NOW with Alex Wagner | November 03, 2012
>>> with all the issues facing the country, governor romney has focused on for the last three months, he is going to get rid of planned parenthood . by the way, he doesn't even know he doesn't control planned parenthood . he should talk to big bird . he is gone.
>> that was vice president joe biden earlier today taking aim at governor romney 's vow to eliminate funding for planned parenthood . this year single ladies could play the deciding role, with 55 million of them eligible to vote. according to a recent pugh poll, president obama is whomping, i believe that's a technical term , mitt romney by 25 points among that group. in many respects, the election has become a choice between the past versus the future, a choice between a bygone era and a brave new world . joy reed explores this dynamic, writing it takes for granted that billy might have two moms or two dads, or that the ceo might be a she. it could care less if guys serve in the military. it can't imagine abortion or conservatives being illegal. i thinks madmen is a good tv show , but so is the walking dead . cecil richards is the president of planned parenthood . and today she is joining us behalf of the obama campaign . part of my favorite thing is how much i get to see you. thanks for joining the program, as always.
>> thanks for having me back.
>> cecil, the numbers on women voting in this election, and the number of women who are single, i quoted that, 25% is a shocking margin. i wonder what you make of that. and then let's talk about this gender gap clothing, the myth making in the romney campaign, which "the huffington post " says really was at the end of the day just a little bit of residual bump from the first debate performance.
>> yeah. the gender gap isn't closing. if anything, i'm out here in ohio today. and what we're seeing, i think this election is coming down to who do you trust. and women know they simply can't trust mitt romney . i mean he is obviously willing to say anything to get elected. and every woman has met a guy who will tell you one thing and do another. and that really is i think why we're seeing this -- particularly with young women , they're saying president obama has been there for them. he has been on health care issues, on equal pay issues, and he is a guy you can trust with your future.
>> cecil, i wonder what you make of him. we talk a lot about mitt romney 's late stage pitch to the middle. a political scientist at ohio state says as far as mitt romney and his strategy to be a more sort of lovable candidate, at this point in the campaign, we're switching from who we're going to line up with -- who we're going to line up with you to get at your supporters to turn out. romney didn't start running that compassionate strategy until it was probably too late. too many people have probably already made up their minds. could he ever have embarked on a compassionate strategy? is there run in the republican party for someone who doesn't want to defund planned parenthood or does believe in a woman's right to choose?
>> that's just not who mitt romney is. he has pledged repeatedly he would be delighted to sign a bill overturning roe. he wants to get rid of planned parenthood . just hope to goodness that women don't know his position. this is where we're seeing the enthusiasm is on the president's side. frankly, i'm in columbus, ohio . and i've been to phone banks. i've been to canvas operations. and there are women everywhere coming out of the woodwork who are volunteering for president, and who are turning out to vote.
>> heather, i want to bring you in here. you know, part of the problem that romney has had, he has not tried the say too, too much on anything related to women . but then he appears in ads with people like richard mourdock , and the republican party is filled with these whackos that say the things they do and can't help themselves. bill clinton had plenty to say about richard mourdock yesterday. let's take a listen to what he had to say.
>> the nominee who defeated him said he wanted to go to washington to bring more partisanship, that his idea of a happy day was enforcing his opinion on someone else . i don't want and governor romney endorsed the guy. we cannot afford to put the white house and the congress in the hands of people who say it is my way or the highway.
>> now he -- clinton is of course focusing on mourdock's partisanship. but calling attention to the relationship that the two men have. and romney has not disavowed richard mourdock or walked back his endorsement in any way.
>> i think it's very clear. people say oh, he was misconstrued, mourdock was. but he is reflecting what was an incredibly extreme policy position that is in the republican party platform, which is saying that there should be no abortion even in the cases of rape or incest. and that's something honestly as a young woman , i never thought we would be having that conversation actually at this point in time. so of course. i think mitt romney has to walk this line of sort of recalling his former massachusetts moderate ways, playing the way he did during the primary, which was incredibly right-wing on these issues, and then saying that, you know, i'd be happy to sign a bill outlawing roe v. wade , but then he also said around the first debate when we saw the new etch a sketch romney , he said he didn't know of any bill that he would want to pass to limit abortion. it was really quite shocking. and with no information there, you have to go with where the heart of the party is.
>> because that's actually where laws are generated is in congress. and that's a very scary place for women .
>> cecil, you've been at the helm of this stuff for a while. why in your opinion is the heart of the republican party where it is right now as far as women 's reproductive issues? how did they get to this point? we know in the late '70s and early '80s they began to court social conservatives . it feels like we are literally having arguments that were settled on 50 years ago.
>> oh, absolutely. that's what women are saying to me out here in ohio . they can't believe we're fighting about whether women should get access to birth control . but that's actually what is happening. mitt romney has taken a position he wants to allow employers to refuse to allow birth control in insurance plans. alex i don't think that is the heart of the republican party . i think that mitt romney and the folks that are running, some of the folks that he is supporting, todd akin , richard mourdock , these interest most extreme part of the republican party . because the bedrock of the republican party was historically small government and keep government out of your personal lives. that's why i think they are on completely the wrong tangent, and that's why republican women , many are going to cross over this november.
>> i do think you're right there. i think this is an issue that women cross the aisle on. thank you as always to planned parenthood , cecile richards .
>> good to see you, alex. thanks.