Martin Bashir | October 02, 2012
>>> it is just five weeks until election day , and the stakes could not be higher. with both candidates hunkered down in last-minute debate preparations. mitt romney is out in the mile high city carb loading at chipotle today.
>> how are you doing?
>> are you ready for tomorrow?
>> hi there. getting there. how are you?
>> getting there. just giving him another six years. indeed, you know what mitt romney 's been working hard, maybe fighting for a little air when he goes on a nostalgic riff. in this case the rocky mountains are just the right height.
>> when avis boy my mom and dad used to read to me from a book called "men to match my mountains." perhaps we should change the title to "men and women to match my mountains" because right here men and women have matched the mountains of colorado.
>> he's really working on the zingers. we see what you did there, mitt, adding women into the mix. nice. anything to do with the president's 18-point lead with women putting him four points above romney nationwide? no, i'm sure not. by the way, the same poll shows voters expect 54% to 28% that the president will win the dae bates. the president doesn't seem too worried. delivering pizza to a nevada campaign headquarters and calling volunteers to complain about debate camp .
>> basically they're keeping me indoors all the time. it's a drag. they're making me do my homework.
>> you can't blame the president for playing it cool. after all, he's seen romney in a few previous debate performances.
>> will you follow your father's example?
>> maybe. you know, i don't know how many years i will release.
>> governor romney , you say you don't want to go and round up people and deport them, but you also say that they would have to go back to their home countries and then apply for citizenship. so if you don't deport them, how do you send them home?
>> well, the answer is self-deportation.
>> rick, i'm speaking.
>> the newspaper --
>> i'm speaking. i'm speaking. you get 30 seconds.
>> time for you --
>> this is the way the rules work is i get 60 seconds --
>> but the american people want the truth.
>> you get 30 seconds to respond. anderson?
>> 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?
>> by the way, new polling shows nearly 40% say the debates will be important to their vote. let's get to our panel now. dana mill bank, political clim columnist, michael crowley , and here in new york ron christie. dana , if i might start with you. an insightful political observer such as yourself has seen these two gentlemen in many a debate. but if your path to success relies on mitt romney 's comic timing , isn't the zinger likely to become something of a boomerang and hit mr. romney instead of his opponent?
>> you know, everybody always remembers the great zingers. you know, usually something from ronald reagan , but here we go again expecting that people are going to try a little bit too hard. there's a real danger when you've been supplied with premixed, ready-made zingers to insert into the debate that mitt romney will insert them at the wrong time or say them not quite right. the only thing worse than having no zinger is having a zinger that comes off badly and comes back to bite you. so i think that's a perilous way to go, but i'll be there in denver, and i look forward to the attempts because it will make it far more interesting.
>> indeed. we're delighted, ron , that you're here. you have devealed to us for the first time that you have prepped with mitt romney previously.
>> i have.
>> tell us a little bit about that.
>> well, it was a remarkable experience. it was the 2008 campaign when he was running in the primaries. he assembled a smart group of folks to go up and run him through the paces. that was in anticipation of the first debate on msnbc mott rated by chris matthews . each person had a role, i was the one who had to play the role of chris matthews and others up there -- which no one can play chris matthews .
>> particularly someone with your complexion. but keep going.
>> we have a lot in common. but the interesting thing is you have people up there representing the different candidates, and you get to see the candidate behind the scenes prepping, and what they do is you run them through the paces. you have the timing just the way it would be on the stage with the moderator just where they would be sitting. you run them through a series of questions and answers and you see how they do and you critique afterwards.
>> is the conclusion though it wasn't very effective because, of course, mr. romney didn't do so well in 2008 , did he?
>> i don't think it was his debate preparation that was the problem. i think it was a whole variety of issues, of course, but that's why he's ready this time and, of course, you see the gentleman who is going to be playing president obama who has been getting him ready is ohio senator rob portman . a very smart guy who has a lot of experience in debate preparation.
