October 17th, 2012
10:49 PM ET

McCain on Libya attack and Syria violence

Sen. John McCain on Wednesday said Mitt Romney missed an opportunity to go after the president over Libya in the second presidential debate.

Asked whether Romney failed to press President Barack Obama on the administration's handling of last month's consulate attack, the Arizona senator said "in a way, he did" on AC360.

During the debate, Obama said he referred to the Libya attack as an "act of terror" the day after the violence last month. Romney disputed the claim, sparking a fiery exchange over whether the president used the term.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Libya • Mitt Romney • President Barack Obama • Senator John McCain • Syria
October 17th, 2012
10:46 PM ET

Controversy over Obama's use of 'terror'

The second presidential debate led to new rhetoric from both sides on when Pres. Obama called the attack in Libya an act of terror. In question is the meaning behind his words on Sept. 12 in a statement he made in the Rose Garden; was he referring to the assault the night before on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, or was he talking about the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington? Anderson Cooper reports.

Filed under: Libya • Mitt Romney • President Barack Obama • Terrorism
October 17th, 2012
10:38 PM ET

KTH: 'Binders full of women' time line

Keeping Them Honest, Anderson Cooper reports on the truth about Mitt Romney's involvement in MassGAP, a program to appoint more women in government in Massachusetts.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Keeping Them Honest • Mitt Romney
October 17th, 2012
10:35 PM ET

RidicuList: Celebrity endorsements for president

Step right up and onto the RidicuList, all you celebrity presidential endorsers. Honey Boo Boo has spoken. There’s nothing else to say.

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Filed under: The RidicuList
October 17th, 2012
10:27 PM ET

Romney wasn't behind 'binders full of women'

David Bernstein tells Anderson Cooper that Mitt Romney was running for governor when both he and the Democratic candidate agreed to the MassGAP program if elected. In 2002 a coalition of about 40 women's organizations started the initiative and were responsible for finding eligible government appointees in Massachusetts.

"The idea that he initiated it after beginning the process of filling his cabinet just didn't square. I reached out and double checked that with the people who were involved. They agree and you saw the MassGAP confirm that again today," said Bernstein.

Romney's record on women was a topic introduced by a voter who asked the candidates about equal pay during the second presidential debate. "It sounded to me more like he was describing the way that he found a number of his female appointees, but then decided to take the extra step of taking credit for initiating it," said Bernstein.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney
October 17th, 2012
10:25 PM ET

Frum: 'Terror' used as general statement

David Frum and  Fareed Zakaria argue the success of the mission in Libya, and what President Obama meant by "terror" in his Rose Garden speech on Sept. 12.

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Filed under: David Frum • Fareed Zakaria • Libya • President Barack Obama
October 17th, 2012
10:14 PM ET

Decoding body language in second debate

Anderson Cooper talks to an expert who interprets the candidates' body language during the second presidential debate, and a former Romney debate strategist points out the highs and lows of the night.

Tonight on AC360: Town hall debate body language
(Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
October 17th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Town hall debate body language

Finger-pointing. Heated confrontations. Tense eye contact. It was all there during last night’s presidential debate. The town hall format gave President Obama and Mitt Romney the ability to move around the stage, like boxers, on the attack.

Tonight, we’ll give you an up close look at the non-verbal messages from both candidates during the more than 90-minute face off. Anderson talks with body language expert Janine Driver and Brett O’Donnell, a former debate strategist for Mitt Romney.

“They were in each other’s space,” said Driver about the first minutes of the debate during the exchange over oil production.


October 17th, 2012
06:23 PM ET

Letters to the President #1367: 'After the uproar'

Reporter's Note: President Obama and Mitt Romney went after each other in last night’s debate, and today everyone is discussing who won, who lost, and what that does or doesn’t mean to the election. I have no answers; just another letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

By now you must be sick of all the comments that are swirling in the wake of the debate last night. It seems as if a lot of people think you “won” by a small margin, and less think that Romney edged you, but the truth is no one knows anything. All that nattering is speculation and guesswork, and in the end we can’t even establish a reliable cause and effect between debates and election results anyway.

So if you feel like you made some important points and clarified matters a bit, you should take that for victory and move on. Same for Mitt Romney. There is, after all, one more debate to go and as soon as it rolls around, no one is going to be talking so much about what happened in this one.

All of that said, I would like to ask something: Would it be so very hard to answer at least one question in a straightforward manner next time?

Time after time, the nice people at the debate stood up to ask clear, direct questions about the economy, gas prices, guns, women’s rights, foreign affairs, and I cannot recall a single time that either one of you answered directly. In each instance, you launched into long stories about some event in your past, or tortured explanations of some program you supported, or a series of attacks on your opponent. By the time either one of you looped back around to the question, it was clear you never really intended to answer it in the first place.

Let me paraphrase an example, as best I can remember it: Should it be the Energy Department’s job to keep gas prices low?

The answer to such a question typically begins with either a “yes” or a “no,” but not with you guys. Instead the poor person who threw that one on the floor received long-winded explanations of your joint ideas on energy. Yes, in a very round about way you answered the question…but only sort of. A much better approach, I think, would have been: “No. It has not been the policy of the Energy Department to manipulate gas prices. That is the business of the private sector. That said, I do think if we pursue sensible energy development policies, we will have a strong and steady supply of oil and gas free of undue dependence on supplies from nations that may not like us. That stability will probably help keep prices low.”

I think one of the fundamental reasons people don’t trust politicians is this tendency to skate around the edges of answers as if you are terrified of saying anything solid for fear of being held to it later. So do me…and yourself…a favor. At the next debate, try to start with the simplest, most direct answer, then expand out from there if need be. I think the audience may be pleasantly surprised to hear a political leader be so straightforward.

Call if you can.


October 17th, 2012
01:25 PM ET

5 things we learned from Tuesday's presidential debate

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.


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