tv Politics Nation MSNBC October 26, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
get people to vote along racial lines? romney did this himself when he said romney was going after the welfare vote which, by the way, he called barack obama's political base. nice work, guys. real american of you. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. i'm live tonight in atlanta. there are 11 days until election day and here is where the polls stand. president obama is polling at 50.2 of the national vote while governor romney gets 39%. the tim 49%. the president would win 294 electoral votes if the election were today, romney would get 244 electoral votes. 270 are needed to win the white house. and as of tonight, 10.2 million
people have already voted. that includes nearly a million people just in ohio alone. more on that later. but we start with tonight's lead. race to the bottom. today the romney campaign is refusing to apologize for john sununu. >> when you take a look at colin powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring president obama. >> what reason would that snb. >> well, i applaud collin for standing with him. >> colin powell endorsed the president because they are both
black? really? the president himself weighed in on it today. >> any suggestion that general powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything than what he thought was what's going to be best for america doesn't make much sense. >> no, it doesn't make much sense. sununu tried to walk back his statements by saying, colin powell is a friend and i respect the endorsement decision he made and do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies. but the romney co-chairman has been making racial statements for months. >> the president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no idea how the american economy functions. and i wish this president would learn how to be an american.
>> he has no idea how the american system functions and we shouldn't be surprised about that because he spent his early years in hawaii smoking something, spent the next seven years in indonesia. >> what people saw last night i think is a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is. >> he's lazy and disengaged. >> he has been lazy and disengaged and has no idea, not only of his own policies but has no idea of what mitt romney's real policies are. when you're not that bright, you can't get better prepared. >> not american, lazy, not that bright? these kinds of attacks used to come from the friends of the gop but now they are coming from the top of the romney campaign. one of romney's sons made a birther joke last year while talking why his father wouldn't release his tax returns. >> i heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as president obama releases his
grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, then maybe he'd do it. >> that was not my dad who said that. >> no. his dad didn't say that. his dad said this. >> i was born at harper hospital. no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. they know that this was the place that we were born and raised. >> the romney campaign later said that he was joking, which is beside the point. but this is the point. for too long, the mainstream of the republican party has this garbage, this birther questioning patriotism, questions about food stamps and other racial undertones. we saw it this week when sarah palin wrote that the president's quote shuck and jive shtick must end. shuck and jive, an offensive
term from slavery. and in atlanta tonight shall not far from where i'm sitting, this billboard was on the side of a highway until just hours ago because the president, conrad, obama this election should be about policies and ideas but instead they are going right back to the old playbook. joining me now, melissa harris-perry, and dana milbank, columnist for "the washington post." thank you both for being here tonight these kinds of comment have happened so often from the romney campaign, don't you think that it's a pattern or do you think it's just an accident? >> no, of course it's a pattern. let's be very clear. you know, there's a whole bunch of different things going on here. in fact, that last image you
showed of a matchup of saying conrad and having an image of adolph hitler and an image of the soviet image, like it's an indication of how mashed up it all is. clearly they don't even know the difference between communism and totalarism, the professor in me wants to scream. what we're looking at is a circumstance where in an attempt to move the conversation away from the fact that governor romney does not have a consistent set of plans, policies, ideas, or ideology, he has been all over the map, he has said whatever he thought he needed to say, to win whatever vote he needed to do, to remove it from that, they are focusing exclusively on the one thing that they believe they can beat president obama on. not ideas, not policies, but race. they believe if they can stoke a kind of racial fire, that this will be enough to beat the
president. >> professor, you may not scream but the preacher in me is screaming. dana, isn't it a risky strategy? i mean, they are playing to racial codes, they are playing to red scare conrad, they are playing the hitler which is absurd. hitler was anti-black. isn't it risky that they are playing where it's no longer in the mind of american electorate? >> reverend wind, it's a very cynical strategy and it's a typical white voter is racist. i don't think that's a safe assumption. i don't think you can generalize overall that is necessarily each part of this as a strategy. for example, john sununu says all kinds of stupid things that don't have to do with race. now, the fact that he's had a whole series of things raises questions and when you put it together with all of the other
things. you have a couple things going on here. one is sort of the primal screen going on that is this sort of racist sentiment that you see in the bulletin in the billboard. that does not seem to be a strategy that will work because for every one of those that you're going to get, you're going to offend some other soccer mom who is not interested in racial politics. >> melissa, the new york times reported that the campaign was going to adopt a harder edge by making an appeal to white working class voters and persuade them that he is the best answer to their economic frustrations. the times wrote this in august. now, are they using race to appeal? because clearly he's not laid out an economic plan that would
