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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Benghazi Attack Suspect Arrested; Campaigns Battle for Women Voters

Aired October 24, 2012 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight with breaking news and you'll only see it here. New details tonight about a man in custody who we are learning is the key suspect in the attack on America's consulate in Benghazi, Libya. A key suspect in the murder of four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

We know who he is, we know where he is, who's got him and whether American interrogators will be able to get at him. In addition tonight, we've got new insight into just how quickly the State Department knew about the military sophistication of the actual assault.

Fran Townsend is going to join us shortly, along with former CIA officer Bob Baer, and you'll hear as well from Senator John McCain. But I want to start with this suspect and a 360 exclusive.

Early reporting elsewhere said that access to the suspect was being blocked. Intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly has learned otherwise. She joins us now.

What have you heard?

SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Anderson. And what we're hearing from a U.S. government official that the U.S. does fully intend and expect to access to this individual. There's a little bit of negotiating going on as to how that's going to happen. There's a process in place. The FBI is expected to take the lead on this investigation, though intelligence officials are also expected to be in the room when he's questioned.

COOPER: So it's not clear -- so the FBI will take the lead on interrogation or interviews and CIA, other intelligence will be there?

KELLY: That's what's expected, exactly. You know, obviously, you understand how this works with law enforcement, with FBI taking the lead versus intelligence taking the lead. But we're told that right now the FBI is expected to take the lead in this so that they're gathering evidence from him that they would be able to down the road uphold in court but that the intelligence agencies will be there as well, because they want to know who this guy knows. Who he talked to, how many other people that they can link to this attack in Benghazi. COOPER: So his name is Ali Harzi, the suspect, correct?

KELLY: Yes. Ali Ani al-Harzi, that's right.

COOPER: What do we know about him?

KELLY: We know that he was apparently posting details of the attack in Benghazi as it was happening on his social media Web sites.

COOPER: As it was happening.

KELLY: As it was happening, which is just spectacular detail. But although we do something like that it makes it a lot easier for people to track you down and find you. We knew that he went from Libya into Turkey, and that officials in Turkey then detained him and turned him over to Tunisia, and now he's being held in Tunisia by Tunisian authorities.

COOPER: CNN has also obtained an e-mail that indicates that within the eight hours of the attack on the main compound in Benghazi U.S. officials there is telling us that the State Department and White House officials at the, quote, "shelter location," is under attack by mortar fire, presumably this second compound that we're talking about where the Navy SEALs were eventually killed. And this is -- I mean appears to be more evidence the administration officials were in a position to know a lot about the attack in real time.

KELLY: I think it raises a really interesting point. They did know that there were mortars being used. So they knew there was a military type attack. However, if intelligence officials come out the day after the attack with a thread of information like that, and that's only one piece of the picture, and then they go public with it. And two days later they find out that there was more to it.

It really puts intelligence officials in a position of having to go back and forth with every new bit of information they get. And they don't like to operate that way. They like to get the big picture and come with an assessment actual intelligence as opposed to streams of information. So I think that's one of the reasons why it didn't come out a lot earlier.

COOPER: I still don't understand, and we don't have an answer to this, but is that I assume there were debriefings of those who survived the attacks.

KELLY: Yes.

COOPER: A number of people survived the attacks in Tripoli and maybe elsewhere, while they were abroad. And I assume those would have taken place within 24, 48 hours or so after the attacks to -- with the survivors and why that information that in fact there wasn't a protest before the attacks, why that did not get disseminated quicker. And I don't know if we know the answer to that.

KELLY: Yes. Well, you have to -- you have to remember that the U.S. was at a huge disadvantage because it didn't have its own people on the ground to actually interview these witnesses. So a lot of the information -- I mean, CNN was on the ground before the FBI was.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right. But they were in Benghazi then taken to Tripoli, the survivors of the attacks.

KELLY: Right.

COOPER: So you would think that they --

KELLY: Right.

COOPER: Those people would have known there wasn't a protest. But again, we don't have the answer on that. That's one of the frustrating things.

KELLY: Right.

COOPER: Stay with us right now. We want to also want bring in CNN contributor Bob Baer, he's a former director of CIA operations in the Middle East. Also on the phone, Fran Townsend, CNN security contributor, a member of the CIA's external advisory committee.

