Jansing and Co | August 29, 2012
>>> with isaac still churning, the republicans have kept open the possibility of a change in the convention schedule if that situation worsens significantly. vice presidential candidate paul ryan headlines tonight. but today, everyone is talking about those two blockbuster speeches last night. new jersey governor chris christie gave the keynote but ann romney spoke from the heart.
>> i read somewhere that mitt and i have a storybook marriage. well, let me tell you something, in the storybooks i read, there never were long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. and those storybooks never seemed to have a chapter called m.s. or breast cancer . a storybook marriage? nope. not at all. what mitt romney and i have is a real marriage.
>> now by contrast, chris christie did what he does best. he got tough.
>> we have become paralyzed. paralyzed by our desire to be loved. our leaders today have decided it's more important to be popular. to be popular, to say and do what's easy and say yes rather than to say no when no is what is required.
>> but democrats panned the speeches saying most didn't talk enough about the nominee, mitt romney .
>> this was a very angry convention tonight. full of insults. this was not a plan for mitt romney 's or mitt romney 's plan to build the middle class .
>> i want to bring in major garrett and "the washington post .."
>> caller: ist.
>> caller: icolumnist eugene robinson . you want to fire up your base, send them back home, ready to go to work for mitt romney . on the other side you have all those undecided voters. let me start with you, major, because you were in the room last night. and i was a little bit surprised to read from peggy noonan , she thought some of these delegates weren't especially fired up. maybe they left a little confused. what was your take being in that room?
>> i wouldn't say the delegates, based on my impressions, chris , left confused. i think they were a bit subdued. i'm not sure if it's because the convention was delayed a day or the proceedings went on in a formulaic fashion. they were either largely ignored or didn't really charge up the audience at all. there was an enthusiasm gap before ann romney took the center stage and chris christie of new jersey. so it seemed the room was subdued. i would never characterize a political convention as being confused. delegates know what they are about, what they are supposed to do when they leave. last night lacked a little bit of the energy. i've seen at previous democratic and republican conventions.
>> eugene, i assume you watched this from the comfort of a couch and a television. what was your impression?
>> i did. i did not have an adult beverage in my hand, but at any -- you know, i thought ann romney was terrific. i thought she was very good. she came across as human and accessible and approachable. i think you could quibble about the body language when mitt romney actually appeared and he still didn't seem to be the warmest or fuzziest guy in the room to say the least in his sort of walk-on role. but i thought ann romney was great. i thought chris christie , you know, he had the energy. he had the spirit. he didn't say a whole lot. if you actually look at the speech. i mean, there were very few specifics in there. and there was, frankly, not that much about mitt romney . there was more about chris christie and what chris christie had done in new jersey.
>> let me play a couple little clips, if i can. i want to look at a little more of each of the speeches. let's start with ann romney . here's another moment.
>> this is important. i want you to hear what i'm going to say. mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others because a privilege, not a political talking point.
>> there was a big headline in "the new york times" today, gene, that suggested -- or questioned whether she might have overshadowed her husband. does he in a way, have a tough act to follow?
>> well, he does have a tough act to follow. look. this convention, as far as i'm concerned, really is about mitt romney 's speech. it is -- it will be his introduction to many americans who haven't really heard him give a speech, who this guy wants to replace the president. they might be thinking about voting a different way. it's his chance to make that first impression on a lot of people. and so the bar is set very high for him, i think, and i'm not sure -- he's not warm and accessible by nature like she was last night. so it's going to be a tough act for him.
>> let's talk a little bit about --
>> chris , if i could jump in on that. i talked to some delegates about that last night on the floor. and there was a sense that it's quite possible, these are delegates. now it's not a scientific survey. i didn't talk to all 2,100 of them, but i talked to a few. it's possible by the end of this convention that mitt romney might deliver the fifth best speech. mean beg heinz his wife, behind chris christie , behind paul ryan and behind marco rubio .
>> that's okay from their point of view because they are like, everyone knows that romney doesn't win the presidency based on one speech. he can get himself closer. but they really believe that this election is about a choice for the country --
>> but doesn't he have to --
>> and a referendum on the president's record. and if he doesn't perform, it's okay.
>> for those undecideds out there, doesn't he have to present himself as a strong alternative to this president who is so likable to so many people and who seem inclined, frankly, to give him a little more time to accomplish what he originally set out to do?
>> certainly, exactly as you described, chris . of course, my conversations were with republican delegates on the floor of a republican convention . they've already given mitt romney and, from their perspective, the things he doesn't actually bring to the political conversation a break because he's their nominee. they've sort of agreed that, okay, he's the nominee. he's the leader of the party and this election will be mostly about him but it's also going to be about the larger context of the economy and whether americans want to change course and trust mitt romney enough to give him the reins of the presidency. and republicans i talked to on the floor said, we think the country is about to make that decision whether or not this is the most spectacular speech of mitt romney 's life or not. could be the fifth best speech and he could still win. for those not the hall, watching in and tuning in and trying to evaluate mitt romney , he's got a high bar and needs to cross it with some distance.
>> to that same point, the whole idea of having a keynote speaker is to have somebody set all this up. to have somebody sort of set the stage for the nominee. let's talk about chris christie and i'll start by playing another little piece of sound.
>> you see, mr. president, real leaders don't follow polls. real leaders change polls.
>> all right. he didn't mention, as you pointed out, mitt romney until the 16-minute mark. did he miss an opportunity here?
>> well, look. there were two things i expected christie to do among several other things. number one, i expected him to do more obama bashing because sometimes the keynote speaker can do the sort of slash and burn that the nominee can't do. he did surprisingly little of that. and the second thing, frankly, was teeing it up for mitt romney the candidate. and as you said, he waited a long time.
>> i'm sorry. i need to interrupt you. i'm sorry. i want to thank both of you for being with us.