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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  October 4, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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>> no question about it. mitt romney is the clear winner of last night's debate, even i'm co conceding the obama loss. we all agree on this. the real question on moving forward is weather romney's win will change the race. we've seen mondale outperform president raleigh in 1984 and with john kerry defeated bush. neither kerry or mondale translated that into an election night win, although steve kornacki likes to think about a potential mondale president history. as the dust settles, they're back on the trail today. obama is en route to a rally in wisconsin, but earlier today in denver supporters saw the obama we hoped to see last night. >> when i got onto the stage, i
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met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney. he said that he doesn't even know that there's such laws that encourage outsourcing, never heard of them. he said if it's true, he must need a new accountant. we know for sure it was not the real mitt romney, because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant. thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on big bird. it's about time. >> that guy's a winner. mitt romney joining paul ryan this evening in my home state of virginia, but which mitt will show up? the mitt who won the debate by putting the president on the defensive, spoke directly to voters and there was a moment or two of humor. will we see the same mitt on the trail for the past 16 months. you be the judge. here he is stopping by a colorado cpac meeting before leaving denver. >> last night i thought was a great fuopportunity for the
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american people to see two different visions for the country. i think it was helpful to be able to describe those visions. i saw the president's vision as trickle-down government, and i don't think that's what america believes in. >> all right. let's put it through the spin cycle. steve, you were there in denver. what's your take? >> looking at that obama response, i think everybody says why didn't you say it to his face? why didn't you say that last night? i think, look, it's pretty well established by this point why this was such a disastrous debate for obama. i'll play a quick clip here, and this is a jumping-off point to talk about what he needs to do in the next debates to avoid a repeat of this. let's play a clip of an opening romney gave him that he completely missed. >> i'm not looking to cut massive taxes and reduce the revenues going to the government. my number one principle is there's no tax cut that adds to the deficit. i want to underline that.
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virtually everything you said about my tax plan is inaccurate. so if the tax plan he described were a tax plan i was asked to support, i'd say absolutely not. i'm not looking for 5i trillion tax cut. i won't put in a place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. i'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. that's not my plan. >> that's three different moments during this debate when mitt romney noticed the bump in the set for obama. what he's saying there is he's arguing against math. the idea that you can cut faxes 20%, can you tell taxes for everybody and it's deficit neutral and faye for it by closing unspecified loop moles and dealing with deductions. that is the romney position. it's up to bahama to make romney get specific about it to say okay. it's easy to say you deal with the deductions and it's easy to say it's deficit neutral and let's talk about the specific deductions and talk about the home interest deduction and health care deduction and the
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charitable giving deduction. these are things that people rely on and things that are popular with voters. let's put mitt romney on the spot here and say if you pay for it with deductions, this is on the table. are you telling middle class americans these things are at table. obama never did that last night. there are three specific problems for him if he behaves this way in future debates. he doesn't look like a leader so passive like that. the second thing is these are complicated issues. if you follow this campaign every day and follow the policy minutia every day, you understand the math problem mitt romney has. most people need to be walked through this. it's why bill clinton's speech was so successful and they call him the explainer in chief. you can explain the math to you and make you see why the numbers don't add up and why mitt romney is cute on these things. the third thing is simple. i said in the show yesterday, mitt romney is really good when he's carrying out prescripted attacks. that is all he did for 90
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minutes last night. he spent months preparing for in and had every line internalized and he's good at that. you need to knock him off that game. think about the primaries. when rick perry started to mix it up with him a little bit, that's where the $10,000 bet came from. you income him off the script, and that's where the trouble starts for mitt romney. obama didn't even try. >> i completely agree with that. mitt romney, as you said, he's very good when he can go and say what he wants to say. they didn't take any moment or opportunity to get him off the game. the other failure i would say is overall the president and his team have been excellent at framing this election as a choice rather than a referendum. last night the president let mitt romney dictate the terms of the debate as a referendum on obama's policies. he did not level that choice comparison. there was very little discussion, very little pushback as you say on mitt romney's policies. so it seemed like the president just spent his time defending what he did in the past four
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years without mitt romney ever having to really explain what he would do going forward. the only thing i can think is that the president was told first and foremost play it safe. don't make any big mistakes. don't do anything big that shows up in an attack ad. you can't do that in politics. you can't show up afraid of making a mistake. you can't play it safe. you have to be on the offense and win the day. the one thing i will say for mitt romney and for the republican party is last night mitt romney very aggressively moved to the center. finally seemed to commit to i am a centrist. i support very closely to where obama is. just slight differences. i think it's an acknowledgment that he really can't run on the far right policies that the republican party has been pushing. it took until now with the republican party sort of staring over the abyss at a potential loss before they would give him that permission to move to the center. >> i think you're right, but i
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also will say that president obama moved to the center as well. a lot of talk today was how moderate president obama sounded. that's because whether you're in an audience of friends, left-minded people you can say certain things you don't say when 67 million people or so are tuning in. it was a night where both guys were vague. both guys gave a run for their money. but the president's performance was so bad to me, so lackluster partly because it's a hard record to defend. even granting that, it almost made me think there was something intentional going on here. that this was a strategy of sorts, because he's better than this. >> yeah. >> and let's say that he came unprepared. he was tired. he wasn't ready for aggressive mitt romney. even then you reflectively fall back on the past few weeks of things you've said on the trail. the 47%, the bain attacks, the bush attacks.
