Roundtable: Fight Night in Vegas

George Will, Matthew Dowd, Donna Brazile, Jake Tapper, and Frank Luntz.
12:18 | 10/23/11

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Transcript for Roundtable: Fight Night in Vegas
Now let's bring in our roundtable George Will. Former George W. Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd democratic strategist Donna Brazil and ABC's senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper. So a string of foreign policy success is the latest being in May -- is -- going to give the president the kind of -- miffed that He needs. It it won't give him a bump but it will prevent him from sagging -- The Scituate immunize -- him on an issue that's been a democratic problem since the nineteen Social Security national security since -- Party fractured on Vietnam in 1960 gave them elected and nominated McGovern in 72. This does immunize him on that issued just at a moment when it ceases to have -- currency given the primacy of unemployment. No say is -- Donna on this well he's made the world a less dangerous place he's -- and. On foreign policy the American people may not give them credit. For all of the things that he's done but clearly -- look at the leadership on the economy -- on on foreign policy national security. There's no question it will inoculate him against Republican attacks that he's weak on -- -- He needs with this election is going to be about who is the strong leader -- decisive at a time -- anxiety related to the -- so the accumulative effect of this appellate that the issue does not matter to the American public as much. If you -- -- and -- I can be a strong leader in this country as well as internationally it could affect. But that's the problem He is not showing he's a strong leader on the economy but the leadership issue could help. What if it only if He adds to it there's nothing added to it domestically it's just gonna disappear. In the huskies' Jake Mitt Romney it was very skating about what happened in Iraq -- it's an astonishing -- and saying. Quote the unavoidable question is whether the result whether it's -- result of naked political calculation or Cindy -- at teach you this about bringing the troops out of Iraq. Does the Republicans have to gain by that kind of language. But I've heard two arguments from Republicans this week one is why is Obama getting the credit. For the Iraq withdrawal given that this was a status of forces agreement as negotiated. By President Bush wise Obama getting credit for what bush did and then the other argument which is boy it's so weak. What Obama's doing. But abiding by what bush negotiated and they both seem rather incoherent when you put them come when you combine them the same with Libya. I've heard. People fault of Republicans fault President Obama for being weak on Libya getting involved. Two late following. The internationalist perspective and then. In the middle of the campaign when it -- look like it was going so well there is a lot of criticism about the fact that He was. -- that the quagmire that was the US was being bogged down in. And I just feel like that the Republicans seem to come up with a more co. Hearing criticism and -- -- residents -- three questions how many troops for how long. For what purpose. And I don't think they can answer -- -- -- -- look -- -- the Republicans I think it made a series of mistakes of the last three weeks and how they respond I think -- -- a -- -- to -- the American Republicans and a ten year on Wall Street station have adopted the sort of anti Wall Street -- made -- main street against Wall Street they should have basically totally congratulated him on -- Libya because -- Barack Obama this was his feeling He got it done. And 3M two thirds of the American public want the troops out of Iraq. Don't believe it's made the country safer and the cut that Republicans ought to say job well done let's focus on the country that's ready -- Republican. -- -- this took about two neo not to move to bring in front lance whose Republican pollster and I want to ask you about you're watching the debate in Las Vegas. And -- GB sort of fight element between Romney and -- What did the people who you know what she it would what did they think about that development. They thought it looked more like Jerry Springer than it did a presidential campaign. And I need you to compare this to 2008. When it was Obama vs Clinton. The two of them were so careful about what they said that if either of them started to to be in any way negative. You saw that. The media shut them down that -- grassroots shut them down nobody wanted them to attack each other. Now in 2011. It seems like the media is pushing the Republicans to attack each other and they're very glad to do it there's a message in here. When Rick Perry started to go after Mitt Romney and his very first debate He was a 28% in the polls now he's down to 12%. -- -- -- He has a great record to -- and Texas but He doesn't know how to do it. Republicans and particularly independents. Don't want to see these candidates going at each other they want to know what their four. Not what they're against. And so Joan did great having despite those risks that crime articulate that he'd bring himself up to probably needed to be in this need not yet. When He entered the race He fundamentally misdiagnosed his problem his problem was not to stop Romney's rise from the hasn't been rising for seven years he's had a fairly low ceiling. In the mid twenties. Rather it was Perry's job to make -- seem attractive and I think but he's trying to do with his flat tax is to have his Panama Canal moment. 76 Ronald Reagan is campaigning and not doing well challenging in. For the nomination an incumbent president -- his own party. He gives a speech and I think it was four and He mentions the Panama Canal -- an animal roar of approval from the crowd. With a great -- sense of audiences I think I've found it went to North Carolina. Work that that issue one and one all the way to Kansas City in almost was nominated the question is can flat tax -- the Panama Canal preparing. And then add humidity heat reprieve until He -- -- and knocked off that sort of hood should inevitability that it would He was talking about. He's had a pretty good job in the debates. In in ceiling above the fray. But He did He did get rattled obviously by Rick Perry. And Rick pairing as opposed He tried the same line that He tried in the previous debate you know until talking counsel talking -- talking. And Rick -- the first time backed off this time Rick Perry kept talking. And I mean I agree with frank it it I don't think it it looks good for either candidate neither neither party neither Rick -- -- -- Romney benefited from that exchange the only person that benefited from that exchange. Was Herman Cain and Herman Cain is the only one that continues continuing step