tv News Nation MSNBC October 1, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
romney needs a great october. our first read team makes this point. take a listen, quote -- >> so, who has the advantage? let's look at our debate scorecard. there will be six segments focusing on domestic policy, our chuck todd reports that there are no time limits. a format that neither of the candidates have experienced. president obama's last debate was against senator john mccain in the fall of 2008. while governor romney has had nearly two dozen debates during that gop primary. the obama campaign says the president's strategy is focused on shorter, crisper answers. the romney strategy, as reported in "the new york times" has the governor memorizing a series of zingers to try to hit the president with. let's bring in our "news nation" political panel for this monday. democratic strategist chris, national radio host michael, and
also an msnbc contributor, and villa skype as you can tell from our shot there, steve, conservative radio show host. you have the visual disadvantage because you're skype. i'll let you start off first here. let me play what paul ryan, completely opposite of what chris christie said this sunday. his assessment of the debates. let's play ryan, please. >> i don't think one event is going to make or break this campaign. look, president obama's a very -- he's a very gifted speaker. this is mitt's first time on this kind of a stage. >> it's no secret, steve, you are conservative republican. you are not a fan of mitt romney. is this a make or break moment for his campaign on wednesday? who's right? chris christie or congressman ryan? >> well, if my head is twice as big as everybody on the panel does that mean i'm twice as smart in that's the question. >> you have to take that up with them. >> i think that they're both right in a way. i don't think one singular event
will testimony the outcome unless either barack obama or mitt romney says there's no soviet domination of eastern europe. i do think one singular event can be a catalyst for an eventual outcome and begin a chain of events that we look back and say that's when the eventual outcome that we saw, eventually began to show itself. i think mitt romney needs this to be that catalyst. >> okay. are you just trying to be right here? when you say they're both right it makes me think you're trying to hedge a bet here. one person said that there is not a make or break moment or they don't expect and that was paul ryan. chris christie said the next day, thursday, will be romney's time to shine because we will all be talking about how he basically hit it out of the park? >> well, you know, chris christie has a babe ruth in him, likes to point to the outfield and put mustache on the hot dog. i don't know that mitt romney is capable of one. but what mitt romney needs to do
is begin a real conversation that's months overdue with the american people about why his presidency would be superior for the next four years and this is his last best chance to open and begin a conversation that's three months overdue. >> so michael, let me bring you in. "the washington post" asked folks who will win the debate. 55% said president obama, 31% said mitt romney. what do you think they're basing that on? >> i think they're basing it on past performance and the observation that they think that president obama is a pretty cool customer in the sort of scenarios. i believe that chris christie has the right answer and the reason i think chris christie has the right answer is that 35 votes, 35 states pardon me, will already be voting by the time that debate begins. so when you look at these polls, tamron, that show you the lay of the land, it's not that's what will happen on november 6th. it's that's what is happening in as many as 35 different states. he needs a game changer.
>> but 37% -- i'm sorry, 52% in likely swing states right now are siding with president obama. romney at 41%. that's an average of the swing states you point out. many states i believe 30 plus, are voting right now. ohio, i believe tomorrow starts its early voting. when you look at a moment that's supposed to be, michael, a game changer, and the candidate is rehearsing zingers, as reported with "the new york times" what could change the whole momentum in 37 days? haven't we heard already a pluts ra of information -- plethora of information from mitt romney, both vague when it comes to tax loopholes and maybe specifics when he talks about the 47%? >> i don't know that zingers necessarily turn it around. john harwood had a great piece in today's "new york times" talking about how rarely does a debate alter the outcome of a presidential race. so, you know, a good one liner may take -- get people to take notice but i don't think it
turns around the momentum. he needs to completely right this ship because ever since the 47%, and the president clinton speech at the debate, the momentum has gone completely against him. >> i'm going to bring in chris. one more time, michael, what can he do that would change? that's what i'm looking for in an answer here. what do you believe specifically he can say at this point? >> if i were advising mitt romney my advice would be to be the man that was a governor, as a moderate of massachusetts and not the incarnation who has sought the presidency trying to appease all the ideologues on the right end of the spectrum. >> that is the opposite of a man you as a conservative does not want to see. you do not want to see massachusetts mitt show up at that debate. that will not bring conservative enthusiasm up a blip. >> had he taken -- he hasn't been a conservative the last five years running. why he didn't win the nomination four years ago, took him so long to win the nomination this time around. i don't think this is about
