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Inside Libya; Competing Controversial Videotapes in Presidential Race

Aired October 2, 2012 - 22:00   ET



We begin tonight less than 24 hours away from the first debate with breaking news, the tale of two tapes, one from the right drawing fire from the left tonight, the other from the left drawing fire from the right. Neither one is new, though parts may have been unseen. We're frankly not able to say for sure.

We're pretty certain though of this. The timing of their release, or possibly their re-release, seems expressly designed to score political points. The first is of a speech then-Senator Barack Obama gave back to a ministers conference in Hampton, Virginia, back in 2007.

Conservative Web site The Daily Caller bills it in their own words as -- quote -- "Obama's other race speech, a barely recognizable Obama." The headline goes to say -- quote -- "Lavishes praise on Reverend Wright, claims the government spends too much on suburbs, not our neighborhoods."

Earlier tonight, we played the clip in which Mr. Obama praised his pastor, now his ex-pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Here now are the remarks about how the response to Hurricane Katrina differed from that for Hurricane Andrew and for 9/11 attacks.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt 20 months later, there is a law, federal law, when you reconstruction from the money government called the Stafford Act.

And, basically, it says, when you get federal money, you got to give a 10 percent match. The local government's got to come up with 10 percent. Every $10 the federal government comes up with, local government's got to give a dollar.

Now here's the thing. When 9/11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act, said, this is too serious a problem. We can't expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you got to put in. Well, here's $10. And that was the right thing to do.

When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, look at this devastation. We don't expect you to come up with your own money. Here. Here's the money to rebuild. We're not going to wait for you to scratch it together, because you're part of the American family.

What's happening down in New Orleans? Where is your dollar? Where is your Stafford Act money? It makes no sense. It tells me the bullet hasn't been taken out. Tells me that somehow the people in New Orleans, they don't care about as much.


COOPER: President Obama, that was five years ago.

You can decide for yourself whether this shows a side of Barack Obama that has never been seen before as The Daily Caller suggests or it's nothing new. Some critics have been pointing out the president seems to be speaking in a difference cadence and a different kind of voice than he does in other speeches.

You can also decide the same thing about this, about the content of this next video. The Huffington Post first linked this video to it earlier today. It's Paul Ryan speaking at a 2011 dinner hosted by a conservative magazine, "The American Spectator."

Now, some on the left tonight are claiming these remarks sound a lot like Mitt Romney's comment video on the 47 percent.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The good news is, survey after survey, poll after poll still shows that were a center-right 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will.


COOPER: Liberal Web sites are focusing on the Ryan speech, conservative Web sites are focusing on the Obama speech.

The Huffington Post says it learned of a clip from a reader. Ryan's campaign spokesman had this reaction, saying only 30 percent want the welfare state. Paul Ryan's message at this open forum, just as it is every day on the campaign trail was one of upward mobility and opportunity for all Americans. The discussion was about the size of government and nothing more.

So, let's talk about this, whether these videos amount to much of anything.

Joining us now for part of that discussion, political analyst Roland Martin, also Erick Erickson, editor in chief of and professor Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University. He's the founder of

Erick, let me start with you on this Obama tape, to you, what is the significance of it? ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the significance of it is the media. It was the media that portrayed Barack Obama as some sort of post-racial president. It wasn't the Obama campaign.

The media for a long time has portrayed Barack Obama as above a lot of the political rhetoric that both sides did.

But here is Barack Obama telling a black crowd that basically they aren't part of the American community. He said Florida was with Hurricane Andrew and that with Hurricane Katrina it wasn't. The facts he was using simply weren't true. Hurricane Katrina got $110 billion to the Gulf Coast, well more than was spent in New York, was covered with a Stafford exemption.

They got additional grants from the federal government. Had a white politician done this to a white crowd, saying a black president was denying funds to a white section of the country as not part of the community, the press would be tearing him alive. If you don't believe me, ask Trent Lott.

COOPER: Are you saying that the -- is it also the way President Obama was speaking that raises eyebrows for you and that this somehow shows President Obama is different than the way he regularly portrays himself?

ERICKSON: Anderson, I'm from Louisiana. If I were talking to you the way I normally talk to friends back home, you probably wouldn't be able to understand me.


COOPER: My dad is from Mississippi.


COOPER: I do that when we go down to Mississippi reunions.


