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Piers Morgan Live
Debate after the Debate
Aired October 17, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight the debate after the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)'
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I love these debates. I think it's interesting that the president still doesn't have an agenda for a second term.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented driven young women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Team Obama's David Axelrod and Cory Booker are here.
Plus the phrase everyone is still talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Binders full of women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: One of those women, Mitt Romney's lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, defends his record.
And you heard the questions, you didn't like the answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you say to assure me that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What plans do you have to keep jobs here in the United States?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What has your administration done to limit the available of assault weapons?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus the question that has both candidates still talking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What the president said to him after the debate.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening. In a minute we'll have the latest in the breaking news about that foiled terror plot here in New York City. We'll begin with our big story tonight.
Twenty days ago until the election, and just five days ago until the next and final, crucial presidential debate, the latest CNN/ORC poll shows just how much work President Obama and Mitt Romney have ahead of them. Debate watchers gave President Obama the win last night, but when it comes to that crucial question of who they'll actually vote for, it's still neck and neck.
Well, the candidates are taking their combative show on the road, in the battleground states. Mitt Romney blasting the president in Leesburg, Virginia, just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Actually he seems to spend most of his time in these debates talking about why my plans aren't going to work. I wish he'd spend a little bit more time explaining why his plans have not worked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Meanwhile the president is on the offensive at an event in Athens, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Got a tax plan that doesn't add up. He's got a jobs plan that doesn't create jobs. He's got a deficit plan that doesn't reduce the deficits. Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now is the Obama White House's former senior advisor, David Axelrod.
David, how are you?
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm great, Piers. How are you doing?
MORGAN: Are things a little chipper, more chipper down there than they were after the first debate?
AXELROD: Well, we were very, very happy with the debate. We thought it went very, very well. I thought the president presented a very strong vision about where he wants to lead this country, rebuilding the middle class, rebuilding our economy. And we felt Governor Romney was a little lacking in that regard.
Still can't explain his tax plan, really can't explain his jobs plan, seemed to stumble over this whole issue of how we advance the cause of women in our economy and certainly the cause of women's health, and a great exchange on Libya.
So we were very happy with the debate.
MORGAN: Right, but here's the problem. If you look at the CNN/ORC poll, which is fascinating, of debate watchers, who won the debate, Obama, 46 percent, Romney, 39 percent, with a 4.5 percent sampling error. So a clear win there for the president. Which was my reading of it, by the way, watching as a viewer last night is I thought he hedged it.
But when you get down to specifics, who would better handle the economy? This is based on people watching the debate. Romney, 58 percent, Obama 40 percent. Who would handle taxes better? Romney 51 percent, Obama 44 percent.
Clear, very large wins there for Mitt Romney on every specific about anything economic as far as a debate watching poll went. And that's got to worry you, hasn't it?
AXELROD: Not - it doesn't really worry me, Piers, because I saw a whole bunch of data off of that debate including other polls and focused groups and dial groups. And most of those were undecided voters, independent voters, people who were still making up their minds in this election.
When you take a large sample of voters that skew Republicans as your poll did and many of whom have made up their minds already, you're going to get the kind of results you got. But among the people who watched the debate who were undecided, the president had a clear advantage on all of this, as you say, and he should. I mean, here Governor Romney offers his tax plan once more, his $5 trillion tax plan, still with no plausible way to pay for it. He threw out an ideal last night that would pay for a quarter of his tax plan.
And so it's the same sketchy deal the president talked about in the debate.
MORGAN: I want to --
AXELROD: And on and on. The president -- the president was very, very specific about steps we could take to continue to improve our economy and our economy is improving.
MORGAN: Let's play a clip from Mitt Romney today talking about his view of how the president formed last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I think it's interesting that the president still doesn't have an agenda for a second term. Don't you think that it's time for him to finally put together a vision of what he'd do in the next four years if he were elected? I mean he's got to -- he's got to come up with that over this weekend because there's only one debate left on Monday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, the problem I thought for you last night watching it dispassionately was that, although President Obama definitely argued his own case far, far better than the first debate, and defended his record far, far better, he was a totally different President Obama last night, I also thought Mitt Romney got stuck into President Obama's record in a pretty effective way, too, because let's face it. And you will know this, you're a presidential historian.
Nobody has been ever been re-elected other than FDR, you know, himself, the way you had these kinds of numbers, where you had 7.8 unemployment, 23 million Americans out of work. Where you've got a $16 trillion debt. These are huge sticks to beat you guys with, aren't they?
AXELROD: Well, let me say a few things about that first, Piers. You -- no other president has -- other than Roosevelt has come to office with the kind of economic and financial calamity that the president faced and the American people know that. Now let's look at what -- what's happened in the last 12 months.
