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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  October 15, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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republican to democrat before losing that senate reelection bid two years ago died yesterday of cancer. president obama has ordered all government flags to fly at half staff tomorrow. and that'll do it for me here at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. i'm brooke bolduan. your "situation room" with wolf blitzer begins right now. hey, wolf. >> thanks very much. happening now on this the eve of what could be a make or break debate for president obama. mitt romney's campaign announces a huge fund raising hall. also, a controversy of sorts over debate questions. are both campaigns afraid of the moderator? our own candy crowley. and how do you top the record-setting jump from the edge of space? a closer look at what's next in the high altitude exploration. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the "situation room."
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>> it's hard to believe, but only 22 days left until the election. and just over 24 hours to the second presidential debate. for president obama, the stakes could hardly be higher. the slight lead in the polls, he had going into the first debate has evaporated in these days since his lackluster performance. right now, both he and mitt romney, they are preparing intensively for another faceoff, this time at new york's hofstra university. a faceoff that could help decide the white house race. our national political correspondent jim acosta is joining us from boston right now where romney is preparing. what's the latest on romney's preparation? what do we know, jim? >> wolf, dethe bait prep has seemed like seclusion over the last 24 hours. president obama and mitt romney have rarely ventured out into
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public. it is a reminder of how high the stakes will be tomorrow night. >> i brought some food. >> after joking his debate prep was a drag last time around, president obama assured supporters in a campaign office in virginia he's hitting the books. mitt romney was only seen briefly during his preparations heading in and out of church on sunday. in romney's sparring sessions, rob portman is once again playing the president. while adviser peter flaherty has the role of moderator, cnn's candy crowley. as portman indicated sunday, the campaign is getting ready to rumble. >> i think he's going to come out swinging. he'll have to compensate for a poor first debate and that'll be consistent with the whole campaign. >> reporter: over at obama debate prep, the president's long-time adviser anita dunn is playing crowley, while john kerry is standing in for romney.
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the president's team vows he will amp up his performance. >> i think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country. >> reporter: that could be a risky move and perhaps alienate some in the audience in this town hall style format. perhaps explaining why an obama aide now says the president will be firm, but respectful. advisers say they're prepared for all variables. >> the president can change his style, he can change his tactics, he can't change his record. >> i think mitt romney's performance was, indeed, magical and theatrical. >> reporter: it's a hire wire act for both candidates with the latest cnn poll of polls showing the race is neck and neck. not just nationally, but in the three key swing states of florida, where romney may have a slight edge, ohio where the president may be inching ahead, and virginia where it's almost a tie. a dead even battleground map puts a premium on traditionally democratic states like wisconsin. home turf of romney's running
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mate paul ryan. >> we haven't dedicated our electoral votes since 1984 to the republican nominee. it is time we change that. >> earlier this afternoon, the romney campaign put out new fund raising numbers for the month of september. the campaign disclosed that it raised $170 million in the month of september. that's $10 million short of what the president hauled in, but still an impressive, keeping in mind that was before the gop nominee had the breakout performance in denver and this information on fund raising from the romney campaign comes just as top fund raising officials with the campaign are hosting a three-day gala in new york city. one of the big events of that gala is tonight on the uss intrepid featuring paul ryan, rudy giuliani, and donald trump. wolf? >> three weeks to go, but they're still raising tons and tons of money. jim acosta, thanks very much. the moderator of tomorrow
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night's huge debate is our own chief political correspondent candy crowley. she's the host of cnn's "state of the union." i want to first get to what president obama, you believe needs to do tomorrow night to prevent a repeat of his first presidential debate. >> i think the criticisms that you've heard both from democrats and republicans of president obama's first appearance was that he didn't seem into it, frankly. there wasn't any passion there. there was a listlessness there, a kind of disconnection. and people thought, boy, and even democrats were saying, gee, does he want this job? so there has to be passion there. there has to be a real vigorous standing up for what he believes in. having said that, i think jim is exactly right what he said in his spot. this is a town hall meeting, you are not that far from folks that asking you questions. and let's remember that president obama is not joe biden. he's not as hot, if you will, on camera. not as passionate.
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so you -- this still has to be president obama. and he still has to show passion, but he can't go over the top. so i think that's what they're looking for. i mean, that's certainly what we're hearing in the folks around president obama talking about what they think we'll see tomorrow night. >> as you know, candy, there's a little dust-up going on today. the campaigns, both the campaigns agreeing on one thing. they're saying that they expect the questions to come only from the audience. what exactly is the format of tomorrow night's debate? >> town hall meeting. there will be questioners to the right and left of me and in front of the candidates. and they will have the questions and was the case in the charlie gibson town hall meeting and the tom brokaw town hall meeting in presidential campaigns past, there was a time after that for follow-up and for furthering the discussion. >> facilitating the conversation as it were. so how are you preparing for this -- >> whatever you want to call it, yeah. >> how are you preparing? >> well, you know, lots of
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things. first of all, i will try to get a good night's sleep because it's a very long day because we get the questions tomorrow morning from the town hall folks. i think between 80 and 100 of them coming. so not everyone's going to get to ask a question. but more than that, wolf, as you know it's like preparing for almost any interview except for on a bigger stage and with so many issues. i'm trying to just know what the facts are. what the positions are. so that when something comes up that maybe could use a little further explanation might be as simple as, but the question, sir, was oranges and you said apples. could you answer oranges? but it might be as simple as, gee, how does that fit with the following thing? so you try to know and study up on as much as there is out there knowing that hopefully you're getting close to, you know, 90% of the knowledge you need knowing that you're only going to use 1%. but you don't know which 1% you're going to need. >> and you make the decision, candy, correct me if i'm wrong, which questions, which people will be allowed to stand up and
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ask these two candidates a question? >> right. it's more -- it's less about which people as it is about which question. certainly we expect that a lot of these folks will bring in the same question, but you want to have a variety, you want to try to really get a reflection of what these people want to know about as well as what is out there for folks that haven't quite figured it out yet. like what are their questions remaining? you want it to be reflective of that. so, yes, i have a small team of folks that are going to help me. we're the only ones that know what the totality of the questions and we're going to try to figure out as broad of a range we can get to tomorrow night. >> i have no doubt you'll do an excellent, excellent job, candy. good luck and we're all with you 100% of the way. appreciate it very much. >> thanks. our special coverage of the next presidential debate begins tomorrow night 7:00 p.m. eastern, 4:00 pacific right here on cnn. blunt advice for president
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obama from two top democratic strategists. details of what they say he has to do to beat mitt romney. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] its lightweight construction makes it nimble... ♪ its road gripping performance makes it a cadillac. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with advanced all-wheel drive. [ engine revving ] it's bringing the future forward. ♪
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two democratic strategists have some blunt advice for president obama as he prepares for tomorrow night's rematch against mitt romney. james carville laid it all out in a democracy for memo reading.
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saying the campaign has reached a tipping point where we believe the president has to offer a bold narrative, policies and choice if he is to win reelection and get to a substantial enough victory that enables him to govern and face the great challenges ahead. let's talk more about that with ron bronstein, the editorial director of the "national journal." thanks for coming in. the obama campaign slogan is forward, but sounds like this memo out today says he's actually not focusing in enough on the future. do they have a point? >> that puts it very well. and i think they do have a point. you know, there are a lot of things that the president did not do in that first debate. but maybe the most glaring of all was that he offered voters very little sense of what he would do if they gave him another four years. displayed passion at one point in the debate about blocking the romney/ryan agenda, but gave very little indication of his own plans and what this memo argues from carville and
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greenberg from focus groups and polling is that is a dangerous position to be in because voters do not want continuity, they want change, and the president needs to kind of frame this about whose change do you want over the next four years. >> can he do that tomorrow night in a town hall format? >> town hall format is tough to do the contrast. it's hard to do, i think, kind of go back the other part of what democrats want to see him do more of, which is kind of frame the case they've been trying to make against romney since the spring that he cares more about the few than the many. but i think the town hall is conducive to trying to make the case about where you want to take the country. the problem, wolf, he hasn't given us a lot of details on this all year. whether it was a state of the union, his acceptance speech, this first debate. what the memo argues that has allowed romney to in effect position himself as the voice of change which is, again, a very dangerous position for the president, a time when most americans are saying we're still on track. >> gallup has a new tracking poll out of what they call 12
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swing states battleground states and it shows this just came out, romney 51% in these 12 states, these are likely voters, obama 46%, sampling error 4% to 6% margin of error. obviously within the margin of error. but looks sort of -- if you take a look at these battleground states, looks sort of encouraging right now for romney. >> clearly is. now, just be clear, this gallup poll is not a new stand alone poll. kind of a roll-up, an accumulation of the nightly tracking poll over that period in these battleground states. what it shows you in particular is romney doing better among women. we've talked about this before, wolf. the part of obama's -- president obama's margin of comfort in september was showing among working class white women, what some people call the waitress moms who normally are pretty tough on democrats, but moving toward him especially in a battleground state out of a sense that romney did not understand or care about their lives. and that, i think, is what
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romney was able to change above all. a greater sense that he is a viable alternative. and those are the voters most loosely attached to the obama coalition. not surprising to seeing them moving away. but it is still dangerous for the president to have that going on. >> ohio, obviously, the key state right now. this is what rob portman said over the weekend. the senator from ohio, he plays the president in the debate preparations for mitt romney. >> look, you can probably win the presidency without ohio, but i wouldn't want to take the risk. no republican has. >> he's right. no republican has won the presidency without ohio. and our latest cnn poll of polls, the average of the major polls in recent days. 50% say they will go with the president, 47% say they will go with romney. that's way too close for the democrats, i suspect. >> well, they've been ahead by more earlier in the year. you know, i've been saying that when the obama folks can't sleep, i kind of thought they'd get up in the middle of the
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night and check the polling averages in ohio and puts them to sleep for a few hours, kind of like warm milk. they have 242 electoral college votes, there are more encouraging polls for romney in pennsylvania, but if he can't crack that wall that's 242, add ohio to that plus new mexico, the president would be at 265, and in position to go over the top with anything else, including iowa, colorado, nevada, et cetera. so, you know, preventing obama from winning ohio is absolutely critical for romney. and until he shows he can get over the top in ohio, he is still the underdog. but having said that, if we're seeing movement among these blue-collar white women in particular, ohio is going to get closer and tougher for the president. >> ron bronstein, thank you very much. >> thank you, wolf. much more on the race for the white house coming up including a lot more on the debate tomorrow night. also other news we're following, the u.s. does not have a
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monopoly on drones by any means in the middle east. israel's demonstrating how it's capable of high-tech warfare, as well. we have an inside look. that's next. online outfit piccolo headphones buy now broadway show megapixels place to sleep little roadster war and peace deep sea diving ninja app hipster glasses 5% cash back sign up to get 5% everywhere online through december. only from discover. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again.
