Morning Joe | October 08, 2012
>>> it to mitt romney because president obama sure did. many political experts were surprised that during wednesday's debate, president obama failed to mention mitt romney 's infamous 47% comment. obama elected to take the high road , forgetting that that road leads to building houses with jimmy carter . romney went on to say that if elected, he would no longer borrow money from china to pay for pbs. china funds pbs. i guess that explains why this week's " sesame street " was brought to you by the letter this. according to nielsen numbers , more than 70 million people watched wednesday's debate either on tv, online or from one of the podiums.
>> good morning. it's monday, october 8th . welcome to " morning joe ." with us on set, we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle , political editor and white house correspondent for "the huffington post ," sam stein. and managing editor of "fortune," andy serwer.
>> andy , good to see you. how did columbia do this weekend?
>> it was another "w." lehigh, i believe.
>> went out to pennsylvania and lost the football game .
>> the columbia, what are you guys?
>> lions, exactly. of course, i knew that. ivy league mascots. hey, mika .
>> something weird's happening in this campaign. you know, sometimes you'll have an event, and as the event goes by, you'll just sort of count the days and wait for the buzz to dissipate, because it always does because we get so easily distracted. we're talking this weekend and you're hearing it and i'm hearing it, this terrible debate performance, the impact seems to keep growing and growing. it's like turning now into an urban legend . by the middle of next week, people will say barack obama can't walk down the sidewalk without stumbling. i'm stunned by -- i mean, the republicans are excited, but i'm stunned by how democrats seem to keep getting more depressed every day. i've had people that have never voted republican in their life.
>> saying i may have to do it this year.
>> i think there's been that. there's also been a little bit of a back-and-forth about the jobs numbers that have made the republicans look desperate. but yes, overall, i think the debate had a terrible impact for the president and one that i think is surprisingly lasting.
>> yeah, why is that?
>> well, because a lot of people were watching and because you're wondering why things don't work in washington. and when you see two people go head to head and you see it be so starkly clear stylistically, you kind of wonder if that is brought home.
>> that the president's disconnect --
>> yeah. so there's a lot of work to be done in the next debate. i mean, a lot of work. he's going to have to get his hands dirty.
>> i take it if we're hearing this, i take it you're hearing the same thing, too. i mean, we could talk specifics about, like, for instance, the democratic pollster who tells me they've lost six points in colorado since the debate, but more than polls, because polls do move around, i'm interested in the people that, you know, come up to me on the street, and my democratic friends and what they're saying to me, and i won't say there's a sense of panic, but there has been a real --
>> it's a conversation.
>> -- the emperor has no clothes moment over the past week. and it keeps growing by the day. that's why i'm bringing this up. everybody that's watching is hearing this in their own hometowns as well. it's stunning.
>> it's certainly no mystery after last week's performance. but you pick up anecdotally and then from talking to business in the business, in the actual business of measuring this stuff on a daily basis, is there's a segment of the voters, we might as well call them the disapointed voter. people who voted for the president four years ago and who have been going back and forth for the last year and a half over things they thought that the president would do that this administration would accomplish that have not happened. so they're sort of disappointed in this presidency. so you come to the debate. last week. and they look at romney and they go, oh. a guy like that couldn't have killed a steelworker's wife. you remember that ad they put on. and you take their level of disappointment with now their astonishment at the president's performance, and they are now in play. that, i think, is the biggest danger for the president and his re-election team.
>> andy , you have the press circling the wagons wildly for barack obama saying, why didn't you bring up the 47%. why didn't he bring up bain? he did bring up bain. and he talked about the exporting of jobs. and that was mitt romney 's best moment where he said i've been in business for 25 years. i have no idea what you're talking about. and barack obama immediately goes down and starts looking at his paper again.
>> why didn't he bring an oxygen tank, the theory about the altitude. a couple things. first of all, everyone thought, well, this is obama 's strong suit, so of course he's going to do well. that's why it still resonates because he did badly. he didn't do well, number one. number two, people say debates don't matter. guess what, they do if you blow it. and number three, what's interesting going forward into this week, i think it puts pressure on joe biden , maybe exactly what the obama team didn't want, which is biden to feel the pressure of having to do well, which maybe is not a good place for biden to be.
>> he's going to be great. he's going to be great.
>> he's going to have fun. he's actually going to --
>> he is used to it.
>> unlike the president.
>> and his decades working in congress will help. i think paul ryan is outmatched. you know what? whenever we say this before the debate, we set them up. sam stein, do you agree?
>> i thought the president did wonderful. no. i'm surprised there are 15% of the public who think he won the debate. you talk to any democrat, you know, they concede that he lost. you know, i think what you're getting at, joe, is one, democrats love to freak out. i mean, they are just born to freak out. if obama were to sneeze walking down the street, they would freak out about it.
