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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Romney Under Fire; Romney's Private Israel Comments
Aired September 18, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the growing fallout from what Mitt Romney said to a crowd of wealthy fund-raisers about people who mostly aren't wealthy and mainly he seems to believe won't be voting for him.
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney reacted today and there are new details about how the tape came to light as well as the connection to a former president whom Mr. Romney takes great pleasure comparing President Obama to, Jimmy Carter. We will talk to his grandson, James Carter IV, who helped find and release the tape, but most important, there simply is more of the tape to see tonight.
Last night, you will recall Mr. Romney made a request.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, whoever has released the snippets, I would certainly appreciate it if they would release the whole tape and so we could see all of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Today, the liberal magazine "Mother Jones" was more than happy to oblige that request. They did just that, they released the whole tape.
That means tonight there's more material for opponents to attack and more for supporters to rally behind and you will hear from both sides tonight.
And "Keeping Them Honest," the tape reveals more instances of Mitt Romney saying one thing in public and another behind closed doors. People have been buzzing all day about something Mr. Romney said on the tape about the Middle East. It not only contradicts his own public position but also departs from longstanding bipartisan consensus on the issue. We will talk about that separately in just a moment.
But first, the now famous 47 percent clip and how, "Keeping Them Honest," his use of it clashes with his frequent claims that President Obama is dividing the country. We have also as Mr. Romney requested last night included both the question and his answer so you can better decide what to make of it all. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the past three years, all anybody's been told is don't worry, we will take care of it. How are you going to do it, two months before the election, to convince everybody you have got to take care of yourself?
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.
All right, there are 47 percent who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.
But that's -- that's an entitlement, and that the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
And, I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 -- 40 -- he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax.
So, our message of low taxes doesn't connect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mr. Romney went on to say -- quote -- "My job is not to worry about those people. I will never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Those remarks tonight getting criticism from the left and the right for how he characterized that 47 percent. A blog post today from conservative columnist David Frum is titled here's why Mitt's 100 percent wrong on the 47 percent. Arrogant and stupid was how conservative Bill Kristol described it.
Kristol, Frum and others point out the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay federal income tax are not the same 47 percent who are likely to support President Obama. Millions may be potential Romney voters, and many are seniors who strongly support Mitt Romney.
"Keeping Them Honest" it is not just a question of math or votes. Listen to what else Mr. Romney said on the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I wind up talking about how the thing which I find most disappointing in this president is his attack of one America against another America, the division of America, basically going after those who have been successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's talking about a division of America. He says President Obama is dividing America, going after those who have been most successful.
"Keeping Them Honest," though, he said that at the very same fund-raiser in which he divided America, 53 percent to 47 percent to be precise. Out on the campaign trail, Romney slams the president for it again and again. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I will not divide America, as I have seen the president do over these past several months. I will not divide the United States of America, but instead bring us together.
He divides us. He tries to divide America, tear America apart.
To divide our great country.
And divide the American people.
I will not divide this nation.
We don't want to divide America. We want to unite America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mitt Romney over the course of the campaign. Today he went on FOX News where he defended what he said on the leaked tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, gosh, this -- this provision of -- that Mitt keeps talking about lowering income taxes, that's not going to be real attractive to them. And those that are dependent upon government and those that think government's job is redistribute, I -- I'm not going to get them.
I know there is a divide in the country about that view. I know some believe that government should take from some to give to the others. I think the president makes it clear in the tape that was released today that that's what he believes.
I think that's an entirely foreign concept.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The tape he's talking about, and that his campaign is now pushing, shows Mr. Obama talking about the role of government and his belief in the redistribution of wealth. It was made back in 1998, back when he was a state senator from Illinois.
Meantime, tonight on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," the president reacted to Mr. Romney's tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know what he was referring to, but I can tell you this.
When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain. They didn't vote for me. And what I said on election night was, even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As for who will actually be the next president, the latest Gallup daily tracking poll shows President Obama's convention bump fading, and back to a virtual dead heat with Mr. Romney. The poll of course was taken before the impact of the Romney tape may or may not be felt, as I said, if there will be any impact at all.
Joining us is now Mark McKinnon. He's a Daily Beast columnist, a former Bush and McCain media adviser and chairman of Public Strategies. Also, Alice Stewart, former spokeswoman for the Santorum and Bachmann 2012 campaigns. Paul Begala is with us. He's currently a senior adviser to a leading pro-Obama super PAC, and chief national correspondent John King.
