NewsNation | October 04, 2012
>>> governor romney lives to fight another day. many of president obama 's key supporters voicing their disappointment today that he did not take on governor romney when he had an opportunity. here's some of the headlines. in fact, the " los angeles times " says, quote, obama fans are shocked by mitt romney 's dominance in debate. "the chicago tribune " said for obama words not said spoke the loude loudest. it said obama hit with a left hook on tv and online. the president is hitted to wisconsin, but not before taking one last parting shot a a fiery rally in denver not too long ago.
>> when i got onto the stage, i met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney . it couldn't have been mitt romney , because the real mitt romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts to pay for the wealthy. the fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that.
>> around the same time governor romney was making a surprise appearance at the conservative political action conference , cpac in denver before heading to virginia for an event with congressman paul ryan later on this evening. zoo
>> i know your passion for econo america and your desire to take our country back. for that to happen you guys have to cheer here and knock on doors and get people who voted for president obama to see the light sxwro and join our team.
>> joining us now is steve boykin and anne cornbluth and steve deyes. the president out at that rally seemed more enthusiastic. he said that was not the real mitt romney who showed up at the debate last night. so the question to you, was it the real president obama who showed up last night?
>> great question, because the president obama at that rally is not what i saw on the debate stage last night. one lingering question in my mind and i even tweeted it in real time . did he know he was on a split screen the entire evening? because style matters, tamron, and the substance -- you know the fact finders are already having a field day on. stylistically he lost the debate. he looked dmismissive and troubled to be there. the president did not respond in kind the way he did in the rally today.
>> anne a lot of people are saying all of you folks talking about style and the body language are missing the point. this was supposed to be about substance, and that goes so far because you have the president today saying who is the real mitt romney . the question is for example when mitt romney said he knows nothing about tax credits for people with jets and he said to the president i don't know what you're talking about, why not reply do you know what i'm talking about about offshore accounts and your absence of information regarding your taxes? without coming off, i guess, as being angry or some of these other notions floated around on this conversation, anne .
>> yeah. i think that that obama campaign and the white house has not just a stylistic problem, although they have that, but a substance problem along the lines you described. this was a debate. what you do in debate is your counterpart says something, and when you disagree you counter them and press them and ask questions. president obama didn't do that. he didn't seem to come in with his own points he made and didn't talk about the 47%, talk about romney 's work at bain capital , press him on the 5 trillion, defend his own cuts to medicare. there's a long list of things he didn't say, yes, i think that's why you heard him giving a robust appearance today on the stump. you see him continue to do that, and the become campaign is signalling it will be a different performance next time.
>> 58 million people are the early numbers of people that watched the debate. i saw david axelrod and david plauffe didn't bring it up because there's ads out there. you've been a vocal supporter of the president. let me play it.
>> there's no question here that president obama showed that his campaign has been doing the work for him, and mitt romney has been doing the work for his campaign. without a question the obama supporters were on their heels last night and disappointed, wondering where was this guy who they've been seeing in these tv commercials going so hard at mitt romney ?
>> to put in perspective, we don't know if there's an actual bump for mitt romney on this. it will take days before we see the polling which has been repeated over and over . a lot of bahaobama supporters had a look of defeat because they fought so hard and they wanted to see that man in the mirror, a reflection of the fight that they've put up for him over many months.
>> i think that's right. it's frustrating when you see a guy you're rooting for not fighting and being beat.
>> give me your perspective on where you felt he was being beat?
>> it was all stylistic. substantively barack obama was right on, because mitt romney was breath-takingly dishonsest last night. mitt romney was more in control of the debate and walked all over jim lehrer and obama didn't fight back. obama had the facts and didn't use them, but this is what obama does. in 2008 when he ran against hillary clinton , people said he wasn't fighting hard enough and against john mccain and in the health care debate, he wasn't fighting hard enough. he won all the fights.
>> what's interesting, our first team and others brought up the comparison of the incumbent curse. george w. bush , ronald reagan in '84, george h.w. bush in '92, the president didn't seem to be on his game. mitt romney made a surprise appearance to a cpac event in denver still courting the conservatives but say if you know people that voted for president obama , tell them to come on over to our side. that's ironic because i don't imagine he knows many conservative republicans who voted for president obama the last time or plan to this time. nevertheless, you're no fan of governor romney . did you become a fan last night as a conservative who has doubted his credibility from the minute he entered this race?
>> well, i think my credentials as a non- romney show are pretty well secured. i have good street cred for your audience. frankly, i thought mitt romney did the best job of advancing even a modicom of viewpoints and stepping up on a national stage than like when al gore invented the internet. mitt romney , unlike john mccain , mitt romney wants to win the presidency, and a lot of conservatives have asked themselves that question the past couple of weeks. i think frankly liberals ought to ask them that question. does barack obama want to be president? he looked like he'd rather have his toenails removed with a dull, rusty blade than on that stage that last night?
