All-Star Panel: Grading candidates on their closing arguments

All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MITT ROMNEY, R – PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: If there is anyone who is worried that the last four years are the best we can do, or if there is anyone who fears that the American dream is fading away, or if there is anyone who wonders whether better jobs and better paychecks are a thing of the past, I have a clear and unequivocal message -- with the right leadership, America is about to come roaring back.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This should not be that complicated. We tried our ideas -- they worked. The economy grew. We created jobs. Deficits went down. We tried their ideas, they didn't work. The economy didn't grow, not as many jobs and the deficit went up.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The closing arguments in the final hours. We're back with our panel. What about the closing arguments and what these two candidates are really running on?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, for Obama it's very simple. He's saying in fact, despite some of the statistics, that his policies have worked, they just need more time to work, and Romney is a bad guy. Romney is lying about what he is represents himself at, that he is not the moderate he's portrayed himself at. That he's going to be a rubber stamp of very conservative Congressional Republicans and he will take us back. That's his simple argument.

BAIER: Brit?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, just looking at the two closing arguments. I would rather be making the one – or the type of one that Romney is making than the one that President Obama is making. The president however, is burdened by a record that on some very big issues, principally including the economy. He has basically not done what he said he would do. That is a huge problem for him. So necessarily there is a larger component of dumping on the other guy in his closing argument than there is in Romney's.

Romney is talking about hope and change. That is what Obama was talking about four years ago. That is a more uplifting final argument to make. And it looks -- just watching Romney, he looks happier and more comfortable with himself making it. The president seems a little weary, a little hoarse, and glad to have this over with. And I think that is what Romney is doing and saying that may be a little more attractive. It doesn't mean he'll win, though.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Well, look, I think the line -- America is gonna come roaring back – is a very strong line; very aspirational. And I think it's the kind of thing that people want to hear. We're not where we want to be. And he is going to give us something better. So I do think Romney is doing a great job on his closing arguments.

I think the president is being measured against himself four years ago, which is a hard thing to be measured against. You know, so he does have a record that he has to talk about. But I think at the same time he is doing a good job of getting people fired up, getting the base fired up, which is what he needs to do. And people like him still. You know, even though people aren't happy with the direction of the country they still like the president.

BAIER: Although, likability numbers seemed to flip in recent days, in fact, Mitt Romney on some polls was out-performing President Obama in likability, which was shocking if you looked back a few weeks. There was no way that that was going to happen. Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It was. And I think that is the main part of the function of the fact the president has been making the argument that he's been making. If you go back to April, which was in effect the beginning of the general election, there is a certain symmetry to the arguments that we're seeing today, where you've got Mitt Romney making sort of a big, optimistic argument -- hopeful argument, and you've got the president basically saying, as Chris said, that guy is bad. It's not going to work.

And if you look at it from that perspective the president's basic question is we've tried really hard and we'll do better next time. And Mitt Romney's argument is, I don't care how hard you've tried, you haven't produced results. And that's really, I think, the debate.

WALLACE: I think the revenge thing was a very unfortunate comment for Obama. And again, you have Obama is saying vote for revenge. These are the guys that have screwed you in the past, they're going to do it again. And then you have Romney saying vote for love of country. Boy, that's a bad contrast from Obama's point of view.

HUME: If I were President Obama what would I wish for at some point in this past week? You've got Governor Romney out there talking about -- he is the one that's going to be doing a great job of reaching out to the other party. Then you have the TV pictures of the president with Governor Christie in New Jersey, post-hurricane walking around with that governor -- that Republican governor, that Romney-backing Republican governor praising him. That's pretty good stuff for him.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. Thank you. But stay tuned to see how a future voter reacts to this election.

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