Jansing and Co | May 25, 2012
>>> good friday morning i'm chris jansing .
>>> the president's campaign strategy right now, hit them early and often. attacking mitt romney by name over and over again this week.
>> i know governor romney came to des moines last week. worried about a prairie fire of death. that is what he said. prairie fire . but he left out some facts. his speech was more like a cow pie of distortion.
>> the new attacks are somewhat unconventional this early from a sitting president. the romney campaign calls eight sign of desperation. but it's one more indication this campaign will be unlike any other. let me bring in msnbc political analyst and former rnc chairman michael steel and strategist kiki mcclain. good morning.
>> good morning.
>> all right, does going on the attack mode this early, michael , make the president less presidential or is it smart, frankly, given the tone of what we've seen so far?
>> i think when you're president you always look presidential, so you can't take that away from him but i think the attacks do speak to an urgency that the obama team is seeing not just on the political side but also on the financial side. he's got to get his donors fired up and in this thing. they don't want them to take for granted the election and assume he will win it. i think romney is proving himself already to be sort of a difficult opponent in the sense that a lot of the things they have thrown at him so far some of it stuck but not to the degree they thought it would. the story about his boyhood indiscretions in high school , so the reality is this campaign as you said it, chris, will be one for the books. they know it and they want to get in front of it as much as they possibly can.
>> he makes an interesting point when he talks about what sticks, kiki , is this like, we're in a season where maybe the vast majority of the electorate isn't paying attention well oh throw things up and see what sticks and we'll be ready to go?
>> i don't think anything is loosey goosey. michael knows it's about defining choices. everybody always looks up and says the campaigns go so much longer the differentiation starts earlier, it doesn't really. i bet if we looked at transcripts you would find this going on. what you're seeing and experiencing now, romney will be the nominee. the dialogue and choices between these two men, now is the time to defining who they are, and the differences among them and i think it's come lpletely legitimate when we are kneein a discussion with the economic future, who they are. with mr. romney he has a record given a lot of different positions on frankly, what that real history is.
>> david axelrod said there is no point in being coy, you can't accuse the president of doing that. we put together a set of clips, this is part of what he said just yesterday. this is the president.
>> i know governor romney came to des moines last week. my opponent in this election, governor romney , the main goal of a financial firm like governor romney 's is not to create jobs. governor romney has made his experience as a financial ceo, the entire rationale of his candidacy for president.
>> do you agree with kiki , mike sme he'll -- michael ?
>> i think kiki has it dead-on. this is about two things in my view, defining your opponent and yourself in a way that the voters get to see you as the fighter, the charger, the change agent, and for both of these men, they want to make that argument for change. the president, there is more change that we still need to do despite the congress that got in our way, and romney , who says we need a change from all this change that we were promised four years ago. these two guys are putting it down i think it's good politics right now for both of them.
>> it's interesting, if you go back and look at 1996 reelection of president clinton , i think there are a lot of political scientists who would tell you bill clinton won that campaign in the summer. bob dole didn't have a shot come labor day , because the real definition of who both of them were occurred over the summer and the reality is, chris, with social media , and all the other avenues we have in media today and great shows like yours, people pay attention now. this concept people aren't really paying attention is not true.
>> we will be using that clip, great shows like yours. there was a pretty tough article in politico, obama stumbles out of the gate talks about the president's message, fundraising, that has fallen off a little bit. at the same time, let me play a clip of mitt romney out on the campaign trail, yesterday and he of course has also been accused of having a muttled message.
>> my opinion is such an urgent priority to bring jobs back to get the economy going again, put people to work.
>> i want to hear from of you, michael , it seems he's trying to hit it again. how do you think both of these campaigns are doing at this point and what is your assessment of the adjustments that need to be made?
>> i think they are both are adjusting, the obama campaign thought it would start out of the gate stronger than it has. it hasn't. i think they are now trying to deal with the fact their money is lagging behind the gop team. they are trying to catch that up. their messaging is all over the place you heard the president stumble through his stump speech figuring out do i use his name here or not. and romney on the other hand is also kind of getting the boots on as the nominee. he still remembers in a republican primary process, states still have to vote. there is a conservative base not as warm and fuzzy as he would like them to be. they have work to do, they both came out of the gate slower than they like to, certainly on romney 's team it took a little longer to get to this point he had others to contend with. i think once we get past july 1st , you will see this thing lightning speed to the conventions and then game on.
>> are you agreeing with that, kiki ?
>> i think there are a couple things. i think michael and i both agree this will be a battle of two highly disciplined organizations supporting their candidates.
>> we haven't seen that since 2000 , really. 2004 and 2008 were uneven in that respect. one speech here or there isn't the whole life of the campaign. the one thing we know barack obama has a record to run on and he's very committed to it. what he has done for the automobile industry , how he dealt with taking eye iriraq and moving in afghanistan and killing osama bin laden , what he has done to move this economy however slowly, we kept it going. for romromney, the same problem as before, in the primary conservatives didn't know who is the guy, moderate or conservative. as he moves in the general, moderates are saying is he that extreme guy we heard during the primaries or the moderate? he's not defined his own record as governor, in fact he tried to walk away from it in some instances.