tv PBS News Hour PBS August 29, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: good evening from "the tampa bay times" forum on day three of the 2012 republican national convention. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, with an evening of major speeches ahead, officials here kept a wary eye on isaac-- downgraded to a tropical storm today but still drenching the louisiana coast nearly 500 miles away. we'll have the latest on the storm at the top of the program. >> ifill: then, with us in the skybox will be majority leader eric cantor and florida senator marco rubio. >> woodruff: it's paul ryan's day. he'll take center stage later this evening.
jeffrey brown will have more on the vice presidential nominee. >> ifill: and judy and i will be joined again tonight for insight and analysis from "newshour" regulars mark shields and david brooks. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: hurricane isaac weakened today to a tropical storm, but that was little comfort to the people of louisiana. the system spent a long day battering the state after moving ashore last night. it forced a curfew in new orleans, and new evacuations outside the city. ray suarez has our report. >> suarez: hour after hour, the storm slowly plodded inland. heavy winds and lashing rains radiated hundreds of miles from
the eye, and up to 20 inches of rain was forecast in some places. louisiana governor bobby jindal issued a new warning this afternoon, in baton rouge. >> we ask people to use their common sense, exercise caution. if you are somewhere in an impacted parrish where you are safe we recommend you stay there. if you do not need to do not travel on these roads especially on these highly, these gusts, these strong winds as well as the chance for localized flooding. >> suarez: the storm pushed massive amounts of water into lowlands of the central gulf coast with surges up to 15 feet across the louisiana and mississippi coastlines. the full force began arriving last night, but was felt most today-- the seventh anniversary
the storm has been relentless, the wind and rain have not slowed up since this whole thing started. >> suarez: but in st. tammany parish, across lake ponchartrain from new orleans, officials said it appeared the worst had come and gone. >> we're hopeful that the northwest winds are going to continue to help us. we're seeing signs along the gulf coast where the water levels are receding which is a good thing cause that's where our water ends up coming from. >> suarez: in all, nearly 10,000
louisianans spent the day in shelters; 600,000 more lost power and faced the prospect of going days in the dark, as the storm and its after-effects linger. some had planned ahead. >> when the power goes out, it's always a pain, but we lucked out, had a generator. >> suarez: meanwhile, in mississippi, isaac piled up water that drowned major roads along the coast. governor phil bryant surveyed the situation in gulfport. >> we've got to surge that has covered highway 90 and so that's a problem. highway 603 is also covered. so if you're in waveland mississippi, for example, the two routes out of that city are now blocked by water. >> suarez: and with the storm in no hurry, that water could keep coming for some time. for more on the slow progress of isaac through the gulf coast i am joined by rick knabb, director of the national hurricane center. rick, welcome to the "newshour." >> thank you for having me
sphwhrai we can see from that graphic over your shoulder, a storm that isn't moving quickly. what makes a storm like isaac stop and pretty much stay in one place? >> the forward motion of a tropical storm or hurricane is determined by its surrounding searing currents, essentially a cork in a stream analogy. it doesn't steer itself. it has the surrounding environment to push it around, and it has found a weakness in which the atmospheric steering currents are not all that strong. it's moving very slowly. and a slow-moving large storm like isaac is poses serious water-related hazards. a bigger storm much more capable of producing storm surge flooding from the gulf of mexico over land areas and coastal regions and a large slow move ser going to dump a lot of rain and cause inland flooding. >> suarez: people are talking about the comparison to hurricane katrina which had much, much faster top winds, and
they're talking about isaac being just as destructive. how is that? >> it depends where you are. in some places you might receive greater impacts from this storm than you did during katrina. in other places, it will not be nearly as bad. and that's because it's very localized. every storm is very different. this is not taking the same exact track that katrina it it it it did. it's going in west of the mouth of the mississippi river. so, for example, down in plaquemine parish, south of new orleans, they've been getting this onshore flow out of the southwest. that was a different configuration when katrina came through and all the winds were coming in from this direction. just a totally different situation for any local spot. some folks are going to see greater impacts this time, and that's one thing that often happens. we try to gauge our expectation for the current storm based on our experience with the past one and locally that doesn't often apply. >> suarez: what do the next 24-72 hours hold? can this thing slowly die out, run out of supplies of moisture,
stop dumping all this rain? >> slowly it's going to run out of its energy, but "slowly" is the operative word here because it's a big storm. big ones take a lot longer to spin down and this is bringing so much moisture into the south central united states. it's going to take well into tomorrow morning for the winds and the reasons to calm down on the coastal part of the northern gump here. but then there are other place where's it hasn't even started yet, and they are in for a day and a half to two days of heavy rains and flash flooding, and then eventually longer term, river flooding could materialize in states that haven't even started to see the rain yet. this is another lesson for us to learn that they're not just coastal events. so people farther north that don't think they have a tropical storm issue where they live, this one could bring heavy rains, and we've lost too much lives in the past from inland flooding, people getting in cars and dying in flooded roadways. >> suarez: rick knabb of the national hurricane center, thank
you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> ifill: and we're back in tampa, where the convention we're coming back with much more convention coverage, after the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: president obama took on his newly nominated republican opponent today over health care. the president made a campaign stop near the university of virginia in charlottesville. he said mitt romney would try to repeal the health care reform law and take away coverage from seven million young people, if he's elected. >> he calls my healthcare law obama care, i call his plan romney doesn't care. he's running on the romney doesn't care platform. this law is here to stay. the supreme court has spoken we are moving forward that is what is at stake in this election. >> holman: today's stop was part of the obama campaign's focus this week on trying to re-energize support among young voters. two new reports on the u.s.
