Martin Bashir | November 03, 2012
>> we are closing in on the final 48 hours of this campaign. the president is speaking live in debuk, iowa, his third of four stops today. and with him and his challenger in a frenzied sprint to win voters in those crucial battleground states . for the president that means shoring up support in the midwest states that backed him with great enthusiasm in 2008 . with events in iowa, ohio , and wisconsin already today. and it was in the key battleground ohio that the president lambasted his challenger's latest effort to seize the medal of change.
>> governor romney , he is a very talented salesman. so in this campaign, he has tried as hard as he can to repackage the same policies that didn't work and offer them up as change. but, you know, here's the problem, ohio , we know what change looks like. and what he's offering about it it.
>> no, indid, it ain't. vice president joe biden hit it a bit closer to the mark when he joked about romney 's favorite time of year out in colorado.
>> folks, i want to remind you, this is the end of daylight savings time tonight. it's mitt romney 's favorite time of the year because he gets to turn the clock back.
>> yes, for mitt romney it's the closing hours of his six- or seven- or eight-year bid for the white house . it is a palpable feeling on the romney campaign plane that is end the near. indied, that was evident today in colorado springs with mr. and mrs. romney showing evident wear and tear, even getting a bit misty-eyed from the long flight.
>> it has been quite a journey. it's coming to a close. we have three more days.
>> it's no wonder emotions are running so high, particularly with new hoel o. polls out today showing romney down six in critical ohio . down two in his absolute must win florida. six, seven, eight years of campaigning and it's come down to this. romney still combing through the president's speeches trying to find anything that he might tether his message to, this time a line best served cold.
>> yesterday the president said something you may have already heard, that i found troubling. spoke to an audience and said voting is the best revenge . he's asking us -- he is asking his supporters to vote for revenge. i'm asking you to vote for love of country.
>> oh, for the love of christmas, three days to go. let's get right to our panel. with me here at democracy plaza is professor james peterson of lee high university, nbc contribute ari and little li gill of the excel alliance. ari, the fact that romney is still desperately trying to find a zinger from the president's speech indicates there's a problem, isn't there? he's just not winning.
>> it is a bad sign if you're playing these kind of word games this close to the end. you want to be making a big, bold closing argument . that's not what you're seeing from the romney campaign. you're seeing a lot of spinning. you're seeing talk about pennsylvania. you're seeing talk about these quotes and obviously what the president meant was, if you have a feeling of revenge, if you're feeling excited, make sure to go out and do your civic duty , that's what counts. i mean, it's such a reach and so silly to try to take that and turn it into something else. but that's where they're at right now.
>> so it's an act of desperation?
>> i think so. i think the problem for mitt romney here is, look at ohio , right? talk about a dispute over jobs and facts and he is losing. if you go on twitter, i mean, i was doing romney ohio clips as the hash tag and the obama campaign and others were circulated today. not three, not five, but literally about 15 articles saying to mitt romney , you've got the economic plan wrong with your approach to jobs and the auto industry . and number two, equally important in a campaign, you're lying. stop lying to the people of ohio .
>> dr. peterson, "the washington post " to are's point had an article entitled, mitt romney 's campaign insults voters. through all the flip-flops there has been one consistency in the campaign of republican president nominee mitt romney , a contempt for the electorate. mr. rrm seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and general inability to look behind the curtain. we hope the results tuesday prove him wrong.
>> yeah, again, if we put that revenge comment in its proper context, part of what that revenge is about is romney 's violation of the public trust . when we look at these different things that have gone on in the campaign, it's very, very difficult to see mitt romney as an authentic campaigner or authentic politician. that's where you get the revenge piece. that's where the oped seems to be right on point. again, we look at a number of different issues. look at the adz playing in ohio right now. you look at that chrysler ad, you look at this desperate republican ad trying to convince black folk that the republican party are on their side. they speak down to voters and let voters understand the ways in which politics gets really, really messy at this stage of the game.
>> it's not just the campaign, it's the character of the man. that's what's being exposed to ari's point.
>> by these ads. is that not true? if you willfully lie repeatedly to the electorate, what does that say about you as an individual?
