All-Star Panel: Convention strategy for Romney campaign

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The last thing, you're young looking, you are 42. Do you get concerned that people will say, that guy is too young?

REP. PAUL RYAN:   No. I don't think so. We have had plenty of presidents in their 40's, vice presidents in their 40's. I've been in Congress 14 years. I have more experience than President Obama did coming in office. People know who I am. If you want to understand me, it's this -- I am not trying to be anybody other than who I am. I'm proud of my record in Congress.  I'm proud of the principles that built this country. And what I want to do is make sure we reapply those principles so we can revive the American dream and get people back on the path of opportunity.


BAIER: Congressman Paul Ryan in Janesville, Wisconsin, talking to us today, another clip you didn't see earlier. We're back with panel. Charles, you heard Mitt Romney in a couple of interviews just over the past couple of days say, including with Chris Wallace, "I am who I am," and he quoted Popeye a couple of times. It sounds like they are coming to the personal laying out the biography here in Tampa.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look Ryan just has this aspect to him where when he says, "I am who I am," and he talks about thinking about the future while hunting, he stands on the field on that hill, you know it's just completely authentic. One reasons incidentally why youth is not a problem for him he looks so serious, speaks so seriously. Dan Quayle had a bad rollout, and as a result he didn't look serious, although he was a serious man but he didn't look so. So his youth really hurt him.

But it's not going to -- it's actually going to help with the Ryan-Romney ticket, or the Romney-Ryan ticket, because he gives it energy. And for Romney, I mean, he can't do the, he is not a natural politician the way a Clinton was or an Obama is.  But I think he can overcome that by being earnest and sincere. That is as close as he gets and I think that is enough. That's all Americans want, a competent, earnest and sincere leader who I think can make the case. I think he can.


A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I still think that Mitt Romney needs to tell a little bit more about himself this week. I think he's criticized Obama for months, the race came to a draw. There is a place for him, there is room for him to break away at the end here. By really -- not doing something bold but just really engaging with the public. Not a lot of baby holding or anything. And he doesn't have to start weeping in the camera. But I think he needs to talk more about his family, his life, his toughest decisions, maybe, you know, his relationship with his dad whatever it is so that people at home who are shopping and want to hear more about him get something more.

BAIER: Steve, Governor Romney has said openly that that's not easy for him.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right. Yeah I mean, I think you do see a contrast to a certain extent between the kind of politician that Mitt Romney is, the kind of politician that Paul Ryan is. Ryan, you said, he is comfortable in his own skin. He has always been that way. He just is who he is. And you talk to him about things -- you do an interview and he talks about reading economic texts until midnight and then falling asleep. That's totally believable. It sounds like something that a politician would say maybe to sort of prove his bona fides on economics. That is exactly what Paul Ryan is. And look, some of us, I just want to be clear about one thing, some of us on this panel don't think that 42 is very old, I mean is too young --


HAYES: I think that is pretty old.

BAIER: Mara, final word.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Look, I think Romney has a tough job. He has to try to get his likability ratings up without seeming like a phony or seeming like he's changing himself. Now yesterday he talked about buying shirts at Costco. And you know, he flipped some pancakes and he talked about how he does the dishes. I don't know if that's gonna be enough. But it's something he's really resisted up until now. And if you don't want to do it, it might come off like it's not real.

BAIER: Last thing, 30 seconds, Charles. We still have this storm out there. It still may be a hurricane to New Orleans, still a challenge for the RNC.

KRAUTHAMMER: Unfortunately, I think the RNC canceled the wrong day. Today was a sort of lovely day, a little overcast, but it was a day that they could have used. Thursday and Wednesday are gonna be tough because you may have people out there suffering, and how are you going to make speeches, especially attack speeches? You have to change the tone. So they might have been lucky to cancel a Thursday rather than a Monday, but we are where we are and they're going to have to deal with it.

BAIER: RNC says they will be nimble. Thank you, panel, as always.  That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for final thoughts about the week ahead.

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