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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  September 6, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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>> the numbers just don't add up. >> i don't know exactly how it balances. i don't want to be avoiding you, but we haven't run the numbers on that particular point. >> save that for the election. i want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside but who burns for america on the inside. ♪ i guess you're just what i needed ♪ >> it began as president barack obama prepares to make his argument for re-election just hours away from a high profile closing act at the democratic convention tonight where he's expected to lay out his ambitions for a second term. the president's acceptance of the democratic nomination follows a forceful endorsement from former president bill clinton, who can too the stage last night with a few hundred
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things that he wanted to get off his chest. the former president offering an absolute eadvieadvice -- eviscen of the republican ticket, all with a wink and a smile. >> it went something like this. we left him a total mess. he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough. so fire him and put us back in. >> yes, indeed, clinton systematically shattered every arrow in the republicans' quiver, including the gop's claim that they, not the president, are the job creators. >> in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. we could have done better, but last year the republicans blocked the president's job plan, costing the economy more than 1 million new jobs. so here's another job score.
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president obama, plus 4.5 million. congressional republicans, zero. >> and if that zero sounded like it might have been aimed at one paul ryan, the former president was even more direct when he addressed ryan's attack on president obama for the same medicare savings that ryan has in his own plan. >> you've got to give him one thing. it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. >> and speaking of brass, mr. clinton also took on claims by romney and ryan that the president ended the work requirement for welfare. >> this is personal to me. we have millions of people off welfare, and i am telling you the claim that president obama weakened welfare reform's work requirement is just not true. >> well, now, hang on, mr. president, because just yesterday mitt romney offered quite a different view tucked
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away in a hardware shop where he gave an interview to, you guessed it, fox news. >> there's no question but that president obama's decision to say that we're going to allow waivers or excuses from work requirements in welfare was designed to shore up part of his base that may not be inclined to go out and vote in the same kind of energy and passion as they did four years ago. >> okay. so let me see. mr. romney lies about the work requirement in order to say that the president is only doing so to, quote, shore up part of his base. the apparently lazy, feckless, work shy voter who voted so passionately for mr. obama in 2008. gosh, i wonder what he could be suggesting there. let's bring in msnbc's lawrence o'donnell, host of "the last word," who joins us now from the convention in charlotte and his many fans are behind him. lawrence, despite all of the
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expectations and enthusiasm that surrounded president obama when he was elected, it took president clinton to highlight two very important realities at that moment four years ago. first, that no president in a very long time had faced such dire economic conditions, but also no president in a very long time has had to battle against such hatred from his political opponents. >> and, martin, those are two things that president obama could not really effectively say himself. imagine what it would sound like. there would be a cry baby quality to it. oh, no other president could possibly have done what i have done. it needed to be certified by a president who presided over phenomenal job growth, as president clinton did. it needed to be certified by a two-term president, who had really seen it all. there's only one person who could have done that. it was an invaluable
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contribution to this week, and it's now going to be an invaluable contribution to this campaign. >> what did you think, lawrence, of that clip we played just now of mitt romney, saying that the only reason -- of course, it's a bogus claim the president has removed the waiver -- i'm sorry, has waivered the work requirement. the only reason he did so was to shore up his base. what could mitt romney be referring to, do you think? >> well, bill clinton laid out the truth last night. bill clinton, as a governor, started working on welfare reform with ronald reagan and with senator moynihan in the senate at that time. bill clinton has a long history with this subject, longer than any other elected official, and he made it very, very clear what the president has done in relation to this welfare reform bill, and it's only been something that is going to help more people get to work. that's what the design of what the president is trying to do. mitt romney knows that. when you hear it now, martin,
