tv Special Report With Bret Baier FOX News October 16, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
humor about his first debate. is that a good idea or not? >> i don't have any advice for president obama. all i know is -- >> you're an american. >> i was watching biden the other night and halfway through the debate he reminded me of the cleveland indian baseball hat i went over there and watched the baseball game. >> dana: we're going to hold him over an maybe he will stay for the week. thank you for watching. see you tomorrow. >> bret: welcome to hempstead, new york, campus of hofstra university. the site of the second presidential debate. 70 million people watched the first one. more than 50 million watched the vice presidential debate. in less than three hours america will be watching again. this is a town hall debate, uncommitted voters surrounding the two candidates will ask questions submitted earlier and selected by the moderator. good evening. i'm bret baier. this is "special report." new polls out show a shifting race.
we will report on expectations and hear from both campaigns and get the news from the campaign trail. first a question of responsibility. secretary of state hillary clinton says the buck stops with her when it comes to the lack of security in benghazi libya. the terrorist attack that killed the first u.s. ambassador created a political firestorm for this white house. chief white house correspondent ed henry has the lead story tonight. >> president obama did a final one-hour prep section and laughed about his wife casting absentee ballot. joking stopped when reporter asked about libya. >> are you aware if michigan voting for you yesterday? >> thank goodness. >> is hillary to blame for benghazi? >> the commander in chief left the talking to secretary of state hillary clinton. >> well, i'm responsible for state department, for the more than 60,000 people around the world. the decision about security assets are made by security
professionals. >> not so fast according to senator john mccain. who scared off with then senator obama on the stage in hofstra university four years ago. >> there was a sign on harry truman's desk that said, "the buck stops here." obviously, there may be a president obama's desk that says, "the buck stops over there." >> then senator clinton seemed to like the truman approach in the 2008 campaign. >> i believe we need a president that believes what harry truman believes the buck stops in the oval office. >> top advisor to republican romney vowed with foreign policy on the table tonight, the president will face some heat. >> i think governor romney quite properly will be asking questions, probing and trying to ask the president to man up, accept responsibility. and explain to the american people the failure that result in four american deaths. >> what big question is if he was briefed on intelligence regarding earlier attacks on
the consulate in benghazi. andrew card told fox today the state department would have looped in the white house. >> it would have been known in white house situation room and known by national security advisor. the homeland security advisor and chief of staff. i suspect the president. >> in interview with wendell goler, clinton hedged how far up the chain it went. >> i can't speak to who knew what about that. >> meanwhile, u.s. ambassador to the u.n. susan rice told the "washington post" there was no attempt to cherry pick explanations for the terror attack. >> while she now claims she does not want to blame the intelligence community she added it was purely a function of what was provided to us. >> i spoke to senior advisor. the last time the president was condescending and he needs to engage romney. push back harder on libya and other issues. >> bret: it should be interesting. the stakes could not be higher
for both men ahead of the debate at hofstra. the polls tell us governor romney pulled even with the president on strength of performance in round one. now the rematch, round two of the trilogy. here is chief political correspondent carl cameron. >> reporter: by the time two candidates stepped off the plane, stage was set for round two. the political background changed. the latest gallup poll shows romney at 50% for the first time and president at 46% nationally. the pew poll says 41% expect obama will win tonight's debate. 37% for romney. huge shift from two weeks ago when romney was expected to lose the first debate, 51 to 29. and instead dominated. unlike before the first debate when the president dissed preparation as homework to be avoided. >> they're making me do my homework. >> this time, a big show of serious rehearsal and study. >> how do you feel about tonight? >> fabulous. look at this beautiful day. hope you enjoy the weather.
