Mitchell Reports | October 10, 2012
>> mitt romney is barn storming through ohio with new jersey governor chris christie , but it's what he said about abortion in iowa yesterday that could be causing headaches for his campaign today. joining me now, chris cizilla, msnbc contributor and managing editor of post politics.com and ruth marcus . ruth, first to you, we're talking about abortion and seen in some considerable movement in the numbers, the polling numbers, at least the pew poll about women and the closing the gender gap , for mitt romney , is this another case where he was trying to pivot? moderate mitt and might be too much to bear for conservatives who are not yet spoken out?
>> it might be remoderate mitt. remember back in massachusetts, he said he was supportive of the right to abortion and so there's really -- i think this could be an issue for him with certainly a certain element of the conservative movement other than taxes and for some of them even more than taxes abortion is the litmus test issue. it's also the issue on which governor romney has been absolutely totally positively the most flip floppy and squishyist. what he said yesterday was not exactly a flip flop back. it was essentially saying i don't have any legislation in mind.
>> a lawyerly comment.
>> at the top of my agenda. it's true. he hasn't proposed legislation and he also didn't say he would veto something that came from him. as we saw in the debate last week it is a definite shift in tone, a shift in tone that could appeal to both women voters and other independent voters who are trying to decide who this guy really is.
>> chris cizilla, on that point, as to who this guy really is, andrea psaul issued a response saying -- what is your take away from all this?
>> i think what he is trying to do is he understands -- and i would say this goes to the prominence of ann romney of late as well, he understands that women are absolutely essential he's not going to win them but he cannot lose the em bay wide margin. talking about abortion in that regard saying i'm not -- basically he said i'm not going to do much on this. it's kind of settled law. with suburban women who may be worried about president obama , the direction of the country, may be looking for a change, it's the way to say i'm not scary on this. i'm not going to try to restrict your rights here, not going to try to overturn settled law. you know i think he runs some risk on the right. for some conservatives this is the only issue. that said, i think the calculation is, look, are these people going to vote for barack obama ? probably not. are they going to stay home? probably not because they believe so strongly that you need to get obama out and that ultimately conservatives may not be thrilled about something like this, mitt romney saying something like this on abortion, but what choice do they have but to vote for him?
>> now mitt romney again said something on the campaign trail today about his brief encounter with glen dougherty one of the former navy s.e.a.l.s. who died in benghazi and said yesterday he met him at a christmas party that he they had something in common, went to the same places to ski, that he admired him, spoke of doherty 's commitment to the middle east , love for the region and public service . we talked to his sister katie yesterday and she was okay with that but maybe second thoughts on the family different family members have a different reaction. but barbara doherty , glen doherty 's mother in massachusetts spoke to our nbc boston affiliate whdh and said -- now this is a very difficult moment, but maybe the romney campaign might want to rethink his commenting about this two days in a row on the campaign.
>> no question. i would say look, andrea, this is the danger when you start getting into the loss of lives, and politics. i would say everything is fret with politics this close to the election. i can't imagine the romney campaign greeted that statement from his -- mr. doherty 's mother with a thrilled reaction. it's hard when you're talking about people who lost their lives. why domestic affairs broadly is a little bit easier in the political realm, less risk talking about it than foreign policy of we've seen this play with kelly o'donnell in her report about libya. we've seen this play out for both sides in that regard. it's just such dangerous territory.
>> we're seeing on capitol hill today it's very clear, ruth, that politics is not completely enveloping the benghazi story.
>> forget about the water's edge stuff. it is enveloping it and that's not surprising and it's obviously as kelly said envelope enveloping it from both ends questions about funding. to get back to mrs. doherty 's comments i would be surprised if we hear mitt romney bring up that episode and that meeting, that sort of a what a small world it is we live in meeting again because you do not want to get on the other side of a grieving mother and talk about the mama grizzly in all of us if she doesn't want to hear him bring up her son he needs to cut it out right now.
>> perhaps this will be the last word on that.
>> i think so.
>> ruth marcus , thank you.
>> chris cizilla, thank you. up