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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  October 22, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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good afternoon. it's monday, october the 22nd, and this is it, the president versus mitt romney for the third and final time. and watch carefully because mitt romney is going to change positions more quickly than usain bolt. snoof ♪ ♪ >> if we win florida, we win this election. >> clear eyes, full heart. >> hours left until tonight's final debate. >> president obama and mitt romney will meet face-to-face in florida. >> the president just now arriving as you see in florida. >> tonight is the candidates' last chance to reach millions of people. >> governor romney wants to politicize women. >> he went in the rose garden ansaid this was an act of terror. >> world affairs are a challenge for every candidate. >> i want to fight you. >> and i have to say i'm impressed with how well governor romney has avoided that problem.
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>> he went in the rose garden and said this was an act of terror. >> we got to name this condition he's going through. >> russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe. i'm not familiar with precisely with what exactly i said. >> i think it's called romnesia. >> but i stand by what i said, whatever it was. ♪ >> we are just hours from the third and final debate of 2012, and tonight is the last chance for these candidates to command an audience of millions and to persuade voters that they deserve the trust of the american people for the next four years. both the president and mitt romney have arrived here in boca raton, florida, and as they take the stage tonight, the polls could not be tighter. the race is dead even at 47% according to our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. the president still leads on the commander in chief question, but
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that gap is narrowing, down from seven points to just three. now within the margin of error. with tonight's focus on foreign policy, it's a matter of trust. first, in order to deal with our greatest enemies, you have to know who they are. >> governor romney not too long ago said, you know, the russian federation is our number one geostrategic threat. well, come on. think. >> come on, mitt, think. when you have no foreign policy experience, you better think of a scapegoat to get the base going. >> i'll crack down on china. >> when he talks about getting tough on china, keep in mind that governor romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to china and is currently investing in countries -- in companies that are building surveillance equipment for china to spy on its own folks. that's -- governor, you're the
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last person who is going to get tough on china. >> okay, china, china might be problematic. so why not fuel a politically motivated conspiracy theory about the deaths of four americans, including our ambassador to libya. >> one of the narratives that the obama campaign has laid out is that bin laden is dead, they bragged about that forever, and al qaeda is in retreat. you start to wonder, did they basically say do not allow any story to emerge that counters that narrative? >> he's asking the president of the united states to get to the bottom of why there has been an impenetrable fog around his administration since september 11th or since september 12th, 2001, where it's been very difficult to get straight answers. >> did you notice that little slip of the tongue? it's been very difficult to get straight answers since september the 11th, 2001. well, i guess that's a bit of a freudian slip because it was during the dark days of the bush administration that he rose to the heights of the spin machine
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telling americans daily that everything was plain sailing over in iraq. as we said, tonight it's all about trust. let's get right to our panel now. holding down the fort in new york city is msnbc political analyst karen finney. in washington, dana milbank a political columnist for the washington post and here in florida, michael hastings. great to have you here. mike, if i can start with you, given the fact that 17 of mr. romney's foreign policy advisers out of 24 are all from the bush administration, that's 70%, shouldn't george bush be the one here for this debate? wouldn't he be the right person. >> the ma man you put on earlier was the chief spokesperson during the worst days of the american occupation of iraq. the fact that he's one of governor romney's top advisers is very concerning. i think in terms of the foreign policy issue that you're dealing with now, afghanistan, iraq,
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these were legacy foreign policy issues that obama inherited and had to fix. he withdrew from iraq and he decided to escalate in afghanistan. >> karen, romney at least in public is sprinting away from his neocon advisers quicker than usain bolt's 100 meter record but isn't his foreign policy as befuddled as his economic plan. he attacks the president but doesn't offer a specific plan on aflg, on taliban, on iran, nothing. >> that's exactly right. here we are back to boca, baby. it's an opportunity, remember, this was the scene of the crime of the 47%. it's also where mitt romney said, oh, with the middle east, you kick the can down the road and nothing is really going to happen and that if there was a foreign policy crisis in the context of the campaign, he'd take advantage of it. so i hope president obama will, you know, use those openings to press him on some of these things. i think as you saw joe biden do during the vice presidential debate. let's talk about iran or syria
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or afghanistan. are we talking about more troops on the ground because a majority of americans don't want that, and so -- he's basically saying he wants to do everything obama has basically done, and so i hope obama really presses him to say what else would you do because i don't think he has an answer and he certainly can't say i will commit to troops which dan tried to walk away from on the "today" show. >> remarkably show. dana, iran and not russia remains this planet's number one geopolitical foe. the president has corralled an international coalition, sanctions are devastating the iranian economy. tell me something that mitt romney would do in relation to iran that the president has not done. tell me, dana. >> well, martin, he can start a war, and we -- >> that's right. he can start a war. >> it's been a while since we had a good war. >> not for ten years.