ERICKSON: This is a politician pandering to a crowd. George Bush would sound more a little more Southern below the Mason-Dixon Line, Barack Obama to a black crowd, very much like Hillary Clinton in Selma a few years ago. The right still lampoons her for trying to put on a very thick Southern accent. Politicians of both sides do that. I don't hold them at fault for trying to sound like a pandering politician.

COOPER: Roland Martin, what do you make of this Obama video?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's utterly laughable that Sean Hannity, Matt Drudge, Daily Caller and the rest of these folks are making this out to be something significant.

Something that was written on June 7, 2007, on was a column that I actually wrote. The headline was called "Obama's Quiet Riots Are Real." (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Quiet riot is a phrase he was using in this very speech.

MARTIN: No, no.

My point is, I was referencing the speech that he also gave to the Hampton ministers conference. Here is the deal. You talk about the amount of money spent on the Gulf Coast. First of all, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, that's Alabama, Mississippi, OK?

At the end of the day, is this going to have any impact on this election? Absolutely not. This is nothing more than Sean Hannity's infatuation with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, pure and simple.

COOPER: Boyce Watkins, is there a significance to this, you believe?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: I think that there is no material significance here, but the Republicans are very good at taking nothing and turning it into what appears to be something.

We have to remember that we live in a country that has for 400 years poisoned by the psychological disease of racism. And it doesn't take much to spark that back up. If you look at what President Obama is saying, of course you wouldn't hear white politicians saying what he said, because African-Americans have a unique history in this country.

We have a history of documented discrimination that is effectively undeniable. When you look at what happened in Katrina, anybody in their right mind would say that, yes, there was some disparity there. And any president white or black should note that disparity, not as criticism on the greatness of America, but really as an opportunity for our country to get a little bit better.


ERICKSON: I don't think that is what President Obama was doing.

COOPER: Go ahead, Erick.

ERICKSON: When you listen to him, he is telling a black crowd, he uses the phrase regarding Hurricane Andrew as that the government saw those people in Florida as part of the American community, and the people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, my parents and my family, for example, as something other.

But he's addressing a largely black crowd and he's making the point that -- very clearly that they in New Orleans got treated differently from people in New York and people in Florida because they somehow weren't part of the American community. That's fanning the flames.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: One at a time.

Boyce -- go ahead, Boyce.

WATKINS: Can you really argue that there was parity in the treatment there? There's no way you can argue that.

We have to accept the fact that President Obama is not a man that is here to offer just cosmetic diversity to the White House, to just carry black skin into the White House to make us feel better. It's OK for him to come out of closet and to be a black man sometimes and to use that opportunity to talk about some of the things that our country needs to discuss.

Nobody, especially internationally, can see what happened in Katrina and pretend that race did not play a role.


ERICKSON: That's baloney. That's absolutely hogwash.


COOPER: One at a time. I know you guys are both on Skype, so it's a little complicated.

But, Roland, critics of President Obama are watching this video and are saying, look, he's speaking differently to a crowd and he's saying things that he has not said to a larger audience. Is that a fair criticism? Or, to Boyce's point, is it because of the crowd he's speaking to?

MARTIN: The first thing, Speaker Dennis Hastert said at this time, questioned whether we should rebuild New Orleans.

That got significant pushback from people in that region. He was specific about the city of New Orleans. So, to Erick's point, that actually did come up.


ERICKSON: It wasn't a racial point. It was about New Orleans being below sea level.


MARTIN: One second. One second, OK?

My point is, people in New Orleans, they were offended by that. But, Anderson, here is the deal. And speaking in front of a black audience, I speak in front of black audiences. He has talked to the Congressional Black Caucus, OK, how he speaks, what he says, I heard him speak at the NAACP in 2009, when he talked about telling black kids to -- in terms of what they eat, in terms of schools, things along those lines, and he got criticized for saying -- for basically lecturing African-Americans that he wouldn't do in front of a white audience.

I didn't hear anybody white or conservative complain about that. That was all you pull yourself up by the bootstraps speech. And so let's just be honest. Politicians have always talked different ways to different groups, whether you are Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals.

COOPER: But, Roland, what critics of this are saying is that his whole message of we're not a white America or black America or red state America or blue state America, they're saying this shows him being divisive. To that, you say what?

I think we lost Roland. He's on a train.


ERICKSON: As a native of Louisiana, I have got to say I am horrified and really offended by this continued myth perpetrated by Democrats that somehow Louisiana and New Orleans were treated horribly by the Bush administration because they were black.