>> the president gave democrats something to freak out. this is not an overreaction.
>> no, to finish my sentence, which is in this case --
>> he's ross perot suddenly.
>> one was, obama just didn't show up, clearly. the second one is that romney did come off, presented himself as a sort of moderate, reasonable person whereas the past 15 months, people have been attacking him as this plutocrat and there's a little frustration on the part of democrats that obama didn't call him out on it, and two, that he's getting a pass by pivoting to the center like this so close to the election. that's what's causing this near apaplectic freakout.
>> i've got to say, reading editorials from the press, it's funny because you read it, and it can't be at the end of the day that barack obama 's not up to the task. suddenly it's oh, mitt romney just lied.
>> no, he did. zblee
>> he was the biggest liar of all time. so barack obama is so shocked that he lied that he couldn't even respond because he lied. i mean, seriously.
>> if they believe that in the white house , they're going to lose the second debate as well.
>> this is why the most -- i mean --
>> they are spinning like crazy.
>> i was watching football this weekend. the most common commercial i saw was saying mitt romney misled you at the debate. they knew they lost it.
>> is it not the worst of the excuses, at least to my mind, is that, you know, how come the moderator didn't interrupt him and ask him about the 47%? how about the president of the united states standing up there and doing it?
>> and the press, mike.
>> oh, yes, absolutely.
>> we need to move forward.
>> they had a rolling set of excuses from the very beginning. at first it was the blogosphere and listening to people go, well, the moderator didn't let barack obama talk as much as mitt romney . well, yes, he did. actually, yes, obama talked more. he just had less to say.
>> just like the republicans had a rolling set of excuses for the jobs numbers, so it goes both ways.
>> those are conspiracies.
>> there's a difference between excuses and full-blown conspiracies. by the way, i can't wait for the readjustment of those jobs numbers. by the way, we may have been off a little bit.
>> stop it. oh, stop it. i've been studying that.
>> i'll bet number.
>> 7.8 is just fine, thank you. the president's debate performance remained a hot topic on the sunday talk shows . former presidential candidate newt gingrich and senior obama adviser david axelrod were asked if obama should have called out romney if he thought his opponent was being dishonest.
>> the president of the united states had 90 minutes . now, if he had done his homework, if he had actually prepared, if he had actually studied romney , why didn't he say it? why didn't he take romney head on? first of all, the charge on the tax cuts is just plain wrong and i think virtually every analyst has said, and even your deputy campaign manager said the charge is wrong. but forgetting that for a second, the job of the president is supposed to be to be confident and to be able to stand up for what he believes in and to be able to articulate what's wrong. mitt romney walked over him.
>> i will be honest with you, i think he was a little taken aback at the brazenness with which governor romney walked away from so many of the positions on which he's run, walked away from his record. and that's something we'll have to make an adjustment for. it takes a certain, as president clinton would say, it takes a certain brass to do what governor romney did there, and it's consistent -- this is what he used to do in private business. i mean, he was the closer at bain capital . and the basic theory is say whatever you need to to get the deal, and that's what he did that night.
>> again, this is so laughable. "the new york times " -- by the way, "the new york times " is kicking it into overdrive, the week in review section. republican republicans , drop dead . and then mitt romney only won because he's such a liar.
>> there were some good pieces inside.
>> well, they're desperate pieces, and david, with all due respect, that's desperate. if we're going to play this game, i could pick apart what the president said on medicare and just say well, it's not true. what he said on the debt and say, well, that's not true. if somebody says something that doesn't line up with the truth, debates are about being smart enough and quick enough on your feet and knowledgeable enough to call them out right there and not have your aides do it five days later.
>> there's no doubt about that. but back to "the new york times ," you referenced "the new york times ," there was a piece in "the new york times " this weekend about governor romney 's tenure as governor of massachusetts and his ability to work with the democratic legislature. 87 to 90%.
>> by the way, this was a laughable story, by the way.
>> joe, sam , i was stunned. "new york times ," our greatest newspaper, they couldn't find one single democratic legislator to quote, to talk to. it was stunning.
>> you look at the headline. we're talking about the headline where it said mitt romney 's claims of bipartisanship coming under closer observation. yeah, by the time --
>> by whom?
>> by "the new york times ." i haven't seen those stories over the past four years over mr. hope and change when we've had the most partisan congress and white house in recent history. but they make this claim. "the new york times " themselves make this claim. and you're exactly right. because now every day they're hammering with another story that just -- every day. they make this claim, and they can't find a single democratic legislator to say --
>> there wasn't one quoted. not one.