>> because it's a town hall format with the audience questions, in addition to sharpening substantive policy contrast, romney is working on body language with questioners to look looser and more likable. the format was adjusted on the day of the debate. rather than trying to limit the role of moderator candy crowley of cnn she will post followup of her choosing to questions from the audience. president's political mission is stop what has been a two-week romney surge. even the public policy polls, service employees national union shows romney up 50 to 46. before the first debate, ppp had the president up four. they point to the real clear politics average and agree that romney cut the president's ohio lead from six points to 2.2. the quinnipiac poll shows a tie.
the president's 12-point lead vanished. paul ryan gave vote of confidence on the trail in lynchburg, virginia. >> they are saying the only way the president thinks he can win if he can convince you to dislike romney. so he can win by default. all he's got. you're not going to fall for it, are you? >> the debate is now three hours away and romney is having rotisserie chicken. his wife ann and kids in the audience. obama is having steak and potatoes. three hours to the debate. three weeks until the election. >> bret: carl, late this afternoon, abc jake tapper had a post apt something that biden said in the last debate, his role in the social security reform in 1983, to create a buzz this an. >> the statement that the vice president made in the debate he was in the room when tip o'neil and the president of the united states, republican
ronald reagan cut to extend life of social security. he wasn't in the room. more explaining on the vice president on that score as well. >> bret: more on that later. arguably the most divisive issue in the last presidential debate was the romney tax plan. tonight chief national correspondent jim angle has a reality check. >> the debate over the romney plan for 20% across the board tax cuts is just as sharp on the campaign trail as it was in the vice presidential debate. >> not mathematically possible. >> it is mathematically possible. it's done before. >> it has never been done before. >> it's been done a couple of times. >> similar efforts have been tried before, such as the bowles-simpson commission and group called tax policy center argued romney could not implement his plan without raising taxes on the middle class. accusation president clinton is selling hard. >> the effect will be to give people with incomes over $3 million a $250,000 tax cut.
raise tax cuts on the middle income people $2,000. >> one from the tax policy center said the accusation was only true with some assumptions about which deductions romney would not touch. >> he is not saying that there is no way the governor's plan has worked. you have to relax one criteria. >> the group later clearfied there was no reason romney would have to raise tax on the middle class. others point to $1 39 trillion in total tax deductions every year and say romney could trim them by half in any number of ways. romney has suggested he could cap total deductions at 25 to $50,000 per household. >> if you put the cap at $50,000, you are easily going to exempt people making $100,000 to $200,000 from any change in the account. >> in the absence of detail, however, the obama campaign keeps accusing romney of planning to cut the home mortgage deduction or raise middle class taxes. one analyst says the administration is also vague about some of its own tax
plans. >> it's the same strategy the administration is using. they say we want to get corporate rate to 28% but we don't have details because it mobilizes the opposition. >> identifying specific tax preferences to get rid of brings out the lobbyist and interest groups that support the preferences. >> make it harder to strike a deal with congress. never, the accusations keep coming. romney pledged whatever adjustment he is might make he will not raise taxes on the middle class. bret? >> bret: thanks. the u.s. supreme court siding with the democrats and refusing to block early voting in ohio. justices refuse g.o.p. request to getvod in a dispute over an ohio law taking away three days of voting on the weekend before the election. accept for military personnel and residents living overseas. democrats said it would keep thousands from voting. an appeals court reinstated voting days for everybody. republicans said that ruling
allows counties to set different rules while simultaneously ordering that all voters be streeted the same. big day on wall street today, the dow gained 127.5. the s&p 500 was up 15. nasdaq finished ahead 37. we will talk to senior advisors from both presidential campaigns a bit later. up next, you would not believe what your hard earned money is buying these days. believe me, you will not like it.
