tv State of the Union CNN September 23, 2012 6:00am-7:00am PDT
thought. the latest from house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers. and who are those people anyway? i'm candy crowley. and this is "state of the union." as mitt romney struggled to regain footing after his 47% victim remark, the president was contemplating his first four years and a slight change to the hope and change theme. >> you can't change washington from the inside. you can only change it from the outside. that's how i got elected. we are at that point where everything becomes fodder on the stump. >> he lou in the white flag again. he said he can't change washington from the inside. he can only change it from outside. well, we're going to give him that chance in november. he is going ourselvesed. >> that point of the campaign where even the responses do not go unresponded to.
>> he stood nup a rally proudly declared i'll get the job done from the inside. >> they are at that point where there is little time to recover from mistakes, big or small. joining me to assess the outlook for november, democratic senator dick durbin of illinois and republican senator lindsey gram of south carolina. thank you both for joining me this morning. first to you, senator durbin, because we are seen polling indicating that in the battleground states as well as nationwide the president now seems ahead by an amount that is perceptible. as far as you were concerned, where are the biggest danger points for the president message-wise or campaign-wise as he moves forward? >> candy the momentum has shifted in obama's. that's a good thing from our point of view.
this is a campaign with three debates yet and four or five eththat is none of us could predict on this show. we're not taking it for granted, but we do have momentum coming out of the convention, and some of the problems and mistakes of the rom my campaign have given the president more traction in these battleground states with working families. >> and senator graham, to you, why to you think mitt romney is struggling so much? we've talked so much about the history of the numbers as it relates to unemployment or anything else and how it would seem that president obama would not be dolling well, and yet, mitt romney is the one who is struggling. why? >> well, to be honest with you, i think if history holds here and undecided voters break against the incumbent as they generally do, this is a very close race, and quite frankly, i like our position. >> really? >> the comment the president said we can only change -- >> yes, i really do. i think no one has ever been re-elected with unemployment
over 7.6%. no one has ever been re-elected with an economy this bad and undecided voters break against the incumbent three or four to one. yes. we've talked about mitt romney's tax return. we've talked about his speech, the tape of his speech at a campaign -- fundraiser. we've talked about his dog being on top of the car, but we're not talking about or they're not talking about what they have done. this idea you can only change washington from the outside, in the first two years of the obama administration, they had 60 united states senators, a big majority democratic majority in the house. they could do anything they wanted to without republican help, and they did. the stimulus was supposed to have us at 6% unemployment. it has been a flop. it grew the government, hasn't create jobs. obama care was supposed to lower premiums for everybody. this $2,200 per person higher, and people were not -- guess what, they're losing six million or seven million people that
have been displaced. they promised to reduce the deficit in half in its first term. this went up by 51%. this is why mitt romney is in good shape. during the debates, we're about to focus on four years of barack obama, not everything just about what mitt romney may have said or puts his dog on the car. >> it is true that this president campaigned more than any other, although they all campaign on let's change washington because everybody hates washington, but this president, more than any other, has been one that said i'm going to go in there, and i'm iffing to change washington, hope and change, hope and change, and now he says, you know what, you really can't change washington. is that a tack technical mistake, or is it word play? >> the president didn't anticipate when mitch mcconnell said my highest priority, highest priority is nott to deal with the recession. not to deal with the cost of health care. not to deal with what's happening on wall street. he said his highest priority was to make sure barack obama was a one-term president. >> but, again -- >> that really set the stage.