Mark, what do you make of this? You wrote a column about this for The Daily Beast that is going to be tomorrow. I have read it. You quote Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convention. In her speech, she said being president reveals who you are. You say so do campaigns and you're not happy with what's being revealed about Mitt Romney. How so? What do you think this tape reveals?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER MEDIA ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, there's a lot of us who have been waiting for a long time for some seminal moment for Mitt Romney to reveal his character.
And, unfortunately, I'm afraid that this tape is exactly what that does, but not in the way we had hoped for. It's getting harder to support him, it's getting harder to defend him. You know, I talked a lot about how I remember in September 2000, when things were difficult, the dark days of September, and it's easy to bounce back, but when you start casting off half the country as victims, that causes a lot of pause for independents and people like me who crossed the line in the mid-'90s to join the Republican Party because of ideas like compassionate conservatism.
I don't hear any of that from Mitt Romney. I'm still trying to figure out what the driving broader vision and narrative is that takes care of the least among us. We can't just pick up one-half of the country and leave the others behind and cast them off as victims. This is not the vision of the Republican Party that I want to see in the years ahead.
COOPER: Paul Begala, what about that? Mitt Romney does have a tendency to double down after these sorts of statements. We saw that with his Libya comments. What do you make of his statements today?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he doubled down. He reinforced it. He said those things behind closed doors. Of course he was more candid because he didn't know someone was taping him, but he said them because he meant them. Today, he said, well, it was inelegantly phrased, which is just another way of saying I meant it but I should have used more politically correct words.
Jonathan Chait, the columnist, said he's a sneering plutocrat. I have to say -- and I'm working for pro-Obama super PAC, as you mentioned, so I have never been a fan of his anyway, but this is really -- it's a dramatic revelation of who the guy is. I think McKinnon is exactly right.
The contempt that he has for people who have earned Medicare, earned Social Security, earned veterans benefits, for people who are struggling to lift themselves and their children out of poverty, they should be heroes in any politician's narrative, Republican or Democrat, and this really sneering contempt he has for them, it is quite -- it's really quite ugly.
COOPER: Alice, this 47 percent that he's talking about, aren't these some of the vets, aren't some of them old people who are on fixed incomes, aren't these people -- is this really who Mitt Romney believes don't have any sense of personal responsibility, don't care about their lives and view themselves as victims?
ALICE STEWART, FORMER BACHMANN CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: Well, now, he addressed that in clarifying his statements. And, granted, this is a very important conversation to have.
COOPER: He didn't really address it, though. He just kind of brushed by it.
He said it was inelegantly phrased, but, I mean, he's constantly on the campaign trail saying that President Obama is trying to divide the nation. Didn't he just divide the nation into two groups?
STEWART: Well, that's the whole point.
This is the narrative of the Obama campaign, which is class warfare. In the statement that you mentioned that came out this afternoon from President Obama himself, saying that the trick of the government is to find a way to pool resources in order to facilitate the redistribution of wealth.
COOPER: I'm sorry, but how is saying that 47 percent of the people view themselves as victims and have no sense of personal responsibility, how is that not class warfare?
STEWART: Well, the purpose of that speech and what he was talking about to the fund-raisers was that it's important to address the people that will support the president and the ones that will support Governor Romney and also there is the group in the middle that is important to really address the independents out there.
COOPER: But are you saying that that 47 percent -- you're assuming 47 percent are not people who are supporting Romney. And I'm saying there are veterans in that group, there are old people, and he has a lot of support among elderly people.
So, I mean, those are people who actually do support Mitt Romney, and he's just said that they are victims and have no sense of personal responsibility and don't care about their lives.
STEWART: The important point to make, what he was saying if you look at the entire speech in context, is that it's important to show the contrast between Governor Romney and President Obama, and what Governor Romney wants is he supports a free enterprise system, and not a big government system.
COOPER: Are you saying there's nothing wrong with that speech? You're saying to look at it in a big context. I'm actually looking at the words he used, just as the Republicans were all over candidate Obama for using God and guns.
What about the words he used? Are you saying there's no problem at all with what he said, other than he just didn't say it very elegantly?
STEWART: Well, as he said, he could have used more artful than this.
COOPER: I'm asking what you think. You're not a spokeswoman. You're a concerned person.
STEWART: I agree he could have used more artful language and he could have expressed the idea that he was trying to express in a little better way.