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that stuff is in your memory. i don't know why that didn't just naturally come to him with all of those openings that romney gave him. they should have. then the lack of enthusiasm was palpable. i got an e-mail blast after the debate from the obama team. the subject line of it was, hey. that is as much enthusiasm as i felt in the entire debate from him. >> understated. >> it was understated to a fault. >> i think if we look at why obama performed the way he did, the number one most important thing for obama is likability. if he is seen attacking people with zingers, which are completely unprofessional, completely unpresidential, i mean, this sort of street fight combative thing, that's not where he wants to be. i was talking to martin bashir before the show. he doesn't want to do that, and his entire life is wrapped around that, about not being combative in that way.
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he doesn't want to do that. that's his entire life wrapped around that. i mean, i also saw, you know, a guy who is leading. the likability is more important than winning this debate. i know i'm winning this thing. it's this dynamic we've seen a lot in las vegas or perhaps atlantic city when we get a champion and challenger. the challenger has nothing to lose and goes nuts and flings punches everywhere. what does he have to lose? i don't need to mix it up with you. i'm going it to win on points and layback. sometimes that strategy wins and sometimes it doesn't. >> it's always frustrating if you're a fan to watch it fully. >> it's bizarre. >> you don't want it. s.e., i understand you were checking out some of the coverage from our friends at current? >> yeah. the reaction to this was interesting across the spectrum, but the kids at current tv had a very hard time, very hard time explaining obama's loss. but uncle al had his own theory. take a look.
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>> obama arrived in denver at 2:00 p.m. today just a few hours before the debate started. romney did his debate prep in denver. when you go to 5,000 feet and you only have a few hours to adjust -- >> that's interesting. >> i don't know. maybe -- >> al, can i say the first time -- >> to me this is an important point. i drank two cups of coffee before coming on. >> there is a delicious irony in al gore blaming the planet. >> right, right. >> for mitt romney's win. that's aamamazinamazing. >> some colleagues on this channel, i thought msnbc's coverage after this was great last night. i was watching chris matthews. he got there about the same time barack obama did. he didn't have any trouble with energy. >> no. >> he didn't have any trouble. >> he was wired and on top of
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it. >> speaking our friends at current. we commented on jennifer granholm's exuberance during the speech. if you tuk her exushance and combined it with barack obama's nonexuberance, you could have found a happy balance there. you have the perfect candidate. >> we could morph them. we need a hybrid. >> can we merge those together? >> emotionally mitt is much closer to jennifer on that scale. he seemed caffeinated and on ludes and stuff like that. >> he had a diet coke and maybe two. >> he seemed much more energized than we've seen. >> think of the republican primary debates. it was newt gingrich and rick santorum. he needed to turn it on in the republican primaries, and he did. >> steve, what do you think the ultimate impact is going to be? is this the game change moment to use the term that we hate?
