tv Meet the Press MSNBC September 3, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT
this morning on "meet the press," the direction of the country is at stake in november. and it makes the differences between the parties so clear. so what is the choice? mitt romney has spoken in tampa. arguing the president has fallen well short of his goals. >> president obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. and to heal the planet. my promise is to help you and your family. >> now it's the president and the democrats who counter in charlotte. the issue, taxes and spending. debt and entitlement programs like medicare, and key voting groups like women, and latinos.
making the case for the white house this morning, an architect of mr. obama's first term, now the mayor of chicago, rahm emanuel. also, a special discussion on the politics and strategy of the race. by showcasing ann romney and offering more personal details about himself, did romney forge a new connection with undecided voters? and how will president obama defend himself and his record this week when he takes the stage thursday night? with us, former republican presidential candidate newt gingrich. nbc's tom brokaw. "new york times" columnist tom friedman. presidential historian doris kearns goodwin. and the former ceo of hewlett-packard, now working to get more republicans elected to the senate this fall, carly fiorina. if it's sunday morning the democrats staged their convention in charlotte, starting on tuesday.
but the president is on the campaign trail this weekend, and he fired up his attack lines against the republicans, calling the gop convention nothing more than a tv rerun, joking that you might as well have watched on quote black and white tv. >> when governor romney had his chance to let you in on his secret trust, he didn't offer you a single new idea. it was just the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years. >> let's turn now to the man who served as the president's chief of staff until october of 2010, he's now, of course, the mayor of chicago, and he joins me live from the windy city this morning before he heads to charlotte on tuesday. mayor rahm emanuel. mayor, welcome back. >> thank you, david. >> as we assess mitt romney's performance coming out of his convention, is it the reality is this is a deadlocked race. the president's approval rating is under 50%. unemployment is still above 8%. why does mitt romney have to come out of that convention any better than being the lesser of two problematic choices?
>> well, first of all, i mean you got to go wind that a little back. and that is, you have a convention speech, and i think the president's absolutely correct here, i mean he's basically laid out the policy of groundhog day which is we're going to go back to the very things that led to a recession, led to a middle class that for the first time in american history in a decade actually saw their economic security decline. that has never happened at this stage in the last presidency. and i also think it's interesting in that speech, when you think back at other convention speeches, george bush, read my lips. bill clinton, the new covenant. george bush also said the compassionate conservative. there is nothing memorable. the reason we're debating, even discussing clint eastwood is because there is nothing memorable about mitt romney's speech. there's not a memorable line, a memorable philosophy. all he advocated was the policies that led to the economic recession, the financial meltdown, and the collapse. the american people know that the president inherited those things, and through tough, hard work has begin to turn the
corner on exactly what he inher inherited. the economy is not in a recessi recession, not growing as fast as it needs to grow. the auto industry isn't near collapse but is thriving. the financial industry that was once facing a meltdown is starting to slowly and surely lend to homeowners, small businesses and kids going to college. do we stay on that course or the course that led to actually the disaster that he interhitted on day one. >> we'll talk more about the choice. you mention clintestwood. certainly overshadowing what was a critical hour for mitt romney. here's a portion of what he said at the convention. >> what do you want me to tell romn romney? i can't tell him to do that. can't do that to himself. you're crazy. you're absolutely crazy. you're getting as bad as biden. >> highly scripted convention, and then an impromptu moment that struck many as at least bizarre, if not totally counterproductive. but here's the thing, mayor, i'm
sure to much to your delight and to the democrats you want to make some hay of this at the democratic convention. romney advisers are saying not so fast. this is still an american icon who is endorsing mitt romney. how do you react to it? >> two things on what i really believe. the fact, coming out of the convention, they didn't want a debate about clint eastwood. they wanted it about mitt romney'sed weres. we're not having that debate. we're not even discussing it. people are talking about, as you using your own words, the bizarre clint eastwood performance. and the reason they're doing that is because mitt romney's speech was so devoid and vacuous of any ideas. if there was a read my lips, or for those who work hard and play by the rules, as bill clinton said in '92. anything that said here's my philosophy, a compassionate conservative philosophy, there was nothing there. so the space post the convention is being about clint eastwood or the fact that paul ryan's speech was factually challenged. that is what's coming -- that is a critical point. nobody's debating clint eastwood