economy offered small signs of hope. the commerce department said growth in the second quarter was slightly better than initially thought. and, the federal reserve reported moderate expansion, in much of the country, during july and early august. but the news barely moved wall street today. the dow jones industrial average gained just four points to close at 13,107. the nasdaq also rose four points to close at 3,081. there's been another so-called insider attack in afghanistan. a man in an afghan army uniform shot and killed three nato troops today. 34 such attacks have occurred this year, including at least a dozen in the past month. in all, 45 coalition members have been killed, most of them americans. the president of syria has been heard from again acknowledging that his military is struggling to beat back rebels. bashar al-assad rarely has appeared in public since four of his top security officials were assassinated in mid-july. he spoke today in a t.v. interview in damascus, and said his regime will win the syrian
civil war, but not quickly. >> ( translated ): we are fighting a regional and global war, so time is needed to win it. we are moving forward. the situation is practically better but it has not been decided yet. that takes time. >> holman: in other developments, opposition groups reported the death toll has risen to nearly 400, in a massacre by syrian forces, just outside damascus. they said the bodies are being buried in mass graves. elsewhere, video from anti- government activists showed shelling around the country. they said fighting was continuing in the cities of aleppo, homs and hama. the head of the united nations pressed syria's ally iran today to help make peace. ban ki-moon arrived in tehran and met with iranian leaders, ahead of a meeting of non- aligned nations. he said iran has a very important role to play in syria. for his part, iran's supreme leader ayatollah khamenei said
on his website that the solution in syria is to stop shipping weapons to the rebels. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen and judy in tampa. ifill: tonight with a lineup of high profile speakers, all centered around one theme republicans have titled, "we can change it." another elected official attracting attention here is florida senator marco rubio. elected in 2010's wave election, he is one of a handful being touted as the new face of the grand old party. i talked with him earlier this afternoon. senator rubio, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> ifill: you're going to be speak before the convention tomorrow night, thursday night. what's the message you hope to bring? >> my job is to introduce mitt romney. and i hope i can present him in a way that does two things, culminates about what we're going to hear about mitt romney leading to the speech, his success as a person. s had success as a businessman has been well documented but his
success in his personal life, father and husband, these are important jobs, too, perhaps most important jobs any of us of us have had. and he's been extraordinarily successful and i want to touch on that a little bit. and the choice in this election. both candidates agree on it. i just hope to present that tomorrow in a way that helps people understand we're not just choosing between two men or two parties. we're choosing between two very different views of what government should be doing and can do. >> ifill: this convention has taken pains to show new faces like yours, fo for instance, and faces who we do not expect to see in the republican party, just looking at people on the floor. last night we heard from ted cruise. we're going to hear from governor martinez, latino leaders and you as well. how do you explain the three to one margin almost barack obama hold over latino voters.
>> the first thing to remember is these folks who are speaking are elected. these are people that have happened. suzanna martinez was elected the governor of new mexico. i was elect to the u.s. senate. and we happen to be republicans. and that's-- i think that's a very positive thing for us tho showcase, but i think we would be speaking even if our last names didn't end in a vowel, a hispanic surname. as far as the work of making sure our message appeals to more people, including those of hispanic descent and other minorities, that's a long-term effort. it's not an election-by-election effort. this is not just about november. it's about the next deck expaed beyond. we want limited government, free enterprise conservatism to have an appeal to a broad spectrum of americans. and you have to commit time and energy in a 20-year cycle. you have to view it that way. >> ifill: you have said this, jeb bush has said this, john mccain said this, yet the
party platform uses hot-button trigger terms like "illegal aliens "and calls for self-deportation. and that seems to be a gateway issue for a locht latino voters, once you say we don't want to allow our children, for instance, to stay in this country as the dream act would do, this is a probable for them. >> it's a gateway community because the hispanic community, immigration is not a theor. you know someone, you love someone, you work with someone being impacted by an immigration problem. i want the republicans to be a pro legal immigration to celebrate it as part of our future growth and development as a nation. we have an illegal immigration problem and many are frustrated by it glif including many latinos. >> certainly. if you live in a border state, you're going to be impacted by the negativees of illegal immigration as well. the question is what do you do about it, how do you handle it?
