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Biden vs. Ryan; Teen Girl Activist Shot By Taliban; Demanding Answers On Consulate Attack; Moderator On The Hot Seat; Cancer Survivor Helps Others; Veteran: Insider Attacks Nothing New

Aired October 11, 2012 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you all. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Here we go. Round one. The only round, actually, here. Joe Biden, Paul Ryan. Both have arrived in Danville, Kentucky, to battle tonight in debate. And the vice president landed just about within the past hour or so. That's his daughter there on his left, by his side, Ashley, sons Hunter and Beau got off Air Force Two there as well.

Meantime, Congressman Paul Ryan, he actually flew into town yesterday for the debate that begins in less than seven hours. Keep in mind, that is 9:00 Eastern Time.

We have Jim Acosta on the ground in Danville. But I want to start with Brianna Keilar, our White House correspondent, who is in Kentucky for us as well right now.

And, Brianna, let's begin with these exclusive pictures. This picture you have sort of behind the scenes where we can see -- is that the exact same replica of the debate set in which we see Joe Biden?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's very similar to the debate set that we will see tonight during the debate here in Danville, Kentucky. The pictures that's you're looking at, actually, though, are of what's really a second floor ballroom in the Wilmington, Delaware, Sheraton. That you can just see how much the Biden team really tried to duplicate the scene here. That table that Joe Biden is sitting at --

BALDWIN: Here we go.

KEILAR: That Joe Biden is sitting at, and he is on the left, and you can see on the right, that's Chris van Hollen, a Democrat, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee that Paul Ryan is the chairman of. It's sort of a half circle table and then there's a little round section of it in the middle and that is where Martha Raddatz, the moderator, is going to sit, played in mock debates by Shailagh Murray, the President's -- pardon me, the vice president's communications director, and also a former "Washington Post" reporter.

But this is where Vice Presidential Biden has been the last four nights. He's had mock debates, four in a row, and he's been preparing in what's really been this intensive debate camp in Wilmington, Delaware, which is where he lives when he's not living in Washington, D.C.

BALDWIN: OK. So we know he, though, now officially in Kentucky, along with the person with whom he will be sparring tonight. But let's talk polls, Brianna. And this is my personal hat tip to Jon Stewart, in case you missed "The Daily Show," kind of funny. But just out, as he knows, and now everyone else apparently knows, we check our daily Gallup tracking polls here at CNN. And if you look at this, it shows President Obama losing two more points, Mitt Romney gaining one point. The president still leading, you see here, 48 percent to Romney's 46 percent.

But, you know, we could theorize that post debate slide here for the President, Brianna, hasn't bottomed out yet. Is Team Obama -- goodness -- is Team Obama realistically hoping that Joe Biden can turn it around tonight at the VP debate?

KEILAR: If you talk to Biden's folks, Brooke, they'll say the vice president is playing his own game. But the fact is, we know the reality. He is under a lot of pressure because of what you see in the polls. This momentum that is very much on the side of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. So it is very much up to Vice President Biden to take a shot here and try to stop some of that momentum. Because if you see a decisive win by Paul Ryan, then it's going to be covered as a one-two punch. The momentum will continue.

And we do know, talking to some of the vice president's aides, that he's going to come out swinging. That's the -- that's the expectation, that he'll be on offense. We've been told that he is eager, that he's feeling good and that he's going to try and draw a contrast. And when you look at that tiny table that we just showed you in that picture, Brooke, I mean it's a pretty intimate setting. If he's really going to get into it and try and draw a contrast, that's sort of code for confrontation. We'll see if he makes good on the promise that we're hearing from his team.

BALDWIN: Brianna, does the campaign worry that Biden might say something memorable, as in not in a good way memorable?

KEILAR: Yes. And Joe Biden, as you know, Brooke, and this is what I'm sure your referencing, he's sort of known as a bit of a gaffe machine. Puts his foot in his mouth from time to time. Just last week he said that the middle class had been buried for four years and that was something that the Romney campaign just jumped on.

The thing is, while he's really prone to having these moments, and we've certainly seen the press strategy on the part of his team is to not have him do interviews, whereas in contrast you'll see Paul Ryan has done a ton of interviews. When you look at Joe Biden's performance in national debates, the gaffes don't actually really come out. They do come out when he speaks, but not so much in debates.

