Martin Bashir | August 23, 2012
>>> we begin with mitt romney four days to tampa and despite two weeks of furious campaigning with his new running mate, well, mr. romney is still fighting to gain ground where it really counts, with voters. a new poll showing the race unchanged since june. the president maintaining his lead with 237 electoral votes to the republican's 191 with 110 toss-up votes. a new quinnipiac "new york times" poll, not much rosier for mr. romney . president obama retains a six-point advantage in ohio. the president leading by three points in florida, two points in wisconsin, mr. ryan 's home state. note that the polling was largely taken before todd akin put republicans extreme anti-choice agenda back in the spotlight which both parties agree could change the dynamic of the race particularly among women. a new poll by planned parenthood showing half of american women have doubts about a romney presidency. 44% say he's out of step with women's issues. that echoing our own nbc wall street poll showing romney at a 28-point deficit to the president on women's issues. now, romney knows he's got issues with those issues. so one tactic he's used in an attempt to move the needle is to contrast president obama with bill clinton . allegeding that mr. obama has abandoned the former president's focus on moderate politics and middle class voters. mr. clinton thought he might have a word about that in a new ad for the obama campaign .
>> this is a clear choice. the republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper income people and go back to deregulation. president obama has a plan to rebuild america from the ground up. investing in innovation, education and job training. it only works if there is a strong middle class . that's what happened when i was president. we need to keep going with his plan.
>> well, there goes that. four days to the gop convention and mitt can win with women, can't get anywhere near bill clinton 's charisma. voters don't like mitt or bain. they do like medicare, but not his plan for it. i know. what about energy? let's try that.
>> north american energy independence by 2020 . north american energy independence by 2020 . that means we produce all the energy we use in north america .
>> yes, we know what that means. we just don't see how it's possible. you'll note he made it a goal, not a pledge. given the romney tapped a good $10 million in oil money in the past two days, at least we know where he's getting his ideas from. let's get right to our panel now. msnbc political analyst , karen finney, is in washington and here in new york, msnbc analyst, professor michael eric dyson . karen , why didn't mr. romney include the elimination of poverty, the curing of cancer and end of warfare alongside his claim that he'll deliver energy independence within seven years?
>> you mean because it's equally as unrealistic? of course. here's the thing. clearly, the romney campaign thinks that the way they're going to win is to just kind of keep saying whatever it is they feel like saying without having any accountability for the numbers because if you once again, his numbers don't add up. according to cbo reports actually, apparently, like 70% of our oil opportunity we're already drilling, so when he says we're going to open more drilling, you're talking about 30%. that's not going to yield the kind of jobs and income that he is suggesting it will. then on the other hand, he's saying let's cut back on i don't wand to do these wind energy tax credits , which is going to hurt him in iowa and colorado. so, he just really doesn't seem to have a message that anybody likes.
>> professor dyson, is he justly rally thinking of a subject. education, vouchers. doesn't work. energy. energy independence . throw that one out.
>> it does appear to be a quixotian moment here, there's no wind behind those windmills because his plan is ludicrous. he's casting his fate with a clear issue that he can get an advantage over mr. obama, but president obama has already outstrategized him by anticipating conservative and moderate responses to particular issues and then being able to engage those communities to the dismay --
>> isn't it the case that the president tends to understand the issue prior to making a comment on it?
>> yes, it is predicated upon rational engagement and logical deduction. and being able to think critically about the issues. it is amazing that mr. romney has the inability, the manifest inablty to think about a critical issue and talk about his relationship to it by dealing with strengths and virtues and can't even arctic articulate his message.
>> karen , ryan really has perfected what we call the romneyesqe art, discussing the romney ryan budget in the rather friendly quarters of the kudlow report on cnbc.
>> spending cuts to get the deficit down in the near term and reforms that get the debt paid off over the long-term. that's how we dodge a debt crisis! with respect, are we talk b about 700 billion in spending cuts in the first term? what kind of number?
