tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC August 12, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PDT
hitting the campaign trail, the romney/ryan ticket on day two. today we're learning the inside story on how the choice was made. meanwhile, president obama's campaign weighing in on mitt romney's running mate with a fresh attack today. and the historic drought. why is this happening? when will it stop? and how much damage is being done here? answers to those questions ahead. and the last lap, the 30th olympic games coming to close today but not without a final flourish of gold for u.s. athletes. the latest in a live report. hello, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm richard lui in for alex today. topping this hour, mitt romney and paul ryan heading to another campaign stop in north carolina before they head to wisconsin later today. while flying to north carolina yesterday, mitt romney talked about the direction of the campaign and the benefits of a
running mate. take a listen. >> for us, this is a campaign of ideas and a direction for america. what's america going to be, what kind of nation we're going to be, how are we going to help people across this country have a better future, and having two people talk about that i think is a far more compelling dynamic than being out there on my own. i'm excited. >> meanwhile, president obama's campaign is giving paul ryan no time to settle into his new role. cnn adviser david axeod came out swinging on nbc's "meet the press" this morning attacking the republicans' economic plan. >> we have more to do not just to deal with unemployment but to rebuild the middle class in this country. and the way to do it is not to give trillions of dollars of new tax cuts to the wealthiest americans, raise tes on the middle class, and cut things like college loans and research and technology infrastructure, energy. this is a prescription for economic catastrophe. and what is surprising to me is
that having been part of the first catastrophe that congressman ryan thinks we should double down on that policy and do it all over again. >> we're learning new details today about how team romney got ryan to join them on the road without raising media suspicion. it sounds like a cloak and dagger operation. nbc's peter alexander has the details from the romney bus tour in north carolina. peter? >> richard, good day from near charlotte, one of three events that mitt romney and paul ryan will attend today, the last one in paul ryan's home state of wisconsin, a homecoming rally there. that is the last time we will likely see the two of them together before the convention itself late thermoin tampa, florida. paul ryan will split off from romney later today, heading to the iowa state fair for tomorrow's events. how they were able to keep this secret in the 24-hour news cycle, the new twitter universe outwitting the media in itself a story. it was a week ago that mitt romney was going to offer the decision, as he did, to paul ryan, to make him his running
mate. that choice, it was determined by the campaign, would be shared at beth myers' home. she's a senior adviser to romney, who lives just outside boston. how do you get ryan to boston without being spotted? they did it quite covertly. ryan flew from chicago, we have learned, not to boston but two hours away to hartford, connecticut, where he was picked up in a rented suv by myers' teenaged son, then drove for that private meeting that took place in the myers' family home. ryan was not detected because he was wearing jeans, sunglasses, and a ball cap. and then on friday, how did they get ryan from wisconsin to virginia for this announcement that nbc news broke in the wee hours? they kept it secret until just hours before the announcement was made. well, paul ryan came home from a memorial service for the victims of the sikh temple shooting in wisconsin. he came home, reporters, including nbc's own embed
spotted him there. he exited out the back door, through the woods behind his home in a neighborhood where he grew up, was picked up on a nearby street by a top aide who drove him to a nearby airport where he and his family flew to the virginia area. they had a takeout dinner at a n nondescript hotel before the major announcement was made. he didn't even tell his own mom he had been selected until just after midnight early saturday morning. that is the latest from charlotte. back to you. >> peter, quite a story there. thank you. now joining us for front-page politics, david weigel, political reporter for slate, and cheryl, political reporter for roll call. you wrote about the interesting way that paul ryan, who voted for t.a.r.p., this goes back when axelrod said this morning on "meet the press," how ryan voted for the auto bailout and medicare part d, and then he became the republican base's star budget hawk. and so, as we go forward, what's
your thought? will conservative voters give him a pass on that? >> oh, they're already giving him a pass. they had demanded somebody like ryan on the ticket, ryan specifically, a lot of them. you're seeingably who's showing up to these events they're enraptured by him. some people have lost their careers over these votes but he was always using it while trying to pass some new radical reform. in 2005 he was point man of social security reform. in 2010, when he didn't need to, he redrew the roadmap. you can excuse him on these issues because he was so good at explaining the need for cuts and the need for -- i'm not trying to use it in a pejorative sense but for reform, big, giant reforms. >> balance, taking the good with the bad. sherry, you also wrote that house democrats are elated by paul ryan's choice here. how does his pick reinforce the arguments they've been making against romney being the former
bane ceo, that he's out of touch and along that thought process? >> well, it actually reinforces the argument that house democrats have been using against the republican opponents all cycle, which is that republicans voted for cuts in medicaid. it's proven effective in some cases but yet to be effective on a larger level. i talked to the house democrats campaign arm yesterday and he was excited about the pick. he said he's ready to name mitt romney to their internal majority makers program, which is kind of a pun in a way of saying he thinks this will help democrats win back the majority. i think that's going a little too far. >> has the obama campaign been readying themselves for this very choice, given that there's been this back and ft. worth ryan and congress led by the gop throughout the recent months? >> yeah. i think the obama campaign and chicago is pretty happy about
it. they certainly seemed so yesterday morning with some of the statements they put out. but it is because of these proposals that ryan has put in writing. it gives democrats basically a dossier, gives them something to look through line by line and attack him by. >> david, to you on this. is there a danger here as we look more into paul ryan? he went on stage yesterday, bounding onto the stage, so much energy. is there concern at all perhaps that he might outshine romney? >> you know, when you asked that question, i think of how we're starting to use the word bold to describe the word romney campaign, which is not a word we've used. he's complementing mitt romney's campaign in a way they're happy with. they have changed the focus of the election to just talking about barack obama all the time, but they're kind of letting the vice presidential nominee be the message of the campaign. i'm in new england. there are a few close races going on. and republicans are talking up in the massachusetts, a republican i talked to was talking up ryan before he talked
up romney. they have no problem in the way for a while republicans had no problem talking up sarah palin over john mccain. they raised $7 million in a few days from that pick and there was a period of time when she was an incredibly popular figure. they think they have the same thing with ryan. >> david, how would you characterize the choice of ryan compared to previous choices at this point in their respective campaigns? would you say this is similar to sarah palin? would you say they're looking for -- using this word frequently in the last two days -- a game change and therefore, perhaps, that shows there was some weakness here? >> it's different because what palin added to the mccain ticket was just a possible appeal, almost a soap opera appeal to a lot of americans who would find her compelling, then a reassurance to conservatives. this, the ryan choice was almost made for romney in the last two years. i mean, ryan's economic agenda had been the economic agenda of the entire republican party. four republicans voted against it in the house, almost none voted against it in the senate.
if you listen to the way lead conservatives and the base talked, it would have been an affront to them if they didn't accept that romney was defining what they stood for. >> shira, talk about the swing states and swing voters in those states. we'll show our viewers this map right here, iowa, pennsylvania, and florida have large populations of over the age of 65. here we go. 14.9% in iowa. 15.4% in pennsylvania. over 17% in florida. is mitt romney risking the loss of those states with paul ryan on the ticket because of his budget plan and the push for the reduction of fundi ining to mede here? >> there's no question florida is going to be a problem for romney now given ryan's budget and the number of seniors in that state. i think that's what makes the ryan pick so interesting, is because in many ways he could be seeing -- we'll see how the next
couple months play out, but he could be sacrificing florida to instead shift the battleground map to the midwest, to try and play in states like wisconsin, ohio, iowa, which has a lot of seniors but is also a battleground state. and i wonder if that's what romney is has effectively done with this pitch, in many ways ceding florida because of the large number of hispanics there, which he wasn't testing well with either. >> dave, do you think he'll sort of say, put florida aside, focus on the midwestern swing states? >> well, they're heading to florida again in a month. they'll make the argument they made in 2010, which is that by voting for the affordable care act it's democrats who wanted to destroy medicare. they'll try and muddy the waters on that and take the issue away. it did work in 2010. that was their message. there was money taken out of medicare to reform the health care system, money taken out of your possible health future. they'll repeat that and see if they can cancel out the attacks. >> dave weigel, shira taupe litz, thank you so much.