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it has drone technology, but israeli officials don't seem overwhelmingly concerned. that's because israel has its own high-tech system. and officials say it's much more advanced. cnn's senior international correspondent sarah sidner shows us how it works. >> reporter: a week after a drone from its sworn enemy hezbollah made it deep inside israel's air space before being blown to bits. israel showed off its latest drone, the israeli-made. it is fitted with the most
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advanced radar system, two cameras, night vision, laser and satellite technology. all of which can beam back stunningly sharp images in realtime to anywhere in the world. and the unmanned aerial vehicle can take off and land automatically even in bad weather, stay in the air for up to 24 hours and scan up to 90 miles away. in this test, we watched the drone leave northern israel, minutes later flying off a ship and beaming back images from thousands of feet in the air. images so sharp, you can read the name of the ship and dozens of other details. >> once you try to use a drone, you don't know how you lived without it before. like our cell phones. these were saying how did you manage without cell phones, 15 20 years ago. the same with drones. >> reporter: israel has been using drones for years, especially over gaza. this is the kind of upgrate eup
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technology that militaries all over the world are looking for. >> i think all over the world, you will find countries that try to develop uav, every country tried. and i think it's a threat, it's a threat everywhere. >> reporter: one of those countries vying for drones is iran, and the iran-backed hezbollah militants in neighboring lebanon. hezbollah's leadership bragged about the long-range drone it sent over israel and promised it would not be the last it sends. payback, it says for the times israel has sent war planes over lebanon. >> translator: the resistance in lebanon sent an advanced surveillance drone towards the sea and hundreds of kilometers over the sea. then the drone penetrated the enemy's defense procedures and entered the occupied southern palestine and flew over critical and important bases and installations until it was
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discovered by the enemy near the area of dimona. >> reporter: it is of particular concern because of the nuclear reactor and suspected weapons program near that town in the desert. while israel has not revealed exactly where the drone went and why it wasn't shot down before it was far inside is really air space, iran publicly boasted about its role in the drone mission and took a jab a israel's defense capabilities. sunday, a member of iran's parliament and national security and foreign policy commission, told iran's semi-official news agency that it was that the zionists claims are unfounded since the regime is not able to defend itself against iran's missile capabilities. a senior israeli official scoffed at the idea saying israel has no illusions about the capabilities or intentions
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of iran or the subsidiary hezbollah. >> what is clear is the future of warfare is here and this is it. what is less clear is what israel plans to do without a provocation by its number one concern, iran. sarah sidner, cnn, jerusalem. one expert tells cnn that the drones used by hezbollah are extremely crude. saying and quoting now to call them rinky dink would be polite. the pakistani schoolgirl nearly killed by the taliban is safe today. monitoring that and other top stories in the situation room right now. >> hi there, wolf, there's high interest in this story. malala faces weeks if not months of treatment. malala gained renowned defending the rights of girls to attend school. the taliban ambushed her school's van last week and shot her. we'll have a full report in the
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next hour of the "situation room." the u.s. government raising concerns about the massachusetts firm whose steroids are suspected in a nationwide outbreak of meningitis. today the food and drug administration warns that patients who underwent eye surgery and received injections of new england compounding center's drugs may be at risk for infection. the government also confirmed nine more cases of meningitis, that's bringing the total to 214, 15 people have died. a judge today began hearing evidence against the captain of the cruise ship that capsized off italy back in january. he faces allegations of manslaughter, causing a ship wreck abandoning ship, failing to report an accident and destroying a natural habitat. 32 people died in that ship wreck and some of the survivors are in the courtroom for the closed door hearing. and a little too much reality tv in this norwegian tv show. the metal stand a parachute jumper was using to propel himself off a cliff, collapsed
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sending him over the edge. the man not only managed to avoid hitting the cliff on his way down, the falling stand missed him by just a few yards. oh, my word. take a look at that. good news, though, for everybody concerned as we see him go, go down is that he is fine. but look at that. good thing that his parachute opened up. and you see in the picture, wolf, you see looks like he barely missed the side of that cliff. amazing stuff there. >> i'm glad he was fine. he's also nuts. that is crazy. there's a huge tactical question today, presidential politics. just how aggressive should a candidate be during a town hall debate. favorite recipes? just begin with america's favorite soups. bring out chicken broccoli alfredo. or best-ever meatloaf. go to for recipes, plus a valuable coupon.
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a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again.
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today's hot question in presidential politics other than
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who will win concerns the tactics for tomorrow night's presidential debate. here's a quick snapshot. >> a candidate making a connection is making a connection back home. >> without a podium and with audience interaction, the candidate's style and body language can take on added weight. >> the president can change his style, he can change his tactics, can't change his record. >> he's gotten very good the a the sort of formal debates. ask he step up his game in an informal setting? >> he's got to make barack obama the negative campaigner. over the last ten days, mitt romney's favorability has gone up significantly and obama's has stayed where it's been. >> let's get straight to gloria borger. she's assembled an excellent panel. >> and of course we're going to be talking about that debate. now just hot off the presses, a new poll from pew research which
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tells us about expectations which says that 41% say the president will do better and 37% say now romney's going to do better. what say you, ross? >> i say that's fantastic news for romney. i mean to go to come out of the debate where 65% of the country thought he won and still have the expectations game in reach for the second debate, i don't think he could ask for better numbers. i was expecting, you know, 45%, 50% saying romney would win. this shows there's still an assumption. and certainly this is good news for the president, right? there's still an assumption that people's faith in obama's communication skills is still more or less intact. i think it shows -- i think it's an edge for romney. >> you still have faith? >> i have faith in the president. you know, i think the romney bar is higher than it was last time because he said so many things in the last debate that sort of made people wonder who this mitt romney was. and i think the president is going to respectfully but
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forcefully force him to own some of the change in position. and so i think actually the expectations for romney are higher. you know, the president, though, with the town hall format, look, he ran, you know, encouraging people to be with him. there's nobody really who feels your pain, more engaged, who is more personal than barack obama. >> how about bill clinton? >> all right. you got me on that. >> but i think that the format is going to work for the president, and i think that when mitt romney has to face people who are saying, wait a second, what about us? i'm not sure he's going to be so successful there. >> i think one of the president's strengths is that he answers questions directly when he's one-on-one with people. and i think that's actually going to come through in this format. and i think you're right, hillary, this format really does play to the president's strengths in terms of his ability to connect and have a relationship. >> but he hasn't done a lot of town halls. mitt romney's been out there doing town halls, it's not his
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natural habitat either. >> the town halls the president has been doing are with his supporters. he is going in front of friendly crowds and answering friendly questions. and i think what americans saw was a president uncomfortable being challenged. and that's going to be a challenge for him. >> and his real strength, i mean, to be clear as we saw in the 2008 campaign, barack obama is at his best in front of a huge crowd of, you know, 40,000 ecstatic supporters. and there's no question, no recent presidential candidate has been better in those kind of -- >> you're saying that because you've never been in a more intimate setting with him. but he's pretty good in smaller groups too. >> i actually have been in relatively intimate settings with the president. and he's a very charming and charismatic man. i shook his hand and i got the thrill running up my leg, whatever else, you know, you're supposed to get in those settings. but the fact remains he isn't a sort of loosy goosy charmer. you don't walk out of the room with president obama -- >> he's going to be engaged on substance and i think that is going to be the difference between this debate and the last
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one where he really is, i think, going to come hard. and you can do that in an aggressive way and still be very likable. and so i think he doesn't run the risk of damaging that part -- >> wouldn't you argue they're both kind of a like that way. neither one of them is sort of a i feel your pain type of politician. i don't know if that would work this time, right? >> go ahead. >> the format is a challenge for both candidates, but one of the things i keep hearing from democrats is that the president's going to come out aggressively, forcefully, and i think that's a bit dangerous for the sitting president of the united states to come out looking like joe biden did last week. i think independent voters, the people he talks to need to hear from the president a clear vision of what he's going to do in the second term. he'd be better served talking about his own agenda rather than pointing at mitt romney for most the night. >> i think the president's going to be plain spoke, whether that's considered aggressive or not, i doubt it.
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he's going to be direct and that's clear. but you know, nothing will substitute from kind of the plain spoke questions that candy ends up reading to the candidates, because what actually people think and care about, you know, the president is going to engage in that. there's not going to be a person in that audience who has paid as low a tax rate as mitt romney. i'm just going to, you know, the president should ask maybe. but there's not going to be a person in that room who hasn't had the kind of -- relates to the experiences that barack obama has had versus mitt romney when you're talking about what the middle -- what is good for the middle class. i don't think mitt romney's going to be able to respond substantively to the lifestyle that those people have. >> let's be honest here, barack obama, you know, had a fascinating remarkable upbringing. but not exactly a sort of, you know, bill clinton hope, arkansas, type of upbringing. he's a product of the american -- he's a harvard type
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of guy. >> he has a middle class upbringing and that's going to be reflected in his -- >> i don't think we -- >> -- scholarships -- >> barack obama does have more harvard degrees. >> one has one degree, one has two. >> i'm not denying that they've had very different life experiences. i'm saying obama has spent the last three decades of his life in the ranks of the american elite. he's a millionaire too. i think the idea that he has some amazing feel your pain ability that's going to come out in this debate is unlikely. >> to go back to one of the points you made, hillary, to talk and say the people in the audience aren't paying what mitt romney pays in taxes. i don't think americans are thinking that's going to determine my vote. i do bet a lot of people in the audience have been hurting for work for the last several years and looking for president obama to live up to his promises he made. >> in line with the rest of the people, they feel the economy getting better. another thing that will be interesting to the audience is about women and immigration and
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those two sort of touchstone issues, you know, i think the president has a huge opportunity here to talk about in context. you know, we've talked about this before on this show. whether you can actually separate if you're a woman, your health care financial needs from your work financial needs, whether, you know, if you're an immigrant the same thing. and the president has the ability to connect those issues in a way that mitt romney -- >> don't you think it's a general notion -- >> significantly. >> don't you think it's a general notion of does mitt romney understand my problems, my pain because he loses to president obama three to one on that. >> he does. but here, i think there is a specific element, though. he has to -- if social security comes out, he has to take social security, right. it isn't just the general feeling your pain. he has to hit specific openings and i think that's what he missed last debate. >> okay. well, stay with us, everyone. because when we come back, these panelists are going to offer some unsolicited advice. and if i had to guess, it would be to mitt romney and barack obama.
