Martin Bashir | April 05, 2012
>> we begin with mitt romney and the president drawing strategic battle lines with increasingly sharp focus on their all but certain contest this fall. and just moments ago, the president wrapped up a rose garden event taking a compromise event signing a job creation bill into law with eric cantor , among others, at his side. meanwhile, as the president does some governing, mitt romney has been out on the campaign trail doing his best to pivot from the primary to the general. accusing the president of waging a hide and seek campaign and being, get this, out of touch.
>> i think he is so out of touch with the american people . years of flying around on air force one surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers, telling that you you're great and you're doing a great job. it is enough to think you might become a little out of touch. we have a president who i think is a nice guy but he spent too much time at harvard , perhaps.
>> i don't think he's been out seeing the people of america, talking to the people of america.
>> yes, well, romney did spend some time at a pennsylvania phone bank today trying to get out that message. and having some trouble dialing on a mobile communication device known as a cell phone . i guess someone normally does that for him. forget the fact that mr. obama spent three years at harvard while romney was there for four. forget that three of romney 's sons also hold their mbas from harvard . those elite snobs. i cannot get past the fact that willard, mitt romney , is calling the president out of touch.
>> i know what it is like to worry whether you'll get fired. there were a couple of times whether i wondered whether i would get a pink slim.
>> how much money do you have?
>> between $150 and $200 some middle.
>> i get speakers fees but not very much.
>> i'm also unemployed.
>> i mean, really? multimillionaire mitt. does he not hear the echo of irony from inside his car elevator? i have to tell you, it appears that voters aren't buying it either. to look at the poll numbers, this president is starting his reelection bid with a bang. opening up the first significant lead in this campaign in the nation's top 12 swing states . president obama leading mitt romney 51-42% among registered voters in those states. the president opening up his widest lead yet with independent states , 48-39%. and a new campaign video suggests why, telling a story about a little lady who started a chant that started a fire.
>> ready to go.
>> it shows what you one voice can do. one voice can change a room. and if the voice can change a room, it can change a city. and if it can change a city, it can change a state. and if it can change a state, it can change a nation. and if it can change a nation, it can change the world .
>> that doesn't look like someone out of touch to me. let's bring in our ace political panel. now in washington, msnbc political analyst david corn , washington bureau chief, the author of the new book, "showdown." and with me here, jonathan capehart, an opinion writer for the " washington post ," and the esteemed alex wagner. everyone is he is steamed. more so her.
>> thanks for the compliment.
>> sorry. david , if you were going to write a strategy for mr. romney to attack the president, would you in your wildest dreams ever suggest that this gilded multimillionaire should accuse the president of being out of touch?
>> let's look at it this way. the president does live in an awfully big house . he has butlers, he never drives his own car. he might just be as out of touch, as say, mitt romney .
>> but he doesn't have a car elevator. inconfirm there is no elevator for cars in the white house .
>> there is a big construction project on the front lawn of the white house . who knows what they're putting there? at some point, mitt romney has to come to terms with the fact that he is a 1 percenter. a .001 percenter. he get out there in the intro and he bashes barack obama for spending time at harvard when he spent more time at harvard . there should be a certain set of rules of polite political discourse in which mitt romney is literally laughed out of the room for saying things that are so absurd and silly. yet, i'm sure they focus grouped and test polled all this. so he is mouthing whatever words his consultants are telling this out of touch candidate to say.
>> david corn , those regulations were thrown out for the republican primaries this year. we're watching images of mitt romney as he speaks there in pennsylvania. i want to take up david 's point. is not this straight out of the karl rove book of strategy? find your own five worst witnesses and then locate them in your opponent. impose them on your opponent.
>> i think it is the i am rubber, you are glue strategy. the issue is that nobody really believes what mitt romney is saying. you look at the pivot that he is between the primary season and presumably the general election , if he is the nominee. it is as if they've forgotten about something they forgot about, the internet. the american public has in fact been paying some small amount of attention to the outrageous things he's been saying about women, about immigrants, about the economy, about the president's record on the economy. unsurprisingly, the obama re- election campaign has been monitoring this. they have a pile of research, a pile of youtube footage, they launched something today called the truth team that is taking these half truth that's mitt romney has been spewing on the campaign trail and they are correcting it for the american public online.
>> poor old mitt. john, we just saw the president signing this bipartisan jobs bill. we heard we have the lowest applications in four years. we hear that retail sales are going up. went up in march for the month of march. this is a problem for mitt romney . i guess he does have to fabric it a a straw man that he wants to fight. the very straw man that he complained the president was doing yesterday.
>> absolutely. remember, this is the guy who was, i'm a businessman. i know what it takes to make this country better. to improve the economy. to create jobs. that was what what, six months ago. or maybe eight months ago. now that all the indicators are going in the right direction, he has to come one some sort of rationale, some sort of argument for why people should vote out barack obama and why vote in mitt romney . but the problem is no one believes him. he looks entirely uncomfortable in his jeans and shirts and things. but also, he has shown a high degree of ideological promiscuity over the last five years. it is one thing to change your position on one core value you might have. say on choice. on gay right or immigration, but if you do all of them over five years, people look ought and say i'm not so sure about you.
>> on your promiscuity point, it has been suggested that he has more positions than an actor from the san fernando valley .
>> if those swing state polls tell the story, the rising economy is certainly mirrored in the president's re-election standing. is mitt romney watching his campaign platform as john says, dismantled by the weak, every week? every month that we get better unemployment figures? if we do, this is a problem for him. is not it? well, it's a problem right now. but remember, most americans who will be voting in november are not paying as much attention as, say, you and i and jonathan and alex are paying. and what will happen with the economy in the summer and fall will be far more telling. we've watched the last two, three years. the economy seemed to sputter in a positive direction. only to flag yet again. so i think mitt romney is banking on an october decline. which may be his only hope. but it does at the moment take wind out of his sails, hey, i'm mr. fix-it. i'm mr. turn-around. he doesn't seem to have a lot to say, the speech he gave yesterday attacking barack obama was so full. not just of half truths, as alex pointed out, but of fibs and lies. say the president promised to bring it un8%. it is a wonder he wasn't laughed out of room. he will be taking the kitchen sink approach. if this out of touch thing doesn't work in the next day or two, they'll say that he is obsessing too much about americans or something. they'll come one something else by friday.
>> david and john both point to the kind of facts of the economy and also the campaign. but there is also the personality of mitt romney who we saw earlier today, having problems punching in the numbers on a cell phone . i mean, stop laughing. i'm addressing alex . i accept the fact that a man who has $250 million in assets probably doesn't to have make his own phone calls . but that's the kind of example that i guess resonates with ordinary people who think, this guy is so utterly out of touch. he cannot even make a phone call .
>> absolutely, martin. especially when you look at the numbers on like long term unemployment. these are structural problems with the american economy . and i think that there has been, we've looked at the jobless numbers which are improving. the unemployment numbers are improving. when you talk about structural unemployment versus cyclical unemployment . the attention that needs to be paid to what is happening to american workers in this country. you want someone in the oval office who fundamentally understands the working man. and mitt romney seems so wildly out of touch on even the basics. whether that's using a cell phone or even knowing how many millions of dollars he has in the bank. or the rate that he pays on those millions of dollars. he has proven time and time again he doesn't know. he in fact is out of touch.
>> and very quickly, john.
>> and also, the other thing is, he is not putting forth really a concrete plan of his own of where he would want to take this country. and i think that's, one thing to denigrate the president. here's where i want to take us that goes beyond the cliches and generalities that we've been hearing.
>> he has described paul ryan 's budget as marvelous though. you