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there's something really strange about watching romney trying to play the same tricks they were playing last week. the political world changed this week in charlotte. those tricks don't work anymore. >> what do you mean by that, lawrence? is >> they were moving along last week in tampa in a kind of uninterrupted soliloquy that was filled with lies about this sort of thing. what's happened now is we've seen what the democratic party as a team can do in responding to that sort of thing. and there's no more powerful responder to it than bill clinton, who signed that welfare bill into law, and president obama, who knows exactly how that law is operating now. >> indeed. the way that clinton went after paul ryan last night, did you get the sense that he's more of a threat than the man at the top of the ticket? >> not anymore, i don't. i thought in tampa last week that paul ryan, in that
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environment, did a good job with his speech. but what has happened is it has been ripped apart, starting from the moment he walked off that stage. there's nothing left of what paul ryan had to say last week, martin, and that's just going to continue. he's been discredited in so many ways since giving that speech. and so now i think we're back to the analysis that held before the vice presidential selection that paul ryan would be a liability to bring the ryan plan and paul ryan's legislative history into this campaign is liability for the republicans. that's what most of us thought before his selection. that's where i think it stands now. >> wow. now, mitt romney was up in battlegrou battleground, new hampshire, today dropping in on a veterans event, and a reporter asked him about his failure to even mention afghanistan during his convention. take a listen, lawrence. >> why didn't you mention
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afghanistan in your speech? >> i was at the american legion the day before giving a complete address about my commitment to the military and very clear. my commitment to the military is shown here and at the american legion. >> the only problem, lawrence, he didn't talk about afghanistan except his nine words. of course, we are still at war in afghanistan. is that supposed to register as supporting the thousands of troops who are ably serving this country? >> martin, let's be clear why he didn't talk about afghanistan. he knows nothing about it. nothing. he knows nothing about making war. >> that's never stopped mitt romney from talking about iran or stalking about the straits of hormuz or talking about libya or talking about yemen. the man knows nothing about those places either. >> that's right. but in this case, the fact that he knows nothing about it and
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has no policy difference with the president to recommend. he has absolutely nothing to say in relation to what the president is actually doing in afghanistan. so now to have a live fire war going on and to have a presidential nominee give his speech about where he sees his country going and to ignore -- to ignore that he has people in uniform in afghanistan facing fire every day, to ignore that is, i think, the biggest owe mission that any nomination speech has ever had. >> it is remarkable, i think. tonight's the night, lawrence. what does the president have to do to build on what's already happened in this convention. >> here's what we look for president obama speaking at his convention. this will be his third
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convention speech. three conventions in a row. his first was at john kerry's convention in 2004. that was the best speech of that convention by far. his second speech was four years later in denver. that was the best speech of that convention by far and the best speech by a presidential nominee at a convention ever. this is president obama's third time at this. he's always delivered the speech of the week. there's no reason to think that president obama isn't walking in there tonight with the best speech he's ever delivered. >> lawrence, you are a master at wor words. you've written both factually and fictionally. but you know, because i heard you say it last night, that bill clinton's speech was really impressive. and you really think the
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president can go one better? >> i think, if you look at the speeches this week, let's remember bill clinton had to follow michelle obama, which was a phenomenal speech, martin. that was as great a speech experience as you could ask for in a convention hall, and people are wondering, how can he follow that? he didn't attempt to top it. he did something different. he did a completely different thing as he so obviously would. so what i think happened was we saw michelle obama hit a home run, and then we saw bill clinton hit a home run, and nobody cares whether this home run went over the centerfield wall or the left field wall or right field. these are home runs, martin. these are just incredible performances, and i think barack obama's going to come in here tonight, and he's going to own this night. he's going to own this convention, own this group. and i really think he is now in control of the campaign the rest of the way when he leaves shar the lo. >> lawrence, the final question to you. how does the quality of speeches at this convention compare with
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last week in tampa. please stop yourself from laughing, lawrence. >> i actually think for the case the republicans were trying to make last week, i thought that the nominees' speeches were reasonable for the cases they were trying to make. now, i recognized right off the bat that they weren't trying to make truthful cases, but for what they were arguing, i thought they did a reasonable job. when they look back on it now, every single reasonable speech, there's been a lot of speeches given this week that were not in primetime coverage that have been fantastic. just incredible assistance in this hall. >> elizabeth warren. >> you could go on and on. there's no comparison to last week. and everyone who's been at both conventions is saying exactly that. >> lawrence o'donnell, as ever, thank you so much. get back to your adoring fans.
