tv Inside Washington PBS August 31, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
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>> mr. chairman and delegates, i accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> this week on "inside washington," the grand old party makes it official. >> join mitt romney and me. let's give this effort everything we have. >> a look at the supporting cast. >> this man will not let us down. >> tonight, i say enough. hope and change has become divide and conquer. >> when somebody does not do their job, you have got to let them go. >> where does this party go from here? over the long haul, republicans need to be more respectful of voters they are trying to attract.
the 2012 republican national convention served up no surprises except perhaps for clint eastwood's rambling performance in the key 10:00 hour thursday night, but conventions rarely do surprises anymore. this one was mitt romney's major opportunity to sell himself to the american people. >> in america, we celebrate success. we do not apologize for success. >> what america needs is jobs -- lots of jobs. >> you know there is something wrong with the kind of job he has done as president when the best feeling you had is the day you voted for him. >> you were in tampa. did mitt romney make the sale? >> i think he did a good job in introducing insult to the american people. most people had not seen him and paul ryan. we did nothing but see him and paul ryan. about 28 million households watching probably. he also did a good job in selling the new theme. the new theme is not barack
obama, european socialists. the new theme is disappointment. we were all happy four years ago with his message of hope and change, but there is no hope. there was no change. now we have to move on. you know, whether they believe it in their heart, it is a good theme. >> it is better than mitch mcconnell almost right out of the box after the election saying our job is to defeat this guy. i think that they did well. it is a new introduction. this is the moment people will finally start to tune in. labor day weekend, it is the convention. this is the real deal for the next two months, and i think that they looked -- they did not do anything wacko. all the french stuff was completely suppressed. >> except for clint eastwood. >> accept or clint eastwood. -- except for clint eastwood. they had a little problem with
factual things, but other than that, they did well. >> i think romney succeeded in convincing the convention that he was one of them. that was the first thing he had to do. he did present to the american people a face, but also came to this convention with falsehoods from the beginning. romney story was we wanted this president to succeed -- it is a lie. the party wanted him to fail from day one, and they set out to do just that. the other thing that thought was breathtaking was paul ryan's performance. chilling as a matter of fact in his brazenness to resort to falsehoods. >> just one quick question, roger -- do you agree that when most people left, they were sold on mitt romney? >> i think they feel that mitt romney can win. you know, he got the nomination
by being the most delectable -- electable, and he seemed to turn hard right by picking colorado lion, and now he has gone back to the kindly father figure who can lead america out of its problems. >> mitt romney has a 51% on favorability rating. other polls show americans like barack obama a lot more than a brownie. how does he overcome that deficit? >> in my lifetime, the american voters have always chosen the candidate that they preferred personally, and it is not an accident. the failure of presidents have been failures essentially a personal qualities, of character or personality. the only exception where they chose a candidate they like less to be president was 1968 and richard nixon. >> mitt romney, was holding him
back is that he is not that well liked, but that is something you can at least in principle change. that is why we had the ann romney, which i think helped. it was the beginning of that. that is why i think the election is in mitt romney's hands and out of obama's. >> did he start to climb the likability mountain? >> i think so. there were lots of people who did testimonials who were there. ann romney certainly made a big difference. he is not exciting, but it did not think he was threatening, either. at least there is nothing to really overtly dislike. he did the best he could, and the question is -- is it enough? am i if you are on the fence, and you like obama and really did want him to succeed, did you really hear anything there that would move you toward mitt romney? >> one thing i did hear was a
very convincing statement about his understanding of how the economy works and how business works. not a big applause line, but it is clear that he has a desire to make this country move. what does not work for him, though, is time. he does not hold up over time. bank capital will be back in front of us. his income tax returns will be back in front of us. -- bain will be back in front of us. the question is -- who is this individual at his court? how did he make his money? what did he do with his money? all of these questions are still germane. >> no question about that. but he says he will put america back to work. how will he do that? >> he does not say that -- well, he does say that. he says if we remove the restrictions and lower taxes, this will unleash prosperity that will filter down to all americans.
all boats will rise together on this rising tide of prosperity. the democrats say that we have tried that and it does not work. one point about his personality -- what mitt romney lacks is a compelling story. john mccain had a compelling story. barack obama has a compelling story. mitt romney's story of growing up in a life of privilege -- you know, going to prep school where he cut off another kid's hair, starting a business that became a successful business -- that is the story. >> do not forget the olympics. >> that is an event. >> john kennedy did not have the store except he was a war hero. he had a war story. >> romney was a rich kid with a lot of connections. >> all right, mitt romney clearly does not like talking
about himself. not about his success in business, but himself, so as we said, bring out mrs. romney and friends. how did that work? >> storybook marriage? not at all. what mitt romney and i have is a real marriage. >> as we say endlessly, mitt romney seems to be uncomfortable talking about himself in public. he will talk numbers all day long. talk about the salt lake city olympics, but he has a hard time getting people to look at the man inside the biography. in any other profession, that would be an attractive trait, but with modern politics, it is deemed a failure. what did ann romney tell you about her husband that you did not already know? >> we know all of this. they have told us all of this. the question is -- do you believe it? >> but what mark was saying -- very nice guy, kind guy, but did not hear any anecdotes. he said give me an example.