I spoke with his son, Beau Biden, whose one of his closest confidants and is the attorney general of Delaware, and he said to me that in his dad's political career, there's nothing that he prepares for as much as a debate. So, Joe Biden, while he's going to try to be Joe and try to sort of, I think, speak in a very comfortable manner, we're not expecting or certainly he's been practicing staying on message and having some of that discipline he doesn't normally have, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Now, let me ask you about this, because, you know, our colleague, Dana Bash, she scored an interview with Paul Ryan and he talks about having this, you know, huge briefcase full of facts and everything. Certainly he's been studying for quite a while. He's been giving out interviews. You know, on the flip side, the vice president hasn't so much in the last couple of months and I'm just curious, I know he has all kinds of experience, but might that at all put him at a disadvantage tonight?

KEILAR: A disadvantage for not having some of those questions asked? I think, you know -- of him -- we're going to see if that's the case. We'll see it in his performance. Certainly he's been putting in a lot of time during practice and, you know, he's definitely had the opportunity to have questions asked of him in the past. I know that was a question about President Obama. He hadn't necessarily had a ton of questions asked of him. Might that have played into his not perhaps being as ready as he could have in the debate?

I think we're going to see if that really matters tonight, Brooke. But if you talk to the Biden team, they say, you know, this is our press strategy, this is how we've been doing it. And it certainly, though, does stands in contrast to what we've seen with Paul Ryan. I think part of the reason they're doing this, and they certainly won't admit this, is because the vice president is prone sometimes to just really say things off the cuff that get him in trouble. And by not doing those interviews, that is one way to minimize the damage, for sure.

BALDWIN: We'll be looking for the vice president sitting very closely to Paul Ryan, as you point out, at that tiny table.

Brianna Keilar for us in Danville, Kentucky. Brianna, thank you.

We also have Jim Acosta. He's been covering, as you know, Team Romney. And today Team Ryan. So we'll check in with Jim Acosta on the ground in Danville right after this.

The debate before the debate. We're about to show you what each candidate will probably say tonight in his own words.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

Some critics blasting tonight's moderator for her ties to President Obama. Former debate moderator Carole Simpson joins me live on whether it should matter.

Plus, when Afghanistan comes up tonight, so will insider attacks. I'll talk with a combat medic whose chilling memories reveal green on blue is nothing new.

And --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see bloody handprints on walls thinking, my God, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything.


BALDWIN: The mother of an American killed in the Benghazi attack accuses the Obama administration of lying to her.


BALDWIN: Well, we have now officially gotten the big debate prep from Brianna Keilar there for us in Danville, Kentucky, talking specifically about Team Biden. Now we want to talk Team Ryan. And for that we go to Jim Acosta who is also in Danville, Kentucky.

What are we, Jim, I'm looking at the clock, less than -- less than seven hours away from the big sparring.


BALDWIN: And, you know, we know the Romney campaign got a tremendous lift from the first debate, the presidential debate, last week. What are their expectations for Paul Ryan going into tonight?

ACOSTA: Well, Brooke, it's good to be with you. I almost didn't make it. I got stuck in Joe Biden's motorcade coming in here.


ACOSTA: Just to give you a sense as to how things are on the ground here in Kentucky. Brooke, I did talk to a senior Romney adviser about their expectations for Paul Ryan later on this evening. As you'll recall, Mitt Romney told Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" a couple of days ago that he thought that Paul Ryan hadn't debate before. That perhaps the last time he had debated was in high school. Of course, we went back and talked to the Ryan folks with the Romney campaign about the and he has debated several times during the course of his congressional career.

But I did talk to a senior Romney adviser about what their expectations are for the Wisconsin congressman tonight and here's just a little bit of guidance. A quote here. "It's certainly a new experience for him," according to this adviser. "Biden has so much more experience debating in the Senate during the two presidential campaigns and then again during the 2008 general election campaign." That face-off with Sarah Palin that so many people remember.

"Ryan is looking to focus on substance," according to this adviser. And I -- you know, I zero in on that word "substance," Brooke, because you'll recall at the last debate in Denver everybody was talking about zingers. Where are the zingers? When are the zingers going to fly? Well, as it turned out, by my count, Mitt Romney only fired off a couple of zingers during that presidential debate with President Obama. And so it's possible that we may be seeing sort of the same tactic tonight for Paul Ryan, focusing on the substance, focusing on the issues.