Mississippi got hit as well. I have got an entire family friends who are gone because of Hurricane Katrina in Southern Mississippi. Mississippi was treated exactly identically by the federal government as Louisiana and had its act together. It wasn't a George Bush thing. It was a Louisiana government notoriously corrupt and notoriously inept.

And to hang that on some sort of racism against Louisiana, not only is it deeply offensive, but it continues to perpetrate wounds of this country that probably would close except for people like Barack Obama telling a black crowd that you were treated differently because you were black.

COOPER: We want to have more on this discussion. We have got to stop right now though just for time.

Erick Erickson, professor Boyce Watkins, Roland Martin, appreciate it.

No doubt we will be hearing more about this tomorrow.

Up next, the shifting stories about what really happened at the embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya. I'm joined by CNN's Arwa Damon, who unlike the FBI actually spent time walking the crime scene. She shares what she saw and for the first time we're seeing some photos of the crime scene you have not seen before. Details ahead.


COOPER: Tonight, a story you will not see anywhere else.

For the first time, CNN's Arwa Damon talks about what she experienced when she first set foot inside the American compound, What the terrible scene was like after the deadly assault that killed four Americans, evidence she saw that might have been useful to investigators, that is, had investigators ever had a chance to stand where she stood, indications perhaps that might help locate the culprits.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, nearly everyone and anyone has now been able to gain access to the crime scene, except, that is, for FBI agents and now for them, it's no longer worth taking the risk to going to Benghazi.

But there is at least some indication tonight that enough is known about who did this to begin planning some kind of response. A senior American official telling us that the Pentagon and intelligence community have begun preparing so-called target packages, detailed information that can be used to capture or kill some of the terrorists who did this.

Now, at the same time, though, the administration continues to come under withering fire, especially, though not exclusively, from Republican lawmakers over the killings and whether they might have been prevented some way. Members of the House Oversight Committee today sent a letter to the State Department asking for answers in person from Secretary Clinton, leveling serious allegations including these.

The attack -- quote -- "was clearly never as administration officials once insisted the result of a popular protest." And more damningly this -- quote -- "Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that prior to the September 11 attacks, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi."

The letter goes on to detail a series of attacks and incidents in Libya that formed the basis for those calls for more security resources, resources that the letter alleges were denied by officials in Washington.

We will have more on that angle shortly.

First, though, Arwa Damon joins me. She's just back from Libya and she joins me here in New York.

It's very good to see you safe and sound.

Walk me back. You were at the site three days after the attack. You have some still photographs that have never been seen before. Describe what we see.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first in these photographs is basically the exterior of the main building at the compound itself.

This is the building where the ambassador resided, and the right- hand portion of the building is where the so-called safe room was supposed to be. As you can see, the burning all occurred inside the building itself.

COOPER: It doesn't look very touched on the outside. DAMON: No. Very much a lot of the damage on this building inside, happening inside, the fire burning.

There's one part of the building where there's an entranceway into this so-called safe room that is pretty much just a heavy metal door. That door was shut when we arrived. That's the interior of the building. That was the ambassador's bedroom. That chair right there, next to that chair is where we actually found the ambassador's journal.

The doorway leading into this part of the building was shut, as I was saying, this metal door blocking that off. You can see it right there. There was pretty much no way to get out, because all of the windows at the point where we were there had metal on the exterior of them, except for the one window where the ambassador's body was carried out.

That is how we crawled in. Eyewitnesses who were there said they had to physically remove the bars from that building. You see it right there. They had to remove the bars from that window to get the ambassador's body out.

COOPER: How were you able to get access to the site? Was there any security there?

DAMON: No. There pretty much wasn't.

We drove up to the main gate. At the time that we were there, the head of the General National Congress was conducting a tour. We walked in, interviewed him, and then spent over an hour on site filming, walking around looking at things.

We were there. The owner of the compound was there along with some of his relatives. There were some security guards, the gardener and then there were a bunch of Libyans rifling through everything and people were telling us that they had full-on access to it.


COOPER: The Libyans rifling through things?

DAMON: Rifling through things, picking up bits and pieces. They had actually laid a wreath earlier on the outside of one of these things.

COOPER: So other information, there had been classified information, whatever, could have picked up by Libyans and taken away?

DAMON: What we were told is that a lot was in fact taken away. People said there was a safe there that was taken away. But what we also saw while there were is things that one would have assumed would have been of interest to investigators had they gone.

The toilet in this safe room suite, as we call it, has a very strange -- what seems to be a very strange blood stain on the side of it. You can see it in the images right there. We don't know what that is. We don't know what happened, but it raises a lot of questions as to what could have taken place.