But the point is, is that we're looking at 50 days to the election and we have class warfare that is dividing this country, and we need to show the contrast between the two candidates. We need to show a candidate who will be supportive of free market. We will need to support a candidate that will support people who will get out there and create jobs.
What the people are concerned about now is jobs and the economy and right now the state of the economy, you know, the numbers. You have got 23 million Americans that are out there looking for work.
COOPER: I just don't get how you think this shows that Mitt Romney cares about that 47 percent of the people. John, the people who get the lion's share of government spending, many are actually Republicans, as I have said, seniors, high school- educated white men, right, Romney voters.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's show you across the country where they live. If you go by the tally of those who don't pay income taxes, the darker the state the higher percentage of people in the state that don't pay income taxes.
You see a lot out in Idaho, that's a Republican state. A decent amount in Utah. You come across here, you have some Southern states. Look, a lot of this is done by poverty. So, yes, there are seniors. The Republicans tend to carry the senior vote. Governor Romney leads at the moment. There are veterans, as you noted, a very key constituency if you're looking at states like Virginia and North Carolina. There are downscale white voters, critical to the Republican coalition in places like West Virginia, in places like Southern Ohio.
You go across the Appalachian Trail and down the Ohio River, so a lot of these voters could be Republicans. I understand your back and forth with Alice. I will make a personal note here. A lot of Americans of all income stripes have struggled the last few years and the risk for Governor Romney is that it's insulting to them.
As a kid, my family was on food stamps for a few years when my dad got sick. We didn't feel entitled and we weren't victims, and my father was actually pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. But in the end, my mother was grateful that she was able to feed her kids.
STEWART: Well, I think John makes a very good point.
But it's important to look at that speech he gave at that event in its full context, that he's talking about making sure that they're informed about the contrast between Romney and Obama. And what Governor Romney wants to do, he supports the middle class, whereas we heard from the president, who supports redistribution of wealth. Look what we have after almost four years.
We have a shrinking middle class, we have unemployment through the roof, so his philosophy and his plan for the redistribution of wealth is certainly not working. It's not the government's role to redistribute wealth. It's the government's role to help create wealth.
COOPER: Mark, does this tape, does it show Romney says one thing behind closed doors and another thing on the campaign trail, whether it's about Israel or whether it's about this? You don't hear him saying these things out on the campaign trail.
MCKINNON: I think what concerns people like me and others is that he has a tendency to tell whoever's in the room or whatever audience is in front of him whatever they want to hear. So it's unclear what kind of moral vision he has, what kind of conviction he has. There's no consistency. That's what people liked about George W. Bush. Even if they didn't like him, they knew what he stood for and where he was going.
That's why people, even people who support Mitt Romney refer to him as a transitional candidate or a transitional president if he becomes president. I think what he is really is more of a transactional candidate or transactional president.
Everything seems more transaction based on the moment and what's going to do good for him at the moment than a broader vision about why he wants to be president. That's a real reason for concern for a lot of us.
COOPER: And Alice made an important point about keeping these things in context and looking at the whole tape and of course now the whole tape is available online and people can look at it as they will.
John, we will check in with you a little bit later on. Paul Begala, Alice Stewart, thank you, Mark McKinnon as well.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, and I'm tweeting about this already @AndersonCooper. Let's have a conversation about it on Twitter.
Also ahead, how the tape came to light, the Jimmy Carter connection. I will talk to Jimmy Carter's grandson, who actually helped find the original tape on YouTube or at least a piece of it, and got it ultimately to "Mother Jones" magazine. I will ask him this is more than just politics for him, because he says, no bones about it, he's a partisan Democrat, whether it's personal, given what Mitt Romney has been saying about his grandfather, an interesting answer to that question.
Next, what Romney said on the tape about his commitment to negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Does it clash with his public position, as well as longstanding policy or bipartisan policy? David Gergen is here. So is Fareed Zakaria and Ari Fleischer.
We will be right back.
COOPER: More now of Mitt Romney on tape talking to campaign donors back in May. His statement about the Israeli/Palestinian issue generating a lot of heat today. Here's what he said in context, including the question that prompted it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think that the Palestinian problem can be solved? And what are you going to do about it?
ROMNEY: I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace in any way for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way.
And so what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that, ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.
We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently.
I have to tell you, the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work.
