It has been quite an interesting few weeks on the campaign trail. After the conventions, Mitt Romney comes out and has a few difficult weeks, building up to this 47 percent video that came out this week and has caused his campaign a huge pause. Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan elaborated yesterday on a column she wrote earlier this week calling his campaign incompetent. She wrote yesterday that what she really meant was "rolling calamity."
But then yesterday at the same Univision forum Romney spoke at one day prior, President Barack Obama kind of put his foot in his mouth, too. He said, "I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside."
Well I think Romney responded to that in a pretty smart way by saying, well, okay, I'm from the outside and I can change Washington.
But speaking of this Univision forum, I really liked what Scott Pelley said on the Evening News last night - he said you'd think Romney and Obama were running for governor of Florida, considering all these events they're having down there. It just underlines how important a state Florida is. I think it would be impossible for Romney to be elected if he loses Florida - I think that's how crucial it is. I think if he should lose the combination of Ohio and Virginia, it will also be really difficult. But as we're seeing now, all of these battleground states are very, very close.
They're close, but Romney is not leading in any of these key states right now. He's not leading in the states Pres. Obama won last time out, not even in North Carolina, the state people said would be the hardest for the president to win again this time around. So for the Romney team the chips are down and the pressure is up.
It's going to be a tough one, but you really can't call this race just yet. This whole thing is going to go right down to the wire.
On Sunday I'll talk to Former President Bill Clinton, and I'm eager to get his take on the state of the race. But more importantly, I'm looking forward to talking to him about the overriding issue in this whole campaign, which is which of these candidates can get Washington moving again? For the last two years the country has been virtually paralyzed - or at least our government has. It can't seem to do things it even wants to do. What will it take to end some of this gridlock? Pres. Clinton had quite a bit of experience and some successes working with both parties when he was in office, and I'm anxious to hear what he has to say about this big issue.
And of course, in my opinion Pres. Clinton is the single best maker of a political speech alive today. Listening and watching him speak at campaign events is sort of like watching Joe DiMaggio play centerfield. Some people are good at it and some people aren't so good. But he's probably the best. So it's always interesting to sit down and talk with him.
I've also got an all-star panel lined up. Mother Jones' David Corn who uncovered the video of Romney at that fundraiser where he made the "47 percent" comment joins me, as well as The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan who's had such harsh words for Romney this week. David Gergen, who's worked with presidents from Nixon through Clinton and was an adviser to Pres. Clinton is on the panel. So is TIME Magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel, whose cover story for the magazine this week is about Pres. Clinton and his work solving global issues. And of course, our very own Political Director John Dickerson will be on the panel to help make sense of this crazy week.
I hope you'll join us.