is a great director, great writer. i love his movies. but that moment in time is a commentary on romney's speech. and i think the romney people, i know this, you have a convention, you want it about your kaentz's ideas, not about a bizarre performance. >> let's talk about the president's own record, because there is a lot of deflection that goes on by democrats, and even you this morning talking more about mitt romney, his speech, or what he didn't say, than the president's own record. the president goes into charlotte having to deal with a lot of disappointment in the country about what he has not achieved in the course of his first term. this is how mitt romney described it on thursday. watch. >> hope and change had a powerful appeal. but tonight i'd ask a simple question. if you felt that excitement when you voted for barack obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's president obama? >> and here is some of the polling, as i know you've seen, mayor emanuel, which is this, the question of are you better off or worse off? 69%, nearly 7 in 10, saying things are either the same or worse than when the president
came into office. you inherited a recession, you tried to fix parts of it. but what do you say to americans who think you just can't deliver? that the president can't deliver the better economy that they want and they expect? >> no, first of all, let me flip back. this is a lesson about a clear choice. one person who said, when it came to the auto industry that had literally two weeks left before it was going to lapse and implode, let detroit go bankrupt. the president had another four-letter word -- or four-word statement, not on my watch. one guy who said i want to give tax cuts to the best and well-off in our country, another president -- a different view, the president, i'm going to make sure kids who start going to college get tax credits and support so they can go to college. one person who said when it came to homeowners who were struggling to hold on, middle class who were trying to hold onto their home, let it bottom other. another view, by president obama, which was no we're going to help you try to refinance to hold onto your home. those are clear distinctions of philosophy. the president clearly understands the frustration the
american people feel. "a," that the economy is not moving to the pace and the ability that it needs to. and he is working on that because his economy focussed on the middle class. "b," they are very frustrated with washington. and the determination of some to tear down policies rather than try to build up this country. and that to me is where the frustration is, both one on economics, one on i would say on washington's inability to move forward and address it. and i would also say third a value space. they're frustrated that we have a society and an economy as well as a celt your that has kind of two sets of rule books and two sets of values. one for those that are most fortunate, who operate by a different set of rules. and another set of rules for everybody else. think about it, when a business fails, sometimes people get a golden parachute. other people get a pink slip. those aren't the same rules. those aren't the same values. >> there's still the president's record. i mean he's got to reckon with his own record. >> of course. >> which is he set about to do one thing, he didn't deliver. a lot of americans think that mitt romney's got better ideas
on how to deal with the economy than this president. you can't just frame it in terms of a binary choice and not deal with the president's own record, can you? >> no, fact is, people want to know about the first term. very simple. general motors is alive and well. and osama bin laden is not. and that's what got done. because the president did deal, and they know, in fact, what he inherited and what he is trying to fix, and the question is before the american people, will we go back to the policies that actually took to middle class, gave us the recession, gave us an auto industry about to implode? gave us a financial meltdown of historic proportions? or the person that led the country during those troubled times to get its feet back on the ground. and it is a choice because that is what elections are. yes, they'll be looking at the president. and they will make that judgment. and it's incumbent upon us, blame the choices and the direction we're going. all romney has to offer, david, is actually to go back to the very policies that got us into the rut we were in when the president was sworn into office.
remember the first month he was sworn into office, he took a baton in which an economy was shrinking at the highest rate since the great depression, 800,000 americans were losing their johns. today, there's over 4 million private sector jobs that were created on his watch, more on his watch in the first term than all of under two terms of george bush. and yes it is not moving fast enough but i do believe the american people don't want to go back to the very policies that created the economic slowdown. >> let me ask you on one of the attacks against president obama that you dealt with when you worked in the clinton white house and that has to do with welfare reform. newt gingrich, other republicans will be on the program in just a couple minutes, the former house speaker leading the charge at the republican convention about this change to welfare to work rules that the president acquiesced to at the request of some republican governors around the country. this is what gingrich said at the convention this week and i'll get your response. >> obama's waiving of the work requirements in welfare reform is just one example of his direct repudiation of president reagan's values.
