RUSH: Tom Brokaw this morning on the Today Show. Savannah Guthrie: "We've been known to hype things in the past here in the media, but this is a very high-stakes moment." What we have here is the media advising Obama on how to bring up Romney's 47% comment.
BROKAW: The president can take a playbook page from what Vice President Biden did the other night in one answer talking about 47%. Where are your tax returns? We're gonna cut taxes for middle class, and if you're making more than a million dollars a year you're gonna raise taxes. I think that we'll see the president coming after him saying, "This is the Mitt Romney today. This is a different Mitt Romney than we just saw a month or so ago."
RUSH: Okay. So obviously the media is advising Obama. I think it's fascinating. They don't think Obama's capable of coming up with this stuff on his own. They don't think Obama, The Messiah, is able to do this without aid and assistance. But they also are of the belief that there are two or three different Romneys out there, and that Romney has genuinely flip-flopped on things like tax cuts and so forth.
They really think that there is an opening to go say that the Romney who showed up at the debate is not the real Romney, that the real Romney is the guy they've been caricaturing in their ads! What am I missing here? Clinton's out on the stump saying the same thing. They're trying to manufacture this notion that Romney is flip-flopping. I understand he's got that reputation. It goes back to the Republican primaries.
But what has he flip-flopped on?
What did he say in the debate that he's not been saying throughout this entire campaign? The difference in the debate was that he finally said it to Obama. Finally somebody said it to Obama's face, and Obama had no answer for it. Anyway, they think they're sitting on a home run here with 47%. They think it's a grand slam. "Where are your tax returns?" Romney's released his tax returns. He's shown how charitable he is.
He has shown how much he's paid in taxes. He has shown he's given more in charity percentage-wise and in dollars than Obama and Biden combined. "We're gonna cut taxes for the middle class. If you're making more than a million year, you're gonna raise taxes." It's $250,000. Well, Biden was talking about raising it to a million but they slapped him down at the regime. I hope they do bring up all this stuff.
It's Obama who's the sitting duck on all this. It's Obama who's got indefensible tax policy. It's Obama whose economic policies are proven to be destructive. Are they asking this guy to walk into a trap? Frank Luntz was on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose. Rose said, "The Romney campaign expects Obama is gonna be more aggressive. What does that mean? What risks are there for the president?"
LUNTZ: If I am Barack Obama, I'm focusing on one number: 47%. And I'm trying to drive that home as much as I possibly can, particularly because it's a live studio audience, and they're the ones who are gonna be asking the questions. "Which one of you thinks you fall in the 47% -- and Governor Romney: Who do you represent here, and who do you not?"
RUSH: As much as they're hitting on the 47%, if Romney does not have an answer for this, I will be stunned. I have the answer to it. That 47% tape, where he's talking to his donors, turn it around. "Hey, Barack, what about the bitter clingers?" Turn it right around if you want to, or deal with the 47%. Do both. Deal with the 47% and then say, "Well, you know, President Obama also said something in a campaign speech to some donors that people weren't supposed to hear.
"He said that he didn't particularly like people that cling to their guns and their religion. He's got a name for them: Bitter clingers." The thing about the 47%... It's not "the" thing because there are many things about it, but one of the things about the 47% is most people who are in the group don't think they are. Human nature, human psychology, they don't think they're in that group. But Romney can explain this with pure honesty without offending anybody.
Here's David Corn on Face the Nation yesterday during a discussion about the second debate tomorrow night. David Corn who's Mother Jones magazine...
CORN: The 47% tape, which I'll take some credit for, really showed a lot, and I think that's why Biden came back to it. And I do think in the debate ahead, talking to people in the Obama camp, Obama is gonna try to remind people that there is a gap between what Romney said in the debate and what he has or hasn't said previously.
RUSH: Okay. I'm sitting here in stunned amazement, and I'll explain why when we come back.
RUSH: No, I'm serious. I'm sitting here and I'm asking myself: What am I missing? I ask myself every day, "Am I out of touch? Am I losing it?" I'm paranoid about this. And I don't get this 47%. I don't understand. Biden used it. Biden used it against Ryan. Ryan didn't even respond to it. Biden is not considered the winner of that debate. I think I understand why this means so much to these guys. And they're really, really off base and looking at the wrong thing, the media is on this.
RUSH: Okay, from the sound bites that we've played so far, from some of the comments that were made over the weekend on the Sunday shows, it is apparent that the Drive-Bys are doing everything they can to tell Obama: Focus on the 47% comment that Romney made! Now, what was that comment? Romney was speaking to some donors, a private donor meeting in May, and there was somebody that recorded it. Fine and dandy. Same thing happens to Obama and everybody else.
In that donor appearance, I'm guessing he probably got a question or two from some dissatisfied donors: "Why don't you do this? Why don't you do that?" That's what happens at these things. I mean, these are big-bucks people. They're shelling out a lot of money. They expect something for it. "Why don't you do that? Why don't you run an ad for that group? Why don't you...?" I mean, people tell me what to say all the time on this program.