ideology or anything as much as it pains me to say that, this is a question of capability. mitt romney if i were advising him and his campaign shutters at the thought of that, but if i were advising him i would say you are not on the stage with barack obama, with you don't need more zingers, lloyd bentsen had a zinger and he lost. james stockdale had a zinger and lost. what we need is a vision. communicate to the american people, use this as a platform, it's you and them, one on one and i would act as if barack obama is not there. >> let me bring in chris on that point. let me play, chris, what president obama said just yet in nevada. >> i know folks in the media are speculating already on who's going to have the best zingers. i don't know about that. governor romney is a good debater. i'm just okay. >> we know both sides are playing this au shuck, i'm just okay. i don't know how i'm going to perform. the president -- >> he's just the president. >> he's been working very hard. he may not be rehearsing zingers but we know, for example, just
on the tax loophole question, that paul ryan stumbled and stammered through when on fox news yesterday, there are openings available but the problem, at least that we're hearing, chris, from the obama team, is they're worried his answers will be too long and not crisp and concise. >> well, you know, having watched the president both when he was a candidate for president and as a candidate in the primaries, he's -- he has a tendency to filibuster his answers and kind of -- they kind of meander. i think his debate team is advising correctly to keep things focused and tight if you have a debate format where there's no time limits. the bigger question here is, if the romney campaign is truly focused on zingers, this could be be a debacle. because i can tell you having dundee bait preps, that -- having done debate preps i don't care how gifted they are, to time the moment to do the
zinger. usually they force it and it comes across awkward and flat and a terrible reaction. successful debates and candidates who are successful pushing narrative, they push a vision they're trying to communicate and for both candidates when you look at the fact that there's -- this is going to be the most highly viewed event in this election, you know, if you go in this and try to have this as a zinger contest i think romney will do very poorly. >> let me ask you on specifics all weekend long you had one of the republican talking points on every program it seems, was that the media is pushing mitt romney and paul ryan for specifics on their budget plan, on deficit reduction, but i believe it was haley barbour and others that say the president is not being held to that same standard, the example they bring up is that the president says 1 million jobs -- mitt romney said 12 million and he has not explained but nevertheless, they see this is not equal treatment. when the president is on stage domestic policy, will he be under more fire to talk about
the direction of the country because the responsibility and the onus right now is on him being the incumbent? >> i mean, absolutely. here's the reality. if you look at this in terms of, you know, what i think is going to end up happening in this debate, both candidates are going to force -- are going to be forced to answer the gaps if you will. i think the difference is, romney's gaps are the size of the grand canyon. the president i think has laid out pretty clear specific agenda in terms of where he wants to go. plus he has a record that he can go back to. he has a record he has to defend. but romney's problem is, this incredible reluctance to give any details about the loopholes or whatever it might be in terms of his tax plan or any of his other proposals and that i think creates a moment where the question or the moderator asks, governor romney, tell us your details and he freezes. >> but moments that could be created, a lot of people are talking about the fact that mitt romney wrote in the "wall street journal" on the president's
foreign policy, plans to give an address after the debate that somehow during the debate on domestic policy, mitt romney will find a way to put the president on his heels regarding afghanistan, we've got three more soldiers killed overnight, this morning, as well as the situation in what appears to be the changing information or presentation of the information regarding the attacks in libya? >> well, i think if governor romney goes into this debate and starts asking president obama about foreign policy, i think he will lose an incredible opportunity because this is a debate about domestic policy. shifting the topic doesn't make sense. you're not going to win this election by trying to convince the american voter, the president hasn't done a good job on foreign policy. it's not the record. he's done an incredible job on foreign policy, incredible job in dismantling al qaeda, capturing top operatives, killing bin laden. those are -- that is a tough record for governor romney to kind of attack. >> michael, what do you make of
this strategy before going into this debate on domestic policy, romney with an op-ed on foreign policy, already information he's going to give this big speech when so many times you and i have had strategists as a part of this panel and they say he wants to talk about the economy, not by any stretch of the imagination say what's happening in afghanistan or libya should be diminished but the domestic policy issue, getting people to work, that is supposed to be governor romney's a game. >> but it hasn't played so well particularly in the afternoon math of the 47% comment. i think they sense weakness given what transpired in libya. i heard earlier today, paul ryan talk about how we're pulling out of afghanistan at a time when troops are getting killed. if what he's saying is we should be saying and beefing up our support there, i think that's the wrong conclusions. most americans say let's get the hell out even sooner than we forecast. >> i'm going to ask only steve this question, "the washington