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>> i swear we're living in this mirror image of 2004 where the bush role is played by obama and where kerry is played by romney. i remember september 30th, 2004, watching that debate and watching the reaction after that debate between kerry and bush and the reaction of democrats. i thought of taking some of the quotes from some republican and conservative pundits talking about how this changes the race, just switch in kerry's name for romney, switch in obama for bush. exact same sort of mental adjustment. the silver lining for that for democrats is bush went on, and he didn't i think win the next two debates but recovered and was serviceable in the next two debates. >> do we really think that anybody who was a lean obama voter changed their mind and said, now i'm going to vote for mitt romney because he won that debate? i don't think so. >> i think it was the first time -- this is what i wanted as a conservative voter. i don't mind telling you i'm voting for mitt romney.
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i wanted to see a go for the jugular moment. >> from mitt, yeah. >> i'm already in the tank. i feel as though, you know, the president's record has really not been touched as seriously as it needed to be. if mitt romney is the only guy that gets a face-to-face opportunity to do that in this election season, then i wanted to see him take it. i think he did a good job there. i don't know if this debate is going to be the thing anyone looks back on and says, that's where obama lost it, or that's where romney won it. he has to move this forward, but if he needed a rebound, he got it. >> i think he just broke gary johnson's heart. he's off the table apparently. >> gary johnson. >> i think mitt romney had a sort of stay of execution. if he had blown it last night, it would have been over. >> the aroma of terminal illness is gone from the campaign. once you get that aroma, it's kind difficult. >> you know what i'm looking to right now is the vice presidential debate?
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people give biden such a hard time, he's the gaffe machine. i remember when biden was known as a really good communicator, and you know what? there's a difference between biden and obama and how they are in debates and how they approach crowds. biden looks for the guts of the audience and pitches the message to their guts. i'm sure to see how biden does it. >> he's been there and paul ryan has not. >> i think next time if it's a boring debate, we should bring in herman cain, rick perry and newt gingrich just for fun. >> herman cain would be winning right now according to herman cain. >> you've heard our initial reactions. up next we have reactions from the heartland and the capital. we go to des moines, iowa and go to luke russert in washington to see where one of these candidates will end up. [ female announcer ] ready for a taste of what's hot?
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i'm not fighting for democratic jobs or republican jobs, i'm fighting to create american job. i'm fighting to improve schools in the united states. i believe our politics is not as divided as it seems sometimes. i still believe in you. i'm asking you to keep on believing in me. i'm asking for your vote. >> that is a jarringly animated president obama rallying his supporters before leaving denver in afternoon. he is now on his way to madison,
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wisconsin. mitt romney will be in the toss-up state of virginia in evening where the polls have tightened in recent days. he's looking to capitalize on his strong debate performance last night. we're joined by nbc's luke russert in washington, d.c., and from the heartland, kathy obrad vish, she's a columnist columnist for "the des moines register." you have an interesting perspective on obama because he spent so much time in iowa so early in his national political career in 2007 and 2008. lots of debates out there. we have a debate last night. why is this man so bad at debates? >> well, you know, iowans are familiar both with barack obama and with mitt romney, and i have to say that i think people expected better of the president last night. i was speaking to a group this morning of about 90 people. i asked them to raise their hand
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if they thought the president had won the debate. not a single person raised his or her hand. so obviously it was that bad. you know, i think the real question is how much it matters at this point in iowa. >> luke, how are you, bro? >> how are you, sir? >> i want to read to you a quote from paul krugman on his blog. the fact is that everything obama said was basically true, while much of what romney said was erither outright false or misleading to be a moral equivalent of a lie. people read headlines and not corrections. does this catch up to you, or can you go on doing this and the country will buy it? >> it could, toure. 60 million people watched that debate last night. what did they say? they saw the incumbent president get man-handled. mitt romney stopped it and got a pick six.