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and now back to our panel with their pearls of wisdom or unsolicited advice. ross? >> so my unsolicited advice is for political journalists, students of political history, liberals who are nostalgic for the moderate republicans of yore. this mythical breed of compromisers who roam the earth 30 years ago. they should go and read this great piece that put out about george romney, mitt romney's father. and it's all about sort of the myths around george romney. how he was this great man of principle. and turns out that actually george romney, he didn't
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actually walk out of the republican convention in protest of barry goldwater, he compromised, he cut deals, he didn't know what he was doing half the time, and it should be read and it should be kept in mind for the future. because i know that one tagg romney is running for president in 30 years, everybody's going to say why can't he be a man of principle like mitt romney. >> he was more candid than mitt romney. he was. >> he was. >> i read a lot about george romney, and he did say that he was brainwashed by the generals about the vietnam war. that was pretty candid. >> that was candid. >> and it hurt him. >> that did hurt him. >> he's been a doing a bit of remaking of george romney. >> it's more forgivable for a son to romanticize a father than journalists. >> progressives mythologize about moderate republicans. >> congresswoman.
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>> so my unsolicited advice is for former president bush because he's been banished from the 2012 elections, he's been painting horses and scenery. >> lucky man. >> i think he should start painting buckeyes because he won't any longer known as the last republican to have lost ohio. >> zing. >> he's enjoying the ranch, he's painting dogs, come on, picking on george w. >> you guys really don't want -- >> i don't think he misses it. i don't think he misses it. i don't think he misses the campaign trail. >> no. >> he's done. >> my unsolicited advice, and i'm sorry to bring up a topic that a lot of washington insiders are upset about. >> are you looking at me? >> i'm looking at ross. >> i'm always hanging out with the president, it's terrible. >> the washington nationals, actually, the last game of the season, they actually let teddy roosevelt win, and everybody knows you don't break tradition into the playoffs. politicians, candidates, sports teams, stick with what works. you can't let teddy win and expect to win.
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teddy wins and nats lose. >> teddy roosevelt, moderate republican. >> there's always next year. >> my unsolicited advice is candy crowley. the romney campaigns have gotten in the habit. they're trying to work the ref. you know, they're going out there, doing the criticism, they're pushing them around. be a moderator. don't listen to people, go in there, be a moderator. the audience wants you to do follow-up. they want to make sure the questions that the audience asked gets answered. and when the candidates are, you know, shifting around, they want somebody smart like candy to get in there and say, wait a second, didn't you used to say "x"? be a moderator, candy. >> it's interesting you say the romney campaign is doing that. but just out saying that the moderator should be seen and not heard. >> well, you know, there's maybe on this one a little bit of both sides, but clearly there's a bigger push over there from the
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romney camp on martha raddick. but in any case, candy's got a big job to do and i'm all for her doing it. >> me too. and that's why you have an experienced journalist who is going to be doing that and knows what to do in those situations and that's candy. and my advice is for those candidates. and i would say, could we start talking about the future, please? instead of talking about the past and relitigating, which i know is what campaigns do, let's hear about the future from both of these candidates, from mitt romney, let's hear more specifics about his economic plan and from the president, let's hear more about what he would do the next four years. and take it forward. >> i couldn't agree with you more. and i think the biggest reason president obama lost the first debate was not because of his lack of aggression. it was because he didn't give voters a reason to choose him. there was no vision for the next four years. and unless he starts presenting that vision and stop talking about mitt romney and all the bad things mitt romney's going
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to do, he's going to have trouble winning this election. >> i think that's right and true. and i think the president's been doing it a lot on the campaign trail, didn't do it as well in the debates, but when push comes to shove, this election is a choice. and it is important for voters to understand that a future under mitt romney will look a certain way and the president feels strongly about that. but yet he's got to show americans he's fighting for them and why he wants this job again. >> okay. you were laughing when hillary said it's a choice -- >> no, no -- it's a referendum. no, no -- it was a romney-esque smirk. but she's absolutely right, the trick for obama, he has to do both. both deliver more of a vision for the future than the last debate and continue to persuade americans that the united states will become a howling, miserable waste land inhabited by barbarian hordes. >> elitist anti-women hordes.
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>> not only contrast, but talk about what's going to happen in the next four years. >> the president has the ability to present the contrast in the context of what will happen in the future, and i think it's entirely appropriate for him to say you know what? these guys want to go back, we don't and here's where we want to go. >> we're going to have to give the congresswoman the last word. back to you, wolf. >> thanks very much. so if there isn't already enough pressure for tomorrow night's presidential debate, new poll numbers coming out with some of the battleground states that will decide this election. and this weekend's high-altitude jump not only produced breathtaking pictures, marked a success for a new era in science and space. mr. margin? mr. margin? don't be modest, bob. you found a better way to pack a bowling ball. that was ups. and who called ups? you did, bob. i just asked a question. it takes a long time to pack a bowling ball. the last guy pitched more ball packers. but you... you consulted ups. you found a better way. that's logistics. that's margin. find out what else ups knows. i'll do that. you're on a roll. that's funny. i wasn't being funny, bob.
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president obama has ordered a special tribute for the late arlen specter. lisa sylvester has the details. >> well, the president has ordered all u.s. flags to be flown at half staff tomorrow and vice president joe biden will attend specter's funeral. specter died sunday at the age of 82. he served as a u.s. senator from pennsylvania for 30 years. mostly as a republican, but at the end as a democrat because republican conservatives had abandoned him. and the presidential candidates' wives will be hitting the daytime talk show circuit. michelle obama will be on "live" with kelly and michael this friday, but taping the interview on wednesday. and ann romney joins the ladies of "the view" on thursday even though her husband who had been scheduled to appear with her said he had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts. and okay, this isn't quite the engagement of the century, but journey guitarist proposed
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to mikhail salahi and she said yes. she and her former husband notoriously crashed a white house state dinner back in 2009. and since we're talking rock bands, the rolling stones announced they will celebrate their 50th anniversary with two pairs of concerts. late november in london and newark, new jersey, in mid-december, a new greatest hits compilation also comes out next month for all you fans. and if that doesn't satisfy you, he's hinting more con sertds later on. he can certainly keep going and going. it's amazing what mick jagger can do. >> remember when he hosted saturday night live? how fabulous he was? >> by the way, those tickets start at about $98 and run up to about $108. >> they'll be going for a lot more than that. >> yeah, i have a feeling no question that concert is going to sell out. a lot of people want those tickets. they go on sale, i think, friday, actually, wolf.
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all right. the pictures are just incredible, but sunday's record-setting jump from 24 miles high also signals an important change in space exploration. the distances aren't getting shorter. ♪ the trucks are going farther. the new 2013 ram 1500. ♪ with the best-in-class fuel economy. engineered to move heaven and earth. ♪ guts. glory. ram.
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. right now, you've probably heard about sunday's nail-biting jump from 24 miles high. it marks a breakthrough into a new era. space exploration is becoming the realm of private businesses rather than the government. brian todd is joining us to take a closer look. brian, what do you see? >> well, some people think that's where it's all heading, wolf. with companies like red bull and space x leading the way and nasa taking a break from manned space flight, we could be at a real crossroads. are we seeing the beginning of the end of government-sponsored exploration?
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felix baumgartner talks about the moment that had all of our hearts pounding when he went into a rapid spin that he may not have come out of alive. he said his rotation started off well. >> and then it started spinning so violent. spun me around in different directions, and i was trying to find out how to stop this. putting one arm out, didn't work, another arm out. >> baumgartner's feat has others talking about if the risks are that great, is it better for a privately-sponsored explorer to go on the missions or a government-trained one? >> there's really no reason for a government-trained person to be doing what baumgartner did. >> reporter: he helped investigate the shuttle "columbia" disaster, and he said it doesn't relate to space as much as we might think. 50 to 60 miles above the earth is much higher than his 24-mi m
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ascent. aside from baumgartner's mission, private firm space x contracted with nasa. this vehicle, spaceship 1, privately financed went over the border into space in 2004 and returned safely. richard branson is trying to develop that into commercial space tourism. listen to what the technical project manager of baumgartner's jump said about their mission. >> that's really part of what this program was to achieve was to show high altitude egress passing through mach and a successful reentry back. baa uz our belief is that scientifically, that's going to benefit future private space programs or high-altitude pilots. >> is this where this is all going? companies like red bull leading us into all aspects of future exploration? >> no, i don't think so. there is a market for commercial
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space flight for adventure tourism, for these kind of high-risk adrenaline producing ujds undertakings like this jump, but it is governments that are going to take us back to the moon to asteroids to mars. >> why is that? well, he says that while there are billionaires who invest in these projects, it takes multiple billions to do space exploration, and he says no individual or company is really rich enough to fund all of that, wolf. >> brian, thanks very much. and you're in the "situation room" happening now on this, the eve of round two. we have new information showing why this next presidential debate is so critical. how it could make a difference in a very, very tight race. and as the candidates continue intensive debate rehearsals, we'll get the inside scoop on mitt romney's strategy from one of his advisers. the former new hampshire governor. and while the president may be
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huddling with his debate team, the first lady is out on the campaign trail right now. we're going to hear from michelle obama live this hour. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the "situation room." all right. with just aday away from the rematch between president obama and mitt romney, our latest survey shows how crucial the debate will be. averaging results from seven national surveys of likely voters shows the presidential race is in a dead heat right now, 48% favor romney, 47% favor obama. our chief national correspondent john king is here. he's taking a closer look. what do you make of these numbers? it's about as tight as can be. >> as tight as can be
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nationally. we went through a bunch of battleground states. well, more evidence of that today. let's go to the state of iowa. big part of president obama's victory in 2008. a brand new american research group poll out in the state of iowa. look at this, doesn't get closer than that, 48 to 48, last week we told you colorado was a dead heat, nevada was a dead heat. now add iowa to that, as well. we've been watching virginia, a state president obama carried four years ago. crucial to governor romney's math. closer to last week. now we have new polls out of virginia. we can do a poll of polls. this is taking several brand new polls, averaging them all together. what do you get? a dead heat. and now it's also getting more interesting. as i said, nevada, colorado, iowa, florida, all dead heats, president or governor romney up a point or two. but we're beginning to see evidence this race could get interesting outside the battlegrounds we've been focusing on these past many months. yet another poll out of pennsylvania showing a close race there. this has been a state that's been in the president's basket. no romney campaign ads, no romney campaigning in the state
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of pennsylvania. he went there to raise the money, but this poll, 49 for the president, 45% for governor romney. i want to show you why the campaign is increasingly confident going into the second debate and why it's so important. virginia and north carolina, the numbers there are getting better for governor romney. florida, getting better for romney. even ohio where the president still leads getting better for governor romney. ohio, colorado, and nevada now dead heats, improvements in the last week or so for governor romney. why do they like this in the romney campaign? this is the 2008 map. all of those states were carried by president obama. let's go back in time, 2001, all one, by george w. bush. all the way back to 2000, only iowa among those states went democratic. so the romney campaign believes the states that have a history of voting republican on election day of presidential politics are moving his way. they feel very good about that understanding the big debate tomorrow night could change the momentum. >> what do you think, john, how much will this second presidential debate affect each campaign strategy of getting
