Roundtable II: Post-Convention Outlook

George Will, Rand Paul, Cory Booker, Cokie Roberts and Paul Krugman.
3:00 | 09/09/12

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Transcript for Roundtable II: Post-Convention Outlook
ladies and gentlemen, please welcome former congresswoman gabrielle giffords. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Gabrielle giffords, surprise moment at the democratic convention. We're here to talk about the conventions. George will, let me come to you, one of the other surprises, was the reviews of president obama's speech. I kind of thought the sober tone with fine. George, the big difference in american politics in a generation is this, in 1988, michael dukakis left the democratic convention with a huge bounce ahead of george herbert walker bush, on election day he lost by 7 points. It's 24-point swing. In today's electorate that you could have that volatility. That matters, because I think what the republicans are counting on are undecided to break against the incumbent. Well, actually, it's interesting to see in comparing the 2008 exits with the 2012 average abc polls the groups of americans who have gone off on obama, moderates, midwesterners, people with less than $50,000, they haven't gone on to romney and that's exactly, they're STILL GETTING what McCain got. HE'S GETTING what McCain got there. Those are the groups of people that he has to get. Look, the fact the jobs numbers don't mean anything in this election. I think, everybody's factored that in already. We know what story is there. What the democrats are trying to do and I think probably will succeed in doing is putting together blocks of voters and so, you know, you have women and minorities, gays, this convention, over and over again, the speeches that were not on the air, were talking about gay rights, mity rights, immigration, the dream act, all of that. And I think that the republicans have made a tremendous mistake here. In 1992, when it was the economy, stupid, the minor vote was 12%. In 2008, it was 26%. It's expected to be 28% in this election. And if that's true, obama, you know can get 80% of if nonwhite vote he can win with only 38% of the white vote. The white vote. The white vote. The white vote. Senator paul, romney fire up his base to counter, you wrote in your book, not enough for republicans to elect the republican, but the right kind of republican, has governor romney done enough to quiet the doubts among his base? I think so. One of the big things that energized the tea party was the opposition to obama care. Conservatives know it's a political decision. I think that brought his base together and will help him. As far as inclusiveness with the democratic convention, they do includes a lot of groups, instead of the group that believe in god, they said image is worth a thousand words. But when the images of people booing god, that's a tough image to overcome. You're the co-chair of the platform committee. Why did you take god out of the platform? This is actually the kind of cheap shot that politics makes. Seriously. At the end of the day, people look at the platform before it with us there, faith, religion, clergy, all of that was in there. All of those words were in there. You want to talk about omissions this is a platform, it's not the president. When the president found out about it, he changed it. Look, I was the co-chair of the platform committee. It was an error of omission. When the president of the united states he changed it. Let me tell you, romney, he found about changes that he didn't agree with and didn't make those changes. If you want to talk about omissions, romney failed to mention the war in afghanistan. These are the small issues. Romney was asked why the war in afghanistan wasn't there. The president is a man of faith who believes in god. Mitt romney definitely cares about the troops in the field. They're both intelligent men. One believes in abortion under no circumstances, rape or incest. The other one, a woman has a right to choose. You took out language from previous platforms that said it should be safe, legal and rare. convention was really over the top in terms of abortion. Every single speaker spoke about abortion. And you know, at some point, you start to alienate people. 30% of democrats are pro-life. Hold on. We had leaders of the catholic church, in our convention, I was one of the speakers, I didn't mention abortion. I don't think we should be attacking planned parenthood. I'm worried about substantive policies. Like access to hh planning for families. One candidate said that we should gut family planning and we should gut planned parenthood. The other candidate said that we support family planning. Hold on. Taking god out may have been an act of omission. God can take care of himself. But removing the capital of israel was an act of omission. You go out in newark and stop someone and say what is the capital of delaware, vermont and israel? Some are going to know dover. Everyone except the american state department will know that the capital of israel is jerusalem. The platform committee may have done it. But when the president of the united states found out about it, he intervened. What romney has done, when he'sound out differences, he simply tried to stiff-arm them and distanced him from his platform. We have a party right now, where our president and our platform are beautifully aligned. Let's talk about