and i think it it begins with having a legal immigration system that works. a guest worker program would cause a significant reduction in the people coming here illegally. we need to have that. there's agreement on it. why don't we movie that? why isn't there i bipartisan effort? >> ifill: why isn't there jews because politics have been injecteinjected in the issue. we've got to depoliticize this issue of immigration. it shouldn't be awe partisan issue. this is an issue that's important for our country. now-- >> ifill: but the platform is a political document. >> what the platform talks about is the problem of illegal immigration and it's a real problem. we do need to have border security. we do need to have e-verify, it protects workers, including workers of hispanic stent. it protects the millions of people in latin america waiting to immigrate here the right way legally. that has to be talked about, too. notion that, i think there are
other thins we should be talking about because republicans are the pro legal immigration party. we should be viewed that way and we have to work on making sure that's the view people have of us. >> ifill: you have been a letting voice on this issue, and that's yi focus on these questions with you not because your name end in a vowel. i want to speak about what the republican party in general and mitt romney specifically is hoping to accomplish this week. is it a convention which is going to spend the bulk of its time talking about president prt obama's failures or is it one which has to say this is how mitt romney would make it better? >> every election is a choice. as i said at the outset of this program, by the president's own admission, there's a stark difference how he views government's role and how we republicans view the role of government. it's important for us to make clear to the american people what that difference is so they can have a clearer choice. that will involve a debate about the debt. it will involve a debate about tax policy. it will involve a debate about medicare and government spending
and that's important. certainly, the president has to be held to account for what he hasn't done, what he hasn't accomplished, but it's not just about that. in the end, our mission is not to convince people that barack obama is a bad person. our mission is to remind people that he's a bad president and there's a better way moving forward and that's mitt romney. >> ifill: rube, senator from florida, thank you so much for taking time for us. >> thank you. >> so mitt romney's stand on foreign policy issues from syria to iran to afghanistan and more will come under scrutiny this fall, even if it is not a major focus here in tampa this week. after a surprise appearance here last night for his wife ann's speech, the g.o.p. presidential hopeful headed to indianapolis today. at the american legion convention there, romney said his administration would focus on unemployed veterans. >> overwhelmingly the number one concern i hear from young veterans can be summed up in one word: jobs. they've served their country; they want to get back to work. they need and deserve good jobs.
and this president's greatest failure is that he has not delivered those jobs. as president, i will get america to work again. ( cheers and applause ) >> ifill: so, where does mitt romney stand on foreign policy? we are joined by former congressman vin weber, a top adviser with the romney campaign and former senator norm coleman. both are from minnesota. >> ifill: i want to start by asking you-- i want to ask you, vin weber, there has been so little conversation in this campaign about forbe policy. how can that be? >> because the economy is so bad. this is the worst recovery fromma i recession that we've may be i've head in american history. we have almost 40% of the unemployed that have been unemployed for over two years, the long-term unemployment problem is enormous. it's taking a human toll beyond the economic toll. and it's hard for people to fox on things beyond our shores when
the economy is so bad here and they're worried about jobs and income and home values and how to pay for their kids' college tuition, but it doesn't mean the world has stopped and we do have to pay some attention to it. >> ifill: let me ask you, senator, a specific question about mitt romney's foreignless and that's on syria. what would he do with bashar al-assad that this administration is not doing? >> had he been in office a year and a half ago, his secretary of state would not have called assad a reformer. figure out who is the moderate opposition. we're leading from behind. we out-sourced america's syrian policy to kofi annan, which the "washington post" called his effort-- which we empowered. this is what we were going to do, let kofi do it, they called it the worst diplomat disaster in u.n. history. that's a pretty dramatic statement. up front, he would have been at
the table. we would have been working right away with the folk in addition the coalition of the concerned in the region, turkey, saudi arabia, the emirates. so it's not about america alone but we need to have a seat at the table. we haven't had a seat at the table and tens of thousands have been killed. the bad guys have a better chance of taking over because we haven't led. >> norm 'point is really critical. we have friend in the region that might be willing to do something, but they're uncertain about the united states' response. >> ifill: the united nations response was not sufficient? >> the united nations is not sufficient and they're not sure what we would do. turkey is beside themselves with concerns about the refugee problems and the kurds but they're not certain about our posture or they would probably take more effective action. >> we have to be very honest it's united states at times and we've seen it with iran and syria, is sometimes unprepared to act. there are those in the region who have a stake in this and understand it. you can't-- if we can't move the