As you know, Fran recently visited Libya prior to this attack with her employer, MacAndrews & Forbes, and actually met with Ambassadors Stevens.

Fran, what do you make of this e-mail that was sent to a number of State Department officials as well as the National Security Council?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Anderson, we shouldn't be surprised by this. Remember, we reported earlier on -- I had law enforcement sources that I had spoken to say that the State Department had real time access to the facts on the ground because of course from the consulate, they called to the embassy in Tripoli, that was patched through the State Department headquarters. So we knew they had real time access to information.

It is true that in the early going there is conflicting information, but Anderson, as you pointed out, the very same law enforcement official said that they had interviewed and in fact at Ramstein Air Force base those individuals who survived the attack as they came out. And so that information interviews confirming what they would have heard from the reports on the ground as it was unfolding were confirmed very early on. And frankly, we still don't know why is it that that information wasn't what was communicated to Ambassador Susan Rice at the U.N. who went out the following Sunday and suggested that this was the result of a protest.

COOPER: Right. But they are gathering information within 24. 48 hours, then the fog of war argument is harder to make because somebody at least in the pipeline had some of the information.

Bob, the suspect, this guy, you say it's significant that the suspect is in Tunisia -- is a Tunisian. He's in Tunisian custody but is also of Tunisian descend. Why is that significant to you?

ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it indicates to me that we're dealing with a regional organization. There are certain information that puts him inside al Qaeda in the Maghreb. So what we're talking about here, in fact he is a true Tunisian, based out of Tunisia, he shows up in Libya, participates in a military assault on the U.S. embassy, we are talking about a military-like terrorist group operating in North Africa.

And the significance of that is, of course, that al Qaeda in a sense moved from Pakistan to Yemen and from Yemen to North Africa. So we have al Qaeda spreading rather than, you know, being destroyed in another part of the world. So it's going to be interesting to talk to this guy if, in fact, gives up any details, if he admits to becoming -- you know, being a member of al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

COOPER: And Bob, what do you make of, you know, whether the FBI or the CIA is the one who's interrogating or questioning this person?

BAER: I think it's a good idea. The FBI is good at this. They --

COOPER: You prefer the FBI do it?

BAER: Much better. I mean I just -- I think that the renditions and interrogation tactics, rough interrogation tactics, ultimately didn't work. I disagree with a lot of my colleagues. The FBI does a good job on this. They've always taken primacy in investigations like this. American citizens were killed under American law. They are the ones who should be doing it.

COOPER: Suzanne, U.S. intelligence agencies now also believe another al Qaeda affiliated group had a role in this. What have you learned?

KELLY: One we haven't heard of yet, and that's al Qaeda in Iraq. And that would be significant, Anderson, because --

COOPER: So we hadn't heard of them involved in this attack, prior to this ?

KELLY: In this attack. Exactly. And that would be -- you know, we know that there are a core group of about a dozen of those people who launched the first attack. The bigger group is between 35 and 40 people. We know that about 12 of those had some sort of al Qaeda affiliation. And for a long time we've been hearing, as Bob just mentioned, that they were affiliated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. However now we're also hearing that they may have affiliations with al Qaeda in Iraq.

That's significant, too, because if you remember just over the weekend there was an attack in Amman, Jordan.

COOPER: Right.

KELLY: In which they believe that al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for that. And one of the targets in that attack was the U.S. embassy.

COOPER: Would that -- I mean, again, we -- I don't know want to say what we don't know. But we know that a large number of the people who -- foreigner fighters who went to Iraq to fight and kill Americans and Iraqis were from Libya, particularly eastern Libya and eastern Benghazi, in that region.

Are those people who have just returned home? People involved in this attack, do we know -- are they -- had they just returned home or are now living in Libya with this foreign, you know, terrorist experience?

KELLY: Right.

COOPER: Or did they purposely come to Libya for this attack? We don't know.

KELLY: It's very possible that -- yes, we don't know. But it's very possible that they went home and it kind of fits in with what we're hearing from intelligence officials that they believe this was kind of a group of loosely banded people with different loyalties and different affiliations.

You know, sometimes your cousin may be a member of al Qaeda in Iraq, for example, and they'll pick up on that through, you know, phone calls and social media conversations or something like that. It's very possible that they just went home and that they then got together and found out, you know, hey. September 11th and here's a great opportunity for us, let's go do it.

