Meet the Press | November 04, 2012
>>> let's turn back to our political roundtable. mike murphy , that ad in ohio , that issue in ohio , is contentious. the romney campaign is doing this because they see some disadvantage in terms of how he's perceived vis-a-vis the auto industry .
>> in all the metal bending states, the obama campaign has done a good job of attacking romney . i don't like that particular ad, and the reason is it reminds me of the obama ads about the auto bailout, which are incredibly misleading. they have been going on for a year. i think they both get a yellow flag on that. but romney and have a political issue in northern ohio with the political bailout, and he's trying to address that. we'll see if it works.
>> i want to talk more generally about closing arguments on the economy. here is a chart of unemployment through the obama presidency and that final jobs report at 7.9%. if you're president obama , you like that down slope there, don't you? and that's the argument he's making. 7.9%, though, is still higher than when he came into office.
>> the reality is he's made dramatic improvements in the economy and the jobs are going much, of better. i really want to bring up the point about enthusiasm. i campaigned very hard in the 2008 campaign and saw euphoria and excitement. this campaign, we have metrics that there's not only more enthusiasm but more involvement and engagement. you have women coming into campaign headquarters saying i'm here because i want to fight to defend planned parenthood , women's right to choose, equal pay for equal work . i see military folks volunteering saying i'm here to defend my right to serve in the military whether you're gay or not. and i see small businesses in flint saying i have sba loans, i am here because he defended the auto industry . i'm not that kind of business, but my business is in michigan and it depends on people having resources.
>> that's not showing up out there. "the new york times" yesterday had a front page article on their website talking about the difference over the past four years, that four years ago people did go. it was about hope and change. and this year, the people seem a lot more solemn. we have heard it time and time again. hold on a second. hold on a second. and this is a fascinating thing. the obama campaign is talking about metrics. they are talking about data. they are talking all of these numbers. and yet you're not seeing the enthusiasm in the crowds. yesterday in iowa, at a very small crowd, joe biden had 900 in colorado. even cnn was reporting that the crowds were much smaller this year.
>> but, tom, you're focused on the closing arguments.
>> they are negative, about keeping the other guy out. it's not about enthusiasm with all due respect, mr. mayor, for the candidates on either side. there's great fear in the republican party that obama will get four more years. there's not a passion al love affair with mitt romney . there's been a lot of disappointment in your party with the president of the united states . on the other hand, there's greater fear that mitt romney is going to get into office. so more than any other time that i've been doing all of this, i have seen in the closing days fear take over. and more negative campaigning . it's not about me, it's about keeping the other guy out. i think that's what's going on here.
>> savannah, we think about the question, why is it that incumbents lose? you go back to the first president bush . he had a problem with his base. no new taxes. he breaks that pledge. but also a down economy. jimmy carter has a down economy as well. and the reality is, that this president still is facing a down economy.
>> but you can overcome a down economy with the graph you showed. it's really the trajectory that matters. but to me the signature weakness of the obama campaign has been the lack of a second term message. i think that people fire incumbents when they don't show the energy and the passion for the job. that's to me why that first debate was so devastating for president obama , because it underscored people's worst views of what the president could be, kind of listless, lacking fight, lacking passion. i remember the 1992 campaign. that was kind of the book on george h.w. bush , he just didn't have fire for the job beyond, i ought to be re-elected. you have to have a message beyond i'm entitled to be re-elected.
>> the obama people made an interesting calculation, which is we have problems with the economy so we'll make our campaign about mitt romney . and it may work politically. that's the campaign that the republicans have done as well very successfully, but if you win, you also lose, because you don't have an agenda. romney has that challenge too. but the president decided to make this a slaughter campaign.
>> i disagree. i think fdr made four terms of re-election. because people remember that fear when our country was falling in freefall in jobs, foreclosures, financial industry , the auto industry . here is a president in my lifetime never seen inherited a worst set of problems that not only got us out of the crisis, but the fear in community was palpable. and now not only have we stabilized the economy, over 30 months of job creation accelerating at the end, and you don't underestimate how personal this is for people with a child with pre-existing conditions who are now invested in this election because one person wants to get rid of obama care and one doesn't. don't underestimate it. and i see this passion from women. it's i want to spend those things that are important to my family, such as a right to women's right to choose.
>> there's a lot of fear out there, though. whether or not you're talking about single women in ohio or people trying to get their kids into college, people believe that the american dream is slipping away. every poll shows this. people aren't as optimistic about the future as they were four years ago.
>> that's not true. what about college access?
>> come on.
>> joe, i love you, but i got too little sleep, please don't make me say something i will regret. number one, when it comes to college access, the president has a plan. he doubled pell grants . i see it in my community. people couldn't afford college before this president. and another thing we agree on, simpson-bowles. here is a plan that says i want a balanced approach. the other guy says no revenue increases. keep the hardened position.
>> look, the comment --
>> the president made a grand bargain in 2008 . he has a pitch now. he had a pitch then. the pitch was i'm going to put the country in debt and get the economy going. he got a four-year shot. it didn't happen.
>> no, no. the reduction you have in the unemployment rate is obviously --