>> he did have that democratic senate and democratic house for half of his tenure. >> and we faced a record number of republican filibusters. remember, when we had 60 votes, we also had a poor situation, a sad situation with ted kennedy going through cancer therapy, unable to attend, and then robert byrd in decline and finally passed away. there were just a few moments when we had 60 votes, but let me get down to the bottom line here. the bottom line is when the american people are asked this basic question, which of these two candidates, obama or romney, do you think is better prepared to move this economy forward in the next four years? overwhelmingly they say it is president obama, and you know why. because romney's approach to politics and this economy as evidenced by his 47% remark writes off so many americans, ignores the economic realities facing middle income families. when he says he wants a tax break of $250,000 a year for the
wealthiest people in america, it means middle mcfamilies will pay more taxes. they understand that, and they are not going to support a president who is going to make life even more difficult for those living paycheck to paycheck. >> senator graham, let me ask you, and i know you mentioned this as something that we've been talking about, but mitt romney did put out his tax return for 2011 this past friday. he also put out a summary that was certified from his tax accountant saying, look, here's what i did in the last 20 years, showing that he paid taxes in each of the last 20 years. you were really critical of democratic leader senate majority leader harry reid who i was told he didn't pay any tacks. do you think harry reid owes mitt romney an apology? >> no. i think all this stuff is political fodder. he gave 30% of what he earned away. he is a lot more generous than i am. wron about the rest of y'all, but i'm sort of amazed at the
generosity of the romneys. at the bottom line it's not going to be about the speech that he gave at a campaign fundraiser, and quite frankly, it's want going to be about 14-year-old comment that president obama made about redes bugs. it's going to be about you, your family, and let me tell you again, no republican stopped barack obama from doing what he wanted to do in his first two years. he passed the stimulus obama care. he got his major michigantive throughs on a party line vote, and all of them have failed. the reason republicans came back in 2010 and got the house and should have gotten the senate, we made our own mistakes. we should be in a majority -- all of a sudden became republicans is because after the first two years of barack obama in this runaway tax and spend train, they wanted us to stop what was going on, and he said in 2009 if i don't get this
right in three years, i'll be a one-term president. well, the gas prices have gone up by over 100%. we've increased the debt by 50%. unemployment at 8 prz for 37 straight months. the most sluggish recession. nobody is hiring because the threat of higher taxes and overregulation. this is not a sound economy, and this is why mitt romney is going to win the race. >> senator durbin, let me -- my last question on the race many general because i want to ask you all about congress as well at leaving town and the unfinished business. senator, is there not a point here that some of what's happened in the economy or what has not happened in the economy is on the president's doorstep and is that not something that voters should be looking at and, in fact, are looking at? >> candy, we've had 30 straight months, 30 straight months of uptick increase -- >> is it as good as you thought it would be? is it as good as you thought it would be when democrats passed the stimulus bill, when you
passed the health care bill, when we talked about the summer of recovery, is it as good as you thought it would be right now where we are? >> we were all hoping it would be better. we didn't realize the depths of the recession that the president inherited. people feel positively about the future of this economy and this country. jobs are coming back into the united states. we're seeing an increase in manufacturing jobs at a rate even greater than the last republican president's administration. let me tell you what i think the bottom line here. the bottom line here is people understand mitt romney. they understand his values. they understand what he is offering is to go back to the same economic policies that created the recession. why are his income tax returns still important? well, he doesn't meet his father's standard. his father sed seth a standard in terms of disclosure. he hasn't met that standard, and there is something in those income tax returns he doesn't want america to see, so he selectively has been disclose aing few things here and there. he is still the first presidential candidate in history with a swiss bank
account. pardon me? >> there's nothing that suggests that there's something illegal that has gone on. i grant you, we haven't seen all of them for the past 20 years, but are you not, in effect, blaming the player when what you ought to do is blame the game. it is the irs system, and he took advantage of it, which i do, which i assume both of you do. >> but let me tell you why it's important, candy. it confirms the suspicion of independent and undecided voters that mitt romney is out of touch with the average american and middle income family, and he doesn't have a plan that's going to help them have a better situation in the future. it just confirms some of his earlier statements about his values and writing off 47% of the american people. that's why the mctax returns are important. the fact that he has a swiss bank account, it's legal, but he is the first presidential candidate to ever have one. >> you cannot dismiss the fact that people do vote on the basis of does this guy or woman some year hopefully understand who i