substantive differences now between platforms. Not this rhetorical stuff that's using to distract people. There are two striking things comparing the two conventions. Romney is still trying to shore up his base. Obama seems quite confident. They didn't have to make extraordinary efforts. He was able to change the platform in ways that some of the base didn't like. He didn't have that problem. Whereas romney was afraid to do that. At this point, on social issues the democrats are the ones who are pushing the vote for us. Because we share the values. And I think they're right. The democrats also on offense on foreign policy and national security issues which is a big switch from past conventions. And take a look at joe biden thursday night. It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person. He was wrong. Because if you understood that america's heart had to be healed you would have done exactly what the president did and you would move heaven and earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice. George will, this is a big switch. Since the righteous convention of 1968 and then the four years later, the nomination OF george McGovern by the democrat party. The democrats have been on defense on the issue of defense. That is, they are perceived as weak. This year it's a complete turnaround. Democrats want to talk about foreign policy in part because they're liquidating two unpopular wars. And in fact, there's not a difference between mr. Romney and mr. Obama on afghanistan going forward. Both subscribed to the end of 2014 timetable. Senator paul, you and your father both tried to spark more of a debate inside your party on foreign policy. Well, and this is one area that cory and I are aligned. I heard he speech and he said that he wants to come home from afghanistan. Yes, come home. The sooner the better. In the area of afghanistan and pakistan, one area that wasn't discussed enough, somehow this doctor's name got leaked, who's now being held in prison, president obama has awarded pakistan money in foreign aid. When I get bam I'm going to ask that no more foreign aid be sent to pakistan until he's released. He helped us get bin laden. We shouldn't be spending good money after bad in pakistan. You talked about building roads in america? Let's stop spending it overseas. Bring it home. This is one area there's a big difference, we can't shirk on supporting. If we're going to call ourselves "the home of brave," these are the kind of investments but not only wars abroad, we should take care of them in government. It does seem, cokie, that isn't a debate that the republican ticket want to emphasize? No, they don't. They don't have a real position that, first of all, that's different from the democrats. But also, it's sort of unrepublican to be in this place where there is this feeling they do want to disengage and that hasn't been the republican attitude and I think that, as i said, it was president obama, part of what we're dealing with here, when we talk about foreign policy and particularly osama bin laden, it gives him the credibility as president. You know, who conducts foreign policy, the president and the state department. And so, he gets to wear his presidential mantle as he talks about foreign policy. In a way that republicans can't. One of the thing that's happening. I want to move to the politics now, going forward to the next 58 days we have left. It's remarkable. I want to put a map up showing where governor romney is airing new ads. Nevada, colorado, wisconsin, iowa, ohio, virginia, north carolina and florida. And new hampshire. That's it. That's the entire presidential election right now, being fought in those states and we have seen romney lay out millions of dollars in ads just this weekend, state-specific Here's one for ohio. This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us that it was someone else's fault. But this president can't tell us that you're better off today than we he took office. His failed economic and trade policies with china have destroyed thousands of jobs. Actually in ohio, they are better off. That's a funny -- the industrial midwest has made a huge comeback under obama. One thing that's striking is how often they talked about the auto bailout at the convention. Which affects ohio tremendously. In this sprint to november 6th, THE REPUBLICANS ARE GOING To talk economics. The democrats are going to think demographics for the reasons you talked about. In north carolina, where the democrats convened there are 830,000 hispanics. In the state that was won by 13,000 votes last time. It used to be a matter of the gateway states of california and texas, still 47% live there. But it's all over the country now. Including all of those states on that map now. And this is where republicans have made a major mistake. I DID A STORY IN THE 1980s. Hispanics nations came out and signed up with the republican party. Because the republicans are winners, they represent the people who made it. We came to this country to make it. Proposition 187 comes up, which was against illegal immigration. Hispanics went 180 off of the republican party. Now that's happening nationwide and I believe that the republicans have made a mistake with immigration and now with voting rights that will last for a generation with hispanics at least the way civil rights has lasted with blacks. We tied immigration to working requirements, if we expanded working permits