post" debate question, who will win the debate, obama or romney? you only give one choice. >> i think if romney is allowed to play offense he will win. >> that is no the -- not a part the answer. they didn't give people to write a description and explanation. obama, or romney? i won't embarrass you on wednesday if you're wrong. >> my guess is it will be dead even. >> thank you, steve, villa skype and chris. president obama up by 11 points in key swing states. the latest battleground map. plus, why a "new york times" article says as iowa goes, so may romney's chances of winning the white house. steve will return with that beautiful shot villa skype. in the next few hours, elizabeth warren and scott brown are going to face off again, second debate for them. and it comes as a new poll is out showing a mass shift in
massachusetts. and joip our conversation on twitter. you can find us @tamronhall and @newsnation. this is my song pick of the day. [ male announcer ] your mouth is cleanest after a dentist visit. ♪ but between check-ups, it goes through a lot. ♪ tartar builds and that feeling fades. with new listerine® ultraclean™, you can keep it dentist clean. it's the only mouthwash with proven tartar control and new everfresh™ technology for a powerful dentist clean feeling up to 3x longer. ahhhhhhhh. [ male announcer ] keep your mouth dentist clean with new listerine® ultraclean™. power to your mouth™. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation.
early voting begins tomorrow in another battleground state, ohio. and a new poll by the columbus dispatch shows that the president is leading governor romney by nine points. now that's in addition to another poll out today that shows the president up by 11 points in all swing states. what does this mean for the romney campaign? the associated press says it this way, quote, mitt romney's path to victory is narrowing to overtake obama. romney would need to quickly
gain the upper hand in nearly all of the nine states where he and obama are competing hardest. joining me now, nbc's senior political editor mark murray. at the bottom of the screen, mark, we have race still tight, but dot dot dot and the but is these polls are starting to take some form. we know there are a lot of important things that can happen, a jobs report out, these debates, but we're seeing a theme in the swing states? >> we are. we're also seeing a theme, too, tamron, we've seen over the past five or six months now, that is that president obama has so many more paths to 270 electoral votes than mitt romney does. as you mentioned mitt romney pretty much has to run the table among all the battleground states to be able to hit 270 electoral votes. that's according to our nbc battleground map as well as others including the ap just showed there. that is a challenge for mitt romney. i'll add something else, our
nbc/"wall street journal" mar rist poll sur vaied nine battlegrounds and president obama was ahead in all states from two points to seven points. that shows the hurdles that mitt romney has, even though the race is close. >> we talked about early voting and we know as i mentioned ohio and several other states have to correct the math if i'm wrong here, hard to keep up at this point, i think it's around 30, so many states with early voting at this point. this is before the big debate and millions of eyes will be on the debate, whether in its long form or clicking on to clips that will hit the internet within minutes of it coming out of the candidate's mouth? >> that early voting is why this debate is probably more important for mitt romney than the ones we're going to see in the next couple weeks. tamron, the numbers are, there are 32 states as of today that are voting in some form or fashion, absentee or early in person voting. some tomorrcome tomorrow when y ohio and other states, we'll be at 35 states across the country.
more than half the country will be voting. >> it's interesting, mark, i love your analysis and don't want to put you on the spot, but at this point 37 days until election day what has struck you most about the swing states and what we're seeing. >> tamron, what struck me the most, you and i have talked about this the last several months now, how static this race had been so tight, and when we hit the conventions all of a sudden there was a little bounce. it wasn't big. we're seeing president obama ahead in some national polls, maybe two, three, four points, from what we saw from several months ago, you know, sometimes a three to five-point lead is very substantial, even though it's sometimes within the margin of error. >> mark murray, great pleasure having you on. thank you. >> thanks. coming up, we'll get the latest out of afghanistan, where yes, three more american soldiers were killed in attacks. we'll talk about the political war of words that's taking place right now regarding afghanistan and libya. what republicans and democrats are saying today in their heated
exchanges. plus, it's one of the stranger stories of date. lindsey lohan allegedly attacked by a gop congressional aide, a former aide. what police are saying happened in this hotel room. it is just one of the things we thought you should know. 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 in communities across the country.
