msnbc | November 03, 2012
>>> in this week's office politics , my conversation with tom brokaw . we talk about the crossroads this country has come to and what the history books may say about this election. but i began by asking tom how hurricane sandy compares with the many other natural disasters he has covered.
>> you know, in an odd way, it reminded me of being in the big earthquake, the mountaintops and the things about this hurricane, obviously, is that it hit in our most concentrated centers of population. and our most crucial financial districts. so, it brought everything to a stop. now, how the rest of the country reacts to this, you know, it's hard to know. when it hits new york, and it hits new jersey, and hits connecticut, you're hitting the densest population mass that we have. and when everything comes to a stop, transportation services, small businesses , large businesses, it has a -- a reverberating effect across the country. so this one, i think, will be in the history books.
>> sandy, the human tragedy, you hate to reduce it to political terms but there is no denying this in an election right now. how does sandy affect this election? how do you see that playing out?
>> i honestly don't know whether it will alter someone going into the voting booth and change their mind. that they'll go either for romney or for obama based on the hurricane. i do think that you can take the measure of what happened to the campaign process. it kind of froze it in place for a couple of days. and arguably, you can make the case that didn't help governor romney. because he seemed to be on a roll at that point.
>> momentum --
>> but it's really hard to know until we start to get the results, and hear what people say about how it affected their voting pattern, and it affected their behavior, quite honestly. i do think that president obama , arm in arm with governor christie, with the kind of picture that the campaign must have said thank you, god, because what that did was say to the country, republicans and democrats can work together, because that's what the country wants to see. i think the united states is more fractured than i can remember. and that's fed, in part, by the ability of people with special interests to, if you will, fan the flames on the internet. which they try to do. division is good for them. they want to pit one interest against another. but i also think that the economic downturn undermined for a lot of voters their confidence in the country and where it was going. a lot of the assumptions that they had grown up with were kind of wiped out. you can make a good investment in your home, it will be the best thing that you can do. suddenly your home is worth half as much as what you paid for it.
>> i think regardless of whom you vote for, when we all woke up the day after the election the last go-around there was a sense that something good had been accomplished. we had elected our first african- american president . do you think, if barack obama is not elected, tom, that it negates some of that? it dispels some of that accomplishment?
>> i don't think it has anything to do with the african-american. the president would be the first to say i'm being related by what i did in office not in terms of the color of my skin.
>> but in terms of history judging it?
>> i think 9 sense of history will be did he succeed as president? that's the test. we don't give people an automatic pass, quite honestly. they have to measure up to the job that we expect them to do for everyone. he did inherit a very difficult situation. economically, two of the longest wars in the nation's history. but for the first time of years, until the election of 2010 , he seemed not to have an extraordinarily clear, firm idea of how he wanted to lead the country, and how he wanted to -- how he was going to persuade the rest of us that it was in our best interest in the way that he was going to lead the country.
>> more of our conversation today at 12:00 noon. we talk about similarities with this election to previous ones and the 180 the weekend before the