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absolutely. >> we're about due for one, and i suspect this is the -- sort of the quandary that mitt romney has. he wants to be critical of the obama foreign policy, but obama has basically been following what is a centrist mainstream, consensus, realist policy. what's the alternative? it's the neocons. we saw where that got us. he has imported a bunch of neocons because that is the republican idealistic alternative right now. you have this tension between what romney's instincts seem to be which are fairly sensible but then he has no difference from obama and introducing a criticism brings us back to the days of the neocons being dominant in the pentagon. >> martin, if i may -- >> go ahead. >> i think it's important to underscore what is a difference. if governor romney is going to follow a kneow cons, a majority of americans, if you go down the line, those are not the policies
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americans want. even on an issue like iran -- >> but you never tells you the truth. this is serious, karen. six months ago he was the most aggressive individual out of all the candidates talking up a potential what i thought was a potential invasion of iran, but now he doesn't want anything to do with that. how can you believe that? >> i think that's why the president really has to try to press him to point out he doesn't have -- in the case of iran as dana just said, the only other thing to do would be to start a war. he can't say that because the majority of americans don't want to do that and a majority of americans actually agree with sort of the progressive multilateral approach to foreign policy the president has been taking. >> the one big difference, mike, between these two men, however, is the military budget. >> right. >> and mr. romney has told us that he would like to spend exponentially on the military. so that is a major difference. how does the president address
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that tonight without undermining his own commitment to the military service and the forces of this nation? >> i think the largest point we're making across the board about romney's foreign policy is it is a shape shifting foreign policy. his positions have all shifted right during this last month. in terms of the military budget, the way president obama has to handle that question and will handle that question is say, look, i speak to the pentagon every day. they do not need $2 trillion more. they have a lot of money as it is. we're actually not cutting anything from them. these are all future cuts. there's not going to be significant job loss and we're going to reinvest that money into alternative and domestic programs. that's the answer he's going to give. we do not need to spend -- we spend $3 trillion in iraq and afghanistan. we spend $20 billion on air conditioning in afghanistan last year. >> i want to get to dana. >> don't forget that the president's budget actually says, hey, let's filt a 21st century war. shift from ground forces to intelligence, to other forms which is basically the
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recommendations of the 9/11 commission. so also romney's ideas are outdated. >> indeed. dana, final question to you. mitt romney does have something of an advantage tonight, doesn't he? because okay he's got to foreign policy experience, but he has got his overseas trip, for example, to the united kingdom where he insulted the management of the olympics or when he went to israel and insulted the palestinians. or indeed, when he came here to boca and was secretly captured suggesting the palestinians did not want peace and that he didn't think there was any possible resolution in the future anyway. >> well, and his horse did very badly in the olympics so the whole thing has been a debacle. but he has had some success overseas in the cayman islands and in switzerland and in the -- >> absolutely. >> in bermuda, i believe. >> bermuda, absolutely. absolutely. michael hastings, karen finney, and dana milbank, what a start. thank you all. our special debate coverage continues throughout this evening. i'll join chris matthews for a special live post debate show so
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in just a few hours, mitt romney may need to explain why republicans chose to release highly sensitive material about the attack on the libyan
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consulate. material that exposed the names of those helping the u.s. mission there. people whose lives may now be in jeopardy. republican congressman darrell issa who chairs the house oversight and government reform committee, released 166 pages of sensitive communications on friday. foreign policy magazine quotes an unnamed state department official who says no one there had a chance to vet the material beforehand. what's more, this is the same darrell issa who some would say hypocritically derided wikileaks almost two years ago for doing exactly what he's done now. >> the kind of transparency we need is not to have somebody outing what is said by diplomats in private, and we need to change that and that's going to be a big part of our committee's oversight is to get that right so diplomats can do their job with confident dense. >> the kind of transparency we need is not to have somebody