>> is this striking a chord with a lot of people who feel a lot of resentment in this economy. how do you respond it to, mayor? >> well, first of all, i was in the room on behalf of president clinton negotiating that welfare bill. one. two, newt gingrich sent president clinton two welfare bills that he vetoed because actually it was the wrong course. before the actual bill got signed. three, president clinton's entire goal was to move people off of welfare to work. from dependence to independence. and change the entire philosophy of the system to want to help people move to work. the work rule reforms in the states, and the requirement of giving states the ability of flexibility is we have one goal, work. 50 different creative ways to achieve it. governor romney asked for actually a waiver. but you had to make sure your plan for massachusetts was as different than mississippi or alabama's or california's. achieve the goal of work. and it was every governor, regardless of party, who wanted
to be creative to achieve a single goal. that is exactly how it's supposed to work. and fourth, i want to say this, when i came back after leaving president clinton's staff, that's what the system wants. and in a historic change and it's now moving more people to work. the first one of the very first conversations i had as a congressman with then-state senator barack obama, he was the sponsor of the welfare-to-work policies here in illinois. we are first discussion one of our first on policies, was on welfare-to-work policies and how to best achieve it. he has a long record on this. a commitment. and their waiver was increases people rather placement by 20% in jobs. the philosophy got changed because president clinton led the way. and one of the states that was actually created in achieving it was illinois, and there was a state senator at the time by the name of barack obama who was crafting the illinois' program in a bipartisan way to move more people from well tour to work. and i remember that distinctly in both places and newt
gingrich, when he was speaker of the house, said two bills to president clinton that had to be vetoed because all it was about was tearing people down, not lifting them up out of welfare. >> let me ask you final question on policy. here's the cover of "the economist" this week that really gets to the president speaking down in charlotte and it says this, one question, mr. president. just what would you do with another four years? what is the takeaway from this convention? the particultangible idea about turn this economy around that he has not been able to achieve in four years? >> it's very -- that is the crux, and he has, and i believe he will do, is lay out an agenda and a clear vision of the next four years in which you have an economy built on the middle class. you can -- the middle class cannot afford like the last decade where they see their economic security and their economic position decline further. they have to participate in the economic growth. they have to be able to own a home, send their kids to college, stay for the retirement, and not be one sickness away from bankruptcy. and they have to be the bedrock and building this country, means
building the middle class. and he has to lay that vision, and how we will specifically get there. and that will stand in contrast to mitt romney's speech because there was none of that. the entire agenda of both the first and second term are about strengthening the middle class, not weakening, strengthening the economy by strengthening the middle class. and he has to be specific to how he's going to do that and i believe he will do that. >> mayor before you go, i want to ask you about a huge crisis in your own city, and that is of course the murder rate, up 31% from a year ago. 40 shootings just last weekend, nine left dead. a couple of people shot, even near the president's home on the south side. what are you doing to address this? >> first we put more police on the street. getting kids, guns and drugs off the streets. our crime rate is down 10%. and our in fact our shootings have declined from what was basically we lost the early part of the first quarter of the year, and we brought them dramatically down. we have a gang issue on parts of the city. overall, overall crime down 10%. and we're making efforts
actually to reduce the gang conflicts because of gang-on-gang issues. it does not affect the whole city. but anywhere it happens, we're going to be dealing with it. >> is this not a crisis in your estimation? is it something that's being overblown or something that you have a hard time containing at the moment? >> no, we're containing it and the question i have is not whether people say a crisis or a challenge. i'm going to do everything i can to make sure every child when they go into school, think about their studies not their safety. regardless of where they live. and that's my first priority. >> rahm emanuel, mayor of chicago, thanks as always. we will see you in charlotte this week flp >> thanks, david. >> coming up, our all-star panel to talk about the republicans' report card. did the convention do anything to reshape this race and what are the big to-do items for the president as he and the democrats head down to charlotte. joining us, nbc's tom brokaw. historian doris kearns goodwin. tom friedman of "the new york times." newt gingrich and the former head of hewlett-packard carly fiorina. our roundtable is coming up. [ female announcer ] how do you define your moment?
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we're back with our political roundtable. joining me "new york times" columnist and co-author of "that used to be us" which is now out in an expanded paperback edition, tom friedman. former republican presidential candidate and speaker of the house, newt gingrich. presidential historian and author of "team of rivals," a new paperback edition will be out in october, doris kearns goodwin. former ceo of hewlett-packard, now vice chairman of the republican senatorial committee carly fiorina. and nbc news special correspondent and author of "the time of our lives," tom brokaw. and i'm here having just written an e-mail about the last ten
minutes ago. welcome to all of you. speaker gingrich let me go right to you and how do you respond to rahm emanuel who said a lot of nothingness, no new ideas and a return to the past. that's what you're hearing from the president this weekend. that's what you just heard from his former chief of staff. how do you see the republican convention and the effect on the race? >> well, first of all, talk about the lot of nothingness and return to the past. he's right at one level. we believe in free enterprise. that's been around a long time. we believe in balancing the budget. that's been around a long time. we believe in work requirement for welfare. that's been around a long time. all those things are better than what obama's done for four years. so, i mean if he wants to set up a test between say, reagan's 1984 campaign where he didn't mention jimmy carter. he didn't explain the failure. he ran -- called leadership that is working, was the title. i mean, i think obama has a hard sell over the next two months. and i think the biggest event next week won't be his speech thursday. it will be the friday morning jobs report. that friday morning jobs report is bad it will ground his speech. we want to talk about eastwood. friday morning jobs report is a lot bigger event next week than
clint eastwood was last week. >> i want to talk about eastwood, too. talk about records. because i asked rahm emanuel, did you see the democrats run very fast from the sense of are you better off now than four years ago. that's where mitt romney wants to keep this rails. >> well, absolutely he does. and i think the speech that we ought to be talking about as well, is in jackson hole, wyoming, where ben bernanke said we're probably going to have to stimulate the economy again, because this unemployment situation is a lot more grave than it's getting the kind of attention that it does. however, to respond to the speaker, even the lead editorial in "the wall street journal" says, by not explaining his agenda, he left an opening for the democrats, speaking of romney, said our point is, not so much to throw cold water on tampa, the afterglow, so much as to point out that sooner or later romney and ryan are going to have to make the case for their policies. my own impression is, david, that out in the country, if anyone's looking to give voice to the frustrations that are there, it would be cuba gooding, and jerry mcguire.
