Morning Joe | November 08, 2012
>> with us now from washington, nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown," the man who has been cooking polls now for a year.
>> cooking them.
>> cooking them.
>> cooking them --
>> he's not cooking them.
>> the recipe worked.
>> cooking them just to the right temperature. in fact, he is a master chef because he was right all along, and the conspiracy theorists were wrong. chuck, i woke up this morning and of course, your first reflex when you lose a big election, whether you're a democrat or a republican, you go, it's the guy at the top of the ticket that caused the problems. mitt romney was not a good candidate, and we said that for a long time. he had a great first debate, but he just was a weak candidate. but then you dig in deeper and you start looking and say oh, gosh. we lost senate seats. we lost senate races that we should have won in montana, in missouri, in indiana. suddenly you look and as john cornyn said, we got wiped out at all ends of the ideological spectrum. even in wisconsin where republicans swept the state legislature again.
>> right. well, look. sometimes it was a bad candidate, you know. and it didn't fit the times. i mean, i always had -- pick up wisconsin. i always had my doubts on tommy thompson , and i'll throw in virginia with george allen that it just felt, how are you going to make a change argument, right? you're running to get a democratic seat back in both cases with people that have been in office off and on for a decade or more. in tommy thompson 's case, almost two decades. in george allen 's case, it was almost a decade when you throw in his governorship. how are they going to make some effective change argument? they've both been in washington in some form or another. sometimes it was candidate recruitment. but i'll tell you, i keep coming back, you know, the obama campaign had a secret government document that they used, i think, and the democrats took advantage of it. it was called the census, you know. when you look at everything that they pulled off, all they simply did is, you know, it's the willie sutton theory. you go where -- instead of money, they went where there were votes. and so they just kept finding where they knew they would have support.
>> they went to their base.
>> they registered new voters. they found hispanics . they registered them.
>> we conservatives were skeptical four years ago about that census move to the commerce department . chuck todd . another conspiracy theory . to cook up for the next four years.
>> it's that secret document that's available to everybody.
>> secret document.
>> by the way.
>> they were, you know, so -- i mean, i know you guys praised the chicago team a lot on the show yesterday, but --
>> can't praise them enough.
>> for a year and a half, i'd go out and yomassena or david plouffe . we know where these people are. they had their offices built while romney was fighting republican primaries , spending money on other things, they were camped out in those nine battleground states , and they knew not just where the votes were but they knew where the potential votes were, they registered them and they were in constant contact with those people for almost two years. it's not even like we understand -- they knew what precise percentages of what each demographic they needed at any given turnout level. but they knew those people almost on an individual basis. they had personal relationships with a lot of these voters. hey, richard wolffe , let's take him to coffee tomorrow for our monthly coffee because on election day , we're going to make sure richard gets to the polls.
>> reporter: hey, heilmann, i'm sure you remember the powerpoint. let's take florida . joe, you'll love this. he would take this powerpoint and show it to reporters where he'd say let me show you the growth in non-cuban hispanics in florida . they knew exactly how demographically they were. and let me show you where they were. and they knew that they were going to pull this off. now, did they know they were going to win by 50,000 votes, but they knew how they could potentially get there depending on how turnout was for the republicans, things like that. but they were looking at this county by county for, as john said, for two years.
>> on a very small level, really, really -- you know, when i first ran, i got the lists -- i had no money, but i got the lists of the voters that voted in the last two primary elections . if you went on that list, i didn't talk to you for a year and a half. i would see all the other candidates waving at fairs and shaking hands, and i'd drive right by and wave at them and then i'd knock on individual doors. i had no money and i won. that was the focus. and you know what? when romney 's people were talking about this emotional surge and we're going to see things -- see him sweep to victory, it didn't work because that's just not how we do it these days, i guess. the obama people showed us, it is a new ball game.
>> to john's point and to your state, florida , i can recall speaking to a senior obama campaign official about six or seven weeks ago who was telling me about jim massena 's model, plouffe's model that astounded him because he was used to an old get-out-the-vote operation and a fairly sophisticated operation, but he was telling me that they can now say, richard wolffe , we know what magazines richard gets. we know that richard shops at costco. we know that richard 's wife is a nurse. we know that richard likes us. we know that richard wants to vote for us. we know what websites richard goes to. and by the way, we've got to talk to you about that after.
>> cnbc.com. what are you talking about?
>> the depth of the research that they had on not only existing voters but people they wanted to register to vote, astounded him.
>> we don't even know the full depth of it yet because they were doing stuff in the back room with that chief scientist . serious wizard stuff. where they were doing microtargeting at a level they've not yet disclosed. there's not full reporting on all the stuff they were doing with new media. they were spending a lot of money with a lot of data jockeys. this is a new world of campaigning, and they've done in two successive cycles. that's the other thing.
>> they were spending their money on 30-second ads, and the obama team was spending it this way. and chuck, we are so used to being spun by campaigns that you usually take the spin of one campaign and the spin of another campaign, and you mix them together, and you go somewhere in the middle. that's what i was trying to do as i was listening to both sides because the obama campaign was so confident. how many times have you seen campaigns that are that confident in the past that end up having a model that blows up in your face? but this year, the obama campaign was completely right. and the mitt romney campaign was just dead wrong. dead wrong on ohio. dead wrong on florida . dead wrong on everything they told us off the record.
>> well, i'll tell you, part of it is they didn't believe -- the republicans did not believe the youth turnout. they did not believe that it would be as bad with hispanics , and they believed they would overperform. they really just believed that momentum would simply mean a few more voters would show up. you've got to go back, when it comes to plouffe and massena and axelrod, you know, these guys -- i go back all the way to the primaries, back in 2007 . you know, they are -- they let their data be their spin. and, you know, in the midterms when barack obama 's not on the ballot, the data doesn't work as well. but when he's on the ballot, the data doesn't lie.
>> you know, and it's funny, what chuck said, there was a call a week out, one of the conference calls where massena was criticizing the romney people. and it sounded like spin. in a pithy little phrase, they have the math and we have the myth. it turned out that was not only pithy and not only sounded spinny, but it was true. they had the math and the other side had the myth.
>> just before we put a halo over all of these guys, it is important to remember that just two years ago, they were running an operation that absorbed the hardest hit, the biggest loss in democratic history legislatively. just two years ago republicans won the largest majority in state legislators and national -- and congress in the history of this country, but as chuck todd said, when barack obama 's on the top of the ticket, things work much better.
>> effective coattails. chuck todd , thank you very much.