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outing what is said by diplomats in private. fine words, mr. issa. a pity you don't seem to remember them in an election year. joining us thousand is democratic congressman elijah cummings, the oversight committee's ranking democrat. >> good to be with you. >> chairman issa's document dump included disclosures about a fee meal human rights activists, a ben ghazi port manager and a militia commander providing information. >> is he happy to expose these individuals to threats, perhaps even death, to provide fodder for mitt romney's debate performance this evening? >> i believe there's no other way of seeing this, martin. i have said constantly that this kind of event that happened to our ambassador deserves a very careful investigation and one that's bipartisan, and clearly what happened here is mr. issa
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rushed to do a hearing a few days ago, and then he rushed to get these documents out, even jeopardizing our relationships with other governments, jeopardizing libyans who had been cooperating with us, putting their lives in danger. just so that he could provide mr. romney with some talking points for tonight's debate. that's what this is all about. he's rushing -- basically in his letter to the president, by the way, just recently he said he wanted answers immediately with regard to what happened in this incident and it's clear that we've got two investigations going on right now, one by the fbi, and one ordered by secretary clinton, and this is going to take time to get this information together, but, again, he wants to rush so that he can have some impact on the election and on the debate. >> yeah, because chairman issa is now fighting back with regard to the female human rights activist saying that her identity had previously been
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exposed. sources at the state department say that he did not even have the courtesy to run the information by them before dumping his documents. so if mr. issa is happy to expose these libyans to potential reprisals, is it also the case he treats the state department with a similar amount of complete contempt? >> no doubt about it. you have a situation here where the state department requested that he cooperate with them and work with them so that they would not place folks in jeopardy and do damage to our government relationships, and he went on and did it anyway. and then as far as this one person is concerned, that's only one person, and she's very important, but there are many other folks that have been placed in jeopardy here, too, martin, and he seems to disregard that. i think that if we are going to be about the business of safeguarding our people, as he says he wants to, this is the wrong way to do it. as a matter of fact, all he's
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done is placed a lot of people in harm's way. but again, this is about politics. this is about trying to make sure that damage is done to the excellent record that this president has with regard to national security, and i think that's what it's all about. >> congressman, it's also my understanding that on october the 9th, mr. issa used a particular word to describe the state department's worries about releasing the information found in these documents. what was that word? >> he used the word that is crap and basically said he could release anything he wanted to release, and i got to tell you, martin, our committee is a very important committee. it has more power than just about any committee in congress with regards to investigations, but when we get that information, martin, we have a duty to safeguard it. we must do no harm, and clearly we have a situation here where mr. issa single handedly without the advice of any of the many members of the committee or any of the other committees in
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congress decided that he was going to dump this information again trying to do mr. romney a big favor. >> congressman elijah cummings, i think it's clear the only person spouting excrementicious matter is darryl issa himself. >> i don't agree with that. >> i say we have to go back to the clinton tax rates and get the hell out of afghanistan. >> man's got a point, doesn't he? >> i want to get the hell out of here. anncr: every president inherits challenges.
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few have faced so many. four years later... our enemies have been brought to justice. our heroes are coming home. assembly lines are humming again. there are still challenges to meet. children to educate. a middle class to rebuild. but the last thing we should do is turn back now. president obama: i'm barack obama and... i approve this message. [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit to learn your risk.