Unemployment has dropped at a faster rate than at any time since 1995. Incomes are up for the first time in four years. Today we learned that home construction is up by 15 percent in September. Home construction is up 38 percent over the last 12 months, so yes, we had a calamity that we had to deal with and we're working our way out of it and we're gaining a momentum.
And I think it's telling that all Governor Romney can do is engage in these lamentations because he has not positive agenda for this country. And if he shared his agenda in earnest, I think people would recognize it for what it is. It's the same prescription we had in the last decade that created the mess in the first place. Tax breaks for the wealthy, exploding our deficits. Rolling back the rules on Wall Street. We tested this theory, Piers, and it was a disaster for the country. People do not want to go back there.
MORGAN: Huge pressure now on both sides for the last debate on Monday is foreign policy and one of the biggest flashpoints last night was about foreign policy, the whole issue of what happened in Benghazi with the assassination of the ambassador, who knew what, where, when and why.
It was interesting to me watching it again because it seemed to me a sort of homerun moment for Mitt Romney that he completely screwed up because there were perfectly valid criticisms of the administration he could have raised and we had, obviously the admission from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it was her blame, not the president. I would certainly have gone on that and tried to get into the reality of what happened there.
Mitt Romney used this, I think for some bizarre reasons, why didn't you use act of terror when of course everybody knew that the president had used that. But if you're being honest about this, David, the wider issue is not that little dispute over act of terror. It's really about what happened and who knew what, and what the security requirements were, that came through, and did the White House have (INAUDIBLE).
Had Mitt Romney phrased the question better I think it would have been a more difficult moment for the president than it turned out to be. Do you accept as the administration that there were failings here?
AXELROD: Well, look, I think what the president said last night was very, very clear. He feels a -- he takes responsibility for every single person we send overseas in diplomatic missions, in dangerous places, as well as our service people. And I know, as someone who's close to him, I know how personally he takes that. And his reaction to this tragedy, to this heinous attack, is, A, to do what we need to to bring the people who did it to justice. B, to find out what went wrong so that we can correct it and make sure that we have -- that we give our diplomats all the protection that they need in the future.
You can't 100 percent guarantee anything but we want to do the best that we can possibly do. And so, you know, that has been -- that has been the case from the beginning of this. The president did what the president should which is to say, let's get to the bottom of this and let's correct it and let's go after the people who did it.
Governor Romney, on the other hand, approached this as a political opportunity. And it shouldn't be a surprise, Piers, because if you go back to that famous 47 percent tape from Boca Raton, he told that audience that night when -- I'm looking forward to a -- some sort of problem, some sort of incident in foreign policy and national security, and we're going to take advantage of that opportunity.
And he couldn't even wait for the facts to leap out there and try and exploit this. And he's continued to try and exploit it, while the president is about the business of finding out what happened and acting on it. And that's what people want from a president of the United States.
MORGAN: What other surprise of that? Does the president never get anything from any embassy around the world asking for extra staffs? Does he never see any request of that nature?
AXELROD: Piers, there are -- I don't know, I think 270 installations around the country and all of those go into the security professionals at the State Department who make judgments based on their expertise as to what is done. It's preposterous to think that individual embassies and consulates would be sending those requests to the White House. That's not the way the system has ever worked. And it's not the way the system should work.
And I can't imagine that that's how a President Romney would operate. It would be absurd.
MORGAN: Final question, binders of women. I find it rather facile and silly, to be honest with you, that the Democrats are trying to make it fun of Mitt Romney for what seemed to be a perfectly reasonable to say, in the same way the Big Bird thing looked a bit silly and facile. Do you guys think that perhaps you should be focusing on more serious stuff than this?
AXELROD: Well, I think the binders for women formulation was an awkward formulation. But the point the governor was making was that he couldn't find qualified women and so he reached out -- it turns out that an organization gave him the particular binder with resumes of women. But I am not surprised that he needed the help because if you look at the business that he ran before he was governor, they had no women at a senior level, they had no women partners.
He explained at the time well, you know, business schools aren't graduating more than a handful of women. Actually at the time Harvard Business School was 25 or 30 percent their graduates were women. And Governor Romney apparently didn't reach out for the binders then when he was trying to staff his own business.
It's also true as it turns out that his record was no better and maybe worse than the previous administration in Massachusetts. So I'm less concerned about his awkward construction and what it might say about his attitudes than I am about his record, which is poor and it's reflected in the policies that he's advocating today.
MORGAN: David Axelrod, as always, thank you very much indeed.
AXELROD: Great to be with you, Piers.