in-person voter i.d. fraud has been found to be virtually nonexistent. it looked into more than 2,000 cases of alleged fraud on election day in the past dozen years. concerns about fraud has prompted states to enact tougher voter i.d. laws. much of the west will simmer in triple-digit heat today. there are severe storm threats in other places as well. weather chan meteorologist jeff morrow has more. >> thanks, richard. looks like the east coast will still have to deal with a little bit of rain, particularly on the outer banks of north carolina. parts of central and southern florida, and across eastern new england. places like new york city, back down to philadelphia and d.c., should have a fairly dry day and lower humidity, as well. meanwhile, parts of the midwest not bad. chicago should have a beautiful day down to atlanta and nashville. still hot, though, in texas, even though we have the risk of a thunderstorm in oklahoma city. still going to get over 100 degrees. but much cooler as we head up
towards the twin cities. minneapolis, 66 with rain showers. farther west, aside from a few storms far up in the mountainous areas of the four corners and the great basin, it's going to be a hot day here. phoenix up to 115. salt lake city almost 100. even seattle up to a pretty warm 85 degrees. the biggest threat for severe weather today has to be across the southern plains from dallas right on over to texarkana up to ft. smith and springfield, missouri. now, of course, nobody wants the severe weather. however, we need the rain desperately here and i guess we'll have to take what we can get. back to you. richard? >> thank you. breaking news from the olympics. we'll bring that to you, plus a new record for team usa on this final day of competition at london. and what to expect at the closing ceremony. also, which olympians deserve to make the most money. we'll speak with a marketing expert about that and the backlash against lolo jones. later in strategy talk, what demographic paul ryan hadds to
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new today, a written report on accusations of racial profiling at one of america's biggest airports. "the new york times" says tsa officers at boston's logan airport are making these allegations. "the times" also says more than 30 officers claim a program intended to help identify potential terrorists based on mannerisms has led to racial profiling. they claim the operation targets middle easterners and passengers who fit other profiles including african-americans wearing baseball caps backwards. the tsa tells the newspaper that
it's investigating the allegation and says if the claims are true, it will take immediate and decisive action. some incredible pictures out of arizona. a massive dust storm blew across the phoenix area this weekend. the national weather service issued the dust warning saturday afternoon. winds gusted from 25 to 40 miles an hour and poor visibility forced some roads to be closed. dust storms in the area have been more common this summer due to drought conditions and higher temperatures. this summer's heat blew away the dust bowl standing as the hottest ever. the july average high temperature reached 77.6 degrees, edging out 1936. the century average high temperature is only 74.3 degrees. university of miami professor ben kirtman who specializes in meteorology and physical oceanography joins me now. good day, professor. >> good day to you, richard. >> what's your thought here? what's contributing to the record heat we've been reporting? is it global warming that has been -- the headline certainly
as of late or humans to blame here? is this part of that? >> well, there's two factors, of course. global warming is part of the problem, but there's also natural variability. so on any given year there's the possibility of extreme heat waves or extreme drought. and, in fact, we had two la nina-like conditions years in a row in the tropical pacific, and that tends to favor drought in much of the u.s. and that in conjunction with global warming and climate change is why you're seeing sort of this perfect storm, if you will, of drought and heat. >> now, i want to show our viewers this map about the drought across the country. it shows drought conditions affecting 64% of the lower 48 states. president obama has pledged -- >> that's right. >> -- some million dollars in aid to farmers and ranchers to assist with this problem. is that enough? >> i don't know about whether it's enough. but i think we need to start
really thinking instead of combatting the individual drought as it happens to start think of a long-term drought strategy. as the climate is changing, the chances of these kinds of heat waves and extreme droughts are going to be more probable. >> what might that strategy be? >> you know, we need to think about how to prepare farmers with drought-resistant seed, perhaps, think about different irrigation strategies. there's lots of things that can be done both at the national level, the state level, local governments, individuals that need to be done. we need to start putting together comprehensive strategies for figuring out how we're going to respond to the fact that climate is changing. >> and part of that -- >> and that these heat waves and droughts -- >> part of that, professor, is -- >> go ahead. >> -- prediction. you have some models that you use. what are you seeing in the next five to ten years? >> in the next -- yes. in fact, we do have models. in the next couple of seasons, we do expect some relief because
we're going into what we call an el nino-type conditions in the tropical pacific, and that tends to bring more rainfall to the southern tier. so we do expect some relief in the short term. however, in the long term, i would expect certainly more heat and the chances of the drought persisting, particularly in the west, are very high. >> thank you very much, professor ben kirtman from the university of miami. later, selling the stars of the london games. who's the most marketable? and does endorsing an olympian always pay off? kate and i have been married for 15 years. that's 3 moves, 5 jobs, 2 newborns. it's no wonder i'm getting gray. but kate still looks like...kate.