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. the bell to start round three sounds in just a few hours and tonight's debate here in boca is slated to focus on foreign policy. it's an area where mr. romney has been less than steady on his feet, seeming more suited to the last century in calling russia our number one geopolitical foe, and then insulting our closest allies by deriding britain's management of the olympic games. nbc's krit tin welker has been traveling with the president throughout the campaign and she's here now. it's great to have you here. the president despite having strong approval of his foreign policy really throughout the last two or three years in terms of polling, the republicans have been using what happened in libya to attack him aggressively. how do you expect the president to handle those attacks this evening? >> thanks for having me, martin. i think the president is prepared for mitt romney to come after him even more vigorously than he did in the last debate. i think president obama will
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explain why there was some shifting explanations about what happened in libya in more detail than he has in the past. i think president obama has to address the issue of security, why there wasn't enough security and what he's going to do about it in the future, about you more prodly, martin, i think that president obama and mitt romney have to explain how they envision the united states' role in the region moving forward and that's really what i think people are going to be listening to. >> do you think it's going to be a challenge for the president given that inform actual terms, mitt romney hasn't really laid out much that has distinguished himself from what the president is already doing in relation to iran, severe sanctions. in relation to afghanistan, troops out by 2014. how do they define each other in a debate like tonight where there are so many similarities it will be tough. >> well, i think that is going to be the charge for president obama to really highlight that fact. when you hear mitt romney talk, when you hear president obama talk, there's not a whole lot of daylight between the two of them
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when it comes to an issue like iran where they both say we're not going to allow iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. so mitt romney's going to have to explain how are his positions actually different from president obama's and president obama i think will try to box him in. box him into a corner and essentially say our visions aren't that different. >> and finally, if i might ask, what if mitt romney accuses the president of being soft on china? because the president has made it clear that he's not going to talk up the idea of making -- or describing china as a currency manipulator because of the effects it will have on american business. >> we have seen president obama preview the attack on the campaign trail. he's always accusing romney of saying how can you say you haven't been tough enough when you have put some of your investments into china. that's the fight we've seen come out on the campaign trail, so i think you will see part of that play out again this evening. >> nbc's kristin welker. thank you. kristin only just got off a plane. we're so glad you joined us.
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charmin ultra strong helps you get clean. plus it's four times stronger than the leading value brand. and you can use up to four times less. good news for even the biggest kids in the family. we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin ultra strong? from the dos and don'ts of tonight's debate to a donald's bombshell, here is today's "top lines." >> speak loudly and cleary you're in boca raton, florida, their city motto is stay it in my good hear. >> four more thing real quick. >> in a debate you say i don't know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks. take a temperature because you probably got romnesia. >> not going to cut anything? >> i'm about to cut you. >> playing skrabble with your opponent's name. >> let me at him, dad.
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>> sit down, tagg snp. >> no agenda for america. >> this is how you embrace your wife after a debate, frozen, distant, like she's your second favorite grandmother. >> if it brings gas prices down one cent, i would personally stalk, capture, and strangle every bird in this great land. >> romney wasn't sketchy. he was etch-a-sketchy. shake it up, baby. >> rg3 has struck a chord. >> clear eyes, full hearts. >> it's tough to unite this city around anything. believe me, i know. >> figure out which of the players is best and take them out early. >> when you smile it looks like you're about to tell your dad it's time to move into a home and, remember, you're in boca. >> you inhale, they decide. >> i don't agree with that. >> you better buckle your seat belts, because this question is about to blow your mind. libya. >> the benghazi thing would be a tragedy in and of it itself. the problem is it's not simply an isolated incident.
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>> what darrell issa did put people at risk in libya. >> he has used the phrase terrorist act. >> candy, come on, no, no. >> you have a large bordering on gigantic announcement this week. >> something very, very big concerning the president of the united states. >> will it change the election? >> possibly. >> let's get right to our panel. we're joined by toure, co-host of "the cycle," ari melber, an msnbc contributor and correspondent for the nation magazine, and anna marie cox, cornered for "the guardian." toure, donald trump says he has something gigantic, enormous to relace. anything more than his own plat lens? >> i think that's about the size of it, martin. he's dealing with this idea of hatred that we talked about before that the gop and the conservatives hate obama, and they're talking about this imagined obama who is kenyan, who is socialist, who is a
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horrible individual. there is a reasonable critique of obama to be made. naer not really making that. before when they were doing this tact of you tried, he tried, it's okay to move on, that felt scary to me because that's a reasonable attack. this thing of like he's the worst foreign policy president ever, he's the worst economic president ever, he's a horrible person, he doesn't love his wife, he doesn't love you, he doesn't love white people, what are you talking about? when you talk about the guy in the office you might have a better chance. >> anna marie, andrew sullivan was highly critical of the president's first debate performance but he seems to be doing this now on a pre-emptive basis. he says, and i'm quoting him, right now to my genuine horror, the president is losing to a fraud, a warmongerer, a liar, and a budget buster. that's fairly accurate, isn't it? >> well, those are accurate terms to describe romney, of course, but i think andrew is suffering a case of the vapors. you know, it's not over yet. this will be really interesting debate if nothing else.
