msnbc | May 07, 2012
>>> great weekend. i'm thomas roberts . the agenda jam packed this monday and this week marking six months, that's it, six months until voters decide whether to elect barack obama for a second term or make mitt romney commander in chief number 45 . the president's campaign kicking off this critical final stretch with a new ad blitz in nine key battleground states laying out the obama case for re-election.
>> instead of losing jobs we're creating them. over 4.2 million so far. we're not there yet. it's still too hard for too many. but we're coming back.
>> two new polls off today. voters in swing states . " usa today " has the president leading by two points within the margin of error. politico has romney leading by one point. again, that is also within the margin of error. joining me this morning is ben le bolt national press secretary for obama for america . it's great to see you this morning. before we get started i'm sure you're expecting this to get your thoughts about the campaign because the opinion that vice president joe biden gave this weekend on "meet the press" about marriage equality is really putting the ball in president obama 's court. take a listen to this.
>> i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights , all the civil liberties and, quite frankly, i don't see much of a distinction.
>> so, ben , education secretary arne duncan followed suit on " morning joe " this morning saying he supports this as well as north carolina preps to vote on an amendment protecting marriage between a man and a woman, north carolina being a key battleground state for the president. meanwhile the hrc has come out in response to vice president biden saying it was encouraged by his remarks. but is now the time, ben , the right time for president obama to come out and speak in support of full marriage equality or does he potentially face a back lash now that the vice president, secretary duncan have come out in support?
>> the president and vice president are in the same place on this. you need to look at the administration's record. this is a president who has declined to defend -- who is opposed to divisive and discriminatory measures in the states that could roll back equal rights and protections for gay and lesbian couples. the principle is equal protection under the law. the president and vice president are in the same place which stands in stark contrast to mitt romney who said he would be to the left of ted kennedy on gay rights and then he said he supported keeping don't ask don't tell in place. he personally funded divisive and discriminatory efforts in states to roll back gay marriage in states that have made their own decisions to approve gay marriage .
>> so when we talk about the president's actions matching up with his words, and you say the president, the vice president, they are in the same place, they're not. the president has not come out to say in no uncertain terms that he fully backs marriage equality . so how do you not expect to get pressed on this and especially leading up with six months to go with the vice president coming out and saying you know what? i'm not on the fence on this one. i'm over the fence and in full support.
>> what the vice president said yesterday is the same thing the president said before, which is that he had evolved on this issue. you brought up the measure in north carolina , the administration's position on that, and the president's position on that is absolutely clear. he's opposed to it. it is a divisive and discriminatory measure that could roll back rights and protections for gay and lesbian couples. we've taken a strong stand in that state as we have in states across the country.
>> when it comes to not just social issues, the economy is really number one, when it comes to what people really want to talk about when it comes to getting someone elected president. mitt romney 's campaign has responded though to president obama . your ad with this statement about the economy saying after doubling of gas prices , declining incomes, millions of foreclosures and record levels of unemployment, americans now know they are not better off than they were four years ago. in a " usa today " poll it shows the majority of voters do think that romney would do a better job with the economy over the next four years. so is president obama running against mitt romney or is president obama running against his own economy right now?
>> well, the romney campaign's favorite talking point as of last week is that the president refuses to talk about his record or his vision for the future. but i think as you saw in his remarks over the weekend nan this new spot that he has a record to run on. we're losing 750,000 jobs a month when he came into office. businesses have now created more than 4.2 million private sector jobs under this administration. the manufacturing sector was in decline. it's come back. the auto industry was on the brink. gm is the number one auto maker in the world. mitt romney is the only one who won't talk about his record or his vision. that's because as a corporate buyout specialist he profited off of bankrupting companies and outsourcing jobs and in massachusetts when he was governor of massachusetts , massachusetts declined from 35th to 50th to 47th and manufacturing jobs declined to twice the national average. we'll certainly highlight our record. you can see that in these spots that are up in targeted states across the country as of today.
>> you're definitely highlighting it after watching the president this weekend officially kicking off his campaign making this direct hit, this link to romney 's economic message, and why it won't work. he had this to say in ohio. take a listen.
>> he and his friends in congress think that the same bad ideas will lead to a different result. or they're just hoping you won't remember what happened the last time we tried it their way.
>> so, ben , politico's new poll shows romney leading with the economy. the president leading with standing up for the middle class and standing up for jobs. so when you look at this and try to dissect how the american public is feeling and take their temperature, how do you combat the perception there are those in this country that say the president might be a good guy. they like him but he's not the man to fix the economic problems and they think that mitt romney can?
>> well, governor romney has been out there for a year making his case on the stump. the president started to do that this week and i think you'll see those numbers move. the fact is that most americans don't know the details of governor romney 's record or his plans. the fact that he's proposed to return to the same policies that got us into the economic crisis in the first place. instead of outlining a plan to create jobs and restore economic security for the middle class e has proposed more budget busting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and allowing wall street to write its own rules again. we tried those tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 . it didn't unleash growth. it didn't unleash job creation . that recovery period was much more tepid than the current one and eventually led to the economic crisis in 2008 . we'll be putting the president's economic record up against governor romney 's. and i think americans will side with the president.
>> ben la bolt , good to see you this morning. thank you.