And, you know, one thing that the Romney campaign I think has already telegraphed is that Paul Ryan will go after those comments from Joe Biden that we heard earlier this month when he was at that event in Charlotte, when he talked about the middle class being buried. I think we can expect that to come up tonight.

And we've also heard from the Obama campaign. The Obama campaign is talking about this editorial board meeting that Mitt Romney had with "The Columbus Dispatch," during which the GOP nominee talked about what his health care plan might be like and talked about the fact that people with preexisting conditions, if Obamacare were not in place --


ACOSTA: Would be able to get health care at hospitals. That is something that I think Joe Biden might be going after tonight. So we're starting to see some of the expectations as to how the zingers and the non-zingers will fly tonight, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's just talk about when you and I were in Tampa covering the Republican National Convention because that was really the last time we, or really the country, saw Paul Ryan, you know, up on a big stage speaking there. And fact checkers, Jim, they had a field day with that one. Found all kinds of inconsistencies.

ACOSTA: Right. Sure.

BALDWIN: You know, is Team Romney, Team Ryan, are they cognizant of that going into tonight? Have they had Ryan really working on his facts?

ACOSTA: I think so. You know, Paul Ryan is a guy of substance no matter what you think of him. If you're a Democrat or a Republican. You know, I was going through some old footage of Paul Ryan debating with President Obama, not in an official debate, but when there were some sessions about the budget, about health care reform that were -- you might remember they were put out on C-SPAN.

BALDWIN: In 2010.

ACOSTA: And a lot of people were really watching this and seeing -- exactly -- and seeing Barack Obama and Paul Ryan go at each other. And at that time, the President himself described Paul Ryan's ideas for Medicare and Medicaid as being serious and worth discussion. The president said he disagreed with those ideas, but said they were of some substance and worth talking about.

And so Paul Ryan has been here before. He has been in this kind of environment before. He's gone toe to toe with the President, as you mentioned, in that issue. And I think he'll -- he will be just fine tonight going up against Joe Biden.

As for the facts, as for whether or not Paul Ryan was playing fast and loose with the facts during the Republican convention, the Romney -- you know, I brought this up with the Romney campaign and they say, hey, wait a minute, look at what President Obama said during that first presidential debate with Mitt Romney.


ACOSTA: The $5 trillion tax cut. They take issue with that figure. And so I think the fact checkers will be more than busy tonight, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jim Acosta, we'll look for your coverage. We'll see you next hour.

Meantime, but I want to keep talking about this debate tonight because, you know, usually the vice presidential debate gets limited attention compared to the main event. Historically it's no game changer. But that's not the deal tonight. After President Obama's we'll call it less than stellar performance last week, Joe Biden, he's front and center facing pressure tonight.

So how's his rival, Congressman Paul Ryan, preparing? Well, for one thing, Ryan lugs around this ratty old briefcase. This is what I was talking about earlier. Stuffed with 40 pounds of debate study material. You saw Dana Bash. This is what -- little show and tell here as part of this exclusive interview that Dana scored. And Dana's already in Danville, Kentucky, as well, where the debate, as we mentioned, is hours away.

Dana, all right, so you got this -- he has this huge briefcase. So I presume what he's saying there with all this study material is that he's prepared.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he says that that's what he does with everything that he tackles in life, he prepares, prepares, prepares. What's he doing today, you might want to know, in the hours before he actually has this face-off? If you look at a picture -- I think we can put it up on this screen, that he tweeted, he's hanging out with his family. He's got three young children and there's one -- a picture there with his son.

BALDWIN: Here we go.

BASH: His only -- there you go. His only official event was to go into the hall behind me and do a walk-through to kind of get a sense of how the real stage feels before tonight. He's also, of course, this is his reputation, he is exercising, but he's really just mostly relaxing before tonight because, back to your original question, he effectively has been preparing for tonight, Brooke, since he started. Since he was picked as Mitt Romney's running mate.