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i think we are going to get to see romney try to do the game he played in the last debate but on foreign policy, but the president has had four years to study on this suggest. he's been talking to the people who make foreign policy. he's made foreign policy. it would be really hard for him to sort of give up his authoritative position unless he sort of naps through it like he did the first debate, but i hope he won't do that. but also -- >> indeed. >> -- i have been thinking so many of romney's foreign policy advisers are former bush advisers. . to me all the president really needs to do is just point at romney and say bush, bush, bush. i mean, america does not want to go back to that way of dealing with other countries i think. >> yeah. >> martin, you're off to a good show when ana marie cox is making bismarck-y references. >> we saw in the nbc poll how mr. romney is leading among white men who represent more than 1 in 3 voters nationally. however, the same poll shows
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among latinos the president sup by an even bigger margin, 45 percentage points. which demographic is more important to who finally wins, ari? >> i don't know. i mean, i think these elections depend a lot on turnout. is somebody laughing? pundits are allowed to say they don't know when it's true, right? >> i think that's right. that's right. >> points for honesty. >> the main question that's implied in your premise is what is mobilization going to look like, and we have had unusual mobilizations recently in the last time obama was running. we had above average turnout among young people, among african-americans, and among latinos. if those trends continue, it's not just about the gap, it's about who turns out. and you couple that with the ground game this campaign has over 13 million people on an e-mail list, a direct way to mobilize supporters, and they have been doing it quite frankly, a lot longer than the challenger, and they may be able to turn out the very people who support them more, latinos and increasingly suburban women.
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>> okay. well, i want to put this to all of you. to ana marie first, mr. romney's top kneow con appeared with our colleagues on "morning joe" and it looked like he was trying to change mr. romney's position on iran. he says mr. romney's position has always been to find a diplomatic solution first, a military option last. new york magazine's john heilemann calls him on that falsehood. take a listen. >> yes, of course, he always said it should be the last resort. but if you're talking mostly about the military and you're doing it in israel, people are going to get the impression you're more bellicose than when you're talking about the need for talks, right? >> i think this is like splitting hairs. >> ana marie, tough love this guy. is there any republican who is more factually challenged? >> there are very few. for me dan is so intimately linked with iraq i sort of can't
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picture him without wearing combat boots. and i think, you know, it's not splitting hairs. dan is definitely hawkish on all of these things. again, so many people surrounding mitt romney have been former bush advisers, were pro-iraq war enthusiasts, have been pro-syria intention enthusiasts. these are people that want to go to war. sometimes it doesn't seem like it matters who, as long as it's like one of those brown countries over there somewhere. and i just find it hard to believe he's going to be able to make this pivot. >> martin, just to jump in, this dove tails with what you were saying with kristin welker in the earlier segment. there's not a lot of policy daylight here. what does that leave? it leaves rhetoric. it leaves these sort of parsimonious advances this romney made to his detriment in the last debate over libya. and i think when you look at what's happening on the ground in iran, you have a very aggressive u.s. policy. some people think too aggressive. but it has flattened the currency. it's engaged in cyber war or at least acts related to cyber war. and it has worked in concert
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very closely i would argue with the netanyahu government over a long-term plan that includes the potential military strike which i think we all worry about. the problem for mitt romney is trying to appeal to these hawkish ideas when, nfin fact, he's running up against a president who has run a hawkish and aggressive confrontation with iran here. >> ari, you're absolutely right. the president has been as hawkish as possible, but we don't want war with iran and the president has said that at least privately if not publicly, that that is the worst possible option. i think a lot of americans misunderstand this is a very large, very tough, very strong country. that is the absolute last option and in many ways dealing with a mutually assured destruction of them having the bomb and israel having the bomb might be better than losing thousands of americans in iran and having another sinkhole as we did in iraq. >> thank you all so much. next, florida's greatest aquatic