There's another part in this same area where it looks like a handprint is on the wall that has slid down, again, a lot of unanswered questions.

COOPER: There's a story that a fire was set, that diesel fuel was poured around the exterior of the room or part of the compound. Did you see signs of that?

DAMON: What's clear is that the exterior of the compound, the exterior of the various buildings, were not set on fire. The burning that took place that we saw all happened on the inside.

COOPER: Really? That's interesting.

So what does that tell you? Do you see any signs of RPGs, of holes in roofs or...

DAMON: There is one hole in the main building that looks like it could have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade. There is -- the main doorway into the main building was splintered, and looked as if it had possibly been forced open. There was holes in the walls that looked like they could have been shrapnel.

But on the exterior of the buildings, there were not a lot of signs of very heavy, intense damage that would have been caused by rocket-propelled grenades, by mortar rounds. But we still did see even three days on a number of shell casings on the ground and again other bits and pieces that had been very rifled through. A lot of things had been taken, but there were bits and pieces that could have provided clues.

COOPER: Overall the security situation in Benghazi and in that area, the FBI has not gone in. There was concern that they would not be able to set up a perimeter, a safe perimeter that they actually could do an investigation, that mortars could be fired in. What is the security situation like right now?

DAMON: It's very much open space. There still is not heavy security. At least there wasn't when we left there around a week ago. There aren't checkpoints leading up to it, for example.

It's very open. Now, could they hypothetically -- the Libyan government has said they're willing to provide investigators with security using whatever assets they have, whether it's members of the Libyan army, members of the various militias who they deem to be even more trustworthy.

COOPER: Could a friendly militia group there seal off a large enough area?

DAMON: Well, the February 17 Militia which is the largest one in Benghazi and arguably the most powerful one is the one that eventually did come to the aid of those who were in the consulate while the attack was taking place. They have offered security and it was members of this militia, in fact, who say that they were the ones who warned the Americans three days before the attack took place that there was a heightened threat against them.

COOPER: I want to bring in Fran Townsend.

Fran and Arwa both have been breaking news on this story really from the beginning. As you know, Fran was homeland security adviser during the George W. Bush administration, as we often point out, and she currently serves on the CIA's External Advisory Committee and she recently traveled to Libya with her employer, MacAndrews & Forbes. She had actually met with Ambassador Stevens.

What do you make of the pictures you see of what Arwa's talking about?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: As I listen to Arwa, it just reinforces what we said last week and we have said from the beginning.

Investigators have to go there. Even if you didn't have all the physical evidence there that Arwa just described to our viewers, you would want to know from the witness interviews, Anderson, you would want to know measurements, you would want to be able to take people through it to really understand what the dynamic was.

But then you see things like handprints and blood samples. One of the things, the first thing you would do, I will give you an example, that is you would take the blood sample off the toilet and the bidet and see whether or not it matched first to the ambassador's. Did he fall? There's all sorts of things you would want to know.

You know, the pictures we have seen publicly of his body doesn't look like he did, but you don't know. And all those sorts of bits of information, it is true, it would be a less valuable crime scene now because people have rifled through it, but there's always some value and what they're telling us now is that they think the risk is too great in terms of the security.

But I have never understood, if the February 17 Brigade was there, they were friendly, they were willing, and we trusted them, certainly, before the attack, why we wouldn't have taken them along with U.S. military assets and set up the perimeter that the FBI needed.

COOPER: I mean, even theoretically, a lot of people will tweet in and say, well, if you were able to get to it, how come some American investigators wouldn't be able to?

I guess it's a question of how much time the American investigators would want to spend to actually do a full, thorough forensic investigation.

TOWNSEND: That's part of it, Anderson, but the other piece to this is they would represent -- when the American investigators go in, they would represent the United States. There's a certain international respect for journalists. It's not -- it's plenty dangerous for Arwa to be there, but they represent...


COOPER: It would be a heightened target, obviously.

DAMON: Exactly.

COOPER: And I guess part of it, too, is if mortar fire was involved in the initial attack or RPG fire, if they were to come under fire, the investigators, they would want to be able to return fire to take out mortar positions, anti-battery positions. And to do that, you would need a significant capability to return fire.

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right.

And everybody we have spoken to suggests that, look, if we had to go in, we didn't want to bring in that big a footprint and it would have been difficult for the Libyan government, although cooperative, to agree to that at such a fragile time in the establishment...


