Martin Bashir | November 05, 2012
>>> good afternoon. we are just over 24 hours until the first polls close tomorrow night. at this moment we're awaiting the president at a rally in columbus , ohio , with the boss performing right now. not to be outdone, mitt romney has an event in columbus himself just a few hours from now featuring the marshall tucker band . tough choice there for columbus voters. and if the polls are any indication, america is split down the middle in our new poll. the president just edges romney 48% to 47% among likely voters. well within the margin of error. another look at polls confirms this race is pretty tight. with that in mind, the final day of campaigning is a whirlwind tour. mitt romney is at his second event in virginia today. and he said real change will begin with his victory tomorrow.
>> the question of this election comes down to this. do you want four more years of the last four years? or do you want real change ?
>> virginia of course a state that mitt romney desperately wanted to have locked up months ago. the old dominion very tight. but it is far from the only tossup state and it was at a massive 18,000 strong rally at madison, wisconsin , that the president fought to defend his mantle of change you can believe in in stark contrast to the shifty change of expedience.
>> i said i'd end the war in iraq . and i ended it. i said i'd pass health care reform . i passed it. so when i say, wisconsin , that i know what real change looks like like, you've got cause to believe me because you've seen me fight for it. you've seen the scars on me to prove it. you've seen the gray hair on my head. to show you what it means to fight for change.
>> indeed we have. and we will bring you the president's remarks live when he speaks momentarily from columbus , ohio . let's get right to our fabulous panel. ana marie cox is here with us in new york. richard wolffe is vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com and joy reed. joy, this has been going on for six years. we're still trying to understand who mitt romney is. we've employed psychologists, nobody knows . do you know who he is?
>> he's the guy opening for the marshall tucker band in ohio . what i've come to the conclusion of is mitt romney is who he said he is. he's a businessman. i believe he's in the business of sales and marketing. that means whatever crowd or audience is in front of him at that moment, mitt romney is for whatever they're for. if you change your mind , he'll change it with you.
>> so he has no core convictions.
>> i don't agree with that. i think he has one strong core belief which is mitt romney should be president of the united states and do whatever it takes to make that happen.
>> so he has the conviction of ambition. republicans seem to be talking down their expectations today. talking about the polls, talking about difficulties with the hurricane and the storm and so on. isn't the simple fact that mitt romney had a little bit of momentum after the first debate and for four weeks he's not done a single interview, not spoken to anybody, and his whole campaign has been risk adverse. today same stump speech . i could have repeated it from four weeks ago to a teleprompter.
>> it was the same stump speech he used as he closed out the failed republican nomination four years ago. he actually used the change slogan. he had change printed up on his slogans because it was working for this guy barack obama . that is the romney pattern, right? if you at first don't succeed, just keep trying.
>> or you plagiarize.
>> on the republican side there are just too many polls that put them down. however, there are many republicans at this point especially those on the romney campaign who when they see tens of thousands of people screaming out romney 's name start to have these images of them moving into the white house . that's natural. it happened with the kerry people in 2004 . there are people who still have not recovered from that experience. because you really do think it's within reach only one point, two points means the difference between having a career or not.
>> ana marie, i read your column. you say you are freaking out about a romney presidency. this is understandable since you probably lose control of your own body and your own health care . but also does the nation really want a president who's going to slash the social safety net to pieces, probably put us into another war. is that what we want?
>> well, i don't think it is. to the extent that people are voting for romney . i think it's because they believe he's changeable. he may be the president that they want him to be if that's what they want him to be. i think that america is really reluctant to let go of the progress its made. to borrow from the obama campaign and martin luther king jr ., we arc towards justice and progress. and i think that women specifically do not want to give up the process that we've made. we do not want to turn the clock backwards. i maintain that gallup poll that shows reproductive rights the number one thing in this election is one of the most important polls of this cycle.
>> and maybe devastating for romney . absolutely. joy, we've got word this afternoon that romney is going to stop in cleveland and pittsburgh working until the polls close. i mean, pennsylvania ? really?