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johan comes in a porcelain vessel, crafted with care by a talented blonde from sweden. ♪ smooth, rich, never bitter, gevalia. we're here for the third and final presidential debate in boca raton, florida, and for those of us who come into this region from other parts of the country, it's always a huge temptation to take in one of those famed dolphin shows, but why watch dolphins when you can catch the finest flipper the world has ever seen, one willard mitt romney. joining us now is congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz,
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democrat of florida and chair of the democratic national committee. good afternoon. >> good to be with you. welcome to florida. >> thank you. it costs $75 to get into seaworld to see some of the finest flipping available. we see these mammals. but why pay that, we can watch mitt romney. he flips everywhere. tonight i'm expecting to hear nothing about the n neoconservative visors, none of the aggression we had throughout the primaries. it's going to be very moderate mitt, isn't it? >> what's really not disturbing is this is not flip-flopping. through the last debate he has engaged in nothing but deception and hiding the ball. on issue after issue he has essentially taken the opposite position or pretended to not have positions like his $5 trillion tax cut skewed toward the wealthy that's on his website. when it comes to foreign policy, he's engaged in nothing but bluster and blunder. he's done a "dukes are hazard"
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tour around the wornd and this is the last experience foreign policy ticket we have seen in a presidential campaign. >> what's been remark ashl is mr. romney has spent the last two, three weeks attacking the president on what happened in libya. but why should we give any credence to a man who thinks russia is our number one geopolitical foe, who insults the palestinians both privately and when he goes to israel, and also insults the british when he goes to visit them when his wife has a horse competing in the dressage? why should we give credence to his views in one area, one small area, when he's displayed some rank incompetence across all these others. >> i think what we will see tonight is another example of the very clear contrast between president obama, who has been a leader, who has restored our diplomatic reputation around the world, brought our troops home from iraq just like he promised, decimated the ranks of al qaeda, brought osama bin laden to
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justice, and made sure that we began winding down our involvement in afghanistan, and mitt romney who actually has said we should have left troops in iraq. who said it wasn't a priority to bring osama bin laden to justice. has not said how he would deal with afghanistan, and on issue after issue has really made it clear that he is not ready to be commander in chief. >> one of the problems i have with what he said is it appears he hasn't visited these regions of the world. he seems to behave as if he can impose organization, stability, control in countries that are in the midst of uprising, political uprisings. how is it possible that he says such nonsense about his powers to deliver that when the president himself has tried as best he can to partner with these governments and with the people that are uprising. >> the problem i have with mitt romney is that he has used every opportunity to badly politicize foreign -- important foreign policy issues. instead of closing ranks when the attacks on libya happened, instead what he did was he used
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the opportunity before we even knew that the american ambassador was killed, mitt romney was roundly criticized by republicans and democrats alike for politicizing an attack on the united states. now, no one after 9/11, no democrat or republican criticized george w. bush and tried to blame 9/11 on him. what we did was we came together as americans and that's what we should be doing behind president obama, but, of course, mitt romney in that 47% video made it very clear that he had no problem taking the opportunity to politicize a foreign policy event. president obama has said we're going to conduct an investigation. he immediately brought military assets to the region, made sure we beefed up security at our embassies around the world, and has said we're going to bring the attackers to justice. that's the bottom line and he's done that before, he'll do it again, and mitt romney offers nothing but reckless chest beating that really would jeopardize us internationally. >> congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, thank you very much for joining us. i know you're busy. a note to viewers, catch senator
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john kerry's interview coming up at 6:00 p.m. eastern on "politics nation nas" with the reverend al sharpton. next, time is short, we are nearly there. the final debate is coming up. stay with us. stay with us. ll admit it. i was skeptical at first. but after awhile even my girlfriend noticed a difference. [ male announcer ] rogaine is proven to help stop hair loss. and for 85% of guys, it regrew hair. save up to 42% now at
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we are fast approaching the start of tonight's final debate and the question remains, will independent and undecided voters be swayed by a fight over far-flung places like ka maed d cause and benghazi. matt, if i might start with you, florida is so diverse, senior