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picture-perfect. the last day of the london olympics. today the u.s. broke its record for gold medals earned at an olympics on foreign soil. it's been good for the host country, as well. a new poll found 51% of brits say their mood has been lifted by the games. the final days of competition is in full force, and that includes the men's basketball final that just wrapped up with team usa defeating spain to win the gold, 107-100. a major upset in men's platform diving, as well. american david boudia defeats the chinese favorite to take the gold medal. and final preparations are going on this hour for tonight's closing ceremony. now let's take a look at where the medal count stands at the moment. these numbers just updated. the united states leads with 104 med deals, including 46 golds. china is in second with 87 total medals. russia rounds out the top three with 82. let's go to london now and nbc's
mark barger, who's been watching this for us. just what happened is the men's basketball game final. the united states taking a win there. >> that's right. it's somewhat reminiscent of the game four years ago when team usa beat spain for the gold medal. in that game, the u.s. really was tight with spain until the final two minutes and they were able to finally put them away. like the u.s. team, the spanish team has a lot of nba players including the gasol brothers, pau and mark. they provide a lot of size up front that caused some problems for the u.s. the u.s. was only up by a point at halftime, a point going into the fourth quarter, but they got some breathing room oming down the stretch. kevin durant had 30 points, lebron james had 19 and the usa makes it two in a row in gold medals. >> a nail-biter there. also tonight we have the closing ceremony. nellum has an amazing story here. >> yeah, he is. this is a guy that four years ago there was question about how
well he would be able to walk, much less run. he's a u.s. sprinter, a quarter miler, basically, won a silver medal as part of the 4 x 400 relay team. back in 2008 hef leafing an off campus party when he was shot in the leg three times by some gang members. he had a hit in the left hamstring and both quad muscles each leg. he had to undergo three different surgeries just to be able to walk normally, much less run. he eventually got back to running, qualified for the u.s. olympic team. he just missed the final in the individual 400 meter competition, but he did make it onto the relay team and come away with a silver medal and he was voted on by his team members of team usa to carry the flag tonight. >> one of so many amazing stories. hard to believe, you know, after three weeks we're coming to an end. what else are we expecting in tonight's closing ceremony? the opening ceremony was so awesome. >> a lot of british music. it's being called a sympathy of
british music. the director says it will be cheesy, cheeky, and thrilling. there already about 30 different numbers spanning the panorama of british music. we'll see people like the spice girls, the who, annie lennox, muse, the pet shop boys. that's just for starters. no doubt there are a number of surprises. in fact, there are two acts they approached to be part of this event tonight that turned them down but called back after the opening ceremony and said, hey, we want to be a part after all. they said too late, already filled up, too many acts, don't have room for you. it should be a lot of fun. about two hours of music tonight. >> you got to say yes. i guess that's the lesson there. mark barger there, who will be watching the closing ceremonies for us. appreciate your time today. next, fresh reaction to mitt romney's choice of running mates. some surprising comments from both sides. you know, i was once used for small jobs.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." i'm richard lui. alex is off today. new comments pouring in on mitt romney's pick for vice president, the headlining topic all morning. >> i think it's a choice that will thrill the most strident voices in the republican party -- the tea party, the social conservatives. i think it's going to be troubling to the mainstream of the american electorate. it may overshadow the actual candidate on some of the most important issues of the day. what do you say? >> i had that problem. i don't think that's the case. i think this is a team that understands the challenges that we face. >> the effort that ryan has put in makes -- in my mind makes him an extraordinarily exciting have because you nowa national leader who is capable of talking in detail with the american people absome very complicated topics. >> nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house with more on
how the republican challenger's decision is shaping the president's strategy and response. kristen, many are saying this is exactly what president obama wanted. >> reporter: right. well, the obama campaign's reaction, richard, was swift and strong. only took them a few minutes yesterday after romney made the announcement to put out a statement. later in the afternoon they put out a new ad dubbing romney and ryan the go-back team, which pretty much speaks for itself. they essentially argue in that ad that mitt romney and paul ryan would put the country right back where it was at the start of the great recession. look, ryan fits perfectly into the argument that the obama campaign was already making against mitt romney. it just allows them, campaign officials tell me, to make that argument more strongly, allows them to sharpen their argument because of the ryan budget, which, of course, would slash taxes for wealthy americans and also overhaul entitlements including medicare. campaign officials tell me you can expect a lot of their
messaging to be targeted at young people, at women, at seniors. they argue these are some of the groups that will be impacted by the ryan budget, that will care most about those types of issues. one of the top strategists for the obama campaign, david axelrod, really flooded the morning shows, and he gave us an even clearer view of what the obama campaign's playbook is going to look like over the next several months. take a listen. >> when the president walked in the door, he walked into 800,000 jobs a month being lost. the quarter before he took office we had the worst performance since 1930. that is the economy that paul ryan and the republicans delivered to this president. what is surprising to me is that having been part of the first catastrophe that congressman ryan thinks we should double down on that policy and do it all over again. >> reporter: of course, from the republican standpoint, the ryan pick has really reenergized mitt romney's campaign instead of just running against president
obama, making this a referendum on president obama, mitt romney now has his own platform, if you will, to run on. i spoke with one republican strategist who said the challenge now moving forward for mitt romney is for paul ryan to humanize the ryan budget, explain why we need to overhaul entitlements, why we need reforms to really get that message across. that's going to be the challenge moving forward in the coming months. richard, president obama is in chicago right now. he has four fund-raisers there including a big one this afternoon for his birthday. we are expecting him to address the ryan pick for the very first time this afternoon. i can tell you i was at the white house yesterday when president obama left a number of us shouting questions out at him trying to get reaction to the ryan pick. he ignored us. so we are hoping to hear from the president this afternoon when he speaks at that fund-raiser. richard? >> 51 years old.
kristen welker, thank you for your time today. >> reporter: thank you. time for today's strategy talk. former rnc chairman and msnbc political analyst michael steele. and democratic strategist and former chief of staff for senator joe mansion, chri chris kofinas. michael, you heard what was said by kristen welker from president obama's perspective. >> yeah. >> they're saying, look, this is exactly what we wanted. they're doubling down on something that isn't working. what's your response sp. >> i think they're right. it does open up that door and that opportunity for the obama administration to relitigate the last four years or the four years prior to their coming into power. again, it gives them an opportunity to talk about something other than the policies that have not worked, that this president has put in place over the last four years. so, you know, they're going to champ at the bit a little bit to go after ryan. but what they get in ryan is someone who can push back. as we've seen before, richard,
this vice presidential candidate as a budget chairman was not afraid to look the president in his eye and basically, you know, call him out a little bit. you know, the president tried to return that favor by putting him in the front row and dumping on his plan. but the reality of it is you've got a candidate in ryan who's willing to push back, who can, as christian aptly put it, humanize this discussion, elevate the discussion a bit. we'll see how it plays out. >> chris, what's your response to that, in terms of what michael was saying there? >> i kind of disagree with michael. i think this is a fantastic choice because it has made the distinctions between these two campaigns ever clearer. if you're a voter out there and you're undecided and wonder chg ticket is better for you, you can vote romey/ryan basically support a program that's going to eviscerate key programs important to the middle class from education to health care or
vote for president obama and basically policies that help the middle class. if you look simply at his budget, one of the most glaring things, the notion that somehow you're going to turn around this economy and at the same time cut the deficit and solve our debt problems by cutting taxes on the wealthy and making people like governor romney pay around 1% in taxes, which is one calculation i read this morning, is beyond mathematical possibility. this is the fundamental problem with this ticket. they talk really good, but when the reality of their numbers are shown to the american people, they're going to be shocked and disgusted. >> michael? >> the reality of the numbers, chris, i love the the pie pesh lee, but the reality of the numbers is 8.3% unemployment, 23 billion americans still unemployed, underemployed or out of work for the last 18 months. the reality is we've come in with a trillion dollars worth of deficit, now we have an additional $4 trillion or $5 trillion. those are the numbers that a lot of americans know.
you're absolutely right. i love the way you set it up. yeah, you want to choose now, you want to choose to stay mucked and mired in the reality of 8.3 hearse-plus unemployment or actually do what's necessary and that is to reform the way the government spends it money, reform the taxes, reform the way this government responds to small and private businesses out there? >> but, michael, you know, that's really nice rhetoric, as well, but here's the problem. congressman ryan's numbers don't add up. governor romney's solutions don't add up. the notion you'll solve the serious economic challenges this country face, and by the way, be brutally honest and face facts, that these are problems that president obama inherited. he inherited an economy that wasn't at the cliff, it had fallen off the cliff. wait a second. millions of jobs. in the process he's helped stabilize the economy. the notion that somehow governor romney's policies or congressman
ryan's policies are going to make this better ignores reality. >> i want to get back to paul ryan specifically. michael steele, can you talk about this -- what we've seen from mitt romney up to this point is that he's a businessman, he's outside washington, but now he brings in an insider, a seven-term congressman. how does he work around that? >> well, i think he works around it because, you know, ryan, you know, is -- his democrat colleagues will say and have said that he's one of these guys, yes, he's inside the bubble, if you will, but he works. he works with the opposition. he's tried as budget chairman, certainly as we've seen with ron widen, tried to crack the kind of legislation to move the agenda forward. so i think, you know, despite, you know, the histrionics that may come from the left about a paul ryan budget, the fact of the matter is that there are members on the other side who have worked with him and are willing to work with him. and i think the romney campaign
is looking at him as somewhat of a bridge to the congress and to the democrats in the senate to make sure that as president he doesn't do what this from the has done, basically, you know, thumbed his nose at republican leadership and complained about not working or gettinging along with them when, in fact, he's not extended that opportunity. so the reality for romney to try to make that bridgework now by bringing someone who's had that history of working with the opposition. >> chris, part of that bridge is also humanizing romney. one of the difficulties he has had -- did you see some of that yesterday? >> yeah. i mean, i watched the -- you know, the interaction. here's the problem i have. you know, putting aside my -- taking off my democratic hat, if you look at the calculation that goes into choosing a vice presidential candidate to bolster your ticket, i don't see how this helps governor romney. it doesn't help him in the key blounlds because even in wisconsin ryan is not that well-known and he's never run statewide.
