msnbc | April 26, 2012
>>> the starting pistol and signals the start of the race. the team announcing the president and first lady will hold its first two campaign rallies in over a week. those rallies in swing states of ohio . the vice president kicking off obama offense this morning delivering a one-two punch to mitt romney . joining me for today's political power panel, managing director and john berry presidential strategist. and mrs. summers, political reporter from "politico." great to have you all here. kiki , want to start with you. releasing this ad, all in the timing, i guess. take a look at this.
>> russia, number one geopolitical foe.
>> he acts like the cold war is going on, russia is our major political adversary. i don't know where he's bun.
>> this seems to be in response to senator rubio's speech slamming the administration. does this show how ready to rumble the campaign is when they go swiftly seeking to inoculate that argument.
>> i don't know it's about that as much as really putting big topics on the table for conversation and not ignoring big moments like mitt romney had when he said something like that. he put a big idea on the table and it's perfectly legitimate and it's really important to come back and say, here is the flaw in that idea. there's a huge flaw in that idea. what it shows you have a president and vice president prepared to say why they are the best prepared and best capable to move our country forward for a second term.
>> john, president obama gave an interview to rolling stone magazine and had this to stay. i don't think their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, everything i've said for the last six months, i didn't mean. i'm assuming he meant it. when you're running for president, people are paying attention to what you're saying. romney was forced to lean way to the right to secure this nomination. is this going to be romney 's achilles heel going forward?
>> i think he's been in the center. what happened during the primary, he was accused of being a massachusetts moderate. i think that label will stick and stand up pretty well during the general election . he is seen as a centrist. he is a centrist. the effort to brand him a conservative by the obama administration will fall.
>> isn't that in direct contrast to his statement calling himself a severely conservative governor? he's the one that put those words out there, not the obama campaign .
>> which was widely ridiculed. most voters don't see him as a severe conservative. i would reject one notion. the problem for the president is not mitt romney . the problem for the president is his own record. he has started campaigning since last year. he doesn't have any serious accomplishments over the last six months. that's going to hurt him in the general election .
>> the obama campaign announced first rallies, as i said in the open coming up on may 5th . 2011 them in the important swing states of virginia and ohio . both won by the president in '08. now they are tossups when they show everybody the new nbc battleground map. how important are these two states and what does it mean, the strategy of it all if the obama campaign wants to start there.
>> it's not surprising those are the two states the obama campaign would pick to kick this off. these are states like you said that obama did win in 2008 . i think ohio will be a very interesting race. half of the electorate is working class white voters. that is an area both mitt romney and president obama have struggled to connect with. that race will be particularly interesting and says quite a bit about the strategy the campaign is looking at moving forward.
>> as we talk about the strategy, the president's stops on the 5th will be at two colleges as he continues to do what he did before, court the youth vote . this comes as gop super pac. american crossroads just released this ad. take a look at this.
>> obama ! obama !
>> all right. the celebrity president but driving home the point it's tough for college kids out there with the accrued debt getting out of college, aren't a lot of jobs. kiki our youth pollster said it is a critical voekt bloc discounted in other elections before. the president needs them for re-election. this is a group that's really not as enthused as it once was.
>> this is a group trying to figure what their path forward is, where is opportunity. despite what john said, have you a president looking up and saying this is what we have to do and this is what we're doing, an economic plan, a jobs plan. you see things that appeal to the college kids that are the right thing to do. how do you make sure they are not coming out of college with horrific senses of debt, without opportunity. it goes really to the issue of the whole argument about the economy. you know, we talk about the women's vote and youth vote . this is a vote and argument about the economy. that's what people want to know. where are you going to move forward on this. the president has laid out an agenda for jobs, moved forward on that agenda. that's what people are waiting to hear from mitt romney . they have heard about the big corporate story he has but haven't heard about his plan moving forward except for his support for the paul ryan plan.
>> john, do you think this is an opening for mitt romney to seek out the youth vote ?
>> the college kids are going to be paying for the obama administration for years. the debt piled on their backs, the fact they can't get a job when they graduate from college. you'd be an idiot if you graduate from college and vote for four more years for obama . they have been a disaster if you're a young person . this is why young people are turning against this administration. they are going to find something else. kiki is right, the romney campaign has to line out something for young folks . but the number one thing is the economy and it's been a disaster for college graduates, recent college graduates.
>> the thing about republicans what they did before, they attacked the president's celebrity in the last election cycle when he was just the senator. that is senator john mccain comparing john mccain to paris hilton . do you think they can make that stick now?
>> i think the crux of this argument is style versus substance. if the republicans can project president obama as the guy who has all the style, the hip guy, but mitt romney has the ability to be a serious conservative who is able to lead this country, take the very serious challenge of being president, i think that could have legs. if that's the tack they take, i expect them to push the theme, mitt romney is a conservative throw-back, out of step with what's going on today.
>> do you agree with that. is a person a politician of conviction as opposed to mitt romney being a flip-flopper.
>> here is the difference. and style, substance, reporters and the rest of us will talk about who gives a good speech and who doesn't. but at the end of the day , barack obama can look up and say, you know what, i'm the guy in the face of a lot of criticism said i'm going to stand up for the american automobile industry and the jobs it creates and it did and it's paid off. the banking system is important but wall street doesn't get a free ride. he stood up and pushed for reform and got it. you know what, if i can get into pakistan, we can get osama bin laden i'm going to do it. that's a record. that's a record about protecting the economy, our borders. mitt romney hasn't laid that out, young or old, black or white , female or male, he has to come up with what the vision is of him as opposed to the negative. young people aren't going to come out, constituencies won't come out because of anger. there will be some but not many. there has to be a reason.
>> his primary path, looking to reconcile the rivals rick perry announced his endorsement saying he won through hard work. he's giving that endorsement after endorsing newt gingrich the first time around. the texas governor didn't have such kind words for him over the past few months. let's remind everybody.
>> in 1996 when your adviser steve forbes was running on a flat tax , mitt romney said it was a tax plan for fat cats . what would say to him?
>> i guess he should look temperature mirror. i consider him to be a fat cat .
>> i get it about job creation . i understand the difference between venture capital and vulture capitalism.
>> these are etch a sketch moments they pretend never happened so they can get on the stump and embrace mitt romney for president.
>> hillary clinton said a lot of negative things about president obama and now she's secretary of state. the fact of the matter is the hard right didn't like mitt romney because they thought he was too moderate. right now being moderate in the center of the country is a good thing for the general election . i'd like to point back to the celebrity thing. i think president obama is very funny, a great voice, very cool. i do think people want substance. they want somebody to turn around the economy