So, the only answer is show strength, again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians reach the point where they want peace more than we are trying to force peace on them. Then it's worth having the discussion. Until then, it's just wishful thinking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, in fairness, Mr. Romney's frustration and skepticism is shared by many on all sides of the campaign and all sides of the issue.
And Mr. Romney has been openly skeptical of Palestinian intentions out on the campaign trail. However, he's also on record supporting what has been the official bipartisan American position since the George W. Bush administration. He tells a leading Israeli newspaper -- quote -- "I believe in a two-state solution, which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state. I respect Israel's right to remain a Jewish state. The question is not whether the people of the region believe that there should be a Palestinian state. The question is if they believe there should be an Israeli state, a Jewish state."
So, there's the skepticism, but critics say that on the tape he goes beyond just skepticism and veers they say into cynicism, talking about kicking the ball down the road. The director of the Palestinian Center in Washington reacting sharply -- quote -- "Usually, it's not until candidates attempt to make progress on Middle East peace that they give up. Romney seems to have given up before even starting."
Joining us now is senior political analyst David Gergen, Ari Fleischer, who is both an occasional unpaid communications adviser to the Romney campaign, as well as consultant and board member of Republican Jewish Coalition, and "TIME" magazine editor at large Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."
Fareed, I guess what is most notable about Romney's statement is that it is at odds with his previous statement which he says that on record he supports a two-state solution. FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: Exactly, Anderson.
What he said with regard to the Palestinian issue, the Israeli/Palestinian issue is not nearly as big a gaffe as the 47 percent, which seems to reveal something new and startling.
What he is saying here is pretty standard hard-line Republican talking points. What's strange, though, is that Mitt Romney the candidate has said something quite different. He's endorsed the two- state solution and the Republican platform endorses the two-state solution. So he's now going to have to explain what does he think of the Republican platform and what does he think of his own prior statements?
COOPER: He's also, Ari, saying Palestinians don't want peace. He's not making much of a difference between different groups of Palestinians. He's painting with a pretty broad brush.
What do you make of these comments?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, he said the Palestinians who -- and then he talked about violence. And I don't know that that covers all Palestinians. Certainly, that does cover Hamas, and that's one of the biggest problems we have in not having peace. Bill Clinton couldn't do it, George Bush couldn't do it, Barack Obama couldn't do it.
COOPER: I'm sorry. He says, "I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel."
FLEISCHER: Right. But he doesn't say all the Palestinians. He says the Palestinians not wanting peace. That could easily be a reference to Hamas. I don't think you can over-read what he said there.
But he's making a very realistic point about stability in the Middle East, not allowing another Iran proxy state, not allowing another state that would put more terrorism into the Middle East.
And I think when he said we will never give up hope, he's expressing what the desire is for a two-state solution, but, frankly, Anderson, I don't know anybody who thinks a two-state solution is something that's practical until you get new Palestinian leadership that is more dedicated to peace.
COOPER: But, Ari, Romney himself in this speech says that a former secretary of state called him up and told him he felt there was a possibility of negotiation and he basically ignores it.
FLEISCHER: No, he said, and I don't give up hope. He said -- right after that statement, he said in his remarks in the secret video that I won't give up hope. And I think that's about right. You should never give up hope for peace in the Middle East, but certainly the experience in the Middle East has been the Palestinians had a chance to have their own state. President Clinton came extraordinarily close, and it was turned down and neither President Bush or President Obama could make any progress with the Palestinians.
And I don't think it's because of Israel. Israel has made peace with Jordan. Israel has made peace with Egypt. If they had a partner for peace with the Palestinians, I think peace would be made.
COOPER: David, is this your reading of it as well?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not quite.
Let me just say this. First, I agree with Fareed about this is nowhere near as inflammatory as the statement about the 47 percent. On that one, it was almost oafish for someone who has a bank account in the Cayman Islands in order to reduce taxes to criticize someone who is in need and takes food stamps.
But on the Israeli issue, Anderson, I disagree. This is very consistent I think with Romney, someone -- he wavers back and forth in his statements, but in a January debate that CNN carried, it was a CNN debate, as I recall, he said, look, the Israelis -- he took the same hard line -- the Israelis believe in a two-state solution. He didn't say he didn't either, but he said the Palestinians just don't believe in it, and therefore it's not going to happen.
So I don't think this was such a departure from what he believes. He almost out-Bibi's Bibi at times. And if anything, this could help him in the domestic context with Jewish voters and especially with Christian evangelicals.
COOPER: Fareed, do you agree?