show me the money. people feel a sense of detrayal after the last, not just last four years, but the last twelve years. they feel a sense that they've been buffaloed and they can't believe anything anymore because it always seems to be bait and switch. one quarter it's going to get better. the next quarter it's worse. so i think that's what both campaigns have to address this time. they have to restore the confidence of the american people that they have big ideas, they're going to advance the entire country. >> carly fiorina you hear mitt romney say i'm going to create 12 million new jobs. you have to know there's so many americans out there hearing that, to tom's point are saying, really? you really think you're going to do that? how? because nothing is going to change in washington. >> yes. but let's talk about a very specific difference. i actually find this critique that romney hasn't put forward any specifics wrong. whether it's "the wall street journal" or someone else. and example, president obama talks about an all of the above energy strategy, and then stands in the way of the pipeline. >> the keystone pipeline.
>> the keystone pipeline. romney talks about an all of the above energy policy and lays out crisp specifics. and one of those is to approve immediately the keystone pipeline. most people estimate that would produce over 1 million jobs right there. is 12 million a big number? yes. is it a reasonable and achievable number? if the tax code is dramatically simplified and every rate is lowered, certainly. if the pipeline is approved, certainly. if states are given more control over their energy policy, certainly. president obama, and you're right, rahm emanuel ran as far away from that record as he could. interestingly, when he started talking about the middle class, what did he not talk about? the fact that the middle class has suffered more in the last four years of president obama's administration than in the previous 12. that they don't want to talk about. >> tom? >> well, i think it's unfair to say that romney wasn't specific. he was very specific. he said he's going to balance the budget. cut taxes. raise -- protect medicare and
preserve all 9 the institutions of the federal government that we need from the fbi to the faa. you can't possibly do all of those things. that was my problem. how does the math add up? so to me, he's still at war with math. and i think that's where "the wall street journal" editorial is quite a positive. how are you going to do these things? i believe this time is different. i think the american people really do want a plan. they want one from romney. they want one from obama. and i think they will reward someone who they feel has laid down a credible plan, and please, please, don't tell me it isn't going to hurt. there's no way we get out of this hole without working. they want it to be real. they want it to be fair. the wealthy pay more. everybody pays something. and they want it to be aspirational. they want it to be not just about balancing the budget, but making this country rich. >> doris kearns goodwin there is this appetite for substance for a credible plan but campaigns are still, in many cases, about style over substance. here's the week magazine and on
the cover it says unveiling mitt 2.0 the gop convention's bid to make romney more likable. it got you thinking and us thinking about an old button from a previous campaign and the whole idea of eisenhower. i like ike. did he achieve that? did he come out of the campaign being better liked and seen as more of a credible figure to then get into some of the substance? >> in fact the song was -- ♪ i like ike because ike is easy to like ♪ but what's interesting about the 20th century is before that, likability was not something that you were running around trying to do. it's the media that brought that about. you have to feel comfortable with the person in your living room. that didn't really start until the mass market newspapers, the radio, and the television. and i think the problem is the convention may have achieved making him more likable, may have achieved making him more decent. but the time that was spent on that probably takes away from a how-to plan. and there is something different between likability. likability is the outward manifestation of personality. it's different from whether or not you can get in the framework
of another person, what lincoln had seamlessly with that empathetic understanding of i can understand that person. i know what they're going through. and therefore i'll bring policies that will help them. so yes he may become more likable. but that deeper problem of relationships with the people, and understanding them, which was brought up again and again in the campaign, has not yet been addressed. >> you know what you need at a good convention, what you need is a bit of a surprise. you need something to catch people off guard. maybe a celebrity, like clint eastwood, to come in, and what i was wondering was whether the folks at "the daily show" and jon stewart sat around and looked at each other and said, you've got to be kidding? did they really do this just for us? this is jon stewart's take on it on friday night. >> yes! amidst the tired rhetoric, empty platitudes and overwrought attacks, a fistful of -- in the night it spent 12 minutes on the
most important night of mitt romney's life yelling at a chair! yes. >> you know, david, all i could think of -- all i could think of was after the 1948 election for truman, if there had been at that convention cameras, they had an equal distraction. they had pigeons up in the liberty bell, and they let them loose right before he was supposed to speak and they were so tied up that they went swooping down. they landed on speaker rayburn's head. it was a mess. but we didn't have the media, the twitter then. that would have taken away from truman's speech. just as this took away from romney's decent speech. >> tom, i was sitting next to you. i had the pleasure of seeing you genuinely shocked. >> i immediately sent a message to lorne michaels of "saturday night live" and said, you booked him, right? and he wrote back and he said no, but you'll be seeing him. four years ago the republican convention gave "saturday night live" sarah palin. this time we'll be seeing a lot of clint eastwood, obviously. was it a distraction that we're paying too much attention to?
