Martin Bashir | April 30, 2012
>>> more on the president and is mitt romney going full tilt after the question brought into sharp relief. for the president, it was the white house correspondents dinner and a chance for him to reintroduce himself with an all but certified republican rival.
>> recently his campaign criticized me for slow jamming the news with jimmy fallon . in fact, i understand governor romney was so incensed, he asked his staff if co-get some equal time on the merv griffin show .
>> merv griffin would be a great venue for mitt. unfortunately and sadliering passed away in 2007 . while the president did take some digs at romneyering also turned the jokes on himself. as he did, he could not resist a jam at one form he vice presidential hopeful.
>> even sarah palin is getting back into the game. guest hosting on the "today" show which reminds me of an old saying. what's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull ? a pit bull is delicious.
>> yes, there were plenty of shameless jokes, including a fake anti- obama ad told from the perspective of bo obama , the president's dog.
>> you need to join mitt romney in sending a message this november. i'm an american and dog gone it, i ride outside.
>> hang on. the president is not the only natural comedian in this race. indeed, the romney adviser and friend to etch a sketch makers everywhere defended his candidate's practiced funny bone . just listen to his hilarious description of romney as merry prankster .
>> one of the troopers who was assigned to his protection detail short sheeted his bed. the governor, in order to turn the tables on this trooper, sat down and composed a letter as if it had been written by the hotel manager, apologized for the bad housekeeping and the short sheeting of his bed and informed him that we have taken action to fire the chamber maid responsible. the governor showed that to the trooper.
>> you see, the governor loves to joke about firing people. especially firing chamber maids. what could be more hilarious. indeed, our panel is back with us. richard wolffe , jonathan capehart and ron christie. the romney camp said they find the president's humor off key which is rather humorous which is hilarious.
>> if the president gave $1 million to charity, they would say it was the wrong thing to do and unpresidential. that's what opposition candidates and campaigns have to do. it is hard for them to make the case that their own candidate is going to play in an equal space. with a president who has the platform to give the speech like this and has the ability to execute it. and has frankly better comic writing and delivery than jimmy kimmel did. i have some sympathy for what they are. they would be much better off saying our guy isn't funny. but he knows how to run a company. and just leave it there. it is not a fair competition.
>> ron , the president, of course, last week was out on his college loans push. and mitt romney also had a moment to inspire the youth vote at a college in ohio. take a look at this.
>> the right course for america is not to become more like europe. but to become more like the nation at our founding with principles that are as novel as they are powerful. that the individual is sovereign. that we're free to elect the people of our choice. that we're free to pursue happiness as we choose.
>> that was another scintillating performance by governor romney . why not market some of his speeches as a homeopathic cure for insomnia?
>> come on, martin, cut it out. i think --
>> do you think that was an inspiring speech.
>> i think he is a very experience asked measured approach when he was talking about returning to our enumerated powers . where we have gone to now the government thinks it should be involved in everything. we can say was he funny? trying to be funny? no, he was not. he was trying to be serious. that's the distinction. look at how cool president obama is.
>> but eric was saying look how he is very funny.
>> that's eric's look. i know governor romney . i've spent a lot of time with him behind the scenes . he is a very funny guy.
>> he is?
>> he is a very funny guy. politicians on camera and off camera are two different people. what america is looking for, do you want a serious candidate or mr. cool? that's the distinction.
>> i don't think there's any doubt the president is serious. you can say the economy will be a deciding issue but does this issue of inspiring america , does it pose a problem for romney ? they've tried to suggest that the president is just a celebrity. all that's done is kind of draw focus and attention on romney 's awkwardness and problems.
>> right. i think that's one of the reasons mitt romney and his surrogates and campaign are zeroing in on the cool factor of the president. that's one of the president's strengths. the fact that he is funny. and also the fact that in poll after poll after poll, even though his job approval rating is below 50%, his personal favorability ratings are in the low 60s -- in the mid to high 60s in some cases. so what romney and his campaign are doing are going right the at the president's strength and trying to turn it into a weakness. you can be serious and cool at the same time. unfortunately for mitt romney , he might be serious but he is really, really defish enon the cool factor. not that that is vital.
>> it shouldn't matter. i think the distinction --
>> it shouldn't matter that 3-1, the president is liked? i mean, john was just saying, to be fair to him that it is not a vital issue in material of electability. you're saying it doesn't matter that by a ratio of 3-1, people in this country prefer president obama to mitt romney ?
>> what we're saying here from a ratio of 3-1 is the president's personal approval ratings outmatch his job approval ratings . i think what americans will look at when you talk about the cool argument, is it cool that unemployment remains the way that it is? is it cool that americans don't feel this country four years later is moving in the right direction? that's what this contest will be about. these other side show issues of how cool obama is or is not isn't the important thing.
>> richard, do you have a response to that?
>> yeah. i think the argument they're trying to make is not about cool or not. it is that the president is a light weight. that's what they're saying. by contrast, what ron has been arguing is romney is serious. this president is plenty serious. one has one harvard degree. the other has two. they are both intellectually minded. this isn't about making the country like europe. there is a big difference between the two of them. seriousness is not the problem for either of them. the question is whose policies have helped the economy and whose would make it different? i agree that's what this election is about.
>> total agreement. shocking. thank you