russians-- and our russian reset is another failure of this administration. it didn't get us very much. we pulled the plug out from our friends in poland and czech republic on missile defense. as a result the u.n. is somewhat paralyzed can't act, and there are others who can act and should have act. >> woodruff: that calls to mind the comment governor romney made not long ago vin weber, and that is he called russia the greatest enemy that the united states has. >> i have to correct you, judy. he said the greatest geopolitical foe, and the words matter a great deal. he was talking about russia as a diplomat and i can political competitor to the united states. the democrats interpreted that-- misinterpreted it to mean a military threat. he didn't say that. he said a geopolitical foe, and if you look at how russia has treated us in the united nations on the syrian issues and many others, there's good relationship to believe they are, indeed, our main political and diplomatic competitor on the
world stage. >> ifill: more than china. >> i think-- well, along the same league, yeah. >> woodruff: let me just broaden this out to ask you how tough it it it is it for governor romney to make the case against president obama. this is the president who led the raid-- was president and gave get-ahead for the raid that led to the death of osama bin laden. he is the president who pulled the troops finally out of iraq and has set afor pulling troops out of afghanistan. >> we applaud the fact that osama bin laden is dead and give credit to the president for making a good decision and the men and women on the ground who made that happen. it's interesting. you could ask the same question on foreign policy as we've asked in domestic policy-- are we better off today than four years ago? is iran further away from getting a nuclear weapon? is literal more secure than four years ago? is the soviet union a better friend in spite of the reset four years ago. i think this president has set out to be liked but not reported, not respected. and you look at latin america
and cartagena, our president was in effect dissed by the latin americans. so are we better off today in terms of foreign policy than we were four years ago? i don't think the answer to that is yes. >> ifill: four years ago at this convention you nominated john mccain, who is america's veteran, prisoner of war, a hero. there were stars and stripes everywhere in this hall. this year you're nominating two men, neither of whom have had any military service or any real foreign policy background. how does that happen? >> well, the fact is the veterans population in the country is dwindling and there's a time when almost anybody in public life was a veteran. that's not the case anymore. but i would argue with that they don't have foreign policy experience. mitt romney has done business all around the world. he understands the economic interrelationships of the world. and i think that paul ryan gets a bum rap for no foreign policy experience. 14 years in the congress, he headed the trade subcommittee of ways and means and he heads the budget commitee i was on the
budget committee the one time-- you have to know about the defense budget, the foreign aid budget, the state department budget in order to put together the budget and he's been doing it for 14 years. >> the issue today is jobs, and so the governor said it helps to have had a job to know how to grow a job. he's grown jobs. the economy is in the issue. the economy, by the way, in debt, and you have a president who promised employment would not go above 8% after his $850 billion surplus. it's been 42 months over 8%. our debt has gone to 15 trillion. paul ryan understands about debt. these why those guys-- they're responding to concerns americans have. >> ifill: go ahead, judy. >> woodruff: was just going to say the other thing that comes to mind immediately is governor romney spent a the love time talking about china, declaring china as soon as he becomes president a currency manipulator. john engler, the head of the national association of manufacturers said he didn't think mitt romney meant that, that he would do is that if he
was elected president. >> i think mitt romney-- >> love john engram but i disagree with mim i discussed this a long time ago with governor romney. he feels very viscerally about china. i don't think at the end of the day his object is a trade war. it's to increase the leverage of the american president. and i think he believes he's better capable of doing that because of his past experience than, frankly, either this president or the last president. >> ifill: vin weber, norm coleman, both former members of congress, senior policy advisers to mitt romney glootd and both from the state of minnesota. >> lots of lakes. lot of good fishing. >> woodruff: thank you, both. >> woodruff: vice presidential nominee paul ryan is the star later tonight with a prime time slot for his acceptance speech. jeffrey brown has been talking to people who have known ryan for many years.
