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Mid-day Extra: Todd Gitlin on the Occupy Wall Street protests

Todd Gitlin

Protestors have been Occupying Wall Street
for a month now, and many Americans still don't know what to make of it -- how big is the movement? What are their demands? And will it keep growing?

Many politicians are also unsure how to handle the issue, and are careful what they say about the demonstrations.

At last night's Republican presidential debate
on CNN, moderator Anderson Cooper asked former Governor Mitt Romney what he really thought about the Occupy movement:

Anderson Cooper: You originally called the protests dangerous -- you said it was "class warfare." You recently sounded more sympathetic. Where do you stand now? What is your message to those people protesting?

Mitt Romney: Look, we can spend our time talking about what happened three years ago, and what the cause was of our collapse. But let's talk about what's happened over the last three years. We've had a president responsible for this economy for the last three years, and he's failed us.

We spoke to Todd Gitlin about what exactly the protest means -- and the directions it could take in the future.

Gitlin, now a professor at Columbia University in New York City, spent time in the 1960s as president of Students for a Democratic Society, which was a major force in the liberal demonstrations that have come to define the era.

In many ways, he says, the Occupyers are different from any previous protesters -- and not just because they now have access to Twitter.

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