I mean, they have been working on boning him up on not only on the issues of the day, which generally, you know, he has propelled some of the issue, so he doesn't have to do that, but also on Romney's record, because he has to make sure that those match up, and, of course, on what Joe Biden is going to say. Listen to part of our interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The only other person to debate Joe Biden in a vice president debate is Sarah Palin. Have you called her for advice?

PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I haven't. I don't really know her. I only met her once, and that was about two years ago.

BASH: Would you call her?

RYAN: Sure. Sure.



PALIN: Hey, can I call you Joe?

BIDEN: You can call me Joe.

BASH: She famously, or maybe infamously, said that she wanted to call him Joe, because she kept calling him Joe O'Biden in debate prep.

RYAN: Well, you know, I've known Joe a long time, and so I do call him Joe. He's a --

BASH: So you're not going to say -- oh, so are you going to call him Joe?

RYAN: Well, he knows me as Paul, and I know him as Joe. I don't know. We -- I haven't given much thought to that, to be honest with you. Probably not unless he wants to make a case of it, but we know each other. Actually, we've gotten along quite well over the years. You know, I like Joe personally quite a bit, I just disagree with his policies.


BASH: So he is not included in his debate prep calling the only person to ever actually stand on the vice presidential stage with Joe Biden, that is Sarah Palin. But I also -- it was a good reminder to us that he does know Joe Biden. I covered them for years when they were both serving together in Congress. Of course, they've worked together. Or maybe they've butted heads maybe is a better way to say it since Joe Biden has been vice president up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. So that is a dynamic that we didn't see with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, who really had only met a handful of times.

BALDWIN: So he will be calling him Joe. Dana Bash, great interview, by the way.

BASH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just want to let everyone know, you can watch this entire exclusive interview, Dana Bash interviewing Congressman Paul Ryan tonight. And CNN's debate night in America coverage begins 7:00 p.m. Eastern, followed by the one and only debate here, this is the vice presidential debate, Ryan versus Biden.

Meantime, 14 years old, standing up to the Taliban. Now, the Taliban is claiming responsibility for shooting this teen, putting her in critical condition. In fact, today, former First Lady Laura Bush weighs in.


BALDWIN: That tiny, tiny girl, courageous girl, who terrifies the Taliban is struggling today to recover from their attempt to shoot her into silence. Taliban gunmen hunted down Malala Yousafzai on the bus taking her home from school and shot her point blank. The Taliban accuses the 14-year-old of obscenity because she had the audacity to speak out against their oppression of women. But their effort to silence Malala may have given her words more meaning. I want you to watch what our own Reza Sayah found when he spoke to other children about this young woman in Islamabad.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was Malala Yousufzai's nonstop courage to speak out against the Taliban that first captured the hearts of many of this country's youth.

MALALA YOUSUFZAI: I thought that I must stand up for my rights. The right of education. The right for peace.

SAYAH: Malala was targeted for fighting for girls' education. Now it's her fight to survive that has countless young admirers praying for her in schools throughout Pakistan.

SAYAH (on camera): Did everyone hear about what happened to Malala?

KIDS: Yes.

SAYAH (voice-over): When students at Islamabad's Hadilia school learned militants had shot Malala in the head, they made banners, wrote her letters, demanding the government to do everything to save her.

MARYAM TARIQ, STUDENT: I was really shocked because she was so ambitious. And, like, she is the girl which Pakistani girls should look up to. And now she's been shot, and I pray for her.

SAYAH (on camera): So who in here was inspired with what Malala said and what she did?

MEHVER ISMAIL, STUDENT: To have the courage to actually just go against all that, I think that was quite respectable.

SAYAH: So has anyone here decided to maybe change the way they live their life because of Malala? Anyone? GIREM HASSAN, STUDENT: In our society, it's considered that girls, they don't have rights and they don't get to study. But I think that's completely wrong. We have same rights as men, and we will stand up for our rights and we will go out and encourage all girls to study.

SAYAH: Now, Malala liked to speak up, even though she was in a dangerous situation. How many of you are finding yourselves speaking up more about things that are not right because of Malala?

AILLEYA ZEHRA, STUDENT: Well, I like to -- you know, I want these people that attacked her, and I want them to learn that -- that, you know, women, they're not all bad because they're basically afraid of giving women equal rights because they're afraid of what women can do because they know women can do a lot.

