Martin Bashir | November 06, 2012
>>> we are just a few hours from polls closing on the he's east coast . if you haven't registered your vote, please do so right now even if you have to stop watching our broadcast. if you have already done so, then cast your mind back to june the 2nd, 2011 . that's when willard mitt romney declared his candidacy for the highest office in the land. unemployment was at 9.1%, and with his voluminous wealth and the presidency seemingly on the ropes, it seemed like mr. romney could start measuring up for drapes and the car elevator at the white house , and yet that's not the majority prediction for today. so what happened in those 17 months? joining me here in democracy plaza is ari melber, a correspondent for "the nation" and dana milbank , a political columnist for "the washington post ." thank you for being here. i think it was arthur mill mother said in the politics of a democracy, the shortest distance between two points is often a crooked line. how crooked has romney 's campaign been and what effect has that had on the voters?
>> i'll tell you, i think spinning is pretty common in politics.
>> i'm talking about lying.
>> well, if this were a national race and we were talking about some of the general spinning it wouldn't look necessarily all that different from some other misleading campaigns. the problem for mitt romney starts with the lies in ohio. i think if we're talking about politics and what actually hurt him and what is going to potentially derail his candidacy tonight given what we know about how crucial ohio is, it was lying to the people in that state about their jobs, about jeeps, about how these cars are produced and after being called on it, he doubled down and he lied to them again. i think that really soured whatever he might have had going in that crucial state.
>> dana , romney had trouble connecting with the average person. we have put together a sample of some of mitt's greatest hits in that area. take a listen.
>> corporations are people, my friend. i like being able to fire people that provide services to me. i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair i'll fix it. 27% of americans pay no income taxes. a whole binders full of women.
>> dana every time romney opened his mouth, he seemed to confirm the perception of him as unable to comprehend the problems of an average american person.
>> right. i think you should put that clip to music, martin, and there are many more. you could really have a full-length -- you could have a full-length opera with all the things he's done in this campaign. now, i would say that -- i mean, it's hard to believe that it's only been a year and a half because there have been so many incarnations of mitt romney to get to the one that we're going to see on the stage here in one manner tonight. i think his difficulties began a long time ago and that was in the form of rick santorum and rick perry and newt gingrich forcing him to become a much more conservative candidate than he needed to be or presumably wanted to be but what he had to do to win the nomination and what we've seen in the last six months or so since then is his efforts somewhat halting to walk away from all of that. now, the election is -- people are still voting right now. this man could still be the next president. we have to keep that in mind but it's been a torturous route to get to this evening.
>> indeed. ari, we talk about mitt romney as a character, but people say you can tell a man by the company he keeps. if i introduced you to a man who is endorsed by individuals as grotesque as donald rumtrump, as poison us as john sununu would you say that man was on the way to the white house or is that the kabs of a snuff movie.
>> the problem was the clown car of the republican party , that was the sort of first test of mitt romney 's ability to stand up for himself and his own record, and then as you say, in the general election what we saw was basically an embrace of some of the uglier elements of the republican party .
>> the ugliest.
>> and that i think goes to the future, which is if mitt romney does not win and we have to just wait and see what americans decide, that's what's so great about today because we don't matter, the public matters and they'll let us know what they've decided. but if mitt romney loses, there is going to be a reckoning for a political party that has spent so much time demonizing the very people it needs to build a majority. you cannot become president of the united states when you lose over -- by 30 points among latinos as mccain did and if you believe the early indications of this race, it looks like mitt romney faces a similar deficit. so it's not only wrong, right? we know that and you have called that out in principle and that comes first, but then we also analyze democracy and how it works and what we see in democracy is it doesn't serve you well to denigrate so many of your constituents.
>> dana , can you write off 47% of america in may and then tack back to the center come november and hope that 100% of the voters will embrace you?
>> well, it's a country where just about anything is possible and before i break into the strains of "america the beautiful," you have to say it's unlikely that all of those 47% will forgive him, and many in the 53% will say that is not what we want from our leader. now, he has tacked back very sharply, particularly in the closing days wanting to be the president for all americans . it's a question of how many people will accept that sudden change.
>> indeed, dana milbank of the " washington post ," ari melber of "the nation," thank you both,