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Facebook Hits a Billion Users; Romney Beats Obama in Debate?; Blistering Reviews of Debate Moderator; Debate Fact Check; Debate Watchers: Romney Won; Miguel Cabrera Captures Triple Crown

Aired October 4, 2012 - 09:00   ET



Happening now. The first debate and the last word. Which presidential candidate is enjoying a big bounce on the campaign trail today?

First time in 45 years, the Detroit Tiger's Miguel Cabrera, he captures the Triple Crown.

One billion users and growing. Now news that Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts.

And a strong generic version of a popular anti-depressant now off the market. What consumers need to know this morning.

NEWSROOM begins now.

And good morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello. It is the morning after the presidential debate and many Americans are remembering not just what was said last night but over the weekend.

Remember the prediction that raised eyebrows just a few days ago?


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: And this whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning.


COSTELLO: Well, Mitt Romney has a lot more believers this morning after a commanding performance. Most Americans believe he trounced President Obama in their first showdown. More on that in a moment. First, some of the reactions. Even as the dust was settling.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A week ago, people were saying this was over. We've got a horse race. Mitt Romney, his performance was head and shoulders above anything we've ever seen him do before.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Mitt Romney rose to the moment tonight. In a way, frankly, that surprised me.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: And it looked like Romney wanted to be there and President Obama didn't want to be there.


COSTELLO: White House correspondent Dan Lothian is in Denver.

Morning, Dan. Mr. Obama can't be feeling very good this morning.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning -- well, look, as you just played out in those sound bites, it was a big night for Governor Romney. Some have suggested that it was a make-or-break debate for him and he certainly showed up to fight. And voters agree that he got the win in a CNN or flash poll, 67 percent of the voters saying that he won the debate, 25 percent saying President Obama won.

How did he do it? Well, he challenged the president, he never backed down even as the president appeared to not want to push back until the second half of the debate. Take a listen.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the -- at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare, instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. It has killed jobs.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For 18 months, he's been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he is saying that his big, bold idea is never mind.


LOTHIAN: Now, Carol, remember, there are still two more presidential debates. Next week we also have the vice presidential debate. So it will be interesting to find out what kind of adjustments team Obama will be making over the next few days.

COSTELLO: Well, let's talk about those adjustments. How is the Obama campaign reacting to the president's performance today?

LOTHIAN: Well, you know, first of all, they are praising his performance, saying that it was a strong performance, but they're going after the substance, saying -- criticizing him, saying that his policies, his plans, what he said during the debate last night. There were a lot of flaws, a lot of distortions. And take a listen to the president's campaign senior adviser David Axelrod on the "Today" show just this morning.


DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR ADVISOR, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: I didn't say he was out-debated. I think he treated the American people like adults and he told them the truth, which was a fundamental distinction between him and Governor Romney last night on a whole host of issues.

I joked that Governor Romney had put more preparation into it than they did into the invasion of Normandy. And you saw it last night. I expected a strong performance. I got a strong performance. But that's what it was, a performance.


LOTHIAN: The Obama campaign doesn't believe that last night's debate will impact the overall race. But we'll be watching closely those poll numbers, especially in the critical battleground states like Ohio and here in Colorado -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Dan Lothian, reporting live from Denver this morning.

Perhaps the bigger loser last night was Jim Lehrer. The gentlemanly journalist seemed overwhelmed at time. And the reviews are in and they're just not good. People said he blew it. Some even said he was the worst moderator ever.

Former "New York Times" executive editor Bill Keller called Lehrer road kill. Lehrer could not even deflect a direct attack leveled at his own network.


ROMNEY: I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too, but I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.


COSTELLO: Joining me now, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and editorial director of "The National Journal."

Hi, Ron.


COSTELLO: I know it's not the most important issue of the night. But there are plenty of people who think Lehrer actually helped Mitt Romney by allowing him so much time to answer questions. Fair?

BROWNSTEIN: I don't know. I didn't really feel so much that he helped Mitt Romney. But look, Jim Lehrer has had good moments of presidential debates as an important force in them but last night was not a good night for him. The new format has a lot of strength. It theoretically allows you to really drill down on a subject by providing a sustained focus on one area at a time.

