Mitchell Reports | October 16, 2012
>> joining me here at hofstra university to talk about this and the president's strategy going forward for this evening is robert gibbs , senior adviser to the obama campaign . and, of course, the president's former press secretary. we've got a windy, noisy day here.
>> how are you?
>> it's great. my first bit of advice always travel with your own crowd. it's great.
>> i brought them along just for you. but seriously, if you can respond. you're not part of the intelligence circle at this stage but as an adviser you know how it works inside. you've been privy to the highest level of national security . what do you say to senator ayotte and lindsey graham and other senators who say that the president was either not informed or covering up?
>> i will say this, that the shamelessness of that interview is really remarkable. the notion that anybody wants to find out what happened more in benghazi than barack obama , we have to figure out what happened and make sure it never happens again. but the lengths to which so many people in the republican party are going to play politics with this issue, i think is startling. ambassador stevens' own father said this shouldn't be a political issue. we should figure out what's going on. this president and administration have passed on the information that they've had when they've had it to the american people . it's not been deceptive, it's not been misleading in any way, shape, or form.
>> let's talk about tonight and the debate. this is a town hall format as you know very well. you helped prepare barack obama for that format four years ago. what is the bigger challenge now tonight given his weak acknowledged weak performance in denver, how does he get aggressive enough to tackle mitt romney and, you know, show his forcefulness, show his leadership qualities and show exactly how he would lead the country at the same time as dealing directly with the concerns of the people in front of him?
>> i think some of what chris said is absolutely true. you've got undecided voters asking you questions not as a journalistic moderator but somebody living that cause and concern. i think first and foremost you want to connect directly with that voter and talk to them and i know the president will about what we've done and where we've come from, but most importantly, where he sees taking this country over the course of the next four years. i have no doubt, though, in the midst of that, we'll get into an opportunity to discuss the choice that's at had hand and the very different visions about building this economy from the middle out like the president wants to or showering the very rich with tax breaks and cuts an hoping somehow that lifts the middle class . we know that doesn't work. i think the president will first and foremost look to speak directly to those undecided voters . make sure they understand what he wants to do to continue moving this economy snoords presumably he's been told not to look down at his notes so much, to worry about that split screen.
>> well, no podiums tonight society so thatso that's probably a good thing.
>> the other concern you have to have as his supporters nart roing of the polls. we see a narrowing in pennsylvania, troubling in florida, narrowing in ohio of his lead, new hampshire tied. and women are not as strongly supportive of barack obama in some of these polls.
>> look, let's be clear, the gallup poll yesterday is the first and only poll i know of that i've seen in any national or battleground place that shows women tied. i don't think that's the case. look, there's a natural tighten tightening in this race and one we expected. we have 53% of the vote four years ago. they don't call it battleground states for nothing. but look, i think we're in a strong position because first and foremost, the case that this president has to press, to build this economy stronger, to bring back manufacturing jobs, send more exports overseas, strengthen our economy, that's a better case, better case against mitt romney . i think you'll hear him talk directly about that tonight.
>> and the middle of this windstorm some good news for you guys came in from the supreme court . they declined to reverse decisions in ohio