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Final Stretch for Presidential Campaign; Interview With Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Aired October 23, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And with just two weeks to go, the presidential race is now laser-focused on a handful of battleground states and undecided voters. Obviously, it's too early to tell whether last night's debate moved the needle for either campaign. We do know both men kept the fact-checkers busy all night, and through today, even this evening.

For Governor Romney's part, he surprised a lot of the estimated 59 million people who watched the debate by spending a lot of the night agreeing with President Obama.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should have been a status of forces agreement and I concurred in that and said that we should have some number of troops that stayed on. That was something I concurred with.

I believe as the president indicated and said at the time, that I supported his action there.

I want to underscore the same point the president made.

I couldn't agree more about going forward but I certainly don't want to go back to the policies of the last four years.


COOPER: Well, there was one of those agreements, in particular, about withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan that got our attention. Watch.


ROMNEY: Well, we're going to be finished by 2014, and when I'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.


COOPER: "Keeping Him Honest," though, when Governor Romney was entering the presidential race in June of 2011, he was saying just the opposite, in fact, slamming President Obama's timetable for leaving Afghanistan. Listen.


ROMNEY: Announcing a withdrawal date, that was wrong. The Taliban may not have watches but they do have calendars.


COOPER: President Obama called Romney out last night on this point, accusing him of shifting his foreign policy positions. Romney didn't disagree with the president and that in it of itself might be the most interesting part of all.

As for President Obama, most post-debate polls including CNN showed he had a good night. The question is, will it give his campaign new momentum and we can't say one way or the other for sure. Which made what the Obama campaign did this morning all the more curious. At about 10: 00 a. m. , they unveiled this 20-page glossy pamphlet that it says describes his plan to move the economy forward.

It's got a fancy title, "The New Economic Patriotism, A Plan for Jobs and Middle Class Security." The campaign says 3. 5 million copies are being printed.

But "Keeping Them Honest," there are actually no new proposals in the pamphlet. It's basically a repackaging of the proposals President Obama has previously announced on subjects from energy to education. And the campaign was clearly responding to criticism that the president hasn't laid out a clearer second-term agenda.

By putting out this pamphlet with no new ideas or information he's opened himself up to attacks by Republicans who say, well, it's just more of the same.

Joining me to break it all out is national political correspondent Jim Acosta, who's traveling with the Romney campaign in Henderson, Nevada, chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is with the president and Vice President Biden in Dayton, Ohio, and chief national correspondent John King, who's in the key battleground state of Virginia tonight.

So, Jessica, by most accounts, I mean, most of the polls, the president came away from last night's debate the winner but it's not clear what kind of boost it's actually going to give him out on the campaign trail. How is the campaign feeling about the performance last night and about things today?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you want the campaign talking points, what they're saying is that last night was about strength and the president showed it. But the bottom line was the president did not disqualify Mitt Romney in last night's debate. He didn't knock him out of the commander-in-chief ranks and so there was no game-changing moment. I hate that phrase but that's really what that was about. So the race continues today sort of where it was before the debate, and they're grinding it out. The president beginning on a major battleground state tour, where he's really pummeling his message, which is a twofold message. One, to turn out his base and get as many votes as he can possibly, because he needs that enthusiasm to be as high as possible, and two, to really drum up early voting turnout because the early vote is the vote the campaign thinks that they have more control over.

So the campaign doing what it can to really grind this out, very different kind of campaign than four years ago.

COOPER: Yes. As we talked about it, Jessica, though, the president released this brochure laying out proposals for a second term. Little new in it. Is the campaign trying to kind of sell it as something new?

YELLIN: Right, my Vanna White moment.

No, here's the brochure. They are not actually trying to sell it as something new, Anderson. What this is really about is offering something to undecided voters who are kind of tuning into the campaign for the first time, focusing right now, and who might be paying attention to newscasts like ours and hearing pundits say the president isn't offering any details or any specifics.

Well, you know, you write it down and it becomes specific, they can point to the fact that here he's saying that he's offering to create a million new jobs by 2016. A new -- 100,000 new math and science teachers, cut -- foreign oil imports in half by 2020. Now these are things he talked about at the Democratic convention but he's committing to them in paper here.

COOPER: Jim, in talking with their team today, what if anything are they saying about kind of the agreeable tone the governor seemed to strike last night, agreeing with the president on a lot of stuff?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, they painted that as sort of a sign of bipartisanship coming from the former Massachusetts governor, that it is kind of a good thing for an opponent to agree with an incumbent president from time to time and they don't think that's such a bad thing. They sort of look at last night's debate, Anderson, if you'll pardon the McDonald's reference here, as a McBLT. While the president was hot on one side, he was staying cool, Mitt Romney was, for his part, not going after the president in response to all of his attacks last night.