am? does he understand the struggles i go through? this is a man who has been wealthy from the moment he was born. this is a man who has said a lot of things that cause voters out there to go whoa. he doesn't get me at all. including the 47%. you can say this is not going to be about tax returns. it's not going to be about this, but it is going to be about who this guy is, who people perceive mitt romney to be. is it not? >> i think it's going to be about your bank account, not his swiss bank account. it's going to be about your job, whether you have one, or whether you are afraid of losing it. mitt romney and ann romney are two fine people. at our convention we showcased who they are when the camera is nott on, helping people in a way that just really touched my heart. this election is about the economy and the future of america. after four years of barack obama, obama economics, everything they promised hasn't
come true. the stimulus. we were supposed to be at 6%. why aren't we? obama care, if you pass it, premiums will go down. they're going up. i promise you i'll reduce the deficit in my first term. it's gone up 50%. >> to the question, senator graham. >> ask yourself is president obama's energy policies good for you and your family? go to the gas pump. go look on your 401k statement. >> isn't the question would mitt romney have donnie better, and don't people look at him and think he doesn't get me? >> oh, that's what this is about, yes. he -- during the debates he will tell you i'm about to repeal obama care and work with democrats to replace with something that matters. i'm not going to have another stimulus package that grows the government, doesn't create jobs. i'm going to give you certainty in your taxes. i'm iffing to take the e.p.a. this made it very hard for people to grow their business and reform the regulatory side. i'm going to bring you certainty in taxes, and we're going to stop spending money like a drunken sailor.
yes, the debates will be about what he will do, but nobody wants to talk about what barack obama has done. we'll talk about romney's tax returns, and the reason everyone talks about everything else but what they've done is because he has failed to deliver as he promised as president of the united states. >> i have to leave it there. senator lindsey graham, senator dick durbin, huh for getting occupy a sunday morning. i appreciate it. >> thanks, candiy. >> thank you. >> confusion reigns over the death of four americans. the latest on the investigation is next.
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militias that helped to take down muammar gadhafi's regimes. it's added to the your honor certainty around libya and more than a week after the killing inside the u.s. consulate in benghazi, we know less than we were so sure of the day it happened. at the time u.s. officials indicated there was no intelligence indicating a specific threat that may be technically true, but there is word now that days before the attack there were warnings about insufficient security in benghazi and the potential for an attack. it leads to questions. >> i don't know how you argue we weren't caught flat-footed. they stormed our consulate, were successful in that and killed our ambassador and three other employees. that is being caught flat-footed. >> as well, the administration's early line was that the attack was not premeditated. that it was the spontaneous work of a handful of people who used a broader protest over an anti-muslim movie as cover to murder the americans. it turn out maybe there wasn't even a broader protest. we are still unsure.
i'm joined now by chairman mike rogers. thank you for being here. stoo huh for having me back. >> tell me what we now know about what happened in benghazi in the murder of those four americans? >> there's still a little bit of confusion, but it's very clear, as even i said last week, this had to be a preplanned event. we know it was an act of terrorism. i think the administration has come to the conclusion it's an act of terrorism now. we had two separate events. you see what's playing on now with people trying to get their militias under control, which those -- that's been a huge problem.
i think this is more than that. this is clearly a specific attack on our u.s. embassy, and it kills a u.s. -- well, that's still unclear. there's still some indication that they may have, in fact, known the ambassador was either there or in the area at the time of the attack, but 9/11 is probably more important to that equation hand even the ambassador. i do think this was wildly successful even beyond their dreams to be able to kill, you know, the american face in libya, our united states ambassador, and -- >> in what way? >> we don't know for sure and for certain yet. we have at least i look at the information have a high degree of probability that it is an al qaeda or al qaeda affiliated group that had a very specific target in mind, and that was to attack the consulate and causes them as much harm, chaos, and death as possible. >> was there, in fact, a protest about the film going on outside the consequence late day at the time this occurred, or was this such a one off attack?