>> brown: this afternoon in downtown tampa, it was beer and brats. at a party for a state that's been much in the political spotlight in the past few years. wisconsin delegates celebrated some of their rising stars. most of all, paul ryan. >> thanks so much. it's great to see you. the 42 year old from janesville has been a fast-riser, spotted early as a man destined to go places. >> everybody knew immediately, even though he was only 22 or 23 years old, this was a real star in the making. >> brown: it was vin weber who hired the young ryan to work for empower america, a conservative advocacy group founded by jack kemp. >> it was born of a real optimistic vision of what conservative principles can do, to make america better. so people came to us-- paul ryan notable among them-- they were not frustrated. they were optimistic. they were eager to engage in the battle of ideas of what would make america a better place for
everybody. >> brown: ryan engaged in ideas and very soon in politics itself, running for the first district congressional seat from wisconsin. weber had his doubts. >> i said, "paul, you would be a great member of congress, but this is a tough district and i don't think you'll get elected." ( laughs ) so he wisely ignored my advice and did get elected. that says a lot about paul. he's not daunted by a challenge. he believes he can win on the strength of his ideas. >> brown: former wisconsin g.o.p. chair steve king, another longtime friend and mentor, officially nominated ryan last night. he says that a secret to ryan's success has been a true passion and focus on an area that others often find arcane: the federal budget. >> has had plenty of opportunities for leadership postings. but he would say "i'm not sure it's for me, that's not my issue. so he stuck with his budget
ideas-- despite having been offered leadership positions. and then, boom!, they said "you're the chairman of the budget committee." >> brown: he has a reputation as a policy wonk. is that deserved? >> it's earned. ( laughs ) this is a guy who goes to sleep in his office every night when he's there, reading budgets. >> brown: really? >> that's what he does. and he doesn't fall asleep real fast. he reads it. >> brown: in the past several years, ryan's influence as an intellectual leader has grown dramatically and his proposed prescriptions for spending cuts, lower taxes, and changes to medicare and other entitlement programs have drawn passionate praise and equally passionate criticism. in choosing ryan as his running mate, mitt romney has embraced the man and, to an extent that's not fully clear yet, his ideas.
i asked pollster andy kohut about public reaction. >> early polling is a very mixed reaction. gallup does a survey immediately after his announcement and finds 37% positive, 42% negative. we do a survey this past weekend asking people to give us one word descriptions. and we find a so many negative words as positive words. in short, his initial reaction is the least positive of any vice-presidental nominee since dan quayle. >> brown: we're there any particular attributes, whether it's age or policies or whatever that are driving this? >> for republicans, it's words that reflect enthusiasm; he's intelligent, he's enthusiastic, good guy. we agree with him. for democrats, they say he's a phony, he scares, me, too radical, that kind of thing. >> brown: but another of wisconsin's rising national stars, governor scott walker, is
sure that ryan is going to give an important boost to the presidential nominee. >> most voters knew that mitt romney had the skills that made him capable of being a decent president. you look at his private sector experience, the olympics... >> brown: did you say "decent?" >> this is my point. with paul ryan, his experience alone would make him a decent president. with paul ryan on the ticket, not just because he's from wisconsin but because of what he's done nationally-- mitt romney has the courage and the passion to be an exceptional president. >> brown: this afternoon, the junior member of the ticket had a chance to check out the stage and podium, where he'll get a chance to make his case to the nation tonight. >> woodruff: for a preview of that speech and more on how the convention has gone so far, we turn to house majority leader eric cantor. his own state of virginia is one of the of the critical states.
>> woodruff: tell us something about paul ryan we don't know yet? what will we learn in the days to come? >> what i hope the mesh people will see tonight is the real paul ryan. there's been a lot of talk about his being a budget worchg and into the numbers and a bean counter and all of that which is true because he's a true intellect. but i hope they see the man for who he is. he's a real family man. he has a wonderful wife, janna, who in her own right is quite an accomplished person. has three beautiful kids. and somebody who can kick back, relax as well, be very intense and passionate about the direction he would like to see this country go. >> woodruff: we know that the vice president of the united states has to be ready to step in, if, god forbid, something were to happen to the president. is he ready to step into the presidency? >> absolute. he's a very interested individual. he is very grounded in roots
that weren't so glamorous coming up in life. the american people will hear his story tonight, how he lost his father and had to work hard and assume hourly wage jobs when he was young. but he was a hard worker. and that shines through today. you be, i really first got to know paul when he and i served on the ways and means committee together. as you know, the tax writing committee. and we used to spend hours talking about tax policy, economic policy, how to grow the economy, how to free up the innovative spirit of this country. and i believe that you're going to hear that tonight and about paul's vision of where we take the country at this pivotal time in our history. >> woodruff: gwen. >> ifill: you and he were considered to be young guns, you called yourselves and a couple of others in the house. but yet the house and congress in jng is not a terribly popular place these days. so how does his background in the house help him in this national race and how does it hurt? >> you know, the house has sort