But more importantly, the campaign believes that Mitt Romney passed the commander-in-chief test as one of the best outcomes in their minds after all three of these debates. And in terms of the strategy looking forward, Anderson, I have to tell you we heard a little bit of that earlier this afternoon when we heard Mitt Romney sort of claiming the momentum coming out of these debates. That might not be exactly the case.

The president also had a good night as Jessica mentioned. But they're going to claim it anyway. And as for that glossy handbook from the president, the Romney campaign is calling that a glossy panic button. COOPER: John, you're in northern Virginia, an area critical to the president's win in that state back in 2008. It appears Virginia might be even closer this time, possibly even leaning toward Governor Romney. Is it all going to be about voter turnout there?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Here and in most of the other battleground states. This state now, both campaigns acknowledge roughly a dead heat plus or minus a point or two, either way. More momentum for Governor Romney in the sense that if you go back to before the first debate, and Anderson, this is true in all nine of our tossup battleground states, Governor Romney is in a stronger position today than he was before the first debate.

Now has that momentum flat-lined out a little bit? The Obama campaign says yes. The Romney campaign says there's still a little bit of a tilt in Romney's favor. That's what the next 14 days will be about. But turning out the vote is critical for both campaigns. If you stop by any of the offices here, you see people on the phones, as Jessica noted, the Obama campaign trying to put an emphasis on early voting.

But if you go state by state, Anderson, including here, Republicans say Democrats are getting more early votes in most states, but the Republicans are doing a lot better than they did in 2008. That's a key barometer for them but in the end here, we'll watch where they spend their TV money, we'll watch where the planes come down and on the ground the intensity is all geared toward finding voters.

If you can get them out early, especially if they're less reliable voters like young voters, African-Americans, inner city urban voters, the Obama campaign trying to get them out early. But GOTV is the name of the game for the next 13 plus days.

COOPER: And, John, the -- a lot of Republicans are trying to paint some of President Obama's comments last night as anti-Navy, saying he insulted the Navy by talking about bayonets. Factually, I don't know how that leap of logic occurs. I'm going to talk to the Virginia governor about it shortly as well as the former secretary of the Navy and Fareed Zakaria.

But are you hearing that on the ground about how that's playing? Because obviously a lot going on in Virginia with naval production.

KING: There's no question the Romney campaign thinks it gives them a bit of an edge here. Governor Romney will be back here in a couple of days and one of his stops is down in the southern part of the state, the Norfolk area, where you have heavy military presence, big Navy ports there.

I talked to Gerry Connolly. He's a Democratic congressman in this area, northern Virginia, and he said come on, Virginians are smart enough to know, there's a big high-tech industry here, that modernization, higher technology, better technology, smaller, meaner and leaner is fine, but other -- privately some other Democrats say, boy, you know, the president might have had a snarky line there but it could hurt him just a little bit in Virginia. And Anderson, with things so close, just a little bit sometimes matters.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. And, Jessica, last night we saw the president kind of using a tone that you say you've seen popping up in the campaign trail, sarcasm, then kind of a softer, more neutral tone. Who is he using that to appeal to at this point?

YELLIN: Right. He's vacillating between this snark as John called it or sarcasm and then what you call the neutrality. And it's because he's going for this two-pronged energizing the base and appealing to the undecided voters. And so that sarcasm, that snark, when he talks about Romnesia, and he's doubling down on that story line, that is to energize the base, I think, really get out those voters who are part of the Democratic machine, or, you know, can be driven by the anti-Romney sentiments, and so that's one message.

And then he has to switch gears and try to sell the pamphlet and be sort of more neutral to get out those undecided voters who are still wavering and don't like that snark. And so it's a fine line he has to walk and really what he's doing is flipping from one tone to another all day long. And even within the same speech -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim, the president is certainly holding a lead in Ohio but Governor Romney obviously needs that state in his column as well.

ACOSTA: He absolutely does, Anderson. And as John was talking about earlier, you know, this whole notion of getting out the vote, it is critical for this campaign. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are in Colorado right now and en route to that state, we heard Kevin Madden with the Romney campaign talking about swing counties, Arapahoe County and Jefferson County in Colorado.

And you could -- you could be sure that they're doing the same thing in Ohio, looking at swing counties across the state of Ohio, ones they can flip to Mitt Romney's column. But there's something else going on with the state of Ohio, Anderson. And that is this op- ed that Mitt Romney wrote about letting Detroit go bankrupt in the "New York Times." That has come back to haunt him big time in that state because it's so heavily dependent on the auto industry.

The Romney campaign is now in the process of trying to explain to voters that Mitt Romney, and this is what they're saying, would have supported some kind of government assistance to the car companies coming out of the bankruptcy process. Now that is not the story that we have heard throughout the course of this campaign.

