NewsNation | October 08, 2012
>>> hi, everyone. the "news nation" is following breaking news. we're anticipating new polls in the presidential race , perhaps in the next 48 hours . taking a closer look at those key battle ground states . this as mitt romney seeks to build his momentum from last week's debate, and president obama focusing on the american people who carried him forward despite mistakes made in 2008 . one new poll was released in just the past hour. that is the new gallup daily tracking poll. it shows president obama and mitt romney now tied 47%. romney erasing the 5-point lead the president had before the debates. right now president obama is about to make modern history . the president is in california where he'll unveil a national monument in horne of cesar chavez who led the farm worker monument. it's the first national monument since the 1700s to horne the latino. the latino vote is heavily skewed towards the president, but the issue is enthusiasm. we know this visit today in california with this national monument is a big one for the president. as for governor romney , he took direct aim at president obama 's handling of foreign policy during his speech at the military institute in virginia. it's the tenth foreign policy speech of romney 's campaign.
>> when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destabilize the region, and with violent extremists on the march, and with an american ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al qaeda affiliates, it's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office. i know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous middle east alied with us. i share this hope. hope is not a strategy.
>> let me bring in the "news nation" political panel. chris and michael and jonathan and communications relations director for american cross roads and bobby gosch, deputy international editor for "time" magazine. jonathan , we heard governor romney 's speech and saw excerpts before the speech. the hope line is replayed so much. what is the major failure of the obama administration that republicans and romney are referring to?
>> well, i think he's talking about what just happened in this fiasco in libya . governor romney had a good week talking about the economy. they want to definele what will be talked about this week on the if foreign policy front. they'll have a hearing about what went on the in libya on the security side leading up to the attack there. that's what he wants to set the stage for. if they talk about foreign policy this week, he wants it to define the terms on which we have that debate.
>> because words matter, you started off with with saying i think that's what governor romney was talking about. an ongoing investigation into what happened in libya . obviously, aa he great concern. but you could not answer that question with certainty of what epic failure governor romney and republicans believe has happened over the past four years under this president's leadership, under secretary of state hillary clinton here. that is still unclear even after that 25-minute speech a couple of hours ago.
>> he made the case that the middle east is not more stable here. that's a failure that he wants to talk about. he made a case that terrorism is on a low ebb and we don't have to worry about al qaeda , and we just had an attack the on the u.s. consulate. the administration didn't want to call it terrorism. it took 14 days to admit it was a coordinated terror attack , and that's what he wants to talk about. why wasn't the administration straight with the american people .
>> let me bring you in on this. this was a remarkable moment with chuck todd . the romney campaign is talking about the case to be made for failures. let me ask you where hosni mubarak should be sptd or not. let me play what happened.
>> it was a mistake.
>> pushing mubarak out was the mistake?
>> let me give you the answer. first of all, for two years president obama cut support of u.s. assistance for democracy in civil society in egypt. so those who eventually went to tahrir square saw that the united states wasn't on their side. that was a mistake. there's a big difference between anticipating and leading versus not leading, reacting, cutting our traditional support for democracy. that's the record of president obama . that contributed it to the mess.
>> you say he should have pushed mubarak out and done it differently or shouldn't have done it?
>> ronald reagan once said to support the march of freedom, but we can't determine the pace. the people in the country determine the pace of the march of freedom. it's humorous to suggest we could do this.
>> can you make an assertion but no answer. that seemed to happen in that exchan exchange.
>> if anyone doubts foreign policy and who advises candidates doesn't matter, they have to watch that video. this is the stakes at hand. there's two ways to look at this, i think. on the policy side governor romney 's critiques are wrong. the president has done a remarkable job in terms of getting us out of iraq, setting us up for withdrawal out of afghanistan, killing osama bin laden , dismantling al qaeda . those are incredible accomplishments by my standard. if this was a republican president, i guarantee you republicans would crow about the incredible record. on the other side, i have no idea what the republicans are doing. if they think they will win a foreign he policy debate with the president, they're sorely mistaken.
>> the key is the great contrast. many things are starkly different with governor romney and president obama . again and again you see romney advisers pressed on what are the differences. what changes would you make? what decisions would be explicitly different than the obama administration ? i don't want to say you get crickets, but you saw the exchange with the ambassador it who hesitated to say what he would have done with hosni mubarak .
>> there's not a great deal of difference. the speech governor romney gave in morning wasn't aimed at the foreign policy establishment. it was a plit speech. as a foreign policy speech, i give him 4 on 10 and as a political speech 9 on 10. he was trying to look presidential, which means you show that you have a grasp of international affairs , and he was trying to prove that he was tougher than the incumbent, which is very hard to do because he really isn't. he plays the syria card as a way of appearing tougher than the president.
>> the differences here. you heard jonathan bring up the investigation into libya . we know that the administration seemed to stumble and stammer throughout that -- throughout the early details and romney did the same thing with his early jump to get a press release out trying to capitalize plolitically off of this. is that the great problem of a four-year administration that warrant the criticism that the obama administration is weak and failed?