>> i believe this was an attack. the notion about the film and i think the administration was ill-advised to push down that road. >> to assume that that's why everybody was there, but my broader question that i want you to also say that, but the -- my broader question is if we were told that there was outside the consulate a protest going on as there have been in 20 or more countries about this film and that somehow inside that group trrp people who were heavily armed who launched this attack, was it any protest at all going on? >> i have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. it was clearly designed to be an attack, and what's so egreejs about this is that why every american should be offended, this isn't about george bush oosh barack obama, and it not about democrats. they targeted and killed the face of the united states of america, a u.s. ambassador, and three embassy employees who were
there dedicated to work in the united states of america. this is a serious event as i have ever seen, and it's been confusing to try to follow where the administration has been. i'm disappointed the president didn't say i'm not going to the fundrais fundraiser. i am going to go on national tv and put this right. americans deserve the truth. they deserve the facts. they deserve to tell the world we will not tolerate a u.s. ambassador being treated badly, let alone killed. >> a stronger message from the president, a more national message than what you had hoped for. >> a strong message, but some message of america. the president needs to go on tv and set this right. it can't be about the election. it has to be about an american ambassador that was killed. this is our foreign policy, our national security here is at stake. he needs to be oud out front and leading on this issue. he shouldn't wait until after. >> can i put you in the column of those republicans that are upset with the administration for a lack of communication with those of you in congress who
have this particular perview? >> i'm in a different role. we don't normally get formal briefings, but we collect our information from the intelligence community in a variety of ways. i have heard the complaints. i did go to the briefing and thought not a lot came out of it, and it seemed that they doubled down. they doubled down. i think they thought they were boxed in a corner, and they had to double down on their information. it was -- it was a little confusing to me. i didn't understand why they chose to do that. then i think they made a follow-on mistake by buying the advertisement in pakistan. the administration gave credibility to this video that certainly nobody in america had seen and very few across the middle east. >> you said there was advertisement in pakistan of both secretary of state hillary clinton and the president saying we had nothing to do with this film? bad idea you think? >> horrible idea. it gave credibility and it gave a permission slip to al qaeda, to pakistani officials. you saw the minister come out and say he was offering $100,000
to the death of the person who produced the video. this is a minister of the government of pakistan. it gave a permission slip because of this attention and kriblgt that was given to this video that should not have been gibb by our president and our secretary of state. as you have seen, it hasn't been effective. i'm not sure who gave them the advice. i thought it was horrible advice. i think they have exacerbated the problem, and i think hopefully we shake ourselves out of this. this is a national security issue that we'll have to deal with whom ever wins in november. this is a big deal for the national security of the united states of america. >> let me read to you something that mohammed morsi,egypt, auz said to the "new york times". he was talking about the blowback that we have seen across the middle east. he said "successive american administrations essentially purchased with american taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of this region." is this the word of an ally
here? is this what you want the guy to be saying? we're giving them money? we're -- >> very concerning, and here's the problem. they have -- after he was elected in violation with the treaty of israel, they moved heavy army, and they did it on their own. we're not dealing very well with it. what you are finding is he has a horrible economic problem in his country. he has a huge problem to deal with. it's best in those times a politician like morsi to find somebody to blame. he is tough on the united states. is he going to be tough on israel. don't worry about the fact that you don't have a job or a future in egypt. >> you are giving him money. i guess that's the concern. >> well -- >> i understand that we need to try to stabilize and that you supported the administration saying, look, we have to be players here. we can't just, you know, walk away, but the fact of the matter is that every time you turn around, the president, i get that he is playing to his home audience, is saying things that undermine how his citizenry look at the u.s., which is giving them money. >> this is the huge problem
here. it's not just in this particular case. it's in the protests over the film. those governments are using that to insight trouble, violence, and political happiness with their own regimes in those rticular countries. >> it makes us the bad guys, and they look better. >> absolutely. that's why engagement and being aggressive diplomatically as well as follow-through is so important all across the middle east. i had a very senior middle eastern arab nation intelligence official after our meeting -- i said what would you ask of the united states if i could make you king for a day. he said please tell me what your middle east policy is. that's caused that confusion, that lack of this sense of disengagement, it is causing us huge problems, and that's why i thought the reaction to what happened with the president and the secretary creating a television ad in pakistan was just adding -- was fermenting
the problem and giving permission slips for all of the bad actors to do bad things. >> quickly, regarding syria. dan, who is an add vazor to mitt romney, was on tv the other day talking about how it's been a year since the president said, you know, assad has to go. he is still there. he is still killing his own people, and he said the u.s. looks impotent. do you agree with that assess snmt. >> i just returned from the region recently. there is frustration in the region about the lack of leadership from the united states on this issue. i do think a slow walk to this was probably the right path. the problem is you have to do that with a sense of leadership by bringing people together. that part was missing. the slow walk was there with no leadership of trying to bring turkey and the qatarese and jordanians to the table. >> the u.s. looks impotent when it comes to syria? >> they're not looking good right now. let's put it that way, candy. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much.