Rick Santorum went after Mitt Romney for opposing the car bailout back during the primaries but Mitt Romney was able to close the gap with the senator and win in Ohio in the primary process. The question is whether or not he can do that again. It is going to be a very tough sales pitch to make -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Jessica Yellin and John King, thank you. We've got a lot more in politics ahead. Let me know what you think about where the race is right now. Follow me on Twitter, @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

Up next, more on the catch phrases from last night's debate that got a lot of people talking.


OBAMA: Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.


COOPER: Horses and bayonets. President Obama firing back at Mitt Romney, who says there's not enough U.S. Navy ships. The governor of Virginia, a Republican, is siding with Mitt Romney in a big way, saying that President Obama was actually insulting Navy personnel with his statement. Obviously, Virginia, his state is home to the largest naval station in the world.

We check the number of U.S. Navy ships. And what we discovered, well, it may actually surprise you -- when we continue.


COOPER: Well, first it was Big Bird, then it was binders full of women. Now the debate catch phrase creating the biggest buzz today, horses and bayonets, that came from President Obama last night after Governor Mitt Romney raised his concerns about the U.S. Navy. Watch.


OBAMA: I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example. And that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.


COOPER: Well, Republicans are firing back today, especially Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia. His state obviously is a key battleground in the race for the White House. Also home to the world's largest naval station in Norfolk and a massive shipbuilding operation in Hampton Roads.

Governor McDonnell released a statement through the Romney campaign saying -- quote -- "Unfortunately, President Obama's dismissive comments about the Navy tonight should be concerning for any voter who cares about the safety and security of Americans at home and abroad. President Obama has not only ignored these concerns but his flippant comment about horses and bayonets was an insult to every sailor who's put his or her life on the line for our country."

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell joins me now.

Governor, thanks very much for being with us. You say that the president's comments on horses and bayonets was -- quote -- "an insult to every sailor who's put his or her life on the line for our country." That's been a talking point I have heard from Romney surrogates today but how exactly was President Obama insulting members of our Navy by pointing out that military weapons and technology have changed and changed for the better?

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: Anderson, that's not the way we heard it in Virginia. I mean, this is the home of the United States Navy, the great Norfolk Naval Base, home of the Pentagon. And what I heard him say is that shipbuilding and the use of ships is sort of going the way of horses and bayonets is the way we understood it. And that's just flat not the case.

We're down to 287 ships or so, Anderson, right now. The "Quadrennial Defense Review" and the Department of the Defense says we need 346 ships. And so we're already way under the number of ships and the president didn't seem to indicate that was very important. And so from a readiness standpoint and I think equally important for Virginia, especially Hampton Roads, Virginia, and swing states like Florida, New Hampshire and Virginia, to lose what's estimated to be 200,000 jobs in Hampton Roads and around the state because of these defense cuts, $1 trillion over the next 10 years, with sequestration.

That's how that comment is being received in Virginia and obviously we're not very happy about it.

COOPER: Just factually speaking, though, Governor Romney's comments that the Navy is at its lowest point since 1916 is also just factually false. I mean, you're well aware that under President Bush the Navy was actually smaller and that surface warships under President Obama have gone up 10 percent.

MCDONNELL: The broader point is -- I don't know how many times we dip below 1916 but there is a broader point, Anderson, and that is if the Defense Department says in their "Quadrennial Review" which is the bible that we need 346 ships and today we've only got 287, and the president at least infers that whether it's technology or anything else, that we still don't need any more, that's factually incorrect.

COOPER: But we're actually building more ships.

MCDONNELL: And protecting American strength around the world that we do need more ships and that's the point.

COOPER: Right. But we're actually building more ships and again, I mean, just factually, under President Bush, in 2007 there were 278 ships. Right now there's 285 ships. And we already are projected to build -- I think get over 300 in the next seven years. So just factually just not correct.

MCDONNELL: Well, here's the most important fact that came out last night, is that we have the sequestration defense cuts that the president said was not his idea. Bob Woodward discredited that. It did come from the -- from the White House. And that 10 -- I mean, $1 trillion in defense cuts, Anderson, over 10 years, Leon Panetta, his own secretary of defense, says is devastating. Mitt Romney made that point last night. And so we need a cut in defense, we need a cut in all areas, but in a time of war, to have half of the cuts fall on the defense part -- department is crippling to the U.S. Navy and it's really bad for Virginia as well as for Florida and New Hampshire.

So I think there's a lot of concern about the president's approach which frankly seems a little callous towards the need to have a strong military project defense power around the world.

COOPER: But didn't Paul Ryan vote for those cuts, though?

MCDONNELL: Well, listen, a lot of people did because you know what the alternative was? Default of the greatest nation on earth and not paying our obligations and at the eve of default, people said that's a better alternative but, Anderson, it was supposed to be a hammer, not a policy. And the -- the super committee was supposed to fix the problem, as you remember. They failed and my point is, the president should have led and listened to Secretary Panetta and said we can't have $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years at a time of war.