>> some of the people from the church who testified about how he had helped them. that is the kind of thing you need, i guess, more of. >> but we did not see that in the 10:00 hour. >> no, we did not see that in the 10:00 hour. >> he is a private guy running for a public position. he does not want to talk about his life. does not want to talk about his income taxes or his swiss bank accounts. americans want to know everything. they want to feel they have a real human being up there, not just the anti-obama. >> what did paul ryan tell you about mitt romney or did he just tell you about paul ryan? >> we heard a lot about all right because he told us a lot about all right, as did chris christie tell us a lot about himself. these people giving their own stories and their own narratives. ryan is a poseur.
there's nothing genuine. you get the impression that he is playing a role and he has been playing it from the time he was a kid. >> if charles were here, he would give you a real tough. >> i did bump into him and mark in florida, as you know. my question was -- how enthusiastic are these delegates about the head of the ticket? >> i think what is really interesting is how at the convention, they have managed to bring together tea party, evangelical, and the kind of moderates that a northeastern republican like romney would have represented. i think they have done a good job, except for a few of the ron paul-ites. it has been quite unanimous and holding together with a connection that is united by opposition and open hostility to
barack obama. they are going to support whoever is the nominee. mitt romney may not have in their emotional choice, but they have fallen in line behind him. i did not think there was much natural statement in the room until chris christie's vote. i thought he lit it up. >> real leaders do not follow polls. real leaders change polls. >> take up the keynote address. >> it was very tough, slightly off message, and could have been titled "chris christie in 2016. it was not so much a keynote as a man announcing his own path to the presidency. i do not think it fit in very well with the message of either the nominee or the vice presidential nominee. it was chris christie making his national debut, and he did well.
>> he mentioned romney's name seven times and his own 37, and it was a long time before he mentioned romney's name. he is the keynote speaker. he is supposed to get everybody keyed up for this nominee. >> you do get the sense that christie and rubio was talking more about themselves. >> let's keep the keynote address in perspective. remember the great speech andrew cuomo gave a behalf of walter mondale? look at what happened to mondale. look at the speech in 1956 on behalf of at least even sen. >> barack obama 2004. >> the great speech given by ronald reagan. this is the time for change. on behalf of barry goldberg.
>> can i ask a question? why would try and risk his reputation -- why would ryan risk his reputation with a speech that was full of energy -- he is the darling of this convention in some ways -- why would he risk all that by putting into at the things that are overtly false? >> i have a guess -- just a guess -- he is learning what it is to be the vice-presidential candidate. you are the hatchet. you are the hammer. they are going to sell your point of view. they are going to sell that barack obama took $700 billion out of welfare. -- medicare. if the candidate does not want to say it, then paul ryan has to say it. >> who is barack obama's hammer? >> joe biden. the vice-presidential candidate is usually the taft person, but you have to have some kernel of truth. there were blatant lies that
were being told. >> a word on the republican party and minorities. >> if you look at the speakers, you have the strongest bench any party has had in memory. romney is sort of the old guy. you have got margo rubio -- marco rubio. you have these new governors. you have this new guy cruz from texas. all in their 40's who represent the future of the party, although ideologically, they are more conservative, more reagan night -- reagan-ite. you have a new generation emerging of which romney in many ways is the anomaly. >> the reality is this -- the republican party today is 89% white. they are increasingly white in a
nation that is decreasing the white. the electorate when ronald reagan was elected with 86% white. it was 74% white when john mccain lost and it may be 72% white in 2012. the part ability -- the parti's inability to reach any message to latinos will be a serious problem for the republican party going forward. >> charles says mark was a response is the classic liberal response in which he breaks the party down into ethnic percentages. charles's focus is generational. beginning this broadcast, we played a brief clip of jeb bush who said in a cnn interview this week that the political point of view across the country for the long haul, republicans need to be more respectful of voters they are trying to attract. do you read that as more respectful of hispanics? >> i do not see how you can avoid reaching that conclusion. what do you do when you have a governor like jan brewer of arizona who supports these very
repressive anti-immigration measures. this is the party's platform, so strong on anti-immigration, which can be interpreted as anti-hispanic. it does not matter what faces they put up on the screen during the convention. the fact is on the ground, republicans on the ground are very, very anti-immigration, which is really anti-hispanic. >> when it comes to hispanic, that is a number you have to reach if you want to be president of the united states. >> and they have just written off african-americans. >> there were african-americans on the podium. >> they always have african- americans on the podium. singing god bless america or praying before or after. the entertainment value was always there. >> and anne archer davis, who is -- who switched parties, but i think both parties love to put
these slippers on, but i find them sort of unattractive when they get up there, both sides. what is interesting is i used to see at least some minorities on the floor. every time they went to the floor of the convention, it was an extraordinarily wide group. go to any restaurant in fairfax county and it would not look like that. >> a republican famous in the 2000 told the republicans that unless they could reach out to minorities, especially hispanics, and repair their image with women, that it was doomed as a national party. no democrat since lyndon johnson has won the white vote, which means jimmy carter once, bill clinton twice, barack obama once have all won the presidency on the minority vote. it is doable. this may be the last election if romney wins, one solely on the white vote.