polls show a huge majority of voters have already settled on president obama or mitt romney. next, a closer look at that small group who hasn't decided. i've been a superintendent for 30 some years at many different park service units across the united states. the only time i've ever had a break is when i was on maternity leave. i have retired from doing this one thing that i loved. now, i'm going to be able to have the time to explore something different. it's like another chapter. you see us, at the start of the day. on the company phone list that's a few names longer. you see us bank on busier highways.
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six weeks until the election of one of two men with entirely different ideas about the role of government and the best direction for the country. how is it then that a pew survey finds about 7% of registered voters nationwide are what pollsters call pure undecideds. they have not indicated a preference for any candidate. the dynamic holds true in key battleground states like ohio, virginia, and florida with just 6% or less of the electorate undecided. 5%, even 7% is not much, but in the right place it's more than enough to decide an election. up next profiling and targeting the union decided with pollsters wit ayers and ann gra greenberg and cnn political analyst ben brownstein. you feel me right? yeah. uh, sir... ah...
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experience life well lit, ask for transitions adaptive lenses. at red lobster. there's so many choices, the guests love it! [ male announcer ] don't miss endless shrimp. try as much as you like, anyway you like. like new teriyaki grilled shrimp for just $14.99! my name is angela trapp, and i sea food differently. ...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. >> when is the election? how soon do we have to decide? >> what are the names of the two people running, and be specific. >> who is the president right now? is he or she running? >> "saturday night live" having
some fun at the expense of that small but coveted block of voters, but are they actually planning to show up at the polls at all. joining me republican pollster wit ayers and dana greenburg and susan paige, and ron brown. my goodness, don't have to say a word. i'm just going to throw it to the floor. "saturday night live" because -- you hear a lot of folks going they can't possibly know anything if they haven't decided yet. who are these undecided voters? >> candy, they tend to be more independent than democrat or republican. they're less engaged. they're just now paying attention. we know from exit polling that about one out of ten voters made their decision in 2004 and 2008 in the last week, and in 2008 they split equally between mccain and obama, auz would expect in an open seed race. in 2004 they broke for kerry the challenger over bush the incumbent, which is also typical
of an encome bent re-election. i think we're likely to see the same this time with late deciding voters breaking for romney rather than obama. >> because generally, anna, isn't that sort of how it generally works is that the president is well known, so if they're undecided a week before, you clearly know they have problems with the president and that they should break for mitt romney, but not necessarily. >> well, i they that's right. they should break for romney, but a couple things about that number. probably half of the undecideds are not voters. we know that people say they're going to vote, and they aren't actually voters, and so some of them just truly -- they really are the most disengaged. so really maybe -- it may be two or three percentage really. it's that small. you know, it's actually -- while it seems hard for us to imagine not paying hard to the election. it's actually not all that hard. media. a lot of people are watching a lot of different things. they're taking care of their kids and working. you know, it really is for a lot of people just starting, and i think the conventions and the debates start focussing the chos
for some people. >> i think that the universe is birg, though, than 2% or 3% or even 7% usa gallop poll shows one in five registered voters said it was possible they would change their mind. >> persuadables. >> persuadables. that means an event like the debate that you're going to moderate, candy, could have an affect on these people that are loosely tied to one candidate or the other. >> the one thing that's striking about people that call themselves undecided, we have pew and the "wall street journal" accumulate the polls. they are negative on both candidates to an unusual degree. you go back to 2004. people are undecided if the fall and have farable views of both john kerry and george w. bush where this year it's the opposite. romney's favorable unfavorable is miserable among the undecided voters. i mean, it is possible that a lot of these people are calling undecided. you look at both of these and not vote. i wonder if the key variable in this election is really who we're talking about as undecided or whether, more importantly, is