of been the epicenter of the debate in washington over the last year and a half. as you know, we've had a very different view in terms of how to take this country forward than the president has. and, unfortunately, what we've seen is a president that's been unwilling or not desirous of reaching across the aisle and saying, "look, we can disagree on things. reasonable people can disagree, but let's try and work to find some consensus so that we can produce some results." and i think what you'll see tonight is that side of paul ryan, somebody who is very passionate and convicted in terms of his principles, but understands that we've got to get results for the american people. right now, so many americans are just disappointed at what has been gog, and they're looking for an alternative. and, frankly, i think what you'll see taking out of this week here in tampa is the republican ticket dedicated towards making life work for more americans, and that's the bottom line. >> woodruff: you know,
mr. cantor, republicans often say-- we're hearing it a lot here-- that the president didn't work across the aisle, but when you talk to some democrats they say they think the president tried too hard, and waited too long for republicans to come over in his direction, which they were never going to do. >> well, as one who has had the privilege of not only representing my constituents in and around the richmond area and throughout the seventh district of virginia, as well as serving for majority leader, i can tell you we tried. john boehner, the speaker and i tried continuously, to engage the white house, engage the president, throughout the entire discussioning last year. and, unfortunately, there's just a fundamental disagreement that the president was unwilling to set aside. and i think what people are looking for, at least what i am hearing when i'm traveling in my district and the country, is people want to see the economy improve. they want to see the prospects for themselves, their kids, and
have a better future. they want to have some optimism. and i think paul's going to wring that sunshiny optimism to the crowd tonight and i think the american people are going to see a genuine commitment to do things better and really try to resolve some of these very, very difficult challenges. >> ifill: you're from virginia, a big battled ground state this year. how does the romney-ryan ticket win your home state? >> well, it is very much about jobs and the economy in virginia. virginia is particularly susceptible to the president's defense cuts. as you know, as a result of the failure of the super committee in congress last year, these defense cuts are going to go into effect at the end of this year. >> woodruff: but wasn't that a result of both sides not coming together, sequestration? >> judy, i think what we've done in the house and we've gone ahead and passed a substitution for these kind of defense yuts cut, about the yet there's been no response by the president. we feel very strongly that, number one, we do have to defend our country, and these cuts are
going to cut to the core an ability for to us effect that mission. but also in virginia, and gwen, you ask about virginia, we are disproportionately dependent on defense dollars. in fact, 9% of the employment in the region of hampton roads, virginia beach, is dependent on d.o.d. dollars up and think about the area up around washington and the pentagon and northern virginia, that's going to make a huge difference for virginia and i believe will add to the prospects for a romney-ryan win. >> ifill: it's precisely this kind of standoff that makes so many american voters impatient and look at congress and say a poxspoz all of your houses. how do you win an election this close is when you're doing things or not doing things that exasperate so many americans. >> i think what you can show is there have been no results on the part of this exprt this administration. and you have in mitt romney a
republican governor in probably the most democratic state in massachusetts, someone who said,un what, i can set aside differences and try and find commonality and he produced results. that's going to be the alternate toif what's been going on in washington with the white house that seems to be intransient on these issues. >> woodruff: quickly, president obama was campaigning in virginia today, drew a crowd of 7500, and we know the romney-ryan ticket is going to be in virginia campaigning right after this convention. are they going to draw as many as 7500 people when they campaign in richmond? >> judy, i was with paul and mitt the day that mitt had announced paul in norfolk, and they came to richmond. we had overwhelmingly enthusiastic crowds, just about 10 days another paul was in richmond, i think drew-- i think at least four to five, maybe 6,000 people. i'm confident that there is a lot of enthusiasm at home to try something different, since these policies have been so
disappointing by this white house. >> woodruff: house majority leader eric cantor, thank you so much for being with us. good to see you. >> ifill: thank you. >> ifill: ryan's swift rise has shined a spotlight on wisconsin. we turn to hari sreenivasan at the map center for a closer look at the politics of the badger state. >> sreenivasan: we're taking a look at the story of battleground states through the data that you can find on our web site. with me is nathan gonzalez of the rothen berg political report and roll call, thanks for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> sreenivasan: so much talk about paul ryan and his impact on the overall campaign. when we take a look at our electoralicality clairt, the yellow states are the associated press' predictions on what they think are battleground states, and you say we should make wisconsin yellow. why? >> at the rothen berg political reporter we've had wisconsin firmly as one of eight swing states for at least the last six months and i think for a couple of different reasons. one is this is a forgotten swing state.