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>> thanks, martin. >> and lawrence will be part of our special msnbc coverage leading up to the president's important speech tonight. so keep it locked right here. next a tale of two conventions and the 51% of the electorate that could make all the difference. >> two years ago, when paul ryan and john boehner and todd aiken and the tea party took over the house of representatives, they ms proed they were going to create jobs and jumpstart the economy, but instead, on day one, they came after women's health, and they haven't let up since. bob... oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs.
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can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. now we need a little bit more... a little bit more vanilla? this is great! [ male announcer ] at humana, we believe there's never been a better time to share your passions... because the results... are you having fun doing this? yeah. that's a very nice cake! [ male announcer ] well, you can't beat them. [ giggles ] ohh! you got something huh? whoa... [ male announcer ] humana understands the value of spending time together that's a lot of work getting that one in! let's go see the birdies. [ male announcer ] one on one, sharing what you know. let's do it grandpa. that's why humana agents will sit down with you, to listen and understand what's important to you. it's how we help you choose the right humana medicare plan for you. because when your medicare is taken care of,
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judging by the conservative reactions and the women who spoke at the convention last night, each one of us appears to have hit a raw republican nerve. it wasn't just the optics of the democratic women showing their strength in numbers. it was the substance of their speeches coming from personal experience. for instance, imagining life under a president romney. >> your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. a man who won't stand up to those slurs or to any of the extreme bigots voices in his own party. >> the reaction among conservative pundits even before the speeches had finished was equally parts revolting and
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risible. conservative blogger eric erickson had to apologize after he tweeted, first night of the vagina monologues in charlotte going as expected. and professional pundit ann coulter tweet ed bill clinton just impregnated sandra fluke backstage. charming, ms. coulter. one person responded to eric erickson tweeting, "not quite. it's the stay out of my vagina monologues." what's your reaction to what you heard? >> i'm more on the side of the stay out of my vagina monologues, if we can use it. i think republicans are uncomfortable about it. the shock of eric erickson's tweet is not that they said it, not the anger on it, but they would choose to engage in this at all. this is a losing issue for them with swing voters. this is an issue where most of
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the american people, indeed, most republicans believe that abortion should be legal in some choices and that, if you put it in this way, should the state have a say in it, they don't think it should. people are pro life, but in a larger sense, they're also pro choice. people believe that abortion is a very personal decision. >> david, on a scale of chris christie to michelle obama, chris christie being least effective and michelle obama being most effective, how effective would you rate the democrats at hammering republicans on women's rights? >> well, i don't know if it's targeted at republicans in a personal way, whether it's michelle obama or chris christie, but i do think they created a tremendous divide, the republicans created a tremendous divide. the democrats have been pointing it out again and again and again. if you're pro choice, if you're
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pro gay rights, you can't run away from this stuff. he thinks there's an advantage to this. so i think the first two days of this convention, there's an awful lot of attention paid to this. i don't know how much of this is going on in a bubble, but it certainly has a lot of the delegates here, men and women, fired up. that's really a good part of the agenda this week. it's not just to win over the 23 undecided voters in iowa or colorado or virginia, it's the other people here to go back and do stuff even beyond what they thought they would do before they got here. by being so passionate about these issues that the people here care so much about, the convention is really doing well. you feel a lot greater energy here as we get close to leaving than you did in tampa. >> in a way, all of these attacks, i guess, are helping democrats as opposed to helping republicans. >> i think so. i think it's a very extreme.