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that magic number of 270 electoral college votes? >> the stakes are enormous because of the timing of this. you're getting to the point where you have to make resource decisions. should governor romney spend time and money in pennsylvania? never really came close. got sort of close, but do you take time and money and put it in there? michigan has now become a four-point race somewhere in that ballpark. the republicans spending money there, watch over the next several days, especially in the first moments after that debate, republican super pacs. they'll poll, as well. with time so short, you're running late to buy ad time even. there's so many other campaigns out there. will the president have to play defense in places like pennsylvania and michigan? will the president decide to pull out of one of these other states? the republicans are increasingly feeling confident about the west. will the president pull out or scale back to dump resources into ohio or florida? because they know this in the obama campaign if they can win either ohio or florida or if they could win both of them, they almost certainly block governor romney's path. after the second debate, this is
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a very complicated game of chess, time is running short to spend your money and decide where to spend your money. watch the campaign shifting ad strategy and watch for those planes to start touching down. >> and the third and final presidential debate a week from today. john, thanks very much. and this note to our viewers. you can create your own path to 270, go to both candidates have been hunkered down for intensive debate preparations. romney has been rehearsing in his home turf in boston. president obama's in williamsburg, virginia, where his team is going all out to make sure the president is ready for a round two tomorrow night. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is working this part of the story for us. what are you learning? >> hi, wolf. there have been some changes to the president's debate prep this time around. he's not taking the same long public breaks each day. the moderator is now played by anita dunn his former communications director who has years of experience critiquing him. >> president obama on a break
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from study hall. >> what's going on? >> all right. >> good to see you. >> how are you, man? >> pleasure. >> this time aides say, he'll be more -- >> aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country. >> be more energetic. i think you'll see somebody who is very passionate about the choice that our country faces. >> reporter: the president's number one goal, to make his case on the economy. campaign manager jim messina told me after last week's debate, vice president biden did it successfully. >> will you talk a little bit about next week? >> sure. >> what does the president have to do? >> on the economy, we saw a very clear difference. and that's what we've got to do tuesday, as well. >> and it sounds like the president's primed for the event. >> look, he -- he's watched the tape of the last debate. he has strong views about what he wants to do in the next debate. and i can just tell you he's very, very eager to see governor romney again. >> a new format creates new
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challenges for the president. this debate, a town hall. >> these town hall meetings really voters expect you're going to answer their questions. and they're not looking for, you know, a food fight between candidates. >> tad devine is a debate expert for democratic presidents. he says the president can't only play offense. the model for a good answer in this setting, then governor bill clinton's i feel your pain approach. >> i've been the governor of a small state for 12 years. i'll tell you how it's affected me. >> it's a balance. >> you have to have a plan that says when someone asked me a question from the public, i'm going to answer that question, i'm going to deal with them. after you've done that, you have to look for the opening. okay, the opening to pivot against your opponent. >> reporter: so what is their strategy? >> jessica, you've got to watch the debate. >> the focus of the prep, selling his quote vision for the future, but especially on the
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economy. and pointing to what campaign sources call governor romney's inconsistencies, one of the challenges, though, wolf is that for president obama, the truth is governor romney really has arguably more to gain out of this format. because he is seen as so rigid and hard to relate to that if he does a good job of connecting with people in this town hall, it could go very long way to breaking down that stereotype and proving that he can be a more relatable guy and that could be a bigger win for him than for president obama just coming out with a strong debate performance. >> and both of them are under a lot of pressure to actually release more details of what they would do over the next four years. >> it is a huge challenge in this whole campaign. neither man has been very clear about what their agenda would be in the second term for the president or in the first term for governor romney. we'll see if they'll do it. i'd be surprised if either man really gives much detail tomorrow night. >> they waited this long, they'll probably wait a little longer. >> thanks very much.
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jack cafferty looking ahead to tomorrow night's second presidential debate. >> tomorrow night is make or break for the president of the united states. after the dismal showing in the first debate against mitt romney, the consensus is the president better bring his a-game if he wants another term in office. writing in "the daily beast," ardent obama supporter andrew sullivan says the president's main challenge for re-election in the final stretch is obama himself. that's quote. sullivan suggests that obama threw away the momentum after the first debate calling the president's performance so lazy, so vain, it was almost a dare not to vote for him, unquote. remember, this is somebody who likes him talking. but he's on to something, sullivan is. romney is seeing gains in both national polls and battleground states since the first debate. momentum has clearly shifted to his side. romney now leads the president 48%, 47% in cnn's poll of polls
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and perhaps even more telling after the months of voters finding president obama more likable than romney, now they're tied according to a new poll with romney actually over 50%, i think, for the first time. according to andrew sullivan, it's going to take a lot of quote, intelligence, fire, and argument, unquote, for the president to turn this thing around. and it still might not be enough for obama to break even for romney in the remaining two debates. that brings us back, then, for tomorrow's debate. tomorrow's debate moderated by candy crowley. the town hall format could make it even tougher for the president to win. no teleprompter and all of that. no doubt the president will have to come out strong against romney, but also has to show he can connect with the voters in the town hall and those people watching at home. it's all a very tricky balancing act. and above all else, mr. obama will have to avoid the long, boring, professor-like answers that he is sometimes prone to. here's the question.
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what's the president's greatest challenge? go to, post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the "situation room's" facebook page. >> thanks so much. our special coverage of the next presidential debate begins tomorrow night 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. just about everyone says he won round one. so why would mitt romney change his strategy for tomorrow night's debate. i'll ask his adviser. jo and she risked her life by attending school. now this pakistani teenager is fighting for her life far from home. the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone is ready with the know-how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready.
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new nectresse. sweetness naturally. as part of a heart healthy diet. that's true. ...but you still have to go to the gym. ♪ the one and only, cheerios let's go to boston right now where governor mitt romney has been huddling with his aides getting ready for tomorrow night's debate. a romney adviser, governor, thanks very much for coming in. >> good to be on.
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>> how is governor romney preparing differently for this second presidential debate than he prepared for the first. >> well, obviously you set up the format so that he gets a chance to feel comfortable with the walk around. i don't know. is it a walk around format or a sit down format? >> no -- >> whatever it is -- they set it up exactly the same so he gets used to the format. that's probably the biggest change. and the second biggest change is that they -- as i understand it, they're really confined to a two-minute answer. candy i'm told is going to make sure they stay within their limits. it's more to the voter format, they're answering undecided voters questions. and it's much harder for either candidate to break out in such a format. i actually feel that this format promotes a draw, you know, both candidates do well and come out of it with a draw, and i suspect that's what we're going to be talking about tomorrow night.
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>> mark mckinnen, you probably know him, he was a political adviser to president bush and john mccain four years ago. he thought it would be tougher for mitt romney this time. he said on cnn earlier today this town hall format, he said makes it clear that romney needs to step up his game, engage, and be empathetic. you agree with mark? >> well, i think that's incumbent of both candidates. that's what the town hall format demands. it may be a little tougher on the president. he's used to going out among adoring crowds. and he's going to have to talk to a neutral crowd and certainly at least part of it on a one-on-one basis. and when you do one-on-one with 50, 60, 70 million people watching you, it's a little different than talking to a rally where you've got 2,000 adoring followers cheering you on. >> i noticed the interview that paul ryan gave the "wall street journal" today.
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and he asked about the romney/ryan tax proposals and how they're going to pay for it to make sure there's an increase in the nation's debt after you go ahead and reduce taxes 20% across the board. he said we shouldn't be negotiating the details of tax reform in the middle of a campaign. that's paul ryan. but if you saw chris wallace yesterday on fox news, he was making the point that they are releasing all the details of the so-called c.a.n.d.y. the across the board tax cuts but the so-called spinach, the stuff that's going to have to be eliminated. >> with all due respect to chris wallace, that's not true. what they're saying, there's a tax cut of a certain magnitude, right? >> right. >> 20% tax cut, 20% reduction in rates across the board. that's a magnitude statement. and then they're saying there will be an equal magnitude of reduction in the loopholes or
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whatever you want to call those issues. there's -- you require $360 million a year for a 20% reduction in tax rate. when you look at all the things you could put on the table as loopholes, you can find about $1.3 trillion a year, about four times as much. so you put all that stuff in a basket, you go down to congress and you say we want to find $360 billion. same number as the tax cut. we're going to sit down and negotiate with you which one of these we eliminate, which one of these we means test, and which one of these we put in a package that caps the total amount you use. that's a negotiation that you do. and you don't tip your hand in a negotiation till you go there. otherwise you don't get a package. but they are revealing exactly the same thing on both sides. $360 million a year worth of tax cuts, $360 million a year worth of reduction in loopholes to pay
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for it. >> because so many people are wondering will their interest deductions from their home mortgages be eliminated? will their charitable contributions, their deductions be eliminated? they're worried about that especially middle class families who hear that they're going to be all these reductions in loopholes and deductions -- reductions in the deductions shall we say? >> sure. and i don't blame them for being worried. but the fact is, this is going to be a decision made on a political basis. and you know, nobody's going to cut those critical deductions on the middle class. you might cap them for the very wealthy, you might limit the amount of those the very wealthy might use, but there's a whole host of things. and when you have nearly four times as many dollars worth of those things as you need to play with, there's going to be a lot of horse trading and giving and taking, and i think the middle class is going to be very well protected by romney/ryan. >> thanks very much for coming
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in. >> thank you. >> robert gibbs from the obama campaign will be standing by to join us live in the next hour. we'll presumably get a different perspective from him. meanwhile, a 300-year-old relationship could soon come to an end. up next, one of the countries under queen elizabeth's control now wants independence. oney. but today...( sfx: loud noise of large metal object hitting the ground) things have been a little strange. (sfx: sound of piano smashing) roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep? (sfx: loud thud sound) what a strange place. geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions...
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syrian regime in damascus is denying an alarming new report, the military forces are using cluster bombs in the deadly fighting. lisa sylvester is monitoring the top stories. human rights watch is accusing the syrian air force of using russian-made cluster bombs
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citing videos and witness accounts. the bombs are said to be particularly vicious to civilians because they explode in mid-air scattering hundreds of smaller bombs over areas the size of a football field. there's no confirmation of the group's report. and the aclu is suing morgan stanley charging that during the 2004 to 2007 housing bubble, the firm discriminated against minority homeowners by providing funding for risky subprime mortgages. the lawsuit is being filed on behalf of five detroit residents asking that the case be certified as a class action. morgan stanley is denying these allegations. scotland could be one step closer toward gaining its independence. british prime minister david cameron and his scottish counterpart signed a deal paving the way for a yes or no vote on the deal likely to come in 2014. a campaign launched in may is pushing for the vote. that is pretty big news that
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scotland could become an independent country. >> a lot of people in scotland talking about that for a long time. but now they actually have a referendum, a vote that the folks will have yay or nay. >> and not that far off. it could become a reality, wolf. >> thanks. tomorrow's second presidential debate isn't just a different format, contains two, even three different audiences. how that could change the candidates' game plans. ♪... ♪... choose the perfect hotel without bidding. those little things for you, life's about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow.