it doesn't help him with a key demographic like hispanics or women. it doesn't help him in vital battlegrounds like florida or virginia. it only helps him with conservatives. if a romney campaign is concerned about turning out the conservative base, they are in deeper trouble than anyone could possibly imagine. >> all right. thank you very much, chris kofinis, michael steele. appreciate your time. >> you got it. >> thank you. to today's number ones. first they flocked to london for pursuit of olympic gold but they certainly don't need a paycheck. lebron james the king of cash, a one-year paycheck of a hefty $53 million edges out roger federer and kobe bryant, each trailing by $1 million. to those who make a mint writing books, we'll say. james patterson tops a new forbes list of the top earning authors with a 12-month paycheck adding up to an astounding $94 million. the prolific patterson's earnings are more than double stephen king's $39 million
income and nearly janet ivanovic's $33 million purse. at the box office, it looks like the bourne legacy will end "the dark knight's" four-week stay at number one. legacy is expected to make about $40 million just this weekend. come on. >> well, easy does it, there, in ft. myers, florida. happy the goat, yeah, has set the guinness record for the longest skateboard ride by a goat. happy rode, if that's the name, an amazing 118 feet in 25 seconds with steady confidence. for some other feats, happy acts more like a dog by jumping through hoops and what not. happy will even eat your homework. and those are your number ones. well another great thing about all this walking i've been doing is that it's given me time to reflect on some of life's biggest questions.
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well, gold medal is a dream for any olympic athlete, but it can also spell some big, big money. gymnast gabby douglas is already cashing in. she's now the face of kellogg's corn flakes, a smiley one, at that. the question -- how much can she and her fellow gold medalists earn off endorsements after the games' end tonight? what about nonolympic gold medalists as well? linda, thanks for being here. you know, there are some names we already know. kobe bryant, roger federer, lebron james. those are already some that are already established and very well endorsed. there's also some newbies. gabby douglas, aly raisman, missy franklin and dawn harper to name a few. what sort of money are we talking about here? >> well, it's interesting. it varies. it's big, big money, especially for, you know, gabby. she has the potential to earn somewhere between $2 million and $4 million a year, actually.
and she's -- the allure is amazing. i mean, the smile. >> she's magnetic. >> very magnetic. aly raisman is very interesting. she is equally wonderful but may not earn as much money. she's a little bit older. she may not play in 2016. and then you have missy franklin, who may not -- >> does that play big, whether they're coming back for the next olympics? >> it does to a certain extent. i think what happens with aly is she might go into commentary. she's very good with interviews. somebody like missy franklin, she may not take any money. >> let's talk about missy franklin. she's got a tough decision now, take the millions or go to school and be unable to compete in college. >> that's right. this is going to be a tough one. and, you know, you look at these teenagers and you wonder how does -- and her parents are saying this has to be your decision. but this is a big life changer. you're suddenly under a microscope and you are one facebook or one tweet away from ruining everything. and they're so young. >> she can still compete professionally though, if she were to take the money and go to
college. is that correct? >> she can -- she cannot compete in college events. >> right. but professionally she could. >> professionally she could. but the question is whether she wants to do that. she seems like a real team player, and the allure of her, she's an all-american girl. i think a part of america doesn't want her to take the money. >> everybody wants to see her compete in college. >> right. >> but this is a fairly common situation, isn't it. after you come out of the olympics, if you're young and not in college yet. >> you know what, i think it's kind of unfair. you know, these college schools make tremendous amount of money off of these athletes and yet they're they willing them you can't do it. and they may not have that opportunity four years from now. so in a way, one can say it's a little bit unfair. >> talk about lolo jones. >> oh, boy. >> yeah. >> well, she had a so-so -- >> level of expectation. >> she had a so-so kind of -- but i think she's getting a tough rap. she's an amazing athlete and has beaten world records indoors and
done very well. but some of the self-aggrandizing has hurt her. another example where we're under a microscope when we have that kind of fame. a little bit can go a long way to hurting your image. and she's beautiful, gorgeous. >> just by pictures. can she turn it back, get back to where she started or too late? >> not too late. she's an incredible athlete, incredible woman. she should go for it. and america loves to -- you know, when they dig it down to a celebrity, they love to raise them back up again. >> not only performance based is what you're saying. >> no. sh has to do with -- >> full package. >> anybody, you know, when this becomes a real team effort now with your marketers, your agents to look at what is the dna of you, not the person but the brand that you're creating. >> personality. >> personality and going forward she can go very far. >> we all feel like we know them so well. we do. linda, thank you so much. marketing insight on this important sub. >> thank you. next, the circulation or rather the calculation by mitt romney in choosing paul ryan.
we'll talk act how romney reached his decision and how the choice will force the campaign to get down to specifics. [ male announcer ] at scottrade, we believe the more you know, the better you trade. so we have ongoing webinars and interactive learning, plus, in-branch seminars at over 500 locations, where our dedicated support teams help you know more so your money can do more. [ rodger ] at scottrade, seven dollar trades are just the start. our teams have the information you want when you need it. it's another reason more investors are saying... [ all ] i'm with scottrade.
those are a few of the headlines we're seeing on this day two of the romney/ryan ticket rollout. they're making their first day of campaigning a busy one, multiple events in north carolina this morning and afternoon, and later today they'll be traveling to ryan's home state of wisconsin for a rally there. with me is christopher rolen,
washington bureau chief of "the boston globe." the headline in this article today, the selection of paul ryan may add substance to campaign. christopher thanks for joining us. what was the calculation you think by mitt romney in choosing paul ryan? did it really come down to the decision that this election was no longer going to be a referendum on the president, they now had to move into a choice election? >> that's exactly right. governor romney had been content to sit by and run a bland campaign in many respects, allowing negative jobs reports to pile up and pile up, you know, flaccid economic growth, and it was going to be a referendum on the president's handling of the economy. clearly something within the campaign changed and they decided that they had to shift strategy and make it a choice between two competing visions, which is actually a pretty fundamental change in their
approach. >> a major change. and, you know, we had on friday here, christopher, the three polls that came out that gave a significant lead to president obama. some of that evidence is in likability. the latest fox news poll showed that romney's unfavorable ratings had gotten worse by some 5%. and here's -- you see on the screen right now how president obama built the lead over three polls -- reuters, cnn, and fox news. was that what they were looking at? >> yeah. i think there was certainly a sense that, you know, despite everything they had done, despite, you know, the economy's remaining, you know, in very slow growth mode, mitt romney is not being able to close that small gap that obama has been able to maintain the whole time. so i think what they did was they wanted to figure out how can they energize their base, how can they shift the debate, create a new dynamic in the race and it's going to be about the deficit, about the economy in a different way.
