NOW with Alex Wagner | July 02, 2012
>>> that's barack obama . he also attacked hillary clinton with vicious lies.
>> he continues to spend millions of dollars, perpetuating falsehoods.
>> mitt romney has a plan to get america working. barack obama , worst job record since the depression.
>> so shame on you, barack obama .
>> i'm mitt romney and i approved this message.
>> that was a new tv ad from the romney campaign calling president obama 's attacks on his bain record untrue. but this weekend, the "new york times" reported the bain attacks are working. quote, propelled by a torrent of blistering television advertisements, president obama is successfully invoking mitt romney 's career at bain capital . polls are illustrating the impact of the attacks as well. in the latest nbc news/" wall street journal " poll, 33% of respondents in swing states said learning more about romney 's business record gave them a more negative view of him. we were talking about this earlier in the show. how romney has managed the bain thing. there was a moment during what i'll call surrogate-gate when people, including people, surrogates and bill clinton seemed to be off message as far as what the president was saying about mitt romney and his career at bain being fair game for criticism. it sounds like they're going forward with this and it's working among voters in swing states , white working class blue collar voters that the president desperately needs to get on his side.
>> yeah, look, ads work and negative ads work really well. they can bring the candidate down who is putting the ads on air but the other factor in many of those swing states is the economy's getting better. romney 's economic message also isn't really tracking with how people are feeling. so on one hand he's saying the economy's terrible, i can make it better. but the economy's getting better and you're maybe not going to make it better for us as well. the situation's much muddier than it was at the start when romney set out his campaign and that's not unusual. these are long campaigns. remember when obama started out in 2007 it was all about iraq. by the time he got to the general election it was a very different state of affairs . negative ads will be turned on obama himself and he is going to see some decline in his numbers because there's plenty to go out there but the negative numbers , the negative framework, much more damaging for a candidate you don't know than for a candidate you do know. that's the problem. he's a blank page and someone else is filling it.
>> does romney need to shake up his infrastructure? i will call your attention to two tweets from rupert murdoch , because why not. yesterday, at 7:32 a.m ., he tweets early, mitt romney lasthicago pro s will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires new pros. doubtful. today at 8:52 a.m ., romney people upset at me. of course i want him to win, save us from socialism, et cetera , but should listen to good advice and get stuck -- actually, retweeted that second one, the et cetera part. we're at the thousand words .
>> so rupert murdoch . save us from socialism, et cetera . that kind of boils down to where there's this fissure between what the koch brothers and the rupert murdochs of the world are bankrolling so much of the opposition to obama . what they feel and what is their hot button issues versus where is the economy, where are the jobs, those are the real questions. i don't think this election is going to be won or lost on rupert murdoch 's fear of socialism, et cetera .
>> but to his point, sam, we know the romney campaign is a very insular, very tight-knit group. we saw what eric fernstrom said earlier this day. he was author of the etch-a-sketch comment. what is the likelihood there is recalibration?
>> depends how these next months go, obviously. we in the media tend to put too much into who the advisors are and we don't really -- more so than what the conditions of the economy are, what the conditions of some of the policy debates are. the advisors can bring you so far. a good ad can be made by many advisors and certainly, better ad can be made by a better advisor. i'm struck --
>> thank you for that pearl of wisdom.
>> you can quote that, everyone. maybe i should just stop there. that was pretty good. what i'm struck by is the choice to go after obama as someone who never lived up to his post-partisan credentials because i feel at this juncture, we all know that. he's been president for three years now. he's been mired in these terrible debates with congressional republicans. he's clearly not the post-partisan president who will bring in this era of civility so i'm not sure why of all the themes to start with, that's the one they did, especially when it's about bain right now for the obama campaign .
>> they should be talking about his business credentials.
>> i do want to talk about problems potentially on the horizon for team obama . the "new york times" reporting this weekend about problems he may have with the generation of voters who are coming of age to vote now. they write a new core of men and women have come of voting age with views shaped largely by the recession and unlike their counterparts in the millenial generation who showed high levels of enthusiasm for mr. obama at this point in 2008 the nation's first time voters are less enthusiastic about him, are significantly more likely to identify as conservative and cite a growing lack of faith in government in general.
>> that's right. so if you look at the unemployment numbers for these sort of 18 to 29 and then subsets of that, really quite high and kids who are college age or right out of college are having a hard time getting a job and that's making them disillusioned about their prospects and perhaps less focused or interested or optimistic about what difference it makes who they vote for. on top of that, there's the intangible which is the first time is different than the second time. it was cool in 2008 , maybe, and now it's just a different dynamic.
>> it's a different campaign.
>> he didn't need to win the national youth vote. he needs to win the youth vote in ohio, in virginia and certain other states. there's a very real probability shaping up he will lose potentially the national vote and win the presidency because of the electoral college . that has a lot to do with what they are doing with their swing state strategy. bill burton is advertising in very key states, in states where stuff like outsourcing and closing factories are toxic things to have attached to your resume. so that's why they're doing it.
>> that's why those seem to be working in those states. that's also why, talking about microtargeting. targeting the hispanic community is pretty macro, but that, you know, obama has outspent romney 20 to one in spanish language ads. you know, romney came out and made some comments about immigration, saying that he would -- those who serve in the military and have advanced degrees will qualify for a kind of permanence but as yet has not outlined --
>> they call this a misstatement, the advanced degree. the advanced degree they retracted.
>> that's just too much ground for him and his party to make up in the next few months when it comes to immigration and latinos in general. this is a guy who ran to the right of newt gingrich on immigration to establish himself in the primaries. he cannot undo that in the next few months, especially against a president who is outflanked them when it comes to actually immigration policy as it happens right now. so you can put out ads, he may be able to make a little bit of ground but he's never going to make george w. bush 's numbers among latinos . it's really doubtful whether he'll make john mccain 's numbers among latinos and that's the really hard deficit for him to make up. same with young voters. it's not whether they show up or not. it's the margin of victory for obama . at the moment, it looks like it will be a blowout with young people and with latinos . i don't know what's going to change that.
>> i'm just surprised how anemic the effort has been on the side of the romney campaign understanding how much ground they have to make up. but of course, there are months left until november. maybe there will be something huge we just don't know about.