"Face the Nation" transcripts November 4, 2012
The Sunday before the election, take a look at everything you need to know with Peggy Noonan, David Gergen, Dee Dee Myers, Rich Lowry, John Dickerson, Leslie Sanchez, Anna Greenberg, Stu Rothenberg, Larry Sabato and Anthony Salvanto.
SALVANTO: And I would say this, as we look at this on election night early on, even if these states are close, even if Obama wins a Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, we may not know that right that away because they're really close. I think they only break if there's a very giant wave, and frankly, none of us see that coming.
SCHIEFFER: You think we're going to be there late?
SALVANTO: Oh, yes.
GREENBERG: It depends what happens in Florida. I mean I actually think Florida is a toss-up. And if you look at the early vote, it leans pretty heavily Democratic. And in fact in a lot of these states where Obama is ahead by a point or two, the early vote is Democratic. The Republicans have caught up, but it's still Democratic leaning.
SCHIEFFER: My sense is we'll be waiting to see what in fact happens in Nevada and especially in Colorado.
SALVANTO: I agree with you.
Once we get Ohio, once we know Ohio, then we've got to look out west. Like I said, they need something else to go over the top. But we'll also be there late because of the senate. I don't suspect we'll know senate control until pretty late, until after we see North Dakota, until after we see Montana as well.
SALVANTO: And Arizona as well.
So, yeah, we've got a late and I think exciting night ahead. But some of these, especially all of these states, too, that we've been talking about, their counts are going to come in over the course of a couple of hours. So we'll have some suspense building there.
SCHIEFFER: All right, let's take a little break here and then we'll come back and talk about this some more. We'll be back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: Well, this race has been close from the very beginning, but Stu you saw a shift about a week ago.
ROTHENBERG: About a month ago, Bob. When you look at the end of September, right before that first presidential debate, it looked like when you fast forwarded a month it looked like we would be sitting here and know who was going to win. And that first debate fundamentally altered the race, it fundamentally raised some questions with some swing voters, white working class voters, about the president, about his enthusiasm, energy. But also it changed the image and impression of Mitt Romney. Suddenly he became not the ideologue, but more the problem solver, the business guy, not the just - not simply the conservative Tea Party Republican - most of us don't think he ever was a conservative Tea Party Republican - but the Democrats saw that image.
And that debate, I think, fundamentally changed things. And if you look at the most recent polls in terms of image, Mitt Romney's favorable is significantly up. A number of polls have him virtually even with the president.
So, Romney's reputation and his ability to alter the initial picture of him, the Democrats ran, you know, ads over the summer and going - right before the conventions Mitt Romney doesn't care about you. The debate changed everything.
SCHIEFFER: So why is that, Larry?
SABATO: Well, it was because, I guess, what, a couple of hundred millions dollars was spent defining Romney in negative terms, and then people saw him up close, and said, "gee, he's not such a bad guy." You know, so the real life contradicted the television advertising.
But, Bob, just to add a footnote here. I agree with what Stu has said about October 3, the first debate, but I also look in close races for the last-minute trend that may lift one candidate a point, a critical point. What happened this last week? Hurricane Sandy lifted President Obama because he was presidential and Mitt Romney was forced off the stage for three days. And the president dodged a bullet on jobs on Friday. Those two things in combination I think pushed Obama up and over the top in several of these very close states.
SCHIEFFER: Let's let Anna and Leslie...
GREENBERG: First of all, Mitt Romney had to run as a right wing Tea party guy in the primary. So it wasn't just Democratic money. He defined himself that way. And the Republican platform was about as conservative as it's ever been. So it wasn't just Democratic money that sort of created that image. I think, though, that to follow up on Larry's point, I think that the economy, people actually-- if you look at people's perception of the economy and the number of people who say it's getting better, worse, or the same, the better number has been going up. If you look at people's assessment of the economy, consumer confidence has been going up.
This jobs report is not dodging a bullet. It's actually consistent with what most Americans think about the economy. That it's getting better. They don't think it's great, they think we still need to do a lot, but we are in a much better place than we were -- even on direction of the country. We still have a majority of people saying the country is going in the wrong direction, but it's about 15 point down from 2010 and 2008.
So I think that, you know, the jobs report actually builds upon a narrative that people actually feel like the economy is getting better.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think hat the storm hurt Mitt Romney, Leslie?
SANCHEZ: I think it-- it benefited the president. Let's put it that way. Which is a distinct difference. I agree, he looked very presidential. I think Governor Christie looked good.
You know, at this point -- the sad case is when you see true bipartisanship, people were skeptical. Like in the media we're like why are they working together? That's what government is supposed to be doing.
SANCHEZ: That's what was frustrating about the coverage and just the way people talked about it. I think it's America coming together for the better part of America - for the best interest of America. So very good.
You know, now that you have the residual effect of it's a bigger storm than people anticipated, the recovery is going to be more difficult, there's some aftermath. I agree with Peggy Noonan, probably, you're not going to know until later really where the blame and such falls.
But to the point of the economy, I think it's very important -- there are some basic past statistics, important things -- 1800 people a day are losing their homes in foreclosures. You have these families who are very concerned about financial stability and taking care of their parents, taking care of their children. These are the ones that are saying these are the policies of President Obama that has put us here. I like him personally, but I don't necessarily agree that he's going to be part of the solution. And he has yet to offer one word of solace or solution that gives them that relief.
That's why the momentum, I would couple it with the election of 2010 is with Republicans, closing the gap in Colorado, in Virginia, and in Ohio. And that's what... SCHIEFFER: Anthony?
SALVANTO: On the point about the economy and bipartisanship, it's interesting, even on what might be objective facts, we see a partisan split. Most Democrats think the economy is doing OK. Most Republicans in polls say that it's bad. So they can't even agree on that. But it's also part of why this thing itself is so close to 50- 50 today.
So when we look at the exit polls Tuesday night and we're talk about views on the economy, you know, remember that there's a lot of that partisan coloration in there, too.
ROTHENBERG: And I would simply add that I agree entirely.
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