And he simply did not take advantage of it. He did not -- he asked questions that were unnecessarily broad. He didn't have meaningful follow-ups. He didn't challenge them. He really didn't kind of force them to move beyond their kind of comfort zone and their talking points. And I think it was a tremendous missed opportunity.

And I bet the other moderators will learn from it and be more aggressive in using the tool that this new format provides them to get more detail from the contenders.

COSTELLO: Yes. CNN's Candy Crowley is up next and she's tough.


So we'll see what she does.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Yes. Right.

COSTELLO: On the likability issue, some are saying Mitt Romney leveled the playing field last night. He became likable, as likable as President Obama. Is that right?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, I don't know. I don't know about that. I think -- I don't think his problem has been really the question of likability. I think it's been related but different, empathy. Whether he understands, and cares about the problems, the economic strains that middle class families are experiencing.

And I think he did make progress on that front. In particular, arguing that he had a plan. And I thought the debate exposed what I believe has been the major blank spot, the hole in President Obama's campaign agenda which is that he's given us very little sense of what he would do with a second term if the public gives him another four years. I mean he was really almost silent on that question last night and he only had energy, I thought, was when he was attacking Romney in the middle section of the debate over his budget, Medicare and tax plans.

But other than that, I don't think anybody would come away having much of an idea what President Obama would give them if they give him another four years.

COSTELLO: You know, already analysts are saying, though, Romney will rise in the polls because of his debate performance. But for that small portion of voters who have not made up their minds, what's this debate a game-changer?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. I think it will help Romney. I think it's already helped Romney because I think the risky phase, Carol, as I think you know, is that after these very difficult past few weeks, he faced the possibility that last night went well for the president you kind of have a hardening of the belief that this race was virtually sealed, that it was out of reach.

I think the debate has ended that discussion and it's going to remind us, it's going to move into the -- into the conversation, a reminder that the president faces major vulnerabilities in this debate even though he's ahead. And I do think that last night Mitt Romney did himself some good with those undecided voters and probably just as importantly energized the Republican base. I'm betting whatever they're saying in public, there's a sense of retooling in the -- in the Obama campaign. Look, incoming presidents often have problems in their first debate. People don't talk to you like that in the Oval Office. But there's no question the president needs a reset.

COSTELLO: Ron Brownstein, thanks as always for your wise words of analysis. We appreciate it.

CNN will re-air the presidential debate, by the way, in case you didn't see it. It will re-air the debate at 1:00 pm Eastern.

Here's a look at other stories we're watching this morning. A developing situation in Turkey, where the government has authorized troop deployment in foreign countries. Now that approval comes as Turkey continues firing on Syria in retaliation for shelling that hit one of the Turkey's border towns. Syria now apologizing for that attack. Five people were killed.

Check out these images From Baytown, Texas, where firefighters have extinguished a blaze that broke out at an ExxonMobil plant. Officials say no one was injured in the fire, still under investigation here.

In Chicago with overwhelming 79 percent of teachers have approved a new contract, the number of officials say is the highest approval rating in teachers' union history. The deal was reached after a seven-day strike last month, which impacted the nation's third largest school system.

Turning now to sports and baseball and something that has not been seen in 45 years. The Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera has won the American League Triple Crown. Cabrera was taken out in the fourth inning of last night's game with Kansas City. He got a standing ovation from Royals fans. The guy they call Miggy was modest about his historic achievement.


MIGUEL CABRERA, TEXAS THIRD BASEMAN: I don't believe it. I don't believe it's happening right now. I don't believe like three weeks ago it's going to happen. I don't believe, like, this is possible. But you always dream, you know. You always dream. Thank God gave me an opportunity to this dream come true.

JUSTIN VERLANDER, TIGERS PITCHER: Some of us had to tell him how big of a deal it was. You know, obviously he knew the significance of it. But you know I just don't think it set in for him and I don't think it will. But, you know, he's the best player on the planet.



COSTELLO: He is a whole fun to watch. That's for sure. That's some praise from arguably the best pitcher in the game, Justin Verlander. Justin Verlander, rather. But the numbers don't lie. Cabrera finishes the regular season with a .330 batting average, 44 homeruns and 139 RBIs. Cabrera and the Tigers begin their postseason Saturday against the equally amazing Oakland A's.