>> you tell me.
>> i know. this is the great white whale of the cycle. darn it if they just get a few more folks in person pennsylvania they're going to do it. the problem is that philadelphia exists. that's the problem. is there are so many urban voters and younger voters which have come in whether it's in the college towns and in the philadelphia suburbs that pennsylvania is a state that's going for barack obama . i'm fairly confident in assuring the romney folks of that. i think also what the romney people are doing, it's a head fake. they want to convince the media that this idea of momentum that started like three weeks ago is still true. that he still has movement and he has so much momentum, he's going to states that are obama states and take those too.
>> isn't that also true, richard, with the advertising spend? because they're spending huge amounts of money because they've got a lot of money and there's nowhere else to spend it. you can't buy advertising in some states , there's no space.
>> that is true. you can say that's an opportunity because the obama folks have not bought up all the advertising in pennsylvania . coming back to joy's point, it isn't just a head fake. if you believe the ohio polls and maybe there are people in the romney campaign that don't believe that. you've got to pull out one of the big democratic states away from the president. and that means wisconsin or pennsylvania . and some sane people in the romney campaign who believe those ohio polls, they're just too kwiconsistent and too far out of reach, then you have a make a play somewhere else . pennsylvania , why not? i mean, it's right into the other.
>> you've come down from your perch in that rare of the country.
>> yes. the square states in the middle.
>> what do you predict for the president's firewall in terms of wisconsin , iowa, and ohio ?
>> ohio just looks so certain to me. i know that there are a lot of people in the conservative side, the republican side that refuse to believe these things. i heard polthers as one to describe them. people tweeting things like i don't believe polls that fly in the face of all other evidence as though there was evidence besides polls. i think ohio 's going to -- there's tears of laughter coming at the play for minnesota. i live in minnesota. no. i'm sorry. and wisconsin looks like it's pretty good for obama too. these are states that these are not radical states . these are not states that have the scary liberals that want to take over health care . these are people that genuine swing voters and genuinely want to do the best they can for their country.
>> they see that as being the president.
>> yes. we heard pit bull has endorsed fo character you've watched. you've watched mr. romney , you've been present at a number of rallies. what would you say both of you, joy first. what would you say his performance has been as an individual? one of the things we know about this president is we know him. we know he's a cautious man. he's orderly. he's cerebral. what impression do you have of romney as a character?
>> you know, it's interesting. i think mitt romney is a cautious man, too, in a lot of ways. in talking about himself as a person, i think he's very reluctant to reveal a lot about himself. the only time i've seen mitt romney truly feel free and excited is when he starts to talk about business. that's when you start to see mitt romney kind of light up. you can tell that he's really in love with the idea of business. he's excited about it. other than that you don't get a sense of him. you don't really understand who he is because he doesn't seem to want to reveal that. he just seems to truly love business and to believe. i think he does sincerely believe that his class, his economic class is what can and should save the country.
>> you think he's sort of a ceo in personality terms?
>> i think so too. i think there's a private tragedy to mitt romney . it's hard to feel sorry for someone with so much money, but i think he genuinely doesn't understand why his argument isn't working. he genuinely thinks his experience should be obviously transferable to government. that it shouldn't be a hard choice. so i think that's why you get him repeating the same things over and over an over.
>> even when it's untrue.
>> yes. but he thinks it should work.
>> richard, his personality.
>> i don't know that i could put my finger on his personality. he has -- he's at least not as wooden as he used to be in his delivery. he's playing off the crowds. which is an improvement. same when kerry moved from the death march to his stump speech to somehow engaging with human beings . really he's missed the great opportunity that he had which was to run as the former governor of massachusetts . so the ceo argument, he may think of himself as a ceo and thinks that tracks better with the economy as it is today. but his real calling card is that he was chief executive of a state but he can't talk about that because that's way too moderate for where he positioned himself to be. that is one of the many tragedies about mitt romney 's candidacy. he cannot even be the politician that he used to be never mind the human being he may be.
>> wow and on that point. thank you all very much.