He didn't do it. So I do blame him for not leading and the biggest issue besides jobs really is the readiness of the military and this isn't going to do it.

COOPER: But I guess I just didn't hear a lot of Republicans complaining about the size of the Navy under President Bush when it was actually lower than it is now and actually lower than it was in 1916, to the point of Governor Romney.

MCDONNELL: Well, I don't think we had sequestration piled on top of that which was $1 trillion on top of that. So while there may be some ships that are in the pipeline now, Anderson, there's no way to be able to get to the needs that the Department of Defense said another 62 ships to be able to meet the missions of the United States.

I mean, it's an increasingly dangerous world. We're recovering from the Arab Spring with uncertainty in the Mideast. We've got -- we're closer to a nuclear Iran. I think we've got strained relations with Israel. There's a lot of things right now I think that are of great concern and I agree with you, listen, President Obama didn't inherit some of the problems that he's got -- inherited some of the problems that he's got. Inherited some of the problem he's got. He didn't create them.

But he's made it worse, whether it's job creation, whether it's the debt or whether it's the strain on the U.S. military. I haven't seen progress in the last four years and that's why I think we'll have a new president.

COOPER: Governor Bob McDonnell, appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being on.

MCDONNELL: OK. Thanks, Anderson. COOPER: Let's "Dig Deeper" now.

Joining me now is Richard Danzig, the national security adviser for the Obama campaign and former secretary of the U.S. Navy in the Clinton administration. Also with me is Fareed Zakaria, CNN world affairs analyst and host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" here on CNN.

Mr. Secretary, you just heard Governor McDonnell. What's your response to what he said? Do you believe that people are rightly interpreting this as President Obama insulting the folks who are serving the Navy?

RICHARD DANZIG, OBAMA CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't believe people are interpreting it that way, and they wouldn't be right if they did. I think it's an extraordinary stretch. First you have the stretch of the analogy itself which says that we're -- our Navy now can be compared and is in some ways supposed to be weaker than the Navy of 1916. And that's just crazy. Nobody believes that.

It's, second, not factually accurate as you point out. The smallest Navy we've had before this came under the Bush administration and the Obama administration has grown that Navy. And third, if you accepted all those things, you ought to recognize as well that while the Bush administration has been committed to reduction in many of those people who were advisers to President Bush also were advisers to Governor Romney, those same people are now complaining about a Navy in which President Obama has increased the number of ships and has plans for bringing those ships above 300 and has budgeted for that.

It's, I think, not a plausibly defensible position so to distract from it, then the proponents of that position go out and say well, what about sequestration? In the future, things will get worse. But in fact, in the future, the president has said he's not in favor of sequestration. He will oppose it. He was very clear about that in the context of the debates, and we have Congressman Ryan, as you pointed, out voting for it. In fact, a majority of Republicans in the House voting for it.

So I think the effort is one which undercuts the reality. The reality is we have the strongest Navy in the world by far. It's bigger than the next 13 navies put together and 11 of those are allies of ours and we're spending in an intelligent way to make that Navy yet stronger, and that's basically unassailable position, assailed only by throwing up a lot of smoke, dust and distraction.

COOPER: Fareed, what do you think about this? Would increasing the number of ships dramatically change our ability to fight al Qaeda against Iran?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: You know, the whole thing is absurd, frankly. This is one -- one that's meant to try to find, you know, kind of good points on either side. The Romney campaign is simply using this for political reasons.

The fundamental point that Obama was making is actually one that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld kept making to the generals when he came to office, which is that technological advances over the last 20 or 30 years mean you have to think about things differently and the point Obama was making at the debate was, you know, one ship is different from another ship. In other words, the question is not how many ships you have, but what kind of ships.

COOPER: Right. Back in 1916 we had torpedo boats, there were monitors and, you know, other smaller vessels.

ZAKARIA: Would you rather build five frigates or one more aircraft carrier? An aircraft carrier has kind of amazing power projection capacity. We have 11. The rest of the world -- I mean, China is getting its first one which is a secondhand Ukrainian, you know, nonfunctional aircraft carrier that they're retrofitting. So if you think about the technological capacity of a ship, really honestly, it doesn't really matter how many you have.

The fundamental point is the one Richard Danzig made, which is we have a Navy that is larger and more effective than the next 13 put together. You know, this is an extraordinary -- we are in a situation where 15 years ago we were spending about 30 percent of global defense expenditure. We now spend half of global defense expenditure. There is simply no conceivable way you can make the case that we have a military that is not adequate to the security needs out there.

COOPER: Also the power of ships today is exponentially greater than it was even 20 years ago.

