tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN October 24, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EDT
qaeda type individuals. >> governor romney mentioned mali not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. and you know, mali isn't just a tonight, the home stretch. no more binders, no more bayonets, no more big bird. just one sprint to the finish. >> we can handle two more weeks of the attacks that are coming from barack obama but we cannot handle four more years of what he's given us. >> you know i mean what i say. you know that i do what i say i'm going to do. >> the ultimate question, who will win the white house? tonight, newt gingrich argues for mitt romney. beau biden takes president obama's side. also, what is called a $100 billion failure.
can mitt romney win without it? can the president, for that matter? who is public enemy number one, iraq or al qaeda? this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. our big story tonight is the biggest story in the country, of course, the race for the white house. 14 days to go, the latest cnn poll of polls has the president and mitt romney locked in a dead heat at 47% each. it couldn't be closer. of course, both sides looking for something, anything, that will move the needle. mitt romney's getting ready to take the stage any minute now, the red rocks ampitheater in colorado, supported by kid rock. we are keeping an eye on that for you later on. meanwhile, president obama, a bit of humor on the trail in the battleground state of ohio today. >> if you've come down with a case of romnesia, if you can't seem to remember the positions
that you've taken, not just four years ago but four days ago, if you don't remember the positions that are on your website, if you don't remember the promises you've been making during the six years that you've been running for president, you don't have to worry because obama care covers pre-existing conditions. >> joining me now, big supporter of president obama and bigger supporter of the vice president, his son, beau biden. welcome back. >> great to be back. >> what did you make of last night's debate? you're a military man. did you like what you heard from the two candidates? >> what i was struck by most, piers, is how remarkable it was that you have, you know, running for president is about convincing the american people that you can be trusted to do what you say you're going to do. the president of the united states has done exactly what he said he would do as a candidate. he said he would end the war in iraq. he did. he said he would hand over
authority in afghanistan. he's about to, is in the process of doing that. and he said he would go after al qaeda around the world and get osama bin laden, both of which he did. that was in stark contrast to governor romney. look, you're running to be president of the united states, you have to convince the american people you mean what you say, you say what you mean. what governor romney did last night is he reaffirmed all of those concerns that the people that know him best have about him, and that is he's willing to say anything it takes at the moment for political expediency sake. he will tell people what they want to hear. >> the trouble is with that argument is although it does apply to romney in varying degrees, it also applies to barack obama. he's the guy who stood there last time round and said i will shut guantanamo bay and he didn't. what's the difference? >> the president spent a lot of time working throughout the administration to figure out a way to deal with a very, very difficult issue. on most every issue that the
president has made promises to the american people on, like the ones i just discussed and on the war in iraq, he's delivered time and time again. look, the president of the united states has conviction, has a sense of purpose and speaks with clarity. last night, governor romney didn't speak with any of those things. there was no conviction, no clarity, and no certainty in anything he said. look, just take iraq. on iraq, governor romney last night embraced the president's policy but only recently over the last 14 months, the last six years that he's been running, he called our removal of troops from iraq a tragedy. on afghanistan, governor romney spent the entire campaign talking about well, we can't set a time certain, it would somehow tip off the enemy. it will be dependent on facts at the moment. now he's embraced the president of the united states' policy of turning -- >> let me jump in there. what struck me as a viewer last night, i'm sure many other people, was just how similar sounding both candidates were on foreign policy and america's
place in the world. there wasn't really much to cut between them. there were details on various things but in terms of a strategy, i thought they were pretty similar, wasn't it? >> well, clearly the governor embraced the strong and decisive policies that the president over the last three and a half years, but if you follow and i know you have, piers, the campaign, the 20 debates the republicans have, governor romney staked out far, far, far more conservative positions on a whole host of issues, including osama bin laden. take you back to the 2008 race. governor romney's on record as saying he would not move heaven and earth to go after osama bin laden. last night, he embraced the policy of the president going after and rooting out al qaeda around the world. on afghanistan, it bears repeating, on afghanistan, up until just several weeks ago, up until last night, actually, governor romney has embraced a policy that says the president is somehow being weak in terms of setting a timeline to get out of afghanistan. last night, out of nowhere, he fully embraced the president's policy of handing over authority
by the end of 2014. in fact, paul ryan, congressman ryan when he was debating my dad in kentucky just about two weeks ago, he suggested, that is congressman ryan, putting additional troops in afghanistan. so just within the span of two weeks, romney and ryan have contradicted themselves, have contradicted that 14 months of his statements about foreign policy. >> as vice president biden's son, how did you feel when the president shoved your dad under a bus? let me play it to you now. >> those decisions generally are not poll tested, and even some in my own party, including my current vice president, had the same critique as you did. but what the american people understand is that i look at what we need to get done to keep the american people safe and to move our interests forward, and i make those decisions. >> i was shocked by that. he didn't need to say that. that's his vice president. he wasn't very loyal, was it, saying i'm the hero that got bin laden. by the way, joe biden didn't