whether each side can change the electorate by bringing out their base. in other words, e not the numerator. it's the denominator. >> the messages we are hearing off the campaign trail are aimed at persuadables. it seems that they are aimed directly at the base. it is just hard core campaigning. >> voting has started. we have early vote in many states. we have absentee ballots going out in many states. you know, probably half the electorate is going to vote for election day, so part of what is happening is that they are speaking to their base because they're starting to vote and n really important swing states like iowa, for example. >> and the biggest achievement of the democratic convention was in increasing democratic enthusiasm. we've seen that lag all year and then suddenly now equal or even an advantage for democrats, so democratic core voters got engaged and excited by bill clinton's speech, michelle obama's speech, president
obama's speech at the convention, and that may turn out to be the most significant thing that's happened in the end of this campaign. >> go ahead. >> in 2008 there were 7 percentage points, more democrats than republicans new york the electorate. that's the largest advantage for democrats in 14 years. in 2004 it was absolutely equal. in 2010 it was absolutely equal between democrats and republicans. so the obama campaign better hope that they have an electorate that looks more like 2008 than like 2004 or 2010. >> that is absolutely critical. 2004, just to be clear, was the only time that republicans equaled democrats as a share of the electorate in a presidential year, but i agree. i mean, i think the obama campaign is basically rovian in its view of the electorate in that they view it is more cost efficient to find a voter who agrees with you and might not vote than it is to persuade the kind of classic swing voter and, you know, this election, i mean,
many things could tip this election, but as important as any will be, what is the minority share of the vote? we have an enormous ratio of disparity where obama is running twice as well among non-whites as whites. it was 26% in 2008. it could be enormously influential whether it's 26 again, 27, or 25. the campaigns i think are very much focused on that composition of the electorate through their ground games and turnout efforts sfwloosh you start to see the groups that are holding back our democratic leaning findings are moved more solid for the president. voters have the very week compared to where they were four years ago, and they then move back. we're starting to see it by the way at the congressional level. some of the groups are also -- it reflects, i think, democratic enthusiasm coming out of convention and also the way the direct voter contacted the direct voter is doing. >> if you looking at the upcoming debates as the mechanics to last three chances that these two candidates will get to address a huge group of people, do you say to your republican candidate or to your democratic candidate go out
there and talk to the folks who are with you, or do you say, hey, you're iffing to be on a big national stage, so don't go crazy left or don't go crazy right? >> we're at the start of the fourth quarter, and mitt romney is behind by a field goal. it's just that close. he needs to score points. he is behind, but not by very much. it's an average of 3.3% as of a real clear politics average this morning, so he needs to score points. the most important thing that mitt romney can do is give people confidence that he knows how to fix this economy. they don't believe obama has or can, but they are not yet persuaded that mitt romney can either. that's the most important thing to come out of your debate. >> we're going to pick up with that thought in just a second, but for months romney supporters have had the same answer about the likability gap. >> when they say -- >> people are still getting to know governor romney. >> as people get to know the real mitt romney and not the one that president obama is talking
bshgs i think they're going to be satisfied and very happy with the choices they have. >> but isn't this a case of voters simply not like whatting they're seeing? we'll ask our panel next. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy -- and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes just as seriously: our commitment to america. bp supports nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs
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>> anna greenburg, washington bureau chief susan paige, and political analyst ron brownstein. let's pick up where we left off, which is you're advising these candidates. what do they do in these debates? do they go central or straight to the base? >> i think it's about temperament, and i think part of what romney needs to do in these debates is show he is consistent, even-keeled, that he is the campaign is -- they're all over the place does not sure what they're doing, and if you think back to 2008 debates how important it was, that contrast between president obama and john mccain. john mccain looked irradic and uncomfortable. i think that's a really important piece of this debate for romney. >> ultimately, president obama was -- i think the challenges are somewhat different. romney does have a challenge of cutting into the president's base. if you look at the poll right now, one story that's simple in this election is that the groups that were skeptical of obama to
