The Daily Rundown | October 17, 2012
>> well, voters got the answer to at least one question last night. yes, president obama can still pl throw a rhetorical punch. robert gibbs is senior adviser for the obama campaign . robert, clearly a different president last night versus the first debate. why?
>> wheaties? no, i honestly don't know. whatever he ordered for dinner, i want two for florida. he was commanding, energetic, passionate.
>> everything he wasn't at the first debate?
>> absolutely. and i think he laid out a strong case for what we've done over the past four years to rectify the economic calamity that we inherited.
>> you know, that seemed to be if there was a moment, yes, he seemed to change his tone, assertive, much more commanding on stage but did he answer the question of what he's going to do in the next four years? he seemed to answer the question that he wanted another term but how is that he laid out a second term agenda? i missed it.
>> i think in several of the answers to questions. how do we bring more of our jobs that have left this country back into this country, bring them back overseas, deal with tax cuts that ship those jobs overseas as well. build more products here and send them overseas, increasing our ex be ports, increasing our math and science teachers so folks like jeremy have the best education they can possibly get and that we're training kids for these good jobs. increase investment in domestic energy, including not just fossil fuels but renewable energy . i think the president has a whole list of things that will strengthen our economy going forward and, look, i think the president gave a commanding performance. i think he was strong and i think he had a very good night.
>> there seems to be plenty of voters who feel like something needs to change and the question is, do they want a lot to change or a little to change? what's the change that president obama is offering for the second term?
>> i think what the president wants to see -- look, this is a more than four-year endeavor to change where we were when barack obama walked into that office january 20th , 2009 .
>> do you feel like he's offering change for a second term?
>> i do.
>> did he change any of the things that folks didn't like about --
>> look, i think there are certain things to get done that we have been unable to get congress to focus on. you heard the president discuss immigration reform last night. but, look, we inherited a huge economic calamity and we've spent four years digging out of that hole. we're seeing foreclosures and unemployment at a four-year low. we need to continue to strengthen this economy toward recovery. governor romney wants to go back to the policies that got us in this mess. basically, an $8 trillion spending deal with $5 trillion tax cuts that benefits the wealthy and not the middle class .
>> everyone sat down with some focus group somewhere and i want to play you a clip of what some undecided voters told us about president obama .
>> maybe i'm wrong, but i don't think that the president mentioned the word deficit once. he didn't mention balancing the budget. he didn't deny that the deficit will be $20 trillion in four years.
>> president obama could not answer -- when he asked the question, have you checked your pension? he didn't answer that. he didn't talk about the deficit. he didn't make mention to how he was going to specifically lower the deficit.
>> this has been -- this has popped up. they clearly believe this is a weak point for the president.
>> look, what i think the president talked about is a balanced plan. as he talked about last night, we're going to have to make some tough spending cuts. we're going to need to ask mitt romney and others, including barack obama , to pay their fair share , to pay a little bit more. certainly the president talked about taxpayers and do this in a way to allow us to invest in important things, like education and things that we know will grow our economy. mitt romney wants to start the deficit conversation with $5 trillion new romney tax cut and a defense spending cut that the pentagon doesn't want. higher taxes on the middle class and drastic cut to the important investments.
>> i want to shift to libya here. here was the president on libya .
>> secretary clinton has done an extraordinary job but she works for me. i'm the president. and i'm always responsible. and that's why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than i do.
>> all right. this happened september 11th . i was checking my math and my dates. it's now october 17th . last night, october 16th . why did it take more than a month for the president to say, you know what, the buck stops here? a lot of people were saying, where was that response from the president on libya , on the security lapses?
>> chuck, as you heard from the president, he's the one who asks, as the president of the united states , asks these diplomats to go into harm's way, to be engaged at a time when we need to be engaged in a dangerous part of the world. nobody feels more responsibility for their safety than he does.
>> is he outraged that his ambassador to the united nations went out there with false information?
>> let's be clear, susan rice --
>> is he now --
>> i think what is important is that the best information that we had at the time in which we had it. nobody went out there and did anything to mislead this country.
>> so are we --
>> and as the president said, republican attempts to politicize this issue have been and continue to be offensive. look, i think it was the strongest answer of the night and it's clear what secretary clinton has outlined with the ambassador is to know what happened -- let me answer this question. because this is important. what happened in benghazi, what happened leading up to benghazi. this is a strong answer for the president and it demonstrated one more time mitt romney 's real weakness on foreign policy and we real weakness as commander in chief.
>> is he mad about what happened?
>> absolutely. we want to know what happened and what happened leading up to it. as you peal back the layers on a terrorist attack like this, and something like the christmas day bombing , you learn more and more each day. that's what happens in the intelligence community . that's what happens. and as soon as we get information, we'll give it to the american people .
>> do you think the economy is okay to come up?
>> the president is ready to answer whatever question anybody asks him.