Republicans 'don't have a plan' to get back independent and women voters: Comstock

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18:11 | 08/23/20

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Transcript for Republicans 'don't have a plan' to get back independent and women voters: Comstock
I want to turn to the blistering attacks we've seen from president trump on your mental fitness, whether you're up for the job. His campaign has called you diminished. I'm curious how you respond to that. Watch me. President trump, watch me. Look at both. What we say, what kind of shape we're in. Come on, look, I think it's a legitimate question to ask anybody over 70 years old whether they're fit or ready. But I just -- the oj thing I can say to the American people, it's a legitimate question to ask anybody. Watch me. Joe Biden and kamala Harris talking to David Muir, that interview plus robin Roberts with the running mates part of an ABC news special tonight. We want to talk more about the conventions coming up with our roundtable. Joined by Rahm Emanuel. Former chief of staff to Barack and Barbara Comstock. Leah wright-rigueur and Chris Christie. Chris, let me begin with you. How did the Democrats do last week? I think the Democrats did one thing right and one thing wrong. The Democrats did one thing right -- the right thing they put a portrait of Joe Biden forward that shows him to be a kind, compassionate, caring person. Which I found him to be over the years. I think they did that very well. Where they swung and miss on the issues, they just didn't talk about them. In Martha's piece in north Carolina, that Republican male who said it's really coming down for me a choice between a policy and persona. He likes Joe Biden better. But he's concerned about their policies. I think that's why they didn't talk about them. But the Republicans are now going to force them to start talking about those issues and when they do, I think that's when this becomes a much, much closer race and a real binary choice. Leah, what do you make of that? I put this to Kate Bedingfield as well. The Democrats a good job of showcasing Joe Biden, the diversity of the party. But not enough on the economy. I think part of what they're going to need to do is really emphasize what their agenda's going to be for America, not just for the first hundred days. Joe Biden is a really good person. Kamala is exceptional in all kind of ways. What is their agenda going to look for the next four years? How is it going to affect communities. So not only should they be talking about the economic issues and they should be hammering the president on the economic issues right now, they should also be talking about the eviction crisis in the united States, the health care crisis in the United States. One thing that they did really, really well at the convention it was such an unconventional convention. In its silence that really emphasized the crisis that America is facing right now, particularly with covid-19. Barbara Comstock, you agree with that? I do think the convention was ve focused on personality, not policies. I think that was smart for the Democrats to do that way. Clearly you see, particularly with women, the suburban women vote that tone of the president, that his sister said about him, you hear suburban women saying and you hear that's why Joe Biden is doing so much better with suburban women than Hillary did, I think it was smart for them to focus on personality instead of policies. The economic area's still the only area where the president is doing better than Joe Biden, certainly covid, racial issues he's strongly on disapproval. But that overall disapproval number of the president is largely due to personality, it's not the policies of Republicans that they're necessarily rejecting. It's the president's oppressive personality. And Rahm, the bet that Joe Biden made with his speech. The only agenda items he talked about front and center of the covid crisis and the economic fallout from it. I think he did a good job of introducing himself and inoculating himself. That night was a night of family. The shot of him in the movie with his rosary. I used to joke with him in the white house, the old testament would like a two-minute rebuttal to the new testament. They also inoculated him for what's about to come. You know in the next week, we're going to have a photo of Joe Biden in his camouflage up in the mountains with Fidel Castro, they're going to make him a big lefty. They did a great job of introducing him. To the issue piece -- this was more like an oval address when he speak. It wasn't a traditional kind of convention speech. They have to go now put a muscle on the bone. They put a bone there. When the polling looks at it, while the numbers are there, they're very stable. Stable is good for us. Stable is not good for the Republicans. Chris Christie, that speech seemed to put to rest for the time being questions about whether Joe Biden is up to the job. How do Republicans this week make that case that Joe Biden is far leftist given that he's been around for 30 years. First off, as I said to the other night I don't agree with that issue put to rest. For now. Because he read a teleprompter. Almost anybody can read a teleprompter. But I think the way they make the case is to start off with the first democratic primary debate and that tape when they said, who on the stage agrees with decriminalizing the border, every