Mitchell Reports | October 10, 2012
>>> i look forward to watching the vice president tomorrow. i know he's eager to it. i think he's going to be have to be on his toes because my guess is you're going to see what mitt romney tried to do which is paul ryan congress beman ryan walk away from the positions he's held during the campaign and give a softer image for the american people .
>> and there are real challenges for both sides in tomorrow's big bluegrass debate. for paul ryan it's defending had his own record as well as mitt romney 's record. they're different. as joe biden tries to remain gaffe-free and make up for the president's poor performance last week. and joining me now, democratic strategist and president of divine, and phil , republican consultant and president of new frontier strategy both whom have been debate preppers in the past. what was going through your mind when watching president obama last week?
>> listen, i think as his campaign has conceded it was a tough night for the president and governor romney did well. what i was thinking they're going to have to pivot. we're at a pivot point in this campaign. a lot of the republicans who probably would have wound up with romney anyways have made the polls closer and the vice presidential debate will be an important one.
>> and what would your advice be to joe biden in terms of being tougher but not too tough? what is the mix that he has to get through? he's got a pretty rich amount of material to go through because if he wants to go after the ryan budget cuts and medicare plan, number one, not the revised, those could be pretty powerful weapons according to the mainstream, you know, conventional thinking.
>> my advice would be number one, you have to put the romney / ryan record on display and go after it and put out the inconsistencies in it. number two, defend his record and the president's record over the last fou years.
>> that's the harder point.
>> but i think the vice president's in a strong position to do that, he was in the room, on the day osama bin laden was taken or on the day when the president was inaugurateded and losing 800,000 jobs a month. number three, he has to draw a vivid contrast about the two different futures we can have under obama or romney as president.
>> that's what we did not here last week. phil , you were pleased with last week's performance.
>> but now what is the challenge for paul ryan ? we've seen in the past with dick cheney and john edwards , for instance, that the older, more evun cular, political figure has some advantages at a seated debate against a younger fellow even though ryan has a lot of experience.
>> i expect biden to come out very aggressively. the obama campaign has been thrown on its heels. everyone looking for a lifeline from biden to course correct this campaign. but at the end of the day , congressman ryan 's challenge and look, going back to biden 's experience, you know, two presidential campaigns elected to the senate at 29, taking office 30, great debating society in our country and had history of democracy , joe biden has got a lot of experience doing this. that said, congressman ryan has been working hard, he's been preparing diligently and i think he'll come out and paint a clear choice. if we want to have a choice discussion and i think tad illustrated that joe biden was in the room for a lot of the big issues and decisions of this campaign. the problem is, a lot of the big issues have been left unresolved and the president has done virtually nothing on the key issues that are taking our nation on a very perilous fiscal path. to the degree the discussion frames around that, congressman ryan will be a great position to talk about romney 's future forward looking five-point agenda for the middle class and that's what i think you'll hear.
>> tad, does joe biden have a problem, favorable/unfavorables upside down, 51% unfavorable to 49% favorable where paul ryan is 40/44.
>> i wouldn't just take one poll. i think vice president biden is someone who the public knows well. he's been in the public eye a long time in the senate and now recently as vice president. i think he's got strong standing authoritative standing. i watched cheney in the two vice presidential debates there for both of them against lieberman and edward and he had his way with both those guys that night. wasn't saying so at the time but it was obvious. i think joe biden is similarly situated. he can make a strong authoritative defense of the president's record and also take on frankly some of the things that governor romney said last week that just aren't true like his tax policies don't benefit the rich. so i think he's in a good position to make the argument and forcefully.
>> now, phil , there are those moments where you've come off a debate or a speech or television broadcast and you think, oh, why didn't i say that, would have, could have, should have. back to new hampshire when you were coaching tim pawlenty and the first new hampshire debate where he previewed he was going to be tough against mitt romney and talk about obamaeny care --
>> what are you doing to me here?
>> could you relate a little bit to the fact that we all expected the president to be tough and aggressive and he wasn't? and did that happen back then in your camp?
>> let me just say that i think that the debates are really fundamentally important. they were very important in our primary in terms of the demoments in the key trajectories who we chose as a nominee that led to mitt romney 's election. i think this is a see with your own eyes election. if you look at the advertising spending it's moved the needle fairly narrowly in the swing states then you see a commanding performance by mitt romney last week, and a, you know, anywhere from an eight to 12-point bounce depending on what poll you might look at that shows that voters are paying attention, they're really focused on the issues and on the choice and on the future. that's why watching the behavior out of the obama campaign over the last couple days, i have respect for everyone who runs these campaigns i think the oxygen is getting thinner in chicago and the big bird ad yesterday was a really quicked soic and strange response about small things at a time when america is looking for big solutions. and so if this debate is about big solutions for the future paul ryan will do a terrific job for laying that out for the romney campaign and romney vision and not looking to defend other issues from the past. he's part of this ticket and we have a clear message going forward.
>> we have to bring you back after the debates. thank you both very much, tadd and phil , great to see