COOPER: Fran, what do -- what do you make of the fact that -- or the report that it's Libyans with al Qaeda the experience from al Qaeda in Iraq are involved?

TOWNSEND: Anderson, when I was still in the White House and traveling, I had gone to Libya and met with Gadhafi and the internal security services at the time. And it was one of our chief concerns. We were approaching them to say to them, we're concerned about this foreign fighter pipeline that you referred to. And the fear there is not only at the time were you fighting these people that they are allowing to travel into the war zone, that are -- that are, you know, harming our troops.

But you worry about the bleed-off that after the conflict these people will go back to their home countries. And it wasn't just Libya, mind you, it was all across North Africa, Yemen and throughout the Middle East. And this is sort of coming home to roost, that original problem that we saw the fight -- foreign fighter pipeline into Iraq years earlier. And so, while unfortunate, it's not surprising. These guys return to their home communities with this sort of sense of prestige having fought in a foreign conflict, they come home and they really take on these leadership roles in local extremist communities, and so that in that respect it's not entirely surprising but very unfortunate.

COOPER: And Bob, we've seen this time and again, I mean, fighters who were trained in Chechnya ending up in Bosnia, during the war there. Now it's folks who are trained on the battleground in Iraq, ending up in Libya and elsewhere.

BAER: Anderson, keep in mind these guys are getting military training in combat zones. It's the only place they can get it, whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, it doesn't matter. They need to pass through the crucible of combat. They get very good. They learn how to lay mortars, they learn how to fire rocket-propelled grenades. They know how to ambush an embassy.

These people are getting better and better all the time. I think that what the community's problem is that they are also wary of their collection efforts, our intercepts and the rest of it. And so we're seeing a tougher enemy after 10 years, after 9/11. These guys are -- they're good.

COOPER: Suzanne Kelly, appreciate you reporting. Bob Baer, as always. Fran Townsend as well.

Few in the Senate have followed this story closely than John McCain who's been critical of security prior to the attack and the administration's handling of the aftermath. I spoke to him earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: CNN is now reporting that there were about 12 suspects with ties to al Qaeda involved in this attack. Have you heard anything more about it that you can tell us?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, the thing I think of interesting news today is that e-mails were going back to the State Department and being distributed throughout the upper levels of government that this attack was taking place and it was probably by al Qaeda. And so again that brings into question what did the president know and when did he know it and what did he do about it both before, during and after.

And that's why Senator Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte and I issued a letter today. The president needs to go and talk to the American people. He needs to talk to the American people and tell them exactly what happened. There's huge confusion and contradictions.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton talked about this today. I just want to play what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The Independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work. Looking at everything, not cherry-picking, you know, one story here or one document there, but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this. You know, posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And she's referencing that in one of these e-mails, one of the personnel in Libya said that this group, Ansar al-Shariah, was claiming responsibility on Facebook and on Twitter and later on they went on to deny responsibility. So your response to what she said.

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, on that particular issue, it was very clear that that organization which is al Qaeda affiliated were the orchestrators of the attack. My only response is facts are stubborn things. There are certain facts that we know. We know that there were attacks on the consulate in April and June. We know the British ambassador was attacked. We know the British consulate was closed. We know that there were warnings and there were requests for additional security.

Didn't the president know those things and then of course the days after -- the days after the attack when the U.N. ambassador kept coming out and saying it was a hate-filled video that inspired the demonstrations, there was no demonstrations. In other words, facts are certain things. Everybody knows now there was no demonstration. So I'm all for a thorough and complete investigation but certain facts are known and there continues to be contradictions within the government and we know find out. We members of Congress, rather than being briefed, we find out from the news media.

We were -- went to a briefing and with all due respect, and I'm a great admirer of the secretary of state, as you know, before we went out of session -- and they told us nothing, absolutely nothing. And the very next day, the tick-tock of the attack, which by the way lasted seven hours was in both the "Wall Street Journal" and the "New York Times." So they're not telling members of Congress who have some oversight responsibilities. And again, there are certain facts which are indisputable.

COOPER: Yes.

MCCAIN: And so the rush to all wait and reserve judgment is frankly, and I will right now, Anderson, bet you $1 to a donut that the results of this review board will not be made public, they will not be able to complete their assigned tasks until after November 6th. What do you bet?