COOPER: You have got some new information on the U.S. preparing target packages. What have you...

TOWNSEND: You know, Anderson, it's funny. When I read this, I would have been surprised if they weren't doing that. Remember, after the East African embassy bombings, the Clinton administrations launched TLAMs into training camps in Afghanistan and Sudan.

This is sort of part of the usual process, right? You look at the intelligence and the military will prepare and say what targets do we have, what is our basis for making them a target, that is, capture, kill, target with drones, and what is our likelihood of success?

Also, there's a secondary process of who would we like to have more on? If we had that information, we could prepare better target packages, and they will levy requirements on the intelligence agencies to go out and get that information for them. So it's sort of an ongoing, iterative process between the intelligence community and the military community as they prepare in case the president asks for options.

In the meantime, on parallel tracks, you have got Congress, you have got the State Department investigation, and you have got the FBI.

COOPER: Arwa, just -- you have spent a lot of time in war zones. Is there something about this that surprised you, about what you saw, about gaining access to this site?

DAMON: It was that it was really such a soft target.

You would not expect any establishment, never mind a consulate, to have had such a lack of security to it, especially in a place where there had been attacks against the West. The location itself had been targeted and the U.S. was monitoring not too far away, around a three- hour drive away in the town of Darna and around it the activity of known extremist groups who, in some cases, are being led with individuals who are directly affiliated, if not members of al Qaeda in and of itself. It was such a soft target.

COOPER: Right.

TOWNSEND: Arwa and I were talking earlier, and the thing that strikes me about that, Anderson, is every counterterrorism specialist will tell you one of the hallmarks of al Qaeda is they return to failed targets.

So the USS Cole that was the success. It had been the Sullivans year before. the World Trade Center in '93, and then back in 2001. The notion that there were at least two attempts at this consulate and nobody made this a really hard target is really a dereliction of duty.

I think that's some of the outrage you're hearing. There's plenty of partisanship in Washington, but there's a certain sense of outrage, and I think that's part of why Congressman Issa has whistle blowers. Career people are sort of outraged how could we have let this happen.

COOPER: Arwa, Fran, thanks very much.

In "Raw Politics" tonight: why tomorrow's debate may have as much to do with gestures than words. We will talk to an expert on body language. This is really fascinating -- her perspective next.


COOPER: Let's dig deeper now. President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage tomorrow night. How they look, what they do during the debate may speak louder than what they actually say. Or as loudly.

Research, in fact, suggests their body language will speak volumes. Amy Cuddy is an associate professor of -- at Harvard Business School who studies how people perceive others and what shapes the impressions we have of others. She joins me now.

You say, Amy, that when it comes to gestures, ones that convey power and warmth are really important to making effective politician, and you point to former president Bill Clinton as master of warmth. I want to show a video of him during a town hall with Ross Perot and then George Bush back in 1992. Kind of walk us through what we're seeing.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know people who lost their homes and lost their homes?

AMY CUDDY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL: He's walking toward this woman, toward this voter, away from the people on stage. So he's focused on the voter, not on the other candidates. He's gentle. His body language is gentle. He's leaning toward her. He's even softened his voice. He's nodding. He makes incredible eye contact. He signals to people when he's talking to them, "You are the only person in the room. You're the most important person." It's that Clinton tractor beam that really melted people.

COOPER: Is that "I feel your pain" without actually even saying it?

CUDDY: That's exactly right.

COOPER: There's a classic moment between Al Gore and George W. Bush from a debate back in 2000. I want to show that and I want to see what Al Gore does and how George Bush reacts. Let's take a look.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not only what your philosophy and what's your position on issues, but can you get things done? And I believe I can.


COOPER: Explain that.

CUDDY: This looked very over-scripted and rehearsed. He's decided that he's going to show dominance and sort of out-alpha Bush by walking into his space.

But it just completely backfires. It doesn't look natural, so it makes him like disingenuous. And Bush handles it so incredibly well that it makes it look even worse for Gore. And then you can see how wooden Al Gore's face looks in response to that reaction.

COOPER: Yes. In terms of classic power moves during a debate, what are they?

CUDDY: One is who initiates the handshake. You know, they're both --both sort of vying to be the one who initiates the handshake.

But second, during the handshake, look at who is grabbing whose arm? So Obama often will not only shake the hand, but also grab the arm of the person whose hand he's shaking. And that's a real power move.

