NewsNation | October 10, 2012
>>> president obama gives his first major interview since his debate performance that helped mitt romney close the spread in several battleground states . the president called in to the tom joiner radio show vowing, quote, more activity next time around and offering up a candid assessment of what he thinks went wrong.
>> the debate, i think, it's fair to say i was just too poli polite. because, you know, it's hard to sometimes just keep saying what you're saying. it gets repeptive.
>> another interview getting attention this hour. if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen or the sand box as ann romney is saying. in an interview of her own, she reacts to the president and supporters accusing her president of lying in last week's performance of last week's debate.
>> it is sort of like someone, you know, in the sand box that lost the game and just going to kick sand in someone's face and say you liar. it is like they lost. and so now they say, we didn't like the game.
>>> and tomorrow night's vp debate is expected to be no child's play in any sandbox. joe biden and paul ryan scheduled to arrive in kentucky tonight with ryan's team expected to do a walk-through of the venue within this hour. joining me now, michael smir connish, louise romano and steve , i've got to first start before we talk about the latest comment, president and ann romney , another change from governor romney . he was in des moines , your home state, and in an interview with "the des moines register " he said there's no legislation with regards to abortion that's familiar with that he would allow to become a part of his agenda. that is a big surprise to conservatives as i understand it because that is completely different than what he said in the primary and within a short period of time andrea salt his spokesperson came out and contradicted mitt romney saying that, in fact, he would support legislation, that mitt romney 's pro-life and would be pro-life president. what is going on in your conservative head right now?
>> well, tamron, running out of fingers and toes to count the different positions on the saktty of life mitt romney has taken in the political career, he's essentially -- might be the only politician alive in america today who has taken every conceivable position on what has been really, if you look at the american political fault line , roe versus wade is why we have the fault lines we do today. it turns the republicans in to a party to compete for catholic votes for the first time, mobilized evangelicals, went to a fund raise for democrats around the country that we still see to this very day. it is a defining issue in the mind of a lot of american voters and people in this country need and deserve to know what a potential chief expect i really thinks about when's been the defining moral debate in this country for the last 40 years.
>> let's bring in michael. i want to play what sam stein said on " morning joe " regarding the issue of politicians moving to the cent or in the case of mitt romney moderate or mo massachusetts mitt. sam stein i think takes it to the next logical line of questioning. let me play what sam said.
>> i don't get what we're supposed to choose. yes. strategic possibly but also deceiving.
>> ann romney in the interview basically said people accusing her husband of lying, playing bad sportsmanship. when does it become deceiving as opposed to being politically smart move?
>> well, let's look at the data we know about this. cnn and orc released a poll this morning saying it's a four-point race in ohio but among women a 22-point gap that president obama 's lead over governor romney is 22 points among females. he's got issues. i think this is the response and, tamron, it ties in to something you discussed yesterday which was that politico piece which said that post-conventions, there's a revolt within the romney campaign led by ann romney and eldest son tag and said you have to be more moderate and let the public evaluate you in that context. the specific answer to your question is that among the hardened base of the gop and maybe steve is the exception i think such is the desire to get rid of president obama , that they're willing to overlook this now where they wouldn't have in the primary process.
>> louise , let's bring you in on this. i want to play an excerpt of the first interview of the president, a major one, anyway, tom joiner talking about what wept wrong and too polite and here's what else he said.
>> governor romney kept on making mistakes month after month so it made it look artificially like this was -- might end up being a cake walk but we understood internally that it never would be.
>> just to paraphrase a bit, the president explaining the new strategy is go for the jugular. it's an interesting dynamic because even before, for example, this vice presidential debate in 24 hours , you have congressman ryan and ann romney asserting that if the word "lie" is used this is just an excuse by democrats here. but again, the president still mired in behind his first debate performance, louise .
>> well, let's see. how many excuses have they had so far? you know, the first excuse was, well, mitt won on style. the president did what he needed to do. the second was mitt lied. the third was the president was prepared for the different mitt. well, you know, he should have been able to pivot. he's the president. right? i don't really know, you know, what really happened but i just know that the debate is like the gift that just keeps giving and it's not served -- it's just not served the president very well. you know, let me go to ann romney really quickly.
>> i'm not sure ann romney is being used in the best possible way. i mean, she is on the front lines fighting these fights for the campaign, fighting the fight for mitt. kind of lashing out. and she's, you know, her ratings are good but she'll end up altering that if she gets out there. i mean, she gets a little testy sometimes, snaps at reporters in interviews and not sure she should be getting that defensive. that's for other people to do. she should be above the fray.