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he got an interception and return into the end zone. i think it's a whole new ball game. in terms of how this will matter, people saw mitt romney on stage with president obama. they saw him as a somebody that could sit in the big chair. do people into the policy into the weeds like we do on cable tv? no, they don't. to the average viewer mitt romney looked confident and optimistic and wasn't staring down in notes. yesterday was so terrible for the president, and that's what we're hearing around washington, d.c. to it a person. democrat, republican lobbyists and even casual voters. i did a sports radio show in d.c. this morning, the conversations people said, why was the president that bad? we've never seen him that bad. it was odd. will this be the game changer? probably not. for the media that wants to write the romney alive narrative, it's a newfound respect. mitt romney goes on, and it will
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tighten up. you talked about likability. that's the most important thing that barack obama has going for him. mitt romney was able to come across as decently likeable last night except for the big bird line, there wasn't many awkward mo moments. he talked about his kids and wife, so did the president. he did not come across as the greedy venture capitalists. president obama took no attempt to do it, and i don't know about the do nothing congress? that's a staple hold of president obama's speeches for a long time. not mentioned at all. a lot of missed opportunities for the president. nobody cares about the fact when they're casual political observer. it's all about appearance. >> sports radio calls you. is there no one else for them to talk to? >> i'm talented in a lot of skill levels i like to say. >> well, kathy to that likability point, one of the criticisms i did see of romney was that he was very aggressive,
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and in some of those little dial test thingies that they do with viewers during the debate, i saw that women were in particular finding him too aggressive at moments. in iowa do you see a way in which men and women gauge the debate? >> you know, women are generally leaning towards barack obama. men generally leaning towards mitt romney. i don't think that the debate changed that. one thing to keep in mind, though, here in iowa there are few people left who are actually undecided. t "the des moines register" had a poll last sunday and barack obama was up by two points. the question is not changing people's minds in iowa so much as getting them excited to go out and vote. early voting is already going on in iowa, so i think that that is really what matters. that's why it hurt the president so much. not so much that his supporters or people who are leaning toward
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him switch over to mitt romney, but his supporters might be just a little less enthusiastic about getting out to the polls, getting their friends and neighbors, going to the phone bank tomorrow and calling up 50 people to get them to vote for barack obama. that is where it hurts him. this is right now not a mind-changing game in iowa. it's a turnout game. >> luke, is there any word on the hill as to whether people want john kerry replaced as the fake mitt romney in future debate prep? >> i spoke to a few people to pass the blame onto kerry, and i spoke to others that said that's hogwash. the president should be able to know what's going to happen. he's been in these debates before, albeit four years ago. he's watched some of the republican debates. there's a lot of talk that rob portman earned his money last night, probably won that debate more than anybody else. i'll use an analogy here. living in the presidency is like living in a bubble, right? you don't have a lot of people
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in your face saying you're wrong, and i think that's what folks think here in d.c. hurt obama from conversations i've had. he's not that person say get your game face on and stop this focus here. it reminds me of "rocky iii." what did you see in rocky iii? he's not paying attention and concentrating, and it takes his trainer to say, hey, rock, this is not who you are. >> sets up the comeback story. >> he needs a mickey. a trainer to say enough is enough. you are the president, yes, you are. come on let's go back to what won us this thing. let's get stuff and talk about personal stories. it was talented for the president all along in the primary campaign. let's talk about the legislation and the do-nothing congress. >> you're better than this. >> you're better than this. >> he needs a person to slap him in the face and say you're better than this. luke and kathy, thanks for
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joining us. i want to bring it back to the table and talk about the moderator last night. he's getting a lot of attention. this guy -- let's put this in perspective quickly. 78 years old and he's basically a part-timer at pbs. it was a curious choice of all the journalists that jim lehrer is who they called on for this. the one criticism that i see that resonates the most with me. we have three presidential debates and this was the domestic policy debaltdebate. this was a narrow set of policy questions last night. there were no questions about immigration last night or gay marriage last night. >> women's issues. >> these are major issues in the campaign and there's a movement to diversify the moderator pool a little bit. >> jim lehrer is a historic choice for them, but they treated him as a replacement ref. he should be out of the pool. >> i didn't think he was great. you can't blame the moderator. they had the same. >> he was terrible at his job.
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>> ultimately this wasn't about jim lehrer but president obama and mitt romney. they both had the opportunity to take advantage of the situation, and one did and one didn't. >> all right. so what do we make of all the 2012 election predictions out there? the original nate, nate silver is in the guest spot next, or is it becoming the nate spot? we had nate cohen on the other day. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing the all-new completely re-imagined 2013 chevrolet malibu. sleek new styling... sophisticated dual cockpit design, and sport sculpted seats. available chevrolet mylink infotainment system. the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu. ♪ refined comfort to get you in a malibu state of mind no matter what state you live in. ♪
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here are spades. >> i know before the cards are even turned over.