polls show people really do care about the deficit quite a bit. it's right up there with unemploymeu unemployment in terms of a concern. paul ryan does bring that substantive debate about the deficit to the table. >> to the tables of those who have not yet made a decision. the economy is front and center for those swing voters in the swing states across the country. paul ryan, as we've been discussing, from wisconsin. he actually did go to school right next door at miami university in ohio. polls had the president ahead of romney by six points in ohio and five in wisconsin. so when we look at the map here, does ryan give romney a bit of a boost in either of these midwestern states? >> well, i think he gives a boost certainly on conservatives. it's going to help out with turnout, i suspect. a lot of conservatives are suspicious of romney and they have a problem with their base. this will certainly help them in turn ow. a close election is going to be really important about if you can get your base to come to the polls. the problem really for romney, and this is the puzzling part of the equation, is that they've
exposed themselves to potential damage. you know, paul ryan creates a very target-rich environment for obama and the democrats. and so those swing voters in ohio are going to be hearing a lot about privatization of medicare, you know, social security cuts to, you know, safety net programs that ryan has proposed. so it's really in many respects they've violated one of the tenets of presidential elections, which is first with your vice presidential pick do no harm. well, they have exposed themselves to potential harm here, and that's really what people should be watching for in the coming months p. >> great read, christopher rollen. thanks for being here today. >> thanks for having me. after this, we'll br have breaking news coming out of the olympics in london. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
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i'm richard lui in for alex today. 1:00 in the east, 10:00 in the west. here's what's happening. the obama campaign has declared open season on mitt romney's vp pick, paul ryan, with campaigning senior adviser david axelrod and deputy campaign manager stephanie cutter taking to the airwaves this morning after the congressman's signature budget plan. take a listen. >> well, look, we've just come through a catastrophic experience that was brought on by policies that, by the way, congressman ryan in his role in congress embraced in whole. >> it said something about mitt romney that he's picking someone who has a budget plan under which mitt romney would pay less than 1% in taxes. but the middle class would pay more than $2,000 more in taxes. >> the romney ryan campaign is not taking this sitting down with eric fernstrom hitting back. >> this is the same kind of garbage talk from the obama campaign we've heard almost since day one. it started off with petty untrue
characterizations of mitt romney and his record, and it's now grown to massive exaggerations. >> joining me for more front-page politics, perry bacon, political editor for the grio and msnbc contributor and molly ball, national political reporter for the atlantic. molly, i want to start with you. you were on that kickoff bus tour. how did it go yesterday? >> i have to say it went quite well. ryan really blew away the audiences at all three stops in virginia yesterday. there were huge crowds. we're hearing also huge crowds today in north carolina. a lot of activists revved up and energized. one voter in the first rally of the day, that first speech that ryan gave in norfolk, virginia, yesterday, she said to me, you know, romney can be a little eh. we need some charisma on this ticket and people felt like ryan brought that breath of fresh air. >> did you notice, molly, the eh was gone then, that you had not seen this side of romney before because now he had a different variable in the midsnst. >> romney seems excited. romney seems a little fired up.
but i think it's more that ryan brings an additional excitement, a youthfulness and a vibe of being energetic. i thought it was really interesting that, you know, on his very first speech they had him read off a teleprompter but by the very second speech that was gone. there's obviously a lot of trust in him from this campaign to be able to go off script immediately on the first day. that's pretty remarkable. and this is a guy who at least so far hasn't made mistakes, doesn't have a record of making gaffes. so they seem to be willing to let him really go out there and do it himself. >> he is smooth under pressure. perry, to you, and brass tacks, paul ryan's budget plan would cut medicaid by a third over the course of ten years. some are saying this appears to be like a gift to the obama campaign, who wanted this issue to be painted of romney and the romney ticket as being that of letting the top income bracket keep their tax cuts while those who need help pay for it.
>> i think it makes it easier for the obama campaign to cast romney and ryan as sor of arch conservatives. before we had an election it was going to be a referendum in some ways where romney was saying look how bad obama has done on the economy. now it's much more of a choice. they're excited about major leaguing it about liberals versus conservatives, big government versus small government, big tax cuts versus small tax cuts. >> we have several months to go. too late to get into this choice campaign? there's a lot of definition, a lot of molding, a lot of detail that has to be put around these bones now. >> i don't think it's too late. you know, about 10% of voters in some polls who are undecided, certainly not too late. the challenge is the romney campaign has had a hard time explaining his record at bane capital. now they've added on medicare, social security, medicaid. the paul ryan plan is very hard to defend. paul ryan has had trouble
defending it in congress. now the obama campaign is very aggressive and going to take this on and can romney and his staff really defend that paul ryan plan is the big question. >> that's a good point that perry makes. we were looking at a chuck todd screen, graphic a little earlier that laid out where 65-plus voters exist. and the big percentages, iowa, pennsylvania, and florida. so if you're the romney campaign, you now have paul ryan on the ticket, how do you use him? where do you use him? what's the message you're going to have him say? >> sure. well, the campaign is already saying today that romney is going to continue to florida tomorrow and ryan will not go with him. ryan will be in colorado and in iowa. and his appeal, i think, on paper is in those sort of midwestern states where romney has already looked pretty strong with the sort of white working-class voters that dominate those electorates.
i think that's where they're going to use him the most. it is absolutely going to be the democrats' playbook to tie him to this medicare plan and to message it especially to seniors as something that's dangerous. even though the plan does exempt seniors from the changes to medicare, i don't think it's very difficult to make that point. and, you know, democrats were already going to campaign against the ryan budget. they've already been campaigning against the ryan budget. i think this is really up in the air how much they succeed with that. they felt like they got some mileage out of it in the 2010 election, but as i'm sure you recall, it wasn't exactly a silver bullet, democrats didn't exactly win in that 2010 cycle. >> is this going to be a surgical use here, perry, of paul ryan? as noted by holly, he's not going with mitt romney to florida tomorrow. >> i don't think it will be surgical. the vice presidential candidate runs everywhere. i mean, he has more of an appeal with probably the conservative
base than like moderates in certain states but he's going to be everywhere, going to be in the debates. the big use of him is firing up conservatives as molly noted. conservatives have been lukewarm about molly. getting the base really excited, really revved up, eager to volunteer, eager to give money. i think they've raised $3 million since yesterday. so that's what his real value is. >> molly, as we look at congressman ryan recently telling the new yorker he was miserable in the bush years, voting yay for policies that led to enormous defer sits like t.a.r.p., medicare, part d, the bush tax cuts, extending the bush tax cuts. will the obama campaign frame him as a flip-flopper as well? >> i don't know if the deficit issue is a case of flip-flopp g flip-flopping. if you look at ryan's budget plan, it does not balance the budget. so i think they'll be pounding on that point to say that if you're looking for someone who is going to balance the budget he's not necessarily your guy.
at the same time, this is a very interesting part of ryan's personality, is that even though he has this reputation for ideological purity and has at times been a thorn in the side of the republican party and even a lot of republicans in the house see him as kind of a nuisance for his determination to pursue ideas that are sometimes difficult politically, at the same time, he is a loyal soldier in some regards. he is not, you know, a ron paul who just goes out and votes no on everything. he's someone that leadership knows if they really need him they can count on him. so there's a duality there in paul ryan. >> perry, talk about the biden/paul ryan matchup here. >> paul ryan is known for being like super, super wonkish guy, the nerdiest man in congress, and joe biden is known for being an aww, shucks, personalizes the president in a lot of ways. in a debate, the thing to be watch is this -- paul ryan is very good at defending the
controversial medicare, medicate parts of his plan. a lot of democrats have struggled to, like, sort of hit him in person in a one-on-one on a sunday show. it's hard to critique him. biden will have to really study up, how do i critique this paul ryan plan in a way paul ryan will say, oh, you're misleading people, et cetera, et cetera. that's the challenge from biden to critique the plan in a careful way that exposes its vulnerabilities. >> perry bacon, molly ball, thank you both. >> thank you, richard. the final day of the olympic games and team usa is celebrating a major victory right now. the much-anticipated men's basketball final wrapped up more than an hour ago with the americans defeating spain to claim the gold there. meanwhile, organizers are finishing the final touches for tonight's closing ceremony. u.s. athlete bryshon nellum will carry the flag for the u.s. the latest medal count, the u.s. leads with a total of 104, including 46 golds. china second with 87 and russia third with 78 medals.
