay carney pointing out that recently they had a phone conversation that lasted more than an hour. so their message is that the two leaders communicate all the time, even if they're not meeting face-to-face. >> dan lothian, appreciate it.
and david gergening, thanks. >> thank you. raw politics tonight. new polling and a fight over all that polling. some are now claiming that the polls are skewed against mitt romney. republicans claiming that. ari fleischer believes it. he joins us. so does obama 2012 pollster cornell bell chesh, meaning he believes it, and john king, so you can decide for yourself what you should believe.
raw politics now. in a case of complaining about the ref when the call goes against you or perhaps in this instance, questioning the polls, virtually all of them, when the polls show you losing. so do the complainers have a case? get ready for a debate on that. first, you guessed it, new polling from nbc news and "the wall street journal" in three battleground states show president obama leading in new hampshire by seven percentage points over mitt romney among
likely voters. in nevada, mr. obama has a two-point lead which is within the margin of error and in north carolina, the president also leads by two points. now, nationwide, he leads or is tied in just about every major poll unless you believe the complaints of a growing number of republicans who say the polling is skewed in favor of the president. there's even a website called unskewedpolls.com that takes all those same polls that show president obama leading and claims to correct the bias, turning romney deficits into commanding romney leads. the idea behind it is simple. all polls base the outcome on what pollsters believe the electorate will look like, how many democrats versus how many republicans they think will actually turn out. getting that partisan makeup wrong can tilt the predictions. the people that don't believe the polls say this time, pollsters think the 2012 electorate will look a lot like 2008 and this they say is wrong. notice i said this time. back in 2004, democrats complained that the polls which showed george w. bush leading were overestimating the number of republicans who would vote. they were wrong. the polls were right. now, in 2000 al gore said don't
believe the polls. polls showed him losing narrowly. polls were right. in fact, it's hard to find an example of the polls on average getting it wrong unless you go back to 1948, when they predicted thomas dewey defeated president harry truman. cnn political contributor ari fleischer joins us. he's an occasional unpaid communications advisor for the romney campaign. also pollster 2012 cornell belcher and our own john king. so, ari, i do not hear republicans complaining, you know, a few months ago when mitt romney seemed up in these polls. >> well, anderson, here's what i think you have to do, and i don't think it's conspiracy, but i think you have to apply a commonsense test. here's what we know. the last time there was a major election in 2012, we had an exit poll in the state of wisconsin that was wrong. it showed the race was going to be neck and neck, the exit poll did, and of course governor walker won by seven percentage points. exit poll put together by the same consortium of many of these different groups that are doing the polls now. if you believe what the polls are saying right now, you've got
to believe that there's something huge going on, and common sense would tell you there's a movement in america similar to the 1964 goldwater election or the 1974 watergate election, because it's not just a prediction of the electorate is going to turn out to match the 2008 obama landslide, it will exceed it. that's what, for example, "the new york times"/cbc/quinnipiac poll showed in ohio that just came out yesterday. they have democrats turning out in numbers far in excess of the democratic advantage of 2008. just use a commonsense test. does it feel that way? do the crowds at obama events look that way? the answer's no. >> cornell, what about that? you're a pollster. you just heard ari. what do you say to it? >> well, a couple things. one is when a campaign starts complaining about the public polling, you know they're in an awful lot of trouble. there's a lot of confusion here. i mean, one of the things is they are basing this on party identification. party identification is fluid. it changes over time, and a lot of it has to do with the
position of the party brand. so to say that, you know, there's too many democrats in there sort of excuses the ideal that party identification hasn't in fact been changing. unless you can look at registered voters and most of these public polls, you're not looking at pulling from a voter file and i'm getting technical for a second, you're looking actually at registered voters where you can sort of line it up with registered voters, but even when you line it up with registered voters in polls that are voter file polls, what you see is independents are, in fact, i.d.'ing slightly more than democrat than republican. so the idea that all these polls are skewed is kind of -- it's kind of conspiracy theory and the other part about this is look, public polls have gotten really, really good. if you go back to the last election, even the election before that, it's hard to find a public poll from a major public polling outlet that was more than three points off of where -- of what the actual horse race was. i do, however, understand what republicans' frustration is.
i mean, it's not like mitt romney's not an energizing candidate who connects with working class voters and hasn't switched positions a lot. so i do sort of understand their pain on this. >> john, a lot of pollsters are saying, look, it's funny how these complaints never seem to come from winning campaigns or folks in the lead. what do you make of it? >> listen, ari has a legitimate point. there's a legitimate debate about how do you weight these polls. pollsters have to weigh the data to simulate an election after they call 500 or 1,000 people and you had the big republican win in 2010. now they're weighing it more like a presidential year, 2008. who is exactly right about that is a legitimate debate. ari said something huge would have to happen for the polls to swing in the battleground states, many of the battleground states as we've seen in the last week to two weeks. i would say nothing huge is happening, but several significant things have happened. i get this not just from the polls, which i don't trust all the time either, but from traveling and talking to people, including republicans working in campaigns. the democrats had a better convention from a messaging standpoint. this 47% tape from governor
romney is one of those rare moments in our polarized clutter of politics that actually breaks through. the obama campaign which had some stumbles early on is performing and executing pretty well right now, both in message discipline from the candidate and their tv advertisements which even republicans will tell you are better than the romney ads right now. so you add all that up, significant execution by the obama campaign, an advantage, little bump out of the convention, sure, some of it dissipated but these little things have the race and this is from republicans i talk to in swing states, trickling toward the president. is it irreversible? absolutely not. there are some people in washington who say this is over. forget what they say. there's a big debate next week. but governor romney right now as we speak and ari might say he doesn't trust this poll either runs even with the incumbent democrat when voters are asked this question, who do you most trust to handle the economy? if the challenger in this economy can't get a lead on the president on that question, he won't win. >> ari, do you agree with that, on that key question? >> well, it all comes down to the sample size and the poll.