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aiken stands as a representative of the republican party now. the message conveyed here goes far beyond ann romney saying, hey, i have a good husband. you can trust him message that we saw at the tampa convention. >> ann marie, i want to play a clip for you from cecil richards. take a listen. >> two years ago, when paul ryan and john boehner and todd aiken and the tea party took over the house of representatives, they promised they were going to create jobs and jump start the economy, but instead on day one they came after women's health, and they haven't let up since. >> anna marie, how well do you think democrats have tied aiken
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to romney/ryan. >> i think they've done a very good job. i have some data to inject on this discussion to talk about how much this affects the typical swing voter. i'm not sure how typical this is, but in the swing states where romney needs to be competitive, he is losing women pretty badly. those happen to be the states -- iowa, pennsylvania, and virginia -- where republicans have stepped over a line with women's rights and reproductive rights. people notice these things. as long as it stays in the realm of polite discussion and the realm of what people can imagine the government doing, voters don't pay attention. but once you start making inroads on very, very personal decisions, women pay attention and decide not to vote for republicans. >> even when it's something happening in a state and is in any way not really directed by mitt romney, they'll still go that way? >> i think it tarnishes mitt romney, who already has a problem with women just on his own. if you combine mitt romney's problems with women, his
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inability to connect with an overzealous republican state legislature, you're going to get women turning away from the ballot no matter what. >> ana marie cox and david corn, thank you both. stay with us. much more ahead from charlotte.
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the dnc from the roar of the crowd to a sea of diversity, here are today's top lines, bill
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power. >> all night there was this constant buzzing roar. it's hard to describe. jimmy? they didn't have that problem at the republican convention. >> democrats have the diversity angle well covered. >> black people. asians. sikhs. jews. muslims. hippies. veterans. babies. 1940s boxing reporter. >> newman. >> joe biden says it will be a big you know what deal. >> hillary rodham clinton in 2016. >> we're not kids anymore. >> though i often disagree with republicans, i actually never learned to hate them the way the far right seems to hate our president. >> no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. >> i have to be grateful, and you should be too. >> i'm interested in politics, a support of mitt romney. >> heck, he even appointed hillary. >> as prepared version which i'm anxious to compare with the as delivered version. >> democracy does not have to be a blood sport. >> bipartisanship ought to
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consist of democrats coming to the republican point of view. >> and he also tried to work with congressional republicans. that doesn't work out so well. the senate republican leader said -- >> our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny president obama a second term. >> a remarkable moment of candor. >> the fact that the president took $716 billion out of medicare. >> it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. >> president obama's decision to say that we're going to allow waivers of work requirements in welfare. >> the claim is just not true. >> the president will describe the road forward, and it's going to be a very positive, uplifting message. as president clinton said last night, he's not going to double down on the trickle down. >> let's get right to our panel now. we're joined by ari melber of "the nation." msnbc political contributor eric dyson. and former communications
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director for rick santorum. professor dyson, if you might begin with you, sir. one of the great frustrations for some of the president's own supporters has been his willingness to reach across the aisle to try and work with republicans despite their hatred for him. so do you think that he'll continue to try and do that in his speech tonight, or do you think he's going to come out and say, you know what, it's been tough and there's been no point continuing. these people don't want to cooperate. >> i think that, as president clinton made so apparent last night, the attempt at bipartisanship characterized by bill clinton, who out triainge late e lated it. mr. obama trying to distance himself of that but necessarily engaging in the politics of compromise. as you said, martin, the reality is that president obama has been frustrated in the effort to be bipartisan, and tonight he's got
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to solidify his base. he's got to tell the story that president clinton told last night. this economy was hemorrhaging jobs. it was losing its grounding for middle class people. it was redistributing wealth upward. the tax cuts for the wealthy have only reinforced economic inequality in america. president obama must tell why he is specifically the person who will lead us to an economic promised land that will be devoid of some of the sharp pangs of hurt and, i think, suffering that have been imposed in the name of republican austerity. tonight, martin, is his turn to tell america why he is the man, and that means solidifying his base and telling the answer to his particular problems. >> as you know, it's no easy task for us to keep track of the falsehoods coming from the romney/ryan ticket. that's why we need a smart guy like bill clinton to do it for us. take a listen to this, hogan. >> of the main reasons we ought to re-elect president obama,
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it's that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. we all know that he also tried to work with congressional republicans on health care, debt reduction, and new jobs. and that didn't work out so well. >> hogan, republicans say that the president is divisive, he won't work with the other side. but doesn't the evidence honestly suggest that, as one of our guests said recently, that's another crap burger being served up by mitt romney. >> one of the interesting things, i think, about bill clinton's speech -- and it was phenomenal, by the way. i think he struck a very interesting chord with the american people. he was able to do that because of his time as governor. that was to say, i'm sick of the fighting. we got past the fighting when i was the president. he's going to put it squarely on the backs of republicans as if it's all our fault, which i don't think it is. i understand the speech went really well when he went down that road, and, of course, he's able to say that because, as president, he did work across the aisle. he was able to get things done.