Another one is to hold the sides of the podium, and that -- that allows you to expand and expansive postures are associated with power, and strength, and dominance.

COOPER: Are there positive or negative body-language moves that you're going to be looking for during tomorrow night's debate?

CUDDY: Yes. So let's talk about the negatives first, because they're fun. Please, no finger pointing. Finger pointing almost never works. COOPER: Is that why politics all do the thumb on the first thing? Which I've never seen an actual human using this gesture. But all politicians seem to do that.

CUDDY: I think that's a Clinton thing. And it looks like he's holding a remote control. But I think open gestures are almost always more effective than any closed gestures.

COOPER: It's also important for a candidate's body language to match what they're saying, right? And there's a classic example going back to 2007 of John McCain talking about Osama bin Laden. I want to play that for our viewers.

CUDDY: Another painful one.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: On the subject of Osama bin Laden, he's responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans. He is now orchestrating other attacks on the United States of America, we will do whatever is necessary. We will track him down. We will capture -- we will bring him to justice, and I'll follow him to the gates of hell.



CUDDY: Oh, gosh.

COOPER: So that was like a smile.

CUDDY: Really hard to watch. Yes. So that's -- you know, sort of nonverbal asyncracy. Between either the content of what the person is saying and the nonverbals or the asynchronies. When you're saying you are following someone to the gates of hell, you shouldn't be smiling. And it creates, I think, a visceral negative response in viewers. They don't even know why, but it makes them feel bad. It's very adverse to see that kind of thing.

COOPER: There have been reports that Romney's team has been preparing what are called zingers for tomorrow night's debate. You say when a candidate has been stung by one, it can be very effective. The exchange between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale demonstrates a very effective use of this. Take a look.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.


COOPER: Did Mondale's reaction help him there? CUDDY: I don't think it hurt him. I think that what -- I think what you saw was net positive. I think it definitely helped Reagan. I mean, he owned responsible criticism verbally, and he delivered it so comfortably and so warmly. I think Mondale's reaction was comfortable, and authentic, and warm in response. So I think the general feeling was positive, but people are going -- voters attribute that positive feeling that they had to Reagan, not to Mondale.

COOPER: It's really fascinating stuff. Amy Cuddy, appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

CUDDY: Thanks, thank you.

COOPER: I find that stuff fascinating. We'll be looking for body language tomorrow night. There's a lot more to follow. Susan Hendricks right now joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, according to American Airlines, an internal investigation shows an improperly installed clamp is to blame for loose passenger seats on six planes, two of which made emergency landings. Now, the clamp in question is used on 47 Boeing 757s in America's fleet. Most have been inspected. The others will be checked shortly.

Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the university. McQueary was a key witness in the conviction of Jerry Sandusky. He is seeking $4 million from the school for allegedly defaming him and firing him for his cooperation with prosecutors.

Jimmy Hoffa's remains are not buried under a storage shed in suburban Detroit. Result of soil sample results show no evidence of human remains on that property.

And sheriff's deputies in Pinellas County, Florida, are searching for this woman who tried to ride a manatee at Fort Desoto Park on Sunday. They say she violated a state law to protect the massive aquatic mammal and could face a misdemeanor fine.

COOPER: You know what? Leave the manatees alone. They've got enough problems. They get run over by the boats. They're just sweet, gentle creatures.

HENDRICKS: It's not a dolphin. Do not try to ride it.

COOPER: Yes. Don't be grabbing dolphins either out in the wild.

HENDRICKS: Good point.

COOPER: Susan, thanks.

President Obama and Mitt Romney obviously have been prepping heavily for their first debate, now less than 24 hours away. How high are the stakes? Who has the edge? And what are each candidate's weak spots? We'll look at that next in the program.


COOPER: A Border Patrol agent is shot and killed and another wounded. What happened in Arizona near the border with Mexico? Details on that ahead on 360.


COOPER: Less than 24 hours from now, with the election just five weeks away, President Obama and Mitt Romney are going to face off in their debate. An estimated 50 million people, as I said, are expected to watch. Both men have been prepping very heavily. They know the stakes. History has shown that presidential debates can shift a race.

Joining me now is Alan Schroeder, a professor of the school of journalism in Northeastern University in Boston, author of "Presidential Debates: 50 Years of High-Risk TV." Also, Patrick Millsaps, a Republican strategist who served as chief of staff in Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign.

