Bob McDonnell and Antonio Villaraigosa Debate

The GOP Virginia governor and Democratic L.A. mayor on the 2012 election.
3:00 | 08/26/12

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Transcript for Bob McDonnell and Antonio Villaraigosa Debate
But we begin now with the latest on tropical storm isaac and the republican convention. The storm is expected to become a hurricane later today. The trek varies right now. It could land anywhere from the florida panhandle to new orleans. It should pass 200 miles west of tampa. Republican officials are taking no chances. They have postponed the first night of convention activities and for more on that, let's go to jon karl. Jon, when they made this announcement last night, the officials said that they can get everything done in three days. It won't be easier. The speeches will be shorter. George, they said that they had absolutely no choice. They think we could see winds 70 miles an hour. Torrential rain. Possible flooding. Some of the delegates are staying an hour away on the coast. They were concerned about loading them up on buses, bringing them here. They thought it might have been a safety issue. It may be george, like one of those school days, they call a snow day and the storm ended up not being as much. One other thing, george, every delegate gets one of these red umbrellas. The official republican umbrella. One concern, they're not allowed in the convention hall. But we got ours in. The other concern is, as tuesday, all of the coverage of the hurricanwill overwhelm their effort to get their message out. That's exactly right. This is the one time when the republican party has a chance to have the attention of the entire country to their message. Right now, they'll be competing with a hurricane for that attention. And as you remember, the exact same thing happened four years ago with hurricane gustav. Which hit during the first day of the republican convention four years ago. You have been talking to a lot of officials and delegates down there, what's the number one thing they think they need to do to get out of this convention? Well, the number one thing they have to do is establish mitt romney as the problem solver. That's what you'll be hearing over and over again. As the person who has the ability to solve america's problems, to succeed. Where barack obama has failed. Okay, jon karl, thank you very much. Let's more now from virginia GOVERNOR bob McDonnell and by los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. governor McDonnell, let me begin with you, you heard jon karl on the weather right there, how concerned are you that this is really going to disrupt the convention? Obviously, these unplanned events are things that just have to be dealt with. We'll have to be more productive. It's a concern for the reasons that you mentioned at the top of the show, george, competing with a major weather event. I think the independent voters tuning in now will want to see mitt romney and paul ryan speak. I think we'll get a fair amount of attention and the message will be good. You got a big surprise this morning from another independent, the former republican governor of florida, charlie crist, in tampa bay times endorsing president obama. He had some tough words for the republican party. He said an element of their party has pitched so far to t extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. And he's referring to todd akin. Your senate candidate from missouri right now. If you're the chair of the platform, you called it the heart and soul of the party, how do you respond to former governor crist? I would say that governor crist's endorsement in florida adds one more vote. And that's right. He's wrong on every other point. I don't think it's any surprise that the republican party is the party that embraces the sanctity of life. We're a pro-life party. The democrats are pro-choice. That's so far fielded. He's wrong on the platform. George, in the race, everybody knows is how we're going to get the greatest country out of debt and back to work. When you look at mitt romney's record on reducing unemployment in massachusetts, president obama has increased it. Getting a budget balanced. The president can't even get a budget passed. And the downgrading of the u.S. Credit rating under president obama's watch. The credit rating of massachusetts went up. And on the things that really matter to voters, george, i think the records are stark and I think that's why independent voters have a ten-point margin in favor of mitt romney right now. You said that he was wrong on the republican platform. I don't understand how he is wrong. Let's put up the platform right now. The sanctity of human life. We support a human life amendment to the constitution, and endorse legislation to make sheer that the 14th amendment's protections apply to unborn children. There's no exception with rape. That's governor's romney's position. George, you're reading it wrong. That's been there for 30 years. There are multiple human life amendments that have been introduced. 