fancy it. >> well, number one, i think what the president was referring to was statements during the 2008 debate about how we and whether or not we would go into pakistan to get bin laden. that being said, look, there's no more loyal person in my life that i've known than the vice president, my father. and the partnership that he has with the president of the united states is as rock-solid as it can be. they were in ohio today and my father is a great partner to him. the president of the united states is lucky to have my dad at his side because he's the most loyal person i know. >> i agree with that. it's just the other way round i would be happy a few issues this morning, if i was your father. hang on, babarack, what are you up to? >> i don't -- i don't think that's what the president intended. look, they have a strong partnership. they have been in the trenches for the last three and a half
years working to rebuild this economy that they inherited from george w. bush and project our strength around the world and increase and better our relationships with allies. look, my dad is a loyal, i don't think there's been a more loyal vice president that i'm aware of, and their partnership is strong. >> i hope he managed to wrestle himself out from under the bus. beau biden, always a pleasure to talk to you. thank you. >> thanks for having me on, piers. beau biden there. and a double bonus. we had kid rock performing live at a mitt romney rally. there you are. rock music, too. on the other side is newt gingrich, former presidential candidate and current mitt romney supporter. i say current mitt romney supporter, because you never know with you. you may be running against him one day and decide he's back to being a flip-flopping mr. nasty again. how are you? >> i'm doing well. i thought that was a very good interview. it's amazing to me how beau biden is so much more mature than his father. he gives much better interviews
and seems much more in control of himself. >> what did you make of that moment? i found it rather perplexing when i would have expected mitt romney to chuck joe biden under a bus, but i didn't expect barack obama to do it. his own vice president. >> well, i don't know. look, i think president obama has a pattern of seeing himself as a dissenter of virtually everything. i'm not surprised by anything he does. there was a great cartoon a few weeks ago that showed the national security council meeting to decide on whether or not to go after bin laden and every person in the room had obama's face so the chairman of the joint chiefs was obama, the secretary of state was obama. it sort of captured -- obama has this fantasy, he didn't kill bin laden. the u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s did. he didn't find bin laden. an enormous intelligence effort over a long period did.
if you read the remarkable recent book "the finish" by mark bowden who earlier had done "blackhawk down" you get a sense of the effort that went into tracking down and killing bin laden. i don't take anything away from the president for making the decision to do it but i think it would be pretty hard for a president not to have decided to go after bin laden once they found him. >> yes, but let's be honest. if it was the other way round and mitt romney was the incumbent president and he had taken out bin laden, he would be talking about nothing else. it's all politics, isn't it, at the end of the day. let's get down to nitty-gritty here. let's move on to ohio. because it's getting increasingly clear it's going to be a very, very tight race. may all come down to ohio. how important is this whole issue of the auto bailout going to be, do you think? the democrats clearly believe -- >> well, look, i think -- >> the lower unemployment rates in states like ohio will be to their benefit. have the republicans got a problem because of that op-ed piece that mitt romney wrote basically distancing himself
from a bailout? >> it's important to remember what he said. what he said was they ought to go through a regular procedure of bankruptcy and at the end of that time, the u.s. government should guarantee the loans necessary to gear up and should guarantee their warranties so the people can buy the cars without fear of them disappearing. so he was for a more sophisticated, more -- i think much more professional approach than obama took. what obama did was deliberately violate traditional bankruptcy law in order to take care of the united auto workers at the expense of the pensioners and the people who in fact had invested in general motors bonds. so it was a pretty straight political ploy. if you are a uaw member you are probably very grateful to obama because he took care of you. if you're everybody else in ohio, you sort of think they ought to earn their own way out. if you're a ford employee you're not particularly grateful that the gm got a special deal. remember, in this process,
chrysler became part of fiat so for the president to claim he saved american companies is a little bit disingenuous. >> there's a theory going around the romney camp are all beginning to talk up victory even though in their hearts, they know looking at the electoral college voting, it's still a long way away in the sense that in all these swing states, in reality, there's a long way to go. but they're marching around saying we've got it in the bag. it's a kind of false picture strategy where you basically keep saying something until eventually people start to believe it. do you go along with that? >> well, i'm talking to you tonight from lacross, wisconsin, where governor tommy thompson has begun to pull away from the liberal democrat running against him and now has a three or four point advantage. this is a state where the unions threw everything they had and in the end, governor scott walker won. i just talked to a number of very active republicans in this area. they believe romney's going to carry wisconsin. i think you're going to see -- i talked to john kasich the other night.