person on that stage including Joe Biden raised his hand. He came out against that? But he raised his hand that night, George, when he was on camera and felt pressure from his party around him. He hesitated a little bit. He went -- and then went up. The argument I'd make if I were the trump campaign is, don't just worry about the guy in the middle there, worry about all the people around him because that's his cabinet. Those are the people who are going to be making policy from day-to-day. That's the Progressive wing of the democratic party and if you support that, great. Go and vote for Joe Biden. Because that's what he's going to give to you. If you're uneasy about it, you have to look at the alternative. The problem is, and the point is, this is going to be a mano to mano race. Not the other people in race. The second thing I would say on this point, which I think is very, very important for the campaign going forward, is that the distinction in this area is Joe Biden, the person. They relied on that I believe is the inoculation. The problem for trump is, he's trying to run 2020 like 2016. From mourning in America in '84 to building a bridge in '96, you can't old race. You got to run a new race. He's trying to run the old race in 2020. That's a calculated mistake. You know that at this point. Because they haven't made a binary choice -- Listen -- It's a referendum on trump versus trump. Rahm, I put that in memo to him 60 days. If you run '16 in '20. Try English next time. The fear for Donald Trump if the Democrats run '18 in 2020. Barbara Comstock, you're a Republican. You represented a northern Virginia district. Where you did well with women, suburban women and independents. Donald Trump is losing with all those groups right now. How does he get those groups back? I don't really see that's there is a plan to get back. The white guys sit down and say we have a women problem and we have diversity problem. We did very well in the Obama years getting elected in blue areas getting elected, that's because the policies of the Democrats weren't that popular in the suburbs. But the personality of Donald Trump is very unpopular. I within all my elections until '18 on issues, and it was a constructive issue campaign, I was 12 points ahead of Donald Trump who ran 41% largely because of those problems with suburban women. But now, they don't have a plan for that. I think they learned the wrong lesson from '16. They didn't really understand that Hillary Clinton lost just as much as he won. And white men, suburban women don't have this visceral hate of Joe Biden the way they did of Hillary Clinton, and I think actually there's some misogny in the democratic party. That won't be a problem for Joe Biden. There was some tension at the democratic convention. Joe Biden and the convention organizers inviting John Kasich and Cindy McCain to speak, a lot grumbling it, the question is, even though Donald Trump is uniting Democrats right now, do they start to divide if Joe Biden becomes president, can they stay united through the election? One of the best things that may happen to Democrats is the Republican national convention, particularly if Donald Trump runs a campaign calling Joe Biden some commie leftist. Whatever. Because in fact, that's -- this is one of the dividing points amongst Democrats right now, Progressives, we saw it play out here a couple of days ago, we see it with Progressives, liberals, center left having disagreements. This is actually a uniting force. I think one of the things that we have to remember, too, this is about vision, and what kind of vision can unite the party? It has to be something that is beyond Donald Trump. Even though this is what they're trying to do in terms of uniting but it has to be something that unite Progressives, can unite liberals, that can compel them on to November 3rd. What we'll see, particularly next week is that the Republican party, Donald Trump is going to go with the depressive model. Trying to encourage Democrats not to come out and vote. Stay home. It's not worth it. Et cetera, et cetera. So, really, I think the Biden team really has to come up with something strong and visionary in order to move past this moment and one of the things they may end up doing that is trump portraying as a liberal crusader. How much will Donald Trump be able to get that message tonight. But you look at the news every single day, Steve Bannon last week, the senate intelligence report on Russia, the Maryanne trump tapes this morning. It seems like it's going to be difficult for the president to have a clear path going into this convention? It's tough being an incumbent running for re-election. You're responsible for everything that's going on in your government, whether you are directly involved in it or not. Steve Bannon hasn't been in the white house for nearly three years now. He was a campaign chair. My point is, George, you're saddled with that. And so he'll wind up getting hooked on that stuff. But in the end, I think people -- once the conventions are over, they're going to want to focus on, what is the next four years are going to look like? What does Joe Biden say is it going to look like? Leah is right. You can't restrict this is to the first 100 days. In February, this race looked a heck of a lot different than it looks today in August. Trump's got to lay out a four-year vision. Biden has to lay out a four-year vision. Rahm, I want you to switch