>> bret: another one of president obama taxpayers supported green energy firms is going belly up. battery maker a-123 systems filed for bankruptcy protection. the assets are acquired by the milwaukee energy firms johnson controls. a-123 received $239 million award from stimulus package. the energy department says
a-123 facilities and technology will continue to be a vital part of america's advanced battery industry. with the new owner. spokesperson for romney campaign called it another failure for the got-growth strategy. critics say a lot of the president green energy money was a waste of tax dollars. correspondent shannon bream stels us tonight there seems to be a lot of that going around lately. >> that is just a sign of poor leadership. >> republican senator coburn says the annual waste vote proves politicians haven't learned to cut back. american families are familiar with doing just that. as the national debt skyrockets, taxpayer dollars are spent on projects like $325,000 grant to build robo squirrel. robotic rodent designed to test the interaction between live rattlesnake and robot squirrel. although nasa has no plan or
budget for manned space flight to mars, the agency spent $1 million developing the mars menu. effort to come up with a variety of foods that human could eat if they were on ma mars. then there is the nearly $700,000 grant for development of musical about global warming. when it opened in kansas city, a reviewer said he learned nothing new about the topic, the song sounded like wikipedia entry set to music. >> we're proud it's in kansas city. we are. >> burn says there is no way to justify the expenditures. >> the money you're spending, you're borrowing against your children's future. it's all outrageous. the fact is that it's not hard to it. we have recalcitrant career politicians refusing to do their job. >> along with questionable spending this outlines numerous instance of fraud and abuse.
in florida, an exotic dancer took in $100,000 in tips collected food stamps. cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times the actual value. taxpayers are left to cover a $70 million loss. >> average, everyday americans can see the federal government isn't making tough decision. >> coburn earned the name "dr. no" for the votes to government spending said congress is to blame for every item in this year's waste book. bret? >> bret: shannon, thanks. want to give you perspective of the hall here. we talk about the town hall format and give you a sense of the hall. you see the chairs set up around the taller chairs in the middle. you seen it before. romney will be on the left side of the screen in the chair. president will be on the right
side. governor romney won the coin toss. he will have the first question. question will have the second. the president won coin toss and will be introduced first. at-coin tossing going on. hofstra hosted a debate before, in 2008. but it wasn't a town hall style debate. it was q&a back and forth with bob schieffer between then senator obama and senator mccain. i want to take you to the spin room on the other side of the campus, so come on with me. ♪ ♪ >> bret: okay. this is the spin room. this is our home base here. look, there is neil cavuto. this is where "special report" will be. this is the place where allthe t
will come to work the media. this is the press area where the reporters all are typing away furiously. during the debate. feel like a boxing match. in this corner, obama campaign. shots around the country. in this corner, campaign talking to reporters and anchors around the country. we will talk to both campaigns coming up after the break. keep it here on "special report." award winning car. good. now find the most hard core driver in america. that guy, put him in it. what's this? [ male announcer ] tell him he's about to find out. you're about to find out. [ male announcer ] test it. highlight the european chassis, 6 speed manual, dual exhaust, wide stance, clean lines, have him floor it, spin it, punch it, drift it, put it through its paces, is he happy? oh ya, he's happy!
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debate. joining me now, ohio senator rob portman who has played the role of president obama in debate preparations. senator, thank you for being here. >> great to be on with you again. >> bret: first, talk about the debate preparations. your assessment how they have been going. and what specifically have you been working on? >> they have gone well. governor romney is a good listener and takes it seriously, as we saw in the first debate. it's all about him being mitt. he is alone on the stage and it doesn't matter how many preparation or advisors to give you suggestions it's you and the other candidate. what he did in the first debate was tim approximately. he was himself. in terms of the personality and passion to make america better. the policy proposals, he was able to lay them out without having a media filter or tv ad run by the other side to explain his proposal. he was able to do it on his own. american people saw that and reacted well. >> bret: we talked after the first debate. you were surprised about the
president's performance, lackluster in energy, perhaps. so playing president obama getting ready for this second debate, town hall style, did you pep up in what did you do? were you more aggressive as president obama? >> i think obama will come out swinging. he will be more aggressive. it looked at the debate but i don't think it was his problem. not just style. it was lackluster. it was substance. he didn't offer anything new for four years. having played the role of barack obama now for several weeks i have been looking for what the substance is, too. only thing that changes over the next four years is a promise to raise taxes on a million small businesses, which the study say will result in 700,000 jobs lost hecht has to run on his record. he doesn't want to. that is not a style issue it's a substance issue. he doesn't have a new plan to go forward. romney does. >> bret: can he be aggressive in this format of a town hall? you playing president obama?