You're probably telling Romney in your own mind what you think he ought to do. So probably somebody said, "Why don't you go after this group or that group?" and Romney said, "Look, there's a bunch of people that no matter what I do, they're gonna vote for Obama. It's 47% whatever it is that are not gonna vote for me, no matter what," and he went on to describe them, and he did it accurately. They are your average Democrat voters!
It doesn't mean he's not gonna represent them.
It doesn't mean that he's not going to be president of them.
But this relentless focus on that 47%? Who doesn't know about it by now? The Drive-Bys are acting like there's still a whole bunch of people in the country that don't know it. Let me tell you what the truth is: The truth is that because of the first debate, it is Romney who is shocking everybody because he is not the guy that the Obama campaign's been telling everybody he is.
They've been running ads about Romney as a felon, a money launderer, a guy who doesn't care about people to the extent that he would let a man's wife die of cancer. And then the real Romney shows up at the debate and everybody is startled! The people who only know Romney by virtue of what Obama's told them or the Obama campaign or Obama PACs or the television ads are surprised. So the real shocker was, "Wait a minute! Somebody's not telling us truth here about who Romney is."
And now, after Romney shows up as who he is, as who he's always been -- but in stark contrast to the lying, savage, misrepresentation way he's been put forth in these ads -- they now want to try to tell the American people that the Romney they saw in the debate is the fraud and that the real Romney is the guy in their ads. Sorry, but that's a nonstarter. That isn't gonna fly. That's just outrageous.
It's like the analogy that I made last week to trying to believe that exit polls should count more than real votes. In the 2004 election, the exit polls had John Kerry winning in both the two and five o'clock waves of exit polls. Then the real votes started being counted and it was Bush that was gonna win, and the Democrats thought that the real votes was where the corruption was and that the exit polls were accurate!
So they think the Romney they've portrayed in these ads is the real Romney. Remember, they live in this world where they create lies about things and people, and that's what they believe. And when they're confronted with the hard, cold truth and reality that's diametrically opposed to what they believe, they're stuck! They don't know what to do. The Orwellian thing in all of this is that there is outrage that Romney brought up the 47%.
If anybody has been campaigning on the idea that there are enemies of the state, it's Barack Obama! If you have a job, you're an enemy of the state. If you're successful, you're an enemy of the state; you're not paying your fair share. If you have a small business and you want a tax cut, you're an enemy of the state. Romney doesn't have of the enemies of the state. But Obama sure does!
Obama's the one targeting certain groups. Obama is the one who wants to punish certain people and wants to get votes on the basis of punishing certain Americans. Obama is the guy who wants everybody around the world to know that he successfully put an American in jail because of a video that he did. Does anybody really think that Mitt Romney has enemies of the state that he wants to target or injure or harm?
That's not part of Romney's campaign. Andrew Sullivan, who was panicking after the first debate, was on Chris Matthews' show on Sunday morning, the syndicated version. And Matthews said to him, "How do you keep saying over and over again, 'My opponent's not telling the truth'? That's his defense against your rather passionate critique of the first debate."
SULLIVAN: The first thing you say as President Obama is, "Well, I'm for a hundred percent of Americans; here's for 47%." That's my first answer. Next?
RUSH: Yeah, but it's not true.
What am I missing?
Are these guys this distant from reality? Do they really think that Romney said he is opposed to those 47%? It is Obama, as I say, who has enemies. It's Obama who has a campaign to target certain people. It's Obama who is going to fine Americans if they don't do what he says, i.e., have a health insurance policy. But I'm struck. I really am. These guys, every one of these media people -- including Luntz -- think that all Obama's gotta do is this.
(Obama impression) "Well, he said that he only cares about a certain percent of the people. I'm for a hundred percent." I don't know where he goes with that because there's not one thing Obama has done that indicates he's for 100% of this country. He's trying to fundamentally alter it based on the claim that it isn't fair, that not everybody's got a fair shot. He wants to punish certain people!
It's Obama who's written off a whole class of Americans: The white working class. He had one of his minions, Thomas Edsall, write that very thing in a New York Times piece last November. I have two pieces here I want to share with you. One is Mike Barone, and I mentioned this in the first hour. There's a rumor that there's gonna be a Million Big Bird March or something in Washington on November 3rd, that weekend. Here's Barone's take on this. This is really good.
"When a politician is in trouble, he usually falls back on what he knows best -- the world he saw around him when he entered into political awareness as a young adult. That's what seems to have happened to the Democratic ticket after Barack Obama's disastrous performance in the Denver debate Oct. 3. So Obama on the campaign trail and Joe Biden in the vice presidential debate fell back on what they know from their formative political years.
"At least that's the best explanation I can come up with for the Obama campaign's obsession with Big Bird." Have you wondered with this? I have. Intellectually. Of all the things going on in this country, they really think there's ground to be gained by claiming Romney wants to kill off Big Bird? They really think that. Okay, why do they think that? That's what Barone's exploring here. They really do believe that. They think there's ground to be gained.
"But someone in the Obama campaign -- and remember that the campaign always reflects the candidate -- thought hitting Romney for defunding PBS, Sesame Street and Big Bird would be devastating. Never mind that Sesame Street gets little money from the government and has an endowment in the hundreds of millions," and it does. The woman that runs this is the wife of a former Treasury secretary. They're billionaires! This is absurd to say that Romney can kill off Big Bird.