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and governors, most of the politicians from the gubernatorial ranks understand what it takes to move policy forward in the state because you're dealing with legislators who typically don't agree with you on everything. you've got to go into the districts and go into the small coffee shops, and you have to sell your message to those people. you have to hear the stories. there is a bigger incentive for the governors out there to work with people. so when they get to the national stage, as president clinton did, it was very easy for him to understand and fall right into that role. president barack obama, as you guys know, wasn't really enthusiastic about working with others when he was in the senate. i think his disdain for the process has been pretty evident. i think, if he does get reelected -- >> hogan. >> if he gets reelected, he will work with the other side because he wants to build his legacy. >> you have people from the republican side refusing to acknowledge obama's presence there. let me just say this. the reality is he had the most unprecedented level of animus directed against him.
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they vowed the day he was elected to not work with him. i think it's apparent that the republicans have engaged in every measure of resistance and obstruction that one can imagine. i just have to say that. >> ari, please. >> yes, sir, i know that you're next to him. i can hear him too. what i hear is a very misleading statement. the fact is barack obama did work with republic notans in th senate. he worked with dick lugar on disarmament. he reached out to john mccain on economics. he didn't always vote that way. >> i didn't say he didn't do it. i said he had a disdain for it. that's been well-documented. >> a disdain. >> he does. >> i'll give you that. that's an interpretation. but the facts are he did do it on the issues i mentioned. let's go to his first term as president. i think what barack obama is going to do tonight is get up on the stage and say it's not over. it's hard out there, but what we are doing is fundamentally working when we're allowed to do it. if you elect not only barack
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obama but more democrats you'll have less obstruction more stimulus, a soft market that is rebounding. that's not an immediate job solution, but as these companies see their stock prices go up, they do have more wherewithal to hire. if you do government jobs, you see more hiring at the state and local level. that is the clear contrast. i think that's what you're going to see tonight. here in the hall, it's a lot more crowded than last night at this hour. they're pretty pumped. >> hogan, i've got another clip for you from president clinton. listen to what it is. >> they also want to cut medicate and cut it by a third over the next ten years. a lot of folks don't know it, but nearly two-thirds of medicaid is spent on nursing home care for medicare seniors who are eligible for medicaid. it's going to end medicare as we know it. >> hogan, when mitt romney and paul ryan say they can cut medicaid without cutting medicare for current seniors, as
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you know, that's simply untrue because so much of medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care for current seniors. so, again, i have to ask you, isn't this another side of lies with the crap burger at the beginning? >> it's a hard sell. there's no doubt about it. bill clinton articulated it very well. look, he was my governor before he was your president. i know how he is. he's very good at pushing that message, and last night was no different. he was able to reach out to the white middle class voters, that sliver of independents, and say, look, this is what we're about. the republicans are going to have a tough time if they have to go up against bill clinton a bunch of times before now and the time they vote. >> they opposed him tooth and nail when he was in office. they nailed him to the cross, but they celebrate his resurrection. >> both romney and ryan and president barack obama are both leaning on bill clinton to try to get them elected. >> ari, you wanted to throw your lot in as well. >> sure.