MORGAN: When we come back, rising Democratic star, Cory Booker. Why Newark's mayor says Mitt Romney's numbers just don't add up. And the latest on the New York City terror plot.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: This individual came here with the expressed purpose of committing a terrorist act. He was motivated by al Qaeda. So we see this threat as, you know, being with us for a long time to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly talking tonight about the breaking news. A foiled terror attack in New York City. Federal authorities running a sting and arrested a 21-year-old man from Bangladesh who they alleged was planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with a thousand pound bomb.
The Justice Department says that Quazi Ahsan Nafis was detained after attempting to detonate the bomb this morning. According to criminal complaint, Nafis told an undercover agent the attack might even disrupt the election.
The White House said President Obama has been briefed on the plot.
And joining me now, the mayor of the neighboring big city, also big supporter of President Obama, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Cory, welcome back.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: It's great to be back. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Let's start straight off the top with this bomb plot that the FBI foiled. He's a young man, 21-year-old from Bangladesh. May or may not link in some say to al Qaeda or indeed as Ray Kelly said motivated or inspired by al Qaeda. It reminds everybody of the ever present danger of a rogue terrorist element in whatever guise they come, isn't it?
BOOKER: Yes, we -- this is a reality we live in, not just in the New York City area, all over the country. In London, Europe, in South America, in -- places like Mumbai. And what I'm very sort of impressed with is the law enforcement coalition that we have since 9/11. In the six years I've been mayor I've seen tighter and tighter and tighter communications the way we investigate these things. And this is another tribute. Another terrorist attack that did not happen.
MORGAN: Yes, big, big tribute for the FBI, I think. When they set up a sting operation, they fed him dummied explosives, I think, for his so-called bomb, and they foiled the plot.
BOOKER: Right. But I know from my experience in Newark we've had places that were specifically targeted as well. That -- the best I want always people to understand is if you see something, say something. A lot of times, when you see their vigilance in New York, from people seeing something suspicious reporting it and ended up preventing a disaster so, not only does law enforcement have to incredibly vigilant but we have to now in today's age. If we see something, hear something, I see someone in our community that's acting in a way that should arouse suspicion, it does not hurt to make a phone call and report it.
MORGAN: I talked to David Axelrod a little earlier about the bust-up last night in the debate about Libya. Mitt Romney missing a pretty easy homerun, I felt, when he just didn't phrase the question properly, allowing the president to skip away with hang on, I did use that phrase.
What I didn't understand about the whole fiasco, there's no way of describing other than a fiasco because of the way it was handled, is why the president would worry about saying from the start exactly what you just said, the world has an ever present danger from the terrorism full start? We'll get to the details of this, when we know them, but right now these things are going to happen and we're going to deal with them.
BOOKER: Well, again, and you know, you and I talk off camera and bad things happen. We've had some pretty bad things happening in Newark recent with people in our community dying. And what I was really refreshed by the president in reiterating his position where he was just solid and said over and over again, I am responsible, it's happened on my watch. And I take responsibility for it. He did not let the secretary of state or the State Department take the heat for him.
And so that to me is what I remember. On the days where from Newark, you could see the smoke coming up from 9/11 is there was a resoluteness amongst all of our leaders, then it was a Republican. There was a pulling together of everyone and a focusing on the issue.
What bothers me about this more -- is now we're quibbling over who said what, when, whatever. There isn't any of that pulling that. Americans were killed abroad who were serving our country by terrorism, where is that unity that should happen at this point? This is one thing actually I'm uncomfortable with being discussed in such a parsimonious way when the big picture is yes, if somebody died, something went wrong. And the president said, I stand up and take responsibility. But just like when somebody dies from gunfire in my city we need to quickly learn from it and all of us pull together to focus on making sure it does not happen again.
MORGAN: The debate was given to President Obama, although the polls haven't really moved the result, and Mitt Romney is still seeing plenty of momentum in these -- swing states. I mean the Democrats must be concerned about this.
BOOKER: Well, again, we knew this election from the start was going to be a difficult one because there's a -- in many ways a lazy narrative which is, hey, things are bad, people are hurting, and I think the president recognizes that. And it's hard to get people to pull back and see the larger narrative.
I know from my community especially being in the New York City area, there was fear. We were free-falling from the housing markets to the financial markets to auto industry. And here the president was able to stabilize that. And now the economic indices as you see almost every month, things are getting better. Unemployment coming down. Housing start-ups going up. But it still a hard sell to show somebody, hey, look at how much progress that we've made, and by the way, now we're getting momentum, we need to keep in this pathway.
MORGAN: Is the president framing what he will do next in an aggressive and effective enough manner? I sort of agree with Mitt Romney that the president was very good at defending himself last night on his existing record and going after Mitt Romney on where he felt he was vulnerable on his record. What I did want to get a sense of what is the vision of four more years of Obama? We had hope and change. The hope didn't really materialized and there wasn't a great deal of change.