i assume you try to get the mannerisms and phrasing of how he would be. were you? >> he will try to be aggressive. he will come out swinging. mitt is more difficult. people want to be sure they're not used as props for political attack. so there are limitations. he been told for ten days, gosh you got to be tougher and come out swinging. he will do that. that is not his problem. the problem is the record is tough to defend. he doesn't have a positive agenda going forward. >> bret: talk about defending records. former president bill clinton is out with a new web video for the obama campaign today. specifically on the issue of the romney tax plan. take a listen. >> how are you going to pay for that? >> well, we will pay for it repealing the taxes, the loopholes. >> all the analysis shows if you get rid of all the home mortgage deduction and all the charity deductions. you still won't close the debt up. you won't be close. >> we simply cannot afford to
give another round of tax cuts to people who got the benefit of the tax cuts and the economic growth. over the last decade. >> it's a detailed video. he says you have to choose arithmetic over illusion. and he goes in this tax plan. how do you respond to that? >> it's a great communicator, no question about it. i don't blame obama for using him as he is doing on the campaign trail. he is flat wrong on substance. he said the studies show. absolutely not. there is one study that is a democrat study -- >> bret: tax policy center. >> tax policy center that uses assumptions that romney does not use to say somehow there is this arithmetic problem. there are half a dozen other studies done to show the opposite. my own office we did our own study in addition to that to look at the issues here. as you know i do work in tax reform. absolutely you can do this. this is exactly what the suchson-bowls commission, debt -- simpson-bowles commission, the debt reduction commission that the president should have supported. they said to lower the tax
rate and broaden the base of taxation. it's done in 1986 by ronald agan and tip o'neil in bipartisan way. what the economists right, left or center may have to do. we may have different opinions how to do it. but they believe it will result in the economic growth. that's why romney doing that will create 7 million new jobs. pro-growth policy. >> bret: don't you think they are making some headway in saying well, what exactly are you going to take off the table? mortgage deduction? charitable deduction? >> it's making headway because they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ads and they have been saying it for months. when romney stands up there as he has and say this will be deficit neutral, revenue neutral and it can, all the studies have shown that, check out the american enterprise institute study or studies to find on mittromney.com, studies from harvard, princeton and other places. second, what romney can say is it creates jobs. it's pro-growth. economists across the board
agree that having a simple tax code because you have simplification and getting rid of the underbrush that washington puts in the code, business decisions will be made on the economic factors not what washington says. you have the economic growth as a result. that's the key. his tax plan will create jobs and move the country forward bill clinton is a great communicator but wrong it can't be done. it can be an must done to get the country back on track. >> bret: thank you for the time. they'll still call for the specifics tonight. we'll see if your version of president obama is the same version that is in this town hall. we appreciate your time. >> thank you. great to be on with you again. >> bret: okay. no grapevine tonight so we can continue our coverage from here at hofstra. we will talk to the other side. robert gibbs of the obama campaign with his take on tonight's debate. mike rowe here at a ford dealer with a little q&a for fiona. tell me fiona, who's having a big tire event? your ford dealer. who has 11 major brands to choose from? your ford dealer. who's offering a rebate? your ford dealer.