>> you know, we can have a long debate about this. that's what we're going to have to negotiate with congress in january. mark my words, we have to cut spending.
>> sorry, so just trust me, again. that's their motto, isn't it? just trust me. no details. no figure.
>> that's it. i could, i don't want to get all wonky on you, if you're going to talk the economy, i'd say kudlow's one of the best to have that conversation with. again and again and again, we've seen just trust me regardless of the fact that the numbers don't add up, the facts don't add up. regardless o the fact that we can happenedndle the truth and we're going to say as little as possible so we anger as few people as possible to try to get elected. obviously, mr. akin is not on that page with the two of them. the first week they announced mr. ryan , they had a rocky time. they were not on the same page and you would expect a little bit, well, we haven't run the numbers. now is the time you better have specifics.
>> professor dyson, this point karen makes about just trust me, we've all got used to the fact that mitt romney never tells us specific details about anything. his taxes. his policies. but now, i thought paul ryan was supposed to be the guy who was meticulous, who got to the facts, who drilled it down and here he is saying well, i can't give you details about things. the workout fiend who was able to work out the details obviously not with the math. what's ridiculous here, it's not simply an insult saying just trust me, it's the parental don't ask me. this is not your spirit of engagement. you are to be seen and not heard and i think the american voter is being put in position where they're not expecting people to ask them questions because after all, we know best.
>> a cbs reporter who was about to conduct an interview with mitt romney today was actually told apparently, that there were to be no questions about abortion an absolutely no questions about todd akin . brilliant response to a current news story. do not ask me anything.
>> right, because that might get me off my message i want to be talking about. it's kind of an unusual type of ground rule. you know, you're negotiating these interview, you go back and forth with the reporter generally, that's how it works. but at this point in a campaign where you are so far back and in the wrong place on so many issues, you shouldn't have to put that kind of precondition on whether or not you'll sit down with a reporter and don't blame the reporter for feeling like she had to say they told me i couldn't ask this question because it's the obvious question. it's very relevant.
>> he keeps avoiding what he meant. did you say it? yes. what did you mean? rape is ra prk pe. if we want to have the obama line , we'll stick with the man who gave it first. president obama .
>> on this issue of specifics, talked to some republican strategists who said frankly that having ryan on the ticket actually makes them nervous because he's so specific. because they were concerned that he's going to box romney in because you know, you've got a plan where there are specifics.
>> what you mean, karen , is that congressman ryan has a record in congress that we can look at. he says rape is rape, we know he cosponsored not one, but two bills with todd akin . it's harder for him to walk away.
>> and makes him you know, look responsible to actual issues and policies that he's enacted and as a result of that, he can't do the kind of romney , let it all disappear behind rhetoric. no, you've got stuff you've done. i think he's been a great liability.
>> karen , not to labor this point, mitt romney slammed the president's leadership, saying he needs to paef a runway for a resolution to the fiscal cliff, but take a listen to his answer when pressed on fox business this afternoon.
>> specifically, what would you put in that runway? what would you want to see in that runway?
>> well, i've indicated that i would keep the status quo in in place with regards to tax policy , military spending and the like.
>> sorry, republicans have always wanted the status quo . the deta lay was as if herp on delay from a satellite.
>> again, it's a pretty obvious question. the fact they are ill prepared for obvious questions. if i were a republican donor, i would be very nervous. again, the strategy here is they lie about president obama 's record. for example, today when he was talking about energy, he was misleading his audience about the things that president obama has already done to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and increase domestic production and he throws out this great rhetoric, but won't tell you how he's going to get there. i'm not evening going to talk about rape or todd akin , because i might not remember the details.
>> like when it comes to issues with women, they haven't done their homework and as a result, they are not prepared and aren't they supposed to be a party of the wonkish, intelligence and yet, they are incompetent, incape l of offering an answer and look like tweedle dee and