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those are new comments from congressman ryan a couple house ago. in a new interview the u.s. commander in afghanistan says he's outraged by the recent surge and insider attacks. >> i'm mad as hell about them to be honest with you. we're going to get after this. it reverberates everywhere across the united states. we're willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. we're not willing to be murdered for it. >> nbc's atia abawi joins us live from the afghan capital of kabul. the back and forth of the politics of the war comes amid a new attack, three more american soldiers killed.
>> that's right, tamron. three more u.s. service members were killed as well as 12 afghans that includes afghan service members and civilians in eastern afghan's khost province. apparently they were finishing up a joint u.s./afghan patrol when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives. the taliban did claim responsibility for that attack, but that also followed another deadly weekend where two more americans were killed including an american service member and an american civilian contractor that was training afghan security forces at a checkpoint in the province west of kabul. another insider attack when an afghan soldier approached them, pulled his weapon out and killed them. the americans fired back killing the assailant but also two more afghan soldiers. this eroding the trust between the u.s. and afghan security forces here. already this year alone, 31 americans have died because of these insider attacks. tamron? >> atia abawi, thank you very
much. nbc news special coverage of the crisis in the middle east is called "at the brink" and it continues tonight on nbc nightly news and all the platforms of nbc including msnbc. still ahead, i'll talk to a political rhetoric expert about how the words, tone, answers at the debate could decide the winner and loser. he says romney needs to project a, quote, maturity that allows him to be presidential. plus, governor christie says the whole race will be turned upside down come thursday morning. do you agree with governor christie? it is our gut check. find behind the scenes picture including a dance party we had right before the show. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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day and yesterday, swirling around of what the candidates should do. loosen up, sfudsy up, be aggressive, don't overdo it, admit mistakes, project confidence, as emotion, use humor. both camps continue to lower expectations for their candidate while trying to raise them for the other. >> we've expected all along that governor romney will have a good night. he's prepared more than any candidate in history and shown himself to be a very good debater for the years. >> i think for us to raise the expectation he's got to do something spectacular, those things don't happen in debates anymore, there's a spectacular event or gaffe. they're too well rehearsed. >> mitt will be out there and aggressive as all get out. joining me via skype to talk about the strategy, wayne, a professor of political rhetoric in washington university and st. louis the author of "union of words a history of presidential eloquence". thank you for your time. senator mccain says the folks
are too rehearsed these days and at the end of the comment he says what do i know, i lost the debate he said in humor, of course. the notion that they're so rehearsed with the answers that there's no chance for any kind of big moment? >> i think that's right, although it's still the case that we learn a good deal from the debates and some unscripted moments, i think, but generally what temperament of the candidate is, how they compare to one another, this is the first time we've seen them side by side and in the moments when they either are [ inaudible ] off script or reveal themselves in one way or another we get some sense of how they think, not just what they think. that's important too. >> looking at their prior debates, governor romney was on the stage with other candidates. the president had the one on one with john mccain in his last debates. is there any similarity before we talk about the differences, there any similarity in their style that you've noted? >> well, i think both of them in
the past have benefited by the very fact that the people they were debating with often seen themselves to be a little overroute, to seem to be caught up in things and not quite under control. and i think the test tonight is, that both of them will face somebody that's usually pretty controlled in the way they come at things. the last time that president obama was in debates like this, it was his confidence, his -- in a sense quiet reserve in some ways in contrast to an excitability that we saw in mccain. other than the absence of emotion can be very devastating as it with you to dukakis in the debate against bush. part is how the real character comes through in terms of suggesting their ability to be presidential. >> and what do you -- >> shown to be. >> what do you see as the major difference in the two men that could be that revealing or provide that revealing moment that you point out that perhaps will make a difference?
>> well, part of the problem that the challenger has in this instance is we already have a sense of the president as president. the challenger has to come across as presidential in a moment in which he's being pushed to do something dramatic and powerful. i think always the problem of, for governor romney in those moments, has been a tendency to try too hard. that's why i think people are saying relax, calm down, take it easy. you're in the going to do it all at once if you do it you're going to build momentum in this debate and add to it in subsequent stages of the campaign. >> we know at least in "the new york times" reports governor romney has been told or memorizing these zingers quickly, do -- does that kind of approach work or not? >> i think it doesn't work very well. i think both the memorization and the zinger is a misleading process. >> wayne phils, thank you for your analysis. we appreciate it. thanks, professor. and tonight another big debate could shift the political
balance in washington, this massachusetts, where elizabeth warren will face senator scott brown in their second televised debate. new "boston globe" poll taken since the last debate has warren now leading scott brown by five points. "boston globe" politics reporter noah joins me now. great pleasure having you on. let's talk about it. a shift for your paper and what we saw in the prior -- may the last poll was taken. >> >> that's right. yeah. late may we had him up by two. this one she's up by five. it's within the margin of error. our poll showed still almost 20% undecided voters. it's easily within both candidate's grasp. seven of the nine polls taken in september show her with a small lead. the conventional wisdom she has a small edge. >> is the wisdom that this change happened as a result of the last debate? what was the money maker here? was it the dnc convention? what was it?