>> you had a lot of people saying you are trying to divide america come split us up, and we are trying to bring it together, and a lot of people holding up signs like women. >> one video going viral across the country is what happened to that cnn camerawoman. peanuts were thrown at her by two people who participated in the republican convention saying, "this is how we feed animals. they were thrown out of the convention, but that story has gone around the country, and it says something about the people on the floor. that would never happen at a democratic convention, not because democrats are better but because they just would not do that kind of thing. it happens that republicans. and it is clear there are people in the republican party who are worried about this. another issue democrats talk about is this photograph identification was in texas. >> there -- they're not just taxes. democrats see this as voter suppression. lots of people think one should we be required to that -- why
shouldn't they have a photo id. most people have them. but once you do not have a car and once you do not have your birth certificate, getting to the county to get your birth certificate and paying to get it in order to prove you are who you are -- >> you cannot get on an airplane without one. >> lots of people do not get on airplanes. the very people who do not get on airplanes regularly and do not have a photograph identification because they do not try tend to be for more minority people. -- because they do not drive. >> the thing is they require them to purchase the identification. that sounds like nothing to a lot of people, but if you are poor, the fact you have to purchase something as well, that is the poll tax. >> these lots have been upheld in other places and by the supreme court. what makes taxes different for some of the state's different is
they are covered by the voting rights act, and you cannot change the voting laws in these areas without getting clearance from the federal courts or the justice department because they are deemed to be suspect. these cases are going to the supreme court. it is a conservative court that has been hostile to -- john roberts, for example, was hostile to the voting rights act when he was in the justice department. i think there is a good chance these laws will not survive the next year. >> the have to fight these things in the supreme court and hope they win, but also simultaneously has to get id's into the hands of seniors, minorities, and young people who do not have them. the american people fundamentally believe there is nothing wrong with having to prove you are who you are. there is nothing wrong with that.
that is absolutely true, but you cannot fairly applied the law and put in a poll tax -- you cannot unfairly applied the law and put in a poll tax. the party has to realize that most of the american people think it is reasonable to have an identification. great, get these people identification. >> there were some instances in texas where people would have to travel 200 miles to get the document. >> let me go back to something we talked about earlier. you talked about paul ryan's alleges lies in his acceptance speech. what specifically are you talking about? >> he described the general motors plant where he said barack obama have pledged to keep it open, but it closed and it is all this fall when in fact, the plant closed before president obama even got into office.
>> but it is not even officially closed. it is sort of on standby. >> but it is empty, and he said that. >> there were things in that speech this order screen that you -- why are you putting that there? why would you say barack obama that this commission to do this big report on how to balance the budget and did nothing with it? part of the reason that nothing happened was in fact barack obama. the other part was paul ryan. he voted against it. he was on the commission. he made sure with his vote and influence that it did not go to the floor of congress to actually be voted on. >> let's wrap up this convention. >> now is the moment where we can stand up and say, "i'm in america. i make my destiny. we deserve better. my children deserve better. my family deserves better.
my country deserves better." >> looking ahead to the 2016, who will we see in leadership positions? >> i think faces like christie ,haley, rubio, some of the young senators -- i think we will see a whole new cadre of people up there. >> got a terrific bench. >> if this ticket loses, and that is what we're talking about, the party will go farther right. they will say they nominated this guy who is sort of muddle the in the middle to get moderates -- forget about moderates. and even if they win, these guys will still be around. >> but there are other people we are forgetting about. there is still michele bachmann, newton gingrich, rick santorum, rand paul, a body of far-right
conservatives saying that they have experience. >> i feel we should not write off romney. if he is elected, i think he will be a very tough executive, and if it is possible to move the party at all to the center -- at all -- he will try to do that because that is the way he governs. --finally, mark's lament could he not have had at least one humorous anecdote about mitt romney? >> there were no anecdotes about romney. she said he is a funny guy. >> al gore was funny. how many times did we hear that richard nixon was funny? >> tell me what is funnier than putting a dog on the roof of a car and driving to your vacation? >> i hope the humane society heard that one. >> ok, you heard it here. >> one of the few unforced errors by charles.