again, if the poll is oversampling democrats, of course, you will get that answer. here's why, anderson, i think you have to dig a little deep. in the last six days, there have been seven polls in the state of florida. one of them has obama -- one of them has romney up by one point. the rest are a very close race within the margin of error, one point, three points, four points, four points, one for five points. a poll came out that shows the president is up nine points. here's how they got there. they have nine percentage point more democrat turnout than republican. it's a fantasy. in the 2008 obama landslide, it was advantage for the democrats of just three points. and republicans won florida in 2004. republicans turned out by four percentage points more. you just can't have those kind of swings, the numbers aren't reliable. >> cornell, what do you make -- >> i think what really is going on, i don't disagree with what john said about what's driving it, but i think you're within the margin of error in almost every one of those battleground states. >> cornell, what about the florida numbers? >> i do understand what republicans are trying to do. i mean, they do have to sort of
make this argument against the media that the media's biased in a way favoring democrats, regardless of what history has shown, they have to make this bias, had to make the media bias because, quite frankly, they don't want their base to deflate. they want them to be energized and they don't want to think it's a lost cause, however, for the republicans to be betting the house on the idea that democrats aren't going to be enthusiastic and turn out this time around is really sort of building your house on sand. >> but, will they be as enthusiastic as 2008 which one of these polls seemed to be based on? >> i would push back on that. if you look at the enthusiasm, one, the enthusiasm measures are overplayed because only really enthusiastic voters turned out, we would have even smaller elections than we currently do. another part about this is, sure, republicans had a bit of enthusiasm advantage before the convention but everything you've seen coming out of the conventions after what a great convention
the democrats had, that enthusiasm gap has shrunk significantly. >> we got to leave it there. cornell, john king, ari fleischer, thank you very much. good discussion. the man believed to have made the anti-muslim video that triggered deadly protests in cairo and elsewhere is under arrest tonight in los angeles. we'll tell you what charges he's actually facing now and why. jen's car wasn't handling well.
charged with violating probation by uploading the controversial movie to youtube and the terms of his probation, authorities say nakoula isn't allowed to access computers or the internet without approval of his probation officer. sons of anarchy actor john lewis fell to his death after killing his elderly landlady according to the lapd which is awaiting toxicology test results to see if lewis was on drugs. police will take soil samples from beneath the driveway of a suburban detroit home on friday to see if jimmy hoffa is buried at the site. a tipster told police a body was buried there around the time the teamsters' union chief vanished 37 years ago, however, the tipster never claimed it was hoffa's body. a robbery caught on tape in florida. the fbi searching for several men who stormed the saks fifth avenue store an hour before closing. they robbed customers plus took money and jewelry from the store.
>> and meet starship, the puppy. she has an enlarged esophagus and must have all her meals in a custom-made high chair to help the food go down easier. starship is looking for a loving home. she's up for adoption in greenville, south carolina. >> very cute. that's very sad, though. she has to look up like that. let's hope she finds a home. coming up, the phenomenon of bagel heads. maybe you have seen this online. you got to see it for yourself. i can't even describe it. we got video. the "ridiculist" is next.
all right. time now for the "ridiculist." i don't know what's up with "ridiculist" fare lately but it's been a wild ride. earlier this week i told you about those fraternity guys who are allegedly putting wine, well, in some place else that you normally drink alcohol from. now it's people putting bagels on their heads. i don't mean they simply take some bagels, hold them up to their heads. au contraire. that would be far too pedestrian. what i mean is there are people out there in this world as we speak, i'm not kidding, who are having bagel shapes injected into their foreheads. there they are. it's being called the latest japanese trend in extreme body modification and the national geographic channel did a whole show on it. national geographic's taboo which i kind of love airs sunday
at 10:00 p.m. now, trust me, you're going to want to start dvr'ing this show because frankly, i have never seen anything like this and i've seen a lot of stuff. so here's the deal with getting the bagel head. step one, decide, yeah, you really want bagel head. precisely how one arrives at such a decision, i've got no idea. i'm sure there are many, many paths, each more personal and poignant than the last. step two, get saline injected into said forehead to create a giant lump, then find somebody to jam a thumb into the middle of said lump. look, i'm going to be honest. i'm using layman's terms here. i'm not a professional bagel head practitioner. i'm actually a few credits shy of getting my accreditation. you know, i've been busy. so here's a more finely honed description of the bagel heading process. >> 300 to 400 ccs of saline and two hours later, they're full up. once it's fully swollen, you take your thumb and press down to make the indentation in the middle. that's the part that becomes the
climax, the finish of the bagel head process. >> almost digging in my brain. >> what a climax that is, eh? now, i know, i know, a huge needle, two hours of your life, a stranger's thumb pressing into your saline swollen forehead sounds like fun, doesn't it? sounds like a lot to go through, actually. but come on, just take a look at the results. the bagel head, i think it speaks for itself. it's beguiling, it's unique, a philosophical commentary on the circle of life, perhaps. circle of life. the only down side is that the effects of bagel head, much like consuming wine through one's rear, are temporary. just ask some fraternity guys. bagel head actually only lasts about 16 to 24 hours. after that, the saline is absorbed back into the body and the bagel sadly fades. but i would dare to guess that the sense of personal pride, i would dare to guess that lasts a lifetime. and don't we all need that? kind of like we need a hole in the head.