NOW with Alex Wagner | May 22, 2012
>>> i stand firmly with the president. i've been standing for barack obama before most people were standing with barack obama . barack obama team in the white house and their political team have been good to me for many years. i've going to continue every single day to pour my heart and soul making sure he gets re-elected. in anything they turn me on to work harder i'm sore so sorry*
>> how many ways can you say i'm sorry? that was mayor corey booker trying to get out of the dog house and back into the good graces of the white house . joining the panel now, jen psaki, former white house deputy communications director for president obama .
>> thank you.
>> it's been a week of surrogate gaffes or a month, i don't know, but in fairness, we've talked about president -- vice president joe biden and of course mayor corey booker. but there have been gaffes on the right. as someone who is an expert in these things, which -- which speaking out of turn was worse, which gaffe was worse, eric fehrnstrom's etch a sketch or corey booker saying one of the president's main planks of criticism nauseated him.
>> the etch a sketch was hitting the nail on the head of something we already knew or thought and that was why it was problematic for them and still continues to be. mayor booker as we just saw has backtracked from his comments. he is a big support of the president. i think there's no question if he could take back the comparison he made between reverend wright and you know the comment his made comparing, ooh think he would.
>> i think he did try.
>> he did.
>> he's trying to do that several times.
>> i think that's true. the tree judge is not what the surrogate says or what the gaffes are, we'll see many more between now and november, it's now campaigns respond.
>> and i've got to ask you, i mean, could there have been room for him to just disagree with the white house ?
>> absolutely. there's a big umbrella in the democratic party , as we all know, and i think that's one of the reaps why the president, why many senators members of congress, senators are in the party. at the same time, the president is at the top of the ticket, running for re-election and made clear yesterday he disagreed with comments made and he's going to move forward on this strategy. and at the the same time, requestic andly, mayor booker made clear he's a support of the president. he said on his twitter account -- he's an avid tweeter -- that he believes that the bain experience was not about job creation , which is exactly the point the president is making.
>> okay. all right. carol, you're a white house insider. i'm going to call you a white house insider. you're a great reporter. you've seen how -- is risk adverse being too unfair? after the hilary rosen comments, after the corey booker stuff, i'll give them a pass on joe biden , but there's been an immediate sort of disavowel, let's put daylight between us and you. or let's get you to retract your comments in a home made youtube video .
>> now when these things happen the fallout is republicans tuesday very did come around quickly and use it against the president, saying there are divisions within the party and that drives the campaign and the white house crazy. there's a very concerted effort to keep everybody on the same page and push back very quickly or distance themselves as you mentioned to keep that from happening.
>> also in the season of the super pacs where eric, as we discuss, anybody with a million bucks becomes a surrogate. talking about foster friess and he had his comments about you know bayer aspirin , keeping it between your knees, incentive remarks about contraception and bill mahr on twitter yesterday who said, why litten to mitt romney on foreign poll circumstance his entire foreign policy experience is trying to brow beat frenchmen into his cult. money creates surrogates and surrogates in some cases create problems.
>> it's interesting that obama finds himself into this new position. when he ran for office, no drama obama , a master at making sure everybody was on message and nobody went off script. he can't 'do ta anymore, you've got governors and mayors and congress people and comedians and who you don't control directly even if they're kind of in -- on your team or in your camp. so he's got a position where he can't kind of rub the campaign, that he did in 2008 with the same sort of top-down kind of ruthlessness.
>> do you think that's true, jen?
>> i disagree on the point, 2008 , the nominee, he was the leader of the party, and there were people who were coming out and disagreeing with points he made, people from his campaign made at time as well. the key is moving in the same general direction. mayor booker is moving in the same direction the president is. he was making the same point --
>> in terms of broader policy, i don't think anybody's confusing him.
>> also questioning whether mitt romney 's experience at bain was about job creation or was it about making money for his investors and mayor booker made the same point the president's been making. they are moving in the same direction. there may be a little off-roading from time to time, but that's okay. and i think this is also an interesting example of last few days because this has allowed the campaign to come back and talk about bain again and talk about why mitt romney 's experience at bain is not a qualification for him to lead.
>> if we are talking about on message, offmessage, the debate from bain to whether bain is fair, which is a different discussion and opens up the door to more criticism for team obama and the strategy they're using.
>> i don't think it's right to say book somewhere the president are moving in exactly the same direction. he did have a fundamental questioning of the approach that the campaign is taking, not necessarily that the president's taking, but just saying these texts are nauseating to him. that is a word that didn't pop into his head when sitting in the chair at "meet the press" he was taking the campaign to task and making the argument that republicans have been making and making it for them and making it in a package. he's frequently compared to president obama . he could be the next president obama . he's a rising star in the party. to come from somebody like him who is very much within the obama circle and making the republican arguments for them, that yes this is so damaging. i'm sure they moving in the same direction now, no question about. his moment on sunday seemed very real and i don't want to say sincere but seemed very emotionally real. those were not fake emotions that he was putting up there. i think that's why it was so damaging, this is somebody who somebody like to see as somebody who go could go the same place as obama . but you know it's like john boehner 's wheel barrel of frogs. everybody hopping on and off. campaigns are messy. the campaign did a good job shutting it down and moving on.
>> the example he used -- it was like he was making the point we should elevate our politics, which i don't think most people don't disagree with, and he was using two examples and he used the example of reverend wright which i think many people, and mitt romney said he disagrees with using that out there and used the example of paibain. it wasn't like he was saying this is wrong on beige. there's an importance in the details.
>> this goes back to the careful line one must tread. the fairness question in bain it does complicate the message. we won't be looking at "meet the press" to see how the national dialogue changes yet again. jen psaki great