hats. I know you're a loyal Democrat, of course, you worked for Barack Obama. I know where this is going. Come on, Rahm. Assume you're mark meadows right now, what's the biggest vulnerability Joe Biden has right now. What do Republicans need to do this week in order to capitalize on it? Two things -- if I were a Republican right now is I would try to put on Biden the words restore and return, make him the establishment because trump is most comfortable running against -- Not being the incumbent. Right -- not only not the incumbent, anti-establishment. Break up the system that messed you. If I was telling both trump and also the Biden campaign, one thing is what the Bidens did very well, the Democrats, not use the words restore and return. Because if you do that you become establishment and trump finds his groove again. Still that said, if I was Donald Trump I'd say this is what they did. This is what he's going to do, he's part of that old mess of the elite media, the elite financial community, the elite political class that have messed it up and go heavy on China and they have made a mess of your life. I was surprised they didn't talk a lot about China at the convention. But Barbara, it's clear as Chris was saying, and Rahm, Donald Trump loves being the anti-establishment candidate. Loves being the challenger from the outside. He's trying to stay in that position. On the other hand, how much does it hurt the Republicans that George W. Bush won't be at the convention. Mitt Romney won't be at the convention. Cindy McCain spoke at the democratic convention. That hurts. You know, and the president has made a lot of enemies along the way, you look at the attacks he made about John McCain before he died and after. The attacks on Debbie Dingell in Michigan. Attacks on Dr. Fauci. Attacks on Mattis and John Kelly. These are people who have a lot of friends. So it goes beyond that. So his anti-establishment thing doesn't work as well. When you're an incumbent you have to run a different race. I think they've learned the wrong lessons and I think the campaign just isn't up for it very well. One thing that Joe Biden, if they win, is a Republican senate to keep those excesses at bay. When you look at the north Carolina undecided man, he's going to be voting for Thom Tillis. Sameng happening in Iowa. Or Susan Collins in Maine. People are going to look and say, I want to have a balance. That's actually what happened in '16. When everyone thought Hillary was going to win. It helped those of us who were getting in to be a check and a balance on what they thought would be Hillary. So I do ink the best thing to happen to Democrats if they do win is to have that balance. People do like the policies. When you poll the Republican policies and take off the trump name, they poll much better. Than when they're attached to his name. What would we be saying and doing if the sibling of another president, a tape like that came out on the eve of their convention? Yeah, you know, that tape was something. I think it was pretty stunning but it's also not anything that we didn't already know about Donald Trump. That accusations had already been made. So this is nothing new. Mary trump detailed these in her book. I think it's akin to something like the access Hollywood tape that we saw in 2016. So it may not do a lot to move the needle. But it speaks to the president's character again, but one thing that I'll say right now -- I'm not sure that Donald Trump will care so much -- he might care because it's his sister, but he's worried about turnout and turning out his base, that's what he's focused on right now. That's what the name of the game is about. We see that with Joe Biden, too. They need to be concerned about turnout. It does matter. Chris Christie, I don't know what the president's thinking exactly. But that first statement that came out last night, it seemed like this hit him pretty hard. I know that he has a real relationship with his sister. I know the judge very well, U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and appeared before her a number of times. I feel bad for the judge more than anything else. To be taped like that. To be taped like that. To be having what you believe is a candid conversation with your niece and then to have that be taped and then worse than just being taped and used as part of the book, then turned it over to a news media outlet. I know the judge. But I feel badly for her. As for the president, you know, I can't imagine it's a good day when your older sister says some stuff like that that becomes public. You can have a lot of arguments -- you can have those family arguments, but you don't want to have that outside the family. That's what hurts. My first reaction was, you know, here's a family member -- this is what Mattis said. This is what Rex tillerson said. It's not -- this is like the Hollywood tape, you got to relate his craziness, his lying to your life position. If you don't take the character to your life, you're missing the one mile of connecting that. That's the last word today. Thank you all very much. That's all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Full coverage of the Republican convention starting Monday night at 7:00 eastern on our streaming channel. And anchoring at 10:00 P.M. On our channel. See you tomorrow on "Gma." This is

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

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