A major milestone for Facebook. The social networking site now says it has one billion active users every month. That's one out of every seven people on the planet. Facebook says it's most popular in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and, of course, the United States. Facebook users have never been the company's problem. Of course, its issue was money and getting all those friends to cough up some cash. Now it might have found a way. The site will let you promote your post for a small fee.

Alison Kosik is in New York. Will this work?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's really the real money question right there, Carol. You know, it could be a new source of revenue, maybe. And it is certainly something certainly Facebook needs. Right now just keep in mind. This thing is just a test. What it is basically you pay $7 to promote pictures or announcements that you think are important, meaning it pushes that post right to the top of your friends' newsfeeds, it kind of hit them over the head with it. It gets them to look at it kind of first.

So Facebook at this point is considering a variety of options for its prices. It's already been an option, by the way, for businesses. Now the difference is now it's testing it out to some individual users. Facebook obviously looking for ways to drive up its revenue. You know Facebook is -- the shares have had real trouble since the company went public, down more than 40 percent since that May IPO.

You know, Facebook really needs to reassure its investors at this point that it's got a plan for growth. So the big question, though, with this new program called Promote, who's going to use this? You know, it makes -- it makes sense for a small business, you know, you want to use it to promote specials and new offerings that you have or for networking.

But what about personal use? Maybe to make sure, Carol, people know about your Halloween party? I don't know.


COSTELLO: I don't know either. We'll see. Alison Kosik, live at the New York Stock Exchange.

Get out those snow suits, North Dakota, Jack Frost arriving early this year. We'll tell you how much snow to expect.


COSTELLO: It is 15 minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.

The CDC says it expects to see more cases of a deadly meningitis outbreak. Twenty-six people have been sickened in five states. Four have died. The culprit believed to be a steroid injection given to the spine to treat pain and inflammation. The company that makes the drug is conducting a voluntary recall.

It's only October, but parts of North Dakota are already seeing snow. Rob says up to a foot of snow and near blizzard conditions are possible in northeastern areas of the state. Central North Dakota is now under a winter weather advisory.

A generic anti-depressant is pulled off the market because it doesn't work as well as the named brand. Pima Pharmaceuticals is pulling its generic version of Wellbutrin XL. Hundreds of patients complained saying the drug wasn't effective, sparking an FDA investigation.

On to the debate. Were you confused about all this talk about Romney's supposed $5 trillion tax cut plan in last night's debate? Obama accused Romney of bad math and said the cut would add to the deficit. And then Romney said, "Hey, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut."

Well, CNN's Tom Foreman is here. He has a team of fact checkers working on this. So, what's up with that, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were up all night. Yes, there were more accusations and denials than a junior high school school- yard fight. It was unbelievable.

Let's talk about tax cuts, because we knew this was going to be a big issue. It dominated the beginning of this debate. President Obama went on the attacks saying Mitt Romney is pitching a huge tax cut for the wealthy.


OBAMA: Governor Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut. On top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, that's another trillion dollars and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for.


FOREMAN: Awful lot. But let's look at the facts.

Mitt Romney does propose a 20 percent tax cut. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that under that plan, if that's all you're talking about, is the tax cut, taxes on the wealthiest Americans would be reduced by $5 trillion initially.

But our verdict here on this claim is that it is false. To understand why, you have to look at the second part of the equation here. Mitt Romney, his idea that he would cut taxes on the wealthy by $5 trillion, we're saying that is false.

But this is the second part of the equation you have to look at to understand all of this there's more to it. The simple truth is that Mitt Romney also talked about the deficit last night. And he claims that even with his tax cut, he will not add to the deficit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: My number one principle is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That's part one.

So there's no economist that can say Mitt Romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit.


FOREMAN: The problem in both of these claims is a lack of specifics. What the president is assuming, the reason we said false on his claim, he basically is assuming if he just did a tax cut and nothing else, then it would include this giant amount of tax breaks for people out there. But that's what Mr. Romney is saying he won't do. He's saying he has all these specifics in terms of cutting deductions, he's going to find ways of closing loopholes so that people would pay more and there wouldn't be this giant tax cut but he hasn't said what those would be.