>> i think there could have been, of course, any number of factors but the dnc seemed big n part because she spoke at it but maybe in larger part because it started to politicize the atmosphere and she's really counting on obama voters and traditional democrats coming out for her because that's where she's got the numerical advantage in the state. she needs people to remember they usually vote democrat. >> you talk about politicizing this one. a headline in "the daily beast" that says scott brown/elizabeth warren contest in massachusetts, ugliest senate race, that is not just a reference to the brown aides who were caught making an offensive gesture, i believe it was last week that happened? >> that was a sort of flashpoint. our poll i'm not sure fully reflected that. but it's definitely gotten a lot of people talking about the native american issue. the first time that it sort of seemed to backfire on brown because it showed it in a way that a lot of people thought was
offensive, some aides, republican and brown staff aides, doing the tomahawk chop during a confrontation with warren aides outside a bar. >> we'll see what happens in the big debate tonight. a hot one. great pleasure having you on again. now to the battle for iowa where polls have president obama leading in the first swing state to begin early voting. congressman paul ryan is hoping to turn the tide with a two-day iowa bus tour that kicks off in buke tonight. "the new york times" with a new article that says as i ca goes so may go romney's chances. nate silver writes -- >> let's bring in steve days's conservative radio talk show host in iowa, he is the king of conservative radio in iowa. thanks for joining me again. let me ask you, i have to always remind people, you fought romney
tooth and nail in iowa, you really did not want him to -- to see him as the party's nominee. why is he losing in that state according to the new polls to president obama? >> for all the reasons he lost the two iowa caucuses. he's not offering the country a stark difference in terms of its governing vision compared to the president. in fact, the president's the one doing a better job of defining mitt romney as a conservative than mitt romney is. he's taking issues off the table and he's removing reasons for people to vote for him. i think that's why he's behind right now. >> let me play -- we said that congressman ryan is on the bus tour in iowa. want to play this moment from fox news where he appeared a little put off by the push from chris wallace, let me play it. >> you're the master of the budget, so briefly let's go through the plan. the obama camp says independent groups say if you cut those tax rates for everybody 20%, it costs $5 trillion over ten
years. true? >> not in the least bit true. look, this just goes to show if you tore tour statistics enough they'll confess to what you want them to confess to. >> how much would it cost? >> it's revenue neutral. it's -- >> no. i'm just talking about the cuts. we'll get to the deductions. the cut in tax rates. >> the cut in tax rates is lower all american tax rates by 20%. >> how much does that cost? >> it's revenue neutral. >> it's not revenue neutral unless you take away the deductions. we're going to get to that. >> lowering tax rates by broadening the tax base works. and you can -- >> but you haven't given me the math. >> well, i don't have the time -- it would take me too long to go through all of the math. >> what's your response to that answer, steve, just the whole series of back and forth there? >> i think that really that's the wrong argument to have if you're paul ryan. >> what do you mean that's the wrong argument? he's the numbers guy. he's the fiscal responsible face of the republican party, what
other -- is he supposed to be on the front line for foreign policy? this was supposed to be his game. why is that the wrong argument? >> i didn't say it was the wrong issue. i said the wrong argument. those are two different things. >> okay. >> to me he's accepting the premise of the questions that taxing and spending and how big the government is and the role of the individual to the government is nothing other than a mathematical equation as opposed to what the scheme of the u.s. constitution is, which is limiting the jurisdiction of the government to maximize the freedom of the individual. i think -- >> telling me math is irrelevant to this? >> what's that? >> math is irrelevant to this issue? >> i'm saying that -- >> explaining -- go ahead. >> i'm not saying math is irrelevant. if the argument is only about math you're going to lose people. this comes down to what we talked about a little while on the program, what is your vision? governing vision for the country? you offer a governing vision for the country and then you tell people how you're going to specifically do it. he's accepting the premise of
