NOW with Alex Wagner | May 01, 2012
>>> mitt romney is accusing president obama of taking from the poor. president obama is questioning mitt romney 's investments with the swiss. and occupy wall street and rupert murdoch are trying to make the same point, namely, they still got it. it's tuesday, may 1st , and this is "now." joining me today, msnbc contributor, jonathan capehart of "the washington post " and msnbc contributor steve kornacki of salon.com. full on laughs for that one. msnbc contributor and queen bee of thegrio.com, joy-ann reid and, the new yorker's ryan liza, one of the best in the business. so are you, jonathan . tired of the perception of her husband as a stiff ceo, ann romney tried to draw out mitt's relaxed side. it's proved elusive.
>> i love the opportunity of letting people see a side of mitt that often people have mischaracterized.
>> what side is that?
>> that as stiff. he's not. he's funny. there's a wild and crazy man inside of there.
>> he kept -- the look on your face, jonathan , it's the -- he's not stiff. ha, ha, ha, ha. he's a while man, ha, ha, ha ha . let's talk about that a little bit.
>> i understand that -- and i've seen it with my own eyes -- a poll significance on television and public sitting is is stiff, wooden, uninteresting, un uncharismatic, the minute behind doors, the true person comes out. why can't you translate that from here to there? mitt romney , all i've ever seen is what i see on tv what i see on tv uninspiring, un uncharismatic? do i think he has it went him to be a wild and crazy guy, sure? i want to see a flicker, something that says he can be that person.
>> it's not just that he's wooden. it's in combination with the policy that he's wrapped his arms around and this perception that he doesn't have sort of the humanity bone that makes one care about the struggles of the poor and the working class , and i want to draw everybody's attention to what mitt romney said yesterday at a fund-raiser at a -- the papa john founder's house. what a home this is, he said. what grounds these are. the pool, the golf course . you know, if a democrat were here, he'd look around and say, no one should live like this. republicans come here and say, everyone should live like this. this is a real tribute to america, to entrepreneurship.
>> what democrat is saying that? we saw the president having fund-raisers at spike lee 's house, george clooney raising money for the president. there are plenty of wealthy democrats. i never heard a democrat say how dare you live in this beautiful home. never happened.
>> the funny thing, when you look at the sort of the poll number on this, obama 's support disproportionately comes from the people who live in those houses, the top %. obama 's doing very well among the superaffluent. romney, the republicans are doing better among the working class voters who, according to romney, you know, resentments are being stoked by but more favorable than the republicans.
>> one thing, i followed him on the campaign trail. mitt romney is an awkward man up close, just as he is on tv. he is wooden, and that's okay, can i rise to defend awkwardness and woodenness in politics?
>> go right ahead.
>> we had this debate in 2008 everyone wanted to know who's the better porn person to have a beer with, mccain or obama .
>> that's what politics is, right? it's marketing. and we're selling a television personality .
>> it is.
>> a product.
>> i think it's important for them to relate to people. every once in a while i feel it's necessary to point out it's not important for how they're togoing to run the country.
>> that's fair whether or not we should be having a drink or beer with the president. to point that mitt romney stokes this idea that he is out of touch by embracing policies that are not in touch with what i think a lot of americans leave or the pane americans are feeling.
>> that's a fair point.
>> the comment about democrats not -- they look at a house like this, they think, no one should live like this, well, this -- we've talked about class warfare . if that's not class warfare rhetoric, democrats don't want you to be successful, listen to the sound bite of president obama from a few weeks ago talking about people being successful in the country.
>> i want folks to get rich in the country. i think it 's wonderful when people asuccessful. that's in part of the american dream .
>> how many times does he need to say that, steve kornacki?
>> we've been having this argument for decades. you cannot underestimate the challenge that obama faces here. he can not be caught making a robin hood argument where the morally right thing to do is to take kir of the middle claes, maybe ask the rich to pay more. you need to make an argument this is fundamentally linked to the concept of the american dream , fundamentally linked to idea of american recovery. if you give them jobs, disposable income , there's all of this money, more people become millionaires. but that argument is tougher to get brought acceptance for than you might think.
>> if you look at history, right? democrats are the ones who presided over programs in 20th century that created the middle class , right? stronger unions, stronger middle class . it's what the republicans are trying to remove and meanwhile you have paul ryan who is fighting to tax the poor more in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich. how does that make more people rich?
>> isn't that --
>> i have to point this out, there haven't been a lot of discussion, this is what mitt romney said yesterday, regarding president obama wanting to take from the poor. let's listen to that.
>> we're seeing a greater and greater gap between those that have the most and those that have the least. the president's focused on taking away from those that are the least. i want to help everybody, particularly those left behind , i want to help the poor, the middle class , get the kinds of jobs that raise their income. let's focus on helping the people who need the help the most.
>> yes. your facial expression is absolutely right. the president is focused on taking away from those who have the least.
>> i fell through the looking glass , i did. i can't believe what i just heard. didn't we just go through the entire republican primary process listening to them say how the president was trying to steal from the rich to give to the poor. suddenly, here's mitt romney , flipping the flop saying that the president's trying to do the exact opposite. i'm beginning to wonder, does he realize he's the presumptive republican nominee, he's -- there's still contests out there but he's got the nomination locked up and could he please tact more -- i don't know -- convincingly to the middle.
>> or be consistent on any single point.
>> this is what drives conservatives nuts. he will use any tool at hand. if there's an argument to be made to make a point, he will -- he will make it, he will read those lines. ideologically, he sort of delving into what conservatives would consider liberal territory with --
>> he's awkward he's not being his authentic self.
>> that's the connection.
>> the term used here is the rubb rubber glue strategy, i'm rubber, you're glue. obama has the secret second term agenda. he's been as vegas anyone running for president. he's taking his weaknesses and projecting them on to obama .
>> the president's message of fairness and addressing the income gap is working because mitt romney 's saying i want to help the poor i want to help the working class and went on to say, yesterday that he meets with three, four families a day to talk about the economy when asked sort of how he is helping the poor or how he has his ear to the ground vis-a-vis the concerns of the poor. has anyone seen mitt romney meeting with families three, four times a day.
>> does he eat the food they serve him? he's persnickety.
>> democrats are winning an argument here. mitt romney will not talk about slashing government unless it's in the privacy of a fund-raiser's home and now he's talking about the growing income inequality in this country. score one for liberals and for occupy wall street that they've got the republican candidate talking about these things.
>> score one for the white house , because they get to sit around laughing and when they hear mitt romney say the president is focused on taking away those from the least as he wraps his arm around a paul ryan budget that does precisely that.