msnbc | October 09, 2012
>>> hi, everybody. good morning. i'm thomas roberts . topping the agenda today, is this a seismic shift? 28 days to go and one new poll has to have team obama worried. mitt romney not only advancing but sprinting into the lead following the first presidential debate . pew research putting the governor four points ahead and shows him all but erasing that very wide gender gap that the president had been counting on.
>>> getting a bounce out of this conventi convention, he's got a bounce. this is what a bounce looks like.
>> a huge shift taking place, which we've got to assume's taking place in florida , north carolina , virginia.
>> to me is these numbers are surprising and concerning, because if it is a result of the debate, it's, to me, in my opinion, a response to a stylistic win.
>> all those people who said debates don't matter? they were dead wrong.
>> these numbers coming as the campaigns blanket battleground states with none more pivotal than the swing state of ohio . today's "the new york times" reporting that the romney camp is looking for a reset in the buckeye state , intensifying romney 's advertising, making more stops and deploying more campaign troops on the ground.
>> people wonder why it is i'm so confident we're going to win. i'm confident because i see you here on a day like this. this is unbelievable.
>> so, the obama campaign trying to detour romney 's road to 1600 pennsylvania avenue through " sesame street ." the president hitting romney on the stump.
>> for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that, finally, somebody is cracking down on big bird . elmo has been seen in a white suburban. he's driving for the border.
>> and also, in a new ad that's all the talk on the trail.
>> bernie madoff, ken lay , dennis kozlowski , criminals, glutens of greed and the evil genius who towered over them? one man has the guts to speak his name.
>> big bird . big bird . big bird .
>> it's me, big bird .
>> did you see the new ad put out by the president, the re-elect obama campaign ? big bird . big bird . what is that all about?
>> we get straight to it now with our tuesday political power panel. msnbc contributor jonathan capehart, also an opinion writer for "the washington post ." msnbc analyst karen finney, also a columnist for "the hill." and republican strategist john brae bender. karen , i want to start with you. that pew poll for swing states and likely voters has to be a real wake-up call to president obama and his re-election team. what really caught our eye here is about the gender cap. according to the poll, romney 's wiped off the board any lead, brought it to a dead heat . do you think this is real? and i have to talk about my deceased irish catholic grandmother, because she used to say about pollsters, if they have the nerve to ask, you have the nerve to lie. but could they really have wiped away the gap that they had?
>> you know, unclear. i mean, here's the thing. i've always contended that for romney , it wasn't just about having one good debate performance. he's got to show some consistency. he's had a few good days. i think the jobs numbers and the big bird gaffe, if you will, have given team obama a bit of an opportunity to, you know, to rebound and push back, but we'll see. i mean, these polls are a snapshot in time. they certainly suggest that romney , as we all said, had a great debate performance. people took a second look and said, all right, let me pay attention , let me see what i think about this guy. the question is, now that they're taking that second look, when they go to his website and say, wait a second, what he said on the stage about people with pre-existing conditions isn't true based on what it says on his campaign website, what are they going to really think and believe and what will the next debate performance bring?
>> all right, that's for people who are really going to investigate and do the time and research that you suggest, which a lot of people may not do. but john, you heard chuck todd saying this bounce is real, but what matters when we look at this truly is the battleground states . the same pew poll shows a dramatic midwest shift coupled with a michigan poll that shows the president's lead shrinking from ten to three points. and we look at this, a new pennsylvania poll from siena showing the president's lead thinking from 14 to 3 points. if this is happening in those states, john, what does that mean for ohio , for florida , for virginia?
>> well, those certainly are the three big states, and i think you'll see the same type of numbers follow there. i said before the debate that i thought that that was the real start of the presidential campaign because a lot of people really didn't know what to believe about mitt romney . so, i'm not surprised at all about these numbers. what i think is real interesting is how many of these numbers the president is only at 45%. you know, his problem is, incumbents rarely get undecideds to turn their way towards the end, so i think these numbers are startling, important and certainly problematic for the president.
>> jonathan , frank newport was on "jansing & co." in the last hour, and he says that the numbers that he's seeing overnight show that president obama is picking back up. now, their new tracking is going to come out at 1:00 p.m . eastern time , but with these troubling battleground numbers, the obama campaign is still harping on " sesame street " and big bird , and we showed it, that new campaign ad .