>> have they not seen the picture of teddy kennedy and mitt romney smiling at each other as they pass his historic health care plan in massachusetts ?
>> you're right, it's bizarre there wasn't a democrat quoted, and you're right because there was an historic health care bill signed in massachusetts . but it's pretty well established in massachusetts that he had an acrimonious relationship with the legislature. it wasn't that hard. i mean, that's a well-known story. and yeah, everyone's right here. in debates, you fib. you blend truths and you try to blend it to your own story line . and it's the job of the opponent to call it out. it's kind of surprising that axelrod and everyone else is saying oh, my god, we couldn't have prepared for this stuff. you've been spending the past ten months talking about how romney will say anything to get elected. how could you not prepare for the possibility that he might --
>> it's very simple. it's very simple. if mitt romney brings up a $5 trillion number you disagree with, if you know what's behind those numbers, you go actually, those numbers don't add up, they don't even come close to adding up. you could even take away people's home mortgage -- then you say the only way it adds up is if you take away people's home mortgage interest, charitable deductions, if you zing them this way. governor, even those numbers don't add up.
>> i mean, i don't know why he didn't do well. i've heard this whole theory that he was sort of putting himself in reserve and then he was going to come back strong and take the gloves off for the second or third debate.
>> the rope-a-dope?
>> muhammad ali , yes. president obama , no.
>> you know why? he's a town hall meeting . you remember, mika , in 2000 when al gore moved too close to george w. bush in a town hall meeting and was trying to be assertive? everybody laughed?
>> the maucho man. i tried that on mike one time.
>> barack obama is going to have to be nicer in the second debate because they'll be in the round so they'll be boxed in here.
>> there's a lot of work to do. there's also a lot that can be picked apart in terms of mitt romney 's debate performance. take a look at -- is it robert gibbs talking to newt gingrich on "meet the press" yesterday.
>> it's not rocket science to believe that the president was disappointed in the expectations that he has for himself. but look. i think part of that was because, as i said earlier, we met a new mitt romney . we met a mitt romney that wanted to walk away from the central theory of his economic plan which is his tax cut . i don't have a tax cut that's $4.8 trillion or $5 trillion. i'm not going to cut taxes on the rich. i don't have a medicare voucher plan. i love teachers. i think we need more of them. i mean, look, don't believe me. speaker gingrich was pretty eloquent in running during the primaries in saying, look, mitt romney will say absolutely anything to get elected.
>> all right. so i guess we don't have that. what?
>> purple tie club.
>> purple tie club. i didn't get the memo.
>> the thing is, again, rob either gibrobert gibbs is saying this four days later. why didn't the president say that? and secondly, i don't know about you guys, but i'm thinking if it was my gut reaction -- and again, i was harshly critical of mitt romney , and i'm a guy that worries first about debts. and i always have. i heard mitt romney say, talking about, again, i won't pass a tax cut that raises the deficit. that sounds pretty much like the romney doctrine to me. that's what i took away from that debate. and they can have that debate if they want to, but, again, i think a lot of people are listening for the first time. and if mitt romney did move to the center, well, i think that's probably pretty good general election strategy.
>> and did he answer any questions about how he would do all this? and what loophole he would cut? how he would reduce the deficit? by when? did anyone ask?
>> i mean, there's two components to his tax reform plan. one is a huge tax cut , which is going to add up to $5 trillion. and the other is to pay for it. so he's been explicit about one part, which is the tax cut . he hasn't been detailed about the last part. but obama never pressed him on this. that's your point. these are 90-minute forums, they're highly intense.
>> you just did it, mika , so why couldn't he?
>> that's what i'm wondering.
>> everybody out there, democrats were yelling at the camera.
>> because it's been the conversation for a month. and for the president not to know --
>> it's stunning, isn't it, sam ? it's stunning. but mike, you know, if romney is moving to the center, if he is changing his positions, that's probably good for him electorally. usually candidates do that -- every candidate does that at the convention. mitt romney seemed to do it in the middle of his first debate.
>> yeah, well, he could have done it at the convention and no one would have noticed given the empty chair. we've talked about that. yeah, i mean, romney 's perhaps biggest problem is cosmetics. i mean, he has been pretending to be someone he's not, pretty much for the last 18 months. what we saw in the debate, that's who he is. the question that i would like an answer to, i would love an answer to this is to find out from governor romney how surprised he was that there was no pushback from the president. i bet you just on an athletic level, having played games as a kid, he was probably stunned ten minutes into it on the pushback. he figured, i can just keep hitting this guy.
>> that was the funniest part of the "saturday night live" skit where the romney character -- who played romney again? i can't believe i forgot his name. sudak sudakis. sudakis playing romney . he's looking around wide-eyed going, what's going on? and romney was doing the same thing. where is barack obama ?