COOPER: Do you see this as an intelligence failure? Do you see it as a willful misleading of the American public? Do you see it as both or neither?

MCCAIN: I think it's either willfully misleading the American people to interrupt a narrative we got bin Laden and al Qaeda is on the run, and by the way, al Qaeda is not on the run. They are all over in North Africa and Northern Mali, they're doubled in Iraq, et cetera.

And so it interfered with that rhetoric. So they're either misleading or the degree of incompetence and lack of acting on existing information such as the previous attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, for example, is absolute and total incompetence.

COOPER: Senator McCain, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Always good to be with you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're also going to talk to Senator McCain in a little bit about the Indiana Republican Senate candidate's comments on rape and abortion that have caused a lot of controversy.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter, @Andersoncooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

The attack has become a campaign issue, of course. It seems to resurface over and over. So have inflammatory statements involving abortion and rape that I just mentioned. Another candidate sets off a storm with his words. We'll talk about that when we have "Raw Politics" right ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Raw Politics" now. Another politician has weighed in on rape and pregnancy. And once again the country is talking about it. Another male Senate candidate making waves at precisely the moment when the presidential race has become a fight to win female votes. So with that as the backdrop here's what Indiana Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, said during a debate last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE, INDIANA: I struggle with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, just moments later the story went national. By today both political parties were fully involved on a presidential level and Republicans, Mr. Mourdock included, were trying to do damage control. However he himself is not backing down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOURDOCK: I believe that life itself is the greatest gift that God can give us. And I know, because polling shows it. At least 80 percent of all Americans, and I'm sure at least that many Hoosiers think that God is the author of all life. And I stand firmly on that belief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He went on to say that those who twist his comments for partisan game typify what's wrong with Washington. The Democratic National Committee did not twist his words today. They just played them in a new add tying them to Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: This fall I'm supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate.

MOURDOCK: Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, for his part, the Romney campaign has this today, quote, "Governor Mitt Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock. And Mourdock's comments do not reflect Governor Romney's views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him."

The Romney campaign also said it's not pulling the pro-Mourdock ad that they made. A short time ago I talked to Senator John McCain about the controversy that made some news and we'll bring that to you in just moment.

First, though, Jim Acosta, traveling with the Romney campaign. Dan Lothian is covering Team Obama.

Jim, the governor seemed to have some momentum then the later debate sort of stole some progress, perhaps. We haven't really seen a lot of poll numbers. Now his team has spent a valuable campaign day on the defensive over this. Does this story concern them at all?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it does, Anderson. And you can tell by the fact that senior Romney advisers were really out of sight all day long. We did not see them at either the big campaign events that he had today in Nevada and here in Iowa. And I think this is what happens when the Romney campaign has a narrative, a new cycle that sort of gets out of his control. And we saw that happen earlier today.

Before they put out that statement saying what they wanted to do with that pro-Richard Mourdock ad and whether or not they would continue to support him, one of their top surrogates in New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte, who was on his vice presidential list of potential running mates, she already went out and said that she was not going to be joining Richard Mourdock out on the campaign trail today. And then shortly thereafter the Romney campaign put out that statement basically saying they still support him but they don't agree with his views on whether or not God intends for a woman to become pregnant after being raped.

And, Anderson, this is really sort of splitting or threading the needle for this campaign. Trying to distance themselves from Richard Mourdock while at the same time not throwing him under the bus.

COOPER: And I'm going to ask Senator John McCain whether he still stands by Richard Mourdock and we might be surprised what he says. Dan, we saw the Obama campaign jump on this pretty quickly. Do they plan to keep those attacks up beyond today? I mean do they think this is something that has legs that can help them?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, to the extent that this continues to be part of the new cycle, certainly. I mean they believe that this issue fits into the overall portrait that they have been trying to paint of Mitt Romney that when it comes to women's issues, women's health issues, and them having control over their own bodies that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party in general is really dangerous.

As you pointed out, the campaign jumping on this right away. The traveling campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki saying that the president thought that this was outrageous, these comments were outrageous and demeaning to women. But it was really the DNC that was pushing this very hard today putting together a conference call where they were laying out and trying to make this argument that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would be dangerous for women and that women should be concerned about this as they head to the polls. Because this is the kind of thing that you'll see now only with the Republican Congress but with the Republican president.

