Stakes high as nominees prepare for round two

California Congresswoman Karen Bass weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, are you ready for tonight? How are you feeling about tonight?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I feel fabulous. Look at this beautiful day.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are you going to say?

OBAMA: Gorgeous. I hope you enjoy the weather.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you aware Michelle voted for you yesterday?

OBAMA: Thank goodness.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is Hillary Clinton to blame for Benghazi?


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, the president earlier today leaving a Virginia retreat. He was informed that his wife had voted -- I guess he took it as a given -- for him.

Have we ever had a spouse who has not voted for -- I don't know. That would be kind of a newsmaker right there.

You know, true to the president being able to cultivate an image here -- Ronald Reagan was very aware adept at this as well -- there were a lot of follow-up questions on that on Hillary Clinton and whether she had taken a hit on this Libya thing on his behalf.

He ignored those questions on focused on the ones that he liked. Candidates do that. That's their wont.

All right, we have Congresswoman Karen Bass joining us from the fine state of California. She reminded me that it includes Hollywood.

REP. KAREN BASS, D-CALIF.: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: And that's 20th Century Fox territory, Fox studio's territory.

BASS: Yes.



CAVUTO: So I guess I should be careful, Congresswoman.


CAVUTO: Do you think -- I was raising this with John Sununu earlier - - how and whether it comes up. And you were reminding me, like he, that this is a venue where it is tough to get nasty.

Does the president need to get nasty? Does he need to get like an in- your-face Joe Biden?

BASS: I don't think he needs to get nasty, no.

I think that it will be very important for him to point out the differences between his position and Governor Romney's. And I think it is also going to be very important to point out Governor Romney's inconsistencies. And I think interacting with the audience and connecting with the audience is something that he does very well.

CAVUTO: They always say -- I don't know who is right on these surveys, Congresswoman -- that you don't want to appear too negative or to deflect an average American's question to weave it into a theme or narrative of your own, because not only will the questioners in that room see it, even though they are probably plenty nervous.

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: But people at home will see it.

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: So it is a delicate balancing act.

But the president almost has to be on offense tonight because of his - - I think generally agreed -- anemic performance a couple of weeks ago. So, how does he play that?

BASS: Well, I think that, in a town hall format, you can directly answer the question that the person asked, but then you can go into what you want to talk about beyond that.

But I do think it is very important to answer what the person asked, but you will have an opportunity to get your piece in too.


You know what is interesting, too? I now notice it is almost more important when you are not the one being asked, because cameras are always looking on the opponent or the opponents, in the case of 1992...


CAVUTO: ... when we had Ross Perot and -- who -- we had George Bush Sr. then, and he famously of course looking at his watch.

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: So, we look how they react, too, right, if they make contorted expressions or look, in the case of the president, down or somber.

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: Does that matter? Or do we in the media over-obsess?

BASS: Well, I think when the media over-obsesses, I do think...

CAVUTO: Everyone else does.

BASS: Sure, because, actually, I was watching the debate, and I actually had a different response than what everybody did afterwards.

I thought the president was very thoughtful. I thought Romney seemed a little hyper and I thought he was interrupting the moderator a lot.

CAVUTO: That's interesting.

BASS: But the spin afterwards was so strong that even though I felt differently when I was watching it, after I heard the spin, it was like, what did I miss?

CAVUTO: Well, that is where -- that is where this room gets crazy, right, because then afterwards, they all start saying, did you see how he "ummed" and "ahed," did you see how he looked down?

BASS: Right.

CAVUTO: And then you scratch your head and say, yes, yes, I guess I did and all.

So, how important is this room afterwards, Congresswoman?

BASS: Well, I think it is important, because unless the viewer turns off the TV immediately after the debate is over, then they are -- what they are left with is the spin.


BASS: And, of course, we will all be there spinning.

CAVUTO: Now, you're one of those who has been advocating a hand across the aisle and not a thorn. And we will have to see that no matter who wins this election, no matter what the makeup of Congress is.

Do you think can we? I know you work well with Republicans and they with you, but not too many creatures like that in Washington these days. And I don't mean that as a negative. You know what I mean?

BASS: I do.

CAVUTO: Like, the camaraderie is just sort of not in the sauce here.

BASS: I do. And I just think that it is really important, because the issues that we're going to be facing right after the election, we have to get so much done before the end of the year. Frankly, we have to get done...

CAVUTO: It is going to be up to a lame-duck session of Congress to do it all, isn't it?

BASS: Right, all the stuff that we should done over these last couple of years.

CAVUTO: Do you think it can be done, or will they punt for another six months?


BASS: Well, I think it has to be done.

But I do think, depending on the outcome of the election -- and you know we are not talking just about the presidential, but the Senate and the House of Representatives -- as to whether or not we make definite decisions or whether we delay it by 30, 60, or 90 days, as you said.

CAVUTO: Right.

Congresswoman, a real pleasure. Thank you very, very much.

BASS: Thanks for having me again.

CAVUTO: I know you have been on a tight schedule. We will see your reaction tonight in the spin room.

BASS: OK. All right.

CAVUTO: It's going to be slightly more crowded.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-2012 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.