wongish questions that the vast majority of the american people don't understand and probably don't want to understand because it reminds them of a scene from the movie" dave." is the government too big or not? are taxes too high or not? >> or how about this one, do you need revenue or not? what about that one? that doesn't mean anything? >> well, that's the conversation that democrats want to have. >> but don't you think that's the conversation that american people want -- if you tell me you want to look at the deficit and you want to pay our debt for wars, for example, that were not paid for -- as i understand it when you pay for medicare and medicaid and some of the interests, everything else is paid for by loans. from china. if you want to talk about the numbers here, you have to talk about how to pay your bill. that's like having a conversation with your spouse, who i know and love, and you're going to talk around it but you're not going to look at the checkbook. that would be bologna and she wouldn't buy it either. >> in fact, you gave the answer
paul ryan should have gave to chris wallace, tamron. >> really. >> that's what he should have said to chris wallace. we cannot afford to keep governing ourselves like this. bravo. in fact, we should call the rnc, they may have an opening at the rate we're going they're going to have openings come november 7th. >> i'm not up for hire, but thank you very much. great pleasure. thank you. up next, new reports say romney's advisers are divided over whether to attack president obama over libya or stay focused on the economy? this as the obama administration is still under fire over its response to the deadly attacks in libya and over security concerns at the consulate even before the attack. former state department official joel ruben will join me live. first, there's a lot going on today. here are things we thought you should know. florida's republican party is filing an a elections fraud complaint after finding suspicious voter forms in even more counties in the state. as many as ten is the new number. the forms are tied to the strategic allied consulting, a
firm hired by the republican party in that state to register voters. the firm has been fired. it has also done voter drives in colorado, nevada, north carolina and virginia. the white house says a cyber attack on its computer system never posed any threat to the classified information. officials say the attack was ultimately foiled and no data was stolen. new york city police dropped assault charges against a congressional aide who's accused of getting into a fight with lindsay lohan at a manhattan hotel. 25-year-old christian labell worked for congressman from illinois. police say lohan confronted him after she saw pictures of herself on his cell phone. he told police she attacked her to get his phone back. he does not condone labell's actions. california governor's arnold schwarzenegger book "total recall" goes on sale today. last night on "60 minutes" he talked about his affairs during
his marriage to maria shriver. >> the thing that meant the most to me fell apart because of my doing. that is something that i will always look back and say, how could you have done that. >> the terminator also talked about the young son that he had with the family's maid. he says he cares for the child financially as well as his mother. those are the things we thought you should know. rick! wow, you look terrific! [ female announcer ] crest 3d white glamorous white toothpaste. removes up to 90% of surface stains in just 5 days. crest glamorous white toothpaste. for a smile so white, you won't just be the ex-girlfriend. you'll be the one that got away.
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was distributed. this president's record on terrorism takes a back seat to no one. >> in the meantime "the wall street journal" op-ed romney wrote -- joining me live now former state department middle east officer joel ruben. joel, first of all, is it a mistake to group these things. you have the investigation going on in libya as to what happened there, then you have paul ryan today going in on the president regarding afghanistan and the number of troops on the ground. it sounds as if they're trying to put all these things in a big, you know, pot hoping that something picks up steam. >> thanks for having me, tamron. it does feel like things -- issues are being thrown against the wall and they want to see what sticks. this issue of politicizing the murder of an american ambassador
abroad is a new low. it's not something that should be done. when mitt romney came out early before the president to announce his view that it was america that was responsible for this killing, that went too far. clearly republicans are not comfortable even george will has said that a president romney would not have prevented the violence in the middle east that we saw. this is a mixed bag. it's dangerous territory to enter. >> let me play what senator john mccain said on msnbc. can we play it, please? >> the white house line is, you've heard the president say, osama bin laden is dead, al qaeda is done, everything is fine in the middle east. this, obviously, contradicts these series of events contradicts that campaign slogan. >> so senator mccain saying again reiterating what republicans have said this is a campaign slogan. let me tighten in on libya. what are the fair questions at this point regarding what happened there? we saw david plouffe with david gregory yesterday. what are the fair questions?