ZAKARIA: It may do that in political terms. In foreign policy terms, it's very unfortunate. Look, what's striking about Romney...
GERGEN: I agree with that, too.
ZAKARIA: ... with all his foreign policy discussion is that he doesn't seem presidential. He calls Russia our leading geopolitical adversary. He bashes China in an almost crude way.
He goes to -- his trip didn't work out so well, the things with Libya. It's almost as though there's a lack of the kind of gravitas you need. And here again, to be cavalierly dismissing the two-state solution privately when you are publicly committed to it just -- it doesn't strike me as somebody who is spending a lot of time prepping to be commander in chief.
COOPER: Ari, are you concerned at all that -- and maybe it's just his critics who will see it this way and his supporters don't -- but that he says one thing publicly and then to an audience of wealthy donors, he is saying something else, whether he believes it or not or whether -- I'm not sure if it is a real reflection of what he believes or if he's playing to a particular audience.
FLEISCHER: But, you know, when you look at the top of those remarks, he walked through carefully the two sides, one, no Palestinian state, one, a Palestinian state and he discussed the consequences of each.
So, clearly, two-state solution is on his mind. And I think anybody in American politics today who says I'm for a two-state solution is talking aspirationally, because nobody but nobody thinks it can be accomplished any time soon, nobody but nobody thinks Palestinians are capable of having a secure state that won't practice terrorism.
That's the heart of the problem, and Hamas is the major contributor to that. So, Anderson, I think he's actually being punished here, if you will, for being frank, for being direct. And if diplomatic nicety is to say I'm for a two-state solution, it's one of those hollow statements.
COOPER: We have got to end it there.
Ari Fleischer, appreciate it. Fareed Zakaria, David Gergen as well, thank you.
We now know who helped leak the Mitt Romney video that everyone is talking about -- or I should say I guess distribute it. The grandson of former President Jimmy Carter says he brokered the deal to release the video on "Mother Jones"' Web site. He says he did it through Twitter.
The question is, was it just politics or was it payback for the Romney campaign's attacks on his grandfather's presidency? I will ask him. Also, was he paid by anyone? What James Carter IV told me just ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. Whoever secretly made the video of Mitt Romney at a fund-raiser back in May has not come forward publicly, but we do know who helped distribute the video, James Carter IV, former President Jimmy Carter's grandson.
In a step that's adding yet another layer to the story, the Romney campaign has repeatedly attacked President Carter's presidency, and those attacks have not escaped his grandson, James Carter, who says he wasn't paid for his role, acknowledges he is a partisan Democrat who wants to see Mitt Romney lose the election.
As he tells it, he basically served as a middleman between the anonymous video maker and the "Mother Jones" reporter who wrote the online story showcasing the video. I spoke to Carter earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So James, I just want to make sure I have this right. You yourself did not record this video. You discovered clips of it on YouTube while you were researching Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital and eventually made contact with the person on Twitter. Is that correct?
JAMES CARTER IV, OPPOSITION RESEARCHER: Yes.
COOPER: How did you -- how did you discover the video?
CARTER: I do searches, you know, regular searches just to keep up with what's being posted, just with generic search terms, Romney and Republican, for instance. There's a few more that I use, but it was just on one of those searches that it came up.
COOPER: So -- so part of this video, the part about China, had been posted by the person who took the video months ago on YouTube.
COOPER: And then -- and then how did you make contact with him?
CARTER: Well, I tracked all of the places where they had uploaded -- there were several accounts on YouTube that they had used. And I tracked them all down and I tweeted. When I would find a new one, I would tweet it, and I got in a couple of conversations on Twitter with people about it.
And at that point, I had few enough Twitter followers that I noticed when I got a new one, and I got one with a user name that matched one of the YouTube user names.
COOPER: So the person who actually uploaded this video originally, because you were tweeting out these videos, they started to follow you on Twitter, and that's how then you made direct contact with them?
CARTER: Yes. I think they were surprised that I had noticed, because I think that most of the people, I think they had been trying to get in touch with, you know, journalists, who tend to have a lot more Twitter followers than I do.
COOPER: So you know the true identity of the person who recorded it. Why doesn't that person want their identity known?
CARTER: I don't know their name, actually.
COOPER: So how do you deal with them, just online?
CARTER: Yes. Just direct messages on Twitter. That's how I've gotten -- that's how I got in touch with them originally, and that's how we've done all of our communicating.