let's go to london and check in again with nbc's mark barger. a lot of events wrapping up today. one of the biggest the men's basketball final, of course. >> reporter: that's right. as you alluded to, the u.s. wins the gold medal for the second time in a row. 107-100 over spain. this game was a whole lot like the game four years ago against spain for the gold medal. it basically came down to the last couple minutes of the game. u.s. was only up by a point going into the fourth quarter. kevin durant had 30 points in the game for the u.s. but lebron james had big plays in the final three minutes. he had a monster dunk followed up by a three-pointer. that gave the u.s. the breathing room they needed to pull away and get -- they were just good enough, basically, to get the win, 107-100. they are golden for a second time in a row. >> as we close up this year's olympics, one of the standouts are the women. >> reporter: that's right. they were phenomenal both in track and field in particular and swimming. in fact, i believe in track and
field we had 29 medals all together. women accounted for quite a few of those. also 31 medals in swimming and folks like missy franklin and allison schmitt putting on phenomenal performances in these games, rebecca soni, as well. and the women's soccer team winning the gold medal. it's been a great games for the women. >> i think they've outperformed the men something like 54-40 in that area. mark, also, you know, fans are gearing up for tonight's closing ceremony. i mentioned american bryshon nellum who will carry the u.s. flag. he has an amazing story certainly. but what else are we expecting? >> well, the closing ceremony tonight they were rehearsing right now behind us in the olympic stadium. they've had basically 17 hours after track and field wrapped up last night, 17 hours to get the stadium ready for tonight's big closing ceremony. it's billed as a symphony of british music. we'll hear about 30 different songs over the last 50 years of british music, acts like the spice girls, annie lennox, the
pet shop boys, george michael, the who, and no doubt a lot of other names we haven't been privy to yet. but they've been rehearsing. we heard a few minutes ago one well-known sports anthem from the 1970s. i don't want to say anything more than that lest i offend anybody with nbc sport who is will be showing this to us later tonight. they tell us it will be cheeky, cheesy, and thrilling, and no doubt a great cap to what's been a wonderful olympic games in britain. >> great to watch from here. mark barger, thank you. more on the paul ryan pick. is he ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? we'll speak with senator kay bailey hutchison after the break. [ male announcer ] if you think any battery will do, consider the journey of today's athletes.
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a welfare state, a nation in decline? we're not doing that. why? because north carolina is going to help make sure we don't by electing mitt romney the president of the united states. >> paul ryan and mitt romney already in full campaign mode. making the push today in north carolina. they'll be heading to ryan's home state of wisconsin for a rally later on today. right now i'm joined by senator kay bailey hutchison, republican from texas. senator, thank you so much for joining us today. >> thank you, richard. and can i just say thank you for the conversation you just had about the women in the olympics. oh, my gosh. the soccer team, the basketball team. now the men's. it's been a fabulous time for our american athletes. >> been great to watch, senator. i see you and i are big fans of both together. to the subject at hand. with the choice of paul ryan, when you look at the polls that came out just this friday, what did the romney campaign see in
those polls a couple levels deep that said now is the time to make a pick, now is the time to put paul ryan out there? >> i think they have seen all of the hits that romney has been taking, that we needed to change the conversation, we need to talk about the big issues. we need to make this a campaign that people can see is going to provide a difference to america, a different direction, a spark, an originality of purpose. so i think they wanted to jump-start and energize the people of our country to tune in to the big issues and all of this negative stuff to go away. >> so, senator, the strategy of making this a referendum election wasn't working? >> well, i certainly think we want to run on obama's record. but honestly, i do think that the obama campaign has been able
to bring up extraneous issues that affect nothing that will be done in january of 2013. and they were looking at a way to come back and talk about how america can be different and give people hope for a bright future instead of this dismal record that we've seen for 3 1/2 years. >> well, senator, one of the issues at hand if we go back to paul ryan here as again the veep pick here, he has never run a state or a city. he's not known for his foreign policy experience. so the question that many might be asking, a voter might be asking, is he ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? >> absolutely. he has served in congress and risen to the top. he's risen to the top on substance and originality. i think it is a wonderful pick, and i know that he could be president immediately. i also think that romney and
ryan together provide a wide breadth of experience, romney being very heavy on the business side, and on the executive side, but an important element is understanding congress, understanding how government works, and nobody is better at that than paul ryan. >> senator, to the point you make there in may that romney was saying that it's important for any president to have had some business experience before taking office, listen to what he said about that. >> i was speaking with one of these business owners who owns a couple of restaurants in town. and he said, you know, i'd like to change the constitution. i'm not sure i can do it, he said, but i'd like to have a provision in the constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president i'd like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he can become president of the united states. >> so, senator, does paul ryan meet mitt romney's own standards we listened to you right?
>> let me tell you, i love that standard, but of the four people running for president and vice president, only one of those has that experience and that's romney. none of the other three do, but romney does and i think the balance of the inner workings of congress that we've got to get in there and fix, that's ryan's long suit. so i think the balance is on our side. >> and, senator, back to the point you made about paul ryan understanding congress, again, as the chair of the budget committee, you know, his budget plan has appeared to polarize voters in the past, for instance, in 2011 when his medicare plan was big in the news, a cnn poll found that 58% of americans opposed it, 35% supported it. do you worry about an overhang here? >> well, look at medicare. president obama's plan guts medicare. it takes away medicare as we know it. it cuts $500 billion out of
medicare to spread it around -- >> well, senator, actually, republicans have voted for -- >> so he's the one -- >> -- the ryan budget plan which does not remove the obama affordable care act when it comes to stipulationings of those cults. it appears that republicans in the house support that very cut. >> republicans in the house want to do away with obama care. and i think the medicare proposal that paul ryan has but forward has a lot of promise. but one thing, it doesn't affect anyone who is 55 years of age or older. so the older people in our country are not going to be affected. but i will tell you that the people under 55 wonder if medicare is going to be there at all. they wonder if we're going to have a health care system that they will be able to rely on in their older years. and i think the originality of the plan that paul ryan put forward says that you're going to have a standard plan, and then you'll have a
fee-for-service plan. and you will get the government stipend and you can choose which one you want. you may want to pay a little extra for fee for service or you may take the standard plan. >> that scares a lot of voters over the age of 65 when they hear there's going to be a change to the medicare plan, especially given the budget plan coming from paul ryan that says over the course of ten years that funding will be reduced by a third. that could really hurt mitt romney and paul ryan's chances of very key states where there are swing voters that are older. >> but 55 and above will not be affected at all. they will have medicare as they know it. so the elder people have nothing to fear. the people who are under 55, who wonder if we're going to have a health care system at all, i think will be emboldened to say i could have a choice between a fee-for-service plan or the standard plan, and i can choose whether i want to pay extra for
that fee-for-service plan or i want the standard plan. i think people will like it when they see it and they will know -- >> you see the challenge there, don't you? >> -- if they are under 55 that their best chance for a continued medicare coverage is going to be with an originality like the ryan plan. >> senator, i want to move on from that subject and play something that nbc news political director chuck todd said about the ryan selection here. then i'll get your reaction after you take a listen. please. >> thank you. >> when you look at the presidential nominees at this stage that felt that they needed to use their vice presidential candidate to relaunch, i think al gore, i think bob dole, i think you could go back, walter mondale, it doesn't -- you know, where they wanted a vp picked to be basically as big as they are and help relaunch, it didn't end well. >> sarah palin was another. when you think about that dynamic of history, what's your
reaction? >> well, i think every situation is individual. and i believe that the president nominee romney said that what he wanted was dynamic and he wanted originality, and i think a straight talker like paul ryan has been is a factor that was considered. and so i don't think history really applies here. i think that romney has more business experience and executive experience than perhaps anyone who has taken this office. so he's got that down. and i think that having the younger person with the new ideas, the invigorating ideas, sort of a reaganesque-type happy warrior was something that would balance his more mature and business experience side. >> senator kay bailey hutchison, who's watching the olympics along with everybody else and
seeing the suck oesz of women in london specifically, thank you so much for your perspective today on paul ryan's selection. >> thank you, richard. and thanks for that olympic coverage, too. >> you bet. the london games, speaking of which, we go behind the nu numbers with some records set off the field. this is the plan that revolves around you. introducing share everything. unlimited talk. unlimited text. tap into a single pool of shareable data and add up to 10 different devices, including smartphones and tablets. the first plan of its kind. share everything. only from verizon. now add a tablet for only $10 monthly access.