begin, primarily blue collar whites and senior whites, have been moving generally somewhat further away from him in this election than they were in 2008. if you look at the polling consistently, we have a pell out this week, the fwrupz that were strong for obama, romney is not cutting into. i think that's largely a function of choices he made in the primary on social issues that are hurting him with upscale white women and hispanics. but you look at three key pillars, young people, minoties, and college educated whites, especially women, he is returning very close to his '08 numbers among those groups, which were enough for a majority. so the challenge for romney ultimately, he has more, i think, necessity to reach out beyond where he is than the president does. >> i think that's true. what a different kind of race we had in 2008. now we've got an electorate that is disappointed with the president of 2008 but not convince thad the change offers
a good alternative. so it makes it a smaller meaner kind of race, think, because you see this battle for a half a percentage point here or can i get a little bit more enthusiasm here for a race where people are not that happy, not that excited about their choices. >> but it's important to keep an eye on the big picture here. the big picture is the economy. if you want to predict how bam's vote goes in a stay or d demographic group, all you need to know is how many people approve of his handling of the economy. not overall but the handling of the economy. right now you have less than half who approve. and the door is open for mitt romney to get those people who are dissatisfied with barack obama's handling of the economy. that is his task over the next six weeks. >> and that's what he's failed to do so far, get people to walk through the door that's been open all year. >> as a matter of fact, people's perceptions are getting better. their perception of the economy is improving.
it's coming from democrats and independents. i think it's harder and harder for romney to make this a referendum on economy. one is being elite and out of touch and not sure what he stands for. nink he can't convey those two things, i think it's hard if there are any persuadables left to meet them. >> look. a lot of numbers we've been throwing out. to me it comes down two numbers. for president obama, it's 80/40. if he holds that number in 2012 and they represent at least the 26% of the vote they did last time, he can win a majority with 40% of whites. that's it. within that i think the biggest is holding the president not on minority grounds. they have suffered in the economy, but romney has offered very little, particularly on l immigration. and the college white women.
and the part of the challenge that romney mass is a big chunk of the modern democratic vote ultimately is not moved by the economy and he's positioned himself in way that leaves himself very little access to those voters. >> let me mention one other number if i can quickly. according to gallup data, 68% is dissatisfied with the country, yes, these down from 78%. so we've gone from absolutely horrible to really, really bad. >> but the numbers are moving in the right direction. >> let me ask you because in our final two minutes i want to talk about down ballot. we've said a lot about whether democrats can possibly take back control of the house where the republicans can take control of the senate. tommy thompson who you know is a republican, wisconsin democrat, he says he believes his numbers falling is partially due to r m
romney's fall. what's happening down-ballotdow >> what's happening is down races. they're very competitive. >> they're more competitive now than they used to be, correct? >> we're at the lowest since 1960 and there's an overwhelminging cooverwhelming consent. even in 2010 the biggest republican year since 1938, nine states where obama was 47% or above. democrats won eight of them. you can run, you can't hide. the president will have an enormous impact on the races. >> i have to leave it there, i'm sorry. i hope you come back. this has been great fun. i've learned a lot. next up, mitt romney looks to the heavens to light his criticism of president obama. '. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow.
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romney says his administration would implement a four-point space plan that would include having nasa focus more on national security. first lady michelle obama says it's important to make sure no one is denied the right to vote. her comments at last night's congressional black aucus's annual banquet comes as more than a dozen states have new voter i.d. laws that critics say is unfair to minorities, the elderly, and college students. the election isn't until november 6 but ballot casting begins in some states. it's beginning in iowa on thursday. it is already under way in iowa and south dakota. you probably heard about that ancient piece of papyrus that refers to jesus having a wife, a new testament scholar says it looks more like a forgery. he says it looks authentic but the writing on it is a