SAYAH: Obviously, Malala has inspired a lot of girls. But boys go to school here. And here's what's remarkable. Malala is inspiring the boys as well.

Does Malala inspire you?

KAMIL AZIZ, STUDENT: Yes, she does.

SAYAH: She does?

AZIZ: Yes.

SAYAH: How so?

AZIZ: A, like, now I won't take advantage of school. I actually want to study. So --

SAYAH: Because of Malala?

AZIZ: Yes.

JAMIL AHMED: What I learned from her is education is the best thing. If you get education, then you will be a better person.

SAYAH (voice-over): Motivated to be better people, work hard, get an education, and the source of their inspiration? A remarkable 14- year-old girl now fighting for her life.


BALDWIN: Reza Sayah, thank you so much.

And I just want to give you one other thing to consider. I want to read to you what former First Lady Laura Bush wrote in this morning's "Washington Post." Here's what she says. "Speaking out after an atrocious act, however, isn't enough. We must speak up before these acts occur, work to ensure that they do not happen again and keep our courage to continue to resist the ongoing cruelty and barbarism of the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai refused to look the other way. We owe it to her courage and sacrifice to do the same." Laura Bush, I agree with you. Yes, the attack in Benghazi became a political circus, but the Obama administration still needs to answer some tough questions. So we're going to ask the President's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, about how Joe Biden will explain it tonight.


BALDWIN: As Congressman Paul Ryan goes up against Vice President Joe Biden tonight, you can bet one topic they will debate, what went down on Libya? Back on September 11th, as you know, these four Americans were killed. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and two security officers, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. A government oversight committee grilled State Department officials and diplomatic security officers for close to four hours yesterday. I want to go to the deputy manager of the Obama campaign, Stephanie Cutter. She is live there at the debate site in Kentucky.

And, Stephanie, welcome back. Good to see you.


BALDWIN: No doubt this has absolutely turned into a political circus, whatever political aisle you're looking at. But how do you explain the mixed messages coming from the administration?

CUTTER: Well, look, you know, the administration has been open and honest from day one about the Benghazi attack. As more information has become available, they've made that information available to the American people and to members of Congress.

But, you know, when a crisis occurs, when an attack occurs, that information is gathered and over time it's becomes more clear what happened. And I think that's the case here.

And, you know, we're here in Kentucky at the site of the vice presidential debate and we're anxious for this actually to come up tonight because Joe biden, the vice president, will be standing on stage with Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan has politicized and made it a political circus all over this country of the terrible tragedy that happened in Libya.

BALDWIN: Stephanie, I have to take you back.

CUTTER: He's not saying exactly what he would do differently than the president and the vice president and I hope he'll explain that to us tonight.

BALDWIN: I think a lot of Americans want explaining from both Biden and perhaps we'll hear answers from Ryan, as well. But I have to be specific when it comes to the administration because that's what I'm asking about and so I'm sure you've seen this.

But I'm going to do this for our viewers. We have put together a montage of administration officials, CNN, ABC, Univision in the two weeks after these four Americans were killed. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Our current best assessment based on the information that we have at present is that, in fact, what this began as was a spontaneous, not a premeditated response to what occurred in Cairo.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans.

JOY BEHAR, HOST, "THE VIEW": It was reported that people just wept crazy and wild because of this anti-Muslim movie or anti-Muhammad I guess movie, but then I heard Hillary Clinton say it was an act of terrorism. Is it, what do you say?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are still doing an investigation. There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault that it wasn't just a mob action.

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It was a terrorist attack because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack on the consulate.


BALDWIN: Stephanie, four days, four days after, you know, people within the president's own administration calling it a terrorist attack. We saw him on "The View." The president asked point blank and he said they're still investigating. How do you explain that?

CUTTER: Well, we are still investigating. In fact, we are today still investigating and, you know, there are two things that as soon as that attack occurred, two things.

One, getting to the bottom of that attack to figure out what happened and bringing those people to justice and that's what the administration is focused on. You know, what you saw there is the administration giving you their best intelligence.

What their best intelligence telling them of what was happening on the ground and had we had any different information we would have put it out. We would have told the American people what we knew and, you know, in terms of the politicization of this, we're at a debate and I hope we get to talk about the debate.