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now to today's "number ones" part two. first encouraging signs about the housing market. the fiscal times lists the states with the fastest recovering housing markets. arizona is the top-ranked state thanks to home appreciation of more than 13.5% from june to june of this year. rather june to july, i believe. idaho is second with a gain of about 10.5%. just ahead of south dakota's 10% boost. the website 247wallstreet names detroit the most affordable housing market in the country. median morage payment in the
motown region costs only about 3.5% of monthly pay. at&t leads the forbes list of the 25 big companies betting on america. the wireless giant spent about $20 billion last year on capital investments in the states. that's about $4 billion more than runner u7 ver 1r50i7b 12k3w4r50er7b8g. . 6789 . so, this internet explorer commercial says it's the fast browser around -- or rather the fastest browser around. but a new study shows internet speeds are not the same across the country. in fact, folks in delaware have the fastest internet connections in the nation. arkansas the slowest. topping billboard's digital soft chart,it's new minted "american idol" phillips is number one. those are your "number ones."
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with al e exwit." i'm richard lui in for alex. in minutes, mitt romney and paul ryan will appear for a second time today at a rally in north carolina. nbc's peter alexander is traveling with the romney/ryan bus tour. he joins us live right now via phone. peter, how has the message evolved over the last 24 hours? are we hearing pretty much the same thing? >> wer 23434 w5i 13w4r50e6r7g9s 1g certain 2k4ri6r7b9 2w45e67b 12k3450i6r7bs course of 2 2k3450i7b8s a lot of it from are the k3wr5i7bs we are toll by the
pick brings medicare to center stage. you really drilled down on that for us because that is what many are thinking at the moment because of the choice of paul ryan, the paul ryan medicare or budget plan is now the same as or equivalent to what romney will want to do going forward. so let's go past the headlines here to try to understand what romney and ryan want to do with medicare. and you write about some of the differences here. for example, you say that the retirement age under romney's plan, the eligibility age, would increase over time. the ryan plan keeps it at 65. that's a big difference to many. >> yeah, it's actually of all the various things these plans would to to change medicare, that seems to be the one that scares seniors the least probably because they're already eligible for the program. there are a number of kind of small differences between these two plans. the key thing to realize is ryan and romney were on the same page about medicare. i think the big difference we'll see how is they'll have to talk about it a lot more because ryan is so closely associated with the medicare reform plan.
>> another difference here is romney doesn't spell out spending caps, but ryan does. health tie spending caps to gd g growth. the question here that folks will ask as they drill into the details here is you look at health care costs as they increase at a rate much greater than the increase of gdp. gdp is 1% to 2% at the moment. that's not going to match up. >> yeah. this is a big difference. romney has shy away from providing any kind of guidance because the second you provide a growth cap, people can calculate how different the payments might be from what they've anticipated the costs of medicare will be. >> it's worth noting that the obama health care reform law sets a similar cap on growth in medicare. there's not a huge amount of difference in this current version of the ryan reform plan in terms of value of the per capita spending than there is urn the current law with the health care reform law. >> there's this other detail you
write about, the nation's poorest seniors. mitt romney's plan doesn't answer that explicitly, but you say ryan calls for additional funding. how large of a group is this? an walk us through that for us if you could. >> this is a pretty small percentage overall, but these are beneficiaries who ten to cost the most. they're really sick. they're people eligible for both medicare and medicaid, generally meaning they're in nursing homes, they're very poor, have a lot of chronic health problems and i think there's a concern that a plan that sort of voucherizes medicare, that enables people to go into the private marketplace to buy insurance, that that is not really well suit to these people who are really sick, who don't have a lot of control over their spending patterns. >> margo, all said then, does the ryan medicare plan equal the romney medicare plan for all intents and purposes here? >> i really think it does, but it's worth noting that the ryan dicare plan today is different than the ryan medicare plan that was unveiled in 2011 and made
such a splash, potentially even in response to romney. ryan softened the plan in a couple of key ways. one is seniors will have the choice of staying in traditional medicare if they want to. they'll get a voucher but they can use it to buy regular medicare in addition to private products. >> margo sanger katz, thanks for details. >> sure. team usa is celebrating a win on the basketball court. the team, including lebron james, kobe bryant, carmelo anthony, and many more beat spain with a final score of 107-100. the americans now take home the gold. that one keeps the u.s. in the lead with 104 medals, 46 of those gold, china comes in second place, followed by russia with 82. meanwhile, the world is preparing to say so long to london. tonight's closing ceremony at the olympic stadium will feature more than 4,000 performers. the celebration is rumored to include the spice girls, the who, plus supermodels and comedians as well. organizizers of the games hope to go out on a new high. the games themselves set records in the fields of attendance, ratings, and sales. nbc's annabell roberts is live
in london. a lot of records to talk about here. give us some of them. >> reporter: that's right, richard. as you say, london has been setting some olympic-sized records of its own. a staggering 7.4 million people who visited olympic venues over the past two weeks with no complaints of long queues to get through security and into the venues, which was something that had been a worry in the run-up to the games. soccer, in particular, has seen a big increase in spectators compared with beijing. the men's soccer final yesterday had a crowd of over 86,000, bringing the total number of spectators for men's and women's soccer combined to 2,186,000. and that is 50,000 more than at the last games. also, remember all the concern about whether london's rather ancient public transport system would hole up and get people to venues on time. well, it has, and a record was smashed last tuesday. that for the number of people traveling around london on the tube or subway on one day.
4.5 million people took the underground that day, the highest number ever. rich ar? >> ancient but much loved, annabel. what about the sales of merchandise in stores and online? there was concern early on when the olympics first started that folks weren't showing up, tourists were staying away, they weren't buying. >> well, that's proved not to be the case. merchandise is selling well according to the organizers. it's estimated 750,000 people have visited the megastore in the olympic park, i think most were there on the day i was in it last week. it was unbelievably pack. some items reportedly sold out in three days. britain is suffering economically right now, but there is some good news. according to visa, visitors to the uk have spent more than $1.4 billion in the last two weeks. and those from the u.s., you'll be interested to know, have been spending the most. and there are plenty of more unusual items up for sale, too, as perfect souvenirs of this incredible games. lots of objects from the opening ceremony and the events themselves are being auctioned
off online. there are some interesting items like netting from the men's basket final that you've just talked about and also the bull, which is being auctioned off current currently $400,750. >> i don't care if i could afford that. good to know it's worked out financially as well. thank you. the big three is next with more on the paul ryan pick. is it a gift to the democrats? there are projects. and there are game-changers. those ideas that start with us rolling up our sleeves...