BOOKER: Well, that -- I mean, I mean, that's where I actually disagree and you know there was a lot of hope that I had that's been delivered upon. So from issues of equity, the Lilly Ledbetter law. I hope that we live in a country where people do equal and get equal pay. There was hope for me on gays in the military that we would be more concern about the content of the person's character and who they choose to love.
On economic issues, I'm in a city that when the country is in a recession, urban areas are in a depression. And with programs working with Obama from the stimulus bill, you name it, we're in a period now of creating thousands of jobs, over 5,000 jobs created in Newark in the last 18 months.
Hope that my city hasn't seen before. When it comes to small businesses I saw this clearly. In fact as I stop around the country, I see people in Flint, Michigan, and other places saying hey, look, the SPA and other federal programs that President Obama did didn't just cut taxes but gave us access to capital at a time that we desperately needed it.
MORGAN: The 23 million Americans unemployed and the $16 trillion debt. These are two huge stakes that Mitt Romney can keep beating away the next 20 days.
BOOKER: Right. But there is -- there is a level of hypocrisy. And this is what really bothers me and I saw this clearly in the debate. When he talks about a deficit that, number one, was begun in a significant way on another person's watch, and then you are articulating the same policies that created that deficits. So President Obama has given a pretty specific plan about how to cut $4 trillion and to continue us moving forward.
MORGAN: But, Cory, if you offer hope and change, and you take the debt up by $5 trillion to $16 trillion, that's not hope and change.
MORGAN: Except for the worse.
BOOKER: Well, hold on for a second. There's two things I want to say. One is just to continue to point I was making before is, when the alternative says, I'm going to increase military spending by trillions of dollars, I'm going to increase tax cuts for -- towards the wealthy during this. And by the way, I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to pay for this stuff, that's exactly what we had under the Bush economy. Increased government spending in wars and military, increased tax cuts for the wealthy and a huge hole that got us into this economy.
Now I believe that we need to deal with structural long-term debt. But right now we did, everybody agreed. In fact Bush started to say that we need to inject stimulus into the economy right now because we were in a freefall. So we had a strategy. Inject stimulus to the economy, create thousands of jobs, jobs in my city. Stabilize the economy, starts a lower unemployment rate. Save the auto industry which took money to do that.
We saved 1.4 million jobs and necessitated deficit spending. But the reality is now we've stabilized the economy, we're growing, and now Obama brought to Washington -- some of the things he brought to the Congress have been shot down like a plan that every independent economist said would create jobs. But the other thing that he brought was a specific plan to now cut the deficit.
Now the economy is pulling out, we can stave off of the stuff. So what I just hope Mitt Romney would do in the last breath of the campaign, tell me what you're going to cut, tell me what loophole you're going to end. Are you going to end carried interest? Are you going to end the mortgage deduction? Just give us your specifics of your plan because Obama has been forced to do that. Not with his mouth. He has showed us the last four years what the specifics of his plan are.
MORGAN: Got to leave it there, Cory. Give me one line that you would give the president as advice for Monday's final debate.
BOOKER: Again, I would never advise the president of the United States because he's pretty darn good on his own. What I just want to continue to see is what I saw before. A strong, resolute, determined president who's going to look in the camera, especially on foreign policy issues, and continue to tell it like it is over and over again.
Our president is going to do great. The job now in this campaign, as much as we're focused on the debates, is really going to be turnout, the operations on the ground.
MORGAN: Mr. Mayor, always a pleasure.
BOOKER: Thank you very, very much.
MORGAN: Good to see you. I heard (INAUDIBLE) is coming to Newark.
BOOKER: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Big news.
Coming up. Mitt Romney's lieutenant governor. Why she says his binders full of women is no big deal.
MORGAN: Mitt Romney is taking flak for his binders full of women remark last night. But is that fair? And joining me now the woman who's his lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, Kerry Healey.
KERRY HEALEY, MITT ROMNEY'S LT. GOVERNOR, 2003-2007: Thank you. MORGAN: Listen, before we get to the binders full of women scandal, as it now appears to be for reasons that baffle me, let's just discuss quickly what happened last night with the Libya debate. A lot of heat being given by the Republicans today that CNN's Candy Crowley shouldn't have jumped in as moderator and said what she said.
From my point of view, when you have Mitt Romney saying, you know, for the record we've now got it on the record, but of course it wasn't on the record. He was wrong. He chose the wrong line to put on the record because it turned out Barack Obama have said the phrase act of terror in the speech that Mitt Romney was talking about.
Why shouldn't Candy Crowley have jumped in when she did?
HEALEY: Well, clearly the phrase "act of terror" was in the speech that was given in the Rose Garden. But there was no connection if you look at the text. There was no connection, at least to my mind between that phrase and any sense of causality for the action that caused Ambassador Stevens' death.