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tomorrow night's town hall style is different than the format used in the first presidential debate. and poses new challenges for our candidates. dana, what are you learning about mitt romney and how he's preparing differently for this debate? >> well, you know, wolf, one of the main reasons mitt romney performed better during the first debate is the way he looked straight at the president and addressed him aggressively. especially juxtaposed with the
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president who did the opposite. in the debate tomorrow night, what's most important isn't so much to zero in on the president but on the audience member asking the question. and really to make a connection with that person. have a conversation with them. and republican sources i've been talking to say that has been a focus of his debate prep over the past 13 days to shed that out of touch image. the last thing they want is an awkward moment with a real person. you remember george h.w. bush, a voter asked him a question about how the recession hit him personally. >> there are, dana, pitfalls with the stage craft of this kind of debate. explain. >> there are. because there are actually two audiences in the hall, wolf. and if the candidate doesn't know which to address, they can look uncomfortable. i spoke with the republican debate coach who worked with mccain and george w. bush on their campaigns and he explained.
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>> when you prepare for a town hall, it gets technical in terms of where the candidate needs to focus. >> sure, absolutely. in the presidential town hall, there's two audiences and a third if you count the television audience. but there is the audience that's actually on the set, the 100 or so people that are surrounding the candidates, but then what most people don't realize is there's another audience above watching that town hall debate. and as a candidate, you've got to make sure that you play to the audience that is on the set rather than the audience that's up above watching the entire event. so it's quite an interesting dynamic. and there have been times where candidates have lost a sense of who the audience really is, and i think it causes a disconnect. >> one example of that that brett o'donnell gave and others, as well, if you look back at footage from the 2000 town hall, al gore didn't really get the difference between the audiences and maybe didn't come across as naturally as he could have. >> got to be natural because, you know, the third audience is
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obviously so much more important, with all due respect to the 100 people in the town hall format who have the opportunity to ask a question, shall we say, maybe the 1,000 guests who are invited are going to be sitting around them. the there's going to be 50, 60 million people watching on television. do you just look at the person who asked you the question? these are complicated issues. they're practicing for this. >> they are complicated and they are practicing. but what everybody i talked to who has worked and is currently working on this kind of stylistic format, what they say is that the key is really to focus on the person who asked the question. that the audience, those tens of millions of people watching will understand there is a connection being made on television rather than the candidate just looking at a camera or looking at the moderator or looking off into the sunset. that is really the key. >> the person who is not speaking might be sensitive to the fact that he may be on
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television, as well. >> no looking at his watch. >> none of that. in the strategy session, jamal simmons who is looking at his watch already. and our cnn contributor the republican strategist alex castellanos. how do they finesse which camera to look at? >> you're not talking to 70 million people at home, even though you really are. it's one person in their living room and you just turn into that cam rera and say, look, i know this affects you too. >> look into that person's eyes. >> through that person's eyes at home, that's what you do. and if you're talking to barack obama, look at him. your eye clasp is almost like shaking hands like a hand clasp. look at them, hold it as long as you might shake their hand and make sure you establish that connection and do that whether it's barack obama, whether it's candy crowley the moderator, whether it's that person who asks you the question at the town hall. or you're right, the most
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important viewer of all, the one at home. >> bill clinton was great at this. he could feel your pain and make everyone in that room think they were so special and in the process make people who were watching feel they were special, as well. >> absolutely. and what was so great about the answer everyone remembers when george h.w. bush was looking at his watch, was that the woman asked a question about the deficit. what bill clinton understood that the question was about the deficit, but more about how the economic recession was affecting her. and he went into a heart felt discussion about what the economy was doing and how being the governor of a small state he understood that. and so i think the trick for a candidate is to take that question and pivot it to a place where you know the average voter really does care what they want to hear about. >> both of these fellas should be good at this by now. mitt romney started doing ask mitt anythings, i think he called them, town halls four years ago. >> four years ago, yeah. >> so he's been out there doing this a while. barack obama did a tremendous job at the town hall format.
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>> you don't get to this level without being good at town hall meetings. >> both of these men are very good at this format, which i think we'll see. this may turn into a debate that turns on substance. who knew? >> because some people have suggested that mitt romney might not be empathetic enough. you work for him four years ago. what do you think? >> you've seen him lately on the campaign trail. and this whole campaign, i think, has made him so much better as a candidate. he is telling stories about the people he's met, the woman whose son was lost in afghanistan, someone else who is struggling to find a job. and you can tell these stories have had such a big impact on him. we have a brutal process for picking a president, but it's a brilliant process because it makes these candidates go out and immerse themselves in the challenges -- >> i'm sure the president will do that, as well. >> president too. >> absolutely and you know, wolf, janet jackson had a song called "what have you done for me lately" and voters want to know, what where you going to do for me next? so what the president has to do
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is forget about two weeks ago, the last debate, that's history. focus on the voters' future. what is he going to do to make people's lives better? and the sooner he connects, the better for the viewer at home and the people in that audience he's talking to. >> has a new ad featuring some movie stars, women talking about abortion rights for women. listen to this. >> i want to talk to you about women. >> and about mitt romney. >> mitt romney's for ending funding to planned parenthood. >> including cancer screenings. >> he said he'd overturn roe v. wade. >> we have republicans trying to redefine rape. >> trying to force women to undergo invasive ultra sounds. >> if you think this election won't affect you and your life, think again. >> vote. >> vote. >> vote, for barack obama. >> scarlet johansson, eva l longor longoria. pretty strong message.
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>> well, it's going to help with a certain vote. i think a lot of folks would argue that's a vote that president obama already has. women like men these days have to be multi-sport athletes. it's not, you know, not just women's issues, it's the issues that affect all of us. economic issues, most small businesses in this country are started not by men, but by women. women have seen big cuts in that family paycheck from $54,000 to $50,000 under barack obama. when the economic house is burning down, it's not as big of an issue who is having a better time inside the house. we need to get everyone out. so i'm not sure that at this point late in the campaign it's not the bigger economic issues that i think are going to drive the vote and not so much who's cool with hollywood. >> and he makes a fair point. because several liberal women, normally democrats, who support abortion rights for women don't want to see roe versus wade overturned have said to me recently, as much as i believe in that, i believe in the economy more. i don't think the president has
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done a good job, i want to give mitt romney a chance. and that's a powerful argument that they're making. >> it is a powerful argument. and i bet you if you talk to a pink-collar worker in cleveland, ohio, who is concerned about her reproductive freedom or whatever else is going on in her life the question becomes about choice and about trust. not just about this particular issue but whether or not i trust mitt romney to actually look out for me on the things i think are important. the second motivator for the president with an ad like this is, he's got to get the people who agree with him. he's got to get them to show up and vote, turn out on election day and i think the democratic campaign is moving in that direction more than it is moving to per said more voters. >> and the last debate, one of the things that changed, voters saw a mitt romney that was not this fire-breathing radical that's going to burn the whole world down. they saw a very reasonable man. and i think that mitigates the impact of ads like that. >> all right. >> perhaps a trojan horse. we're standing by to hear from the first lady of the united states.
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you're seeing a live picture there. they're getting ready to hear michelle obama in cleveland, ohio. i don't know if you guys heard, but ohio's a battleground state. right now the first lady getting ready to speak to a crowd there in cleveland. we'll have live coverage. that's coming up. also, other news, including a teenage girl fighting for her life right now after being shot point-blank in the head by the taliban. we have new information about that brutal attack and what doctors are now saying about her condition. [ mujahid ] there was a little bit of trepidation,
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a pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the taliban. she's in the united kingdom at this hour where she was transferred for additional medical treatment which could take weeks if not months.
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reza sayah is joining us now from islamabad. reza, you've spoken with pakistani police, what are they saying about this attempted execution? >> reporter: well, they say it was a brutal attack. and obviously we've reported a lot of times that the doctor removed the bullet from malala's neck, and i think that leaves the impression with many people she was shot in the neck. that's not the case. she was shot directly in the head. many don't believe she's still alive today. we talked to the spokesperson for the pakistani military who described in graphic detail where she was shot. take a listen. >> she got hit on the left side behind the forehead. >> she got hit directly in the head? >> yeah. she got hit in the head. and then it traveled through here, through the neck, and went behind the shoulder and rested just next to the backbone. >> was this a point-blank shot?
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>> it was a point-blank shot, yeah. >> are you surprised that she's even alive today? >> yes, everyone is surprised that she's alive today. >> so was it a small-caliber gun? >> yeah. i think it was 9 millimeter, probably. >> have you ever seen someone get shot in the head with a 9 millimeter and survive? >> such cases are very rare. >> reporter: a 14-year-old girl shot in the head at close range. a lot of people don't believe she's alive today, wolf. but somehow, some way she is. >> she was shot because she just wanted to get an education. she wanted other little girls in pakistan to get an education and the taliban rejected that. i understand reza, that they have also threatened to repeat their attempts to kill her now, but they're also expanding their threats. what's going on? >> reporter: well, it only took a couple of days for the taliban to make this announcement. they said if she survives,
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they're going to go after her, her father, and her family, as well. now, if there's any kind of strategy behind that taliban threat, i'm not sure what it is. but it really drives home the fact that they don't stop at anything and no target is off limits. authorities say here that they are going to provide protection for the family as well as the two other girls who were shot in the attack. they're getting protection, as well. their family getting protection, as well, wolf. >> reza sayah with a really heartbreaking story for us. thanks very much. the first lady of the united states michelle obama about to speak live at a campaign stop in cleveland, ohio. we'll go there live in a few minutes.
