This is where I tell you that national polls don’t mean much, then I cite national polls. It’s a snapshot in time moment.
The good news today for Pres. Obama in match-ups is because of the Republican circus, in Iowa and in the House, but also because of the end of the war in Iraq.
The bad news is that Mitt Romney is beating him with independents, which comes from PPP not Rasmussen, and is no surprise to anyone around here.
For the first time in PPP’s monthly national polling since July 2010 Mitt Romney’s taken a lead, albeit a small one, over Barack Obama. He’s up 47-45. Romney has two main things going for him. He leads the President 45-36 with independents. And he’s also benefiting from a much more unified party with 88% of Republicans committed to voting for him while only 83% of Democrats say they’ll vote for Obama.
It goes along with a National Journal assessment of a “third way” poll, which has independents growing more than the big two parties:
The group’s analysis found that, in the eight politically-pivotal states that register voters by party, a significant number have left the Democratic party since 2008, with many choosing to register as independents. Over 825,000 registered Democrats in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have departed the party rolls since President Obama’s election in 2008, a much more significant share than the number of Republicans (378,000) who have done the same. Meanwhile, the number of registered independents has ticked upwards by 254,000.
Pres. Obama’s latest moves on indefinite detention and on Plan B haven’t helped him, nor did Democrats collapsing on the millionaire surtax. Contrary to what his die hard fans keep professing, who keep insulting people with real issues with Pres. Obama’s lack of fight on issues that matter to progressives, he’s going to need every single vote to win in 2012, even those pesky progressives. That’s especially if the Republicans choose someone like Mitt Romney, still the likely nominee, or the the long shot conservative candidate, Jon Huntsman.
So, whoever has kept Mitt Romney from doing interviews should be tarred and feathered. Or was the strategy to save Mitt for the moment until it was absolutely necessary, using the candidate as their ace in the hole? Newt Gingrich tripped that wire, if so.
Whatever it was, the interview with Chris Wallace, who has a reputation for distaste for Mr. Romney, was something nobody in the White House took lightly.
On Bain Capital, Mr. Romney gives the conservative argument for capitalism:
WALLACE: What if President Obama goes after you as Gordon Gekko, greed is good?
ROMNEY: Of course he will, in part because he’s been the great divider. This is a president who goes after anybody who is successful — and by the way, he’s pretty successful, too. He’s done very, very well over the last several years. And we’ll get into it in some depth.
And I’ll point out that in my experience in the private sector, and in the investments that I made, in the businesses I helped to build, our intent in every case was to either help people realize their dreams by starting a business or taking a business that was failing or underperforming and making it more successful.
My business was not buying things, taking them apart, closing them down. My business was associated with trying to make enterprises more successful. Not always was I able to succeed. But in each case, we tried to grow an enterprise, and in doing so, hopefully provide a better future for those associated with that enterprise.
WALLACE: Let’s pick up on Bain where you worked for 25 years, and you said that’s what sets you apart. You have worked in the real private sector and you have created jobs.
There have been some big successes, Staples, now you helped start it. They now employ 90,000 people.
On the other hand, we saw that four of the 10 top dollar investments you made went bankrupt.
Is that just the cost of doing business?
ROMNEY: Well, it’s not just a cost. It’s the downside. It’s the reality of what life is like in the private sector, which is that businesses that you invest in — and those are not enterprises that I ran, of course.
ROMNEY: But in businesses that you invest in —
WALLACE: GS Industries, Dade International.
ROMNEY: Right. And a company like GS Industries was a group of steel mills and I think we were an investor in that business for, I don’t know, eight years or so. It finally went bankrupt after I left the firm. It was an investment that was made. Again, I wasn’t running it.
But the steel industry got in trouble in this country. I think 40 mills went bankrupt the same time it did, in part because of — well, in this case, dumping from places like China into this country.
I understand the impact of what happens globally in trade. And businesses, you know, lose and go out of business, and in some cases, lose jobs. It breaks your heart when that happens. It also loses investment.
And by the way, you probably know this — the dollars in Bain Capital weren’t my dollars. They came from endowments and even a church, a pension fund was — not my church, was invested in Bain Capital and that money goes to them. When we suffer the losses, they’re the ones that suffer the losses as well.
WALLACE: You talk about the money. Back when you were in Bain Capital, you and your partners took a picture with money literally coming out of your pockets, coming out of your jacket, and you know — just as you talk about Gordon Gekko — you know the Democrats are dying to use that picture against you.
What’s the story of that picture?
ROMNEY: Already have and will. That was at the closing of our very first fund. We went out as a group of folks and said, you know, I wonder if we can raise money from other people to organize a company. We can get capital from others that will allow us to begin a business that will be successful.
