Jansing and Co | October 15, 2012
>>> chris jansing . today marks what could be the most important week of this campaign. two final debates starting tomorrow. right now both candidates are preparing for the rematch. as the clock ticks down to election day , time is running out for both men to make their case. there are two polls out. they show this race is a virtual tie nationally. president obama took about half an hour away from debate camp to look at volunteers yesterday. he did not joke about how debate prep is a drag.
>> how is the debate prep going?
>> it is going great.
>> mitt romney took time out of practice to go to church with his wife ann. he is riding high last week. that's something he worked into a stump speech .
>> now about a week ago i had a debate and i did enjoy myself. it was a great opportunity for the president and for me, for both of us to talk about our respective points of view .
>> i want to bring in the grie owe's political editor , perry bacon and matt welch . guys, good morning.
>> good morning.
>> president obama says -- at least we're hearing from his folks he's going to be more assertive. he's going to be more aggressive this time around. here's what robert gibbs said yesterday.
>> he also knew as he's watched the tape of that debate that he's got to be more energetic. i think you'll see somebody who's very passionate about the choice that our country faces and putting that choice in front of voters.
>> so, matt, what kind of adjustments does the president need to make.
>> i think he's going to be doing a lot of fact checking in real time . the administration and the campaign has been foreshadowing a lot of this. not going to let things go by that we think are inaccurate. i think you'll see more interjections, along those lines. i think the real thing they need to do is stop the benghazi bleeding, which is a political hit that i'm not sure the campaign really understands that the rest of the country is looking at how the administration has dissembled the benghazi attacks the last month. i think that mitt romney will be hitting at that hard and so might some of the voters in the town hall .
>> besides the overall importance of the national debate, michael sheer of "the new york times" has outlined a couple of things that he says are crucial. twitter, number one, the spin room , advertising. bottom line , perry , do you have to kind of create a narrative, talking points in your ads, and of course in that spin room that works for the rest of the week?
>> absolutely. what you saw in the debate on thursday particularly was the republicans immediately why all saying joe biden is smirking, he's smiling too much while the democrats said joe biden is being forceful and being tough. i think you'll see that kind of contrast. it depends on how close the debate is. in the first debate between mitt romney and obama viewed romney as better. but if this secretary ond debate is close, interpretation will be important. if a voter asks a question, those are things that will be important to watch. what's said in twitter early on will help people define what they think about it.
>> you have to look at it in the context of where we are now in this campaign. politico released its ten battleground states , romney leads 50 to 48%. colorado, florida, ohio rk virginia, wisconsin. is the romney comeback just part of a longer narrative, matt. is it something that helps going into this debate? does where we are really play into what voters think.
>> i think he's had the best two weeks of his cam pain by far. he's had those two weeks and he's gotten to where it's finally almost a tie. he needs to keep the momentum going otherwise there will be a lot of narratives. the wave has crested and it's turning towards obama .
>> we all know ohio , ohio , ohio . it's a critical state where mitt romney is spending a lot of time. here's what his debate prep partner said who knows a little bit ohio about that state.
>> he can probably win the presidency without ohio but i wouldn't want to take the risk. no rech can has. we're doing great in ohio . if you look at the average of all the polls, it's dead even in ohio . the momentum is on be our side.
>> a new poll has the president up by five although romney has been gaining. what's at stake for him in this debate, perry ?
>> i disagree. you've seen three polls. nbc had one last week, cbs had one last week. the race is getting closer. the president has an advantage in ohio and every survey that i've seen, two, three points, etc. that's really important. no republican has won the campaign without winning ohio before and as long as obama has an advantage there, that's really important and could make the difference on election day .
>> let me bring in senator john borasso, republican from wyoming. good to have you here in new york.
>> thank you, chris.
>> so we saw how quickly things could change as the result of one debate. mitt romney 's numbers are up. his likability is up which is something that he lagged far behind the president on. could it switch back just as quickly?
>> well, tomorrow's debate i think is going to be even a larger audience watching because of how poorly the president performed in the first debate and how well mitt romney did. there's going to be a lot of interest in this. the energy and enthuse see a. is clearly with mitt romney and the romney campaign. you'll see 90 minutes tomorrow. these men have records for all of their lives. the president's record is raising taxes, increasing the debt and not bringing back the jobs that he promised.
>> to that point, let me go to chas changing for the president which is people feel better about where the country is headed. we saw the unemployment rate come below 8% which took away a major talking point for mitt romney . home prices are rising. foreclosures are at a five year low. there is a shift. 42% say the country is now headed in the right direction. that's 13 points higher than it was a month ago. is this why we're hearing frankly so much about other things besides the economy from mitt romney 's campaign?
>> additionally 56% in the same poll say the country's heading in the wrong direction. if you're president of the united states you'd prefer to have more people thinking that the country that you're leading is heading in the right direction. i think the president will do well tomorrow because he does well in town hall settings. i think mitt romney is also going to do well as he talks to voters individually about his efforts to bring back 12 million new jobs. we have 23 million americans who are either unemployed, un underemployed now. i haven't heard a plan with the president what to do with it. this record has been miserable for our country, our economy and for people who are looking for work. they still haven't been able to find it.
