Mitchell Reports | October 02, 2012
>>> are you better off than you were four years ago?
>> senator, i served with jack kennedy . i knew jack kennedy . jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you're no jack kennedy .
>> he's very likable. i agree with that. i don't think i'm that bad.
>> you're likable enough, hillary.
>> thank you.
>> likable enough. and that was a moment in new hampshire. some game changing moments from debates past and present and could tomorrow night's debate produce anything as memorable. one thing important, ruth, john, we've lived through these debate moments but they're not all game changers. arguably some of those moments like lloyd bentsen and dan quayle didn't change anything because michael dukakis in the final presidential debate showed sort of a remarkable lack of human affect you might say in response to bernie schultz question.
>> that didn't help the game from dukakis' point of view. lloyd bentsen 's line was great line.
>> well rehearsed.
>> well delivered, well rehearsed. what do we remember from 2008 ? no lines. that was not a game changing debate between senator obama and senator mccain .
>> not the way it was during the primary races. one of the things that you learned from that moment with benson and quayle, is they have been watching dan quayle , this young, some would say not fully prepared senator, and not prepared for the national stage, and watching how he kept comparing himself to john f. kennedy to show that kennedy was also young and they were ready to pounce with that.
>> these guys have been on both sides known each other, going to be their opponents, reviewing individual yes videotapes, studied about them, forgetting about whether mitt romney has zingers or not they have some prepared lines ready but more important what overall kind of meta impression is that people get of these people. for mitt romney the challenge is great. a lot of work to do on the stage and one of the most fundamental things americans still have fundamental doubts about whether they see him as a potential president. apart from whether he can prosecute a case against obama he has this bigger thing to do, solve a problem with the fact that a lot look at him and don't see him, they have doubts, a lot of undecided voters are not there with mitt romney yet.
>> but also the sort of the look of the whole thing and appearances matter. mitt romney , tall, imposing. both of these men are tall, they look presidential. so just appearing on that stage, with the president of the united states , helps the challenger.
>> it helps the challenger but think about, for example, mitt romney 's challenge versus ronald reagan 's challenge in 1980 , ronald reagan 's challenge was to convince people that the viewers out there, that he had the gravitas, the intellectual force to be president. he didn't have to convince them he was likable. that seems to be an easier challenge to achieve than for a mitt romney to come across to people as somebody they want to have in their living room for the next four years talking to them when that has been the challenge all along that people have not for one reason or another really warmed up to him. that's going to be hard to do in the course of a debate and also in the course of a debate where you simultaneously want to be likable but also to rattle your opponent a little bit.
>> you have to be negative and irritating and try to get president obama off his game, but at the same time be likable coming on the heels of the 47% remark.
>> that's a lot. a lot of work mitt romney has to do. president obama has some real work to do it too. he, as we've seen him throughout the democratic nomination fight, in his debates with hillary clinton , he lost a lot of those debates to her. a couple notable exceptions. he lost at lo of them. he performed very well against john mccain but he has a tendency to get impatient, to get a little dismissive, to get a little haughty sometimes and not to be -- to put on his best face. both candidates are like -- trying to do all these things simultaneously, they want to be on offense, on defense, rehearsed lines running through their head, video they've seen, practice sessions and in that moment they're out there under these bright lights with all this pressure and unexpected things happen and that's what makes it exciting. we can pregame it forever but unsomething will happen tomorrow night that nobody talked about and that's what we'll be talking about 48 hours from now.
>> we're so excited.
>> we can't wait.
>> the romney campaign has been really going after what they see as a vulnerability, benghazi, and it's clear that not only did things go wrong tragically wrong, but that there was a lack of security, there are reports that there were concerns prior to the attack, and that there was a lot of confusion in the comments that were made afterwards. so, is it -- is there any way that, given the limitations on the format, this being a domestic debate, any way something like that can come into it?
>> go back and look at the debate four years ago, supposed to be about foreign policy , as the economy was cratering, turned into an economic policy debate. i don't think it's going to be that but news has a way of creeping in. i want to say one thing about what john had to say about the work that president obama has to do. i disagree slightly. i don't think he really has work to do for him he doesn't want to game change, he likes the game the way it's going. his work is not to make a mistake, not to -- rock the boat too much.
>> we should be cautious about this because the polls are tightening, the national polls, not the battle ground states, but the national polls are tightening and this is not by any means a done deal for either case.
>> not a done deal. they were braced for -- and the obama campaign braced for this tightening, expect more of it. nonethele ttheless his work is not messing up.
>> don't mess up. in that regard i have to say thank you very much.
>> i hope we didn't mess up.
>> you both are definitely likable enough.
>> soyou, john.
>> you are likeable enough, john. i love you, in fact. ruth marcus , thank you. in