And we went out and raised money. We were successful in raising our first fund. It was about $37 million, an extraordinarily large amount of money that we raised from other people and we posed for a picture just celebrating the fact that we had raised a lot of money and then we hoped to be able to return it with a good return.
And in the interim, of course, we had to be successful, build enterprises. That first fund got invested in a number of businesses that turned out to create a lot of jobs and yielded very positive return to the people who entrusted with their funds.
But I know that will be used. I know that. It will be fun.
I recognize the president is going to go after me. I’ll go after him.
WALLACE: And if he says or somebody says, maybe as an independent group — fat cat, hard-hearted. You know, let businesses rise, he makes money. Businesses fall, sometimes he still made money.
ROMNEY: You know, I know that there’s going to be every effort to put free enterprise on trial. And to attack free enterprise, to attack people who work in free enterprise and attack those who believe profit is good.
A profit in an enterprise is better than loss. Loss means jobs are going to be lost. You hope — I hope to see General Motors as a profitable and successful enterprise again so that jobs can be spared.
You know, I mentioned the other night: the president has had one experience overseeing an enterprise — a couple of enterprises, General Motors and Chrysler.
What did he do? He closed factories. He laid off people. He didn’t do it personally but his people did. Why did he do that? Because he wanted to save the enterprise, and he wants to make it profitable so it can survive.
Profit in enterprise is essential to keep it alive and to keep people employed.
At the very end of the interview you get a glimpse of why, going back to 2005, I’ve contended that Mr. Romney was a threat to Democrats if he got a shot at the title. Against Pres. Obama, who is liked, but has never connected with the American people, the following exchange reveals an emotional side of the Gordon Gecko tagged man that reveals heart not yet seen.
It’s why Obama reelect hasn’t stopped pounding Mitt Romney from the start.
WALLACE: Your campaign has now put your wife Ann out on the trail, some say to humanize you.
How would you describe your relationship? Are you sweethearts? Are you partners? Are you best friends?
ROMNEY: All three. I mean, Ann and I fell in love when we were in high school. It doesn’t happen to a lot of people. You know, she was 15 years old when I really took notice of her, and I was a senior; she was a sophomore.
I gave her a ride home from a party. She’d come with someone else. I kissed her at the door. And I’ve been — you know, I’ve been following her ever since.
She’s — she’s a remarkable woman. And — and she’s gone through some tough times. She had a diagnosis of M.S. She’s had breast cancer. And my — my feelings and passion for Ann haven’t changed in the slightest over the years other than to become stronger.
WALLACE: She says that, when she got that diagnosis and the two of you were in the room together, when the doctor told her, that she felt — she felt as if her life were over and you both cried. How tough a moment was that?
ROMNEY: Probably the toughest time in my life was — was standing there with Ann as we hugged each other and the diagnosis came. And I was afraid it was Lou Gehrig’s disease. As we came into the doctor’s office, the brochures on his table there were Lou Gehrig’s, ALS, and multiple sclerosis.
And — and he did these neurological tests, and then he — and we could see that she had real balance problems and she didn’t have feeling in places she should have feeling. And he stepped out of the room, and we stood up and hugged each other, and I said to her, “As long as it’s not something fatal, I’m just fine. Look, I’m happy in life as long as I’ve got my soulmate with me.”
And Ann is, and she fortunately has been able to recover the great majority of her health. But, you know, this — this marriage thing, it’s about bringing two people together in a way that nothing else compares with.
WALLACE: But how did you convince her and how did you convince yourself because, you know, you must have thought this isn’t only a change for her; it’s a change for “us” that you could get through it?
ROMNEY: Well, she knows how she feels about me. She feels the same way about me, I hope…
… as I feel about her. And she knows that, if I were to be afflicted with some kind of condition at some point, that she would feel the same way about me.
And, you know, I said to her, look — I mean, she said, “I can’t cook anymore.” I mean, she was — this was a really difficult time. At the time the disease was diagnosed, it was really tough for her. She — we’re getting ready to look at putting an elevator in the house to get her up to the second floor. We were thinking about a wheelchair for her down the road.
I mean, we were talking about a dramatic change in life. She was tired all the time. She couldn’t take care of the family in the way she had in the past. And a lot of that was — was what gave meaning to her, you know, day-to-day activities.
And I said, “Look, I don’t care what the meals are like. You know, I like cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches. We could do fine with that as long as we have each other.”
I mean, if you think about what makes a difference to you in your life, it’s people. Life is all about the people you love. And, you know, I — we can handle disease. Death, that’s a different matter. Death — I don’t know that I can handle death. Disease and — and hardship, we can handle as long as we have the people we love around us.