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: Anderson reports live from Iowa tonight with the latest polling and most critical issues ahead of tomorrow's Republican caucus. Tune in to AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - After a year when the Republican presidential race became defined by debates and cable news chatter instead of retail politics and town hall meetings, Iowa seems primed, in the end, to reward the candidates who did things the old-fashioned way.
Three Republican candidates - Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum - are on the cusp of grabbing a coveted top-three finish in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state, which rarely picks presidents but usually find a way to whittle down the field of candidates.
A Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus-goers released late Saturday found Romney clinging to a narrow lead with 24%, followed by Paul at 22% and Santorum gaining steam at 15%.
Editor's note: Tonight on AC360°, the political panel tackles how the most recent GOP presidential debate will impact the race. Watch at 8 p.m. ET.
Rochester, Michigan (CNN) - Wednesday's Republican presidential debate in Michigan was almost entirely focused on economic issues, but the forum offered some seriously revealing moments about each of the candidates.
The night's biggest loser was, without a doubt, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who struggled uncomfortably for nearly a full minute to recall which three federal agencies he would eliminate as president.
"Commerce, Education, and the - what's the third one there? Let's see," Perry said, looking puzzled and searching his notes.
Finally, mercifully, Perry admitted he could not remember and simply gave up.
His only excuse: "Oops."
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.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CNN) - In the end, Sarah Palin made nice with what she likes to call the "lame-stream" media.
Reporters were kept in the dark about Palin's whereabouts during her "One Nation" bus tour and were forced to depend on sources or tips from park rangers to figure out which historical site the former Alaska governor might appear at next.
Her strategy is unlikely to change as the patriotism-themed tour makes its way through the Midwest, West and South later this month.
But once reporters tracked her down, Palin was eager to engage. At stop after stop after stop, she answered questions on everything from energy subsidies to the debt ceiling to her favorite brand of designer jeans.
At times, it seemed like Palin was going rogue all over again.
Though still under an exclusive contract with Fox News Channel, Palin was raring to mix it up with a political press corps that, in her eyes, has underestimated her ever since she was thrust into the national spotlight as John McCain's running mate in 2008.
Palin's refusal to inform the media of her itinerary grabbed headlines, but the storyline overshadowed the fact that the brigade of reporters chasing Palin were usually able to get a heads up on her next move and arrive prepared at the next stop.
The Palin team's stubborn and unconventional game plan also fed an inaccurate media narrative that the potential presidential candidate was actively ignoring the media.
Quite the opposite.FULL STORY
Boston (CNN) – Less than an hour before Mitt Romney was to announce his second bid for the White House in New Hampshire, Sarah Palin appeared in Romney’s hometown and set about picking apart the health care plan he supported as governor of Massachusetts, suggesting it may be a fatal flaw for his candidacy.
Surrounded by reporters for several minutes while visiting the Bunker Hill monument along Boston’s Freedom Trail, Palin delivered her unvarnished opinions of the Romney heath care plan, which mandated that Massachusetts residents purchase health insurance or else face penalties.
“In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing, obviously and I am not the only to say so, but obviously there will be more explanation coming from Gov. Romney for his support of government mandates,” said Palin, on day five of her “One Nation” bus tour of historic sites on the East Coast.
Romney has faced almost unceasing criticism from conservatives within his party for the similarities between his legislation and the national health care reform passed by President Obama.
He has wrapped himself in the Constitution to defend himself, insisting that states, not the federal government, should have the right to develop their own laws and regulations.
Palin was not buying it.FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker
Washington (CNN) – Donald Trump left one New Hampshire crowd with the distinct impression that he's running for president in 2012, according to a conservative activist present in the room for a closed-door meeting with the business mogul in Dover on Wednesday.
Andrew Hemingway, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, told CNN that Trump appeared to be "deadly serious about running."
"Today they were talking to people about hiring staff," Hemingway said. "He was joking about how the lawyers make him say 'If I run' and that type of stuff. He is serious. He is going to run."
Hemingway was one of dozens of Republican activists, operatives and party officials summoned to meet with Trump as he made his maiden trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state as a potential presidential candidate.
Trump arrived in Portsmouth Wednesday morning and held a press conference at the airport before hitting the road for a series of meetings in the Seacoast area, including one sit-down with New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jack Kimball.FULL STORY