>> i don't think so it is. the argument that the republicans put forward is a very, very weak one. the headline out of the speech today, the headline tomorrow is syria . that's the only place where there's a little bit of daylight -- substandard.
>> andrea mitchell made the poir point we don't know what's happening to help the rebels. governor romney would be more up front with giving them weapons and helping and assisting the rebels. we don't know what's going on.
>> there's enough reporting to suggest that isn't taking place. words do matter. if you have a presidential candidate saying up front i will arm these people, that has consequences. some of those are very dangerous consequences, and so perhaps by promising it this early without be fully apprised of all the facts, you could argue that's a danger thing to do. that's the the only place where he has real difference with the obama foreign policy .
>> jonathan , do you despite what bobby just said? the syria issue is the only thing that governor romney differs from the president foreign policy -wise? do you dispute that, and if you do, i need some facts here. just don't say you dispute it.
>> no. there is a difference in tone. there is a difference in the approach the to the middle east . you bring up hosni mubarak . it was difficult to determine what exactly american foreign policy was as those demonstrations happened in cairo.
>> does tone translate to tough talk? someone getting behind a podium and asherting with a sword in hand. what do you mean by phone? we're talking about foreign policy .
>> yeah, but tone is a form of -- it's a part and parcel of foreign policy . if the demonstrators in egypt in tahrir square thought we were not on the side of the muk rab or one side or other, it has a dramatic impact what's going on on the ground there. that's what governor romney is talking about. there is an important in the tone of leadership to the table.
>> i think chris and bob's faces say it all. let me get michael in on this one. michael , a lot of people say the daily gallup tracking poll. there's a close there. they blame the media for continues to talk about the president's gaffe and maybe "snl" for keeping the jokes alive about it. this week in los angeles the president discussed his performance slightly had in the debate, and he talked about the american people pushing him forward, the same that backed him in 2008 . let me play what he said.
>> everybody here is incredible policies, great friends, and they perform flawlessly night after night . i can't always say the same.
>> all right. that's the president last night, michael . what do you make of the daily gallup tracking poll that shows -- we're waiting for battleground polls after the debate. this is the first quick glimpse of what may have happened.
>> i'm anxious to see what went on in the buckeye state . when we had a conversation last week, last wednesday predebate, i said, tamron, how this plays in living rooms in ohio is the critical question, and we're soon to get that answer. we still don't have it. i'm not surprised and i'm sure you're not surprised by the tightening of the national surveys. we're beyond that. it's a function now of what's happen inning nine different states, and as you well know, people are already voting. it's not a function of what's going to happen in a month. it is what is happening right now, because it's game on.
>> absolutely. speaking of game on, let me play that bite again where the president refers to 2008 .
>> back in 2008 everybody always remembers the victory, but they don't always remember the bumps in the road. we made all kinds of mistakes. we goofed up. i goofed up. but the american people carried us forward.
>> is the president having a hard time getting past that debate performance?
>> to some extent. the coverage has been, you know, more brutal than maybe the debate performance to be honest.
>> that was a choice line. he decided to refer to the de debate.
>> i get it. part of it gets in candidates' heads and they can't walk away. the reality is it's over.
>> is it in his head?
>> i don't know if it's in his head. it's tough to realize that's in the past, and you have to forget about it. i think moving forward you have another debate coming up. the vp debate is going to be a critical debate. so some extent i think this election has kind of changed again. it's now very debate-focused election where the media and everyone else focuses on the remaining debates. that raises the stakes for everyone but gives the president the opportunities to go in the next debate, whether he debates governor romney and really put his feet to the fire and be really aggressive about holding his record and his contradictions to account.
>> i want to get michael and jonathan in. i want to play governor romney still reflecting on the debate. we know why that would be the case, but listen to what he said and how he put it.
>> mr. president, you're entitled as a president in your own airplane and own house but not to your own facts. i have five boys. i'm used to people saying something that's not always true but keep on repeating and ultimately hoping i'll believe it. that's not the case.
>> that's not the bite. whatever. basically he was talking about the fact that reflecting whether a big group of people at a rally about how well he did in the debate. are you worried about overconfidence at all depending on the battleground polling shows in the next 24 hours , 48 hours from now.
>> i think it's encouraging. in the george washington poll shows republican enthusiasm is higher than on the democratic side. gallup is still surveying regular voters. they make the switch in october, but when they do my guess is romney is not ahead nationwide. it's going to come down to swing sats.
>> michael , what's your take? nominally ahead? that's jonathan 's prediction.
>> nationally it wouldn't surprise me, but that's not kept pace or the swing states have not kept pace from romney 's perspective with what's going on in the national surveys. hopefully tomorrow we know about the buckeye state and where it stands. without ohio it's a very difficult path for governor romney .
>> breaking it down to the battlegrounds. thank you so much.