The Daily Rundown | April 23, 2012
>>> 23rd, 2012 . this is "the daily rundown." i'm chuck todd . to my first reads of the morning. a live picture of south park township , pennsylvania , where mitt romney is about to kick off a primary eve event with former governor tom ridge . pennsylvania votes tomorrow. welcome to week three, though, of the general election in team obama 's campaign to try to define romney . the campaign is struggling with a messaging dilemma. is romney more he canively a flip-flopper weather vein or severely conservative endorser of paul ryan 's budget, the tax policies in the most extreme version of republican rhetoric on women's issues. in the person of obama campaign se senior adviser david axelrod , the campaign seemed to settle, at least temporarily, on the idea that romney is a, quote, extremist.
>> the only ideas are recycled from the last decade. there was a spokesperson at the republican national committee who said this week that this is just the bush policies updated. now she may not be elected employee of the month over there but she should get credit for candor because that's exactly what they're proposing.
>> now white house senior adviser david plouffe said whether it's tax policy , approach to immigration, abortion, gay rights , he's the most conservative going back to goldwater. if were you going to pin a tail on the donkey, let's make it the conservative tail.
>> there are a lot of good republicans who know better and have been in the tlaul of this reign of terror on capitol hill , who are going to turn to those strident voices. we are going to do it your way. it didn't work for us.
>> now romney 's campaign is responding that the so-called attack from the left saying, quote, while each new day brings a different madeup attack from the obama campaign , what doesn't change is the fact that president obama has failed. now last night campaigning in pennsylvania ahead of tomorrow's primary, romney was selling a strikingly negative message.
>> he has to understand that homeowners are under water in their homes. he has to understand that incomes have gone down. he has to understand that people aren't happy with obama care. he tries to divide the american people . that's what we're in for. you're going to see one person after the other castigated. this is a president who is dividing america.
>> today romney is holding another sweepstakes audition of sorts campaigning with marco rubopen not in florida but in pennsylvania . this is where rubio found a new way now not to answer the running mate question.
>> do you still stand by i wouldn't accept it if he offered it?
>> i'm not even going to discuss the process anymore. i'm going to be respectful of the process he put in place. now there's a real process in place and i want to be respectful of the process he's working on. i think it would be wise to respect that process. he has a process. we should respect that process.
>> so apparently the romney campaign has a process. anyway, we'll talk veep-stakes later. swing voters , independents and women, the campaign also has to worry about the base and this week the focus is on young voters. the president traveled to the university of north carolina , the university of colorado on tuesday, and to the university of iowa on wednesday, the official purpose of the trip student loans . the white house says interest rates on federal student loans will double to 6.8% unless, as they say, lawmakers stand up for college students against the romney /ryan budget. carney insisted these swing state stops are all about policy and not politics.
>> can you explain the criteria of why the universities --
>> i would point you to --
>> colorado and iowa, not the university of texas . university of california .
>> great parts of the country. i would point out as i did yesterday that the president has recently -- was recently delivering remarks in oklahoma. and while hope springs eternal , i am not prepared at this moment to call that a battleground state .
>> but the real itty is this, our new nbc news/" wall street journal " poll shows though obama is leading romney 60% to 34%, these folks aren't as interested in the election as they were four years ago. in april of 2008 , 63% of folks 18-34 express high interest in the election. now it's just 45%. with the largest drop-off of any of the voting groups that we were examining from april 2008 to april 2012 . by the way, one more thing on the youth vote . the president does jimmy fallon tomorrow. he takes that in north carolina . first appearance by vice president there. finally, six members of the secret service have lost their jobs in the wake of the colombia scandal. members of congress being briefed on the investigation say expect that number actually to rise. at least four congressional committees are receiving daily briefings from the secret service , homeland security secretary janet napolitano is expected to face questions at a senate judiciary committee hearing on the oversight of the department of homeland security which oversees the secret service . so are the scandals taking a toll on the president? are all inkcumbents in washington ? they are expressing confidence in secret service director mark sullivan .
>> the president's can haonfidence in director sullivan and the agency --
>> i do have confidence in mark sullivan .
>> do you agree director sullivan should keep his job?
>> i certainly do right now. based on everything i've seen so far, i have full confidence in him, yes.
>> one thing you need to know about mark sullivan , this guy is very, very savvy internally when it comes to politics. the guy briefs anybody who has been asked. he has so much support right now across both sides of the aisle. still the episode coupled with the gsa scandal is leaving a cloud over washington and it's a distraction for the white house which obama campaign senior adviser axelrod talked about yesterday on "meet the press."
>> on the gsa issue he was, i think it's fair to say, and mrek particular. he acted quickly and the administration acted quickly and changed the management. the secret service does heroic work. this is really disturbing and we have to get to the bottom of it.
>> and karl rove warned republicans preparing to politicize the secret service issue beware of going overboard .
>> sure it creates a problem to president obama . it adds to the sense that washington is broken. if the republicans try to make this a point in their arguments, they're making a big mistake .