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well, time for today's big three and our topics, the paul ryan vp pick, what does that mean? the swing state impact. and this week's must reads. let's bring in our big three panel to talk on those. margie o'mara, chip salsman and former huckabee campaign manager and money and politics reporter david leventhal. margie, first topic, the paul ryan pick. when you look at that selection, does this show to you that there was some concern about the base here midsummer? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, you know, people may say they want someone with a plan for the economy. romney didn't have one, so he picked someone with a plan that ultimately people don't like. poll after poll shows that people don't like the ryan plan, they have opposed a variety of parts of the ryan plan, and, you know, romney had to listen to his base. he spends a whole year trying to avoid taking clear positions on a variety of issues. he's now moved away from that
strategy with the pick of ryan and really digging his heels into a strategy of, you know, cutting out programs to feed hungry kids, ending head medicare as we know it, tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. these are some of the things that appeal to the hard core of romney's base that don't appeal to the swing voters and depth who is will decide this election. >> chip, what swing voters will look at the selection here of paul ryan and say, we do have concern about the economy, we've been looking for solutions here, this is the bona fides that we've been looking for that he's now brought onto the ticket? >> i think anybody that's serious and think the unemployment vat too high, a $16 trillion deficit is a little too much for the national economy, a lot of people think the number one issue to national security is that debt, and i think picking paul ryan, mitt romney has doubled down on i'm serious about getting the debt under control, serious about balancing the budget. i think that anybody cares about debt, budget, unemployment, the economy, is going to think this
is an exciting pick. >> dave, watching some of the polls here, roitest has the president ahe by seven points, 49% to 42%, cnn has him up 52% to 45%. and you see the fox poll there leading by nine points. those are fairly significant. was that what pushed the decision here to come up with ryan an come on saturday? >> you always get a convection bump every time you go into your national convention, but also, too, you're looking for a little vice presidential bump here, too. and paul ryan, whether you love him or you done like him so much, if you're a republican, you're pretty excited that somebody is actually in there, that the ticket is locked down, and that you're moving forward. so expect some of those poll numbers to probably get a little bit closer as the next ones trickle out in the next few days. >> -- below those high numbers, though, that may have said what they're associating with mitt romney right now tells us we need to move? >> it's entirely possible. and, hey, as they widen out a little bit, that's probably going to cause some pretty significant concern in the
romney camp. so whether that was actually a motivating factor to do it right now seems to be a little dubious. this has been a process that's been rolling out for about ten days right now. the ryan selection in particular. but to pull the trigger right now and go with it does seem to be at least a smart move in that it is going to propel them forward. and, again, really give them perhaps a double-dip bump with this and the convention coupled together. >> front and center here, chip. swing states and swing voters, got the map here for our viewers here. the key swing states of iowa, pennsylvania, and florida. those are large percentages, as you can see on the screen here, of those over the age of 65. and they're concerned about medicare. how do they play to that concern? >> well, i mean, obviously, this is an issue that democrats are going to try to push. if you look at the plan, anybody over 55, it doesn't affect anything. paul ryan's budge set the only budget out there. the democrats in the senate have not passed any budge net three years. the president's budget got zero
votes in the house, is the one that seriously tries to preserve and protect medicare as we know it. i think people that are under 45 want to know if the program will be there and only paul ryan has been talking about that in the last couple years about how to secure our future for this program. >> you know, chip, even those not affected, they will see the writing on the wall as the amount of funding coming at least from the initial plan and the current plan from paul ryan is reducing the funding over the next ten years by a third, then it tapers down even more, rather tapers up in terms of the cuts. that's got to be concerning, and the perception of losing those voters must be at least a relevant concern here. >> yeah, i think at the end of the day this is a serious discussion. it's not about losing all the benefits. this is about protecting the program long term. i think we know one thing for sure in ten years it goes away completely. 100% gone. it goes bankrupt. and paul ryan's trying to do something about it. the four men running for president and vice president, mitt romney is the only one that's balanced the budget and
paul ryan's the only one with a plan to secure the -- for the federal budget. >> margie, how big is the downside, that perception we're talking about right now from senior voters? >> it's no surprise that romney's going solo to florida while ryan stays in the midwest. and the difference here is that barack obama and joe biden believe in the program of medicare and ryan clearly doesn't. it's not just about medicare. it's about everything in his total vision, which now romney is going to sign onto. for the -- 5% of the population of americans. cutting -- 200,000 kids off of head start. not just medicare. voters simply don't agree with it. >> dave, margie underlines the point as well as chip. this is a major move by the romney campaign to say we have
two distinct ideas about the way government functions and government is important to the united states. >> if by having someone on the ticket now it maximizes the romney campaign's ability to spread across the country, to fundraise, number one, off of that, you will see them breaking up and having some big, big dollar fund-raisers going forward. . also top that message in key swing states. you have to remember that the game really comes down to about 10 to 12 key states around the country like colorado and new hampshire and, of course, ohio and virginia. states like that, that no matter what the national polls say, the polls in those specific states are the ones the numbers really, really are going to have to move for the romney campaign and for the romney/ryan ticket now, to really give them a chance come november. >> dave, chip, stick around when we come back the big three's must have-reads. with beautiful tones and highlights... no other foam lasts longer. and no other foam is product of the year. check out colorblend foam.
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you. your must-read is cruel budge set a new york times story from march. will's plenty of stuff going now. you can get your fill about paul ryan. that's a good piece to learn about 62% of the budget cuts come from low-income help. it is really -- it really -- it is, you know, reason why republicans and newt gingrich called it right-wing social engineering. it has lot of really sweeping, sweeping cuts to middle class and poor families. it is worth a look. >> our new cycle, you are old school there. >> right. >> going back to march there of this year with that. chip, what's your must-read? >> wonderful piece in politico, inside the dugout version of the ryan vp selection. talking about how they brought the sister-in-law in to prevent the press from coming out. walking past the old tree house. wondering what was paul ryan thinking when he walked past his tree house, how many hours he spent thinking about work --
playing football for the green bay packers as opposed to the vp nominee. >> he said he knew the woods quite well because he grew up in a home, also on that same street. right? >> absolutely. that's a wonderful behind-the-scenes inside the dugout look. >> live pictures here of romney and ryan there in high point. they are on the road together. and let's get finally to dave's must read. what have you got? great read in my hometown newspaper, "the buffalo news." which talks about kings of super pacs. outside organizations that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money and so critical on the presidential race. carl is running restore our future, bill burton, running priorities usa action which is supporting barack obama. both buffafrom buffalo. >> dave, chip and marge, thank
you. have a great weekend and appreciate your time today. >> thank you. you, too. that wraps up this sunday's edition "weekends with alex witt." next "meet the press" with more on the paul ryan decision. have yourself a very good weekend. this is the plan that revolves around you. introducing share everything. unlimited talk. unlimited text. and a single pool of sharable data that powers up to 10 devices. the first plan of it's kind. share everything. only from verizon. add a smartphone for just $40 monthly access.
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