Martin Bashir | August 30, 2012
>> let's get right to our panel now. here with me in new york is krystal ball, host of "the cycle" and in tampa, michael crowley of "time" magazine whose latest issue is a preview of the democratic convention and jonathan alter . thank you all for joining us. krystal, it is the last night of the convention. the big draw tonight is apparently clint eastwood .
>> and fs funny, too, they have short memories. he did the super bowl halftime in america ad and republicans were very upset. i remember karl rove , i looked up his quote. he said it was a sign of what happens when you have chicago style politics and the president of the united states ' political min ons are using their tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and now, they're excited to have someone exciting on the night of mitt romney .
>> eric fernstrom has just said that one thing we know about romney is that he also rises to the occasion.
>> do we really know that?
>> we know clint eastwood will and he's going to go ahead and make our day at the convention since there's not a lot else that's super exciting. that's been going on. but you know, it will be a fun event. it will get a lot of attention. ultimately, it's still about mitt romney and his speech and whether he can land it or not.
>> michael , what does it say that on the last night of the convention the party's candidate for president isn't a big enough draw and they have to have someone like clint eastwood ?
>> it goes to the heart of the problem the campaign has right now. in an odd way, he has been almost an uncandidate. they've really put the focus on president obama and on obama's record. they've not really thrown the spotlight on romney . opened romney up. made romney into sort of a dynam dynamic, exciting character and i think now, they're trying to find a way to juice up the ratings. because i think they're not inherently interested in mitt romney and i think if he's going to win, people have to get more interested in who he is and have to like him better. they want to have an audience that's tuned in and going to be interested.
>> and he's not been helped by people like chris christie , who used the pronoun i 47 times and referred to mitt romney just on eight occasions in one paragraph.
>> and even when referring to mitt romney , he was talking about how he's the great truth teller. he wasn't talking really about mitt romney . he was talking about his own image and brand of himself. i think to michael 's point, they have to find a way to create that electric atmosphere if the room, which was totally missing the first night. maybe more present last night. i think paul ryan juiced up the crowd, but they have to have a way to have that energy around mitt romney and i don't think they're confident he can do it himself.
>> jonathan, do you get the sense there's now a level of excitement that's going to come bust, that's going to lift the base and draw television viewers in and excite us all and make us fall in love with this great man?
>> i don't think that --
>> is that a no?
>> it's not a no, actually. i think in the hall, there will be plenty of excitement. paul ryan got them fired up last night. mitt romney is their nominee and they will rally to him, but one problem that he has is that usually, if there are low expectations for a speech and you clear the bar, you exceed the expectations, then you reap a lot of benefits for that. because a lot of it is an expeck tases game, but only if there's a real reservoir of good will, like really being happy you cleared the bar because they really like you. and for the public at large, i'm not sure that she's going to get that. so he'll clear the expectations, but in the country, which is where it counts, i'm not sure it will matter too much if he gives a b or a b plus speech.
>> michael , there is no mystery around this because mitt romney does find it difficult to connect to anyone who's not mentioned in the forbes 400 list. jeb bush has told him he needs to show his heart tonight, but he's a man who appears inherently disinterested in doing that. he doesn't seem to enjoy doing that.
>> he doesn't and that's what they face tonight. i'm going to be so interested to see how they handle it because he does have this problem. he doesn't open up well about himself. people don't seem to feel they know or understand him. but if you try to force him to do something he's not good at doing, he could exacerbate the problem and compound it. i think if he's awkward, if he is rev la torre in ways that make people uncomfortable because he seems uncomfortable, that's just going the make the problem worse. i guess i'm interested to see if they take it head on or dance around the margins and he goes back to the larger analytical case, which i think he prefers.
>> there's two --
>> very quickly, in a certain way, the bar has been set low. the bar of expectatioexpectations, but when you look at the likability gap he has with the president, in that way, the bar is very high.
>> but i also think it's important to understand that it really depends on what the writing of this speech the like, now, when he wrote his book, a couple of years ago, he was working with a co-author and usually, the co-author does the writing and then the candidate does the editing. in this case, romney insisted on hunting and pecking and typing out his whole book by himself. if he does that for his speech, he's in real trouble because he's not a professional writer. even if he can get closer to authenticity that way, it will be tough for him to execute that. what he needs is a peggy noonan to write a line for him the way she wrote for george h.w. bush in 1988 , i hear the quiet people that others don't. something that somehow opens up a new dimension of his personality. he had some of those lines, he could be ahead of the game.
>> jonathan, you've got three hours to help him. thank you so much.
>> thank you.