i rode up in an elevator with a group of michigan delegates right after that and they were very unsettled by his appearance. not just the manner in which he conducted himself, but some of the routines that he had about the president, you want me to tell him to do that to himself, and the next day we're all talking about it. if that had happened, mr. speaker, at a democratic convention in which barbra streisand came out and did something similar to a sitting republican, it would have lit up fox news and rush and everybody else. they would have been outraged by it. so it was something that went awry. how long it takes them to get beyond it, i don't know. but it's going to be in the fabric of this campaign on jon stewart and "saturday night live" for a long, long time. and i think, unfortunately for governor romney, it did take away a little bit from his big moment coming in. because people were still talking about it. >> right. >> you see it differently? >> no, not because i mean i like eastwood. i think it was just on one level fun to have him there and it broke up the norm. but i also think you're right to
say that, really wanted to build the whole evening around mitt romney, to mitt romney, through his speech et cetera and to some extent it was a distraction. i think in the long run it's almost irrelevant. but it's the sort of bump that gives everybody something to tweet about, and it provides us fodder. on the other hand, if you're mitt romney and your choice is to have "saturday night live" decide to pick on clint eastwood or pick on you, i think i give them clint eastwood every night for the rest of the campaign. >> right. although they have this amazing ability to make room for both. tom friedman there's something else that i think a lot of people are taking on about the republicans. whether there was the building of, you know, the myth. factual errors or the myth that somehow president obama failed to achieve change because he simply failed, and it wasn't republicans who stood in the way. and just this morning, there's an interesting set of articles looking at this. i'll just put up the headlines. the huffington post with the headline, who killed the hope? obama's descent from renegade outsider to d.c. establishment man. and also "the washington post,"
who stood in the way of change? the cynicism we're talking about does come back to sort of who lost washington. >> yeah, you know, david, i read all these articles this morning and i find them interesting, because, in one of the critiques i've had of president obama myself is that, one of the ways you get to the white house is you don't understand those republicans are. they have been trying to block us from day one. to which i say, i totally get it. it's, you know, it's obvious to me. i have one question, why are they getting away with it? why is the american public not sharing your view? one of the things i've never understood is why the president never leveraged the american people. the last time he leveraged the american people for his big agenda was the day he got elected. and that has been one of the absolute mysteries to me of this administration. a man who's incredibly articulate, who is a great campaigner, who i think had big ideas, that he was trying to get through, they have a fight, him and boehner, over a grand
bargain, the thing fizzles out. it's he said/she said, and the president never goes to the american people and says here was the grand bargain we were going for. here is why it's so important. here is why it will lead to jobs. here is my friend, warren buffett, who says this is the right thing to do. we never had that. >> but on the other side of that, speaker gingrich, you were quoted in a book talking on election night, hours after the president's inauguration, laying a foundation with other republicans about how to block the president's agenda. that's not exactly a down payment on bipartisanship in washington. >> this is one of the great myths to the city. the president got the stimulus plan he wanted with no elected official having read it. he got every single dollar. every single power. the president ran through obama care. the largest change in the size of government in modern times. got it done. the reason people say he didn't get anything done is it is failing. liberals can't get up and say, gee, we passed everything we wanted to under the democratic house and democratic senate, and
in 2010 we were repudiated and by the way, none of it worked? so it's not -- i don't think you can say the stimulus hasn't worked. i think that work is still good. and we have a new book by michael green wald from tom magazine saying just the opposite and health care hasn't been implemented yet. >> i think in fairness you can't say everything he did -- >> i think what is absolutely fair is to say that president obama, for two years, had a democratic-controlled senate and a democratically controlled house. so it wasn't a question of republican intransigence. they didn't have the power to stand in his way. in 2010, he lost control of the house. he retained control of the senate. it is president obama and his administration who have failed to put forward a budget that even members of their own party can support. what i find so curious about this line of reasoning, from president obama and his administration, is it makes him look small. is he really saying that he is only as powerful as congressman
ryan? i don't think that's what the american people expect of their president. i think they expect their president to lead, to rise above. and he has manifestly not done that. i think what's going to be interesting, whatever you think of the republican convention, i personally think clint eastwood was a mistake before he came out, what i think the republicans did was offer a performance based critique of obama. here's what hasn't worked. here's what we think will work. i think what's going to be interesting about the democratic convention is, is it a performance-based defense? is it an idea-based program going forward? or is it a bunch of adjectives, which is what they've been majoring on recently. adjectives like, mean and out-of-touch, and extreme. usually more adjectives mean less ideas. >> one of the problems i have, in fact, with that, carly, with all due respect, was that for example, congressman ryan overreached a couple of times and got caught in those overreaches. the jansville plant, for example, which was closed in '08, ended up blaming it --
>> he never overreached in his rhetoric. >> and the cuts in medicare, which were very similar to what he had in mind, taking on the president for not invoking simpson-bowles, which i agree with him on that. i think the president made a mistake in not playing up front simpson-bowles. he was a member of simpson-bowles and he voted against him, went on the floor and said it's not a good idea to do it. so i think that's a problem for the republicans. in overreaching. they can make a very good case about the last four years, but when they overreach, then the next day's stories are all about the course corrections that have to be made. and i think it goes to the credibility some. and i think the american people are out there looking to say, i don't know which of these guys to believe. which is going to make those debates all the more important. >> i would have done a lot more willingness to listen to some of the critiques if one speaker, that was their intent. to sit up and say you know, we had a hand in this deficit. we had a president for eight years launch two wars, which is the first time in our history we did not pay for it with a tax increase but with a tax cut.