by step rising -- -- we may see Newt Gingrich tries. But that exchange didn't help anybody that Herman Cain. Just -- -- seemed flustered and He seem I'm prepared to answer questions that need that came up back in 2008 when He ran before. -- I was surprisingly easy -- that's right M and basically He says stop picking on me dealt with that issue when I decide that was going around office and. And I think what a horrible moment -- it -- was not. The evening I'm out of her office second -- I mean yeah that's enough for a definition of a gaffe when you accidentally tell the truth. We'll never -- problem isn't the illegal alien problem -- -- which Rick Perry identify which is what -- his big problem is why can't go with George has about that. -- that the Republican Party does not think that he's authentic and He has a core set of beliefs they think as soon as He wins the nomination they know exactly what he's gonna do. Which you shift to the left leadership to matter that's their fear flickering but frank for a second because you talked about. Herman -- The the 999 plan. Look like is getting -- -- one vote is telling you now about Herman Cain is more exposure comes to news 999. Well remember the average voters about two weeks behind the Washington news cycle. So even though the media's turned more negative on -- what I'm still hearing out in the field is very positive. And what they credit even though they admit they're not always sure about the details about 999. Is that they're frustrated with the tax code they don't like the IRS and they want to send Washington a message which is why any candidate that comes up with a -- plan on taxes. He's going to see some level of approval at least initially. I think -- is the quintessential outsider he's a nice He He he's He reminds me of. One of my uncles that you you pretty much you like to don't want to come -- to house. Because the more exposed He receives the more scrutiny I think He becomes tongue twisted and tongue tied with a look of the abortion issue. Where first you say well you know I should get involved that politicians should get involved -- basically He was given the pro choice -- which of course I support. Know what should make these personal decisions but -- the individual but. Now he's back to. -- no I'm I'm -- life at conception. So I think Cain is is not just the flavor of the month I agree with him I think he's gone he's gone present in real. A problem for Mitt Romney who is struggling -- Painting games and try and change price had nothing to do with 999 McCain's rise has to do with the attributes that the Republicans like him he's an outsider he's a businessman. He's likable and He seems to enjoy the fight. All of those things -- and don't nobody else has that's why he's right. I think He has a huge forgiveness factor among the Republican electorate he's going to be -- tripped himself up a number of times -- but even in this -- -- because I think they say we have an outsider can make mistakes he'll hit a tipping point if He keeps -- up at some point. But right now they're gonna forgive him because he's an outside his. -- -- so these are mistakes that Dan Quayle made this mistake John McCain made this mistake about abortion when confronted with -- what would you do if your daughter or your granddaughter. Had the situation. And both Quayle and McCain and now -- say well be up to the individual you know I'd I don't approve but it is you know that the woman in the family should make. Their mind up for themselves and me. That's exactly right about the rise came it has a lot to do with round. He is rising and as more and more Republicans come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis a technocrat -- Massachusetts governor running on competence not ideology. What is old is doing for President Obama as they watched this infighting and and what frank -- into. Whatever they're campaigning against Mitt Romney I mean they've already started David Axelrod. The democratic a third party groups there -- they're focused on Mitt Romney they think ultimately Romney is going to be. The nominee and -- that's where they're they're targeting their energy when I interviewed President Obama. Earlier this week He acted as if He wasn't really all that familiar the Republicans -- sorted out He was but He was clearly first of -- aware of the 999 plan. And second -- He He had seen that the Republicans had been rising and falling rising and falling. And so you know there were there when they're lying in wait and I think that they have -- out lots of different scenarios for if there is -- nominee. Vs Romney I think they think Romney would be a stronger. Potential challenger but Perry would. Had posed some problems because the Latino vote that He would bring with them done. Is it Romney. Alone has -- I think Jake is absolutely right in his report that the Democrats are worried about Romney but look I still believe that Herman -- will -- somewhat of a threat. To President Obama -- gain in the black -- but look. He comes across once again it's something he's an outside. He's not attached to any of the establishment. So I still give Herman Cain a little bit more a leg -- -- some Democrat. President Obama's biggest problem right now is president -- He is not can -- they want to make this choice selection which is what they wanted to they kind of want a reprise art that 2004 election they wanna make Mitt Romney entered the Republican version of John Kerry the problem with that is George W. Bush in 2004 had a huge expansion and -- and strong and decisive leader so when we made an argument against. John Kerry. That He was a flip property was -- decisive we -- a huge advantage right now. Barack Obama is has dropped dramatically on the strong and decisive -- risen in the last few days because of international. But if it turns to domestic that's his problem he's gonna have a huge. Are making that argument lost a lot of Democrats who lost a lot of Democrats when He came across as being too conciliatory. Two bipartisan his approach. I believe it into The Beatles Democrats will combat those independents many others who were leaders expect is that Democrats -- think it is independent of the -- that its independence absolutely but when you talk about his leadership. Not only in farm house but even on the economy Democrats give him -- that the country give -- a fifteen point advantage over Republicans and -- economy. President Obama is going to eat I think overall people win I don't -- this -- be Ronnie Perry a cane but He will win the Atlanta. But if He wins the election with a 42% or 41% job approval rating would be the first time in the history of the country that -- ready for the belong to slim down the -- -- you thank you very much indeed.

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

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