in 2000, we were talking about florida, the recount, very close, but in wisconsin the race was decided by less than a percentage point. four years later, another close presidential race. we were concerned about ohio, but wisconsin, again, less than a percentage point. fast forward to stayed and i think this is setting up to be a very competitive battleground state and particularly when you add paul ryan on the ballot. then you add the polarization. this is one of the most polarized states in the country, particularly with the recall election of scott walker. >> sreenivasan: we have had a long-term project called listen to me where we hear from voters on what the important issues are and whether they think the political system is broken. here are a couple of the answers from wisconsin. >> i like to be positive but our country is very divided, and it is hard to see how we can possibly unite when we have very conflicting views that don't find a lot of common ground on a regular basis. >> i feel like there's no compromise. like, within our little
microcosm of madison and in big government. i feel like no one is willing to compromise which is the only thing that's going to move us forward. >> sreenivasan: let's take a look at the 2008 presidential results. pretty easy to see here whatever went plu went for president obama, whatever went red went for john mccain. and this is a fairly blue outcome. >> i think the voters expressed the sentiment of voters until the upper midwest and the country thought at the time, the economy was sagging. the voters didn't like the partisanship. they didn't like the direction of the country and were ready for a change. in 2008, barack obama was the one who captured that sentiment for change, and that's why you see a normally competitive state have so much blue on it. >> sreenivasan: we just fast forward now to the recall results, scott walker with 53%. you see an overwhelming number of these counties are red. >> even though four years separated the two elections, a lot of the dynamics were in
play. people upset with the economy, and continued to give republicans, governor walker be a chance of power in wisconsin. >> sreenivasan: let's talk about the ryan factor here. he's been an incredibly strong candidate for the last six, seven cycles. >> so congressman ryan down in the southern parent of wisconsin hasn't had a competitive race. even though the district is competitive, democrats haven't done a good job of recruiting a good candidate against him. now that he's part of the national ticket it adds to the intensity focus on wisconsin. >> sreenivasan: thanks so much for joining us. if you're at home and want to try this yourself, you can on your desktop or tablet or even your phone. it's at newsed hour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and with us tonight once again are shields and brooks, that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, we're now into the second full day of the convention about to get under way. what are you hearing? what are-- as you talk to
people, do they feel the first davis a success? and i ask in particular because there is some controversy about how well the keynote speaker did last night. mark, what do you think? >> there is great controversy swirling about, about how well the keynote speaker did. i think david and i were in are in the distinct minority-- >> ifill: chris christie. >> i thought he blew the hinges off the door. i thought he made a very strong case for change, and outlined the kind of change that he would foresee in a republican administration. republican leadership. and-- but there seems to be a majority opinion that in fact chris christie talked more about chris christie and what he had done and new jersey and not enough about mitt romney. and i guess that's the two cases. >> part of the controversy over christie was is he too negative? and the argument is we've had some pretty tough years and he's
offering more toughness, more hard times. is that the country wants to hear? there's lights between us but there is a debt clock and a lot of republicans are saying let's not emphasize debt. let's emphasize growth. some of the reaction was he was too blood, sweat, toil, and tears. >> ifill: i guess that's my question. who is the last president who got elected by emphasizing all the tough choices. >> walter mondale rode to victory. >> ifill: saying we have to raise taxes. and this party praises ronald reaganals the being the great optimist. so maybe this is not what they came to hear. >> thought christie's message was optimistic. he said teachers are not in it for the glory and money. he said seniors are not selfish. i thought it was a tribute to what he felt was the true middle of the voters. but that-- you're right, but isn't it time for some candor? i mean, americans do know that we face choices.
we're not going to face the hot fudge sundae diet lineup of you can eat six hot fudge sundaes and have a 28-inch waist by tuesday. we're going to have to make sacrifice across the word and he's the only figure who said everybody has to sacrifice. >> woodruff: that's my question. election year after election year, and particularly this year it seems to me, voters are saying we're tired of politicians telling us everything is going to be fine. we know there are going to be tough choices required, so what's wrong with doing that. >> we'll see if the electorate is ready for that. in some states they have voted in gubernatorial races voting for guys with cuts. and sometimes for republicans like scott walker. so the question is will the electorate really do that? i thought the reason christie had to say what he did is to lay the predicate for medicare, and paul ryan-- i assume-- is going to talk about that today, say med qair is just an
unsustainable program. and that's only defensible if you can lay lay larger context that we're on an unsustainable path. >> ifill: what was the larger context anne romney was trying to lay last night, and did anybody pick up on it? she clearly was making a pitch to women voters. "i like him. you ought to like him, too, get to know him." did that really resonate. >> not being a woman voter-- >> ifill: really? ! >> i don't even it resonated. i have to say, i mean-- i find her to be an appealing and commanding presence, but i thought her message was quite frankly ineffective, that it did not reveal anything personal about him. it was anecdotally berest of anything interesting. 47 years and there isn't a single story about one funny thing that mitt did. we're assured he had a sense of humor. we were assured the same thing about richard nixon and jimmy carter but we never saw evidence
of it on the public stage. just one other thing on the christie thing, and that is he set the bar a lot higher for mitt romney. i mean, chris christie said, any leader who tells you we're not going to have to have sacrifice for everybody is not an honest leader, he's not being candid with you. that's a predicate for mitt romney to meet tomorrow night a standard that we'll find out whether in fact he is that honest leader. >> i would just say i thought ann romney's speech was not aced as well. the strong point as i said last night, was "the i nol fail." that should have been the core, you may not like him, but he can make a difference, we can govern the country better, and this is the guy who will not fail you. and she should have said he will in government and business, he does not allow himself to fail. >> woodruff: does that turn on its ha head this idea that peope have to like a president in order to vote for him? are you saying that the romney campaign has just decided we
know people are not going to warm up to him? >> they still have a zone of privacy around them that, apparently, they're not going to break. she did not break it by giving any personal information, and i think that's a matter of pride and a matter of what they see as propriety and they're just not going to go there and it may come back to hurt them. >> ifill: can i ask about foreign policy? we had vin weber and norm coleman here earlier, foreign policy advisors to the romney campaign and we asked why there wasn't more conversation about foreign policy and they said, oh, well, we have to talk about the economy. this is what the foreign policy adviser said. you would think they would say well, we have something to say. >> national security has always been historically a great republican advantage. it is not now. i mean, barack obama gets the highest marks of any-- 54% approve of his handling of our foreign policy. so that's basically off the table. and, plus, you have in mitt romney and paul ryan, two men with basically no foreign policy national defense credentials.