This lack of detail is really a huge problem. That makes Romney's claim incomplete. The president's claim false, because you just can't assume the worst.

But the real problem, fundamentally, we just don't have the details of how this would work. So, we don't really know how to measure the statements of either man other than the way we have at this point.

COSTELLO: Don't you wish someone would have pressed Mitt Romney on that issue last night?

FOREMAN: Honestly, people have been pressing him on t the president tried to him press him on it last night. The Romney people have consistently -- they've given a little bit more information on what they're going to talk about.

For example, a lot of people are worried about the mortgage interest deduction on their taxes, whether or not that's one of the loopholes that Romney would claim. Some economists say -- they would close -- some of economists have said you have to close that one if you're going to get enough money out of this to offset all this. The Romney people have indicated that's not one they're really looking at very hard. But it's very squishy at this point.

So, the simple truth is people are pressing for answers. My guess is that they're going to press a whole lot more in the next few weeks.

COSTELLO: And they should. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

If you didn't catch the debate, we're going to replay it for you at 1:00 pm Eastern. Just a programming note for you.

Up until now, President Obama was the candidate everyone wanted to have a beer with. But after last night, some people might have found a new drinking buddy.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back at one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning is criticism of the debate moderator fair? Reviews are in, and they're not pretty. Weak, useless, road kill.

They're not talking about President Obama or Governor Romney but about the moderator, Jim Lehrer. Despite having moderated 11 previous debates, Lehrer seemed ineffectual at times..


JIM LEHRER, MODERATOR: What's the difference? Let's stay on taxes.

ROMNEY: Right.

LEHRER: Let's just stay on taxes for a moment. What is the difference?

ROMNEY: Well, virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.

LEHRER: All right. Just for the record --

ROMNEY: Small business we're talking about --

LEHRER: Just so everybody understands, we are way over our first 15 minutes.

ROMNEY: That's fine, isn't it?

LEHRER: OK, it's great.


LEHRER: No problem.

OBAMA: The last point I would make --

LEHRER: Two minutes -- your two minutes is up, sir.

OBAMA: No, I had five seconds before you interrupted me was --

LEHRER: Here are the specifics.


ROMNEY: Excuse me. Let's mention me the other one. Let's talk the other big --

LEHRER: No, no, let's not. Let's let him respond to this specific on Dodd-Frank.


COSTELLO: Some viewers also wondered why Lehrer didn't challenge Romney's attack on his own network, PBS.


ROMNEY: I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop all the things -- I like PBS. I love big bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money to borrow money from China to pay for it.


COSTELLO: The web went wild for Big Bird. Shame, shame. Mentions of big bird went up 800,000 percent.

Seriously, though. "The Tampa Bay Times" criticized Lehrer for not explaining complex concepts like Dodd-Frank and Simpson-Bowles to the public. That turned the debate into a hard to understand walk fest.

Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter suggested that Lehrer allowed Romney to steamroll the debate. But to Lehrer, the reporter is not the story. He just reports it. And it's not so easy in these hyper partisan times.

Some called him a safe and predictable choice and unhappy Lehrer told "The New York Times," quote, "It's a rough, rough world. Those of us who have decided to play in that world have to play by those rules. I'm susceptible to the same smears as anyone else."

And those smears keep on coming this morning.

So, talk back question for you, is criticism of the debate moderator fair?, Your responses later this hour.

More Americans are keeping those credit cards in their wallet and away from the cash registers.


COSTELLO: We're coming up on 30 minutes past the hour. Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us.

Stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM:

Stocks set for a higher open on Wall Street, ahead of several key reports on the economy, including the latest claims for jobless benefits.

Ringing the opening bell, executives from the office furnishing company, Steelcase, which is celebrating its 100 anniversary.

Facebook stocks set to get a boost today after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the site has reached 1 billion users per month. That breaks down to one out of every seven people on the planet. The company also testing out a new feature where users can promote their posts by paying seven bucks. In money news, Americans are being more responsible with their credit cards. That's according to American Bankers Association report. Delinquencies have hit an 11-year low. Uncertainty about the economy is a key reason many consumers are paying down their debt.