passed a medicare, you know, benefit bill that we could not afford. we are in this situation, ladies and gentlemen, because we republicans, and democrats, okay, it was not an iota, history started the day obama was elected. >> george you have the only person who talked about bipartisan compromise was chris christie who said we can and we should achieve bipartisan compromise while still adhering to our conservative principles. but no real -- this is what i thought was important. given everything we're talking about, there was no road map for how we get there. because, we've heard about changing the culture in washington from two presidents, both of whom have failed. no road map of actually how you go and do the blocking and tackling of getting there. >> and i'm not sure either candidate knows how to break that bipartisan problem that we have right now. i think, however, there was a road map for obama's acceptance speech in the reference that mr. romney made to neil armstrong. and i think you talked about this earlier. neil armstrong, as the notion of an entrepreneur who got to the
moon, it's just the opposite. it was government investment, and then followed by private innovation. and that's really what's in the stimulus bill. it may be that it didn't produce the jobs that he wanted but it did invest in education, it did invest in energy. and a lot of those projects worked. all we know about solyndra, mr. obama has not made a good apoll jirks not an apology, a defense of what he actually did. what the health care bill did. what the dodd-frank has done and he has to come out full throttle. he doesn't believe in the government investment. he has to defend government and defend investment as a down payment for the future and say if i'm elected it will go much more forward in this direction. but if he doesn't do it, people can't do it for him. it's up to him. >> newt gingrich, you campaigned vigorously for the presidency and for the nomination. you have a real sense of this party. if mitt romney wants to make big deals, where he balances the role of government, maybe even tax increases, more spending, does he now have a vice president if he becomes president in paul ryan who can go to the recalcitrant elements in the republican party and say, look, we've got to do this, i
can keep you in line because we've got to make this big deal? >> well, i'm you know, i was part of a number of big deals in the early 1980s. we got a third of 9 democrats to vote for us in the house, when up was speaker. none of them involved tax increases. let me give you one example. we did an entire morning -- what they had called newt university, on energy. and we had mika brzezinski and joe scarborough come to be students which was a hoot. the next day i did my show and they both said on the air that the briefing they got from harold hamm who developed north dakota changed their entire understanding of american energy policy. they were blown away by the data. why is that important? the number one item on the romney plan for the middle class is a north american energy independence which includes canada and mexico. and if you look at the jump in north dakota from 150 million barrels to 24 billion barrels of reserve, you look, the number two oil producing state in the united states. they just announced they have 42
times, not 42%, natural gas in ohio as they thought they did a year ago. i mean, just the drive of the energy sector under a romney administration generates in royalties, in taxes on new jobs and taxes on profits a major step towards the balanced budget. now you've got to control spending. paul ryan would be about as good a vice president as you could get if you wanted to have somebody. i mean, he will know more about the budget than the director of the budget. >> quick comment, and then i've got to go to a break. >> i'm all for exploiting our natural gas. it's incredible bounty. but if we don't do it as a bridge to a cleaner energy future we're going to burn up, choke up, heat up, smoke up and melt up this planet. far faster than even al gore predicts. >> all right. we're going to take a break here. i want to come back and talk a little bit about a big issue as we go into the democratic convention. gender politics. it was certainly big for the republicans. it will be big for the democrats as well. our political director chalk todd will join us from charlotte our political director chalk todd [ male announcer ]charlotte if you stash tissues
coming up more with our roundtable. we'll take a closer look at one of the key deciders of this election, the woman's vote. of the key deciders of this electio[ female announcer ] how do you define your moment? the blissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice that's also a smart choice. splenda no-calorie sweetener. with the original sugar-like taste you love and trust. splenda makes the moment yours.