COOPER: Dan Lothian, appreciate the reporting. Jim Acosta as well.

Ahead, what new polling from Ohio shows and a shift to North Carolina as well. Could Richard Mourdock's comments about pregnancy and rape actually help decide the outcome. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it's history-making leap from the edge of space. It was breathtaking to watch. But what did it actually feel like to be the guy jumping? My interview with Fearless Felix Baumgartner is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. More proof tonight just how dynamic presidential race were made. A new "TIME" magazine poll shows President Obama with a five-point lead in the pivotal state of Ohio, 49 percent to 44 percent. This only shows that Mr. Obama had a 2-1 lead among Ohioans who have already cast their ballots. Meantime, CNN has moved North Carolina from the tossup column to lean Romney. The latest wildcard as you saw, the comments of Indiana Republican Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock.

Senator John McCain made some news on this when I asked him earlier if he still has -- well, if he still supports Mourdock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Do you still consider himself in his corner?

MCCAIN: It depends on what he does. I think it depends on what he does. If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him, then obviously I'd be the first.

You know, as I said, I'm not sure how big a mistake that I have made. But you know in the years that I have been around, I've made a few, Anderson, and I've asked for people's understanding and forgiveness when I won't own up to it. It's when own up -- when you don't own up to it when people will not believe in you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The Romney campaign, as we said earlier, is not withdrawing support from Mourdock or pulled the pro-Mourdock ads that they made.

Joining me now is CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos. He was a campaign consultant of Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential run. Also CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke.

Gloria, you've been talking to the Romney officials today. What are they telling you? Are they concerned at all?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course you are concerned about everything that happens at this point in the campaign and obviously they have an ad running in the state with Mitt Romney. They did not ask for it to be taken down. But I spoke with a Romney senior adviser who said, you know, they did some testing on this after the whole Todd Akin case in Missouri and what they say they discovered is that when somebody makes a stupid remark, they're not going to blame Mitt Romney for it. So they're feeling like this is a story that's not going to really have much of an impact on them.

COOPER: Alex, you look into this kind of stuff in the past. You've done ads. Do you agree with that? That it doesn't really have much of an impact on Romney?

CASTELLANOS: This too will pass. It is more of a distraction and that is really the cost the campaign pays. Instead of talking about the economy and jobs, which was what Mitt Romney would rather be talking about. He has to spend a few hours explaining this.

COOPER: It has been kind of all day thing.

CASTELLANOS: Not for the Romney campaign. They are going to try to stay focused on jobs, growth and getting the economy going again. And you know, it was fairly clear what Mourdock meant there.

He meant that life -- he was talking about, not that God willed women to be raped. I mean, that is such a ridiculous comment that I think it's going to be hard for anybody to embrace.

And right now, we are at the point of the campaign, Anderson, where all of this hype is irritating voters and over hype is turning them off. It is the quiet voice now that will cut through and get attention. I think this kind of thing will blow over just a bit.

COOPER: Sandra, what do you think? And the Romney team saying they are going to hold voters for what he said?

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Well, I think the voters are going to hold Mr. Romney responsible for his own positions and for the positions of the members of the Republican Party like Mr. Mourdock.

COOPER: Mitt Romney's position is a different that Mourdock's position.

FLUKE: That's right. His position is that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe V Wade. And his position is that he chose a vice presidential nominee who agrees with Mr. Mourdock. And Mr. Mourdock is running for the Senate, which has been the last stop gap between these radical policies in the House and these becoming laws for women in this country.

COOPER: But just factually speaking his position on abortion is different than Mourdock's because he says in the case of rape or incest or life of the mother, abortion shouldn't be allowed.

FLUKE: He has said that. But he has also said that if Mr. Mourdock's position were to take hold, he would be delighted to sign a bill that would ban access to all abortions.

COOPER: Gloria, the gender gap, I mean, it does come both way here. Romney has had a big advantage with men. Could he build up enough of an advantage with them that women voters are not as decisive?

BORGER: Right, I mean, well, that's their hope, Anderson. Look, you know, the recent polls everywhere show that there is a gender gap where women are much more geared towards the present.

You look at this poll you just put up there about Ohio voters and you see that Obama is plus 19 on women here and Romney is only plus nine on men.