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real opportunity. that's his big goal. talk about the increasing manufacturing jobs, for the first time since the mid-1990s. bringing it back from overseas, doubling export and selling goods abroad. hiring teachers to strengthen education. invest in domestic energy. whole host of things focus on how we strengthen and rebuild the middle class. >> bret: more energetic than the first time. >> absolutely. >> bret: serious note here. benghazi situation is getting a lot of coverage. it's getting a lot of focus. secretary of state clinton says the buck stops with her. when it comes to the security situation before the attack, but when it comes to the reliance on the anti-islam video, as being behind the attack, it's not really what she is saying. former white house chief of staff andy card today who is usually fairly reserved had this to say about obama white
house. >> i suspect that the white house knew. i suspect the national security advisor knew and keef of staff. if they didn't inform the president shame on them. i suspect the president and vice president did know of the nature of the threats that existed around 9/11. >> bret: the nature of the threats. british convoy is attacked in june. the actual benghazi consulate is bombed leading up to that. >> i am not in the white house now and neither is andy card. i know this. the president and his team have given to the american people the best information they had when they had it. it makes no sense to attempt to deceive anybody on this issue. we never have. >> bret: how is that the correct information? when you have charlene lamb,
the state department official, testifying in the house that she is real-time getting the information from on the ground during the eight-hour attack. so the state department knows. the c.i.a. has assets on the ground. the intelligence community knows. so how is it that eight days later, beyond that -- >> again. >> bret: the national security council doesn't meet and tell the president? >> the director of national intelligence has said the information that we gave out was the best intelligence assessment we had at that time. bret, every day, spokesman -- >> bret: spokesman put a statement out from clapper's office. >> clapper. when i spoke at the spokesman i was spokesperson for president of the united states. he's spokesman for national intelligence. he said we put out the best information we had. do we learn more about what happens every day?
absolutely. we do that with any terrorist attack. nobody wants to get the bottom more than the white house or the administration or the president. this president is committed to when we put people in harm's way, doing everything we can to protect them. i hope we talk about it tonight. we have to be diplomatically engaged in a dangerous world. >> bret: i want to ask on another topic. heard that answer on benghazi from a number of officials. i assume that is going to continue to be the answer. joe biden on national security was aggressive in his debate with congressman ryan. the president obviously agrees with the vice president biden about social security? >> what particularly? >> bret: he says that republicans' ideas are old, their ideas are bad. if we listened to romney, governor romney and congres
congressman ryan that money would have gone away in market. >> look, i think if you rely on snore yes or no. >> if you rely on social security privatization, look what would have happened in late 2008 to somebody who had invested all of their money in the stock market. you would have seen huge crash in that account. >> bret: the difference is what the president said in the first debate about social security. listen to this quickly. >> with regard to social security, we will not -- >> bret: president obama said you know i suspect on social security we have a somewhat similar position. here he says it right here. >> i suspect on social security we've got somewhat similar position. social security is structurally sound. it will have to be tweaked the way it was by ronald reagan
and speaker, democratic speaker tip o'neale. but it is the basic structure is sound. >> bret: so it sounds like he and governor romney were on the same page. >> again, i have to go back to look at the context of what the president is saying there. this is a discussion about the debt and the deficit. we know that social security, though it faces long-term financial challenges, is not a driver in the day-to-day debt and deficit, as some of the things like medicare and medicaid might be. i think that is the context of that statement. look, the president doesn't believe we ought to take our retirement funds and risk them in the stock market. >> bret: has to do something. last town hall he said you have to do something about entitlement reform in my term t. but he hasn't. >> we're going to extend the term when we win re-election. one thing we can do is raise the cap on the tax on social security and the president had talked about that for a number of years.