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don't you wish she could have been here at this convention? and heard leaders like governor mary fallon, governor nikki haley, governor susannah martinez, senator kelly a yot and secretary of state condoleezza rice. >> more with our panel in just a minute. i want to go to charlotte, site of the democratic national convention. our political director and white house correspondent chuck todd is down there. chuck, you wrote in your first read blog this week if you don't think republicans understand the power of the gender gap, this convention should have made it very clear. a big emphasis there on reaching out to women. you talk this morning about the importance. >> it is, and i can tell you it's the single most important poll number that the romney folks look at when they go into the field. so let me show you sort of where things stood in 2008 versus where they stand now. as you can see in 2008 there was a 13-point gender gap advantage for president obama. here in our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll over mitt romney, the gap is ten points. that's about where the republicans would like things to
be. now let me show this through the battle ground states, in 2008, the president had a larger gap than 13 points in four of these states, nevada, colorado, wisconsin, and new hampshire. in five of our toss-up states he did below that 13-point gap. iowa, ohio, virginia, north carolina and florida. so, what does this mean and how does it feel on the map? i'm going to go to our little battleground map here and as always, follow along up top when i make the state changes there, you'll see those numbers change there. so let's just give the president the states where he did better than that 13-point gap nationally. well then you would give him nevada, you'd give him colorado, wisconsin, and new hampshire. and look where it puts him, david. at 266. he just needs one more state. and i can tell you the one that they think they can exploit the gender gap and gender issues more than any other in the rest of those last five battlegrounds and that is virginia. as you know, david, just watching television in the northern virginia market you see a lot of ads, particularly that
one on planned parenthood, having to use mitt romney's words. they think particularly in virginia, through as well as colorado, that they could exploit the gender gap and get to 270 without winning any other issues. >> chuck todd, thank you very much. carly fiorina, this is so important. whether the issue is the abortion platform, which is ambiguous about exceptions, and the republican platform, whether it is the issue of planned parenthood or todd akin in missouri. this is a real focus. >> yes. it is a real focus. it should be a real focus. i was immensely proud, as a republican woman, to see these awesome women leaders that spoke last week. i mean every single one of them is a bright and shining star in the republican party. and i also must say, as a woman, it makes me sad that we continue to treat women as a special interest group. women are over half of the
population. they are not single issue voters. i know that people feel very strongly about abortion and abortion rights. but to try and pigeonhole women, which i think frankly the democratic party continues to milk this issue, and manipulate women, as single-issue voters and say all you care about is abortion, whatever their views are on abortion, women care about every issue. in the end, the platform, frankly, doesn't mean much. the republican party has pro-choice republicans, just like the democratic party has pro-life democrats. the republican party platform hasn't changed. todd akin should go. his comments were about rape, not about abortion. and the republican party did the right thing in repudiating him almost universally. >> but doris, as many republicans as may agree with carly, the reality is that there are also not just democratic women, there's republican women who not only hear about a todd akin but who hear about the platform on abortion, or hear about some of these other issues, and frankly say, look,
this is just a party that's out of step with where i am. that's the challenge that you see. >> i mean, i think in the end, platform does matter. because words last. the visuals of the convention may have been very successful in portraying diverse women who were republicans, but words last and actions last. and i think what the democrats are going to be able to do in the fall is to somehow talk about votes on bills that had to do with things that women care about. words in that platform. it was interesting to me to watch ann romney's very good speech, i thought, and yet even there, she felt compelled to say, i love women, and talk about her husband as a father and a dad. that is such a contrast. the first woman who ever spoke at a convention in 1940, eleanor roosevelt, never talked about franklin's polio, never talked about him as her husband or as a father. she simply said the president cannot be here because there's too much happening in the world at large right now. they were restless. they wanted him there. and she saved that convention. but it's a whole different change, and it wasn't just ann romney. we changed the whole idea, again, to go back to this
likability, that we have to present them as human beings and we have to focus on the platforms, the substance. that's what this election is about. >> let me show a little bit of ann romney with her own testimonial for her husband before i come to tom on this question. >> a storybook marriage? nope. not at all. what mitt romney and i have is a real marriage. i know this good and decent man for what he is. he's warm and loving and patient. he has tried to live his life with a set of values centered on family, faith and love of one's fellow man. from the time we were first married, i've seen him spend countless hours helping others. i've seen him drop everything to help a friend in trouble. and been there when late-night calls of panic come from a member of our church whose child has been taken to the hospital. >> tom, you made the point this week that we're going to see ann romney, we're going to see michelle obama as two of the most effective figures in this campaign. >> not two of the most, the two most effective campaigners in both campaigns. i don't think there's any