So Patrick, you say the Newt Gingrich famous "pious baloney" line was one of his strongest hits against Mitt Romney during the primary debates. I want to play that for our viewers so they'll remember. Take a look.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran in '94 and lost. That's why you weren't serving in the Senate with Rick Santorum.

So this idea that suddenly, citizenship showed up in your mind, just level with the American people. You've been running for this at least since the 1990s.


COOPER: I'm curious how much of those kind of zingers are pre- thought out and what does Mitt Romney have to do to avoid taking a big hit tomorrow night?

PATRICK MILLSAPS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR GINGRICH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, that was all Newt. And part of the great thing about Newt is that he knew the topic. You knew, you know, the weak points, but prepared to answer the question. And then if you can come up with "pious baloney," then that just puts a cherry on top.

Interestingly enough, if you Googled "baloney" two hours after that debate, you would get "Oscar Meyer" and then "Newt Gingrich."

So Romney has the same opportunity, especially when it comes to Obama's populist message: "I'm one of the common guys and you're out of touch." I think Romney has the same opportunity to say, "Look, you made $2 million in one year. You have spent more money during your time in the White House than the royal family. How are you one of the common man that you say you're part of?" So I think that preparation is important, knowing the material is important. But then being comfortable enough in your own skin and comfortable with the topic that you can come up with a "pious baloney" moment. They aren't planned, they aren't scripted. And, you know, it just happens when it happens.

COOPER: But, Professor Schroeder, we have heard the reports that the Romney campaign has been preparing some so-called zingers that Mitt Romney's practiced and can use. I don't know why they would leak that kind of information, because it's like setting you up to fail if it doesn't work out. But how important are little lines like that, do you think? In the history of debates?

ALAN SCHROEDER, PROFESSOR, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: I think they can be very important. But I, too, am suspicious of the fact that they're talking about it so much in advance. I think just the mere fact they they're telegraphing it would indicate that maybe they don't really plan to go through with it.

It's also pretty hard to work a zinger in organically and that is the beauty of a line like "pious baloney." It just really flowed naturally into the conversation there.

COOPER: And in terms of -- I mean, a lot of people remember Newt Gingrich talking about moon colonies during the primary. Mitt Romney hit back at him on that. Let's take a look.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I spent 25 years in business. if I had a business executive come to me and say they want to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, "You're fired."


COOPER: Professor, you think that's an example of Romney at his best during a debate, being straightforward, and asserting, you know, business experience, what he knows.

Transfer diminished Newt Gingrich. It made him look sort of foolish for coming up with that idea. And then subliminally, it reinforced Romney as someone with some business credentials. He got to refer to himself as a CEO.

So that's what you want to do, ideally, is a two-pronged attack there, where it helps you and hurts the other guy.

COOPER: It does -- Patrick, though, Mitt Romney does kind of struggle sometimes when it comes to attempts at humor or levity. He made a George Costanza reference that felt a little dated. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that. But, you know, there was this exchange he had with Rick Perry. I want to play that.


ROMNEY: Rick, I'll tell you what: 10,000 bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I'm not in the betting business.



COOPER: I mean, that clearly got a lot of pickup. So I mean, it shows one of the dangers of off-script moments for a candidate like Mitt Romney.

MILLSAPS: Yes, but I think that this debate, the structure of this debate -- you heard the audience laughing. You heard kind of a give and take.

This is one of the -- one of the silent debates where the audience is not going to be a lot of -- be participating.

Florida, I think that you were seeing the same scenario that is set up for Romney to give his two best debate performances in Florida, which we just saw there, is exactly where we are now in the campaign. And that is his -- you know, he might feel like his back is against the wall. It's his type of debate.

No one debate prep fits all. I mean, if you look at the difference of "The Tonight Show." Let's take Johnny Carson likes the audience to be away from him. Jay Leno likes to be amongst the audience. And both of them were equally as funny doing the same job.

So I think the type of debate that we're going to see tomorrow night suits Romney's strengths and he has the ability to stay on -- stay on the offensive and really call out Obama...


MILLSAPS: ... on some of the things, just like he did with Newt.

COOPER: Professor Schroeder, though, it seems to me, when you think about it, Professor Obama, I mean, he's obviously not without his own weaknesses as a debater. He hasn't actually debated since 2008. Some have criticized him being king of long-winded, professorial. No offense, Professor.

There was also this moment that I remembered it didn't go over too well when he was debating Hillary Clinton. Let's take a look.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: He's very likeable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad.

BARACK OBAMA (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're likeable enough, Hillary.