Oh, the first presidential debate is in the bag. Many say Mitt Romney wins in more ways than one. Going into the debate, President Obama was way ahead of Romney in the likability polls. Last night, Romney one-up the president on his own wedding anniversary.

First, Obama.


OBAMA: There are a lot of points I want to make tonight. But the most important one is that 20 years ago, I became the luckiest man on earth, because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me. And so I just want to wish, sweetie, you, happy anniversary, and let you know that one year from now, we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.


COSTELLO: Oh, Romney grabbed the ball, responded in a way that was downright charming.


ROMNEY: And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary. I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine here, here with me. So I -- congratulations.


COSTELLO: CNN contributors Will Cain who leans right, and Roland Martin, who leans left, are here to discuss.

Welcome, gentlemen.



COSTELLO: I'm great.

CAIN: An important moment you just played. That's an important moment.

COSTELLO: I talk about that, because, you know, Mitt Romney got a big laugh. He seemed genuine.

CAIN: Right. You know, I think I talked about this the other day. But Mike Deaver, he was the media adviser to Ronald Reagan, he once said these television events -- and make no mistake a debate is a television event -- are 85 percent visual, how you look, 10 percent how you sound, you know, your tone, and 5 percent of what you actually say, leading up to the importance of, as you've been talking about, likability.

And I got to say, I'm taken aback by how much more stiff President Obama was than Mitt Romney. You played moments like that and throughout the debate, Mitt Romney seemed calm, in command of the facts, comfortable, made eye contact with the president. The president simply just looked uncomfortable.

COSTELLO: And, Roland, one of the Boston papers had a headline that it was snore more years for Obama. I mean, the reviews of his performance are harsh.

MARTIN: Absolutely. I think that it was lackluster, to some degree. I will disagree with Will Cain when he said Mitt Romney had a command of the facts. He had a command of what Mitt thought actually were facts.

You look at the fact checkers today. And so he's not doing well in that particular area.

At the end of the day is what do the folks who were watching -- what do they actually think? That's what it really boils down. I do think President Barack Obama had some opportunities to really go at Mitt Romney and did not take advantage of it. He did not respond to the $716 billion lie when it came to Medicare.

He also did not challenge him when Mitt Romney talked about the issue of the banks being too big to fail. He didn't say, well, fine, Mitt Romney, do you believe -- are you going to support Glass-Steagall? Your vice presidential pick does. So do I. He allowed Romney to gloss over too many things.

The president, you can't wait for the moderators to do it, you have to do it. So, I think the basketball phrase, you have to press, press.

COSTELLO: The other thing President Obama didn't bring up, which surprised many people, was the 47 percent thing. Was that a mistake or by design, Will?

MARTIN: Look, the 47 percent thing -- here is the deal. The first question dealt with jobs. I don't understand when the president say, Mitt, I need to understand, why have you not sided with veterans and oppose your own party when they blocked the veterans bill in the United States Senate? I don't understand why he didn't do it.

I don't get it why he didn't bring up the infrastructure issue that Republicans have traditionally supported but they have blocked since he has been president. It's also about creating jobs.

Again, using my basketball phrase, you must press, press, press -- full court press. As Nolan Richardson did in Arkansas, 40 minutes of hell. Frankly the president sort of sat back and play -- sort of sat back and laid back. That's not how you win.

CAIN: If I may, if I may --

COSTELLO: Go ahead, Will. CAIN: Yes, right, right.

Look, there's valid criticism and invalid criticism. Roland's monologue, he managed to fit both end. The invalid criticism is that the fact checkers are essentially calling what Mitt Romney said last night many mistruths or lies. That's not the case.

MARTIN: Actually, it is the case.

CAIN: No, it is not the case. And let me explain to you two of these issues. First of all, on the $716 billion in Medicare, that is a deep argument, policy argument, one which I'm happy to have with you or anyone else, Roland, any day.