appeal to them and clearly if the record is unloaded or downloaded to them, his statements about the auto industry that affects ohio, white voters is problematic to say the least. >> look, dana's point is so well taken. this is an assumption about how white working class voters will behave and what is odd about it is that this is the re-election of america's first black president. voters already noticed that he was black four years ago and continuously mentioning that he is black skews back the other way. someone like sununu, saying that someone like colin powell enjoys robust and support across part of the lines, across racial lines, to say that colin powell is sort of operating on a blanketed race policy that colin powell of all people basically
is endorsing president obama because he warrants to keep the black guy in office is so absurd that it appears that the romney campaign is reaching at straws and when they do that, when they start grasping in that way, that turns off voters. >> i think colin powell has been black over 60 years but i don't think he's had a pattern of only endorsing black candidates. i can't think of him doing that in his career. and i think clearly he's been a republican. but there is a long history here. let's just not act like this is somewhere out of the clear blue. look at the facts. in '68, richard nixon's southern strategy used racially strong language to woe voters and in '76, a so-called welfare queen
in an effort to scare white voters and george h. be w. bush made willy horton an integral partner. there is campaigns on the republican side using race. i think they have moved beyond that but there are some elements that this could still appeal to. let's not act like this is out of know where dana? >> the southern strategy, in essence, worked. there is the solid south now for the republicans. so there's no more reason to pursue that avenue. i think what you have happening here is, well, first of all, african-americans now 96% for the president but more importantly as an electoral matter, they seem to have managed to offend latinos almost as much. that's damaging in this campaign. that's going to be devastating in four years and eight years and beyond if all they are left with is white men in the republican party and it's not going to win elections for you. >> isn't it more important, melissa, when you look at the
sense of diversity and the quest for inclusion in this country of whites, blacks, latinos, guys gays, lesbians, straights, that the method that we're moving toward is an electorate that they are away from in this kind of strategy? >> the demographic diversity, so what you show there is completely accurate but this electorate is a different one. it's part of why we've seen intense voter suppression effort, because the idea is, if you can shrink that electorate out, push out young voters as the voter suppression efforts are doing, if you can push them out, then you may get exactly the kind of electorate where the gop could win. but more than that -- and this is critically important, white americans no longer like the idea, for the most part, of being in a party that is lilly white and associated with racial angst and racism.
so it's not just that you push out people of color. you actually also end up pushing out a majority of white voters, especially young white voters who say that is not the kind of party i want to be a part of. >> that's right. african-american and young voters. cut off melissa's mike. thank you for your time tonight. please tune in to melissa's show every saturday and sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern right here on msnbc. coming up, governor romney's standing by the rape pregnancy is god's will candidate and it's exposing how serious this election is. some of mitt romney's dishonesty is actually funny. but what he said in ohio is flat out wrong. and it needs to be addressed. plus, president obama's marathon blitz is over but he's heading right back out on the road with the very, very big stop. all of that.
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tastes like a fancy eight dollar hot dog." download zeebox free, and say "woah" every time you watch tv. it's three days since richard mourdock made his rape is god's will comments. the obama campaign launched a website counting the days and hours since romney refused to renounce his endorsement. governor romney is caught in a terrible bind and there's no way. is he the candidate of the party driven to the right. 12 republican senate candidates agree with mourdock that the government should force a woman to have a rapist's baby against his will. paul ryan believes the same thing. this is why he can't denounce
mourdock. this is why an ad is still running in indiana. romney's senior aides says they haven't asked him to have it pulled because, quote, that's his decision. that's mourdock's decision? what about the man trying to be the leader of the free world? doesn't he have anything to say? but when it comes down to oh it, it's not these 13 people we need to worry about. it's these nine people, the nine justices of u.s. supreme court. for all of the mystery about mitt romney, there's no mystery on this one. governor romney said it himself. >> i hope to appoint justices to the supreme court that will follow the constitution and it would be my premference that thy reverse roe v. wade. >> he's been very clear on where he stands on women's rights to choose and here is the president. >> when it comes to reproductive
issues, governor romney on all of these fronts disagrees. he wants to dep fund planned parenthood and overturn roe v. wade. i think this is a profound mistake. >> this is why it's so serious. roe versus wade hangs in the balance. joining me is irin carmon and laura bass set who covers women's issues for t"the huffington post". irin, let me start with you. do you think this presents a serious challenge to mitt romney appearing to look moderate on the issue of abortion? >> it's incredible because the party is so dominated like todd akin, richard mourdock. these are the people who are really running these days.