CLINTON: Thank you. I appreciate that.


COOPER: I mean, it is a fine line between, you know, putting your opponent on notice and not appearing to be mean.

SCHROEDER: Well, yes. And the thing about that clip that's so striking is that she's so self-effacing and good and gets the audience laughing on her side. And then he comes back, barely makes eye contact with her, is sort of writing something as he -- as he makes his line, and it's a contrast between the two of them that hurts him in that clip.

COOPER: Especially in the double box. Professor Schroeder, appreciate you for being with us and Patrick Millsaps, as well. We'll be marching tomorrow. It's going to be fascinating. As I said, 50 million people expected to watch.

At least 150 people killed in Syria today. We'll tell you what an opposition spokesman is saying about the Syrian foreign minister's call for a dialog, next.


COOPER: Susan Hendricks back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Susan.

HENDRICKS: Anderson, another deadly day in Syria. An opposition group says at least 150 people have been killed in violence throughout the country today.

An opposition spokesman said no Syrian is willing to sit down with the killers of the Syrian government, who have been responsible for every drop of blood that has been shed. That was in response to Syria's foreign minister calling for a dialogue at the U.N. General Assembly yesterday.

A Border Patrol agent was shot and killed today in Arizona. Thirty-year-old Nicolas Ivy was shot after responding to a sensor that went off near the border. Another agent was wounded. The FBI and local police are investigating the shooting.

New York's attorney general says more lawsuits against big banks are on the way as a task force investigates the crash of 2008. Now, the first suit filed is against JPMorgan Chase over allegations that Bear Stearns, which it owns, committed fraud against investors.

And the Weather Channel has decided hey, hurricanes get names, why not blizzards? The network announced today it will give names to the worst winter storms to make it easier to follow their progress. It already has a list from "A" to "Z" of winter storm names, including Athena, Gandalf, and Zeus.

COOPER: Gandalf, interesting. All right, Susan. Thanks.

Coming up, who's hungry? A restaurant got in trouble for wheeling in some road kill. Mmm, road kill. "RidicuList" is next.


COOPER: Yes, it's that time of the night, time for the "RidicuList." And tonight we're adding restaurant road kill. And yes, that would be road kill found in a restaurant.

In Williamsburg, Kentucky, a woman was at a Chinese restaurant at lunchtime when the ambiance was suddenly somewhat compromised, you might say, by the sight of a deer carcass being unceremoniously dragged into the kitchen. Now, you know what? I think I will let her give you the specifics.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was like a tail that was this big. It was a big white fuzzy tail, and then like a leg was sticking out of the garbage can. And they had a box on top of it, and they were wheeling it in there like really quick, like trying to hurry. And one of the other employees were like mopping up the blood that was like dripping out of the garbage can onto the floor.


COOPER: Oh, dear. So the lady called the health department, and an inspector says sure enough, when he showed up, there was indeed a dead deer in the kitchen. He told a local news station that the owner's son admitted to picking it up on the side of the road. On the highway, as a matter of fact. The county sheriff elaborates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had it cut up, and they were dissecting it.


COOPER: OK. So they were dissecting it. Now, maybe the kitchen staff teaches a rogue eighth grade biology class in the back. That's a logical explanation, right?

When people heard about this, the whole road kill and the restaurant thing, they -- they didn't like it one bit. In fact, one might say they were disgusted. Very, very disgusted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Disgusted. Very, very disgusted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just like "Oh, God," you know. I couldn't believe it. I just could not.


COOPER: Now, the county health department has shut the place down. They say the restaurant will have to be thoroughly cleaned before they even think of letting it reopen. Burning question is, if it does open again, will people want to go there now? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For them to pick up something off the road and who knows how long it's been dead, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would very thoroughly check my food before I ate it if I did.


COOPER: Now, I'm not sure, but maybe they're overreacting just a bit. I mean, look, it's getting to the point where you can't even wheel one bloody deer carcass into a restaurant in a strip mall in Kentucky in the middle of lunch without people freaking out and calling the health department.

Now, the people that own the restaurant say it was for their own personal use, that they weren't going to serve the deer. Judge for yourself.

Now perhaps my perspective is slightly skewed, because I do live in New York City, where we pretty much assume that restaurant food is at least 10 percent made up of rat droppings. Fifteen percent sometimes. Twenty, max.

Now, look, at the end of the day, no one wants to see road kill Bambi being carted into the restaurant they're eating at, but in the restaurant's defense, they do offer takeout.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.