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citizens and hispanics make up a significant chunk of the voting bloc. that would seem to favor the president. but things are still very tight down here, aren't they? >> they are, martin, and i think there's a big story that progressives haven't focused on that help explain this. obviously in terms of hispanic voters, the president's been leading by 30, 45 points the entire prays but in the latest nbc/"wall street journal" poll, romney's lead among senior citizens is of60% to 35%. that's very much in line with what the pew poll had ten days ago. it's an increase in the lead among seniors from three weeks or four weeks ago, and what that means is even though the addition of paul ryan to the ticket put medicare and social security front and center in the ways that i think the democrats figured would work to their advantage, that is not the case, and there's going to be depending on how the dust clears on all this, there's going to be a lot of soul searching and rethinking if those issues
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couldn't get traction in a race like this. >> indeed. perry, in your column on, you write about the tiny sliver of voters who are still undecided. if not tonight's contest, what will ultimately decide things in their own minds? >> i don't know, martin. they've been undecided for a long time. polls show us 5% of people, 5% to 7% are undecided, and they tend to be people who don't follow politics very carefully. i don't think they will be watching the debate. what the tendency in the polls is though, the voters who are undecided tend to be younger and tend to be women and those are two good demographics for the president and that's a reason why the president might actually gain -- make some gains among these undecided voters. >> indeed. matt, all the focus has shifted to florida for the moment, meaning they've taken a break from campaigning in ohio. but a new quinnipiac poll
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suggests the auto bailout is really helping the president back in the buckeye state. among likely voters, 46% said the economy is improving while 22% said it is not. what does that tell you? >> well, it's again very interesting, martin, because even if on the senior citizen side the president has not been performing the way the progressives might expect, maybe because seniors tend to be whiter, a little more nostalgic, and there may be racial aspects to why they're not favoring obama, but in ohio it may be that the auto bailout, which was so critical to the momentum of the economic recovery there where it's actually doing better than it is in the other states, if it all comes down to ohio and the president wins ohio because of the auto bailout, that single decision may end up being the key to his re-election. >> right. perry, i'm sorry, they're very
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loud behind me. mitt romney promises to label china a currency manipulator, as you know. but, in fact, that would launch a trade war. do you expect him to stick to that position tonight knowing full well that many american businesses, american businesses, would suffer terrible harm if romney were to actually do that on day one of his presidency? >> i can jump in. i can jump in with a thought if you'd like. >> go ahead. >> i can hear you now. >> sorry, perry. i was mentioning this issue of mitt romney saying that from the very first day of his presidency -- >> i can't hear now. >> he would label china a currency manipulator. my question is do you expect romney to actually stick to that tonight knowing full well if he
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were to do that it would actually harm american businesses? >> my own view, martin, is whatever the difficulties that might pose for american business, and you're exactly right, mitt romney thinks he's got the credibility with american business to deal with that after november 6th. mitt romney tonight is focused on workers in ohio and trying to move numbers among workers in ohio. i expect he'll be very strong on his china bashing, and i think that he'll actually -- that will resonate because there's no question that the globalization and outsourcing has cost lots of u.s. jobs. i think romney will, if he can fend off the bain capital pioneer of outsourcing stuff -- >> but matt, isn't the answer to this problem to incentivize businesses to stay here and not offshore jobs rather than just labeling a country a currency
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machine nape late mali manipulator. >> i think we can do both. we have to take a stotough stan with china, the intellectual property theft. i think romney has points that are valid. it's an open question whether because of his profile he isn't boxed out of making those argue pts credibly in the eyes of voters and that's why the obama campaign is dumping so much in ads saying that mitt romney is not one of us in ohio. that's the battleground. >> all right. matt miller, thanks so much, and perry bacon, of course, thanks so much. sorry we lost perry. thank you for watching. our nonstop debate coverage will continue all night on msnbc. but for now chris matthews picks thing up with "hardball." i don't spend money
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with monster jumper. i think they're gonna love this, leapfrog leappad2 with games and apps. i say we flip a coin. you mean with your double-headed coin? you know you could put both those things on layaway and pay a little at a time. awesome!! awesome!! high-five? [ mom ] mmm, you and your trick coin...