The Daily Rundown | October 15, 2012
>>> all right, we're just under 36 hours until tuesday's town hall tussle. president obama and mitt romney are taking practice hits with their team today. both men want to be mr. october but the pressure especially on mr. obama to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. you see, it's playoff time, can't you tell? joining me is communication director for rick santorum , robert traynham . we have the poll out today, batt battleground, a whole bunch of stuff. i feel like there's no longer a but. this is a close race but this is a close race but the president has advantages. i feel like the last part of the sentence is no longer applicable.
>> i feel like that's right but this is the week that we'll begin to understand whether that's correct or not. it does feel as if that but has been dropped and we're in a situation where it's a very close race but i think as a result of tomorrow night's debate, we'll have a good idea of what this race looks like.
>> casey, how confident are the romney folks?
>> i think they are being be cautiously confident. romney has become almost a different candidate since the debate. he's much more confident, making more stops at diners, chatting with voters. he's stepping out of some of the boxes that he put himself in.
>> robert, the way that i look at this debate, the fundamental thing separating mitt romney from the presidency is this ability to care about average people.
>> that to me is, forget about anything else. that is the door that is locked. he unlocked the door but it's still not opening for him. it's a huge opportunity for the stereotype.
>> that's right. and he's almost personalizing a lot of the stories on the campaign trail. we know tomorrow there is going to be 84, 88 undecided voters from new york. the question becomes whether or not this rich, very wealthy individual can connect with the average person out there and that says, you know what, i gave the president a chance four years ago. now i'm willing to change horses during the middle of the game.
>> dan, the midwest is where romney has really struggled the most. ohio , wisconsin, those states, if the president carried all three, he'd have his 271. he didn't need any of the other states and it's that issue that is sort of connecting with the average person.
>> can the president use a town hall to exploit this or not? it seems like it's not the best -- might not be the best setting.
>> well, the town hall format favors sympathy over aggressiveness and yet everything that's being said is that the president needs fto be aggressive. i suppose they are talking about how to strike that balance and makes points that you need to make and energize the base in way that you need to do but not go over a line in front of a live audience on this stage.
>> you've seen him interact more with voters. the president has not done that. he doesn't even interact with the press. these are big events. he'll deliver pizzas and certain things like that. but he hasn't done town halls . it seems like the romney folks have been practicing out in the open.
>> i've been with romney for months now. he did this a lot during the primary town hall events.
>> they stopped.
>> they went away for a little while but there's been a long recognition that there's a format that he's most successful. most of his best events, when he's interacting with voters, has been in this town hall type of format.
>> believe it or not, he's not very well scripted and the president is very well scripted. but when he's unscripted, that's when he does a pretty good job.
>> dan, it goes back, the obama folks keep on saying, what is it -- why do you think he's going to be different?
>> well, he just will be. you know, he knows he can't lay an egg again but --
>> what does that really mean?
>> what does that mean? they had no plan in the first debate. romney had a plan. they had no plan other than to survive. they just thought, well, as long as we don't mess up too much, we're going to be ahead.
>> we've only seen the president be truly aggressive in one debate that i can recall and that was the debate against hillary clinton .
>> and his back was against the wall and he lost new hampshire.
>> that debate went so over the top that both of them pulled back once they clobbered one another.
>> kasie, not a day has gone by in the last sick six days that romney or obama hasn't been in ohio . they are still behind in ohio , aren't they?
>> well, that's why you've seen portman stepping into a more aggressive -- well, part of the reason. over the weekend he has been at romney 's side constantly, constantly, constantly.
>> is this the chief of staff we're looking at all of a sudden? this happens. george h.w. bush , it was the bonding on the campaign trail. this stuff does matter, right?
>> there's no question they bonded but they bonded before the vice presidential debate.
>> they bonded but not in the way that they are now.
>> portman lhas been by his side.
>> i don't know how you can win without ohio .
>> you can but --
>> every trend matters until it doesn't. missouri with the longest one, delaware was the longest one.
>> how many republicans -- how many of you think that romney can win the presidency without ohio ?
>> theoretically or practically?
>> i am startingi -- here's the thing, i'm starting to move away from practical and