ZAKARIA: Exponentially greater and you've got to ask yourself, you know, would you rather have one ship that you can launch cruise missiles off, incredibly valuable, or would you rather have three, you know, small destroyers. It's easy. You know it's not -- it's not a -- it's not a question of how many you have.

COOPER: The flip side of that argument is if one is taken out during a combat operation, then you -- then having others would be advantageous.

ZAKARIA: You need -- you need a critical mass presence for two reasons. One, for that and the second is you've got to be in many places at the same time.

COOPER: Right.

ZAKARIA: But remember, we're talking about 300 ships. And again, as Richard was saying, more than the next 13 navies put together.

DANZIG: The flip side is if you put out a large number of ships, you need to maintain them, you need to protect them. If you have people at risk in numerous ships in numerous places, that complicates in some ways your strategic problem. You want strong bastions, strong ships that are capable, and that's what we have.

COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, thank you. Secretary Danzig, thank you very much.

DANZIG: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, more on the election tonight, body language also speaking volumes in last night's debate. It isn't just the candidates' words that may swing voters' opinions. We're going to look beyond the zingers and break it all down ahead on 360.


COOPER: Uncommitted voters up for grabs and under scrutiny -- one is also under attack by conservatives for the question that she asked at that town hall debate, what she thinks of the campaign now against her -- ahead on 360.


COOPER: This year's debates are proving to be some of the most closely watched moments of the presidential race. Both President Obama and Governor Romney are learning some tough lessons on how quickly the wrong words can change the momentum of the entire race.

But last night, voters also kept an eye, of course, on how the candidates looked, how they -- how they said what they said. Gary Tuchman talked to body language expert Jeanine Driver, author of the book "You Can't Lie to Me." Here's her take on some of the most heated moments.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's greeting. What does this tell you?

JEANINE DRIVER, BODY LANGUAGE EXPERT: We're looking for the pats here. When you shake hands and you get that extra pat in, it's a pat of power. It says, "Good boy, good boy." We saw four with the president. I think three or four with Mitt Romney right there.

TUCHMAN: During the debate, one thing we kept noticing the entire hour and a half was Mitt Romney kept a perpetual smile on his face while Barack Obama was talking. When Mitt Romney was talking, Obama generally looked serious. What does that tell you about his smile?

DRIVER: We saw the same exact behavior in the first debate, Gary, and I have to say, it's unbecoming. It doesn't really work. And I'll tell you why. When we're talking about what's going on in the Middle East or we're talking about threats to the United States of America, that's when the smile should disappear. And when that smirk stays there, it could potentially lose those undecided voters: hey, is this guy going to take this serious?

TUCHMAN: But isn't he trying to be polite to his opponent by having this pleasant look on his face?

DRIVER: Listen, the president, and I'm an undecided voter, I've got to say, so this is important for me. The president, his smiles will come and go, and he'll get serious. When you have a permanent smile on like we see right here, it comes across as fake and contrite, and it will hurt your message.

TUCHMAN: A very important part of your research is what you call a baseline, what a person usually does. When Barack Obama was talking about Libya, you say he did something different than his baseline. Let's look at it for a second.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's keep the American people safe, and that's what we've done over the last four years.

TUCHMAN: You're saying that he's tilting his head. What does that mean?

DRIVER: He's tilting his head. Look at the difference in white space over here versus over here. We have all this white space. His head is tilted at this diagonal. And this is really important for us. Why? When you give an important message, your head should be on straight. It should be literally in the middle of your shoulders. She or he has a good head on her shoulders.

TUCHMAN: While both men were talking about Russia, you noticed something about Mitt Romney's face. Tell me.

DRIVER: I want you to look at right there. His nose and his mouth. His nose just wrinkled. There it is. The nose and the lip wrinkled together. This is what's called a micro-expression of disgust. It happens in a 15th of a second.

We have seven emotions that show up on our face. They're called universal emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger, contempt and disgust. When it comes to body language or reading people, the only scientific belief and proven gestures are these seven universal emotions. Doesn't matter if you're a man, a woman. Doesn't matter if you're 77, 7, doesn't matter if you're born in Russia or Chicago. They will show up exactly on our face the same exact way. That is disgust.

What we don't know is what does it mean? Where is the catalyst?

TUCHMAN: Jeanine, I'm learning brand-new things today. While Barack Obama was talking about Egypt, Mitt Romney did something you think was notable. Let's watch.

OBAMA: So we are going to make sure that we finish the job. That's part of the reason why the Libyans stand with us. But we did so...

TUCHMAN: His tongue came out. Why is that at all unusual?

DRIVER: His tongue came out. Now, here's the deal. It could be part of a baseline if you're a baseball player, and you're up there, you've got chew in your mouth. He doesn't have chew in his mouth. It's an indicator of an increase in stress and anxiety. They're called tongue protrusions.