So I think the questions are very valid and that they're going to continue to be asked and especially when you look at the timeline of how, you know, closely and for the next two weeks, how many people from the administration were either unable to answer what caused this terrible calamity or in fact blamed repetitively the action on a demonstration that got out of hand the president himself at the United Nations two weeks later mentioning it six times in his speech --
MORGAN: I know that's true and Candy did also point that out. But of course the big problem for Mitt Romney was, he just got it wrong. In the heat of the debate moment, with everyone watching, what he should have said was, look, it took you two weeks to acknowledge it probably wasn't the video that sparked this. It was a preplanned al Qaeda attack that coincide with 9/11. But he didn't say that. He said, you never said act of terror, Mr. President. And the answer was he did, Mr. Romney.
HEALEY: He didn't attribute the -- the appropriate causality on that first day and Mitt Romney was exactly correct about that.
MORGAN: Right. But he was clumsy, wasn't he?
HEALEY: Not to my mind.
MORGAN: Let's move onto binders full of women. Now binders full of women, I'm totally on Mitt Romney's side. I do a complete 360, because let's watch what he actually said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks? And they brought us whole binders full of women.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: I don't get what's wrong with it. I don't get why it made him a laughing stock. So what? So he got a load of binders full of details about women who he wanted to hire to his cabinet. Good on him.
HEALEY: Yes, and that is exactly right. I was actually the liaison to the organization that compiled these resumes. And I spent hours pouring through those binders that were filled with resumes of very talented women. And we were able to bring some of them into --
MORGAN: Again, was it phraseology? Is Mitt Romney's problem is just -- he's a bit clumsy on the phraseology? He should have phrased it a different way?
HEALEY: Perhaps. I'm with you. I do actually understand what the concern is here. But I do think that this part of the pattern of trying to distract from the very serious issues that are -- that should being debated not only on the stage last night at the debate, but during the course of the campaign generally.
MORGAN: Let's just watch what President Obama and Joe Biden said today about binders of women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We don't have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now.
JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea that he had to go and ask where a qualified woman was, he should have come to my house. He didn't need a binder.
(END VIDEO CLIP0
MORGAN: See, I think it is a bit silly. I just think it is a silly thing. When the Democrats do this, like they did with Big Bird -- and they'll probably rush out promos and ads now attacking him for binders of women. I don't get it. I think it is cheap.
HEALEY: It is a cheap shot. And also, it is a wrong approach too, because if you look at Governor Romney's record while he was in office, he not only asked me to run with him as his lieutenant governor, but his chief of staff was a very distinguished woman, who also ran his presidential campaign last time. . His chief policy adviser was a woman. And half the people who were sitting on the cabinet were women.
So I think that it is a stretch to make this an issue. And it also is a misdirection, because if you look at the women in the economy in our country today, there's 500,000 more women unemployed, who lost their jobs during the Obama administration. And why weren't we talking about them? Why didn't we hear anything from President Obama about how he was going to help them employed? Why isn't that the pressing issue?
That's why Governor Romney has been doing better with women, because he is talking about the issues they care about.
MORGAN: The irony is there are lots of things you can attack Mitt Romney with about women, you know, contraception and abortion, big, hot social issues where I don't agree with him about all of those issues. But they are just fighting on the playing field, the Democrats. If I was them, I would focus on what matters to women. I can tell you, it is not about binders of women when he's trying to employ more women in his cabinet.
Nice to meet you.
HEALEY: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: When we come back. Battleground America, from binders full of women to sketchy deals, my political all-stars on the high points and low points of the debate last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And the suggestion that anybody on my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we have lost four of our own, governor, is offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama slamming Governor Romney over the Libya security questions. Let's bring in my political all stars of Battleground America, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis, Jonathan Chait, who has a piece in "New York Magazine's" political issue about what America expects after the election, and Matthew Segal, president of OurTime.org, which represents young voters.
Welcome to you all. A very youthful panel this evening, I must say, but no less expert as a result.
Let me start with you, Kristen Soltis, because I suppose the general view is Obama may have won last night on a sort of technicality, a few points ahead, but maybe hasn't changes the needle of Romney's momentum. Is that the way you see it?
KRISTEN SOLTIS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Yes, I don't this changes the momentum or the dynamics of the race at all. I think much like the vice presidential debate, both candidates went out, gave a good performance that their own sides would love. I think Democrats were excited to see a little more energy from Obama this time around.
But truthfully, his performance in the first debate was so bad, you really had no where to go but up. I think Mitt Romney did very well. I think he really won the first half of the debate. But then with that, the Libya moment I think really changed the momentum and is what allowed this, in my view, debate to end up as a draw.