question about that. michelle obama will lead it off next week in charlotte for her husband. i happen to believe, and you know the kind of family in which i have been raised, i'm living with all women, and i have been witness to this both in my wife and my daughters and now my grand daughters, i think this is the century of women. i really do believe that. >> hooray! >> there's going to be more gains made by more women across every part of our lives. cultural, political, and economic. and i think that there is even among some republican women out there, that that party doesn't quite buy into that yet. i mean, there are extraordinary achievements made by nikki haley and condi rice and everyone else. but the real issue on this campaign, for women, will be will social issues, or economic issues, will one trump the other? because the social issues are very important to women. it's their bodies, their lives, they feel that it's not entirely embraced by the republican party. that's my own judgment. >> understanding, mr. speaker, the difference between todd akin talking about rape, versus the
abortion plank in the platform, i understand there is that distinction. nevertheless, the question, social issues versus economic issues as being a big motivator for women is a tough one. >> well, i say to carly, i think todd akin was a choice for people in missouri, and todd akin has publicly apologized. and i think that he's beaten a democratic senator. i think we ought to go on, karl rove said some terrible things on friday for which he has apologized which should remind us. people make mistakes. vice president of the united states -- >> he was joking if he shows up and murdered someone -- >> in the age of gab go giffords is not a joke to say that a member of congress should be murdered. i'm frankly, fed up, with the one-sided bias, okay. let me give you two examples. vice president of the united states goes to a black audience and says if the republicans win, you will be in chains. now, where is the -- how can biden remain as vice president? where is the outrage over overt, deliberate racism. wee talk about people saying
things ought to get off tick e9s. how come biden shouldn't get off the ticket? second example, the democratic party claims abortion is the most extreme plank in the united states. the president voted three times to protect the right of doctors to kill babies who came out of abortion alive. that platform says partial birth abortion, that's a 20% issue. the vast majority of women do not believe the taxpayers should pay to abort a child in the eighth or ninth month. why isn't it shocking that the democrats on the social issue of abortion have taken the most extreme position in this country and they couldn't defend their position for a day if it was made clear and as vivid, as vivid as all the effort is made to paint republicans? >> i'm a planned parenthood democrat on the issue of choice, and i think that that is where the country should be. that is where many, many women in this country are. and i am glad there are people
running for the presidency who will defend that position. period. there's that. end it. >> newt, i guess the question, too, is whether you're seeking even in the akin example of this kind of to seek an equivalency between that and say biden who is using language that republicans have used about, you know, the regulatory shackles, as opposed to making an overt -- >> biden was not talking to a black audience about regulatory shackles. but i'm making -- let me go back to tom's point, so you think it's acceptable to have a party committed to tax-paid abortion in the eighth and ninth month? and you think that's a sustainable position in the united states, that if the media spent as much time on the extremism of the democrats as they spend trying to attack us, you would -- they would not be able to adopt that plank this week. >> i do believe that that's a defensible position but i also believe i'm here as a journalist, i'll let the democratic party -- >> also, doris, part of this is that whatever the speaker's views are, this is not the battle that mitt romney wants to
have. he does not want to get in to this, you know, the democratic plank versus the republican plank, and he certainly is not defending akin. you're the first republican, frankly, i've heard, newt, who said he should stay in the race. the party is very much in a different place than you are. >> no. >> well, they are. they clearly are. >> when a majority of the people of missouri on friday, in the latest poll said he should stay on. the majority of democrats, majority of republicans, majority of independents. he won the primary. for washington figures, the same washington figures who last time wanted to kick off marco rubio for charlie crist who will be in charlotte, i just think people ought to be a little cautious about saying the voters of missouri don't count. >> have you talked to congressman akin? >> no. but akin has publicly apologized. he has said he made a mistake. i'm not trying to spend the whole show on this. i'm just saying there's a very one-sided model here. romney doesn't particularly want this argument but the argument is not going to be avoidable and i'm just making a case, republicans can win, if
republicans communicate the democratic party plank on abortion, republicans actually win. if they communicate on jobs, we win that fight. and if we communicate on -- >> but david, may i just say -- >> yes. >> this is the problem. this is, in my judgment, an extreme example, yet again of gender bias. all we talk about is wa portion when we talk about women. women are leaders in this economy and in our political party. let's start treating them as whole people. >> the debate will continue. we'll leave it there. thank you all very much for being here. i want to mention a couple of programming notes before we go. i'll be joining nbc's prime-time coverage of the democratic national convention in charlotte. it all starts tuesday at 10:00 p.m. eastern, 7:00 pacific on your local nbc station. that is all for today. we'll be back