>> uh huh .
>> here's more of the president, though. take a look at this, more of the president hitting romney last night.
>> oscar's hiding out in his trash can. we're cracking down on him. governor romney 's plan is to let wall street run wild again, but he's going to bring the hammer down on " sesame street ."
>> republicans already hitting back on this as we saw with john mccain . so, this detour through sesame street , is that really a wise way to try to put some upheaval in romney 's trajectory toward pennsylvania avenue ? i mean, this strategy, talking about big bird .
>> yeah, well, look at it this way, the debate was so dispiriting for the president's base that, you know, this is the one thing when you played the clip of the president making the big bird joke, what happened? tons of laughter. this is something that i'm sure the campaign realizes the base likes it, it gets them re-energized and refocused, and keep in mind --
>> doesn't it remind them, though, of what a stinky debate it was for president obama ? i mean, doesn't it take you back to all of this, that this was a lackluster performance for a man who wants to keep his job?
>> right, yes, so it was a lack buster performance and there's no getting around it. you can't pretend that that debate didn't happen, but you've got to do something to remind, to sort of get the voter, to get your base wound up again. because remember, this is a base election. whichever person, whichever candidate can get his base out to the polls, that's going to be the margin of victory. and with regard to the swing state polls, let's keep something in mind, before that debate last wednesday, the swing state polls were already shrinking. so, i mean, this isn't big news that ohio and michigan and florida and these other states are beginning to shrink. this election has always been a close election .
>> all right, so one thing --
>> real quick because i want to get you on this, karen , because the big event we're watching is coming up on thursday, the debate between biden versus ryan . if you're advising the vice president, because he's got a lot of ground work to make up for it here out of that first debate for their ticket, what do you tell him?
>> i'd say to joe biden , be yourself, because biden has a unique way of bringing reality into these very substantive conversations. and i'll use big bird as an example, and we're sort of making a joke, and yes, it gives people laughter, but there's something very serious about this issue. i mean, the " sesame street " programming, pbs programming has been in -- i worked in education for a number of years -- the gold standard , not just here in the united states , around the world, recognized as a gold standard in children's education. at a time when kids in our country, not enough of them can actually read proficiently, what sense does it make to cut? i mean, we're not going to balance that $5 trillion hole by getting rid of big bird . that's what i think part of reminding people about big bird does, how ridiculous the rhetoric from the romney / ryan campaign is, but also the idea that, so, you're going to cut something that we know is effective and works and helps our kids prepare for the future, but you're going to continue to give subsidies to big oil ? that doesn't make sense. so, i do think that there is a seriousness to this conversation and i think biden is the kind of guy who can bring that right balance to the debate.
>> all right, so, one thing in an interview, congressman ryan did talk about his nerves playing into effect for thursday. take a look.
>> joe biden 's one of the best debaters we've seen in modern politics. he's been doing this for 40 years. he ran for president twice, he's the sitting vice president. it's my first time on the national stage like this, so i'm playing --
>> sure, of course i'm a little nervous. everybody's nervous about something like this. i bet joe biden 's a little nervous.
>> joe, i want to ask you about this. he will be a formidable opponent as far as knowing the inside baseball policies of what's been happening on the hill. paul ryan has basically grown up inside the capitol.
>> well, i think there are real advantages for ryan , too. he comes across as sincere and likable like the guy who lives next door to you and i think that's a huge advantage to do that. second of all, the vice president is going to have defend everything about their administration -- the mediocrity of the economy, the failure in foreign policy and so forth. and let's face it, joe biden has had his share of being the punch line on the talk shows and the comedy shows quite a bit, and there's always that opportunity with joe biden we're going to see some major gaffe again.
>> all right, so, let's see if the kids in college for thursday night start a drinking game for how many times they hear big bird mentioned between the vice president ticket-holders. jonathan capehart, karen finney and john brebender, thank you for joining me.
>>> joining me in studio, ohio state senator nina turner. great to have you here. i know you've been listening to the conversation about ohio , so let's dig in. their voter registration deadline is today. both candidates are in ohio today, really trying to blanket that state and get their message heard. so, we have both men lasering in on ohio . the president's going to be in columbus. romney and surrogate chris christie are going to be in cuyahoga falls . we saw the polls, romney closing in states like michigan and wisconsin. do you think he could take ohio ?