It's almost like a newborn baby. You feed them, you know, some creamed spinach. They don't like it, they push it out. Same thing, as adults when we don't like what we're hearing or what's happening and transpiring in front of us, we'll do a tongue protrusion. Think of kids. What do they do? Nah, nah-nah, nah-nah.

TUCHMAN: When Mitt Romney was talking about Egypt, you feel that Barack Obama did something notable with his face.

DRIVER: He does. The president literally lifts his chin back up, which is his baseline move. Throughout most of the debate his head is tilted. When he begins listening, what's happening is Mitt Romney says, "I agreed with the president." Boom, look at that chin. Up it comes. This is the president's baseline. In this moment, he's not a man running for president. He is the president.

TUCHMAN: We've learned to watch the hellos and the good-byes very closely when it comes to body language in debates. Something very interesting, though, happened at the end of this debate when it was all over, when they got up. Barack Obama made a hand motion. Tell me about that.

DRIVER: Right here. Right here. There it is. That hand gesture is he's telling Mitt Romney "I'll meet you up front."

TUCHMAN: So he pointed to up front.

DRIVER: Yes. Literally points to Mitt Romney and says, "I'll meet you up front."

TUCHMAN: What does that mean?

DRIVER: Well, what this means is in sales, when I teach to sales people, this is called leading. The president is saying, "I'm currently still the power position here. I'm the one calling the shots. I'll meet you up front."

TUCHMAN: You told me something earlier that I did not notice last night. When Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were talking to Mitt Romney's family, Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney's son, who had made a comment "I want to smack Barack Obama," puts his arm behind Barack Obama's back.

DRIVER: And he does it camera side so we see it, and now watch what's going to happen. This is like owning the president right here. The president is going to maneuver. He's in a difficult position, but he's going to get a couple smacks back. Bam. There it is. He's like, "Listen, I'm still the president. Simmer down." Look what happens here, though. Look it. Tagg right here, now fixes his pants and gives him this broadside display.

TUCHMAN: Maybe his belt's not tight enough.

DRIVER: That may be. But it's interesting timing. This is a sense of pride. This is a body language gesture with pride. It's like a cowboy. It's like he said, "Dad, I got a smack in."

TUCHMAN: And those are the last things we remember from the debate.

DRIVER: That's what we saw.


COOPER: Up next, her question triggered one of the most heated exchanges of the town-hall debate and led to Romney's comments about binders full of women. Katherine Fenton is her name. She found herself in the middle of a political firestorm for asking the question. She talks about the fallout and whether she's still an undecided voter, ahead.


COOPER: Well, the number of meningitis cases tops 300, and the FDA expands its warning about the latest deadly outbreak. What you need to know, ahead.


COOPER: Well, it isn't just the candidates and moderators taking heat for their debate performance. So is Katherine Fenton. Now, you may not remember her name, but she's the undecided voter who asked a question that results in one of the most memorable exchanges in the second, the town-hall-style debate.


KATHERINE FENTON, UNDECIDED VOTER: In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace? Specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?


COOPER: Well, that led to Governor Romney's binders full of women comment. Since the debate, Fenton has become a target of anger coming from the right. Randi Kaye spoke to her about that fallout and what she thought of last night's debate.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This 24-year-old undecided voter never imagined that a simple nonpartisan question would make her a target of vicious attacks by conservatives. Yet, by the time the candidates finished answering her question, the Twitterverse and the blogosphere knew the name Katherine Fenton.

(on camera) Could you see the political divide in the comments on your question?

FENTON: Easily.

KAYE (voice-over): Conservative author Matthew Vadum took to Twitter immediately with this: "Katherine Fenton, questioner, brings up the Feminazi leftist lie that women don't get paid equally." And conservative commentator Michelle Malkin tweeted, "Softball: #ladypartstool Katherine Fenton asks Obama how he will rectify gender pay disparities."

(on camera) How did it feel to be called by a woman a lady parts tool?

FENTON: She should be ashamed of herself. That's awful. You know, we're one and the same. I'm standing up there trying to make a point that ultimately is working in her favor, and for her to say things like that, I think is really irresponsible and you know, again, hurtful.

KAYE (voice-over): Conservatives have long downplayed the gender pay gap. Some have suggested men work more hours in higher paying jobs. Katherine, who still hasn't decided who to vote for, doesn't buy that.

FENTON: If it were a man asking, it would be because, "Oh, I have the best interests of women in mind and I love my daughter and I love my wife," but because I asked it, suddenly I'm, you know, this monster that has all these crazy ideas in her head.

KAYE: By the morning after the debate, conservatives were all riled up. A smear campaign was in full swing. And all things Katherine Fenton were fair game.

And not just on Twitter. The conservative publication "Free Beacon" printed this article. Written anonymously, the article suggested Katherine's Twitter account revealed she liked to get "wet" at happy hour and that "purple Joose" was her choice to get blackout drunk.

