Roundtable II: Swing State Outlook

George Will, Cokie Roberts, Matthew Dowd, Donna Brazile, Ronald Brownstein.
3:00 | 11/04/12

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Transcript for Roundtable II: Swing State Outlook
I have shown my willingness to work with anybody of any party to move this country forward. And if you want to break the gridlock in congress, you'll vote for leaders who are -- whether they're republicans, democrats or independents who feel the same way. I'll meet with congress regularly. I'll endeavor to find those good men and good women on both sides of aisle who care more about the country than about politics. After a bitter campaign, both candidates promising bipartisanship if they're elected. I'm back here with roundtable. George will, probably the biggest display of bipartisanship this week, those photos of governor chris christie and president obama touring the storm damage. How much a difference did that make? Anything that gives the president a chance to look presidential and all presidents go to disaster areas, it's not a unique policy on the part of president obama, but then to have him with a man that displays republican partisanship it obviously couldn't hurt. Lot of republicans grumbling about governor christie. You had hour sane sandy and then youd that christie bear hug. The bear hug did more than his handing of the hurricane. You had a guy more engaged with the president and the major of new york city, that I think, an iconic figure did more for him. And I think there's a lot of republicans out there that are thinking, wow, did you really have to go that far? What's interesting about this bipartisan business, at the same time, that the candidates are closing with this and thinking that this is the way to appeal to the american people and americans say they are for this. And many more people identify as independents than ever before. At the same time that's happening, we have this pol polarizing electorate? What does the country really want? Bipartisanship or killing each other? Not only that, you have the congress increasingly behaving, the highest line of party-line voting. If you look at the polls, george, this week, this month, in the key senate races at least 80% of the people voting for obama and almost all contested races are voting for democrat. It's up to 90% correlation in virginia, ohio, wisconsin. So, enormous pressure on members to stand either with or against the president. I want to talk about what that means for whoever gets elected. But let's focus on, we still have an election two days away. Let's start with ohio and donna brazile, I'll come to you on this. 11 out of the last 12 polls have the president with a small lead. In the past, and ron brownstein has used this term, ohio has been heartbreak hill for the candidates. At the very end, islips away. Does the president have what it takes to prevent that? Absolutely. I believe he's up a percentage point or two. The rescue of the auto industry has helped him. 1 out of 8 ohio voters have a -- some affiliation with the auto industry. All of that combined, I think he has a terrific ground game. I know that republicans discount this whole notion that he can win on the ground in three days. I used to tell our democratic guru, that, if you just leave me $10 in the last 48 hours, I can make up 2 to 3 percentage points. In the race here, the obama team will make up at least 3 to 4 percentage points on the ground. Ohio, it's ground zero for suffering in the age of globalization. They lost, in first decade of this century, they lost 600,000 manufacturing jobs. They have one of the worst records in the country of keeping their college graduates in their state. They have the fewest congressmen since the civil war. So it's a state in decline. But, it's also participating in the recovery, somewhat, because of the policies touted by and bragged about by a republican governor. The signs of the democratic advantage actually started to show up in 2004. In they switched their vote, john kerry would have won ohio, lost the popular vote. Those signs, ohio state is a state like pennsylvania, used to be a swing state in my viewbut the dynamics of ohio are now moving to a place where it's no longer quote, unquote a reliable republican state. It's now moving in a direction, much more akin to pennsylvania than the other states. The electoral college does shift. People complain, as you said earlier, new york is not in play. California is not in play. But the truth is, it does shift, and so the different states rise up in different elections and become the focus of attentn. And it really does make it an election where the whole country has to be paid attention to. Only two democrats have reached 50% of the vote in ohio since 1940. Ohio exemplifies the paradox of how this is unfolding. 32% among noncollege white men and 39% among noncollege white women nationally in our abc tracking poll through the whole run. In ohio he's ten points better among both of those groups. The bain story, the bain story has a cultural and emotional resonance in the midwest. Ohio, the idea of the rich guy coming to town, shutting down a factory and taking the profits, it resonates. It detonates. George, that early spending in ohio on those bain ads? If it works, mr. Obama will probably have a mandate not to be bain capital. But, there's another side of this, also, mitt romney may have been the guy that shut down some plants. Barack obama is the man who came to town and tried to shut down the coal industry. Ohio, pennsylvania, important states where coal matters and it will be interesting to see in southwest ohio how -- at this point in time, in the campaign, in the aftermath of hurricane sandy and what happened in the forces, with almost believing that climate change is bringing this, the argument that romney won't be making at this time, his environmental policies are going to affect the coal country. It's not an argument that romney wants to make. The most common plant on war on coal, fire obam are there enough people to overcome what is -- if the president has an advantage in ohio, even if it's small one, that puts more pressure on governor romney to do better in one of two states, donna, wisconsin or this late

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