Martin Bashir | June 14, 2012
>>> we begin with a bull's eye on the buckeye state with the president and mitt romney just wrapping up their respective speeches in the crucial battle ground state of ohio . essentially going head to head in time and place, if not in person, separated by just 250 miles. and the president in a carefully argued address deconstructed mitt romney as a man who promotes the exact same policies that caused the current crisis.
>> if you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for mr. romney . you should vote for his allies in congress. you should take them at their word and they will take america down this path. and mr. romney 's qualified to deliver on that plan.
>> and despite their similar circumstances today, the president explained that there is a stark choice that will face voters come november. for those who imagined mitt romney as a milquetoast moderate the president, instead, cast his opponent in the terms mr. romney has used to describe himself, a severe conservative, pulled to the far right, with the rest of his party.
>> their agenda will be simple and straight forward. they have spelled it out. they promised to roll back regulations on banks and polluters, on insurance companies and oil companies . they promise to not only keep all of the bush tax cuts in place, but add another $5 trillion in tax cuts on top of that. we can't afor to jeopardize our future by repeating mistakes of the past. not now. not when there's so much at stake.
>> and if you ask ohio voters, the president has an edge, who caused the bad economy? not the president. 57% say george w. bush . who gets your problems? not mitt romney . the president with a 13-point lead. while the president faces serious challenges in framing the fragile recovery, ohio 's improving jobless rate does work to his advantage. the state's 7.4% unemployment is lower than the national rate and down dramatically from a high of 10.6% in late 2009 . in cleveland where the president spoke, it's even lower 6.7%. down in cincinnati where governor romney gave his address, it's just over 7%. but the president did not merely illustrate what he's done to shore up the economic disaster he inherited. he did what mr. romney simply can't do. he laid out a real vision for how his policies would help the middle class .
>> that's my vision for america. education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on american job creation and balanced deficit reduction. this is the vision i intend to pursue in my second term as president because i believe.
>> well romney was down in cincinnati calling for less regulation, more exploitation of fossil fuels his giant campaign bus busy wasting gas, honking and taunting president's supporters. we're surprises 24e didnthey doesn't put on fake police uniforms and pull over the president's motorcade. david korn . also in washington, " chicago tribune " columnist clarence page . with me here in new york, msnbc contribute somewhere democratic strategist krystal ball. this wasn't soaring rhetoric or an anointed preacher. this was like a lecture that took us through the past and brought us up to the present. is it your view that the president managed to reclaim the upper hand today?
>> i don't know if anyone's speech is going to make that difference. what do you think the most important word in the speech was?
>> good question. i have no idea. tell me.
>> well you used in the intro. it's choice. he wants voters to see the selection as a choice election. his vision, his set of policies, his actions versus mitt romney 's vision and his policies as defined mostly by the ryan budget plan that mitt romney has endorses. and mitt romney , of course wants this election to be not a choice but wants voters to be angry at obama, angry about the election. he wants them to vet, this wants this to be a venting election and obama wants to say there's a rational choice that our future will depend upon what you do. and that's what he laid out here. i think, as we get further into the campaign, he's going to have to move from the professorial explanation of the choice and make it connect on an emotional level as well. but there may be one or two days left before november in which that can be done.
>> do you agree with david 's analysis, this was about the president laying ow the stark contrast with romney ? and i listens to every word of romney 's speech as well and it was more and more nonsense, really. it wasn't focussed in policy. he doesn't want to off an alternative. all he wants to do is bury the president.
>> that's right. in addition to the contrast that the president laid out in his speech between their two lands and visions for the country, there was a dramatic contrast between two speeches. president obama in his kept saying that's not my spin, those are just the facts and these are the independent economists who say so. i'm trying to be very fair here, here what happens they literally want to do. whereas romney 's speech was much more focused on buzzwords, went back to the president's alleged gaffe and tried to make hay out of that. it was focuses on seize on that emotion. romney 's trying to make this an election of venting and we cannot expect just to rationally lay out the argument and win in november but there's a time and a place for everything and i think it was important that the president take some time to go through the history, not because we're focuses on blaming bush because he wants to say, look we've been here before . we have tried this model before and this is exactly what romney wants to do except in the words of bill clinton , on steroids. if you thought that was good if that works for you, vote for mitt romney .
>> right. clarence, numbers favor the president in ohio , unemployment down 3% from its recession high, thanks in part to the auto recovery. can he convince the rest of the country that his prescriptions will heal our economic troubles, if he's given more time?
>> well, he has to do that in terms of doing what david suggested, draw contrast between himself and his vision of the future versus mitt romney and his vision, and tie mitt romney to the -- what bad news from the bush years that many in the public don't want to go back to, and tie him to the republican congress as well. you heard president obama doing a lot of that while governor romney was trying to make this a referendum on president obama himself and his performance in office, which gives a psychological advantage to him in terms of president obama came in with a tremendous exuberance that nobody could maintain that level of enthusiasm and so, he paints it as if president obama 's been a failure whereas he has been quite successful in keeping the recovery going. it's just been too slow. so the question is, do people like his version or do they like romney 's version? ohio is a great place for president obama to be campaigning right now because, as you mentioned, the polls are high, the economy's doing very well there in spite of largely because of the auto industry recovery, which spilled over favorably into ohio and that's a recovery that president -- that governor romney , you know, he talked about letting auto companies go bankrupt. i think maybe to some degree president obama 's testing out some lines here that he's going to tighten up, one hopes, for future stump speeches.
>> indeed. it was a lengthy speech. romney spoke in punt front of putting jobs first banner, if you agree with his philosophy, top-down economics and trickle down. the only problem is it hasn't worked before. i ask you, david , why is the president having such a hard time discounting that theory, given that it hasn't worked?
>> well, you can ask, why reagan was successful back in the day. this has been you know one of great polls and push me, pull you fights in american politics over the past few decades where the cutting government and giving tax breaks to the rich, trickle down theory, has any impact. we saw the evidence in the bush years. we saw the evidence in the clinton years where he raised taxes a bit not a lot, a bit on the upper income folks, and the economy did just fine, despite the predictions everything would fall apart. americans don't like government. they don't like taxes. and so when you prey on those deep-rooted emotions sometimes you have success as a candidate particularly when times are bad and you're saying, see, see, we can do better by taxing you less. that's like a candy store , right?
>> i've got to hold you