So, what he needs to do is to get his numbers up with men in a state like Ohio so that the gender gap with women is balanced out. It is not that he has to beat President Obama when it comes to women.

But he has to improve his numbers with women by a few points everywhere. That is proving difficult for him to do, which is why in the last debate we've seen Romney talk about his family, and his faith and education. You know talking more about issues that women care about.

COOPER: Alex, we are seeing some Republican candidates distancing themselves from Mourdock. I talked to Senator McCain earlier today who, you know, said, I asked him if he is still in Mourdock's corner.

He said Mourdock should apologize and whether or not he's still in his corner, it depends on whether or not he apologizes. If he doesn't apologize, I mean, does the story continue? Does pressure on Mitt Romney grow? CASTELLANOS: You know, if there was something substantive underneath it then I think the story might continue. It is clear what he meant. He was talking about a baby and you know, life was God's will. Not that God's will that a woman be raped.

You know, Anderson, looking at these surveys. This survey is a little bit of an outlier. Mitt Romney actually has been closing the gender gap with women since the first debate.

I think one of the things that is happening here is the Obama campaign has had this very focused campaign of, you know, women are a collection of reproductive parts. That's the only thing they care about are these kinds of issues.

As opposed to having enough respect for women to understand that, guess what, they participate in the economy. They are the engine of economic growth. They are starting most small businesses in this country.

I think it's a little bit demeaning to say that women only care about one thing and one thing only. I think that is one of the reasons that Obama is having a problem, an increasing problem with the female vote right now.

BORGER: Let's be honest, both of these campaigns are talking about issues they think women care about right now. Because women are late deciders and women also go to the polls and so, you know, both of these campaigns are talking about things they think women want to hear.

COOPER: Sandra, I appreciate you being on. Alex as well and Gloria, thanks.

But, you probably saw Felix Baumgartner jumping, breaking the free fall record from the edge of space. He is going to reflect on that coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Did it go by quickly or did you remember every second?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember every second. I was totally concentrated. I was focused and just trying to do the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Exclusive new information tonight on the hunt for the main suspect in the shooting of a teen activist targeted by al Qaeda in Pakistan when the program continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: New insight tonight on the man who set a new record breaking the sound barrier by skydiving 24 miles, hitting speeds of more than 830 miles an hour from the edge of space. My interview with Felix Baumgartner in a moment, but first a look at his historic jump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are. I'm going home now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And come home he did. We want to ask him what it was like up in the stratosphere looking down in the earth knowing there's only one way home. I spoke to fearless Felix earlier for the 360 interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: When you opened that capsule door and you were standing on the edge, looking down, what is going through your mind?

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, WORLD RECORD BREAKING SKYDIVER: Well, it was a very unique and an outstanding moment because I have been working so hard for five years to reach that point. It was a beautiful view when you look out there.

But at the same time, you realize that everything around you is hostile. Plus, when I disconnect my oxygen hoses from the ship's system, I only breathe oxygen from my bottles and they only had 10 minutes so there's not a lot of time to waste right on --

COOPER: I read that you had gotten a tiny tear in your suit that you could have died. That you could have been boiled alive, is that true?

BAUMGARTNER: That is not true. I've been told if you a hole the size of a dime, you know, it will still do the job.

COOPER: What does it feel like to be traveling more than 800 miles an hour? Do you feel like you're traveling --

BAUMGARTNER: You feel you are fast because you accelerate so fast, but you do not feel that you're traveling at 830 miles-an-hour. Plus you do not feel that you travel in supersonic speed because all my scientists before. They told me that you are going to have a shock wave going through your suit. That supersonic boom happens way behind you.

COOPER: It happens behind you. Do you notice anything when --

BAUMGARTNER: -- at all. Never -- still -- until I hit -- until I open my parachute, I did not know if I broke the speed of sound or not. So when I touched the ground, I'm with my parachute. I have been told that they heard the supersonic boom. It is the first and only supersonic boom created by a human person. It's just kind of cool.

COOPER: To say the least. And then there's this incredible moment when you are spinning and it seems like you are out-of-control. Were you actually out of control?

BAUMGARTNER: No, I knew from the beginning or we knew from the beginning on that you cannot go off stable because there is a -- you cannot go off the capsule stable. You are going to spin.