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the fda's now warning of possible infections associated with any drug injection made by the massachusetts facility at the center of the nationwide meningitis outbreak in the united states. not just those steroid injections. so far, 15 people have died in the outbreak, 214 people have been affected across 15 states. cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen has one victim's horrifying story. >> wolf, i recently spent the day with a family who lost their family patriarch in this meningitis outbreak. first, they have the sadness of losing someone they loved and then they experienced anger when they learned he didn't have to die. >> lord, give us the strength to go forward. >> reporter: something's missing in the house, five generations gather in mourning. husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, sunday schoolteacher at his church and
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a circuit court judge in albany, kentucky, dead, a suspected case of fungal meningitis. >> what do you miss? >> he was the center of our universe as a family. >> judge eddie lovelace was a healthy 78-year-old man, worked full-time, walked three miles a day, when in the middle of september, he started feeling dizzy and slurring his speech. >> he was in the kitchen and he said my legs don't work right. he said there's something wrong with my legs. >> lovelace had had a stroke. lovelace died five days after being admitted to the hospital. >> it was a nightmare. >> later, the doctors put it together. lovelace had been in a car accident and received three injections with steroids for back and neck pain. the medicine he received was likely made by the new england compounding center. after his death, these
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injections were recalled because of fungal contamination which can cause strokes. now all his family can do is remember the devoted public servant, the grandfather who let his granddaughters play with r barbies when they were little. court cases. >> he was the most intelligent man that i ever met. his memory was uncanny. if you needed advice, ir regardless of what the subject was, you could always take his and trust it. >> reporter: his family looks back and asks why. >> the decisions to save money, the decisions not to regulate drugs, decisions not to oversee these facilities, those decisions affect lives every day. and if different decisions had been made at certain points along the way, my father would be here today. >> reporter: your father went in
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for a routine procedure. >> he did. he went there for pain relief. he went there to get help. >> and he got? >> death. >> the drug involved in this outbreak made at something called a compounding pharmacy. and as we heard chris lovelace say, they're not regulated as well as everyone would like. members of congress trying to fix that because this isn't the first outbreak involving a medicine made at a compounding pharmacy. wolf? >> thanks very much, elizabeth cohen. what a heart breaking story. unfortunately it's not going away. let's go to jack cafferty with the cafferty file. jack? >> question this hour is when's president obama's greatest challenge at tomorrow night's debate? could be one of those debates where you have to go all in and hope your hand holds up. he has a lot, a lot on the line. terry writes being able to relate to the person asking the question. town hall format. they'll be asking the questions. obama cannot seem aloof or
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standoffish and needs to answer resonating with the average person. cindy says experiencing his lack of leadership regarding the terrorist attack in benghazi. himself. obama appeared indecisive and imp competent in the last debate. in the next debate his vice president didn't help any by acting like a buffoon. if he doesn't communicate a vision, he is toast. >> sissy quits, obama can win and won't change the fact i'm not voting for him again. george says convince voters next four won't be the same as last four. he hung his head down and what looked like an acknowledgment of defeat. many in the audience must have perceived it that way. paul wrotes getting me to watch. and gary in arizona says, mr. obama's biggest challenge tomorrow night will be to intelligently put together a dozen or so words without the
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use of a tell prompter. it's something i don't think he's ever done before. if you want to read more on this, go to the blog. wolf? >> jack, thank you. the author of a popular children's book series trying to get kids interested in politics. how's this for starters? >> everybody in their best behavior and i want you to say hi, cnn. >> hi, cnn! >> hi, wolf blitzer. >> hi, wolf blitzer.
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hurry in, offer ends soon! you're not just looking for a by house. eyes you're looking for a place for your life to happen. they may not be voting in the election 22 days from now but when they grow many of
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americans children will have the chance to. one children's book author trying to get kids interested in the process before it's too late. lisa sylvester caught with him and joining us now, what happened, lisa? >> civics in school more than it is today but with education reform, the focus on school testing, math and reading have been favored more. as thomas jefferson said, though, it is important to have ra informed citizenry and you can start at the earliest ages. we hear the ads. we hear the chatter. sometimes it's hard to figure out what it all means. it's tough enough for adults. even harder if you're a child. >> i think mitt romney and barack obama are the still running for president. >> every president has to be good at kissing babies. i don't know why though. >> jobs are low right now and right now most things aren't made in usa. right now we are giving our
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money and china's usually getting the stuff. >> reporter: does that give you an idea about the lens through which kids view politics? >> i think kids probably pick up more than we give them credit for because they're exposed to it, even just watching television with mom and dad. >> reporter: that's why nick bruel comes in. >> hi, kids. >> hi! >> reporter: "the new york times" best selling author and illustrator of popular "bad kitty" series selling more than 4 million copies. the latest book is "bad kit for president" and introduces elementary aged children to the world of politics to make sense of it. >> bad kitty! >> i wanted to create a book that would be fun and interesting for kids, about this whole process that this country goes through. >> reporter: the character decides to run for president of the local cat club touching on caucuses to ads and campaign finance and the third graders at
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the elementary school in easton, pennsylvania, can't get enough. >> bad kitty! >> i think they're picking up a lot, honestly. i think books like this and other things in the school system. >> reporter: sure 2024 before they can vote in a presidential election but bruel says teaching civics early on can make a dmpbs. >> why did you pick a kit? >> they can't vote themselves but they can go up to their mom or their dad or whoever's in the house an say, hey, you, have you registered to vote yet? >> reporter: his goal was to create a story that children love and inform them along the way. >> when i'm writing the stories about kitty, i don't really think of her as a cat. i kind of think of her as a little kid shaped like a cat. >> it is funny. >> i think it helps kids learn. >> i didn't know that they have to go through so many things to
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finally get to be president. >> reporter: proving you're never too young to learn. and so here's the book. you know, it actually does have a great glossary of terms, everything between a candidate, a nominee and a pac and, i think wo wolf, adults will find it helpful and more resources on, as well, to help parents, as well, wolf. >> i love the story. thanks very much. happening now, the stakes higher than ever for president obama. we'll talk about tomorrow night's debate with senior km pain adviser robert gibbs. allegations of a white house cover-up in that deadly attack on the u.s. consulate. plus, iran suspected in crippling cyber attacks against u.s. banks. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we're counting down to next presidential debate. president obama going head to head against governor mitt romney. tomorrow night, hofstra university on long island, in new york and the pressure is especially intense for the president. he disappointed the supporters with a weak showing in the first debate face-off. cnn national political correspondent jim acosta in boston now. he has details of both men are preparing. jim, what are you hearing? >> reporter: wolf, i can tell you in the last hour the romney campaign wrapped up the debate prep session for the day. nearly every top official advising the former massachusetts governor seen exiting the hotel a short distance of where we're standing now here in boston, and this keeping with the campaign's highly disciplined style, ohio senator rob portman was asked how the debate prep went today. he answered with one word. quote, great. but that's been the case with
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both campaigns, wolf. they have been largely radio silent over the last 24 hours. >> hello, hello! i brought some food. >> reporter: after joking that the debate prep was a drag last anytime around, president obama assured supporters over the weekend in virginia he is hitting the books. >> i'm going to get some work. i'm serious. >> reporter: mitt romney seen briefly in the preparations heading in and out of church on sunday. in romney's sparring sessions, ohio senator rob portman is once again playing the president. while adviser peter flaherty is moderator. as portman indicated sunday, the campaign is getting ready to rumble. >> i think president obama's coming out swinging, have to compensate for a poor first debate an i think that will be consistent with what they have been doing this whole campaign. >> reporter: over at obama debate prep, long time add vidser dunn is playing crowley and john kerry standing in for
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romney. the president's team vows he will amp up the performance. >> i think he's going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country. >> reporter: that could be a risky move and perhaps alienate some in the audience in the town hall style format perhaps explaining why an aide for obama says the president will be firm but respectful. advisers say they're prepared for all variables. >> the president can change his style, he can change his tactics. he can't change his record. >> i think mitt romney's performance was, indeed, magical and theatrical. >> reporter: it's a high-wire act for both candidates with poll of polls showing the race is neck in neck with florida where romney may have a slight edge, ohio where the president may be inches ahead, and virginia where it's almost a tie. a dead even battleground map puts a premium on traditionally democratic states like wisconsin, home turf of romney's
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running mate paul ryan. >> we haven't dedicated our electoral votes since 1984 to the republican nominee. it is time we change that. >> reporter: and as for that hot topic that's been all over twitter and social media today and that is whether or not moderator krahndy crowley can ask follow-up questions to those asked by the audience at tomorrow night's debate, i talked to a senior romney adviser today, wolf, who said that the former massachusetts governor is prepared for whatever question is asked. that appears to be a green light to whatever happens tomorrow night's debate. and i can tell you of the few announcements that the campaign made earlier today they did release some few fund raising numbers for the month of novemb september and raised $170 million, $11 million short of what the president raised in september but not a bad haul
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considering that was all before mitt romney's break-out performance at the debate in denver two weeks ago. wolf? >> both raising a ton of money still. three weeks left to go. jim acosta, thanks very much. let's some more on the obama campaign. joining us is senior adviser, former press secretary robert gibbs. robert, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me, wolf. >> you know james carville and stan greenberg. two excellent democratic strategist. james carville, a cnn contributor. they wrote this today. i'll put it up on the screen. with most of the president's surrogates saying give him more time to finish the job and with the president closing the debate almost making the same small offer, romney got the opportunity to be heard as the voice of change. they're also saying, wasn't just the president but the surrogates that are failing the american people because they're not explaining more i guess aggressively what the president actually wants to do over the
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next four years. do agree with that criticism? >> no. i -- look. i think you'll see tomorrow very energetic, passionate president to make the case not just from where we've been in the last four years, which bears some discussion, but also, exactly where we want to go, wolf. let's bring back a million manufacturing jobs, let's increase what we're selling overseas through exports. let's hire more math and science teachers to create an educational system that gets our kids ready to be the work force to bring the jobs back. let's continue looking for domestic energy and investing in renewable energy because we know that creates jobs and use -- get a balanced plan for the fiscal house in order making necessary investments like i just talked about and asking the very rich, that have done really, really well in the economy just to pay a little bit more. i think all of those things are
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things that the president will talk about we need to do over the course of next four years and things he's eager to discuss tomorrow with governor romney because there's a different vision. >> how does the town hall format affect that? >> well, look. i think first and foremost getting questions from the undecided voters so you have to talk certainly directly to the voter and answer their care and concern. i think that's the most -- the utmost thing that each of these candidates has to do tomorrow night. i do not doubt, though, in answering those questions each of these candidates -- i know president obama will have some questions or some concerns about what mitt romney's positions are. so, i think you will see a very traditional debate tomorrow but again first and foremost you'll focus on those undecided voter that is are standing there asking you questions. >> do you think there's new lines of attack of the president on mitt romney and the record, what he's been saying?
