NOW with Alex Wagner | September 20, 2012
>>> new polls today show president obama is opening up lead in key battleground states . the president up in the big three, leading by seven points in ohio and virginia, by five points in florida. marquette poll from wisconsin illustrates how bad the past month has been for mitt romney . a three-point margin expanded to 14 point. more important than the raw number is is a big breakthrough. gaps are outside the plarjen of error but romney isn't seeing support slip on the ground among voters. suzanna martinez, once rumoreds a romney running mate, we have a lot of people at poverty level in new mexico and count as much as anybody else. deane hellor went further, i don't view the world the same way mitt romney does. as a u.s. senator my job is to represent every one of those votes when they voted for me or against me. at theweekly stakeout yesterday, they refused to take questions about romney . this morning, house speaker john boehner repeatedly dodged questions about the famous 47%.
>> do you agree with mitt romney 's remarks that 47% of the country see themselves as victims or dependent on the government and it's not his job to worry about the election.
>> the election is about jobs.
>> do you agree with that?
>> the election is about jobs. it's not about anything else.
>> it's not about anything else? it's about jobs. of course, i think one of the problems here for john boehner , folks, that is the jobs discussion and the tax discussion and what we do with the tax money, as we were talking about previously are all interrelated. john boehner and the house republicans have a lot of excitement and energy around being courageous politicians, changing the tone in washington, being straight shooters. john boehner couldn't truthfully answer the question. he didn't try to. he seems to think that talking point is enough.
>> it went out of style when paul ryan became a running mate. he may not have read the latest memo, it's now a choice election. it's about much more than that. it's talk abouting jobs, to talk about so much more than the unemployment rate.
>> right. what is the government going to do about jobs? that would involve something, some government action either way , right?
>> it would. if we're talking out -- you can't talk about outside political context. when boehner talks about jobs -- i cut him slack here. if he made any comment about that one way or the other he was making his life more difficult, and more important, remember, he is responsible for keeping the republican majority in the house. he knew anything he would say would just give -- would create potential problems for members and contested arguments.
>> politically that was fine? he did what he had to do.
>> he did what he had to do. there's bigger fish to fry than whether or not you get john boehner to comment on this. on the substance of your question what he does have to answer to, what is congress doing now to create jobs soon? that is a question that cannot be answered because they're not doing anything soon to have any impact on the jobs.
>> that goes to details. ploit politico has a story about the more mitt strategy, more mitt and more details. the article reports that mitt romney and his campaign are settling on a rescue plan to show more of him in ad speeches and campaign appearance. the romney plan described by aides in interviews this week is, this is what the article argues, is an acknowledgement that romney is in enough of a hole that he cannot depend on the presidential debates to turn his candidacy around.
>> ouch. ouch.
>> richard --
>> broken the glass on the red button , haven't they?
>> richard , with the ouch reply. you've traveled with candidates and presidents. you've said this before, the presidential debates are a big turning point. anybody who says obama has this in the bag doesn't understand majority of undecided voters will have the first interaction with the campaign in early october. is it true, though, that even that might not be enough for romney at this point?
>> it depends how well he performs that high wire act to pull off. it is true that debates can move the polls very significantly. so there is nothing fixed right now. this game is nowhere near close to the buzzer. a couple of things. politico strategy says more mitt but it says he's campaigning more with paul ryan , that's less mitt and more paul ryan .
>> yeah. true.
>> secondly, you know, if your candidate or something out of the candidate has become a litmus test for every electeded republican, do you agree with this guy or not? if you agree with him, you're here, unelectable because comments are out of the mainstream. who knew there were that many socialists in the republican part that would want to stand with these people? it will take time to undo. when john kerry couldn't answer the question whether he would vote for the war, knowing what you know today, would you vote for the war in iraq , that became the question for every democrat, it's a disaster russ way to run up to the final stages of any election.
>> and i agree with richard about the debates. i think that the, you know, romney 's one knock-out punch in the debates from being back in the race. when did we see him have a knock-out punch? there's a bigger issue that the comments of the senators and governors allude to, nate silver has a column about the what he projects is the odds of the democrats holding on to control of the senate. he projected that, in august, at 39%, it's now over 70%. incredible shift in a very short time. a lot of that has to do with local circumstances and local races and candidates. it's certainly not helped by the lack of a strong, clear candidate at the top of the party.
>> this point that you're both making about why has romney become an albatross on the party before he's even gotten to the debates, before the country's been introduced to him the country's paid attention. look at favorabilty, mitt romney has a problem that no major party nominee has had. look here at circle, this is the problem. the red, negative, shows a negative net favorability for mitt romney , which is worse than every nominee in both parties going back since pew's been taking numbers since 1988 . isn't that the bigger picture here? you have a guy that, at the basic level, has not won over the public to view him favorably even as a loser. john mccain , on his way to losing the election, was still viewed with respect by a loet t of voters. mitt romney doesn't have that, does he?
>> no. and that was something that the campaign knew was always an issue, that obama had way, way higher scores on likability, even if you didn't like his policies. this was always a strength. how 0 you repair? it's not a policy matter. how do you make somebody more likable? they tried at the convention. use mrs. romney more, bring the sons on more. maybe this is what campaigns are supposed to do. figure these things out. i've seen mitt romney in person. he has a lot of personality, personable traits. he's not all unfavorable if you see him. even if you don't like this policies, that's the job of a campaign is to make that come out.
>> for the final thought here, they're not in a bin whed where they need the country to fall in love. they need a few more vote to fall in like.
>> they haven't been able to do that.
>> he has to be on the trail more. he hasn't been on the trail very much. so this whole sort of more mitt plan is a little bit cw.
>> what does ta mean?
>> conventional wisdom. he's had a light campaign schedule on the trail for a guy trying to unseat a sitting president. he's going to bring more mitt but the question that we're discussing is, do the voters want more mitt?
>> in "the new york times" today, you a double byline story, why romney 's off the trail, partly to fundraise. we'll talk about the money flood.