Historian Douglas Brinkley gets a rare chance to spend time with President Obama, behind the scenes, on the campaign trail. He tells Anderson Cooper what he saw and what he heard, including the President's raw, uncensored, one-word assessment of Mitt Romney.
President Obama’s “horses and bayonets” comment created the most buzz after Monday’s presidential debate, as he tried to paint Governor Mitt Romney as out of touch with the U.S. military’s needs in the 21st century. Romney accuses the president of cutting spending and is calling for more Navy ships.
In the key battleground state of Virginia, home to the world’s largest naval station, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell agrees with Romney and is firing back, calling the president’s comment an “insult” to sailors. Anderson talked with Governor McDonnell and asked him about a numbers game when it comes to the amount of naval ships.
The Obama campaign released a pamphlet with economic plans for a second term to convince undecided voters to support the president. Jessica Yellin and Jim Acosta report.
Gloria Borger and John King report on the techniques used to customize outreach and persuade voters. King says it's a mix of old and new methods, like using direct mail that is specific to the interests of the recipient And phone calls are being made by people similar to the voter for a more personal feel and connection.
Editor's note: Anderson Cooper reports on the impact of the presidential debate and the state of the race going into the last few weeks of campaigning. Watch AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
A forceful President Barack Obama put Republican challenger Mitt Romney on the defensive on foreign policy on Monday night, with analysts and an immediate poll giving him the victory in their final debate just 15 days before the November 6 vote.
Obama displayed the experience of a commander-in-chief in explaining U.S. policy under his leadership and attacking the views and proposals of Romney, a former Massachusetts governor with less experience on international issues.
Romney ended up supporting most of the Obama administration's steps involving hotspots, such as the civil war in Syria, and preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, giving the president the advantage in a debate in which his GOP rival needed to question foreign policy of the past four years.
Editor's note: Watch Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and Fareed Zakaria's special coverage of the presidential debate at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.
Unlike last week's contentious town hall-style debate in which the candidates ambled around the stage and parried with each other, Obama and Romney will be seated at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer, who told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram what he hopes comes out of the debate:
"People are watching to judge character. I don't think it matters what the questions are about - what matters is how candidates answer. Do they seem in control? ... I'm just there to help the viewers get a better understanding of who these people are."
Here are five things to watch tonight:
1. How much does Romney know about Libya?
Romney will undoubtedly raise a lot questions about Obama's handling of the terror attack in Libya, but there's a good chance he already has some answers.
Don't forget: Romney has been receiving briefings from the U.S. intelligence community since September 17, as is customary for a presidential challenger in the final stages of a campaign.
His first briefing came a week after the breach of the Benghazi mission left four Americans dead. His second briefing took place at the CIA, on September 27.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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