But the entire reason that this has become the, you know, political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It's a big part of their stump speech and it's reckless and irresponsible --

BALDWIN: As we witness the revolution --

CUTTER: It is absolutely national security.

BALDWIN: People in the American -- you know, within the American public absolutely have a right to get answers specifically --

CUTTER: Right, absolutely.

BALDWIN: I do want to get to the debate. I promise. Let's just throw the politics out of it. I want you to hear the words from a mother. This is the mother of Sean Smith.

You know he was the computer specialist at the consulate in Benghazi, father of two. She went on with Anderson Cooper last night and she told our audience she doesn't even know how her son died one month later.


PAT SMITH, MOTHER OF SEAN SMITH: I look at TV and I see bloody handprints on walls. Thinking, my God, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They're still studying it and the things that they are telling me are just outright lies.


BALDWIN: Stephanie, she said, you know, the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, secretary of defense, all came up to her after her son's death and said they'll get to the bottom of this. She cried on the president's shoulder.

Stephanie, I know you're not speaking for the State Department and I know your job to put a lot of spin out there. But how do you explain this to just people, to just Americans 26 days to go who are on the fence who to vote for.

CUTTER: Well, first of all, you're right. I can't speak for the administration. I'm on the other side, I'm on the campaign. My job may be to spin, Ashley, but it's also to put --

BALDWIN: It's Brooke. It's Brooke.

CUTTER: I'm sorry. Brooke, but we put the facts out there every step of the way. I have great sympathy for that mother who lost her son. I don't know about the conversations that have occurred and I do need to leave it to the State Department.

BALDWIN: Let's focus on tonight. Paul Ryan, he sat down with CNN. He sat down with Dana Bash. Gave us a preview from his side of the debate, but we got a rejection from Joe Biden.

I just wanted to ask you why is that, is team Obama afraid, you know, shielding him from the media may make him look less prepared? Why is that?

CUTTER: I'm sorry. I didn't get the actual question.

BALDWIN: So we've been asking for interviews from Vice President Joe Biden. CNN has and we've really not seen him in a sit-down in a couple of months and I'm just curious. Why he hasn't done that? Is there a fear perhaps in a one on one he may appear less prepared?

CUTTER: Well, I think that the vice president has been campaigning across this country and his priority has been talking to the American people on the ground and battleground states and doing battleground TV.

I don't know that he won't do a CNN interview between now and the election. I'm sure they will try to. But his focus has been traveling the country, campaigning on behalf of this president. Getting the message out on the ground and preparing for this debate and we're anxious to have this debate tonight.

BALDWIN: At 9:00 Eastern Time, we'll be watching for it, Stephanie Cutter, deputy manager of the Obama campaign. Thank you. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: She is one lady who saw history in the making at a presidential debate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, tonight's program is unlike any other presidential debate in history.


BALDWIN: Carol Simpson, the very first female debate moderator. So what are her thoughts about tonight's VP debate? Hear it from her directly, she joins me live next.


BALDWIN: Want to show you something. Want to show you this picture. It's a picture from ABC's Martha Raddatz. She tweeted this out earlier this week. You can tell that's sky, that is her.

She's all suited up. She's riding in the back of a jet fighter and she tweets that this trip was a quote/unquote, "good warm- up" for tonight's vice presidential debate.

The veteran foreign affairs correspondent is the moderator for the tonight's highly anticipated and only face-off between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. This will be Raddatz's first high profile debate.

Carole Simpson, she has been there before. She was the first female solo debate moderator back in 1992, presiding over the presidential debate between Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ross Perot.

Carole, welcome back. It is lovely to have you back here. We were talking in the commercial break. You said, you told me you've known Martha for 20-some years. You say she is as tough as they come. How tough, A? And B, as a woman, do you think she feels any extra pressure to bring it?

CAROLE SIMPSON, 1992 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR: You know, Martha is unique in that she has faced down death. She's been in Afghanistan. She's been in Iraq. How scary could Biden and Ryan be to her after the things that she's gone through?

She is a tough, no nonsense. I don't think she's going to lose control of the debate as Jim Lehrer seemed to do during the first presidential debate last week. I think she feels pressure, but that she'll do just fine.