he believes that governor romney's going to carry ohio. i think you could see romney well above 300 electoral votes. i don't think this will be 2004. i think in the next two weeks, five things are going to break, five words are going to break obama. unemployment, gasoline, benghazi and big bird. they are going to come together and i think you are going to see the gap actually widen, not narrow. >> if you were watching letterman last night -- were you? >> no, i wasn't, unfortunately. >> the great tom hanks appeared and he turned out to be a big fan of yours. let's watch a clip. >> newt gingrich is going to put people on the moon? i'm going to be one of them. i went newt gingrich nuts. mr. former speaker of the house of representatives, i, tom hanks, choose to go to the moon. sign me up. i am going -- this man has got to become president of the united states. >> what's your reaction to that,
mr. speaker? quite a tribute there. do you take it at face value? >> well, i was with richard branson recently, head of virgin airlines, who in fact is building a system that next summer is going to take people up into near space, near orbit. richard believes in it enough he's going to take his own family. he's a believer that we can do this. i talked to a number of other private sector folks who believe we can get the federal government out of the way, create the right incentives, you would be shocked how many private sector folks would be engaged in trying to get there. you just saw a guy go up to the outer edge of space and skydive, setting an all-time record, actually going faster than the speed of sound with nothing but an astronaut's suit around him. it was a remarkable thing. the human spirit wants to break out and despite the bureaucrats and naysayers and those who scoff, i think we are in fact going to get back into space in a big way, and we are going to do it in a very exciting way for our children and grandchildren. i would love to work with tom hanks.
i don't know how much of his tongue was in his cheek when he said that. but i want to give him a call and see whether or not he would like to actually work on getting back to the moon. >> i would definitely be with you. it was one of the best things you said all year. i mean that in all sincerity. i love what that guy felix did the other day. if you run again for high office you should get up into your moon colony, put that suit on and just dive off, back to earth. you would be voted in as president in ten seconds. >> you may not fully understand the american system, piers, but i like your romanticism. >> always a pleasure to talk to you. president obama may have one the battle of zingers last night but will he win the war? i will ask nick kristof after the break. ♪
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because the nature of our military's changed. we have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. we have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines. >> president obama on the attack last night. joining me now, a man who has a lot to say about that particular debate, foreign policy. "new york times" columnist, nick kristof. welcome back. the president was actually wrong about it. there's a pedantic piece of literature that proves this. we actually have more bayonets than we had in 1916. over 650,000. >> we have three times at many bayonets as we did back then. >> imagine if mitt romney had been able to say that as a zinger back. he would have won the election. >> it just makes me think what on earth are we spending money on bayonets for? have we run out of can openers? what are we going to do with them? >> funny enough, my brother is a british army colonel. he's done service in afghanistan and iraq, and you would be amazed i think how much action is done with bayonets these days, because of the nature of
the kind of warfare that's going on in places like afghanistan. a lot of it is hand-to-hand combat. pretty scary but it's true. >> in iraq and afghanistan, i have seen bayonets used to open cans of food or open mres. >> ever seen them used in action? >> no. of course, i try to stay a certain distance when people are skewering each other with bayonets. >> what did you make of the debate last night? it seemed to me although obama probably shaded it, it wasn't that consequential to the result of the election, probably, because mitt romney didn't drop any gaffes. >> yeah. i think that's largely true. the decisions are going to be based on economics, principally and neither one flubbed it. i do want to push back at something you said earlier, that there really wasn't that much difference between them. in fact, i think that on a couple of issues, iran and especially the military budget, there really is a difference that obama clearly would trim the budget and -- >> you said mitt romney had his pants on fire when he talks about the budget. it was your tweet last night. >> any time you try to add up his numbers, boy, you just
