Martin Bashir | October 05, 2012
>>> as i point out, i recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47% of americans, i'm not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. you know, it's not elegantly stated. let me put it that way. i'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. i have a very effective campaign that's doing a very good job, but not everything i say is elegant.
>> mitt romney may have waited nine minutes before he stooped to talk about today's solid job numbers, but that's nothing because it took him 18 days to finally state the obvious about his videotaped comments where he dismissed 47% of the population. and while it's no apology, i guess better late than never.
>> in a campaign with 100s if not thousands of speeches, now and then you will say something that doesn't come out right. in this time i said something that's completely wrong.
>> joining us from washington is michelle cottle correspondent for news week and jonathan capehart, an opinion writer for "the washington post ." john, if i might begin with you, psychological studies tell us that we tend to make the most radical changes in our lives up until our 23rd birthday on average, but thereafter it gets increasingly difficult to change. the republican nominee is 65. after hearing him denigrate half the population, are we supposed to believe he now feels nothing but affection for all of us.
>> epiphany is probably that the election is 32 days away , and if he hopes to win, he's got to change a whole lot of things about himself and his message to make that happen. i mean, quite frankly, i'm mystified by the mitt romney we saw at the debate and the mitt romney who is now saying that he was completely wrong about trashing 47% of the country. how is it possible that a man who has been running for president for six years is having these personality conversions all within the span of a few days or a few hours.
>> that's a very good question, john. i wish i could answer that. michelle , what is romney actually saying he was wrong about? that he got the number wrong? that it's actually 46% of people that he believes are entitled to health care , food, housing, you name it? what exactly is he saying was wrong?
>> well, we don't actually know because he was very smart. he picke interviewer who is not going to push him too hard on exactly what he was wrong about. was he wrong to say it, wrong to get caught saying it, was he wrong to think it? these are not things that shean hannity and the fox team are going to push him on, but what he is right about is that he can't let that sit out there, and he picked a time when he thought he had a relatively strong position coming out of the debate so he wouldn't look like he was on the ropes. this is all part of his rehabilitation campaign wherever running to the right, no you he's got to reach out and try to grab the moderates.
>> okay. well, jonathan , i'd like to point out there's only one number romney actually cares about. here he is a day after the tape first aired. listen to this, john.
>> i need to get 50.1% of americans behind me.
>> i need to get 50.1% or more. well, we were talking about a campaign and how he's going to get close to half the vote. i'm going to get half the vote approximately i hope. i want to get 50.1% or more.
>> so, i don't knjohn, do you think voters are buying this centrist mitt romney who says he's been for the 100% because he's been seeing this for ages, that he only neds 51%.
>> 50.1%. he just needs just that much to have him win the election. you can't change the narrative and you can't change the direction of your campaign and what people think of your campaign with one friendly interview on a rival network. it just doesn't happen that way. and also maybe what governor romney is trying to do is to try to sway some of those folks who might be thinking of going through the early voting process and more than half the country, folks who are voting right now to try to convince them that, hey, that guy we saw at the debate on wednesday isn't as bad as you thought and that 47% thing, he's apologized so let me vote for him. the only problem is there are 32 more days to go. as we sift through really the lies that he told during the debate and people get to see that, well, the mitt romney you saw on wednesday is not the mitt romney who has been campaigning all this time, i'm not sure how effective that apology to the 47% is going to be.
>> right. michelle , another number mitt romney is not fond of talking about is 7.8%, the new unemployment figure. here is how he spun that into bad news earlier today. listen to this.
>> the reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work. if you just drop out altogether, why, you're no longer part of the employment statistics so it looks like unemployment is getting better.
>> i have never seen a man lie with such skill. i mean, that number had been in decline until today. it's the highest it's been since may 2010 , and it hasn't been higher since august 2009 , and yet he goes out there and he says something that is a blatant untruth. i mean, he's apologized last night for making a mistake or apologized for something on the 47% and then today back to his old ways. here is another lie.
>> well, it's necessary. the conventional wisdom has been if the unemployment rate dropped below 8%, then obama was pretty much in the cat bird seat and now it has, and the republicans have been hitting him all along for not being able to get it below that. romney has got to downplay this. he's got to spin it as bad news anyway. he doesn't really have much of a choice.
>> jonathan capehart and michelle cottle, thank you both for your contribution with us this afternoon.