On the $5 trillion tax cut, this is where Roland ventures into the realm of valid criticism. Mitt Romney has not provided the details for those loopholes and deductions he plans to do away with. Now, it's possible for him to do what he said he will do -- but he is not explaining how. It's also --

MARTIN: Possibly --


CAIN: It's also inexplicable, which Roland, again, fits some valid criticism in here, as to why the president didn't do that one simple thing and ask Mitt Romney, what deductions are you talking about? Please tell us all.

COSTELLO: Exactly. Roland, voters really want to know that. I mean, when all is said and done, Mitt Romney turned in a great performance. Again, he didn't get into specifics. That's what voters really want to know about.

MARTIN: The other day you never let somebody off the hook. You remember, a great performance does not mean what you said was accurate and truthful. And so you come away from it. People are saying Mitt Romney had a great debate. He won.

OK. But did he win based upon truth?

Again, the president allowed far too many things to slide. I'm sitting there going, how did the president not even say, Mitt, the Congressional Budget Office has been clear that the Affordable Care Act will actually cut the deficit. He didn't even go there and simply allowed it to be stated.

I'm sorry. You don't let anybody come across making those statements. You must play offense, not just defense.

COSTELLO: We're going to talk to Governor Ted Strickland, one of Obama's surrogates in a little bit. So, we'll ask him that very question.

Will Cain, Roland Martin, thanks so much.

CAIN: Thank you. Morning to y'all.

MARTIN: Thanks so much.

COSTELLO: Miguel Cabrera, oh, we have to talk about him so more -- what a crowning achievement. Tiger superstar is the first to win the Triple Crown since 1967. We'll talk about that.


COSTELLO: A lot of issues went unmentioned at last night's debate. But it was a six-foot tall yellow bird got everybody talking. As soon as Mitt Romney said he liked the Sesame Street character, Big Bird, but would do away with government funding of PBS, home of Big Bird, fake Big Bird accounts blew up on Twitter.

Fired Big Bird has about 26,000 followers right now. With tweets like, "I like being able to fire people and large talking birds, Mitt Romney." And, "If Mitt Romney wins, this is what I'll be forced to do." Out with a picture that has big bird with a will work for food sign.

And even one where big bird claims allegiance with the 47 percent. Poor Big Bird.

OK. We've heard from the analysts, pundits and politicians. But what about you? Was the first debate a game changer or is your mind made up and nothing can change it?

Jason Zandri is a town councilman from Wallingford, Connecticut, and an Obama supporter. He hosted a viewing party last night.



COSTELLO: OK. So, voters were there. They were there, watching Obama. And some people say he appeared rather lifeless.

So, what was their reaction to his performance?

ZANDRI: I think a lot of the people that were in attendance, they were set to see a full-on charge of President Obama. I think they were a little bit surprised at how strongly candidate Romney came out.

COSTELLO: And did it change their minds about Governor Romney?

ZANDRI: I think with these debates mostly, the people are already set in who they're going to vote for. There are people that are there, just trying to solidify the reason they picked their candidate.

But there are always those people that are on the fence. And I think when you have people that are possibly going one way or the other, you take a debate like last night and you may turn the people that are on the fence.

COSTELLO: Were people surprised that President Obama didn't seem to attack Mr. Romney at all, at least during the first half of the dough bait? He just sort of listened and then gave his talking points.

ZANDRI: Yes. A lot of people mentioned this were surprised that the president didn't bring up Governor Romney's offshore accounts, the 47 percent remark. They were really surprised he didn't come back with a lot of those comments.

COSTELLO: How much harm do you think the president's performance has done as far as the polls go? And can he recover?

ZANDRI: I think he can recover. What he needs to do is sit back, take a look at what occurred last night and figure out how he's going to move forward from here. He's got a good lead in the race. I think he just needs to double down on what he is already good at and take this as a learning lesson and keep moving forward.

COSTELLO: Was it the format? Was that the problem? Because some people were saying the format really favored Mitt Romney and not President Obama.

ZANDRI: I think maybe the president had a mind-set, trying to quarterback, referee this. I think he had a certain mind-set with the way he was expecting it to go. I believe that candidate Romney came right out and just did something entirely unexpected and took the ball and just kept running with it. At that point, the president was just trying to regroup and maintain and go forward.