cringe. but on the military budget, that's not an issue where he's fiddling with the numbers. he would clearly substantially increase the military spending, more than $2.1 trillion over ten years, and that's a real difference. but at the end of the day, we almost spend as much money as the entire rest of the world combined in military spending. >> but given the slightly more moderate language that romney used almost all night, moving again back to the center, you could argue, it was quite hard to work out who was obama and who was romney. if you had somebody doing their voices in the same kind of manner, you wouldn't have known, would you? on almost all the key issues, they sounded almost identical. >> in some ways, romney seemed to be trying to endorse an obama foreign policy without obama. but i do think that that was largely stylistic and there really are differences. aside from the military budget which is real, on iran, so obama underscored again that his policy will be to prevent iran
from getting a nuclear weapon. he will use military force if necessary for that. in romney's case it's not -- the red line is not getting a nuclear weapon, it's having a nuclear capacity. that means that the u.s. would be potentially ordering a military strike on iran at some vague point before it actually has and has tested a nuclear weapon. >> were you surprised that romney didn't go after obama about benghazi more? he's had two opportunities now, two debates, hasn't really done it. i'm surprised at that. >> yeah. i think that's true. i think that there is -- i think it's an issue that gets traction. i think that the obama administration clearly in retrospect made an error. clearly there was not enough security. on the other hand, that's not a decision the white house is going to make. that's made by the deputy assistant secretary of state. still, i think that is an area where he could have drawn blood. >> mitt romney mentioned peace 12 times apparently last night to obama's zero. what would the odds have been on that, a republican candidate mentioning peace 12 times to a democratic president, zero.
>> he talked about education and he talked about the importance of gender equality. for a moment i thought he was a bleeding heart "new york times" columnist. >> what was his thinking, do you think? it was obviously quite deliberate. >> i think he saw obama has the advantage. he wanted to appear presidential. he didn't want to scare people. and -- >> did he achieve that aim? >> i think he did. >> i agree with you. >> i think the key thing he needed to show was that he wouldn't screw things up badly and if he could then neutralize that issue and move the talk back to the economy. the economy is really where his strength is. his strength is criticizing obama on the economy. his weakness is when he talks about his own plans. >> nick silva, one of your colleagues, is brilliant with these numbers. actually, a read a piece tonight where he's not saying it may go romney's way. he's saying it could go romney's way. first time i have really seen him say that. he studies these numbers in great detail. what is your sense of what's really happening in the battleground areas in particular? >> well, i mean, in defense of
nate, he says that it might go romney's way but he still says 70% chance that obama will be re-elect and in fact, that increment is up slightly. >> he doesn't sound quite as certain as he did on my show even three weeks ago. >> i don't know. maybe he was just feeling particularly nuanced. >> what is your feeling? you've covered lots of elections. what is your gut feeling for the battleground battle in particular? >> i think that it will come down to ohio. i think that it will be about the economy. i think that these foreign policy issues don't really matter at this point, and i would bet on obama but i wouldn't give odds. >> i think that's probably pretty sensible analysis. nick, good to see you. thank you. you can lead a candidate to foreign policy but you can't make them talk about it. when we come back, i ask my political all-star panel about all the things mitt romney and president obama talked about instead. oh no, not a migraine now. try this... bayer? this isn't just a headache.
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they don't really care. let's bring in my panel of political all-stars. charles blow, best-selling author [ inaudible ] and kristen soltis. welcome to you all. newt gingrich said to me earlier there are five words that will break obama. unemployment, gasoline, benghazi, and big bird. kristen, is he right? >> i think the four words are where are the jobs. it's four, not five. i think that's why you saw in last night's debate the whole thing was a bit like a shopping cart that's broken, it's got a busted wheel, so it always keeps kareening off to the left. it was a foreign policy debate but it kept coming back to domestic policy because that's the real central question in this election. >> you're a late convert to romney. recently came out for him. watching it last night, i thought he did okay. what i thought was he couldn't wait, every time he got the chance to get it back to domestic, particularly economic policy. that's his safe ground.