20, 30 years ago. But the real point is, we are affirming that we're a pro-life party. The details certainly are left to congress and ultimately to the states and the people on how they ratify such an amendment. More importantly, what they do at the state level. For rain exception or not -- the party didn't make any statement on that. We support human life. That's simply not covered. It's something that's up to congress and the states. We have laws in virginia that have some of those exceptions. But at this point, with the u.S. Supreme court having its say, these are not issues that are even, even material at this point. Because, the issues are whether or not we have, like a ban on partial birth abortion. The president opposes that. Mitt romney supports it. Whether we have a born alive act. The president is opposed to that. Mitt romney supports it. Those are the issues. The policy issues at this point that are relevant. The last thing, one more attempt by the obama administration to take the focus off jobs, tax, debt and energy, that's what the people of america care about. Lot there to respond to, m mayor, take a crack. First of all, let me say, our hearts and prayers are with the people of tampa and florida. And the delegates at the convention and we hope that the storm isn't going to be as difficult as it looks right now and with respect to the plank, i think governor crist said it very well and that it is what it is. Maybe it's been there for 30 years. Maybe it's time to take it out. The idea that we put in our u.S. Constitution an amendment that says that women can't get an abortion even in the case of incest and rape is way beyond the mainstream. You heard him say that's not what it does, according to him. You put it up there, not me. And the fact -- go ahead. Well, look, it's not just mr. Akin's remarks, it's the republican party whose platform, through all the primary season, focused on these kinds of issues, on the issue of contraception which I thought had been dealt with 50 years ago. Across the board and governor crist talked about latinos as well and immigration. Whether it's self-deportation of 11 million people. No country has ever done that, calling the dream act a handout, walking around with chris and calling the arizonia and alabama laws a model for nation, these are things that are way beyond where most voters are at, and in fact, when the governor said that the -- mr. Romney's leading with independent voters, that's just not true. Mayor, the republicans have one big advantage into this convention. Americans are unhappy right now with president obama's stewardship of the economy. Mitt romney has an advantage there. And his allies are trying to capitalize with this new ad. The economy in my opinion is still the same as four years ago. Obama said he would help the middle class and that's where i am. I'm the middle class and instead it has hurt me. And we learned this week that the median family income dropped more than $4,000 since 2009. Even if that's not all president obama's fault, as I know you're going to argue, isn't it a huge political problem for the president? Look, the economy is a challenge for all of us and the president is trying to address the economy by reducing the deficit by $4 trillion with his job act that would create a million jobs by keeping police fiefrtders and teachers on the job. Reward small businesses who are hiring. He's put these proposals across the aisle and asked republicans to support them and at every turn they rejected it. They want to make the economy the issue and it will be an issue in this campaign. But we're going to make the future the issue as well. We got to look at the policies to make sure that we're making the right investments going into the future. We got to cut the deficit but we also investigate in education. We got to trim medicare and entitlements, but do it in a way that's responsible. Close tax loopholes. And raise taxes on the superrich. AND governor McDonnell, you have heard what president obama is calling the plan, he's calling it the romney/plan saying it's going to raise taxes on the middle class, harm the middle class? Well, that's not correct. George, if we had -- if I had a record like president obama -- and listen, he's a good man, a good family man, he's tried hard, his policies have flat failed the middle class. 42 months in a row over 8% unemployment. A crushing $16 trillion debt that's unsustainable. Gas prices doubling, the largest number of -- the smallest number of small businesses over three years. This is a record of those policies not working. And that's why they want to talk about bain capital and abortion and tax returns. I think that mitt romney's whole message now, is how do we raise up the middle class? He's laid out a significant plan. On deficit detux, on skills development, on work force training. These are the things that americans care about. And that's why I think he's going to have more appeal to that independent voter. Specific solutions. Results-oriented conservative. The rhetoric of hope and change just didn't work for the america. Mayor, this is a very, very close race. Are you worried that the republicans are going to come out of this convention ahead? First of all, let me just say something about the romney/ryan budget plan. It would extend the deficit 29 years. We wouldn't solve this deficit problem. While they do make cuts they also cut taxes. And they don't pay for them and that's why it will have an effect of raising taxes on the middle class. All of the economists and the experts have said that. The romney/ryan plan isn't the way to address the deficit or economy. It will actually put us backward when you talk about the unemployment rate. It's just not true. And with respect to the convention, look, conventions give him you a bit of a bump, i suspect that they won't be an etch-a-sketch their way out of this campaign. They're not going to be able to put away all of the things they said in the primary and all of the things they have in their platform right now. Our job will be to create the stark contrast between who we are, what we want to do for the future and what they want to do. governor McDonnell, you get the last word? Well, I think it's the vision of mitt romney versus the record of barack obama and facts are just stubborn things. And the middle class is hurting. We're in the greatest debt that we have ever been in this country. People aren't getting back to work. 23 million people underemployed or unemployed. They're hurting. As families. I think they want results and not rhetoric. That's the message of the mitt romney campaign. Gentlemen, thank you both

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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