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>> aces full. >> politics is a lot like big-time no limit poker. a high stakes game mastered by people with huge egos and a wealth of data where the line between champ and chump is razor thing. nate silver knows about that because he was a professional poker player before he was a political blogger. he's at 538 on twitter, and the new book, "the signal and the noise" say must read. second day in a row we have a guy named nate in the gift spot. we rename it the nate spot. without further ado, nate dog. how are you doing, brother? >> good. >> your book is about predictions from poker, politics, weather and baseball. you talk about dealing with unknown you know youzhnunknowns. why do some predictions fail and
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some don't. >> the perfect pundit wants to have the perfect prediction, but there are known and unknown events in a political campaign. the debates can move the numbers some. for example you have economic crises and foreign policy crises. if you play poker, you're used to playing your hand well. you catch a lucky card or you play bad and catch the card of your life. you used to think about improbability. you are calmer when you watch the he ebb and flow of polls an political news. >> you talk about weather forecasting has improved over the years, and the glitch that sort of caused the ibm computer to beat gary in the 1997 chess game. what are the worst at predicting? what do we get wrong more than anything else? >> in general the field of economic prediction is a pretty bad example. for example, in december of 2007, most people in the "wall
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street journal's" forecasting panel, 45 distinguished economists said we would not go into a recession over the next year. in fact, it turned out we were already in recession by december 2007. it was later revealed through the data. when we're in a recession we don't know it half the time and can't predict the macro economy more than six months in advance. you had all kinds of problems with people expecting housing prices to go up when there wasn't a lot of reason to think they would. in economics you have so much dat data, it's hard to find the install of the meaningful indicator out of the mess of statistics you get. >> nate, it seems there are some elections where you talk about trying to predict election outcomes and forecast election outcomes. sometimes you don't need a model. ronald reagan with the economy was never going to lose, and bill clinton won't lose in 1996. you can look at other cases where the campaigns matter. do you have a sense what that
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exact balance is, is there a wall to quantify it like the economy and actually campaign effects? >> we do try and quantify it where our model looks at two things. there's an economic part of it and a polls part of it. the closer to election day, the more we rely purely on polls, the theory is that if by october/november whatever impact there is to the economy hasn't been reflected in the polls, either the model is wrong or people think about other things. so right now, you know, actually do expect even before the debate the polls to it tighten some, because although the incumbent president gets a lot of credit, obama was ahead by five or six points by these polls for a while. naets hi that's high based on where the economy is. in some ways the debate brings the polls more into line with the fundamentals, which we think implies a tenuous advantage for obama. >> so, nate, if you could get into that a little bit more, this race has been remarkably stable. the president has been ahead
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narrowly for most of the campaign. almost everyone is saying governor romney had the better night last night. what do you expect to happen to the polls coming out of this? >> i could see romney getting a 2, 2 1/2, 3-point swing toward him. there was one pull-out this afternoon after the debate that had a two-point swing. since obama was up by four or five, which will bring us back to two or three points. that is where gravity is in this election, is about a two and a half point win for president obama. that's what bush got in 2004. so many analogies between this election and that one eight years ago. we'll see. i think this will not win the election for romney by itself, but it puts him in a position where he could set himself up for a win. if he had lost that debate, then you would really need a hail mary, i think. >> nate, thanks for coming by. the book is fantastic, and best
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of luck with it. enough with the numbers and poling. the split screen was worth a thousand words last night. we decode the body language straight ahead. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness?
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by the armful? by the barrelful?
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the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. they say in politics looks matters. mitt came across engaged and aggressive and polished while president obama appeared cool and calm, but a little too cool for most of us. this image is telling. romney is staring down the president and the audience, while the professorial president just staring down. what was athat about? here it to answer that and decode our tics and grins and gestures is chris oel rich to give us insight into it, and
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what the president can improve on in the next debate. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> the first thing that i noticed is romney really used his hands a lot, in almost all of his speaking there was some gesturing going on. at the same time, the president had a little interesting stance with his feet with one foot sort of back behind the podium. what do you make of this hands for romney and feet for obama situation? >> well, that's a great observation. for mitt romney a very different mitt romney. that's what we saw in this debate. mitt romney most of the time his hands are down at his sides. he used gestured to get his point across and the use of emblems to bring home a he message. check please. if he had three points, he'd say one, two, three and lay it out for us. very active and aggressive and pushing his agenda forward. the president on the other hand when we saw that foot up, we call that a sprinter's pose.
