Martin Bashir | October 26, 2012
>>> you night think mitt romney would be forced to break his silence with the press after the president called him a -- well, it rhymes with bull spitter, but, no, he hasn't personally responded to those comments, which came in an interview in the latest edition of " rolling stone " magazine. rather, he seems to prefer a different approach, indicated to the press tuesday that romney and ryan are done taking questions and will probably not submit to any sit-down interviews between now and november the 6th. mind you, they never answered the questions anyway, so maybe they're just saving us the time. joining us in washington a julian epstein, a democratic strategist, and here in new york, michael hastings , a correspondent for buzz feed and an author. julian , we were told to expect a major policy speech on economics from mitt romney today. i listened to it. in fact, it was the same broken record on tax cuts and less regulation speech that i can give you blind drunk word for word. is that all he has to offer after six years of campaigning?
>> yes. i would say weak tea in a new kettle. and this is all, in fact, romney has to offer, and i think this is where democrats have to focus the debates. the republicans and romney have nothing to offer on the economy other than the tax plan, which even if you concede the arguments he makes, won't really do anything for the economy or for jobs. he wants to keep tacks at 15% of gdp. that's where they are. he wants to lower rates and earned deductions. that's not an economic policy . democrats also need to continue the focus on this question of choice, that romney and the republicans want to tyke a woman's right to choose away. that's very important given where the nments have been going on the women's vote. romney doesn't have a foreign policy other than when he's challenged by the president to say, me, too, i agree with you. it was a very weak tea speech and i think it tees up for the president and democrats to draw a sharp contrast on the economy, on women's rights, and the lack of a foreign policy .
>> michael , in mitt's place to answer all the press questions is john sununu . listen to how he framed the campaign's response to richard mourdock 's rape comments.
>> rape is a heinous vial act and when mourdock said that, romney immediately condemned that.
>> let me read you the campaign statement. immediately says sununu. governor romney disagrees with richard mourdock and mr. mourdock's comments do not reflect governor romney 's view. we disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him. signed andrea saul. does that sound like condemnation?
>> not condemnation enough considering mourdock said.
>> shut out to my editor that conducted that interview.
>> mr. brinkley.
>> the romney campaign noticed the less romney talked to the press, the less people liked him. after this built up this momentum, the momentum that the obama campaign stopped ten days ago, they don't want to jeopardize that. it seems crazy considering they're not coming out stronger considering how many problems he's had with women --
>> hang on a second, mike. i thought the more we know someone, the more we trust them, the more we learn about them. that's the process. you're saying the less we know about this man, the more likely he is to be elected.
>> i think they got their lead, got back into this race, and they're trying to protect that at all costs, and keeping away from journalists is a good way to protect that.
>> julian , here is mr. romney when the question is posed to him directly several times about his association with richard mourdock . take a listen.
>> governor, do you wish that senator mourdock would pull that ad?
>> which way are we going.
>> governor, do you disavow mourdock's comments on rape.
>> we're told they don't duck the tough issues. he's in a diner, he runs for cover.
>> right. let me just push back first on michael 's point that they're in the lead. i don't think they're in the lead. my favorite tweet yesterday was the polls don't mean a thing unless you're talking swing. certainly when you're talking about places like ohio and some of other swings states, i don't think romney is in the lead. secondly, i think this is a question of character. for those undecided voters who are trying to figure out how they want to make up their mind, often character is an issue. here is a guy that will not take a position and will certainly not disassociate himself from people like mourdock the way he didn't from rush limbaugh when he referred to sandra fluke as a slu t. when he didn't disassociate himself even last night from the obnoxious comments that john sununu made about colin powell . here is a guy who is -- does not have the courage to stand up and take action based on what he says his convictions are in the same way he wouldn't stand up to obama when he had criticized him for the entire campaign on his foreign policy . then he stood next to him eye to eye and backed down on virtually every issue. this is a guy with a character challenge.
>> this man has very limited moral fiber, doesn't he, when it comes to these matters?
>> well, i think what was most telling about the bs comment in " rolling stone " is the obama campaign --
>> you have already referred to your own magazine.
>> but literally the obama campaign 's response to it was, well, yeah, basically that's what we think. it's a trust issue, right?
>> so i don't -- i think the question -- david plouffe , obama's senior adviser wrote a great book called "youaudacity to win." if romney wins there's going to be a book called "audacity to spin." from an objective point of view you look at the positions governor romney has taken, he's taken different positions down the line on all different issues right on cue. i don't know if it's a moral fine irissue or an amazingly brash move from a politician. there's something almost -- you almost have to admire it to stand eye to eye and do that.
>> that's a matter of opinion. michael and julian , thank you very much indeed.