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>> well, look. i think that what the record of mitt romney that we have laid out is a pretty good one and i think we'll want to go back at it. i mean, look. as governor 47th in the country. in job creation. as a candidate, he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that is going to result quite frankly in cutting taxes for people like him and raising it for middle class families. i think there's a whole host of things that we can and will talk about that relates to both his record as well as his proposals for going forward. >> when he says to the president tomorrow night, as he no doubt will that his tax cut plan 20% across the board let's say will not raise the nation's deficit and here's why and offers an explanation why eliminating deductions and loopholes, tax credits also by growing the economy, bringing in more revenue, that way, what will the president say? >> well, the president will talk about the studies that show that even if you take all of the
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deductions, all of the exclusions, all of the tax credits, for those that are on the upper income levels, and do away with them, plus add in some economic growth, dynamic scoring, if you will, you still don't cover the $4.8 trillion in the tax cut so one of two things happens, wolf. either the deficit starts to shoot up or more -- much more likely which is raising taxes on middle class families by taking away some of their necessary and important deductions. that's something that we can't sustain in this economy. i think it's something that mitt romney i hope tomorrow gets a real chance to explain because you saw him in that first debate, wolf. simply put up the hands saying i don't have a tax cut like that. even though paul ryan had been asked an a week earlier to walk through the math and he said i don't have time, mitt romney said there's no math involved. we can do it. trust us. i won't tell you the loopholes to close, i won't tell you what
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level to do it. just trust us. it will all work out. that's recipe for the middle class having the taxes raised. >> i assume you've seen the new gallup tracking poll that came out earlier this afternoon, swing states likely voters. these are 12 battleground states. 51% for romney. 46% for obama. 46% sampling error. it's been the margin error. how worried does this make you? >> not that worried at all, wolf. i think the biggest criticism of that poll has been the sample shows romney and president obama tied among women. your poll in ohio late last week had the president up 20 points among women. so i don't actually think this is the first poll showing women tied with the two candidates. i don't think that's likely the case. if republicans want to think that, that's fine with me. we know where the race is
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decided and which nine battleground states and the president and the vice president will prosecute their case to the tulest extent and we'll have a chance to talk about governor romney's economic theories that we tried, quite frankly, for eight years. and they didn't work too well. they crushed us. and leaving with us this economic disaster that we have been trying to dig out of for four years. >> a final question and quoting paul ryan, the republican vice presidential nominee telling "wall street journ" today. the way i look at this is they can't say you're unintelligent, they cannot say you're mean and evil so they're just going to say you're dishonest. my guess is they're going to call us liars for the next month. that true? >> no. again, it's disappointing to watch two candidate that is wanted to run on big, bold ideas walk away from the big, bold ideas. you know, mitt romney, you know, said, look, we don't need more teachers and then watch him on
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the debate stage say i love teachers. we need more of them. i don't have a $5 trillion tax cut and paul ryan thought it would take too long to explain the math. look. don't misunderstand it. mitt romney is trying to and paul ryan doing this, trying to hide their positions. they want to go on national tv and debates with big audiences and pretend they haven't taken these stances but i think the american people need to understand, you know, there is a man behind the curtain and we do need to pay attention to that person because that's mitt romney. that's the real mitt romney. that's the mitt romney that's proposed all of these things. and people need to understand what it means for their lives for middle class families, the taxes go up. for people like mitt romney, their taxes go down. it's a theory that's not going to create jobs in the country. >> robert, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. >> robert begins from the obama campaign. kate baldwin is here, as well. we got a very different perspective than the last hour. >> i was just going to say that. i think we are getting -- at least seeing some of the lines of attack to see tomorrow night, something.
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>> setting the stage for the debate. >> that's absolutely right. just to remind our viewers of that, cnn's candy crowley will moderate tomorrow night's debate and starting at 7:00 eastern/4:00 pacific on cnn. you do not want to miss that. also, still ahead, which candidate has voters more enthusiastic? we'll look at the telling new poll numbers and what they mean for the race for the white house. so... [ gasps ] these are sandra's "homemade" yummy, scrumptious bars. hmm? i just wanted you to eat more fiber. chewy, oatie, gooeyness... and fraudulence.
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like chicken noodle soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. success, you know -- >> first lady of the united states speaking at a rally in cleveland, ohio, right now. let's listen in to michele obama. >> now, but they simply believed in that fundamental american promise that even if you don't start out with much, if you work hard, if you do what you're supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and your grand kids. they also believe something
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else. they believe that when you worked hard and done well and you've had that chance to walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. that's how brack and i and so many of us were raised. those are the values we were taught. and let me tell you. more than anything else. why i'm out here almost every day. is that this is what this election is about. it is about a choice about our values and our hopes and our aspiration. it's a choice about the kind of america we want to leave for our kids and our grand kids. you know? what does that america look like? we believe in an america where every child, no matter where they're born or how much money their parents make, every child deserves good schools. you know? the kind of schools that push
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them and inspire them and prepare them for college and jobs of the future. every child. we believe in an america where no one goes broke because somebody got sick. you know? where no one loses their home because someone lost a job. not in america. we believe in an america where we all understand that none of us gets where we are on our own. that there is always a community of people lifting us up. where we treat everyone, everyone with dignity and respect from the teachers who inspire us to the janitors who keep our schools clean. everyone. see, and in this america, that we're working to build, when we one of us stumbles, you know, when one of us falls on hard times and we all could possibly do that, we don't tell them, tough luck. you're on your own. not in this america. instead, we extend that helping
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hand while they get back on their feet. we believe that the truth matters in this america. and you don't take short cuts. you don't game the system. you don't play by your own set of rules but we reward success that's earned fair and square. and finally, we believe in keeping our priorities straight. what does that mean? well, we know good and well that cutting "sesame street" is no way to balance our budget. we know that. we know that shortchanging our kids is not how to tackle our deficit. if we truly want to build opportunities for all americans, yes, we need to cut wasteful spending, but we also need to make smart investments in our future in education and infrastructure, things that are necessary for an economy built
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to last and that's what my husband stands for. that's the country he's been working to build for the last three and a half years. >> first lady of the united states, michele obama, speaking at a rally in cleveland. we're going to continue to monitor what she's saying, kate. but obviously, she is a huge, huge asset for the president. >> absolutely. still ahead, the women's vote. a group of people, michele obama was making the pitch to right there. could it be behind mitt romney's rise in the polls? we'll have that ahead.
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we heard the first lady of the united states appealing to women before the break. >> let's get more with cnn's chief political analyst gloriaborger. there's a poll of swing states, 12 swing states showing mitt romney with a five-point lead. i mean, that's definitely welcomed news for the romney campaign. >> sure is. >> you have been looking closer at the polls. when's driving the romney boost? >> well, it's women and the democrats i should say challenge this poll and say that it's not accurate. >> right. >> they didn't like the way it was done, but let's take a look. if you look at swing state voters among women, tie. 48-48. let's remind you in 2008, president obama won women by 13 points. and that was really important for him. if romney -- you don't have to tie among women. we had to do a few points than
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he was doing because he does well with men. he wins men by about 12 points. so if he can sort of get closed to the president among women and still keep the margin with men in battleground states, then he could be headed for a win, particularly, you know, close states like ohio that he needs. if women start thinking that their vote is an economic vote that has resonance for them, that's what ann romney's on the campaign trail talking about then that's key to mitt romney. >> great asset for mitt romney. >> she is. >> as well. look at this poll. enthuse after. are you enthusiastic about supporting your candidate? before the conventions, obama at 60,now 52%. you're studying the numbers. the enthusiasm level. what does that say to you? >> it's so important. in the primaries, we all covered this.
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mitt romney was everybody's second choice. in the republican party. so it took him a long time to rally his base. i think we felt it at the republican convention. there wasn't that enthooz achl for romney as for president obama at the democratic convention. nothing succeeds like success. people believe that romney is doing better and so more republicans are thinking, you know what? i'm going to go out there because maybe i can push him across the finish line. now, we've got early voting in iowa and in ohio, for example. so if you're enthusiastic about your candidate and you can cast an early ballot, that's going to help. right? very important for romney. >> voter turnout is critical. >> oh, absolutely. >> something the obama campaign is very good at. >> very good at. >> will they turn out like '08? that's the question. >> this's the question. >> thank you, guys. the white house under fire from republicans over that deadly consulate attack in libya. is the west swing now throwing
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the secretary of state hillary clinton under the bus? we're taking a closer look at the political fallout from that deadly attack. look, if you have copd like me,
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ask your doctor about spiriva. a major republican talking point in this presidential campaign and it is -- >> that consulate in benghazi. that attack last month that killed the u.s. ambassador to libya. romney campaign officials and gop lawmakers are hammering the obama administration over it with some even suggesting a cover-up. here's a sample of what they were saying on the sunday morning talk shows. >> inconsistencies here and what we're saying is that, you know, as americans we deserve to know what really happened going in to this attack. >> 11 years after september 11th, americans were attacked on september 11th by terrorists who preplanned to kill americans. that happened and we can't be in denial. >> they're trying to spin what happened in libya because the
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truth of the matter is al qaeda is alive and well and counterattacking. >> strong words. let's talk about it with a former nato allied supreme commander wesley clark, retired, of course. rich williamson, an adviser to the romney campaign. general clark, i'll start with you. has the white house been completely forthcoming in its information on libya? you hear what those republicans were saying. >> well, first of all, i'm not in the white house but i do believe they've been forthcoming. from everything i've heard around and everything i picked up. yes, they have been fort coming. the's no spin. wolf, first events, first impressions of 'vent are almost always wrong. that's the case mr. romney made his statement about the event in cairo and in this case trying to get to the bottom of it. let's let the process work and get to the bottom of the fakes on this thing before we start the name calling and the
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partisan attacks. >> ambassador wumsson, what do you say on the flip side that many democrats are kind of counterattacking here saying that the romney campaign is using the death of the ambassador and the three other americans for political gain? how do you respond to that? >> we have an american ambassador killed, chris stevens. former colleague of mine. someone i respected and liked. we have three other americans killed. this is the first american ambassador killed since the carter administration. this is not a republican issue. it's not a democrat issue. it's an american issue. this is a big deal. and the fact that the obama white house kept diverting attention, saying it was on the video when we now know that in realtime, members of the obama administration and the state department saw it was a republicaned attack, that days later susan rice sent out to again use the canard of the video and the president himself
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almost two weeks later going to the u.n. wasn't open. the american people expect and deserve transparency and they haven't got it on this issue. it's disappointing. >> you want to respond to that, general clark? >> i certainly do. i know susan rice. i worked with her for years. i think it's an outrageous statement and consider the original 9/11 attacks. when we were attacked as a nation by al qaeda, 11 years ago, the country pulled together. here what's happened is this is an al qaeda attack by all the evidence. it's taken a while to find out all of the details of it. and instead of the country pulling together with the republican party doing its job as the opposition party working to shape a unified national response, it's been thrown right in to the political partisan bull pit and all we've got is a much of partisan attacks and gone so far as exposed a cia safe house or annex in the area.
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in those hearings that were public. it's not constructive. it's destructive. i think the country should pull together. it takes a while to get to the bottom of this. the people that had the information at the beginning were not high officials in the administration. they weren't at the top policy level. so they weren't capable of saying, really, what happened. by the time you dig down in to it, the story always changes. >> all right. >> rich knows this. >> go ahead, rich. >> well, you know, i find it always interesting in the political season. four years ago at this time it wasn't unduly partisan to attack the republicans on a whole range of foreign policy issues going on at the time. i think this is a legitimate discussion. the fact is that the president's claiming that al qaeda has been degraded because of the targeted drone killings and wasn't a concern is proven to be false. al qaeda's alive and well in somalia, across northern africa.