he didn't drop any clangers with the foreign stuff but he just tried to twist everything back to where he thinks he can win. am i right? >> no. i mean, there's no question that he thinks his strong suit is domestic policy. look, i for one, maybe i'm being played, i was relieved that he doesn't want to resort to military intervention in iran, doesn't want to drop a bomb, doesn't want to go into syria. i think people should be relieved by that, and it seems the play in a lot of the press was, well he wasn't strong enough. what do you want him to do, say he's going to bomb the middle east? i believe that he is returning to the moderate roots that he had when he became governor. that's my belief. >> see, i actually totally agree with that. i think he's always been a moderate at heart. he went right wing to win the republican nomination because these days, you have to. charles blow, isn't mitt romney the one we saw last night the real one? isn't he much less threatening? >> you keep asking me who the real mitt romney is. i have no clue who the real mitt romney is. you had the speaker, newt gingrich, former speaker, newt
gingrich on before. please youtube what the speaker said about mitt romney and think about what would make the speaker change his mind so much. when the speaker was talking about mitt romney when he was running against him, he calls him a flat-out liar. he said of mitt romney any man who will lie to get to the white house will lie when he is in the white house. so when i look at people like the former speaker, when i look at other republicans, pretty much every republican candidate who has ever run against mitt romney, all accuse him of having tremendous character flaws, not having a core, being willing to say anything to make it to the white house. this is not kind of where you look at a person and say well, this person's not qualified. >> i just said to beau biden earlier, it's all very well saying that but what about barack obama, i remember this being a very big moment, i was proud of it because i was
against guantanamo bay. he said i will close guantanamo bay if i'm elected president. he got into the presidency and did the complete opposite. >> he realized that it's not so easy to close. >> that's what mitt romney realizes. >> what i'm saying is forget about what the people on the left say about mitt romney. remember what all of the people who are now championing mitt romney used to say about mitt romney. remember what -- >> what about what clinton said about barack obama? >> very different argument to say that someone is not qualified. it's a very different argument to say this person, i respect this person, he's got good intentions but he doesn't have the experience. it's not the same to say -- >> charles -- >> i think you are going to get hammered here. let me go to kristen first. >> that's what happens in primaries. i think none of these folks that are out on the trail have to be there. i think it's a lot of folks that are saying this guy, he's
carrying the republican banner, he's doing it well, he's making a clean break with some of the mistakes that the party's made in the past. we think he's going to be a really good representative of what we believe in. he's articulated sort of these republican conservative values, especially on the economy really well in these debates and i like that he used the word peace so many times. he's articulating a peace through strength doctrine, trying to make a clean break from this sort of unfortunate brand of the gop as being a little more bellicose. >> why as charles blow says we should believe a word mitt romney says? he wasn't being this charming and peace-loving even four weeks ago. >> because it's called politics because it's often the case that people move to the center. charles gave the best description i have ever heard of bill clinton. that's exactly what bill clinton did. you couldn't trust him, you couldn't trust a single thing he said. after 1994, he swayed to the right. he lied out of office, he lied in office. mitt romney compared to bill clinton is like saint mitt. >> it's very interesting that
mitt romney's not running against bill clinton this time around. >> what are you describing? what are you describing -- i understand we're having an election in two weeks. you choose to believe that he is not returning to his moderate roots but let's talk about your candidate. >> who is my candidate? >> raising taxes -- i assume your candidate, from your column is barack obama. i'm assuming. maybe that's wrong. >> are you not an obama supporter? >> i am saying -- >> are you an obama supporter? >> you want to go ahead or you want to let me finish? >> yeah. sure. >> okay. what i'm saying is that i don't trust anything that comes out of mitt romney's mouth. and i am saying that i am not the only one. many of the people who now come on television to openly support him were of the same mind just a few months ago, and if you're telling me that the character of that man has substantially changed over the course of those few months, i don't believe you and i don't believe him.
>> let's leave it on that little cliffhanger. buzz, i want to get your reaction to that. i want some fireworks. back in a moment. now, that's what i call a test drive. silverado! the most dependable, longest lasting, full-size pickups on the road. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ] i'll take it. [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month. now during chevy truck month, get 0% apr financing for 60 months or trade up to get the 2012 chevy silverado all-star edition with a total value of $8,000. hurry in before they're all gone!