they don't like rape exceptions but they are scared of the lack of compassion to rape victims so the anti-choice has been trying to look like they are compassionate to women that are raped or in cases of incest so they have a situation where they have moved too far, too fast. the american public are saying, who are these guys and romney is stuck trying to seem like he's moderate even though at the same time he's trying to defund planned parenthood, take away access to birth control and he would put in the mechanisms to totally outlaw abortion. >> laura, you've been on women's issues or a long time. is this a real danger to mitt romney as he has tried to project this moderate mitt, his long-standing views of who he would put on the supreme court
when it comes to women's rights to choose? >> yes, everybody knows that he's been all over the map. in 2002 he was pro choice, attending planned parenthood fund-raisers and then doing the primaries he was super conservative. he was saying that he supported a personhood amendment. he wanted to completely defund planned parenthood. and he wants to over turn roe v. wade and it's absolutely not going well for him. he's forced to choose, in this case, protecting a rape victim's right to choose, not to continue with her pregnancy or supporting a candidate that would maintain control of the house or the senate. obviously n. this case, he's choosing politics over women's health. >> now, irin, let's look at this very carefully so people understand this. let's look at the court itself. there are four supreme court justices who could theoretically retire because of their age.
justice ginsburg is 79 years old. justice scalia is 76. justice kennedy is also 76. justice breyer is 74. now, we all know who mr. romney likes. how could their replacements change the future for women in this country? >> replacing any of the liberal justices would be catastrophic for women rights, civil rights, regulation, for the social safety net and you cannot underestimate how much how much of a change it would be. they have been preparing for this for a long time. they have spent the last few years passing the pro-choice that they want to challenge and use it as a vehicle to get up to the supreme court but even take the one that we've got, which is, with the lead over placing sandra day o'connor is not as sympathetic to abortion rights as it used to be and they would like to lay the groundwork to
bit by bit chip away at roe v. wade which to be catastrophic to women, particularly marginalized women, particularly low-income women. >> now, vice president biden came out swinging about mr. romney not denouncing mourdock. laura, listen to this and give me your reaction. >> they can't even get up the gumption to condemn the statements made by two of their candidates for the united states senate. it's not enough to tell me, you don't agree. it's having the courage to stand up and say what they said was wrong, simply wrong. >> laura? >> absolutely. you know, i think that it's not a liberal thing to say that what mourdock said and what he believes about rape victims is extreme. it is extreme compared to the majority of americans. even 75% of republicans believe
that rape victims should have the option to end their pregnancies. and so for mitt romney to be afraid to come out and say what this guy said is wrong and i won't stand for it, i think it shows a real lack of leadership. >> now, let's remember now -- let's leave mourdock out there by himself. because i think the mourdock issue really exposes who romney and ryan are. look at their extreme policies on women's issues. they all want to overturn roe versus wade. they would support certain kinds of birth control. they want to defund planned parenthood. they oppose contraception coverage. irin, they are in lock step. romney, ryan, murdoch. >> they absolutely are. and i think what is happening, why the president and vice president biden are driving this point home, people are starting to realize that all of these things are connected, whether
it's curtailing women's access to birth control, whether it's banning abortion, that this is all about women and curtailing our freedoms and limiting our reproductive freedom and not just about saving babies or whatever they say it's been about. it's about women's right to participate in society. >> irin carmon and laura bass set, thanks to both of you for joining us this evening. both of you have a good weekend. >> thank you, you too. >> thank you. coming up, governor romney's been talking a big game all week. but wait until you hear what one of his closest advisers is saying. president obama: there's just no quit in america...
and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now. here's my plan for the next four years: making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's... and decide which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president... and i'm asking for your vote... so together, we can keep moving america forward.
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didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. . . . pchz. just 11 days to go and there's no question that there's a tight race between president obama and mitt romney. but in some key battlegrounds, one side has a clear advantage. a brand new poller in ohio shows president obama leading by four points and one top romney surrogate, ohio senator rob portman, says ohio is is all. >> if we don't win ohio, it's tough to see us winning the
election. it's possible but it's difficult. ohio becomes a key he will event to actually winning the election. >> that's assessment from the romney folks with polls showing him down in ohio. in fact, president obama is leading in 7 out of 11 toss out states. romney old leads in four and those four aren't enough for him to win the presidency. today the las vegas sun endorsed president obama and slammed romney. the paper says, quote, after studying the campaign, we're not sure who mitt romney really is. or what he really stands for. romney has been called a flip-flopper but his changes over the past year would make a chameleon blush. can you really trust mitt romney? it's a point the president has been making on the campaign trail. >> there's no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. trust matters.