MORGAN: Yes, well, he screwed it up, the Libya thing. There's no other way of putting it, I'm afraid. Let's got Cecile Richards. I know you would disagree with that, probably, and think Obama had a fantastic night. But is it actually going to change anything at the polls? And are you getting very worried about what you are seeing in the polls, which is clear momentum now surging behind Mitt Romney?
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FOR AMERICA: I don't think there is clear momentum surging behind Mitt Romney. And in fact, of course, I think what you're seeing today is people are saying women are going to be the deciding voters in this election. And it was clear to me between these two candidates who is on the side of women. It was extraordinary to think that a young woman could about where Mitt Romney stood on equal pay, and he literally could not answer the question.
And in fact, we've had so many different answers from him. The best I can get out of him now and his campaign is that he wouldn't repeal equal pay. But I think on a whole series of issues that women care about, and men care about, equal pay, the right to get birth control from your employer -- he actually completely misled people about his position on that. He's opposed. He's supported a bill that would have allowed employers to refuse birth control coverage to their employees.
And then, of course, a topic that didn't come up last night but is of grave concern of women, he has said he wants to repeal Roe versus Wade, which has been a constitutional right of women in America for nearly 40 years.
MORGAN: Jonathan Chait, I think all those things in the latter part of what Cecile said there are very, very relevant things to go after Romney about, personally. What I didn't understand is why they are making such a bigger attack plan and getting so excited about the binders for women thing. It seemed to me a rather clumsily phrased thing, but actually what was behind it, what he was trying to do was actually a perfectly OK thing. I mean, isn't it the wrong target, rather like Big Bird last week? It trivializes things.
And that may be one of the reasons that Romney's getting momentum. The Democrats are going after him on the wrong stuff.
JONATHAN CHAIT, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": I think you are actually right about that. We had a piece in "New York Magazine" making the same point, that Romney was attempting to boast about his attempts to hire women. Now there's been some questions raised about the accuracy of the boast, but the phrase itself about women, all he did, he just missed the word women candidates. It sounded slightly silly, but everyone knows what he meant.
Now Romney's done the same thing, of taking some slightly garbled bit of syntax and trying to construct a whole campaign around it. I totally agree. It's ridiculous. Everyone knows what he was really trying to say.
MORGAN: Matt Segal, you are an independent. What did you make of the debate last night?
MATTHEW SEGEL, OURTIME.ORG: Well, it's interesting, because the first question, I was pleased to see, came from a college student. He's actually in your green room, Jeremy. I just spoke to him.
And in many ways, Jeremy is the archetype of my generation, college student who has played by the rules. He or people like him have taken out debt to invest in getting a job. And of course there's a weak labor market. So how did at first Governor Romney respond?
Well, he kept saying -- and I read the transcript four times -- I know, quote, what it takes to build a business. I know what it takes to help recover the economy. But there was no specificity as to -- and at one point, he even promised Jeremy a job. There was no specificity in what his plan is to actually give Jeremy a job.
Meanwhile, President Obama, out of the gate, answered that questions by saying, I want to invest in manufacturing positions. Now while those manufacturing positions might very well appeal to the swing state voter in Ohio or Pennsylvania or Michigan, the fact of the matter is that the average young person today is looking for tech positions. They're looking for accounting positions. They're looking for medicine careers.
Those are the growing industries.
MORGAN: So both candidates are way off the mark, you think?
SEGAL: And meanwhile, you have a huge missed opportunity. Because either candidate could have tapped the idealism of my generation and said, we are going to expand Americorp, a national source. We're going to ask every young person to volunteer.
It is that kind of idealism that got Barack Obama elected in 2008. And I wanted to see ambition and idealism restored to politics. That is why my generation has an enthusiasm gap this election.
MORGAN: I think it's a really interesting point. And I do think they're both lacking in detail. I think there's perfectly valid criticism of President Obama, that we didn't get a big vision for the next four years at all really.
SEGAL: It is a campaign of differentiation.
MORGAN: Yes. I think that's a fair point. Kristen, let me ask you, Monday's debate is about the foreign policy. Very important for both of them, because it's the final debate. It's the last chance. These are getting huge audiences. Nearly 70 million people tuned in last night. So this is a potentially make or break.
Who is going to win that, and who has the stronger position on foreign policy?
SOLTIS: So, I think this is one of those ones where I actually view Mitt Romney as having the potential -- he's coming in I think a bit as the under dog, but has a really strong hand. I don't expect him to have a sort complicated -- I don't expect him to miss on the Libya issue next time around.
People have generally said that, because the economy and domestic policy is really Mitt Romney's strong suit, that that is where they expect to see him perform well. But I really think that there will be a lot of times where he's able to link, you know, America's place in the world to our economic security.
