Martin Bashir | April 13, 2012
>> good afternoon. it's friday, i am a the 13th. and mitt romney has just completed his address to the annual nra convention. in his remarks, he claimed that he represents freedom and that an america who once built the hoover dam cannot build a pipeline. a less than ingenious reference to the key stone pipeline. he also made an outright misrepresentation about the president's open mike moment with the russian president . amongst other things. let's bring in our panel now. with us from washington, political analyst and former dnc communications director karen finney, now columnist for the hill. and democratic strategist julian epstein. i have to get your reaction to that astonishing speech. try not to use an expletive.
>> i won't, i won't. i promise. i've taken a deep breath. two thoughts. one, i can't wait to see all the fact checks coming out of dnc . the number of, i won't call them lies but misinformation that came out of mr. romney's mouth was stunning. the picture that he was painting of an america , restoring an america . i kept thinking it sounds like you want to go back to a time when women couldn't vote, blacks couldn't vote. it just didn't sound like this was the america that we all know.
>> to be fair, karen, he didn't say. that he didn't say he wants to go back to a period before when african-americans couldn't vote, did he? he didn't say that. there were other even more astonishing statements, i thought in the speech.
>> when he says things like i want to return america . i want to restore america . i guess the question, when he talked about the constitution not being a living document. should would say that because the constitution is a living document, we passed rights for african-americans to vote. we passed rights for women to vote because we recognize that we should expand the freedoms of the constitution. not restrict those freedoms. that's where i come up with that.
>> julian , it is astonishing, i think, that he didn't once mention the case of trayvon martin in this speech. there he is speaking to the nra and he never once mentions the issue.
>> i think that's exactly right. i think what's most interesting about the speech is what he didn't say. the purpose of the speech was to make peace with the nra . and him saying that he is a pro defende r is like lindsay lohan saying she is a model citizen. the fact of the matter is the two biggest, the two biggest legislative fights of the nra in the past did he go aid have been assault weapons and background checks . mitt romney was for regulation to ban assault weapons . he was for background checks until 2004 . his position didn't evolve. his position changed 180 degrees overnight biffle 2006 when he decided he wanted to run for president, he totally reversed his position. the number of his reversals, on so many positions really gets to be, i think, a serious, serious character issue for him in the general election . what was most interesting about the speech is that he didn't talk about the gun issues. he made only passing reference. he talked nothing but b the major legislative challenges of the nra . he was on exactly the opposite position for them for most of the last decade.
>> i have to take issue with you going after listens eight lohan. she's done her service to society. she is trying to live a better life . i think that does a disservice to her quite frankly.
>> i was referring to the probation.
>> isn't it incredible that now this man is literally deteriorating in front of our very eyes to someone who krootdly and reflexively immediately champions whatever cause he needs to. yesterday it was mothers at home. today it is gun owners . who knows what it will be tomorrow? yet all the time what we're looking for is a continuing conviction. what are the policy convictions this man has? today it's guns, great, but what about tomorrow?
>> i think his major conviction is a conviction to win the presidency at all costs. that's the clear message we get time and again. but speaking to the point julian made, he was right. he chose to talk about freedom in this broader sense that you hear a lot of times from the right instead of specific gun control issues. that may be because he is trying to firm up his positions given that he's been on the other side of these issues so many times. but that's the thing i thought was interesting. he tried to cloak it all in this idea of freedom. but freedom is a broad expansive idea that is supposed to include everybody. that means we balance our rights and freedoms and our liberty. the institution against the individual. not just the sort of very narrow focus that i felt like he was about.
>> julian , mitt made what could be seen as a double panda when he brought ann out on stage first thing. take a listen.
>> let me give a shout out to all moms that are working. and by the way, to all dads that are working. we love all of you.
>> i'm not sure how many working mothers are actually watching that speech. but they are playing rosengate for all its worth, aren't they?
>> i think that they are. it is a little absurd this has become a three-day story. hillary rosen has apologized and i would notice she is not associated with the dnc . she is not associated with the campaign and the campaign came out immediately and denounced that comments. that's in stark contrast to what mitt romney did when rush limbaugh called sandra fluke a word i would rather not repeat. he refused to stand up rebuke her immediately. i think at the end of the day , all of this mommy wars, if you will, is not going to hide the fact as to where the republican party has been on issues that really matter to women. and i think women are smart enough to figure that out at the end of the day .
>> i absolutely agree. thank you