>> when you elect a president, you're counting on somebody that you can really trust. >> you know me. you know what i mean and i mean what i say. >> joining me is krystal ball and jonathan capeheart. thank you both for being here. >> krystal, it's close but the battleground favors the president, right? >> that's exactly right. the president still has a significant lead in ohio. if romney were to have another credible path through wisconsin, another state where the president continues to hold a lead. without winning either one of those two, it is very difficult, near impossible for romney to get there. so as much as the national polls
have certainly tightened and in the real clear politics average romney has a slight lead in those key battleground states, the president still has many more paths to get to 270 than romney does. >> now, jonathan, republicans are nervous. here's what national journal reports. romney and the republican national committee operatives won't say it publicly but concede that nevada is out of reach largely because of hispanic voters and obama's superior ground operations. iowa remains fluid but has tilted towards obama in the past two weeks. so with all of the tightening of the national polls, on the ground and battlegrounds, it seems like they are getting nervous with a lot of justification, jonathan. >> well, as both sides have known all along, as we have known all along, it's going to be about the ground game, both
in the early voting states such as ohio but also on election day. getting those people out to the polls, early vote or get to the polls on november 6th and that's something that the obama campaign has been focused on from minute one and also focused on getting out their coalition of voters. women, people of color, african-americans in particular, latinos in particular, getting them out there in the numbers that they voted in 2008, get them to do that again in 2012. >> now, krystal, the obama campaign is getting very specific about that. quote, after using their huge database increased registration among favorable voting groups in crucial states, they are now pinpointing people who is on absentee ballots and need a nudge to send them or sporadic voter who is indicated that they would vote for the president but may need to be pushed to show up
at their polling place. this is real specific campaigning, krystal? >> very smart. the erm voting numbers are high but democrats are just pushing people who would have otherwise pushed -- voted on election day to vote earlier. that is not the case. typically people who vote early are a different set of voters. they are going after people who you would call sporadic voters who, in a lot of the polls, won't even show up in the likely voter model. they show up as registered voters but when you narrow it down t. will be unlikely for them to show up there. and going back to the points that jonathan made and the coalition that he's been assembling and also about this enthusiasm gap, there's new numbers in georgia which, of course, is not a swing state or battleground state but showing african-american turnout in georgia is on pace to be at record levels, historic record levels. so very encouraging that the president's base seems to be turning out. >> now, on the other side of
this, jonathan, politico is reporting that the romney campaign is about to unleash billions in ad spending. media markets are in the pipeline. these ads will be focused on ceiling the deal in north carolina, virginia, where romney has gained momentum after the debates and is breaking obama's hold in midwestern states. ohio, wisconsin, and colorado. do you think this can move the dial for mr. romney? >> well, it depends on who is watchinging those ads and whether, indeed, they are persuadable. they are going after people who voted for president obama in 2008 and are still on the fence to give them the nod again. they will probably be amenable to a message that would make them comfortable with mitt
romney. he needs virginia, north carolina, he needs florida, and he definitely needs ohio if he wants to win the presidency. but as krystal said earlier, the president has more avenues so every dollar he spent will be a dollar well spent. >> president obama and president clinton will campaign together this coming monday in orlando, florida, youngstown, ohio, and prince william county virginia. that's an effective duo, wouldn't you say? >> i would say so. prince william county is my old neck of the woods. those are key areas in florida that they think is in play. it's going to be one of the tougher swing states to them. but back to the point of ad spending, i'm from virginia, my parents live there, my family is there. the voters' eyes are totally
glazed over and i would definitely put my money on the ground game. >> another weapon potentially, jonathan, is the young vote. president obama urged young audience listeners on mtv to get out and vote early. listen to this. >> i hope every young person who is listening don't believe this idea that your vote does not matter. in 2000, in gore versus bush, 537 votes changed the direction of history. in a profound way. and the same thing could happen here. so there's no excuse. regardless of who you vote for, folks need to get out there and vote. >> young voters could make a difference, jonathan? >> yes. talk about the ultimate sporadic voters. they are people who may have voted in the 2008 and that might
have been the first time they ever voted for one reason or another and we always talk about the youth vote and why politicians don't take them seriously by and large because they don't vote. well, president obama is trying to remind them, one of what they did in 2008 and helping him get into office and also in that clip you showed, showing them just how important that vote -- how much -- how important that vote is and then specifically you notice he said in there, it doesn't matter who you vote for, you should just go out and vote but it's barack obama running for re-election and they hope he votes for him. >> jonathan, krystal, i'll have to leave it there. thank you for your time tonight. >> thanks, rev. >> we've seen mitt romney play fast and loose before. but his latest has gone too far and i'm going to call him out on
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welcome back to "politicsnation." sometimes governor romney's dishone dishonesty is just funny. listen to his big economic speech today. >> a new stimulus three years after the recession officially ended? that makes fair government but it won't stimulate the private sector any better than it did the stimulus four years ago. >> huh? tell that to the company hosting your speech today. i bet they enjoyed the over $1 million loan the stimulus provided them or the $650,000
worth of grants they received because of the stimulus. now, that's laughable but sometimes the lengths mr. romney will go in misleading the public are downright disturbing, like this. >> i saw a store today, one of the great manufacturers of this state, jeep, now owned by the italians, is thinking about moving all of the production to china. >> that's not even remotely true. the detroit news, the same conservative paper that endorsed romney yesterday, called him out for picking up that incorrect story about jeep moving pro duck production to china. even jeep of china says it would be a leap that would be difficult for professional circus acrobats. listen, things are getting better but that's terrifying for mr. romney's campaign.