MORGAN: What happens though, Kristen -- what happens if all that Mitt Romney does -- he comes out and says look, come on, Mr. President, your foreign policy has been a disaster, and Barack Obama turns around and goes well, I killed Osama bin Laden. I helped kill Gadhafi. I got Mubarak out of his despotic regime. What else did I do? I ended the war in Iraq. I have announced the end of the war in Afghanistan. And we've brought a whole load of new freedom and democracy to Middle Eastern states.
Not a bad resume, isn't it, on the old -- on the old ticket in the first term?
SOLTIS: I think you have to do a lot more. I mean, killing Osama bin Laden is something that I would hope any president would do. I don't think --
MORGAN: Yes, but he did it. That's on his watch.
SOLTIS: But his view of foreign policy isn't necessarily the right one. So I mean, these two men, their foreign policies are very different. I think it will be very interesting to see them debate about it against each other, since there was so little foreign policy in last night's debate, with the exception of the Libya exchange.
MORGAN: Let me ask Cecile, very briefly, your verdict on what may happen on Monday.
RICHARDS: Well, I actually think you just laid out his record. And I think we have one of the most extra ordinary secretaries of state we've ever had, who is revered in this country and around the world. I was looking back at the vice presidential debate, where clearly these issues did come out. Joe Biden said we are going to get out of Afghanistan. Paul Ryan was unable to talk about what the plan was to get out of the war in Afghanistan.
I think the president has a very strong hand going into this. Mitt Romney, in the few opportunities he has had to have on the international stage, has not shown himself to be ready to be a world leader.
MORGAN: OK. Jonathan, there is another way of looking at it, of course, which is Mitt Romney may say, hang on a second, we've got an unstable Iran, a dangerous North Korea, a very dangerous Pakistan. Most of the Middle East, where this supposed freedom and democracy we've instilled, is all up in flames, et cetera, et cetera.
A very different narrative could come out if he can convince the voters watching that that is actually what's going on.
CHAIT: Right, well, the world is always a scary place. Right? There is always some news story about some terrible thing happening over seas. You can always say well, this is the president's fault. I think actually Obama has an opportunity, because Romney has surrounded himself with the same basic neoconservatives who were advising Bush.
So he can say, you know, this is the same disastrous over- simplistic world view. I'm not a dovish guy myself. But the simplicity of Romney's foreign policy world view is actually a bit frightening. And Biden was hitting this theme a little bit, that they're going to be sending you back to more wars. I think that's a realistic fear.
MORGAN: Matt, very, very quickly, the youth view of this?
SEGAL: I'd say two things.
MORGAN: Make it one.
SEGAL: We have a uniquely mobile generation. Restoring our name in the rest of the world is important, and also deficit reduction. We are spending too much money on wars. And my generation --
MORGAN: Who do you trust more, Romney or Obama on foreign policy?
SEGAL: The average young person probably is for Barack Obama on foreign policy, because he ended the war and he has a clear record. And he's investing in things outside of war domestically, which young people want to see.
MORGAN: OK, got to leave it there. All star panel, thank you very much indeed.
Coming next, more of the undecided voters who asked the candidates at last night's debate. I'll ask if they have made up their minds yet.
MORGAN: The candidates had the answers at the debate last night, or at least tried to. But my next guests were the ones with question. They're the undecided voters who had the country's attention; 70 million of their countrymen watched. And four of them join me tonight, Kerry Ladke, Jeremy Epstein, Carol Goldberg and Nina Gonzales.
Welcome to you, all.
MORGAN: Let's go down the list, because this was fascinating last night, huge audience, your big moment. Nina, gun control was your question. I was thrilled by that. I've been banging on about this for a long time on this show. I wasn't overly impressed by either answers. Nobody really wants to do anything about government control, do they?
NINA GONZALES, ASKED QUESTION AT THE DEBATE: It appears not at this point.
GONZALES: Yes, I am.
MORGAN: I was. I thought it was a great question. They didn't answer. They don't want to answer. They're sucking up to the gun lobby and the NRA. I just don't get it.
Now let's turn to you. Carol, outsourcing jobs, again, I have been banging on about this too. I don't like the fact that successful American companies ship out, like Apple, 10 time as many of their jobs to China as they do this country.
And you put them on the spot. Again, I wasn't really impressed by the answers, were you?
CAROL GOLDBERG, ASKED QUESTION AT THE DEBATE: No, not at all. I think they could have gone a little further and gone more into the meat of the matter, instead of speaking in general terms. And that's what I've been hearing throughout the campaign, is yes we need jobs, but nothing specific. So I was disappointed.
MORGAN: Jeremy, you haven't got a job. Are you more likely to get one if Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins, from what you heard last night?