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in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, america must be strong. america must lead. and for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. you can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. you can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. you can't have kids coming out of college, half of whom can't find a job today. >> mitt romney from last night's debate. let's bring back my panel of political all-stars. charles blow, buzz and kristen. good tweet here from a rather peculiar name. it says, quite interesting point, is anyone saying what a wonderful job obama has done. i can't wait to re-elect him. no. quite interesting question. not the second part but the
first part. have we actually seen anybody, charles blow, you probably leaned slightly more towards him. have you heard anybody say obama has done a fantastic job and if you don't, has he really earned the right to be re-elected? >> i absolutely hear people saying that they are proud of the things -- >> that he's done a great job. >> it depends on the things you're asking about. >> do you believe he's done a great job in totality? >> i think on the whole, yes. i think what people have to remember is that, you know, when barack obama was elected, we were watching people's wealth disappear like vapor. we didn't know what was about to happen with the economy. the economy overall is br. are people individually at the same place that they were four years ago or right before the economy began to tank, that is not the case. the negative effects of the economy kind of ripple through, affect people in different ways. if most of your value was actually in the market, you're doing great. if your value was in your home you're not doing so great. >> buzz, you recently converted to romney.
why did you do that? what have you sensed in yourself about the choices in front of you that made you do that? >> well, i mean, the reason i did it, and it's a personal choice, and i respect what charles, what his decision is. for me, i was very much swayed by that first debate, where i felt romney for the first time was presidential. i thought he was authoritative and i may be completely wrong but i felt he was moving back to his moderate roots and i will never for the life of me understand obama's performance in that debate which was dismissive and arrogant, not simply to the debate itself but to 70 million americans who were watching. was he better in the second and third debate? there's no question about it. but you know obama, he said it was going to be 5.4% unemployment. it hasn't happened. obama, he says he's going to raise taxes on the wealthy. okay, fine. what else is in his economic
plan? restoring manufacturing? it's a phantom. it's a phantom in the united states. wind farms? what are his plans? i don't see any plans and i don't think he's earned the right to a second term. by the way, charles, middle class income has dropped $4,000. >> let's bring you in, kristen. try to be dispassionate here. i know you're not so it will be quite hard for you. in terms of why people should vote for romney, i suppose what i was saying about obama, i don't think in any of the debates he's really given a clear vision of what the next four years of his tenure will be. it's been more a defensive account of why the last four years hasn't been a disaster. >> yeah. i think one of the best moments that mitt romney had last night was he was getting attacked by obama who said we can't go back to the policies of the bush years, and romney said i want to go forward, just not forward with the policies we've had in place the last four years. obama's taken a lot of flack for not having a very clear plan. today his campaign put out this
sort of 20-page glossy booklet they will hand out at rallies now that says this is barack obama's agenda for a -- for the next four years. the problem is it's a lot of the same things we've already heard. trying to be dispassionate as a republican, when obama was elected i supported mccain but i thought let's see what this guy can do. he had a lot of big promises. i'm going to slow the rate of tuition growth so that it's lower than inflation and things like that. things that just didn't happen. when you look at this new 20-page glossy plan they've put out it's a lot of the same. what's barack obama's plan for fixing education? he's going to slow tuition growth. but he doesn't say how it's going to happen. i think you got to realize the plan is different than a goal. he doesn't have a plan. that's the problem. >> charles blow is laughing at you. sadly we've run out of time. i will never find out why. however, i will invite you all back so we can solve the mystery. thank you all very much. coming next, defending america. i will ask two generals if the next commander in chief should be obama or romney.
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this beautiful state is going to deliver mitt romney as the next president of the united states, isn't it? >> paul ryan live tonight at the romney event with mitt romney and also kid rock, we had playing earlier in a little free concert. foreign policy front and center, of course, last night's final political debate. both candidates trading barbs over who can best protect the country and its interests. with me, a couple top military men. general wesley clark and general mark kimmitt from central command. i understand you used to work for general clark. >> i certainly did. proud to have worked for him. >> this is an interesting statistic. >> he's a great guy. >> excellent. interesting statistic for you. first time since 1932 that neither candidate nor their v.p.s have served in the military. what do you think of that, general clark? >> i think it reflects the fact the country's gone to a volunteer force. now, mitt romney was of the age he could have gone to vietnam but a lot of people that age didn't go to vietnam. they had student deferments. >> also, while you're here,
you're the best person to talk about this bayonet issue. there is a suggestion that there are more bayonets in the current american military, army and marines, than there were in 1916. 650,000. >> i would be surprised. >> why? >> we had a million men in france. every doughboy had a rifle, as far as i know and i'm sure every rifle had a bayonet. i'm not sure anybody has an actual inventory count of how many rifles were in the united states army inventory. these were springfield 1903 model rifles. they had a bayonet and bayonets were used. when i was at west point and i'm sure that mark had the same experience, we were taught bayonet drill and it came out of the trenches in world war i. >> it's just fascinating. bayonet-gate. general, i was surprised last night that romney didn't go harder against obama about the whole benghazi issue. were you surprised, what did you make of that as an issue? how important was it from your eyes?