>> does he wants to support education? he says he won't cut education. that is different from congressman paul ryan 's budget, who is the guy that you conservatives champion as the truth teller for your party. the list goes on and on for taxes as well. so the guy you're saying who showed up yesterday, if the scorecard is correct, is as far from a conservative, a re masume you can put on the table. if you were honest, that's not the guy you would vote for, maybe someone in the middle, a moderate republican . but you a staunch conservative would not vote for mitt romney , the one na showed up last night?
>> well, one of the things -- your question, of course, answers why i've done what i did the last five years trying to stop him from being the nominee, but he did effective things defending conservative values last night. if you look at one focus groups one of the networks did of undecided voters in colorado, his numbers were the highest when he talked about the role of government freeshgs government, freedom for the individual, the founding documents. these are things we haven't seen a republican candidate talk about and mean on a national stage in many, many years. that was the most liked and popular answer romney gave last night. a conservative describing why the president's policies failed. he was have effective last night. this is a guy from the romney people hate almost as much as --
>> let me bring in keith boykin on this. with health care it seems that the governor is having both ways here. he wants states in control of health care and medicaid, but he says he would have a formula based on what he did in massachusetts if he became president. so that would be some kind of federal health care , universal health care ?
>> republicans hate obama care, except last night mitt romney embraced tentative bahama care without calling it ould repeal it and keep the basic principles behind it. republicans hate the idea of redistributing wealth. mitt romney talked about he's not going to cut taxes for the wealthy and middle class . the republicans hate the idea of keeping all these government programs in place. they want to cut spending, but mitt romney wouldn't say any programs he wanted to cut in spending last night except for pbs. the only other thing he mentioned was obama care, which adds $109 billion to the deficit. east cuts less than 0.1 of 1%.
>> i don't want to be a bad moderator. let me get you in and move on to anne . go ahead.
>> i want to thank keith for admitting his side believes in redistribution of wealth. we believe in cutting government spending .
>> mitt romney doesn't believe that. your own candidate has taken both sides, and last night was not the mitt romney who campaigned for four months to win the republican primary . you know that as well as i do, and you steve , have been so honest in critiquing him should be more honest about his dishonesty last night.
>> let me bring in anne on that. anne , back to the president and this incumbent curse. he didn't bring up the 47% and talk about bain capital outsourcing jobs, tax returns and offshore accounts. do you believe his campaign gave him that advice? why not use those weapons, and you don't compromise your likability when you were telling what you believe is the truth.
>> well, i think you just put your finger why they didn't do it in the first place. they wanted to go into this debate talking about what obama would dpo in a second term and not focusing on mitt romney . it sounds like they didn't want to go into a debate but a one-way conversation to be positive. he could try to be more uplifting and less combative to talk about his own positive vision for the future. that's what they tried to do, and instead you saw him not responding. i think you'll see him having to figure out how to do what you just described, which is to be factual without being seen as argumentative, not getting into a successtusle with romney to turn off voters and to talk about it to inspire his own base and fact based and not too aggressive, which is what they worried about.
>> michael, some of the people asked right after the debate which candidate did the best. 67% said mitt romney , 25% said barack obama . i want to play what chris matthews said last night and what he said this morning live on "today." let me play it.
>> i don't know what he was doing out there. he had his head down. he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. romney , on the other hand, came in with a campaign. he had a plan. he was going to dominate the time and be aaggressive. i thought romney was excellent with his civility, his respect for the office of president. i think he handled it beautifully. i think the president could have done the same thing and sliced through all the claims by romney . romney has been accused of etch-a-sketch. last night was his greatest achievement.
>> david axelrod and david plauffe were out today and didn't admit it wasn't a great debate for the president, which is to be expected. do you think chris's sentiment is a reflection of many of the democrats that supported the president or independents that supported the president?
>> i believe that governor romney won that debate, but not by the extent to now which he's being given credit. i made sure that i weighed in last night on twitter with what i thought before all the spin began, and you've got to give romney the edge unquestionably. now his performance is growing as people are at water coolers and sharing with one another what all the conventional buzz was. i have questions about the way in which the president was prepared for this debate, and my one example would be this. he didn't know, neither of them did, what questions would be asked. they certainly knew they were getting two minutes at the end for a closing statement . what exactly was the message of the president in that closing statement ? i have no idea. that should have been rehearsed.
>> we're going to talk about how mitt romney perhaps has been declared the winner over the water cooler to your point. maybe it's the theatrics or ez.
>> kline says because of vagueness in his answer. we're going to look at that. i appreciate it.