and working visas and visas for people, I'm all for that. But it should be about work and it shouldn't about bringing people into the country and immediately putting them on the welfare and that's the problem. The democratic wager is to get them to turn out. Arizona, the turnout there is only 12% hispanics. The republicans spent 20 debates in the primary competing to see who could pledge to build the longest, thickest, most lethally electrified fence. If there's a kid in this country, who's only pledge allegiance to one country, who's been educated in our schools, contributing to our economy, we shouldn't be kicking them out to countries they don't know. So this the practical aspects of the democratic party right now, they're speaking to latinos. They want to know who's going to present a better pathway for success. Right now, for latinos being offered by democrats. The louisiana republican party was all blacks. Because of abraham lincoln and when you looked at a convention then, see louisiana, it was black faces. But the civil rights bill. It was republican of texas. We had george h.W. Bush in his house once. But civil rights changed that. As far as we know. 1884, a prominent republica described the democratic party the party as rum, it took a century for the republican party to win the catholic vote. During this convention, mormons were always democrats, because the moral act of 1862, the land grant college act also outlawed polygamy. That was a republican congress. That's why the democratic party is ahead of history. When you say latinos this is party for you and that's a growing demographic. When it talks about gays in this country, that denies you equal medical rights, equal immigration rights, this is a party that's basically saying we're going to create an equal path to success. And include everyone in america. Regardless of the jobs numbers. It's not a matter of individual speeches. It's not about strategic positioning. The republican party is where it is because that's where the base is. They had to appeal to their base. By and large is elderly white people arguing with empty chairs. You paid a visit to the iowa delegation breakfast at the convention. Verybody's here is talking about how the republican party breaks out from its current base, what is the strategy for that? You know, I have been talking to a lot of the national leaders, there are certain parts of the country that we have given off, what I keep telling them, maybe we need some libertarian americans who may be popular in those areas. Fiscally conservative poli might do better in california, oregon, washington, new england. I think if we had that it would be a great strategy. Our problem in presidential elections, we have given up 150 electoral votes. Before we get started. That's true. And mayor booker, you're probably visiting new jersey outside of newark. Look, at the end of the day, I went around to six, seven states, from florida to iowa and all those states kind of get it. The more successful we're going to get. At the end of the day, america is the united states of america. We the people. And the only way, there's an old african saying, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. America will continue to far together. Not only did you go to iowa you went to the iowa delegation and said that you were a proud grandson of iowa. My grandmother grew up in des moines. She came to buxton. Coal-mining family. I had a lot of fun with that one. George, at conventions, a lot of talk around these conventions, already cut back to three nights, people wondering if they serve any useful purpose, should they be radically changed? The iowa caucus. The conventions. That's all I have to say. We need a little data on who watches these conventions and what effect they have. Because, you know, conventions are a government program and an enormous amount of tax dollars go into them. They go on forever. Maybe we should terminate these. I thought that the two conventions were informative. People who normally catch politics in snippets on the news, got to see extended laying out of positions on both sides. And a lot happened. Right? We saw -- we saw the implosion of paul ryan, you know, extraordinary reputation, because people got to see him speaking at length on national television. We saw bill clinton laying out a case in more detail than people would ever get to see. These were -- you know, I'm not sure that conventions don't decide anything in terms of who gets nominated. But they turn out to be extremely effective educational programs. Yeah, I think they have. I think conventions are great. There's some information to be gathered. But I agree with george. That we should get rid of the government spending on the conventions. In fact, I have been proposing in the senate, what we should, all of the senators should come to the floor and we should have a real debate. Back and forth. Sort of be mandatory that they show up. If you have ever seen the senate floor, there's one person talking to an empty camera. More discussion would be beneficial. I would love to have more time. But we're out of time. Conversation will continue online. Mayor booker and senator paul will answer your questions on twitter. And check out excerpts from senator paul's new book "government bullies." On our website abcnews.Com/thisweek. First, three moments from this week in history?

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