Mitchell Reports | September 04, 2012
>>> good day. i'm andrea mitchell in charlotte for the democratic national convention . if you hear pounding behind me, that's because they're working on the podium, getting ready for the big day , the big night . joining me, obama 2012 senior campaign advisor and former white house press secretary , robert gibbs . robert --
>> i thought that pounding was only in my head. i'm so glad you said that.
>> you should not be partying all night. the party really begins here today, tonight, and michelle obama , what is the big test for michelle obama ? we know she's practiced, she's a practiced speaker, she's been on the national stage, unlike ann romney , who hit it out of the park with her first effort, really, using teleprompters and all the attention. what is the tactical political effect of michelle obama ?
>> i think michelle made her debut four years ago in what was an off the chart speech. i think she, because of her closeness obviously with the president and her viewpoint, she can really tell the story of his values, his upbringing, what he believes, and what he wants to do yet for this country. i think she is going to be a powerful and passionate advocate for the president tonight and will give a great speech.
>> unlike mitt romney , who needed to have the biography filled in and ann romney was trying to explain just who is this man who has been described variously as robotic and not warm and cuddly to the outside world , at least, president obama has a very high popularity quotient but his big gap is on answering the republican bumper stickers, which is are you better off now than you were four years ago and did you build it. don't they have an easier time of it, their slogans?
>> well, if all you do is believe in slogans, look, the entire convention we saw in tampa was recycled old tired slogans with recycled old tired plans. i think michelle 's going to talk about the values that barack obama brings to the oval office , and look, let's be clear, we're way better off than we were four years ago. four years ago, when barack obama walked into the oval office , we were losing 800,000 jobs the last month george bush was there. we've had 29 consecutive months of job growth but the reason the president gives himself an incomplete grade is because we've still got a long way to go to get back to the type of economic security that middle class families expect in this country.
>> the economy is better, the job creation is better, but people clearly aren't feeling it because by two to one, people believe the country is moving on the wrong track. that's a problem.
>> people like the president understand that we can and must do more. we can and must do better. the question, though, is are we going to continue on that forward path of continued job creation , fewer foreclosures, more people going into business, or are we going to go backwards to huge tax breaks for the wealthy. it didn't work eight years ago. it got us into this mess. mitt romney and paul ryan would have us believe that if we did the very same thing, somehow it's going to lead to a different outcome. i think the american people are smart enough to understand that an economic theory built on tax cuts for the wealthy and wall street writing its own rules is exactly what got us into this disaster.
>> looking at tonight's program, michelle obama , you don't have to be a political genius to figure out which groups this administration is trying to turn out. you like the beat?
>> did you just do this for me? this is special. this is nice. they go wherever i am. it's great. no, i think, look, i think we have a diversity there in our party that we're enormously proud of.
>> you've got to turn out women voters, hispanics.
>> and you've got to turn them out, close to the numbers you had in 2008 to make up for mitt romney 's advantage with white men.
>> one, i think we are actually ahead of where we were with hispanics four years ago and i think again, it comes from the fact that the president cares passionately about strengthening the economy, improving access to health care , improving access to education, and actually believes in immigration and immigration reform , unlike the other party. and look, there is simply not a better advocate for barack obama than michelle .
>> speaking of michelle obama , she famously was reluctant to campaign at times and in the midterm election, it's been written about. we don't have to go there but she now seems all in.
>> she's not only all in, she's completely comfortable. i think part of this is when we were sitting around in late 2006 talking about whether barack obama would run, she had a lot of questions because obviously, she just wasn't used to this. it wasn't anything she had ever done before. look, she's completely at ease, completely comfortable, again, the best advocate that we could possibly have for the president. i'm looking forward to hearing her and i think she's going to do a terrific job.
>> what about all the talk about bill clinton ? he's got this big speech in prime time tomorrow night, but there's a lot of talk that there's still an uneasy relationship. you watched it. you were in the middle of the '08 campaign, saw all of the personal anger that went both directions, the president towards president clinton and president clinton towards barack obama .
>> which you would expect, because president clinton had a pretty big dog in that fight with hillary clinton . but look, we're all on the same team. we have been on the same team for four years. i think he's going to be a terrific spokesperson because in bill clinton , you have what happened in 1992 and in 1993 , coming into office at a time of economic transition. at a time in which the middle class didn't feel the security that they needed, much like they do today. but bill clinton made some really tough decisions, led this country forward and we were the better for it. it was only after bill clinton left that we again handed out tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and watched the whole thing collapse. i think what president clinton can do is talk about the exact analogy that we're living through right now.
>> i'm not sure about your play list, gibbs.
>> where's my ipod? this is pretty cool, though. i have to admit.
>> thank you. thanks for putting up with it.
>> i'll take the band with me.
>> one quick final question. i really want to ask you, you've been with president obama from the beginning. what's going through his mind as he gets ready to prepare for his big night , the big speech?
>> you know, he obviously takes these moments extremely seriously. i know and i have talked to the speech writers that have been working with him, has been focusing on making the best case that he can. but look, he's calm and he's relaxed. he's always been that. i think the best thing about him is he never gets too high or too low. he's very, very even-keeled so he'll be pitch perfect for the moment.
>> as they used to say, no drama obama.