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he's ready to go and move toward forward. it's off balance and out of sorts. we saw that from the president through his debate. >> chris, the looking down for obama. i mean, it's well established at this point that they used the split screen shot for presidential debates. you're always on the camera, and he has romney tearing into him cart clai articulately, and obama looks like a defeated man. >> we're talking about body language. itself it means nothing but the perception means nothing. in that position where his head is down, he's writing down notes. he did it a lot, looking down occasionally or to jot a note down is fine. as you pointed out, on a lot of occasions his head is down. he has a dimple in the chin, a sad chin. giving us the perception he feels down or looks a little beaten or tired in that particular episode and allowing
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romney to hammer him over and over taking that chin down. it's almost like being lectured at and bad, bad. almost like a father to a son kind of thing. >> chris, obama also, you know, we saw him nodding in agreement a lot. he seemed to concede points preemptively. romney would interrupt him, and obama seemed relieved to, you know, sort of say make it stop. we have a clip of that happening as well. >> you've been president four years. you said you'd cut the deficit in half. it's four years later and we have trillion dollar deficits. >> what happened there you didn't see was obama was in the middle of a sentence. mitt romney interrupted and said, you were president for four years, and the president just said, yep. didn't keep going. didn't say wait a second. i'm still talking. none of that. >> you're right. you know, when the president was looking down, this was a different thing for him, because a lot of the times he has that chin up and he's usually in control and powerful and his body language reflects that.
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by looking down as well as backing down from those kind of interruptions from mitt romney, and mitt romney did that all night to show how he could be aggressive and assertive and go toe to toe with this president and look presidential. romney was effective in doing that during this debate where the president -- i think his strategy was to be more likeable, and we saw that congruent in his body language, with the head tilts, which are around the idea of likability, which was a big thing toure brought up earlier at the top of the program. >> we saw a lot of the president's stress and dislike of the situation in his mouth. he would close his mouth in a forceful way that seemed to create like crow's feet beneath his lip, which seemed to suggest he's unhappy being there. you see it there. it looks like a dimple up before the smile. you saw it more. that communicates stress, right? i'm not happy to be here, right? >> yes. it's kind of a smile, right? it's a smile underneath, and
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underneath that smile is some contempt. i think he was feeling a lot of disagreement with what mitt romney cwas saying. we saw it from romney a little bit. romney had that permagrin on. that smile is insincere and can can mark there's more to the story here. how do i reply to this? i disagree with this. underneath you feel a lot of agitation and probably some anger toward mitt romney in that particular story. >> thanks for giving us a good tip on how to come across as more likeable. i will do the head tilt all the time now. >> you're so much likeable now. than fantastic. >> when we keep our head level, it's level-headed. with the president the chin up is the power position. we watch him in 2008 with hillary clinton he used it a lot and in the debates with mccain and turn and engage mccain a lot
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more. we dindn't see that from the president so much this time. >> thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. go yankees. up next. there is hope even one of the greatest presidents in american history didn't do that great his debates. more on that next. [ male announcer ] this is rudy. his morning starts with arthritis pain. and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve. it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rudy. who switched to aleve. and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪ and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. ♪ why they have a raise your rate cd. tonight our guest, thomas sargent. nobel laureate in economics, and one of the most cited economists in the world.
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of opportunity for all americans, because if all americans are getting opportunity, we're all going to be better off. >> president obama invoking the name abraham lincoln last night calling in mind the first debates in history between lincoln and steven douglas. they were part of the race for one of illinois's two senate seats. lincoln lost the debates and elections, but the conversations launched him into national prominence and lincoln went on to become one of the the greatest presidents today. what if that's what got him killed, changing the course of the nation? the next guest tells the story of an assassination plot wider and far more sinister than we imagined. joining us is timothy o'brien, the executive editor of the huffington post and the author of "the lincoln conspiracy."