BALDWIN: Carole, I had just yesterday on the show the woman who was first to spar with Paul Ryan in his first major congressional race. He was 27 or 28. Here's what she told me about his debate strategy.


LYDIA SPOTTSWOOD, DEBATED PAUL RYAN IN 1998 (via telephone): What I found was someone who's very, very slick. He was able to really use the debate format basically to his own ends.

He had a tendency to play fast and loose with the format and he'd actually developed an schtick if you will of pretended indignation whenever he didn't like a question and he, you know, he was very evasive. He would often rotate to his own script and completely ignore the moderator.


BALDWIN: So hear these words she is using, Carole, I mean, as a moderator up there, how do you gracefully keep the candidates on point, bring them back on topic when to use Lydia's word, they're evasive?

SIMPSON: I think that the moderator doesn't have to worry about this because Joe Biden will be his rival in the debate and I think Joe Biden's going to do a really good job of trying to keep him on track and on the truth as they would say because he has been kind of stretching some of the facts. And so, I think with Joe Biden there, he's going to keep him on track.

BALDWIN: Come on. These are two politicians. I'm sure they're very adept at, you know, talking around something or attacking and not, you know, hitting straight to the point. What did you do when you found that the candidates back in '92 were doing that?

SIMPSON: I am -- I consider myself a good reporter and spent many years doing that. And covering politicians who know that you will ask them a question and they'll go, well, that's a very good question.

And I'm going to get to that, but let me tell you about such and such. They try to change the subject. And if you are not listening very carefully, you'll forget what the question was that you asked them.

So, I think that, you know, despite their evasion of the questions that Martha is a fabulous reporter and she will know when they're pulling that little trick and get them back to what she wants to know.

BALDWIN: Listen, listen and listen. Best advice ever from Carole Simpson. Carole, thank you so much. We'll check back in with you before the next presidential debate.

Make sure you join us tonight for the one and only vice presidential debate. CNN's debate night in America coverage begins at 7:00 Eastern. Debate two hours later in Danville, Kentucky. Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: With her whole life ahead of her one promising young medical student saw her career come to a painful and terrifying stop. In this week's "Human Factor," Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the obstacle this woman faced and how it changed her destiny.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great, fantastic.

DR. ALYSSA RIEBER, LYNDON B. JOHNSON GENERAL HOSPITAL: I think I always wanted to be a doctor. My dad was a physician and so I would always see him going to work and I was 6 and 7. He was always helping people and so that was my inspiration.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And just three months in to the studies, Dr. Alyssa Rieber said her life changed. Something she was learning about seemed to apply to her.

RIEBER: I had a big tumor here in the middle of the chest.

GUPTA: The diagnosis, Hodgkin's lymphoma. That's a cancer of the immune system.

RIEBER: I then became a patient and 15 years next month and your world just stops. And as a young person, who's getting to live my dream of being a doctor that was very tough.

GUPTA: She knew her prognosis was good and she was prepared for radiation and chemotherapy. With the help of family, friends and fellow students as well as her faith, she fought that cancer and was able to stay in medical school.

She came to Houston as a fellow. She joined the faculty where she began treating patients at the local county hospital. It provides oncology care to the underserved and indigent.

RIEBER: Just so happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

GUPTA: The patients that came to see Rieber are not only seeing a doctor but also a survivor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than first time I was here.

RIEBER: I lived through it, right?


RIEBER: And I'm fine.

GUPTA: Rieber not only runs a survivorship program, last year she became the director of this cancer program.

RIEBER: What have you been able to do?

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


BALDWIN: Sanjay, thank you. Make sure you watch "SANJAY GUPTA M.D." Saturday 4:30 in the afternoon Eastern Time and Sunday morning at 7:30 Eastern.

Coming up, green on blue attacks, we will talk to a man who served as a combat adviser in Afghanistan who had to face the fact that the very soldiers he was training could potentially turn around and kill him.


BALDWIN: Green on blue attacks. That phrase probably meant absolutely nothing to you just a couple of months ago, but then dozens of U.S. troops were gunned down this year by Afghan forces they helped train.

And a veteran who served in Afghanistan says these insider attacks, he says they are nothing new and maybe the U.S. should have re-examined its relationship with Afghanistan a long, long time ago.