>> let's give romney credit. he's a tough debater. he was quick and he jabbed back. as soon as obama threw out that $5 trillion figure, he knew he was going to say, i have no idea what you're talking about.
>> by the way, it does not matter now. between today and the next presidential debate . forget the vice presidential debate. it will matter. but it does not matter what happens on the campaign trail between now and the next debate. for most americans. they can run all the ads they want to run. and advisers can come out, call mitt romney a liar, if that makes him feel better. "the new york times " and every other editorial page can call romney a liar. it is all ground noise. what matters is if barack obama gets into that next debate, mika , and performs the same way again --
>> i want to see that again. that's what people are thinking. right?
>> and i also think the jobs numbers had a huge impact. and the republican response to it showed that they're still spinning wildly.
>> i just don't think -- trust me, mika , republicans are not spinning wildly.
>> oh, yes, they are.
>> they're dancing wildly this weekend.
>> oh, no, they're spinning.
>> the internal numbers in every poll i've heard from both campaigns show that barack obama has taken a hit in florida, in north carolina , in virginia --
>> colorado .
>> -- colorado is huge. and the democratic poll --
>> those jobs numbers will not.
>> after the job numbers, mika , minus six. he's lost six points since the debate in colorado alone.
>> yeah. and all i am saying is that the republicans are spinning wildly about them. trying to make it look like they aren't what they really are.
>> no, they're not. no, they're not.
>> okay, we'll save that for "must-reads."
>> it doesn't matter.
>> you know what's happening right now? this is happening out in the country. they're not watching the tv commercials . they're watching football. they're watching the baseball playoffs.
>> i kind of agree with mika . i think that the jobs numbers tell an important story for the president that we might not be talking about.
>> republican incumbent, you'd love the jobs numbers.
>> i think it would be hard to say that these jobs numbers -- it's been now a couple months now. the economic situation is getting better.
>> i think it's the opposite of what jack welch was saying. we talk about jack welch and what he said and the conspiracy theory , but the thing is, he said given the economy --
>> that's not even what i'm getting at.
>> people feel fundamentally better about the state of the economy.
>> did i say i love jack welch ?
>> forget what jack welch said. i'm talking about people who are trying to say that perhaps people have given up. and if you look into the numbers of the bureau of labor and statistics put out, the number of people who are discouraged and have given up has gone down in the past year by 235,000. and in the past four years, by over 400,000. that number is being skewed out there by those who want to say that the job numbers aren't what they appear to be. long-term unemployment is still very, very high, but those people are still looking.
>> the u-6 number for those cognizant.
>> coming up --
>> you're right. republicans are in the dumps. you're right.
>> no, they're trying to pretend the numbers that they depend on when they're good in their camp.
>> you can't have it all.
>> are skewed.
>> i don't know. if it continues this way, i think republicans can have it all.
>> they're not. not going to have it all.
>> coming up -- i'm so excited for what's happening later in the show. we're going to talk to chicago mayor rahm emanuel . rahm has a new wellness competition. we're going to hear how the two cities are teaming up with the american beverage foundation to see which town can get healthier. this morning the moderator of the first presidential debate jim lehrer will be here on set.
>> it's all his fault.
>> romney adviser dan senor will be here to give us a preview of the candidate's foreign policy address today. and famed novelist salman rushdie will join us.
>>> up next, the top stories in the "politico playbook." first, bill karins, the potted plant.
>> i love you, bill. i love you.
>> mika 's a little angry today.
>> i had to get up early.
>> she's really upset. that's a nice catch. mika 's upset. you know what i'm going to say? jobs numbers! you're right.
>> i am.
>> i know you are.
>> i know you want to say it in a way that you think i'm not --
>> mika 's right.
>> i have charts. would you like them? good.
>> let me grab this by the reins here. let me take you out the door on this columbus day . good morning, everyone. we are watching clearing skies in new england, not going to last long. bring the umbrella today if you're in the d.c., baltimore, virginia and carolinas. whatever sunshine you have this morning, it won't be there all day long. cold temperatures across much of the country including new england today with highs only in the 50s. those showers, again, late today in areas of the mid-atlantic. so here's the arctic blast that moved all the way through the country this weekend, all the way down to dallas it was only in the 50s, too. it was a significant blast of cold air. it's going to stay with us. we're in the 30s from chicago to kansas city . if you're one of those people that just have to go to work or school today with the kids, definitely bundle up. but at least this time of year, you have sunshine in the afternoon, it will be a nice afternoon. chicago, kansas city , st. louis, enjoy what should be just a perfect fall afternoon after a very cold start to our monday on this columbus day . nice shot of the capitol. you're watching " morning joe ." we're brewed by starbucks. with