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October 4th, 2012
09:11 AM ET

CNN’s Dana Bash breaks down last night's presidential debate

The first presidential debate of the 2012 is officially in the books. President Obama and Mitt Romney faced each other on domestic issues that often painted Obama in lackluster light and the GOP nominee as the shining star. Romney targeted the president on taxes, jobs and healthcare and put him on the defensive for many of his policies. It worked. A CNN/ORC poll says Romney won the showdown with 67% calling him the victor and only 25% hailing the president. CNN’s Dana Bash breaks it down this morning on “Early Start”.

Bash says it straight and simply. “So much to talk about,” Bash says “but it all comes out to a rusty President Obama, and a very well rehearsed Mitt Romney.” She breaks down their performance throughout the 90 minute faceoff. "It's not that he didn't try to rip apart Romney's economic plan," she says. "Romney was determined to go toe to toe. "That kind of top down economics where folks at the top are doing well so the average person making 3 million bucks is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle class families are burdened further," Obama said. Romney fired back, "Virtually everything he said about my tax plan is inaccurate." Emerging as the clear winner, Romney was ahead with lines like this one, "Mr. President, you're entitled as the President to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts." John Berman delivers his own thorough fact check. Watch the video for details.

October 2nd, 2012
08:50 AM ET

CNN's Dana Bash explains the "October Surprise"

President Obama and Mitt Romney take the stage in Denver tomorrow to face each other in the first presidential debate of 2012. There is a lot riding on this debate, even though the candidates constantly keep playing it down. One awkward moment or gesture could make or break it for them in November in what is called an “October Surprise.” CNN’s Dana Bash explains.

October 2nd, 2012
08:19 AM ET

Former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary on Iranian delegation cameraman's defection from regime

While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was making his final appearance and address as the president of Iran at the U.N. General Assembly last week, a member of his delegation was quietly contacting American authorities to seek asylum. Hassan Gol Khanban was a cameraman travelling with the Iranian delegation and identified as a part of Ahmadinejad’s inner circle. His defection could serve as a major loss of intelligence for the highly tight-lipped government. Someone who may be able to describe what Gol Khanban might have learned through his role is the first White House videographer Arun Chaudhary. Chaudhary served from 2009 to 2011 and chronicled the experience in “First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time.” He joins Brianna Keilar on “Early Start” this morning to provide a glimpse into what knowledge Gol Khanban may have gained through documenting the Iranian president’s administration.

Keilar and Chaudhary both point out that the job Gol Khanban was entrusted with likely required a level of discretion. The fact that he would come on a trip with the Iranian president shows his close access to the regime. “He was enough of the team,” Chaudhary says. “When it comes to something, you know, a regime like the Iranian regime, obviously they have enormous security control and security concerns.”

Keilar asks what someone could learn from being that close to a leader. “I think the most valuable thing you learn is the body language of someone. You know their tells, so to speak,” Chaudhary says. So he believes Gol Khanban would be able to offer a lot of information in terms of intelligence gathering. “When you look through someone through a lens constantly, you learn an enormous amount about how they move and how they think.”

October 1st, 2012
08:42 AM ET

Best Advice: Cory Booker

New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker quote Lincoln for the best advice he's ever received.

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