Anyway, "As the Sesame folks assured us, Big Bird is going to continue to be on the air whatever Romney does." Okay, if they cut the funding, which isn't that much, we'll spend our own money which we're doing anyway to keep Big Bird on the air. Big whoop. Now, Barone points out: "The Big Bird offensive would have been more effective in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Obama came of political age. Lots of people then saw public broadcasting as a needed alternative to commercial television.
"Better your kids watch Sesame Street than cartoons interlaced with ads for sugared cereals." The point is that in 2012 the demographics are such that with so many TV channels available (not just the three networks and PBS and CNN out there) nobody is being denied the chance to see anything they want to see. No matter where they go. No matter who's paying for it.
So the idea that a Republican is gonna come along and kill off Big Bird doesn't mean anything to anybody because they know he can't. Obama's living in the past, which is what liberalism is. It's rooted in the past! They go back to the old pages of their playbook. It's what the class envy thing is, really. "It's an argument with some appeal still in the state Senate district Obama sculpted for himself in 2002, linking black neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side with the rich liberals in Gold Coast apartments.
"But for ordinary voters, with 133 cable channels to choose from, Sesame Street and PBS are just not a big deal."
Sesame Street and PBS do not equal the greatness of liberalism or the survival of liberalism like at one time it did. It isn't that big a deal. That's why everybody laughed, Romney's gonna kill Big Bird, big whoop. If Romney kills off the Big Bird we'll come up with a new program that gives you the big bird, in flip form.
"Fast forward to Joe Biden at the debate. He clearly delivered what the Obama campaign wanted: lots of lusty attacks on Mitt Romney, repeated mentions of that magic number 47 percent, and smirks and groans and derisive laughter. He interrupted Paul Ryan and moderator Martha Raddatz more than 80 times, which may have been off-putting to independents and undecideds. ... On substance, he was weaker. He denied that the White House knew that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was attacked by terrorists rather than in a spontaneous demonstration prompted by an anti-Islam video." He said he didn't know that there had been requests for additional security and so forth.
"In his closing statement, Biden identified Romney’s '47 percent of the people who won’t take responsibility': 'He’s talking about my mother and father. And he’s talking about the places I grew up in, my neighbors in Scranton and Claymont.' When Biden first ran for the Senate in 1972, those people, born around 1920, would rally to candidates who promised to maintain Social Security and Medicare. They would understand his reference to Republican opposition to these programs when they were enacted in 1935 and 1965. But, respectively, that’s 77 and 47 years ago now."
The fact of the matter is that most young people don't expect there to be any of that for them, number one, and number two, the Obama campaign wrote off the 47% last November. You people the media, you want to keep bringing this up. You want to live by the 47, you're gonna die by it, because we can trot out all the op-ed pieces where the Obama campaign had decided to write off white working-class voters, i.e., the 47%. But while Obama goes back and tries to scare people with Big Bird being killed off, Biden was doing the same thing, trying to scare people here that his mother and father are gonna be denied benefits. That's what the 47% means. It's not what it meant. It's not what it ever meant. And it just shows how both Biden and Obama are rooted in the past.
Barone's point is you go back to what's comfortable and that's what was when you were just coming of age in politics. And he's right about this. But beyond that, it's the Obama campaign who has enemies of the state. It's the Obama campaign that wrote off white working-class voters. I'm really amused these guys think that -- I mean, it didn't work for Biden. What did Ryan say? "Well, Mr. Vice President, I'm sure you know that sometimes things just don't come out of your mouth the way you intend them to." At that point, by the way, Biden said, "No, I always say what I mean," which is pretty damn scary, if you ask me. But I don't see it working for Biden. I may be missing something here. At the time, I understood why it could be a problem, but I think it's a very narrow focus.
These guys have a personal -- these media people -- have a personal passion here of destroying Romney, regardless its effect on the election. I think they found the 47% comment, they aired it, they put it out there, they want it to matter. That's why they were ticked off to no end that Obama didn't use it in the first debate. They're taking it personally. They saw a guy who phoned it in. They saw a guy, Obama, who didn't care, no passion, looking at the floor. No interest whatsoever in being at that debate, and they thought they handed him victory on a silver platter with that Romney 47% tape, so they're hell-bent on him using it.
RUSH: I mean, what did they think Romney's gonna do? Obama's saying, (Obama impression) "I'm for president for 100% of the people, and he's for 47%." What do you think Romney's gonna do? "Okay, I quit. Damn it, he mentioned the 47%." What do they think, Romney's just gonna lay down and die, go home? Obama's been using the 47%. He been using it in his stump speeches. They've got ads running on this. What's happening? Romney's still going up; Obama's still trending down.
If you want to start talking numbers, I mean, Romney can start talking unemployment numbers, any numbers. I think Obama's goose is cooked no matter where he goes. I think that 47%, I wouldn't be surprised if these guys are disappointed again. That 47% is precisely for ads and stump speeches, but it is not something you use when you give Romney a chance to rebut it. That's why Obama didn't use it the first time.