Ed Gillespie on This Week: Feel the Romentum!
On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Ed Gillespie tries to put on his happy face about electoral prospects for Mitt Romney. At one point, he was practically stuttering. Ha, ha!
STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let's go to Ed Gillespie for the Romney campaign. Good morning, Ed. Good to have you this morning. You heard David Plouffe right there, his closing argument, Governor Romney would be an enormous risk.
GILLESPIE: And that we're doing better, we should build on the progress we made. The fact is, George, the unemployment today is higher than the day President Obama took office, 23 million Americans struggling to find work, the household income down by $4,300. That's what this campaign is about, them saying, you know, we need to keep doing this, we need more of the same, essentially, we need four more years like the last four years, and Governor Romney promising real change.
Yep. He's promising to pursue policies that will make it much worse.
You know, in terms of President Obama's policies, we've heard that if he's re-elected, I guess his agenda is he will establish a secretary of business. He thinks that somehow is going to help foster job creation, when Governor Romney has been talking for -- for months now about his five-point plan to grow the middle class with greater -- unleashing domestic energy supply, balancing the budget, tax reforms, greater trade. You know, we have a very strong agenda that is resonating with the American people, and that's why he's going to win on Tuesday.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard David Plouffe's assessment of the battlegrounds right now. They believe they're in a strong position with that Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin firewall, and you heard him say that you all are playing defense in Virginia and Florida and a desperate ploy in Pennsylvania. Your response?
GILLESPIE: You know, four years ago -- it's -- it's a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana. When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the -- the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney. And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this -- the map has expanded.
Wisconsin, Minnesota has expanded our way. We feel very confident in terms of where we are in the -- in the target states. We've been able to expand into Pennsylvania while fully funding and staying current with everything we need to be doing in Florida and Virginia and Ohio and all of the other target states.
The only way the Romney people will win Pennsylvania is to steal it. Roughly half the population of Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs. Very few of those counties will go for Romney -- suburban Republican women just aren't going to vote to defund Planned Parenthood, or overturn Roe v. Wade - and if they do, there's something crooked going on. But Gillespie has never been one to let facts get in the way!
GILLESPIE: I think what you're seeing, George, if I can just say, you know, when you listen to -- to your previous guest and he talks about the ground game, ground game, ground game. They constantly talk about that, and they're doing conference calls all the time on this. Their assumption seems to be that these undecided voters, the -- you know, the president and Governor Romney are both about 47 percent, 48 percent, as you know, in these polls, and their assumption seems to be that these undecided voters aren't going to turn out and that they, therefore, prevail because of their superior ground game versus ours.
Number one, their ground game is not superior. And, number two, I think those undecided voters are going to turn out, and they're going to break pretty strongly against the president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you think they're going to break -- but when you see all the public polls in the battleground states, most of them show the president holding a quite small in many of the states, but steady lead in a lot of the key battlegrounds. You just think those state polls have some kind of statistical bias in them?
GILLESPIE: Well, it depends on which ones. I mean, I -- you know, there was a poll in Virginia, as you know, my home state, that had the president winning by 2 percentage points -- I think it was 47-45 -- and Governor Romney winning the independent vote by 21 percentage points. Now, I can tell you, George, if Governor Romney wins independents in Virginia by 21 percentage points on Tuesday, he will not lose to President Obama by 2 percentage points.
So there is -- you know, the most recent public poll for one of the other networks had -- Ohio had Obama ahead, but it had a plus-9 percentage point Democratic advantage. That would be a bigger margin than -- for President Obama in 2012 than he enjoyed in 2008. I just don't buy that. I don't see it.
I actually believe, when I look at the data, when I look at where the president is, when you're the incumbent president of the United States and you are at 47 percent or 48 percent on your ballot two days before the election, you are in deep trouble. And that's where they are today. And I don't -- I believe, when I look at the intensity numbers, when I look at being on the road for three days with Governor Romney and the crowds, when I look at the undecideds, I believe that Governor Romney will not only win on Tuesday, I believe he could win decisively.
I don't see it. Obama is the one who has momentum in the polls, and that's a pretty reliable indicator of the winner. Barring the Supreme Court intervening, of course!
STEPHANOPOULOS: In these final days, of course, so much in the Northeast impacted by Hurricane Sandy. You heard Mayor Giuliani in the previous segment. The president's also received some praise, as well, and most voters, according to our polls, think he's handled the hurricane about as well as he could. Does Governor Romney have any quarrel with the way President Obama has handled the hurricane?
GILLESPIE: Well, from what we've heard from the governors, they're working well with FEMA. There's a good working relationship between the state and the federal government.
As you know, Governor Romney has focused very much and asked our supporters to help those, our fellow Americans who are in need, and who have been harmed by this devastating hurricane. We've constantly and consistently asked people to donate to the Red Cross and to the Salvation Army and put that information up on the -- on the screens at our events. We've asked people to bring canned goods and to -- and Governor Romney turned some of our volunteer centers into collection centers.
So we are keeping those hurt by the storm in our -- in our prayers and in our thoughts and trying to not only keep them in our thoughts, but in our actions, as well.
So he completely sidesteps the issue, and Stephanopoulos lets him. The question should be, does Romney think private charity is enough to handle a $30 billion disaster?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, do you agree with Karl Rove that the president's response has helped him politically in this last week?
GILLESPIE: You know, I just don't know. You know, we're very focused on highlighting the difference in this election. Governor Romney is closing very strong, with a big speech about the differences that would happen in the next four years.
I think when you look at where these two candidates are going and what they're saying, it reflects kind of the strategy, President Obama asking his supporters to vote for revenge, Governor Romney asking our -- our -- asking Americans to vote for love of country, very sharp contrast. And, again, I think this gets back to their desire, their assessment that they need to still energize core Democratic voters.
In your poll today, George, as you know, there's a difference in intensity between self-identified Republicans and self-identified Democrats, of about percentage points, Republicans saying they're certain to vote relative to the Democrats. And what I hear from the president is kind of an energizing the base message. Governor Romney, you know, has a much bigger message that I think resonates strongly with a lot of those undecided out there.
Finally, he's telling the truth. Yes, Democrats are disappointed because we actually worry about the effect of policy on people.
Whereas, all you have to do to energize the Republican base is wave a Democrat in front of their noses!