i think that would be a way again of doing this in a way that is more equitable. a lot less risky in terms of look, go back to 2008. you have don't want to put your money in stock market and watch the market crash 700 pounds in the day. >> bret: you're touting the market now as being a success. >> market has done great under barack obama. >> bret: thank you very much. secretary of state clinton as he mentioned takes responsibility for the libya disaster, the security ahead of it. fox all-stars buying that? we'll find out when we come back. is >> bret: tonight's format is town hall format. we have our own town hall of sorts. exclusive relationship with twitter. joining me now is adam with twitter. good to see you. tonight we have something on the screen throughout the debate. explain that. >> in the corner of the screen you will see tweets per minute how many people are talking about the debate right now. now as we stand here, few hours left to go, we see 1200
tweets per minute. this is the same we saw this time of day going in the denver debate, the first debate two weeks ago. 9:00, the debate starts and the conversation takes off. everybody is watching the debate together. peaking at close to 160,000 tweets per minute. when governor romney tried to change topics and jim lehrer said let's not. >> here is the peak. >> 158,690 tweets her minute. single minute, 160,000 tweets tweeted by the people from devices or laptops, whatever they're doing or watching the debate. we're also tonight going to be drilling in to what topics people are talk about. looking at last week in danville, the vice presidential debate was also an all-topic format like we're going to see tonight. 26% of the tweets poe cuss on the foreign policy. largely iran and the attack in benghazi. then the economy and abortion. rounding out the top five. these are the numbers we'd be able to give you tonight. what moments people are
reacting to and what topics they are talking about. >> bret: it schwab good. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> bret: "special report" continues after this. customer erin swenson bought from us online today. so, i'm happy. sales go up... i'm happy. it went out today... i'm happy. what if she's not home? (together) she won't be happy. use ups! she can get a text alert, reroute... even reschedule her package. it's ups my choice. are you happy? i'm happy. i'm happy. i'm hi'm happy. i'm happy. i'm happy. happy. happy. happy. happy. (together) happy. i love logistics.
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everyone has the same intelligence, but i have been around long enough to know that it takes time to assess all the information that you have. and as the intelligence community has now said, their assessment over the last now more than a month changed. so, the fog of war, the confusion that you get in any kind of combat situation. remember, this was an attack that went on for hours. our post was overrun by the significant number of armed men. >> hillary clinton talking to our own wendell goler. what about this story? where it's going in the libya story? bring in the panel. joining me from here on long island, steve hayes, senior
writer for "weekly standard." kirsten powers, for daily beast. in washington, sendcated columnist charles krauthammer. start with charles. you have heard what secretary clinton said and robert gibbs and the obama campaign said. what about this day, charles? >> the explanation is implausible. if the changing stories were result of accumulating information which brought clarity, then you would have had a straight line of more and more truth in the statement, sort of a cleaning up of the mistakes. but in fact, as you showed in the time line that you did last week and the week before, they went here and there and back and forth. completely uncoordinated. as late as two or three weeks later they were giving incorrect information. having secretary of state fall on the sword for the president works for one of two scandals. it works perhaps for the scandal revolving around lack
of security and very exposed embassy and dangerous area where al-qaeda was on the rise. it's plausible that the white house wasn't aware. although i'm not sure it's probable. but the coverup and the mob, that does not insulate the president. he was part of the coverup. he said at the u.n. late they're made reference to video. two weeks later he was on letterman and spoke about it in context. as a result of the video. he is a principal in that. >> if you look at the argue it's specious. it sounds like it could be
true. until you break it down. she is saying look at this. i'll take responsibility, end of the story. but it's not. it's only talking about one part of the story. why there wasn't enough security. it's not the president's responseability to approve security for consulate. it is hillary clinton's responsibility. she should take responsibility for it. but it has nothing to do with what susan rice said or the president blaming the video. it's the pre9/11 intelligence. if the post 9/11 intelligence they gave to susan rice so wrong why aren't people fired in those are questions they need to answer. >> bret: andy card, i brought this up with robert gibbs, andy card is throwing grenades out there. >> by any stretch. >> today, for him to say what he said on air, on the record,
i thought was presentty significant. for him to say he believed the white house would know and it would go up the chain. the threat, bombing at the consulate, significant threat on ground in libya would make it up the chain. >> if you have any familiarity at all with how the white house handles intelligence or a matter like this, you understand what card is saying is correct. put yourself obwest wing on september 11, 12, 13. you have one job. we need to know what happened. we need to know it now. it is inconceivable to me, we were able to read about intercepts, discussions between al-qaeda terrorists, about the details of operation that showed immediately it was preplanned. premeditated. it wasn't only a spontaneous assault. we were able the read it in newspapers on september 12, 13, 14, the days leading up to
sizen rice's appearance. we knew it seems more than the white house knew. more than the, if you believe the white house, the intelligence community knew. there are two possibilities here. either what the white house is saying is correct. the intelligence was rotten for a week. if you believe joe biden and stephanie cutter the intelligence was bad for two full weeks. if you believe that, nobody in the intelligence community needs to be fired tomorrow. if you don't believe that, there are a lot of reasons not believe that. >> bret: i want to talk to you politically as a democrat and hillary clinton falling on her sword essentially here. hillary the candidate in 2008 said something different about foreign policy. take a listen, quickly. >> this is one of the most important elections in our country's history. i believe we need a president who believed what harry truman believes that the buck stops in the oval office. it will do what i can.