JEREMY EPSTEIN, ASKED QUESTION AT THE DEBATE: If Mitt Romney wins, he said I'll have a job by the time I graduate in 2014.
MORGAN: Did you believe him?
EPSTEIN: I don't think so. But they have to say that. They're trying to get your vote. I honestly think that in terms of my questions, what I asked, I don't know if they both specifically addressed the question, because I was asking for the group of people who I was representing, would be the 20-year-old college student who was in my position.
So I think they went on a little bit of a tailspin, not really answering what I wanted to get out of it.
MORGAN: Let's turn to you, Kerry. The Libya question was probably the big flash point of the evening. Obviously Mitt Romney stumbled and let Obama in, and he sort of got off the hook on that way. What was your overview, by the time you look back on it, about how they answered?
KERRY LADKA, ASKED QUESTION AT THE DEBATE: I thought neither question during the debate was on point. I thought Obama was evasive. Romney was circular. I really never got a feel for what he was trying to say. The president did spend a moment with me after the debate to further clarify his feelings and thoughts on Libya. Overall, I would say that I was another recipient of a non-answer.
MORGAN: What did he say to you?
LADKA: He told me that the cause for delay between the Rose Garden announcement and the 14 day official terrorist announcement was because he wanted to be deliberate, that any action he took anywhere in the world, especially in the Middle East, could cause irreparable harm, and he wanted to act on true information, not misinformation.
MORGAN: Nina, did they talk to you, the candidates, afterward?
GONZALES: Yes, I spoke to Governor Romney and I spoke to President Obama.
MORGAN: Did either of them give you any glimmer of hope about gun control or not?
GONZALES: I was anxious to hear President Obama's reaction. Then we were cut off because someone redirected his attention. so I have a fantasy of asking him to meet with me again so I can hear his --
MORGAN: I'm sure he's watching. So I'll try and arrange that. But there was no more movement really in the conversation.
GONZALES: No, due to an interruption.
MORGAN: Carol, did you get anything from either of them afterwards?
GOLDBERG: Not so much Romney, he was not -- but President Obama came by, thanked me for the question, and said it was a good question. And he said he was going to work hard at it. So -- and then we left it at that.
MORGAN: Jeremy, either of them personally say, look, you can come and work for me?
EPSTEIN: I talked a little bit with Barack Obama's campaign people. I feel Barack Obama is a lot more personable than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney did spend a lot of time with us, but he did leave a lot earlier than the president did.
MORGAN: So is it quality time then?
EPSTEIN: I guess so.
MORGAN: One word out of all of you, if you have made your mind up, Romney or Obama? Who are you going to vote for?
GONZALES: I haven't completely made my mind up, but I lean towards President Obama? MORGAN: President Obama.
GOLDBERG: I'm still undecided.
EPSTEIN: I would put myself in the undecided bracket, but if the election was today, I think I would lean toward the president.
MORGAN: Undecided. So two for the president, two undecided.
Fascinating. You did great last night. All great questions, certainly lived it up, a fascinating debate. And great to see you all.
Coming next, Only in America, the epic fall of the world's great cheat, Lance Armstrong.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, and then there was one. Cyclist Lance Armstrong was one of the biggest sporting heroes in America. A seven times Tour de France winning, cancer surviving icon, renowned for his unbelievable talent, determination, resilience and courage.
Just one problem, the real reason it was all so unbelievable is that he cheated. Armstrong was a disgraceful fraud of epic proportions, a man who juiced himself with illegal drugs, then bullied his teammates to do the same to ensure they could help him win big events.
It's not about the bike was his repeated, proud mantra. And he was right. It was about the amount of doped blood injected into his body. For a decade or more, Armstrong insisted all the doping rumors were bare faced lies designed to smear him and his extraordinarily lucrative global brand. He berated journalists who tried to expose him, using expensive lawyers to sue and gag them.
He deployed the same ugly tactic even on female colleagues who compelled to conspire in his cheating. Now, thanks to a damming report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, containing withering evidence from more than two dozen witnesses prepared to testify against him, the truth about Lance Armstrong has finally emerged.
He masterminded the greatest drug scandal in sporting history. Today, Nike along with other sponsors who had endorsed Armstrong for many years threw in the towel. A Nike spokesman canceling their contract, said "due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade. It's with great sadness we have terminated our contract with him." Armstrong responded by saying he is stepping down now from Live Strong, the cancer fighting charity he founded after his own battle with the disease. He said it was "to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career. I will conclude my chairmanship."
But still he stubbornly refuses to admit his guilt or to say sorry. There can surely be just one person left in the world who still thinks that Lance Armstrong is innocent. And that is Lance Armstrong.
The game is up, Mr. Armstrong. The race is over. You cheated us all. Shame on you.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.