He is Brandon Caro. He joins me live from New York. Brandon, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it.


BALDWIN: I read your article earlier in the week from the "Daily Beast," and thought, my goodness. The way you describe it, it's chilling, that these memories you have of the first green on blue attack that you actually heard about back in 2007 as a combat adviser in Afghanistan, can you take me back there and share that?

CARO: OK, so actually where the prison is it's a camp called Black Horse to the Americans. There was an Afghan National Army soldier guarding the outer perimeter checkpoint of the base.

Two soldiers, Colonel Harrison and Master Sergeant Roburto, were shot by the soldier as they were leaving the compound. They both died from their injuries. That was as far as I know the first green on blue attack recorded.

BALDWIN: And as we keep talking about this, I had a father on not too long ago, Brandon, just absolutely heartbroken over his son who died, his Marine son. He was 21.

He was killed on one of these green on blue attacks and he told me, I just want to play a little of the sound. He told that over the phone with his father, his son predicted his own death. Take a listen.


GREG BUCKLEY SR., 21-YEAR-OLD SON WAS SHOT DEAD BY AFGHAN: I'm done inside. They tore my whole heart out. I have a hard time going to bed. I think about him every day, every minute. His brothers kill me when I look at them because they're hurt.

His mom is hurt so bad. But they didn't just take my son. They destroyed my family and I don't want another family to feel the pain I'm feeling. I don't want to see another family out there se their son being brought back on a plane and being rolled off a plane in a box.

This boy should have been protected inside a military base. We're training people and my son said, we're training people that are going to turn the weapons on us and kill us.


BALDWIN: It's tough to listen to that interview, but I thought it was important to replay it. It hits home I think part of your point. You had similar experiences.

You figured out quickly that these Afghan soldiers you were training, Brandon, could be, you know, a potential threat and they might turn around and kill you and you talk specifically about cell phones. Why were cell phones such a big clue?

CARO: Well, when we would go out on patrols or convoys, we would have to line up the ANA soldiers and take their phones away because we didn't trust them not to inform on us to Taliban or al Qaeda operatives, whomever.

BALDWIN: Didn't trust them even though you're training them. You had to take their phones away.

CARO: We had to take their phones away. This was as early as 2007. By the time I got there in 2006, this was already policy.

BALDWIN: So what about now? Because our troops have been in Afghanistan for a decade, why -- CARO: Right.

BALDWIN: Why are these insider attacks on the rise now? I don't know if it's a cultural thing. What's changed?

CARO: Well, that's the interesting question. Why are the attacks on the rise now? Because we've been working hand in hand with the Afghans for over 10 years so why now are we seeing this sudden rise in deaths? Does it have anything to do with the scheduled withdrawal of troops in 2014 of American forces and how the Afghan national army soldiers, what they're going to do when the Americans leave?

Are they trying to set themselves up potentially with whomever is going to be in control of the country? Because we know it's not going to be us. And it's -- there's going to be a real power struggle I feel after the Americans leave in 2014.

BALDWIN: Brandon, what about this debate tonight? We're going to be hearing from Paul Ryan and Joe Biden. And, you know, any kind of question, foreign policy, domestic policy, et cetera, can be thrown at them.

What do you want to hear from them? How should we be protecting our troops?

CARO: That's a great question.

And I don't have the answer, because here's the position we're in. We have to -- per our mission, we have to prepare these forces as best we can before we leave the country and in order to do that we have to put people in harm's way. But at the same time, we have to protect our men and women in uniform.

We can't put them in positions where they could be sabotaged, attacked from behind. It just is not fair and it is not right. It's one thing to tell a platoon of Marines to take this hill even if there are machine guns on the hill. It's quite another thing to tell that same platoon to train up a bunch of soldiers that could very likely turn the weapons on them.

BALDWIN: Like what happened with Greg Buckley Jr.

CARO: Exactly what happened with Greg Buckley Jr., with Colonel Harrison, with Master Sergeant Roberto . I think the number is at 53 for the year so far.

BALDWIN: Brandon, sadly, I think this conversation will have to continue here. Brandon Caro, I hope you join me again. We will wait and see what Ryan and Biden may say about this tonight. I appreciate it.

CARO: Thanks for having me.