FENTON: A lot of what they found was taken out of context. That's why I felt no need to even defend it or address it, because they're inside jokes. I'm 24. Yes, I drink. That's legal. Yes, I have had boyfriends. All of that seems pretty normal to me.

KAYE (on camera): Any regret in asking that question?

FENTON: Zero. I would do it again if I had the chance.

KAYE (voice-over): What angers her most, though, is that those attacking her don't know anything about her. She's a teacher. Her parents are ultra-conservative, she says, and she's a registered independent who voted for Republican John McCain in 2008.

This year, she's having a hard time choosing a candidate, because she wants more specifics. She likes Obama care, because it's allowed her to stay on her parents' health insurance, but she also likes Romney's business sense. At 24, she's focused more on social issues than tax cuts and foreign policy.

FENTON: I want to know where you would like to see the country go, but I also want to know how you intend to get there. KAYE: And unfortunately, debate No. 3 didn't get Katherine Fenton the answers she needs, leaving her wondering still who to vote for.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, both campaigns are fighting hard to win over uncommitted voters like Katherine Fenton. With just two weeks to go before election day, what's it going to take to win them over?

Back with us, chief national correspondent John King. Let's also bring in chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

So Gloria, aside from the ordeal that this woman went through after asking that question, what does it tell you that this young woman is still uncommitted?

BORGER: Well, we women are gatherers, Anderson. We like to get all the information we can before we make a decision. Historically, women are late deciders.

And I was talking to some Republican pollsters today just about these undecided voters and he said he prefers to call them fluctuators, because he believes they originally liked one candidate, then went to another and may be heading back toward another candidate. And I think that that's what you saw with her.

You know, she voted Republican in 2008. And she's looking at the social issues, which by the way, a lot of women also vote on social issues. So it's clear to me that that's -- that that's kind of important.

COOPER: John, there is a point of semantics. I mean, there is a difference between undecided and uncommitted. It isn't just semantics, right?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And a lot of people who are independents are actually soft Republicans or soft Democrats who don't want to be affiliated with the party. So we have to be careful in the language we use here.

There are some people who are truly undecided, who say on this day "I don't know who I'm going to vote for." There are other people that, if you press them, if the election were today, what would you do? And they do know, but they're still persuadable.

I had a lunchtime conversation today with a gentleman here in Northern Virginia. Voted for Obama last time, agrees with the president that the wealthy should pay more as part of deficit reduction package. But he says, you know, where are the jobs and the guy's disappointed me in so many ways. Truly undecided voter. They're hard to find, though, Anderson. Most people by now have made up their mind.

COOPER: Are they grouped in one part of the country? Do we see them in some places more than others?

KING: I don't think so. I think you find them, if you look at the polling, there's a larger percentage in some states, larger than others.

What's interesting to me is what the campaigns are doing to try to get them. You see this mix of old and new. You know, obviously, the advertisements are aimed at people, but people say they're turned off by that.

The campaigns are using direct mail, but they know everything about you now. The campaigns have bought every piece of data about every voter out there.

So you're getting a more specific, more customized direct mail piece. If you're a union member, they have a union member call you. If you're an evangelical, they have an evangelical call you. As Gloria knows, if you're a woman, a suburban woman, they try to have somebody like you call you so it's not just somebody on the other end of the phone. That's part of the effort to get a little bit more personal, try to win them over at the end.

COOPER: Is that microtargeting?

KING: You could call it microtargeting. You could call it smart targeting. You could call it up close and personal with -- the old- fashioned way with somebody from your neighborhood, somebody from your workplace, somebody from your church or from your community. That's quite old-fashioned.

But they use the highest technology and the newest technology to almost know exactly what you're thinking, what are your questions when they call to ask for your vote.

COOPER: Gloria, it does seem like we heard maybe a closing argument from President Obama today. He said quote, "There is no more serious issue than trust." How potent an argument with undecided, uncommitted voters is that?

BORGER: You know, it's a potent argument with all voters. As the point in the campaign where you go negative, you saw all the negative ads over the summer.

And now what you're seeing is in both campaigns, trying to say OK, this is the deal closer, and it's all about character. I think you saw that in the debate last night. It's all about who do you trust.

Our friend Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, always likes to say to me it's about giving your keys to the car to somebody. Who do you trust to drive you? And that's -- you know, so it's very important, it will be important to that voter you highlighted just before, but it's important to all voters.

Let me say one thing about swing voters that's so interesting, these undecided voters. I was reading an analysis today which said that in six key swing states, we may be talking about fewer than a million undecided voters, and those are the people these candidates are trying to appeal to right now.

COOPER: It's getting down to the wire, 14 days. John King, Gloria Borger, thanks.

