Martin Bashir | April 20, 2012
>> we begin with a big day for mitt romney as the governor opens his arms to be embraced by the gop establishment during the rnc's meeting of state chairman and officials in scottsdale, arizona. we are expecting a headline event to kick off the unity weekend with senator john mccain about to introduce the presumptive nominee in just a moment. who better to bring wary republicans on board than the former presidential candidate whose relationship with romney four years ago has just been highlighted in this brand new dnc video.
>> i haven't changed my position on even numbered years.
>> he has switched position and change his record in order to get votes. senator mccain --
>> on every issue, it is a matter of record.
>> i hope he doesn't say anything like that. no, i'm sure he won't. you see, senator mccain is now part of the effort to etch a sketch romney back to the center. especially with ? key voting groups like at a lien ovlatinos. he took 31% of the hispanic vote to the president's 67%. i guess that's not so good. nevertheless, this is the president's rara moment. and as our new nbc " wall street journal " polling shows, they have some work to do with president obama leading mr. romney by six points. as we all know, presidential elections are won and lost in those crucial swing states . and unfortunely for that gop, new polling from fox news suggests republicans are in a real battle for those battlegrounds. in ohio, the president leads romney by six points. 45-39%. almost an exact flip from a few months ago. not exactly the direction romney wants to go. in florida, it is the president up by two. a tight race within the margin of error. but the difference is much more stark with the nonwhite vote. breaking two-thirds for the president with just one in five backing romney . just one more thing, mr. romney , as bit of back ground and position. florida's hispanic population, up 54%. black population, up 26%. it's the white vote that is actually shrinking. our political panel is here with us now in minneapolis. ana marie cox . jonathan capehart, an opinion writer for the " washington post " and strategist julian epstein. one is hispanic , where he is down about 70 to 20, depending on which poll you look at. and with independent women where his numbers are real bad. as for the event this weekend, we've joked about romney being the bridesmaid, never the bride. now he is the bride.
>> no need to refer to ted nugent so early in the broadcast. our polling shows the president's national lead is built on advantages with latinos, 47%. with women. 12 points . independents, ten points. that's a lot of ground to make one a lot of groups for mr. romney , isn't it?
>> a lot of ground and a lot of groups. and groups that don't necessarily swing really easily. the president leads with true independents. people who say they don't lean toward either party. you would think that would be a group romney might camden ? you are since he has leaned both ways himself but he has not. and that gender gap is real. it is real with suburban women who will turn out and vote. you have questions about whether or not the turnout will be as enthusiastic as it might be in other years since we have a republican nominee who does not get much excitement. the people who the president is ahead with, they may not be as enthusiastic as they were four years ago. but i don't think they'll change their minds.
>> jonathan, romney will have help with conservative interest groups . american cross roads and cross roads gps reporting they've raised $49 million in the first quarter of the year. both have accepted multimillion-dollar contributions and those checks are only going to get bigger, i suspect, aren't they?
>> right. they will get bigger. but it is not so much because of deep abiding love for mitt romney . it has everything to do with a deep and abiding anger and in some cases, hatred of president obama . they are raising money has not over fist to oust him from the white house . whether the nominee which the presumptive nominee being mitt romney or it could have been rick santorum . it could have even been newt gingrich . that money still would be raised.
>> donald duck ? would they have raised the same amount? you're suggesting it could be anyone.
>> right. because as i said, it has more to do with about anger and rage against the current president than it has to do with a deep and abiding love for mitt romney . ?
>> as romney reasons these massive donations, how much is he beholden to the agenda pushed by the been factors? does it make it tough for him to hue to the middle and claim those independent think if the money is coming from, you know, fairly extreme right wing conservatives?
>> well, not just fairly extreme right wing conservatives but the center for public integrity has just done an analysis of where cross roads is getting its money from. and the vast majority, if i understand the center's analysis correctly, the vast majority are undisclosed and they are over $75,000 a piece. you contrast that with the contributions that at least the obama campaigns and super pacs are getting, the average amount and it is quite a stark contrast. i think for romney , he has a couple problems. one is the gordon gecko image. second this question of trust. whether you can trust what he says given that he's taken so many positions on so many issues. the third problem i think he has in addition to the demographic groups that ana marie touched on, whether he has a credible argument on the economy. the data shows, my one complain with the white house is that they haven't prosecuted this argument effectively enough. the data shows very strongly that the recovery plan of the president's has worked very, very well. we cited the data the other day on the show. i think the data is very much there for him.
>> these groups have to do some serious selling of their product. voters are not excited about romney . take a look at the fox poll in ohio. just 29% of romney supporters say they are voting for him. ; @&h(lc% 33% are just voting against the president. is this a case of shrugging your shoulders and say i'll vote for romney ?
>> i think that's what's happening on the base. a lot of them might say this is a year to wait it out and get excited about 2016 . we've talked about this. the republicans had a very weak presidential field but a very deep bench for 2016 . and i think a lot of people, i'm hearing a lot of chatter of people already looking forward to that which does presume a romney loss. i also wanted to say that when you, i think it was the nbc poll today that showed when you strip the names off the economic policies and off the economic messages, it is obama 's message of economic fairness that really resonates with voters regardless of party identification . i think that's another sale the romney team will have to make that will be really, really difficult. people want fairness. people believe it is okay to succeed. romney often says he doesn't have to apologize for the successful that's not the problem. people are fine with people being successful but fairness is key and that's what obama 's message is.
>> absolutely. and the disparity of wealth.
>> it has been a big "newsweek" and you've hemmed us follow it. we've already had mommy gate, cookiegate. and even doggiegate saying, sorry, mr. president. he's not on the menu. this just felt like ? a low blow for senator mccain .
>> reporter: senator mccain who send out that tweet isn't exactly the senator mccain we fell in love with again when watching game change. he has been a bit bitter, it seem, since losing to president obama . all this talk about puppies and dogs and what's on the menu is, you know, it is light-hearted, giggle worthy. dare say it is even fun. what we really should be talking about is the economy and what is happening in afghanistan and other more concrete issues. if that's all senator mccain has to worry about, then i guess things must be going just fine.
>> i think they probably. are julian, does that bode well for the president? does the kind of dissent into people talking about dogs and the implication that he may eat dog meat , is that an example of the fact that the argument on the economy is in effect being lost in some way?
>> yeah. and i think the republican primary was either, was an alternate show between the, something like watching the archie bunker show where they attempted to insult just about every demographic group they could possibly insult, the republicans , that is, and an episode of seinfeld where it was much ado about nothing. still, the republicans at this point don't have a very clear message other than we want obama out. other than a negative message. and you can't win on negative messages. the republicans , their economic message come down to two things. cut government spending and cut ?xes. taxes for almost all americans are lower than they ever have been. and government spending is a percentage of gdp is pretty close to the historic average. and it doesn't seem to be a very compelling message that the republicans have other than a negative one. and if we get not the you'll, at least, moderate economic recovery and good news, i think it will be difficult for the republicans to make any kind of argument.
>> indeed. thank you so much for joining us this friday