And that is almost in a vacuum. There is no support of air. We use this air to stabilize yourself, but the first 30 seconds you have no air. So the only way that you can do it is to spin.

So now you have 50 seconds to control that spin and you cannot practice this before. Because either you go for supersonic speed or not so while you constantly spin, you have to figure out the solution how to stop that spin.

So I was moving my arms and legs, but really gentle because you are traveling at 830 miles-an-hour. So you cannot stick your arm out like this because it becomes worse. So I was trying to figure out a way how to stop it and once I had it, you know, I never lost it.

COOPER: Are you for the entire time, are you thinking second by second. There is no time to really enjoy it, I guess is there?

BAUMGARTNER: That was business. As soon as you step off, it is business. You know we have been working so hard to accomplish what we have to accomplish and there's no second thought about emotional and stuff. You have to perform well.

COOPER: Time wise, did it feel like -- did it go by really quickly or do you remember every sort of second.

BAUMGARTNER: I remember every second. I was totally concentrated and focused just trying to do the right thing.

COOPER: Is there ever a moment of fear or worry?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, it is not fear because my life was never in danger. If it looks like that for regular people, we have been doing a lot of testing before, you know, we have developed a lot of safety equipment to make this as safe as possible. So my life has never been in danger. The only word that I had was not breaking the speed of sound.

COOPER: Also, your landing seemed perfect. I mean, you see people doing regular sky jumps, skydives and you know, they collapse on the ground. I mean, your landing was amazing.

BAUMGARTNER: I never thought about landing in my whole life because it's a natural thing on a skydive. But this time, I was so worried about falling down, you know, because the whole world was watching. I want to finish this.

And that is why I was getting worried when I was 30 seconds prior to landing. I still didn't know where the winds were coming from because you have no -- no nothing. My helicopter guys were supposed to drop some flares. And 30 seconds before landing, I still didn't see flares. That is why I was yelling at the guys over my radio to drop some flares because I wanted to know where the winds were coming from.

I wanted to finish this in a perfect way and then finally they dropped some flares and could read the direction from the wind and I landed on my feet.

COOPER: I love that after all of the stuff that you have gone through, you are worried about looking good on the landing.

BAUMGARTNER: Finishing it well.

COOPER: I read also that you had panic attacks for a sense of claustrophobia in the suit. What was that like?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, it happened in the beginning. Every time that I was in the suit for almost an hour, I kind of felt anxious, but I was fighting my way through.

And then after all the tests that we did, I was supposed to spend five or six hours in the capsule. We took that capsule. We put it in a chamber. They cooled it down to what we experienced up there.

They brought me all the way up to 129,000 feet inside that chamber and then it goes on for six hours. And I knew that I could not do six hours in the suit. So I had to address ---

COOPER: I mean, it is claustrophobic?

BAUMGARTNER: Yes, when you put that visor down, you know, you are trapped in your own little world. All you hear is your breathing for hours and hours and hours. And it's very stiff at altitude. It becomes pressurized. It's very stiff.

You have a lack of mobility. And if you have negative thoughts it is getting worse inside the suit. I was working with a psychiatrist to get over the problem.

COOPER: And how were you able to get over it?

BAUMGARTNER: Mostly by thinking positive and outside the suit. If you stay with your problems inside the suit, you know, when we work every day and we are busy. We do not think about stuff. But when it gets silent around you, you start thinking about a lot of things and then this is where your worry starts.

COOPER: It sounds like being in prison almost.

BAUMGARTNER: It's like a prison. Years ago when I was 16 years old, I loved the freedom and now I'm like a bird in a cage. That's what the suit did to me.

COOPER: What you do next? I mean, are you done?

BAUMGARTNER: I'm going to break the speed of light. Actually, I think, I know, I'm done because it is time to move on. When I was young, I had two dreams. The first one was becoming a skydiver. The second one was becoming a helicopter pilot.

But I could never afford to take helicopter lessons, but I did back in 2006. Now I'm a commercial helicopter pilot and I'm going to put my skills into public service and work as a firefighter. This is where I want to be and this is where I belong.

COOPER: I wish you the best. It's incredible what you did.