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i think it goes back to the first point you raise, martin, which is the idea of suggesting a happy, open minded political party. what bill clinton did last night and what i do expect barack obama to do tonight is to say not only here's how we've reached out and here's why swing voters should trust democrats to work with the other party when possible and to lead when not possible, but he's going to show that with the excitement in the crowd. you've got bill clinton with george w. bush and ronald reagan references, and he had democrats clapping. what that shows people at home is, well, the crowd here is really ready to work together on policies where there is agreement. i think that's a strong message, and that's what people at home are looking for if they haven't made up their minds. >> the passion of ari melber, the sedition of professionor michael eric dyson, and hogan. a look at storm clouds hanging over downtown charlotte. you'll remember the democrats made the decision to keep tonight's events indoors due to
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these are live pictures of the democratic national convention day three, north carolina senator kay haygen is speaking right now. the gavel has been banged. meanwhile, the president, as we know, speaks to the convention tonight, and when he does, he may already know the details of the monthly jobs report that's due out tomorrow morning. the question is would bad unemployment news have the same effect as this moment from the day after the president spoke at the convention in 2008? >> governor sarah palin of the great state of alaska.
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>> dana milbank is a political columnist for "the washington post," and my colleague krystal ball. if i can start with you, kris. the introduction of sarah palin seemed to take the wind out of the democrats' sails. do you think the same thing could happen after the jobs report tomorrow? >> i remember watching her and thinking what a smart pick, and we are absolutely hosed. it turned out to be totally wrong. but at the moment, as you said, she gave a fantastic speech on that day. i think there's something to the idea that, if a really bad jobs number comes out on friday, it does compete with the news of the president giving a great speech. i don't want to make too much of it. we've had a couple of disappointing jobs numbers in the past, and it seems to be baked into the calculation. people recognize we're still having a tough go of it. we're still very slowly recovering, and i think they understand that and have already put that into the calculation. >> do you think ordinary
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americans have embraced the idea that the recovery is sluggish and that's where we are? >> i think they have. in part, i think that's why mitt romney decided to pick paul ryan and go with a riskier choice. we'd had bad economic numbers, and it hadn't helped him at all. i don't see why numbers at this point, unless they're really devastating, and that's not expected. >> dana, you wrote beautifully of last night saying the former president's speech was, and i'm quoting, you a meandering folksian mix of savageness and partisanship. but how does the president own the last four years without also having to own the sluggish recovery? >> look, he already does own the sluggish recovery. that's why he's not leaps and bounds in front of mitt romney. that's what's guiding this whole race so far. it is extraordinary that this president is actually leading marginally in the polls with the economy being in such a lousy position. this convention is in a position of giving him a little bounce.
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i don't think the idea of the old five, seven point convention bounce exists anymore. i don't think we can expect that. by the same token, more bad news, even a little bit on the jobs front, can erase that thing. it's a very close race, very, very tight margins. so even small movements make a great difference. >> right. krystal, the president and mitt romney will pass each other, one going to iowa and the other going to new hampshire and then p swai swapping over tomorrow. >> that will be fun. >> are you expecting them to sharpen the personal attacks, or do you think this convention has kind of opened up the whole panoply of policy now? >> i think on the democrats side, we're going to see policy driven attacks. it's going to be laying out the two fundamental different visions, as president clinton did last night. he put it crystal clear, if you
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believe the fundamental philosophy of america is you're on your own, then you want to be with them. if you thinkh us. >> dana, wasn't that a very felicitous way of taking ann romney's complaint that people are critical of her husband's success, and actually converting it to this selfish pursuit of money and nothing else? >> right, martin. that's been the way bill clinton positioned this last night. i think he was able to articulate obama's message in a way obama hasn't been able to. he essentially can't be in the position of apologizing for the bad economy whereas clinton, because of his bona fides on the economy can pivot it into this social economic justice where the democrats are going to be much stronger.