Still ahead, new information about Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s health. Why he's going back to the hospital where he got treatment next.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. I'm Susan Hendricks. More from Anderson in a moment. But first, a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

A federal criminal investigation has been launched into the practices at the New England Compounding Center. That is the facility linked to the meningitis outbreak that has grown to 308 cases and 23 deaths nationwide. Meanwhile, health officials report black flecks tentatively identified as fungus were found in steroid vials returned to the center.

Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. returned to Mayo Clinic today for a follow-up evaluation. Jackson is being treated for depression and bipolar disorder. He has been on leave of absence from Congress since June.

Jerry Sandusky has been transferred to a Pennsylvania state prison. He will be evaluated to determine where he will serve his 30- year sentence for sexually abusing ten boys. The former Penn State assistant coach is appealing his conviction.

On Wall Street, the Dow slid 243 points to a seven-week low. The S&P and NASDAQ also posted sharp declines. Now, the sell-off was prompted by weak earnings reports.

And Apple revealed the iPad mini with a 7.9-inch screen and starting price of $329. The tinier tablet is designed to compete with the iPad 7 in trials. We'll see how it does -- Anderson.

COOPER: Susan, thanks.

We all know that Honey Boo-Boo's endorsement of President Obama is the only celebrity opinion that matters, but another razor-sharp political mind was following last night's debate in real time. Brace yourself for some Twitter wisdom. The "RidicuList" is next.


COOPER: Oh, it's time for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we are adding political pundits everywhere. This one's going to get me in trouble, I know. That's right, I hate to do it. I love me some election-year punditry, and the truth is, I work with some of the best, names like Gergen, Borger, Carville, Matalin. The Mt. Rushmore of political insight. But not so fast, David Gergen. Hold onto your whiskey, James Carville. There's a new pundit in town. Well, maybe not in town, technically, but at least in front of her computer somewhere.

Her name is Lindsay Lohan, noted Lifetime movie star and all- around national treasure. Now, naturally, her tweets are extremely newsworthy, especially ones about the American political climate.

So David Gergen, while you were hanging out in Washington last night with your Wolf Blitzer, myself and the Magic Wall, which by the way -- you might not realize this -- doubles as a beer pong table in John King's garage on weekends, you were missing out on the real political analysis on Ms. Lohan's Twitter feed.

"OMG, it is happening," exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark. You get the point. "The Final Debate," exclamation mark, exclamation mark. "I'm so nervous," one exclamation mark. Ms. Lohan posted that last night. Now, coincidentally, I got that same e- mail from James Carville, but I digress.

A bit later, Ms. Lohan was back, this time in her capacity as a historian, tweeting, "1920s, 1950s," dot, dot, dot, dot, "it's all the same," comma, "history repeats itself," dot, dot, dot, dot, "only if you let it." Duly noted, Lindsay Lohan.

Now, I should point out that Ms. Lohan has already said she's inclined to support Mitt Romney. She spoke to the E exclamation point network at a place where all important political endorsements get made these days, a launch party for a new ginseng beverage.


LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I just think -- I just think it's really important, so as of now, I think it's Mitt Romney. As of now.


HAMMER: But back to last night. You know the thing on Twitter where celebrities try to interact with other celebrities who then ignore them? We've all seen it. It's embarrassing, especially for me every time I get ignored by Jackee Harry.

It seems that during the debate, Ms. Lohan was trying to get the attention of HBO's Bill Maher: "I really want to know your honest-to- God thoughts," she wrote. "Would you please direct message me?" (SOUND EFFECT: CRICKETS)

COOPER: Now, I don't know if Bill Maher direct messaged Lindsay Lohan or not. Maybe he did. After all, he does a political talk show, and she's nothing if not very relevant.

Ms. Lohan also attempted to interact with actress Sarah Silverman, comedian, and the Twitter account for "Vanity Fair" magazine. Apparently no luck there.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Anderson, you strange, albino- like creature, why should I care what Hollywood people think about the election? They're so out of touch.

Not so, America. Not so at all. Lindsay Lohan is a woman of the people. She cares about pocketbook issues, literally. Just take a look at this totally relatable tweet from just a few weeks ago. Quote, "Burkin," period. "Mac computer," period. "Chanel and a jet. Never quit fighting to live your dreams. God bless."

A private jet, a Burkin handbag that costs, I don't know, thousands of dollars. God bless, indeed.

Not only that, she wrapped up her live tweeting of last night's debate with a bipartisan back slap: "Nice work to both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney," dot, dot, dot. "I'm so relieved that it's over. Maybe more than both of you," dot, dot, "severe anxiety. God bless, X-O."

You see a thoughtful, nuanced Lindsay Lohan, exactly what you want in a pundit or ginseng beverage party of ten days. So have a seat, political elite. Lindsay's got election night covered on "The RidicuList."

Hey, that does it for us. Thanks for watching, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.