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>> it's great to be here, s.e. >> i love alternative history and the kinds of things eric larson does with history. this is a combination of history and fiction. tell me, was this a conspiracy you actually believe in? do you think think this is what happened or did you dream this up to sort of enhance a novelistic new version of history? >> lincoln conspiracy is a historical thriller about this incredible moment of change after the lincoln assassination and the industrialization of america and cities and society and ferment. and the assassination is really a departure point for looking at all these forces that were set in motion, women's rights, civil rights, all wedded to what i hope to be a very captivating yarn about a detective and his wife who come into possession of two diaries that offer secrets about the lincoln assassination. >> tim, lincoln is hot to death right now. there's your book about lincoln, steven carter wrote a book "the
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impeachment of abe lincoln." there was a movie "lincoln vampire hunter. qrequesting requesting of course, the daniel day-lewis movie which comes out next month. >> congress must never declare equal those who god created unequal. >> leave the constitution alone. >> stepped out on the world's stage with the fate of human dignity in our hands. blood has been spilled to afford us this moment, now, now, now. he really looks like lincoln, but the question is why is lincoln so hot right now? >> i think lincoln has always been hot. he's one of those mythical figures in american history, and i think we as a society revisit him from time to time because he's so compelling, and i think the lincoln conspiracy is an
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effort to recapture the magic of who lincoln was and essentially translate that into the character of tamplle mcfadden who is an avenging angel who wants to understand why the assassination occurred and is determined to bring to justice those who were responsible. >> toure mentioned it, the metrosexual black abe lincoln line which has gotten a lot of attention. the backstory was this was a republican super pac, a guy was willing to put some money forward and a consultant came up with a plan to beat barack obama and one of the centerpieces of it was they would tell the country that obama had deceived americans by painting himself as a metrosexual black abe lincoln. the plan was junked. i have been baffled -- >> because it's a compliment. >> what does it mean? any idea? >> i have no idea even where to begin with that one but if someone called me a metrosexual white abraham lincoln i would be happy to take that one on. he was one of the best writers who ever occupied the white house. he was a man of principle, and
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he navigated very complex forces in society at that time. slavery, the fate of the union, the industrialization of the country, and all of that is the background in "the lincoln conspiracy," and he haunts the pages of the book in that regard. >> tim, quickly, totally different subject but you're also a business writer. what are you expecting from the big jobs number tomorrow? >> i don't even get into the crystal ball. i can't say that on this program, can i? >> no, you can't. >> a name joke. >> i'm sorry, that must happen a lot. i have no idea what to expect out of the jobs number. i think what's going to happen in the economy is on everyone's mind today but i'm knot going to venture is guess. >> tim o'brien. >> thanks for having me. up next, a relaxed krystal ball tells the left to chill out. i'm only in my 60's...
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everybody freak out! romneymania is sweeping the country! d.c. is going red. new york city is going red. rhode island, forget it. i want to speak for a minute to my friends on the left. could everyone just chill out? was last night a good night for mitt romney? yes, it was. bad night for obama? sure. did the president blow a chance to deliver a knockout punch? you better believe it. but really, everything is going to be okay. sure, the president looked bored and defensive, but he didn't say anything sound bitable. he didn't sight, he didn't check his watch, didn't answer in detached and aloof fashion a question about somebody raining
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and killing his wife. he was not shocking, he was -- i suspect the goal of the night was actually to be mhh and live to fight another day. it's not the greatest strategy i have ever heard but it's not a campaign-ending strategy. we've still got three more debates to go. the next one is next week and it's between joe biden and paul ryan. joe's not going to be afraid to throw some punks around and combat the deceptions about taxes, medicare, social security, and the rest. and the president himself has two more chances to meet romney on the debate field of battle. you can bet that the passive note scribbling guy that showed up last night is not going to show up for the next two. romney outperformed, obama underperformed. if nothing else there will be a natural regression to the mean. plus, the expectations for obama going in were way out of whack and now they've certainly been adjusted. still feeling sad? okay. i am, too. but, again, we're going to be fine. just take a look at the president today. >> the real mitt romney said we
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don't need any more teachers in our classrooms. but don't boo, vote. but the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers. can't get enough of them. >> see, look, there's the guy i love, confident, funny, relaxed. he's probably relieved that that first one is over. now he knows that romney is going to discard his long touted tax plan. he knows romney is going to come super aggressive. and the president has also likely remembered how effective it is to remind voters about romney's incredible divisive comments about 47% of america. besides, despite the ups and downs of this campaign, the good dnc and the bad job noms, the secret romney videos, this race has remained remarkably stable and the president has remained on top. so relax, democrats. this, too,