COSTELLO: Councilman Zandri, thanks so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

ZANDRI: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: All right. You're not looking at a jungle. There it is. You're looking at a massive marijuana farm. It gives a whole new meaning to field of dreams, doesn't it?


COSTELLO: Forty-five minutes past the hour.

Checking our top stories now:

KitchenAid, the appliance company, is apologizing for an insensitive tweet sent out during the debate. It read, quote, "Obama's grandma even knew it was going to be bad. She died three days before he became president," end quote.

The company said it was a carelessly sent out by a team member who will no longer be tweeting for them.

A Philadelphia police officer caught punching a woman during a parade will be fired. The commissioner says the officer will be suspended with intent to dismiss. The woman who was hit wants woman who was hit wants a public apology. Her attorney says she sprayed silly string toward police but missed. And tot the man behind her sprayed beer at police, provoking the officer who apparently did not see who sprayed him with beer. And look at this, it's believed to be the biggest pot field ever found in the city of Chicago. Yes, Chicago. It's about the size of two football fields. Police say the marijuana crop is worth about $10 million. City crews are now harvesting the plants and they will destroy them. Police found the fields during a helicopter flight. No suspects yet.

If you stayed up last night to watch the debate or by now, even if you didn't, you know that many people are saying that Mitt Romney came out the clear, if unexpected, winner. There were times when the fighting was fierce but overall President Obama gave a performance that seemed a little rusty.

Ok. We don't have that bite. But of course you probably hopefully, watched the debate and you know what I'm talking about.

Joining me now former Ohio Governor and national co-chair of the Obama campaign, Ted Strickland. Good morning, Governor Strickland.


COSTELLO: Thanks for being with us. I know you must be tired.

So Mitt Romney's debate partner Senator Rob Portman got a huge round of applause when he returned to the hotel last night. John Kerry was President Obama's debate sparring partner. Do you think he got the same welcome?

STRICKLAND: Well, I don't know. But you know what I think we saw last night was Mitt Romney do very well in terms of form and style, but I think President Obama was the clear winner when it comes to substance and truthfulness.

Mitt Romney presented us with the ultimate etch-a-sketch behavior last night as he switched from who he has been throughout most of his life and during this campaign and he said things that were just not accurate. And I think that will catch up with him eventually.

COSTELLO: Well, many people are wondering, especially Democrats, why President Obama didn't attack Mitt Romney more. Why didn't he press him and make that clear to the people who were watching the debate?

STRICKLAND: Well, you know, I don't know exactly what the President's strategy was. But quite frankly, what we saw last night was a man who mentioned meeting a couple of people along the campaign trail and saying they asked him for his help.

And as I heard him say that I thought you know those are people who are probably part of the 47 percent that Mitt Romney has talked so disrespectfully and disdainfully about. When he was in the comfort of a home of his rich fat cat friends, his donors down in Boca Raton.

COSTELLO: Ok so what --

STRICKLAND: And then he stands before millions of people and he talks -- you know he's a different person. COSTELLO: I know but if President Obama had said something like that in the course of the debate, maybe that would have resonated with people who are watching.

STRICKLAND: You know, I understand that and perhaps the President felt like referring to the 47 percent statement or video was -- you know, was too trivial to bring out in a nationally televised presidential debate.

But quite frankly --

COSTELLO: But -- but --

STRICKLAND: I think that's -- I think that's at the heart --


COSTELLO: -- but in President Obama's mind. That's not trivial -- that's not trivial at all.

STRICKLAND: Well it isn't trivial. In fact, it -- it expresses to the American people exactly what Mitt Romney thinks about them. And -- and then we have the video from Paul Ryan talking about the 30 percent of Americans who want a welfare state.

So Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are disdainful about large portions of the American population. Now he got on TV last night, gave a good performance. But which is it? Is you know is it the Mitt Romney we saw last night or is it the Mitt Romney who talks disdainfully about over 47 percent of the American people? I think he is, as I said, the etch-a-sketch guy.


COSTELLO: Well I can't -- I can't -- I just like to ask you why President Obama didn't bring up some of these points in last night's debate? Some people are saying well, maybe he didn't prepare enough; maybe he was too nonchalant about it. Maybe he was out of practice. I mean, what are -- what are his advisors telling him about the performance? Because you know we have a couple more debates to go.