COOPER: Do you know how the person came to be in the room to videotape it? Do you know if they were a supporter of Mitt Romney or a Democratic supporter of President Obama? CARTER: I -- I don't think I'm supposed to say that. I'm not sure what exactly I can reveal about the person.
COOPER: But you do have information about how they came to be in that room? You're just not comfortable revealing it?
CARTER: Well, I'm not sure what they would want me to do, and I think they have been more explicit with David Corn. And I don't want to cross any lines that they may have thought had been established. So I'm not going to go there.
COOPER: Your grandfather is former president, Jimmy Carter. Is part of your motivation personal, anger about how the Romney campaign has characterized your grandfather as president?
CARTER: No, that wasn't part of my -- I was actually doing this before they started -- before they started along that line of attack, but I do have to say that that definitely increases the satisfaction that I have gained from this story being as big as it has turned out to be.
COOPER: How so?
CARTER: Well, a lot of my Twitter followers have been saying that this -- it's poetic justice that a Carter was the one that had helped to get out this video that's given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I agree with that.
COOPER: You see it as poetic justice?
CARTER: I think there is an element of that, definitely.
COOPER: Did you tell your grandfather that this story was coming out? Did he give you advice in any way or did you only tell him afterward?
CARTER: I told him after. He knows what I've been doing. And every time that I can contribute to a story that becomes, you know, news -- you know, obviously before today, it's been much more minor level -- but every time that I can contribute to a story, I send it out to the family and friends and let them know, so he's been -- he's been following it.
COOPER: I understand he sent you an e-mail once you sent him this story. What did he say?
CARTER: Yes, he said, "James, that's extraordinary. Congratulations."
CARTER: And that's pretty -- I was pretty proud of that. I put that in the top five of e-mail responses I've gotten from him.
COOPER: James Carter, appreciate your time. Thank you.
CARTER: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: That's James Carter IV.
There's a lot more we're following tonight. Isha is here with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, Chicago public school students return to class tomorrow. About 800 members of the teachers' union have voted to suspend their strike and return to work. A new contract still must be ratified by 29,000 teachers and support staff. It calls for pay increase and other changes.
A federal judge has ruled Arizona can start enforcing the most controversial part of its immigration law, the so-called "show me your papers" provision. Police can now ask the immigration status of people when enforcing other laws. In June the Supreme Court ruled the provision can take effect and tossed out other parts of the law.
And Anderson, a new record for Apple, its stock closing above $700 today for the first time. Investors applauding the newly- unveiled iPhone 5 and the record two million preorders in the first 24 hours it went on sale.
COOPER: Two million preorders?
SESAY: That's a lot of Apples.
COOPER: Wow. I got to get in line.
SESAY: Get in line.
COOPER: I know.
SESAY: I'm sitting this one out.
COOPER: Isha, thanks.
Up next, we're going to talk to former CIA officer Bob Baer about why the war in Afghanistan keeps him up at night. He's not alone. It's the No. 4 point foreign policy concern of voters, according to our exclusive poll. Our countdown this week of the top issues in this election continues, next.
COOPER: A French court makes a ruling about the magazine that published topless photos of Kate Middleton. The ruling and William and Kate's reaction when we continue.
COOPER: Well, just 49 days until the election, all this week we're focusing on the foreign policy issues that keep Americans up at night. We polled registered voters to find out their top five foreign policy concerns.
No. 5 was Syria. Tonight we look at No. 4, Afghanistan, where 2,100 American troops have died since the war began in 2001. Coalition troops plan to end all combat operations in 2014.
But even as U.S. troops draw down, they are gone (ph), some killed by Afghans they are training to take over security. Over the weekend, four Americans and two British troops were killed in an attack believed to involve Afghan police. Partly as a result, NATO said it's halted some joint operations with Afghan security forces.
Here's what worries CNN contributor and former CIA officer Bob Baer.
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What keeps me up at night about Afghanistan is that there will be no army in place to take over in 2014. That was a dream; it was never to be. It's being infiltrated by the Taliban. It's hostile to NATO. We're going to leave that country in a vacuum. I think we really have to just stick to the agenda to pull out and don't make this political in the United States.
In Afghanistan, two things are going to happen. One is the Pakistanis are going to make a hard move with their proxies to take control of the country. The Iranians at the same time are worried about the Taliban and Sunni fundamentalism moving into Iran. So you're going to see two super regional powers head-to-head.