>> i would love to interrue her, but with all due respect, she might say i know what i'm doing because after the alleged rebellion with tag and politico.com reported on her husband has at least seen some improvement in the numbers so while, you know, we read the articles, we are journalists and pundits or whatever the case may be, she perhaps believes she knows better for her husband and why she's chosen to be the attack dog and i don't like using that word in reference to any woman but she is going out attacking.
>> clearly she feels that way. i learned the other day that she was the first wife of a presidential candidate to ever appear on "meet the press" which i was fascinated with. i don't know how that came about. if she insisted on it or she did or the campaign did. but i think that's really interesting that they feel that she's that effective whereas with michele obama , you know, she is doing stuff mostly off the radar. she's exciting the base. she's going out there but, you know, she is not giving any interviews compared to ann romney .
>> i was going to play the bill clinton sound but, in fact, lois the first lady has given an interview and she did with i-village regarding the debate and the quote off night. you have not heard this. let me play the new sound of michele obama . i'm going to read it. it say there is's sort of a scrum and the punditry an enthe analysis and then there's the passion that we see every single day and basically went to say her husband is out there fighting. acknowledging the quote/unquote off night and he is in the fight. not the same tone if you will as ann romney but commenting on the debate and what we are all watching loi out.
>> right. i shouldn't have said she's not giving interviews but not as many as ann and ann romney and certainly not taking -- i don't think she's taking the fight to romney whereas, you know, ann romney is taking the fight to obama but they obviously feel like that's very effective and they said repeatedly that she helps the candidate. ann romney helps him and when she is with him. maybe that's the calculus.
>> right. i want to play sound of bill clinton last night going in on mitt romney . let me get your response to it. let's play it.
>> the problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe conservative mitt. that was how he described himself for two whole years. until three or four days before the debate they said, hey man, this ship is sinking faster than the "titanic." just show up with a sunny face and say, i didn't say all that stuff i said the last two years. you want to believe me or your lying eyes here. come on. what are you doing?
>> so the question was, you got to believe me or you're lying eyes . which is it, steve ? is it believing mitt romney or are their lying eyes peering at you as a conservative?
>> i would say a couple of things. looking at president clinton 's second term, from balanced budgets to a defensive marriage act , balanced welfare, probably among the most conservative presidents since calvin coolidge coolidge. i want defer to him and certainly given the fact he was impeached i would defer to president clinton on who's being dishonest or not. he's clearly more of a subject.
>> i got the backhanded compliment. you sucker punch the guy but that's not my question. the question is, the essence of what he's saying today, not 12 years ago, not before the game , the game today, as he has described bill clinton describing mitt romney yesterday, what is your take on the man i'm assuming romney you the conservative will vote for and i say assume because i don't know where you go on this. you have stated that you despise mitt romney even though you're a conservative.
>> well, i would -- you know, i want to go back to something my peer on the panel here, politico, they have an article quoting the pro-life leaders quoting romney saying he's given promises to do things on the issue. if that's true and what they're saying to politico is true, i hate to say this but the democratic attacks on romney for being dishonest is also true. one can't be true and one false. if romney gave the promises and now not going to do it, i hate to say it, but the democrat attacks on romney on this particular issue and on his voracity is true.
>> is that the strategy for vice president biden tomorrow and next week with president obama and governor romney ? is that the strategy? you have steve agreeing essentially again with bill clinton and took the swipe at him prior to that.
>> i think it's a maistake if it is the strategy. i thought president clinton 's strong suit at the democratic national convention is defending the obama record, not so much going after mitt romney . the attack i heard of president clinton , frankly, was infective in primary season and i think it's ineffective now. it might be fact based but i don't think it's the most effective pitch. bill clinton talking about arithmetic and the mechanics of obama 's watch, that's him bringing the a-game.
>> do you agree, lois? you can look at facebook and twitter and take it to a point but the visceral reaction of voters of the debate and the next two with the president, seems, yes, they want facts and figures but a little of that bill clinton twang or smackdown to come along with it.
>> well, they want him to defend himself. i mean, he went mute. but i do agree to a certain point that people want to see the ball moving forward. you know? they don't want to particularly hear all the attacks, particularly turns off the independents and swing voters . they want to know how we're going to move forward and why i think mitt romney was particularly effective saying i'm going to do this, this, this and this. there weren't a lot of things he said he would do and said it forcefully. he said -- seemed like he was in control whereas president obama just didn't seem, you know, that he was responding -- i mean he doesn't offensive or defensive. i'll put it that way.
>> thank you very much. i greatly appreciate you coming on. a lot of moving parts and breaking news. i appreciate