>> it doesn't speak very highly of you. again, i'm all about authenticity and truth in politics. i know that seems really, really crazy in the 21st century . i think the american electorate is with me on this. at the end of the day mitt romney has played with the truth fast and furious , as we said, many times on your show. this is the result, the six-point deficit in ohio .
>> despite that misleading g-pad, he hasn't made any inroads in ohio , as we've heard. we've heard about this absurd ad in spanish to latino voters where there's the president linked to fidel, hugo chavez . could it be, dooung, that mitt romney made the mistake that think that the electorate is dumb, that basically we're stupid and we wouldn't see through the stupidity of an ad like that?
>> i have to agree with ari, at this point of the game we need to focus on bigger issues and just trying to, you know, grab one very emotional and personal matter in the case of florida i don't knows and cuban-americans and try to draw a parallelism of communism with these very strong figures in an ad just goes back to picking one item that it's not the most critical at this point of the race and those few that maybe were undecided want to hear about the economy, want to hear about jobs, want to hear about --
>> -- hispanic business, or immigration. so in the case of this particular ad, i just -- it's unfortunate the funding went there when there were so many other opportunities to have a bigger impact and not stereotype on things like the communist message with the floridians or hispanic.
>> i want to get to you because you've written a very interesting article. is obama good for black people ? and in your piece you say this, whatever else happens, obama's first term delivered an ambitious domestic agenda, with tax, spending, health care , and several rights policies that benefited black americans more than recent administrations in either party. just usually without making a sound.
>> now, the narrative that i've been hearing for some time is that this president has been silent on the issues of race, and actually has not been helpful to african-americans. you say the exact opposite.
>> it is a narrative that's out there and there are some very respected voices in african-american sbel chul circles who have raised that which part of what i was doing is making that argument and looking at the policy. we were speaking about this before just coming on air. if you look, for example, at the people in the lowest fifth of income in this country, barack obama 's tax policies and stimulative policies have cut their taxes more than any other administration in 30 years. and if you then look at that in the context of african-american communities for a range of reasons are more --
>> the lower fifth.
>> -- moreover represented in that lower fifth than any other bracket is a boon. then on affirmative action this president sent his lawyers to the supreme court to argue in favor of it. he doesn't give big speeches on it and we can talk about what that means. my point was in taking this argument seriously let's look at the substance and the policies --
>> content of what he's done.
>> exactly. he hasn't put an emphasis on it as race and he talks about it and contrast again to mitt romney who in reporting on this i looked into mitt romney 's record. he was for and against affirmative action at various points in massachusetts. he actually rolled back to executive order affirmative action policies but reversed that. now despite inquiries from the " wall street journal ," politico and other papers, throughout this entire campaign he would never state a position on affirmative action .
>> professor peterson, the president himself when interviewed earlier this year when asked what was his single most mistake he said he had failed to -- in terms of his messaging. is this one area that ari's article points to where in a sense he's been somewhat slow in coming forward in terms of what he's done in relation directly to black voters?
>> i think that this is a very complicatedish shooi within the black community. because there is this sense -- even within the black community that there's a supposed for for the president and there really isn't. when you talk to folks, there's a wide range of opinions. there are a lot of black people to the left of this president. and so that's where he's getting that criticism from. you still get the support in that sort of context but we have to understand that it's a very, very complex issue.
>> i have to say one more thing, which is very interesting. this is a very common mistake. i heard a lot of talk about the black vote and barack obama . there is no special historical relationship when you look at the data there. the relationship is between the quote, unquote, black vote and the democratic party . the numbers i'll give you are brief. barack obama improved his overall vote total for the democrats from '04 to '08 by five points, more than kerry. for all voters. among african-american voters, it was seven points. two-point difference. so whatever we say about the african-american community, they may be committed for all series to democrats but there isn't a big voting pattern in there about this president.
>> i wish more people would read your piece and get it squared. again, i don't think we should file as whole issue around race under his inability to communicate his policies. it's really up to us to try to move beyond some of the discussions we've been having around this presidency because he is black. if we do that we might see --
>> i think to some extent he's helped us with that. lily, ari, professor james peterson , stay where you are.
>>> next, chris christie and mitt romney , the bromance that was, is sadly no more. do stay with us. [ male