And in the meantime, there's nobody in Afghanistan who's a natural leader. The Karzais are going to be leaving with American forces. They've robbed the country blind, and they're going to be leaving.
The Air Force is going to have to put AC-130 gunships up to protect the embassy compound on our various bases, so as we draw down the troops, it's going to be harder to defend them. Like Ft. Apache.
Keep in mind I'm not blaming NATO or, you know, anybody, no politician. It's just the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan. We cannot fix it. We cannot build nations there in two years, in 20 years, in 100 years.
And I think the optimism is the Afghans say, "This is enough violence. We've solved an issue. Let's talk." But I'm not all that hopeful.
COOPER: Joining me again, chief national correspondent John King, also national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, and White House correspondent Dan Lothian.
John, let's start with President Obama. He promised to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Where does that stand? JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he says he wants to wind it down by 2014, and that effort is on the way but a long ways to go. Let's take a look by the numbers at America's longest war.
If you bring up U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, currently this is a June number, 88,000. We are down to 70,000 now. If you go back in time, remember the initial deployment back in December 2001, 2,500 troops. You see the escalation during the early Bush administration, but here was the big spike.
This is President Obama's surge, 67, then 97, just shy of 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. Again, it was down to 88,000 by June. We are told by the Pentagon tonight that number is 70,000 with the troops coming out.
And as we make a point about that, we should also remember the toll of Afghanistan, the more than ten years of fighting in Afghanistan. You see the spike in fatalities. This is combat deaths, other deaths in Afghanistan, military personnel, nearly 500 in 2010 at the height of that surge; 262 so far in 2012, just shy of 2,000 now, well below the more bloody, more deadly Iraq war but approaching the 2,000 number now as the president tries to wind that down.
Now, one other point to note, since we're having this conversation about the candidates for president, a lot of those veterans who are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, here's where they live. The darker the state, the higher the veteran population. You see a state like Virginia there, a state like New Hampshire with a higher percentage of population of veterans in some of these battleground states, an important constituency.
COOPER: And Dan, on the trail, in stump speeches, does the president regularly talk about Afghanistan?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's never the focus of the president's stump speech unless he is talking to veterans or he's in a region that's heavy military. What you hear from the president is this promise, this campaign promise that he made to not only end the war in Iraq but also wind down the war in Afghanistan, as John was just talking about, pulling out troops by the end of 2014, handing over security to the Afghan forces.
But there's still a lot of concern out there about whether or not the Afghan forces can handle their own security. Also you've seen a spike in so-called green on blue attacks where you have these rogue Afghan forces going after U.S. and coalition forces, as well.
And now you're seeing the U.S. temporarily halting the training of Afghan, new Afghan recruits, although the White House saying that that won't impact the strategy on Afghanistan, won't impact the timeline, Anderson.
COOPER: Romney obviously came under fire for not mentioning the war in Afghanistan in his convention speech. Is there a lot of daylight between him and the president on the issue? JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There really isn't, Anderson. And I should point out the Romney campaign has said that, well, hang on just a second, just before that Republican convention, Mitt Romney did give a speech to an American Legion group in which he did talk about the war in Afghanistan, in which he did thank the troops for their service, but there isn't a whole lot of daylight, as you mentioned.
Just last week, at a separate event before a different military audience -- it was a National Guard Association audience in Reno -- he said that, if he were elected president, he would get the troops out of Afghanistan, make that transition to Afghan security forces, by the end of 2014.
One distinction, though, that the Romney campaign keeps coming back to. They say unlike the president, who was in favor of that budget control act -- yes, Republicans voted for it as well -- but those defense cuts that are part of that budget control act, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say they will put that money back into the defense budget. And they say that will enable them to wind up the Afghanistan war more effectively.
On another front, it was interesting to note before the Republican convention, Anderson, Mitt Romney went after President Obama for saying he hasn't given enough regular reports to the American people on Afghanistan. He did that one week before he left Afghanistan out of that Republican convention address, Anderson.
COOPER: We should also point out, I think the speech he gave the day before the convention, I think it was, like, two or three lines that he mentioned Afghanistan. Not really...
ACOSTA: That's right. Brief mention.
COOPER: ... his policy. He just basically said there is a war going on in Afghanistan and a couple other sentences.
John, at the end of the day, compared to domestic issues like the economy, is this really an issue that matters to voters? Obviously, you talk about the veterans in various parts of the country but overall?