>> it's fair to understand exactly what the threat assessment was before the attack and to understand what preparations were made and these are the kinds of questions that should be asked, the bipartisan senate foreign relations committee letter from late last week came out with that type of request and the intelligence community, the state department, they are certainly most interested in ensuring that nothing like this happens again. so that needs to be understood. apparently there was an effective rebuff to an attack in june by local forces. >> correct. >> that gave confidence to the americans. that may have been overconfidence. we'll have to see what happens. >> but based on the information available right now, you're saying it may have been overconfidence, it seems that at least the evidence is pointing to the fact that it was hence the reasons the americans are -- a part of the reason lives were lost. this -- the main question so many people have at this point, joel, is why wasn't security tighter at that consulate? >> and that is the question that needs to be answered.
ambassador tom pickering is leading a group that secretary clinton has called on to get to the bottom of this. nobody again has a more of an interest in resolving this issue to protect the future ambassadors and current ambassadors from threats like this than the state department and the u.s. government and it's going to be looked at and certainly chris stevens who is out there also was reading the assessments and understanding the threats he knew that this was a difficult environment to operate in as well. it's a horrible tragedy that took place and something that we hope and pray will never happen again but to make political hay and gain out of it, it really doesn't help support the efforts of our people. >> quickly i have to ask you, were you disappointed in the handling of -- ambassador rice came out with the information she had available at the time, congressman king of new york wanting her to resign, paul ryan said in a new interview he would not go that far. again, a lot of moving parts. were you disappointed in how this at least was handled if there is, in fact, now an opening for political gain or
genuine questions here? >> well, i think that the attempt to make political gain out of this came forward before any facts were known. it's clear this is a strategy that's being pur sisued by the romney team and unfortunately they're continuing to look for more reasons to make an argument that president obama's foreign policy, which is hands down much more popular than any recent president in time, that foreign policy is not being effective and the president has a clear advantage in the campaign on this issue. >> sw joel ruben thank you for your time. thank you. >> the supreme court begins a new term today and it tops our look at stories around the news nation. the nation's highest court is taking on the high profile issues among them affirmative action in school admissions process, the voting rights act of 1965 and federal recognition of same-sex marriage. next week the supreme court is expected to hear arguments on the affirmative action case which is based on a texas student's claim that she was denied admission to the university of texas because she's white. and police in tennessee are
searching for two missing children, a 9-year-old and her 7-year-old brother. both children mysteriously vanished after their grandparents home was burned to the ground south of nashville last sunday. they were originally presumed dead in the fire. police issued an amber alert. no leads. and our "news nation" gut check is up next. all based on chris christie's prediction for thursday. we'll be right back. armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how about...by the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan,
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for the "news nation" gut check. while both candidates and their supporters have been trying to lower expectations for wednesday's debate earlier chris christie went all babe ruth on us. >> governor romney's going to lay out his vision for a better and greater america for greater opportunity for all of our citizens and i think that's when you're going to see this race really start to tighten and then move in governor romney's direction. come thursday morning the entire narrative of this race will change.
>> come thursday. so what does your gut tell you? do you agree with chris christie that the presidential debate is a game changer? go to facebook.com/newsnation to cast your vote. that does it for this edition of "news nation." i'm tamron hall. "the cycle" is up next. a little bit more vanilla? this is great! [ male announcer ] at humana, we believe there's never been a better time to share your passions... because the results... are you having fun doing this? yeah. that's a very nice cake! [ male announcer ] well, you can't beat them. [ giggles ] ohh! you got something huh? whoa... [ male announcer ] humana understands the value of spending time together that's a lot of work getting that one in! let's go see the birdies. [ male announcer ] one on one, sharing what you know. let's do it grandpa. that's why humana agents will sit down with you, to listen and understand what's important to you. it's how we help you choose the right humana medicare plan for you. because when your medicare is taken care of, you can spend more time sharing your passions. wow. [ giggles ]
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[ horn honks ] hey, honey. do we have life insurance? ♪ [ male announcer ] or visit fidelitylife.com to secure your family's future today. i'm toure. two days until the first debate, 36 until election day, paul ryan says he doesn't have enough time to explain romney's budget plan. bet he'll have time after november 6th. >> a massachusetts multimillion arianna with a reputation of an out of [ inaudible ] flip flopper. i'm not talking about mitt romney. >> some romney advisers argue the president has handed them a political gift a month before the election. >> i'm krystal ball. the candidate versus the campaign. which is more important on election day? >> all that plus i'll tell you how the debates are like chocolate cake. you're "the cycle" for monday and yes, it's october 1st.