Editor's note: Watch Anderson Cooper on AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET for a comprehensive analysis of the race, a break down of the other key contests and initiatives around the country, and a look at the challenges ahead for President Obama.
The 2012 presidential election shattered spending records, further polarized a divided country and launched a thousand hashtags. The race appeared to be a nail-biter going into Tuesday night but in the end, it came down to the state that most had been saying for weeks that it would — Ohio.
Here are five things we learned from Tuesday
1. The GOP has a Latino problem
"If we don't do better with Hispanics, we'll be out of the White House forever," says Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro, who was the national Hispanic co-chair of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
"The big issue Republicans are going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue," adds Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W. Bush's first press secretary. "Republicans are going to have to find a different way forward."
Editor's note: Keeping Them Honest, Anderson Cooper reports on the validity of statements made by both candidates during the debate. Watch AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
While President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were ostensibly responding to questions from uncommitted voters at a town hall-style debate on Tuesday, they found plenty of opportunities to attack each other during the 90-minute encounter.
With three weeks until Election Day and their third and final debate focused on foreign policy and national security next week, it was their last opportunity to go head to head on the economy and other domestic issues.
Here are five things we learned from Round Two:
1. The old Romney rears his head
Romney has a knack for hurting himself.
He has been stung by his self-inflicted wounds throughout the 2012 campaign ("I'm not concerned about the very poor" springs to mind).
The GOP nominee stumbled into a few messes of his own making on Tuesday.
Editor's note: Keeping Them Honest, Anderson Cooper is fact-checking the claims made in the debate, and we'll have expert analysis of the candidates' facial expressions and body language. Watch AC360 tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan, the man who wants his job, exchanged fire over taxes, Medicare, national security and some animated facial expressions in their only debate before Election Day.
Here are five things we learned from Thursday night:
1. Biden brought it
We expected Ryan, not Biden to bring a three-ring binder full of facts and figures to the debate. It's not that the data-driven Ryan didn't show up with an arm full of his statistics; it is just that Biden did so as well.
And Biden's aggressive offense from the very beginning drowned out Ryan until about 45 minutes into the debate.
Follow Wednesday's presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad andAndroid. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.
Denver (CNN) - President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney face off on Wednesday in the first of three presidential debates.
While Obama holds a lead in several key battleground states, the race nationally has been locked in a dead heat for months. The debate offers an opportunity for Obama or Romney to gain some momentum and break the logjam.
Here are five things to watch for on Wednesday:
1. Who's presidential?
The first and most important test for the president and Romney in this opening debate is to act like they belong in the job.
We've heard a lot of bickering on the campaign trail, and there's plenty of talk that zingers could decide who wins or loses the showdown in Denver. But to most Americans, this debate is really about which candidate has the composure and stature to serve in the Oval Office.
Editor's note: In the newest poll, Romney is in the lead, Rick Santorum rose to third place and Newt Gingrich's slid to fourth. Expert analysis on what this means six days before the Iowa caucus on AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Did Newt Gingrich peak too early?
A new survey of people likely to attend Iowa's Republican caucuses indicates that the former House speaker's support in the Hawkeye State is plunging. And according to a CNN/Time/ORC International Poll, one-time long shot candidate Rick Santorum has more than tripled his support since the beginning of the month.
Twenty-five percent of people questioned say if the caucuses were held today, they'd most likely back Mitt Romney, with 22% saying they'd support Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Romney's three point margin is within the poll's sampling error.
Editor's note: Keeping Them Honest, Newt Gingrich was reprimanded by congress for ethics violations when he was House Speaker in 1997. He is currently the leading GOP choice in Iowa. Tune in to AC360 at 8 p.m. ET for Anderson's report on Gingrich's past and the state of the presidential race.
(CNN) – Newt Gingrich leads the pack of GOP presidential candidates in a fourth straight poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers.
Thirty-one percent of people questioned in a CBS News/New York Times survey say that the former House speaker is their choice for their party's nominee, with 17 percent supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 16% backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The poll's Tuesday afternoon release comes four weeks before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, which kick off the Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar.
Editor's note: Republican presidential candidates take on national defense, the economy, international relations and terrorism issues in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, moderated by Wolf Blitzer at 8 p.m. ET. Watch the AC360° post-debate show at 10 p.m. ET
Washington (CNN) - The Republican presidential candidates face off Tuesday night just a few blocks from the place they all hope to call home: the White House.
The candidates share the stage at DAR Constitution Hall, just down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. CNN is teaming up with leading Republican-leaning think tanks Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute to host a debate that focuses heavily on national security and foreign policy issues, but which will also include top economic concerns, including the failure of the congressional super committee to find agreement to cut $1.2 trillion from the country's long-term debt.
The debate is the 11th major showdown between the Republican candidates and the first in 10 days.
It's also the first in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is firmly among the front-runners in national surveys, deadlocked with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the top spot in the nomination race.
Editor's note: Watch AC360° at 8 p.m. ET for the surprising changes in the GOP presidential race.
Washington (CNN) – It's the biggest headline in a national poll full of headlines: Newt Gingrich has surged and is now basically tied with Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, 24% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say Romney is their most likely choice for their party's presidential nominee with Gingrich at 22%. Romney's 2-point advantage is well within the survey's sampling error.
While the level of support has pretty much stayed the same for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the White House, the former House speaker has seen his support jump 14 points since October.
"It's better than when I was at four [percent]," Gingrich said Monday on the campaign trail in Iowa.
But he cautions that anything could happen, saying that "this is the most volatile race of my lifetime."
Editor's Note: For more on the Republican battle for the presidential nomination, tune in to AC360° at 8 p.m. ET tonight.
(CNN) – Mitt Romney is on the top or tied for the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in new surveys in the first four states to vote in next year's primary and caucus calendar.
According to CNN/Time/ORC International polls released Wednesday, the former Massachusetts governor continues to be the overwhelming front-runner in New Hampshire, holds a lead over the other GOP presidential candidates in Florida, and is basically tied for the top spot with businessman Herman Cain in Iowa and South Carolina.
But the surveys indicate that many Republican voters are still far from decided.
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° at 8 p.m. ET for an in-depth analysis of the GOP presidential candidates and the state of the race.
LAS VEGAS (CNN) - Seven Republican presidential candidates engaged in a sometimes contentious debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, as bad blood boiled between front-runners and the surging Herman Cain found his opponents taking aim at his tax plan.
Here are five things we learned from the debate:
Why 9-9-9 was No. 1: A rise in the polls brings more scrutiny, so we knew that Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan would come under attack from his rivals. And we didn't have to wait long for the full frontal assault.
In response to the first question of the debate, from an audience member asking the candidates their "position on replacing the federal income tax with a federal sales tax," the other candidates were quick to pile on and rip apart Cain's much-touted proposal to reform the country's tax code, a plan which has helped the former Godfather's Pizza CEO surge in the polls. The six other candidates sharing the stage with Cain fired away, terming the plan as risky and simplistic.