STRICKLAND: Well I -- you know I don't know. But as I said earlier, I think on substance, the President was very good last night. He -- he spoke the truth.

I don't think the PolitiFact folks are going to find a lot of problems with what the President said to the American people last night but they're going to find a lot of problems with what Mitt Romney said because there were times when he simply was not honest.

And -- and for example, he said he does not have a $5 trillion tax cut plan. He does. It's been detailed. And multiple times, he said he did not have such a plan. And I know he says -- he's going to offset that $5 trillion with deductions.

(CROSSTALK) COSTELLO: Well it really hasn't been detailed, I mean, it really hasn't been detailed and of course that's a problem I mean it's just a guess on President Obama's part --


STRICKLAND: It's a big problem.

COSTELLO: -- because he kept mentioning that $5 trillion figure but Mitt Romney never really gave any specifics of how he was going to offset the tax breaks he was going to give. And on President Obama's side, a lot of critics were saying that he didn't give voters a specific plan on what he would do differently in a second term.

STRICKLAND: Well, Mitt Romney did give one deduction that he was willing to get rid of and that was Big Bird and Public -- Public Broadcasting. But he didn't talk about getting rid of the mortgage deduction, getting rid of the deduction to help parents pay for college or getting rid of charitable deductions. Those are the big ones and those are the deductions that strike at the heart of the middle class and that's why Mitt Romney is not willing to talk about the deductions.

He is willing to say how many taxes he will cut, especially for wealthy people. That part of the equation he is more than willing to talk about, but the part that really hurts the middle class, he is secretive about and I think the American people have a right to know before this election exactly what Mitt Romney is going to take away from them in terms of their mortgage deduction, their child tax credit deduction, their charitable deductions.

These are the big deductions and why won't he talk about them and that's a major issue in this campaign, I think.

COSTELLO: All right and I'm sure that journalists will be pressing Mitt Romney on those very issues. Governor Strickland, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

STRICKLAND: Hey thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: If you had to put a $100 bucks on Oakland back in July, you'd have $10,000 now. The A's make a comeback that's never been seen before in the big leagues.


COSTELLO: Here is to you, Miguel Cabrera. Over the last days, Miggy has emerged as one of baseball's best hitters. Now he takes his place with the legends of the game. Cabrera came off the field last night to a standing ovation in honor of his winning the Triple Crown. The Tigers slugger is the first major leaguer to do that in 45 years.

Just check out Cabrera's numbers for the season: .330 batting average and 44 home runs and 139 RBIs. And he helped lead the Tigers to the playoffs. Tigers, by the way, will be playing the surprising Oakland A's in the first round. The A's won the American League West by pounding Texas 12-5. The A's close the regular season in record fashion. They become the only team to win a division or league after being five games out with nine to play back at the all-star break. The A's odds to win the A.L. West were 100-1.

The O's -- Baltimore Orioles had a shot at taking the American League East with a win and the Yankees lost to Boston. But boy, yes that guy, Evan Longoria shut the door on the O's. The Tampa Bay third baseman smacked three home runs in the Rays' 4-1 win. The Orioles will play Texas tomorrow in the A.L. wild card game. Winner goes on in the playoffs, loser goes home. With the Orioles loss, New York captured the A.L. East.

Yankees postgame celebration much calmer than the others we have seen this week. Of course, they did it before. It's the Yanks 13th A.L. East crown in the last 17 seasons. They'll open the playoff Sunday against the winner of the Texas/Baltimore game.

And that is a look at sports.

Today's "Talk Back": is criticism of the debate moderator fair?


COSTELLO: All right. "Talk Back" question of the morning: Is the criticism of the debate moderator fair?

This from Daryl. "No. Jim Lehrer is a professional. He was nice, considering the participants did not follow the time limit rules."

This from Michael, "He was supposed to be a moderator and he wound up like a replacement referee -- ineffectual."

Another Michael, "Romney took command of the debate just like a real president should."

This from Jacob. "Lehrer was weak. What was the point of having a moderator. I was sick of seeing Mitt forcing his last two cents or even interrupting the President."