i will run the got and hand the economy because we need a president that hands on, not hands off. >> sure. buck stops certain things but not on the president to approve security for consulate. she is taking responsibility. saying the state department for that. it's correct. that buck stops with the president. fox news reported, eli lake reported in 24 hours people knew it was linked to al-qaeda. how much time do they need? the argument does not hold water. >> bret: charles, i want your thoughts on this again on the other side of the break. we'll preview tonight's debate. keep it here on "special report." ♪ one, two, three, four ♪
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>> bret: we're back with the panel. charles in washington with a wrap-up of the libya conversation. charles? >> two quick points. number one, the president may be insulated by what hillary has done but it doesn't enhance his position as a leader to let someone else take the fall. the buck stops also with the media. hillary action takes the heat off only one aspect of this. the media had to be shamed by fox in to looking in to this in the first place. the other questions about the coverup remain open. see if the media pursues it way they would if a republican were in the white house. >> bret: all right. what about tonight's debate? town hall format, a little different. kirsten, it is going to be --
we heard from robert gibbs, the president is going to come out more energetic. or democrats hope so. there is a fine law. you have want it to porridge. not too hot, not too cold. just right. it's different. >> he doesn't want to seem desperate or overcompensating for what happened last time. face it, he has to do better than the last time. that is not hard. so already going to be built in anything he does is better than the last debateit's a totat format. there was quote today that an exaide said i don't know why he is the politician. he doesn't even really like people. she is not a person who is particularly critical of him hecht will have to try to relate to people. the good news for him is romney is not that great at relating to people either. >> bret: steve, what about governor romney? >> look, i think he did a good job last time. he found that happy medium
between being aggressive and substantive without being over the top. i think it's difficult for president obama in this one respect. if he goes too far, if he comes out swinging like portman told you earlier, the one major advantage he still had, i would argue the one thing that is sustaining his candidacy, the likability advantage. "washington post"/abc poll last week had obama plus 30 likability. it's the one thing he has going for him anymore. if he is nasty, if he comes off as too aggressive and too tough, that is going to erode that position. he could then tank. >> bret: by the way, i want to say i can't picture senator rob portman impersonation. i don't have it. i don't have the president obama, rob portman president obama for the debate prep. it don't know how it goes. charles, final thought for debate? >> what a debate. one point a robot. the other a cold fish. for obama, the bar is low. he just has to string a few
sentences together coherently to make eye contract a single human to show the slightest animation in his face. he can do that. he will be ahead of where he was and might win on that basis alone. >> bret: yes. we knew we could count on closing remark from charles. as always, thank you from washington. steve and kirsten that is it for the panel. stay tuned for some closing thoughts from here at hofstra. my insurance rates e probably gonna double.
>> finally tonight, a reminder to join megyn kelly and me for complete coverage of this evening's presidential debate from here at hofstra. we'll begin at 8:55 p.m. we hope you join us. we also have some new bells and whistles from twitter. we showed you earlier in the show a way to gauge the responses all across america. thanks for i