>> well, i think to a great extent, it still leaves a lot of people concerned that the administration felt so necessary to get out and make some pronouncements about what turned out to be false facts on the ground. i've been a spokesman before and probably the best thing you can do in a situation like that is say, look, let's way until we've had a thorough and full investigation. to send the u.n. ambassador out there and put her up in front of the world and make statements that turned out to be false, i think either showed a significant amount of political pressure or naevity in the situation. >> a lot of agreement on things, but a very moderate mitt romney talking about peace and not bombing places. were you pleased by what you heard from him? >> i think it was a strategic move. basically throughout the two years or four years of governor romney's running for office, he's tried to maintain the
typical republican position, that they are the daddy party and democrats are the mommy party. that the republicans are tougher, more resolute, more ready to use force. but when it came out to actually putting out on specific terms on the policies, even though he would dangle these ideas at various times in the primary season and during the summer when it actually came time to defend those positions, in the debate, with the president, he didn't have those positions. they weren't defensible. like the suggestion that maybe we should give arms to the syrian rebels. yeah, we can certainly think about it, but he was careful to qualify this and say we have to make sure they don't get in the wrong hands, gives them to the right people. on the one hand, they endorsed the president's position and
leadership on foreign policy and on the other hand, they portrayed governor romney as somebody who was not only an etch-a-sketch, but cast a lot of uncertain, on what his position would really be on foreign policy. >> i was back in london over the weekend, is and interesting getting feedback there to the debates and also the feeling about obama performance on the foreign stage. pretty popular i have to say in europe and also he took out bin laden, pulled troops out of iraq, out of afghanistan, didn't put boots on the ground in libya, and sensing certainly in england a very different kind of presidential leadership to say what george bush did before him. and do you think that's a fair assessment, that obama has a very different kind of style? >> that certainly may be the perception in great britain. i spent most of my time in the middle east and i think when candidate romney, governor
romney, says he is seeing the unraveling of the policy in the middle east, what i see in cairo, what i see in baghdad, what i see in abu dhabi is exactly that. this is an administration that is not seen as reliable, not seen as predictable and not seen as one that will be there when you need them there are needs for change in the middle east, but if there is anything that's necessary in the middle east, it's a sense of trust, and it's a sense of consistency, and it is a sense of standing by your allies, and this administration just hasn't done that over the last four years, and a great concern of arab allies about four years of the obama administration. >> do we need in the american military, more troops, more trips, more ammunition, or is the answer we need less going forward? >> we need a winning strategy. i think the president and his advisers have crafted a good
strategy. he has to pivot toward asia, but he knows the key to america's strength is to rebuild america at home. not a matter of another couple of ships out there. the truth, the joint chiefs of staff and service chiefs all signed up. they have what they need in the current budget there, are no cuts coming to the armed forces. this is simply a reduction in the rate of growth of defense expenditures and so we may redistribute man power. when we come out of the ground war, we don't intend to go into another ground war, but if we need them, we'll bring them back up again as we did in 2003. i think the strategy has got it about right. we have to work space and cyber securities and things that don't require man power, but we've got to have a strong strategy, and we need the country to pull together for that.
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masks. same expressions, same rubbery fake smiles. the real reason romney won't find it as comfortable as obama is that his masks are being outsold, 60% to 40%. the last four elections, mask sales pointed to the winner. clinton masks outsold bob dole's. bush's mask outsold gore. and george bush's mask outsold john kerry and four years ago, the obama mask outsold the mccain one. the next president of the united states will almost certainly be barack obama. but wait, not so fast, apparently outselling obama and romney is another potential masked candidate, somebody with youten