KING: Not much. The president's team would tell you they believe it helps some with voters because ending the war in Iraq and beginning to draw down the troops in Afghanistan is a promise he made to the American people. So they argue that he gets credit for the promise kept.
But in a word, Anderson, the American people are tired of this war. This is influenced in part by dissatisfaction with the Iraq war. The Afghanistan war has always had more popular support than the Iraq war.
But look at these numbers for the Quinnipiac University survey, these are back from a few months ago, early summer, July. Should not be involved in Afghanistan anymore, 60 percent of the American people; 31 percent said the mission there was doing the right thing. But six in ten Americans say it's time to come home, Anderson. A reflection of one of the reasons you don't hear either one of these candidates talk about any possibility of extending the deployment.
COOPER: John, Dan, Jim, thank you.
Well, a French court rules on the magazine that published topless photos of Kate Middleton. What happens now, and what the palace is saying about it, next.
SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay with another "360 Bulletin."
Egyptian authorities have charged eight people in the United States with insulting Islam for their alleged connection to the online video "Innocence of Muslims." The video set off protests and clashes in Cairo an all across the Muslim world last week.
The filmmaker and others tied to the video are also charged with harming national unity, spreading false information and inciting sectarian strife.
A court in France has ordered the magazine that published topless photos of Kate Middleton not to distribute the magazine in print or online. The magazine also has to pay a fine and hand over the original photos to the royal family within 24 hours.
William and Kate are wrapping up their royal tour of the South Pacific. There they are, dancing with the locals on the island of Tobago (ph). A royal source tells CNN that they welcome the injunction and that they always believed the law was broken and they were entitled to their privacy.
I think that's what you call a happy dance.
COOPER: Is that what it's called?
SESAY: Don't you know that dance?
COOPER: No. I'm not familiar.
SESAY: You just don't dance. I give up on you.
COOPER: I like to dance, just not in public. I give him big props for doing that and embarrassing himself in public.
SESAY: I give you bigger props if you dance.
COOPER: It's not going to happen. Isha, thanks.
Coming up, how do you make live television even more unpredictable? Just add kids. "The RidicuList" is next.
COOPER: Time for the "RidicuList."
A reporter in Denver was covering a fall festival when things took a somewhat unexpected turn. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Miller, nice to see you. It's Miller Farms?
JOE MILLER, MILLER FARMS: Miller Farms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Annual?
MILLER: Fall festival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's it all about, Joe? You come on out here, and for 15 bucks...
MILLER: It's about harvesting your vegetables, going out to the field, picking your own stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we toss it back, we got to go to Drew, the farm kid. How you doing that, pallie? Right now -- he can't say anything right now but you know what he's saying right now? "E equals MC-squared. Get that camera off my face."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The look on that child's face is simply priceless. It says it all. Who are you and why won't you go away? I'm going to try to perfect that look. It will come in handy in so many situations, I think.
Now, you can probably guess what comes next. And come on, if someone ten times your size was in your face like that, you would probably cry, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Get that camera off my face. I'll take this cantaloupe."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no! Oh, Dan, don't make him cry!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's terrible. I love that kid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Way to go, Dan. Way to make a baby boy cry on live television. Way to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's happy now. He's happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy because you walked away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Conferring with the flowers...
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That's right. When in doubt, break into the scarecrow song from "The Wizard of Oz." That often works. Which brings us to tonight's "RidicuList" poll question. Who would you rather hire as a babysitter, that guy or me?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, you look very natural with children.
COOPER: Hey, sit up. There you go.
GRACE: You do. I think there's a baby in your future.
COOPER: Want a piece of paper? Uh-oh. Uh-oh.
GRACE: Anderson, what did you do to him?
COOPER: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I did nothing to that kid.
See, we should all know better by now. Live television, kids, they just don't mix. Except for that time when Kareen Wynter was doing a live report on Kim Kardashian's wedding. That was, in a word, awesome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEN WYNTER, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Now, as for the wedding, a lot of details have been kept under wraps. We do know the bride, Kim, will be wearing Vera Wang. She's going to be marrying her NBA beau, NBA player Kris Humphries.
Kim also spoke out yesterday to Ryan Seacrest. He, of course, produces the reality show on E!, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." And while she didn't reveal a lot of juicy details, she did say that her dress is going to blow everyone away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, there are few things you can count on in live television. But one of them is if there is a kid involved, he will always, always steal the show.
That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.