BAUMGARTNER: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Amazing. Amazing stuff. You can see more of how Felix pulled this off on "Space Dive," a documentary five years in the making premiers on the National Geographic Channel, Sunday, November 11th at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

A lot more happening tonight, word of yet another proposed cease- fire in Syria. The news coming as another round of deadly violence rocks the Damascus. The latest developments on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A 360 exclusive, new details in the search for the attackers of Malala Yousufzai, the young Pakistani teen who spoke out against the Taliban and was shot.

Police identified this man, 23-year-old Ato Ulah Kahn as the main suspect. He is still at large. If you are watching tonight from the region and you know or have seen him, the Pakistani police are looking for any leads or tips on his whereabouts.

Nine people including Khan's fiancee, mother and brother have been arrested. According to police, Kahn is from the district where Malala was shot point blank in the head.

The 14-year-old girl survived the attack. She is recovering in England. The Taliban though have vowed to kill her if she returns.

There's a lot more we're following tonight. Isha's here with the 360 Bulletin -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a deadly car-bomb attack killing at least four people today in Syria. The residential area of Damascus as diplomats announced plans for a cease-fire agreement starting Friday and marking the Muslim holiday. The last cease-fire in April lasted just one day.

The Justice Department filing a lawsuit against Bank of America (inaudible) recover $1 billion lost by taxpayers. It alleges the bank sped through the processing of government backed mortgages resulting in thousands of fraudulent and defective loans.

We are getting word of one death in Jamaica, 70 percent of the island is now without power. Forecast shows Sandy heading north along the U.S. east coast over the next few days.

And if you just can't drive 55, Anderson, you may want to head toward a new stretch of highway just outside of Austin, Texas. It opened today with a speed limit of 85 miles per hour. That is the fastest in the nation. Anderson, if you feel the need for speed, you know where to go.

COOPER: All right, thanks --

SESAY: You don't know where that is from do you?

COOPER: Yes, what is it? The Tom Cruise movie, "Top Gun". Yes, I've got it.

SESAY: They told you.

COOPER: I'm sorry I'm still not living in the 80s, OK? I've advance, but I remember.

Time for tonight's video some guy posted of himself on YouTube doing one-armed purchase ups while solving a Rubik's cube in 25 seconds, one handed by the way just because he can.

He writes that this video combines his two main hobbies, lifting and cubing. I wasn't aware that solving a Rubik's cube is called cubing now, but apparently that's what the kids are calling it.

SESAY: You know when I was younger, I couldn't finish it. So I just peeled the stickers off and moved them around.

COOPER: Isha, thanks. The old show business saying, never work with kids or animals. One reporter learned it the hard way that also includes fish. The "Ridiculous" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time for the "Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding crazy carp. That's right, they are carp and they are crazy. Here's the thing. Invasive species of carp actually pose a big ecological problem in certain parts of the country.

Journalists have been covering this for a while and recently a reporter for WSMV in Nashville decided to head out on the water and grab the story by the tail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, they are big. This one is about 12 pounds, but they can grow to be --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ouch, right? The poor guy she fell on as well. Anyway, before you start tweeting me for making fun of her. You should know that the reporter herself thought it was funny. She got a sense of humor about herself and tweeted out the video. No, I'm not going to make fun of her for wearing a dress on a fishing trip because frankly I'm not wearing pants right now.

Now we've actually had some experience with invasive carp right here on 360. A few years ago, CNN's David Mattingly did a story about them including how they can jump out of the water and hurt people. How did David find that out? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Ouch, that hurts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Poor David. He was fine though, but you can get injured by those crazy carp and believe it or not. We actually don't think it is funny when our colleagues get hurt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it. It hurts. It's painful, but no one is dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Back to being a reporter though and working with wild life. You have to be careful not just with exotic species of fish, but with cuddly little friends as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The couple is accused of throwing two cats out of their car and killing them. This little guy is having fun, but the couple is going to have to come --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I've seen that video so many times, I feel so bad for her. The reporter was fine as well. She thought it was funny. But she came to think it was funny.

If you are going to get into the world of television and are tempted to work with animals, do what I do and call upon a real star. Look at that calm face. There is a fellow who won't scratch you and knock you over into a boat.

Yes, we will use any excuse for a flimsy to work that show. As for those crazy carp, they remain a big problem even when they are not knocking off reporters. We would rather see them out of important waterways and living on the "Ridiculist."

That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now another edition of 360 at 10 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.