>> here is the problem in terms of the preparation. given that mr. romney and mr. ryan have given no details but have given a promise that they're going to reduce taxes by 20%, how does mitt romney deal with that tomorrow? what does he actually say that he has previously refused to say on explaining that?
>> well, i think it's fascinating that they're treating mitt romney like he's the president and a lot in the media treat president obama like he's the challenger. what president george w. bush did when he was governor of texas is said i want to reduce taxes across the board and i want to make sure we have a balanced budget . he wasn't very specific during the campaign, and when he became president, he released a series of principles that went to capitol hill that said these are the measures that meet my --
>> here is the problem with that though, ron . people who have assessed his mathematics have deemed them to be completely impossible. michael, this is just in from mitt romney on how he'll pay for his massive 20% across the board tax cut . take a listen.
>> everybody is going to get up to a $17,000 deduction and you can use your charitable deduction or your home mortgage deduction or others, health care deduction, and you can full that $17,000 bucket and higher income people might have a lower number. or you could do it by the same method that boll/simpson did by limiting deductions.
>> it's bucket and spades and he'll work it out with congress. is that a plausible response?
>> i don't think so. i would have to hear the entirety of what he was saying --
>> that was the entirety.
>> i was giving him sop benefit of the doubt . as i understand it the math just doesn't add up. he can say they're going to cap deductions but this tax policy center study, which i think has held up pretty well and even when they did it under economic growth assumptions that are favorable to romney , so let's assume some of the things romney is claiming that people are disputing about the effect the plan would have, let's assume they're true, let's say you can't do everything he wants to do without increasing the deficit and without increasing taxes on the middle class . what i think we will see is because i don't think there's a good answer to this conundrum he's in mathematically, he will kind of confuse the issue. he will talk in specifics that don't necessarily make sense. so as a political strategy, you want to sound specific and say, here, i'm talking about some detailed numbers, and people say that sounds like a pretty detailed plan, he's thought it through. martin, based on what i heard there, there's not an answer to the mathematical possibility of his plan working. the last thing i think he will do is just attack the study, attack the president's premise.
>> of course.
>> there's no fact checker on stage. you say that study has all kinds of problems. i think it's a pretty good study but i think that's how he will get out of it.
>> dana , isn't there is problem that mr. romney 's economic adviser has already suggested that if he cannot make the 20% tax cut payable by using deductions, well, then they may have to shift the 20% figure. so, again, even on the figure itself it seems pliable and moveable. again, it's very, very frustrating to try and pin any of this down.
>> well, i guess that's why governor romney has not been more specific and that's because he has no idea how he would actually do this in the first place. if there were a way to do this, you can be sure yhe'd be out there saying it. all along romney has been getting pummeled for not having the specifics. yes, he can have all the zingers he wants. he can say whatever has been wrong, there's a good substantive case to be made against president obama , but he's never presented anything in the way of a detailed alternative that people can get their arms around. even at a paul ryan event this morning, a woman, a supporter got up in the crowd and said where are the details, what are you guys actually going to do? forget about his opponents' demanding it, his supporters are demanding it, saying give us something to vote for.
>> ron , being perfectly hoppest, and you have already disclosed you helped prepare governor romney in 2008 , are you not disappointed that he hasn't been more specific and more detailed, honestly?
>> no, honestly i'm not.
>> you're not?
>> i'm not dispointed. it's about a vision for the kukt. if you want to talk about specifics, look at what president obama said.
>> talk about mr. romney . if you're going to talk about the president, we will have to close the discussion now, but if you're --
>> this is a martin game here, of course. let's not beat up on the president --
>> we're just talking about mr. romney .
>> the fact of the matter is what i said at the outseth still stands. i think it's about a vision of where you want to take the country and how you want to move forward. as it relates to his tax plan, he has said very clearly that, a, he wants to cut certain tax loopholes, b, he wants to keep the bush era tax cut rates in place, and c, we need to make sure we can work with congress in a bipartisan fashion to get it done. i think that's very fair, i think it's a question that will be asked of him tomorrow by jim lehrer .
>> it's also been deemed as mathematically impossible. thank you. as