so he's going to keep running as fast as he can from the truth. joining me now is e.j. dionne, washington post columnist, and an msnbc contributor. thank for being here, e.j. >> good to be with you, reverend. >> what's the romney strategy? just say stuff that's wrong and hope it doesn't matter? >> well, you know, i think that has been for this campaign. i mean, i've been around campaigns for a long time and i honestly haven't seen somebody push beyond the edge of the truth so often and say things that are so flatly untrue. i was struck during the debate, for example, when he just sticks on this notion of president obama and economists are in
broad agreement that it created something like 3 million jobs and helped the economy from collapsing. paul ryan wrote letters on behalf of a couple projects in his district and here was romney at a company that got help from stimulus money. but they can't just give it up. it's really -- i suppose it shouldn't be but i find it astonishing, still. >> to keep talking down the economy, it seems like whenever there is good economic news they give the obama team credit. the romney campaign released a statement saying, we've received the latest round of discouraging economic news. it went on to say, last quarter our economy grew at only 2%. i mean, this is crazy.
>> well, if you have a strategy to beat obama on the economy, you're going to ignore the statics and just stay on that strategy. what's interesting about the 2% number today is that it was actually better than most economies. >> it was not only that, it was hypocritical because the base that he grew was less than 2% and he brags about what he did for massachusetts. >> that's right. and i have been surprised that the obama campaign hasn't spent more time on the massachusetts record. in the republican primaries, one republican after another pointed out that massachusetts was 47th in job growth. the obama campaign talked about that for a little bit but they have largely let that go. maybe mr. romney's views on 2%
growth will put 1.5% growth in play in the campaign. but there's been remarkably little attention to his record as governor of massachusetts. >> e.j., you have one of the sharpest political minds out there. how do you see this race now and what do you see in next coming days that would tip it one way or another if it was as tight as some have predicted? >> i think so far this week, other than that stock market drop, this week has been pretty good. i see it as president obama's race and i will only change my mind on that if i see some serious polling in ohio, not a one off, that shows him in trouble there because i just find it very hard to see his losing if he carries ohio. because he also seems to have
nevada in the bank and if he can carry wisconsin, that would be enough. so i think that you're going to see romney with appeals to former obama voters trying to make it easy for them to switch. but i see the momentum for romney as having stopped some time ago and the race has been a little flat with a little bit of movement and in obama's favor. >> e.j. dionne, thanks for joining me. have a great weekend. >> good to be with you. early voting starts tomorrow in a key swing state. like florida. and i'll be there and i'll be there. stay with us. [ male announcer ] do you have the legal protection you need?
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with church leaders and at the baptist church in birmingham, alabama, it's the site where four girls were murdered when the church was bombed in a racially motivated wakeup call for the nation and marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. not even two years later, president johnson signed the voting rights act of 1965. for the first time, people could go to the polls knowing their right to vote had federal protection. today people are lining up knowing that the same rights are under attack. it's the same issue but we're fighting back. earlier this year i joined thousands of others in marching across the bridge in alabama, highlighting the fight against voter suppression. meantime, in florida, republicans scale back early voting, slashing the number of days from 14 to 8.
why would they do that? because in the 2008 election, democrats had big age in early voting in florida. the gop cuts included the sunday before election day. a day when black churches typically conducted souls to the polls voter drives. those early voting days start tomorrow in florida. and i'll be there with clergy members and bishop victor to get out the vote with operation eliminate because we'll make lemonade out of the lemons given to us by florida republicans. we've seen murder. we've seen church bombings yesterday. this day they hand us lemons. they suppress both. they cut back early voting days. tomorrow morning in florida i'll stand with the bishop and we'll squeeze those lemons and some sugar and give lemonade to democracy,