so talking about it is not their strong suit. >> i think that's good news. we have a foreign policy bipartisan consensus almost in this country. there are differences here and there. but you take the last five years of the bush administration and the three and a half years of the obama administration, you can hardly tell the difference. we have a pretty good consensus on how we want to do things, mostly because we haven't been challenged by anything divisive, like iran. but i think that's a good thing that we actually have a consensus about a few things. >> woodruff: what happened to the sort of continuing assumption that the republican party was the party of national security, that it was democrats who just had to keep on proving their bona fides when it came to keep the country safe. >> a few thousand drone strikes seem to have taken care of that. obama continued and advanced what bush had done. >> and two failed wars, iraq and afghanistan. that certainly tarnished -- and i'll tell you this. it is an indictment of us as a people and of the leaders of
this country that we are not debating and discussing afghanistan. , that there are, tonight, 80,000 americans in peril, in harm's way, and it goes undiscussed and really undebated in this country, and essentially, uncovered. >> ifill: including here. except of course at this table. describe what is at stake the next evening and tomorrow. what does each side-- especially these republicans-- what do they hope to lay out as the theme for tonight and tomorrow night, especially? >> i.r.s. thing condoleezza rice is going to inspire people. the second thing, paul ryan, he's earnest. the difference about paul ryan, republican nominees tend to like the young, glamorous person-- sarah palin, dan quayle, but they don't have weight. paul ryan has that weight. >> ifill: very quick. >> i i think it's still a ticket that needs personal expwraigz personal warmth and i think that's a test for paul ryan
tonight. >> ifill: let's find out what jeff brown thinks about this down on the convention floor where he will be reporting for us all night. here is preview. >> hello from downstairs. the convention theme is, "we can change it." that means we're going to hear about a lot of issues and policy-- health care, foreign affairs, and more. the lineup of speakers includes the man who was this party's nominee last time around, arizona senator john mccain. we're also going to hear from kentucky senator rand paul, and we're going to see a video about his father, ron paul. former secretary of state condoleezza rice will be talking. and of course it all leads up to the main event tonight, which is the speech of the vice preside presidential nominee, paul ryan. back up to you guys. >> well done, jeff, competing with the music. our convention coverage continues online, where we reach beyond the skybox and offer you
an all access pass to events on the floor and around town. we turn again to hari for more on the six-- that's right-- six live stream channels on our website. >> sreenivasan: the multi channel live stream is just that-- always on, and giving you, the viewer choices on how you'd like to see the conventions. on the front door of our web page, we give you up to a half dozen options. choose the "newshour" icon if you'd like all the insight and analysis you've come to expect from the "newshour" politics team. for the first time, the "newshour" is also providing each night's special convention coverage in spanish-- just press the "en espanol" button. if you'd prefer every speech from the convention floor uninterrupted, press the "r.n.c. feed" button. see the view of the convention floor just outside our pbs skybox by selecting the sky cam button. if that's not enough, our newsroom cam shows a behind the scenes look at our production team and workspace throughout the day. and get a delegate's eye-view with our "newshour" hat-cam.
we send one of our staffers to roam the convention floor wearing a hardhat mounted with a camera and a mic for an on-the- ground look at the sights, and sounds of the convention. all that and more is available all the time, any time, on our >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: hurricane isaac weakened today to a tropical storm, but battered louisiana all day with high winds and downpours. the republican national convention made ready to hear tonight from vice presidential nominee paul ryan. and in afghanistan, a man in an afghan army uniform shot and killed three nato troops. there've been at least a dozen such shootings in the last month. >> ifill: and before we go, an editor's note: the "newshour" lost an important member of its family when novelist robert kotlowitz died this weekend. bob was senior vice president for programming at public station channel 13 in new york city until he retired in 1990. in that capacity, he helped create a half hour news program featuring robert macneil and jim lehrer that went on the air in 1975. the rest, as they say, is
history. we send our sympathy to bob's family. that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm gwen ifill >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. stay with us. we'll be back in a few minutes on most pbs stations with full coverage of tonight's session of the 2012 republican national convention. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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