>> there's another big issue and matt brought this up. that is libya . that has been in the news for more than a month now. something that will probably come up tomorrow night. here's what eelize gentleman cummings had to say about it yesterday.
>> we have not heard from anybody who was actually in libya the night of the event. we've heard nobody that was in benghazi therefore in the night of the event. i think it's turning into a witch hunt and we can do better. we really can.
>> elija couplings says it is a witch hunt . he says their economic message has not been working. is that right?
>> that's not right. i was in the top secret briefing with secretary of state hillary clinton and the top leaders of the administration ten days or so after the 9/11 attacks. to me it seemed like they were trying to hide something, that there was either incredible competence or a cover up. i have great concerns when you look at the time line of what happened, the requests for additional security that had been rejected, what happened that night and then the president saying even in his u.n. speech six times saying it's because of a video. the problem is this was a terrorist attack against our country and this administration doesn't want to errantly want to admit it. the reason i believe they're doing that is because it flies in the face of what the president says when he says al qaeda is on the run. they're alive and well and nited states.
>> we have heard from the beginning, we've even heard it from the candidate himself, mitt romney has said this is about jobs. this is about the economy. that's what this election is going to turn on.
>> at home in wyoming, i was there this weekend. i hear about jobs, the economy, debt and spending. this issue of national security and libya is coming up because there are so many different answers being parsed out by this administration . i think that, you know, when the vice president on thursday night said, well, we didn't know that they needed more security, well, in sworn testimony the day before the administration testified in congress that, yes, they did know that there were requests for additional security. so there are too many different stories that are out there and it just seems they don't have a story straight. the american people just want to know what happened.
>> senator john bourrasso, thank you for coming in.
>> appreciate it.
>> let me bring our panelists back in. it has been a month since the attacks in libya . the administration is still getting hammered over libya . here's what lindsay graham said yesterday. we don't have that sound. let me -- well, we do have it now. okay. i was going to read it for you.
>> it's exhibit a of a failed foreign policy . i've seen this movie before. i went to iraq in 2004 and everybody told me, things are going fine, this is a few dead enders. iraq was falling apart and couldn't get the truth from the bush administration . the mid east is falling apart and they're trying to spin what happened in libya because the truth of the matter is al qaeda is alive and well .
>> so, perry , does the president somehow have to straighten this out tomorrow night?
>> i don't think tomorrow night he will. we mentioned one thing, the next monday's debate is a foreign policy debate that will be done with a moderator asking questions. then i think the president will really be pressed on the issues. tomorrow's debate is where voters are going to be asking questions. voters will be asking the questions, not the moderator. i think they don't know all the details of exactly what happened in libya enough to parse this point and this point.
>> don't you think it's out there enough that a question could be asked? candy crowley , who's going to be moderating the debate, has made it clear she's going to ask some tough follow up questions. she certainly knows the details. don't you think it's to the president's advantage to let it go another week?
>> i think he'll address it tomorrow. i think the specific questions where he'll be asked over and over and over again will be next monday. tomorrow will mostly be about the economy. no, this is not a great issue for the president. they don't have a clear story about what exactly they knew when they knew it. they need to figure that out over the next few days to prepare for monday's debate.
>> let's talk a little bit about, matt, about the debate. it's one thing to talk about the questions and it's another thing when you're facing a room of real people and i wonder if that changes how the -- not just how they respond but what they can get away with essentially. does it look worse for them if you don't answer a question directly that an american is asking you?
>> it's interesting when you hear from the campaign about what they're practicing. they're practicing body language with voters. mitt romney is trying to figure out, okay, do you address the voter? do you walk up to them? some of it is the worst part of american politics . it's every state of the union address has the personal anecdote. hey, stand up and clap and this kind of thing.
>> pay attention to the first lady.
>> it's part of the phoniness but within that phoniness there are moments available when an american who is not a journalist, who doesn't cover a beat, who's not trying to flatter anybody can ask a question that is tougher than what we all come up with. that can be an interesting moment. i think we'll be looking for those kind of piercing little moments . i think we might get one on benghazi because, yes, it is out there in the culture and the administration . the administration has been very, very bad on this for a month now and so i think someone might try to ask for a specific question and the president better be prepared to answer it pretty directly.
>> matt welch , perry , thank you very much. we want to remind you if you did not hear this yesterday, former pennsylvania senator arlen specter being remembered as a moderate who wasn't afraid to cross party lines . he died at his philadelphia home yesterday from complications of nonhodgkin's lymphoma. once called snarling arlen, he spent 30 years in the senate. then he switched parties in 2009 saying he was increasingly at odds with the gop's philosophy. he lost that race. he voted in favor of president obama 's stimulus bill. his funeral will be tomorrow in penn valley . it is open to the public. vice president biden plans to attend. fire roast