>> ohioans will have a flashback or a total recall , if you will, when they think about what the president has done, from rescuing the auto industry to standing up for women. they know, in fact, who to vote for. you know, the president won in 2008 ohio by 51%, and i believe that ohioans are going to recall who was actually in their corner for the last 3 1/2 years, and that is president obama . once they get over, thomas , the dazzle of the debate. we need to put that behind us and we're going to move forward. it is the president that is pushing policies that will allow the middle class and poor folks to thrive, to get over.
>> romney has reinvested in the state of ohio with ads specifically targeted to ohioans. take a look at this.
>> the question ohio families are asking is who can bring back the jobs? under president obama , we've lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs.
>> so, "the new york times" reporting today, senator, that the romney camp going after ohio with this new intensity, this new investment that they feel that they can get those people to come over to their team, especially after that solid performance at the debate. do you think, though, that mitt romney can make inroads talking about manufacturing with the unemployment rate now nationally below 7.8% and the fact that president obama was able to save the car manufacturing industry?
>> i don't think so. if you talk to people in warren and youngstown, they know. one of every eight jobs are linked to the auto industry , of which the governor said let detroit go bankrupt. so, no one is going to fall for the trips and the traps of what the republicans are talking about. you know, this is the same man who said that he didn't care about the 47%, but now all of a sudden, he cares about the 47% because he is trying to get elected. so again, i believe that ohioans are going to stay strong. this is not the president's first trip to the rodeo when it comes to ohio . he's been paying attention to ohio for the past 3 1/2 years and that will not change when he is re-elected.
>> one thing i want to talk to you about because we have you here is late last week this court victory in ohio , where an appeals court judge saying that your state can't single out the military for special treatment in terms of early voting the weekend before the election itself. so, it goes for that sunday souls to the polls.
>> here's the interesting thing, though. so, the courts say that this three-day weekend and this time period can't be closed. however, county by county, they can have the final say?
>> well, thomas , the courts just reset the law. it went back to the original law in the state of ohio . so, all along it was up to the county boards of elections, but since the debacle of 2004 , county boards have been allowing that last three days, especially in the urban counties . and let us not forget that the type of voting that the secretary of state has cut out has a disproportionate impact on african-american voters. there was just a study that came out that said that african- americans are 26 times more likely to vote early and in person than any other voter in the state of ohio . so, make no mistake about it, the republicans are doing everything they can, whether it's on the federal level or the state level, to try to target african-american voters and poor voters, but this is a victory for all voters in the state of ohio now that the last three days, the boards of elections have that discretion, but it is a victory.
>> but if the secretary of state, as you say, has been trying to get this to be a tighter time period , what's to say that they can't do behind scenes, behind closed doors dealings about getting certain counties not to have souls to the polls?
>> well, thomas , he could, but it is my hope that he will not make a mockery out of our drasion, that he will cease and disk. the fact that he's not ordered a directive thus far is disappointing given what the courts have said, but we are going to continue to push forward in the state of ohio . we have been down this road before, especially african- americans in terms of folks trying to suppress the vote. next thing they're going to do is bring out the water holes and send the barking dogs , but we will not relent. we believe in what congresswoman barbara jordan believed in, that what the people want is simple. they wanted america as good as its promise, and that is why we're going to continue to fight in the state for african- americans , for hispanic, for poor people , for working people and for women, and when you take all of those categories together, once folks really start to think about who's in their corner, who's been working. you know, thomas , people have a short memory. president bush had a surplus when he took office, thanks to president clinton . our president takes office, 800,000 jobs, we're losing them every single month. the president has been working hard and all he has to do is stand on his record, talk about his record and remind folks who is there to make an economy that is built to last, to build an economy from the middle out and not the top down. who doesn't have to pretend that he cares about the 47% and for women. look at the lilly ledbetter act, so the president needs to bring it to governor romney the next time they go face to face and remind the folks who has been standing in the ready position for them. ohio will remember and we are going to vote for president barack obama .
>> both candidates, though, in ohio today. ohio state senator nina turner, thank you for your time. i appreciate it.
>> thank you.