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they have apparently killed an american employee in yemen last week. they're in syria. so, this is a discussion we need about what strategy we need for al qaeda and targeted drone killings is not enough. you need a broad strategy. second, the administration has two choices. they can either claim incompetence when you had the ambassador in libya request for security, the security professionals in libya request more security. the administration, the obama administration turning its down. and then the extraordinary event and tragic event of an american ambassador killed. it's something the president should get on top of. it's something they need to know about and provide explanations to the american people. instead, they wut together a commission that won't report the findings until after the election. that's not acceptable. >> general clark, you can respond but listen to the clips. these are administration
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officials including the vice president suggesting they didn't know what -- about these requests for heightened security. the state department knew. listen to this. >> we weren't told they wanted more security again. we did not know they wanted more security again. >> these are issues appropriately that are handled by security professionals at the state department and that's what he was talking about. >> there's no doubt that some of these matters went in to the security department at the state security agency at the state department but it didn't come to the white house. >> security requests at our embassies and our consulates and buildings throughout the world obviously go to the state department. that's -- those are the people that should be making those decisions. that's the place where requests go. >> all right, general clark, it sounds to a lot of folks like the white house, like these people, these individuals are throwing the state department including the secretary of state hillary clinton under the bus. >> i don't think that's the case at all, wolf. i think what you have got here is number one i agree with
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ambassador williamson. we should talk about the policy of going after al qaeda. i happen to think al qaeda is greatly degraded and said that it was transforming itself in to the regional franchises and how we deal with is a legitimate policy debate. i haven't heard anything from the romney campaign how to do this but heard the discussion. going after the specific incident in benghazi before there's an investigation done, that's politicizing a national tragedy. that's not appreciated. that wasn't done by the democrats after 9/11. it wasn't done in the 2008 election. so, let's keep it on the policy level. that's appropriate for the political season. let's let the professionals work through the specific security issues here and if more resources are needed, i hope that congressman ryan's committee will agree to put those resources back in the budget. it tried to take $300 million away from security. >> all right, gentlemen. i'll ask you to stand by for a quick moment. much more coming up after the break. see life in the best light.
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all right. we are back with the guests. former commander retired general wesley clark and rich williamson, a veteran diplomat, retired, as well, foreign policy advise tore the romney campaign. rich williamson, let me let you respond to what we heard general clark say. he pointed it out and it's a fact, paul ryan and other republicans voted to cut state department security by $300 million. what do you say about that? >> well, first, that question came up specifically in the congressional hearing last week. and the head of security at state department testified that that was totally ir real haven't to what happened in libya. but let me go to what general clark said otherwise.
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governor romney has a policy and i'm sorry i know that general clark is busy but two weeks ago there's a lengthy piece in "wall street journal" on mideast policy, last monday an address at vmi on the middle east and talked about the need for a strategy, not just targeted killings but accept that we have extremist elements struggling with moderate elements. we should be using our strength and it's not just economic strength and military strength but our values and working with allies and has to be concerted and not been the case. secondly, as someone that served overseas who's been a chief of a mission, who served in some situations that have been of some danger such as darfur and sudan, i find it incredibly upsetting that the administration, the white house, the political operatives throw the intelligence community under the bus, throw the state department, security professionals under the bus.
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i think it's time to man up. accept some responsibility. >> all right. go ahead, general. >> what did the president know and when did he know it? >> general clark, go ahead. >> okay. first of all, i don't think the white house is throwing the -- anybody under the bus. i think what they're trying to do is explain exactly the level of the decision and how that decision was not a matter of white house policy but it was a matter of some decision at a different level. so, we're talking about a presidential election here and so if you want to talk about presidential level decisions, you've got the look at other decisions. this wasn't a presidential level decision. now, wolf, if i could just go back to the strategy for a second, i did read governor romney's op-ed in "the washington post" or "wall street journal" and i did hear his speech on foreign policy and i heard a lot of criticisms and description but i didn't hear a strategy. the fact is that this administration does have a pretty good strategy. we're helping a number of
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countries out there. we have advisers and economic assistance, communications assistance, military assistance. troops on the grounds in various countries can't be named here and doing various things to go after the insurgents as they appear in various places. does that mean he'll always be one step ahead? no, in some cases we are not. if it's going to be a subject for political discussion, then i think it's incumbent upon governor romney and the team to put forward a counter veiling strategy. those resources are being employed right now. >> general, just very quickly because we're running out of time, as wuls always president obama, promised justice for the killing of ambassador stevens and the three others at that embassy. do you anticipate military retaliation from this administration? >> i don't think you can militarily retaliate against the government of libya because they didn't do it but you have to
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identify the people and the process under way right now and those people will be brought to justice. it may happen in a month or a month or six months but they will be brought to justice. >> we have to leave it there. rich williamson, thanks for coming in. wes clark, thank you for coming in, as well. a lot more to debate in the coming days. top of the hour, erin burnett speaking with a u.s. senator just back from libya. er erin, when's on tap? >> all right. we'll be talking to senator bob cork corker. he had a chance to meet with senior officials in the libyan government and the armed forces there. has a strong view on really when's in control or not in control of libya and also a meeting with u.s. intelligence on the ground. and he has some very strong words for what this administration knew and when they knew it. that coming up top of the hour. plus, as you know, wolf, hollywood overwhelmingly, i mean overwhelmingly gives money to democrats and not republicans. rob reiner is one of the most ar
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dant defenders of the president in a new ad for the president and talking about this and talk about why there have been a few key defections in hollywood this year going to mitt romney. anything to worry about? that's coming up at the top of the hour. see you soon. >> see you soon. sounds great. thank you very much. >> all right. still ahead, a massive cyber attack on u.s. banks and why experts see iran as the prime suspect. s. hmm? i just wanted you to eat more fiber. chewy, oatie, gooeyness... and fraudulence. i'm in deep, babe. you certainly are. [ male announcer ] fiber one. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. thanks. [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! [ male announcer ] try new alka-seltzer plus severe allergy to treat allergy symptoms plus sinus congestion and pain.
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cyberattack on u.s. banks and other financial institutions. >> american officials say they believe they know who was behind it. suzanne kelly is working this story. fascinating story. what are you finding snout. >> it is. you remember that recent attack that targeted the banks and took
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them offline and some customers couldn't access some of their accounteds. a blip on the radar coming to what some of the cyberattacks are capable of but an interesting lesson of where future threats might be coming from. the cyberattack against u.s. banks is an escalation of what banlgs is an escalation in a battle space you can't even see. >> it's like the lock in the case monster. >> the attacks, denying some customers the ability to perform some transactions, wasn't that big of deal. it's who was behind it that has them taking notice. >> the scale and speed with which it happened was unprecedented. >> u.s. officials tell cnn iran was behind the banking attack and while still lack lagging behind china and russia in his cyber capabilities, a source says were concerned about their increasing ability to operate in this realm. in part, because iran isn't seen
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as a stable player. >> i had a talk with some chinese officials once. they said to me, one to have things you don't have to worry about is we will never disrupt wall street. they said well, why is that? because we own it. >> but in an attack targeting oil and gas companies, whites claim the data on some 30,000 computers. u.s. sources are pointing the finger at iran on that, too. an iranian official denied tehran has anything to do with those attacks and reminded reporters that iran has been a victim in the past. it's the the computer virus that rendered thousands useless. it's widely believed that the u.s. and israel were behind it. the u.s. is now take iing a loot its own arsenal in cyber space. >> if a crippling cyber attack were launched against our
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nation, the american people must be protected. and if the commander in chief orders a response, the defense department must be ready to obey that order and to act. >> well, when it comes to the latest attack on that banking industry, sources tell cnn it just didn't rise to the level that would prompt a response, but when it comes to attacks against critical infrastructure, that might be a very different story and officials tell us that hackers are out there and they are trying. >> we know the president's considering signing an executive order on cybersecurity. is there any movement on that is this. >> a little bit. we know the white house is reaching out to both business and congress looking to input, but there are some in both the house and senate who feel there's a chance to pass legislation on this issue, but they're running out of time. >> huge, huge story.
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thanks very much. >> thanks so much. a jaw dropping jump from the edge of space inspiring some unique spin offs and quite a lot of buzz. jeanne moos. -[ taste buds ] do. how about we try this new kind of fiber one cereal? you think you're going to slip some fiber by us? okay. ♪ fiber one is gonna make you smile. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing new fiber one nutty clusters and almonds. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again. ♪ chirping beeping camera ahhhh drill sound chirping
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so i brought it to mike at meineke. we gave her car a free road handling check. i like free. free is good. my money. my choice. my meineke. an ocular mystery seems to have been solved. florida officials now believe this giant eyeball came from a sword fish. the softball sized eye was discovered last week on a beach and there was quite a bit of speculation it came from a giant squid, but experts say the size, the blue collar and structure point to a sword fish caught by an angler. now, we can all rest easy. >> i was worried about that.
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thank you. the spectacular jump over the weekend captured everyone's attention, including jeanne moos. >> that last step, 24 miles above the earth was best summed up on the web by two words. first one was holy. felix baumgartner tumbled violently, the earth spun. spawning spin offs. >> where's sherrill? >> one of the co-hosts of the talk parachuted into the show. enjoying a snack on her way down before arriving on the set. there was a miniature recreation made of legos. while the real guy landed on his feet, the legos astronaut landed like a sack of potatoes. his name was everywhere. >> felix baumgartner. >> baumgartner will jump. >> and now, to felix
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baumgartner. >> so, felix baumgartner goes down in the history books with a name only a mother could love. >> it's hard to say felix baumgartner. i'm german add it's hard to say. he must change his name to like tom spaceman. >> at least one glomed on, kit cats and a candy bar into the stratosphere. there was the usual silly stuff on the internet. leaping. a foot off a stepladder and changing the glory hallelujah to ♪ felix has competition in the spectacular leap category from a norwegianen base jumper, who planned a use a high bar to swing off a 4,000 foot cliff wearing a parachute, only the high bar broke. but like felix, richard survived. he managed to open his chute and land safely.
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at least felix seems ready to hang up his chute. >> i think item done. >> it was irony seeing a man without a spaceship break the sound barrier while the space shuttle ran a red light being towed at 2 miles an hour heading to an l.a. museum. forget tebowing, baumgartnering is out of this world. >> ouch. >> felix, the daredevil. jeanne moos, cnn. new york. >> we have a lot of free time. they followed up. >> i just wish viewers could see what you do on the break. >> baumgartner. >> baumgartner. okay. before we leave,


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