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i don't think we'll get any new policies or new messages out of obama tonight. his idea now is not to have more of it, but to simplify the message and hate it very hard. >> dana, bravely fighting the crowds there. thank you, dana, and krystal ball as well. first, hampton pearson has the cnbc market wrap. positive news rallying the markets. the dow adding 244 points. s&p up 28. nasdaq gaining 66 points. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. bob...
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. [ male announcer ] fedex office. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost.. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember
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the president is on the verge of delivering what may be the most important speech of his political career.
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will he return to the lofty ideals he spoke of so eloquently four years ago, or will he simply present mitt romney as an unacceptable alternative. kristen, you are there surrounded by people. it looks like the hall is buzzing in anticipation of the president. four years ago, we learned about john favreau playing a major role in the speech writing. do we know who's assisting the president this time? >> reporter: good afternoon to you, martin. you are absolutely right. it is buzzing in here. you can feel the energy. it's electric. there's a lot of anticipation about the president's speech. jon favreau has played a role in helping the president with this year's speech. i am also told he has worked with david axelrod. that's one of his top advisers from the campaign, one of his top advisers from the white house, and the 2008 campaign as well. he's really been with president obama from the very beginning. and this is interesting, martin. ben rhodes, one of president
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obama's top foreign policy advisers, has also played a big role in helping president obama with this speech. that's significant because it suggests that we will hear quite a lot about foreign policy. of course, the president makes a note of taking about the fact he's ended the war in iraq, drawn down the troops in afghanistan, and, of course, you know the republicans have hit president obama on foreign policy. it is likely he will answer some of those charges tonight. that's one of the things we're going to be looking very closely at. president obama has been working on this speech for weeks. one of his top aides tell me it is in very good shape. he has spent the day putting the finishing touches on this speech, martin, and he's also managed to spend some time with his family. of course, they will all be there. >> if the people are a little more courteous instead of bumping into your shoulders. >> reporter: that's part of it. >> mitt romney's speech had a
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complete lack of specifics. do you think we'll xwet something more akin to a state of the union address tonight. >> reporter: i don't know if they'll compare it to a state of the union address, but they do say there will be more specifics in this speech than what you heard last week. campaign aides have told me the president is going to talk about the choice. we've heard him talk about this on the campaign trail as well. but the choice between his policies and mitt romney's policies, and he really has to make the case tonight, martin, about why he would be better at steering the economy over these coming four years than mitt romney would be. so i think that's going to be the main focus. i think he's also going to sort of pick up where former president bill clinton left off last night. of course, as you know, clinton made the case that we are better off now than we were four years ago. i think we're going to hear president obama talk about why we would be better off in four more years if we stick with him. i'll be speaking to my republican sources as well,
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asking him, would we be watching this speech? what would they think about the upcoming speech. he says they will be watching closely. they also point out that any bump the democrats think they may have gotten from this convention will likely be muted, they say, when tomorrow's jobs report comes out. that's something that we'll be anticipating as well. but, martin, there is definitely a lot of excitement inside this convention hall as these delegates wait to hear from president obama. >> there's nothing like rooting for bad news, is there? we understand that tomorrow the president and the vice president, along with both their wives, will be traveling on the stump. is that right? >> reporter: that's absolutely right. he will be traveling to some more battleground states. he's going to go to iowa and then new hampshire, and then a bus tour through florida. martin, as you know, i've been with him this far. i'm going to be with him on this bus tour and when he stops in the battleground states. this is really the final sprint. we expect president obama to be on the road for the majority of the time heading into this final
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sprint to election day. there's really, at this point, no time for either candidate to rest because we're just a little bit more than two months away. >> and i understand there's going to be a broad spectrum of music coming up. we've got james convention, the foo fighters, and mary j. blige. which of those two do you particularly favor? >> reporter: i think it's a toss-up between mary j. blige and the foo fighters. my producer shauna thomas is a big foo fighters fan. that's her vote. >> that's great. i like them too. i saw them in new york, and i think they're fabulous. >> reporter: they are. >> nbc's kristen we will kerlke. thank you so much. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice.
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