Martin Bashir | May 16, 2012
>> we begin with a tale of two presidential campaigns with the president and mitt romney laying out two very different economic visions for this country. it was vice president joe biden who was unleashed in ohio this afternoon going for the jugular against multi-millionaire mitt romney and firing up his youngstown crowd with a vigorous blue collar battle cry.
>> i resent the fact that they think we're talking about we're envy, job envy, wealth envy , that we don't dream. my mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams. they don't get us. they don't get who we are.
>> it was that fire that brought biden brought to balgs ground ohio putting the president's economic agenda in very simple terms.
>> this election is going to be a choice between two fundamentally different philosophies and that choice is about whether or not we're going to rebuild the middle class or continue to help those at the very top and hope everything works out well.
>> now, contrast that with one mitt romney hitching his wagon to congress's favorite hatchet men and down in florida this morning he brought the prairie fired debt metaphor in front of the ticking debt clock going right to the heart of the blaze.
>> you don't think i am going to go to bed and because the wind might change and you instead look for something that says i am going to take responsibility and fix this and it is high time that we have a president who will stop the spending and borrowing inferno and i will. i will get the job done.
>> unfortunately, what is missing from mitt's debt drenching bravado are specifics about what he would eliminate from the budget. he says he will cut taxes, he will expand the military, putting more stress on the budget, all while vowing to the st. petersburg snowbirds he will protect social security and medicare. give mitt credit. he comes ready with a panda for every single audience.
>> by the way, for the young people in this room, that guy there and who did i see over here, well, you're not that young. there is a guy way back there. actually, anybody under 65 i find very young.
>> they ate it up down there. they really did. now, of course the closest romney has come to laying out a specific plan is his endorsement of the ryan budget pass this had year by house republicans and it's boehner and the boys the president found himself facing again today in a lunchtime hoagie summit between himself and congressional leaders and with speaker boehner claiming he is the grown up in the room.
>> when i am trying to do is encourage people on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capital and on both ends of pennsylvania avenue to be honest with the american people and to be honest with ourselves, to begin to tackle this problem in an adult like fashion.
>> he is right, you know. holding children's health care hostage to your conservative agenda, no child will ever do that. let's bring in our panel now. here in new york, contributor joanne reed, managing editor of the grio.com and in washington michelle cottle of eyewitness news week and the daily beast and we already heard the vice president on fire today, that really sort of firy speech and you could feel the pain of that worker and the 250 other who is lost their jobs when bain took over the factory. that's pretty potent, isn't it, in this election cycle?
>> yeah. i think what's really striking here is you almost have two different elections going on. republicans are trying to refight the 2010 election and they're just focusing on debt and spepding which is what the tea party base cares about. i think the vast majority are americans are concerned about jobs and the economy what, the polling shows and joe biden has this way of articulating what sort of the every man guy, the regular middle class guy, viser ally feels and sounds like he is one of them. i think that he is a very effective spokesman for that. he sounds very awe then it i can.
>> right. michelle , are the boehner tax risky do you think if that they could turn off independent voters some of whom did embrace the free markets and the risks they entail?
>> you have to be very careful making these attacks to make a distinction between entrepreneurial spirit and free market capitalism and the kind of what they're calling vulture capitalism that mitt romney is being accused of, and i think when you have opportunities like with this steel mill closing to talk to people who lost their jobs, that's always going to be emotionally effecting, so it is going to have to be a very -- it is a careful line they'll have to walk.
>> in fact, michelle , that was what other presidential candidates during this primary run up did to mitt romney . they never said that they were socialists. they said they were all for the free market but it was santorum, gingrich, and rick perry who absoluteliy vis rated mitt romney on the issue of his investment banking past.
>> exactly. one of the arguably meanest ads we have seen in awhile is newt gingrich 's really long extensive look at romney 's stint at bain, and i think that that's going to come back again going forward in the generals.
>> let me bring in democratic strategist julian epstein who is joining us also in washington and, julian say what you like about vice president biden getting in front of the skis on same sex marriage, he wants to get out in front of rick santorum in i and start throwing punches. that was a pretty potent performance this morning.
>> i think it was. i think this really kind of foretells what the white house strategy is. the gordan gek owe message about romney is an important point and important part of the strategy and plays particularly well and also shows what the white houses thinks about in terms of the electoral map. everyone talks about the north korea times poll and had romney ahead three points and showed the gender gap closing and the real news i think is what's happening in the sta its and romney is going to have to win -- do well in wisconsin, iowa, ohio and pennsylvania if he wants to win this election. the gecco message is not in and of itself the political strategy for the white house , but it is an important part of the strategy and plays particularly well in those states t goes after his credibility as an economic messenger but i think what the white house has to do beyond that is to say we understand we have a fragile economic recovery. our message is not just that mitt romney is not an effective or credible messenger on the economy, we also have a plan and here is what our plan is and the white house has to come out with that second part of the narrative.
>> right. joanne , do you think the white house will be helped by mitt romney continuing to tell lies as he did yesterday in his speech where he accused the president of building up more debt than all the presidents put together, a total outright lie, and then he says that his strategy for resolving the deficit would be brilliant and effective, another outright lie, not -- i am not saying that, this is the committee on federal responsibility that assessment of his budget which say it is bogus and increased the deficit.
>> the risk for mitt romney in bringing up deficits, the " washington post " did a debunker on that statement that romney made is that it is going to make people sort of think about where did the deficits come from and then you have to get back to the bush tax cuts and look at the years under bush when spending went up while taxes went down and you see the graph where you are seeing it go up under the previous president and romney is essentially saying he wants to go back and do the same things that george w. bush did. it invites scrutiny and to your point, the thing about paul ryan 's budget, it is harmful to the deficit. he is talking about reducing revenues.
>> indeed. what about mitt romney 's performance in terms of his comments yesterday cl just didn't stand up to factual scrutiny. i know that a lot of people including myself find the whole idea of hedge fund managers do and derivitives and that stuff quite difficult to understand, investment banking , it is complicated, but at the end of the day what is mitt romney doing when he tells outright lies in these speeches that we can, simple people like us , can scrutinize and say that's a complete and utter false hood?
>> well, there is a risk, but it is not something the obama team can let go unanswered because you have to remember all politicians do this, even president obama back in 2008 was talking about how george bush had run this up himself and this is what politicians do, and to trust the american people necessarily to dig through as you point out really complicated numbers is a bit of a risk. you want to fire back and make sure the record is clear and that you have a clear answer when they're out there telling things that aren't just aren't just bending the numbers and kind of outright false hoods
>> julian , you spoke just now about the fact that the obama team needs to have a multi-tiered message, not just attacking romney for being a vulture capitalist but doesn't the romney team have to tell the truth?
>> yeah. i do. i think they're vulnerable. i think the republicans as michelle and joanne are incident positiving out are very vulnerable on the debt. we have about a $15 trillion debt, 11 trillion run up by republicans in good economic times . i think they're vulnerable in that they're simply talking about their message is simply cut government as quickly as we can. cut taxes as quickly as we can. it doesn't seem to be much of an economic answer for the kind of structural economic problems we face, so they have i think a card they're trying to play on debt reduction because they don't have an affirmative argument to make on the economy more generally. i think they're weak on the debt argument and on the economic argument as well they can try to use as many distractions as they want but at the end of the day it is a one- trick pony that the republican party has now. cut taxes, cut government as quickly as we can, it doesn't really address the structural economic problems the country is facing.
>> thank you all for joining