Reince Lowers Expectations; Obama Reviews the Tape

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Reince Lowers Expectations; Obama Reviews the Tape
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Reince Lowers Expectations; Obama Reviews the Tape

RNC chairman Reince Priebus spoke awfully highly of Joe Biden on CNN's State of the Union today.  "I think most people understand that Joe Biden has been debating for a long time -- since the early 1900s he's been debating," Priebus told Candy Crowley. Praising the enemy is certainly one way to lower expectations leading into the VP debate. When Crowley asked Priebus about polling numbers that show most people think Paul Ryan's going to come out on top, Priebus said it's because Joe's tongue has been tripping lately. "Biden as of late put his foot in his mouth in very public ways," Priebus said. "He said some things that were problematic." But he is confident in Ryan's chances. "I think that Paul is going to do a great job," Priebus said. "But I also think it's very important for people to understand and I think people realize that Joe Biden is a gifted orator. He's very good at rhetoric. And I think he's very relatable."

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The President has reviewed the game tape of Wednesday's debate and he knows where his strategy went wrong, according to David Axelrod. The President's senior campaign adviser explained to Bob Scheiffer why their game plan went wrong on CBS's Face the Nation. "The president showed up with the intent of answering questions and having a discussion, an honest discussion of where we will go as a country, and Romney showed up to deliver a performance, and he delivered a very good performance," Axelrod said. "It was completely un-rooted in fact, it was completely un-rooted in the positions he’s taken before and he spent 90 minutes trying to undo two years of campaigning on that stage, but he did it very well." Axelrod said the President "was a little taken aback by the brazenness with which Gov. Romney walked away" from the things Obama did bring up. "That’s something we’re going to have to make an adjustment for in these subsequent debates."

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If he could afford it, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is so confident the President is going to take Ohio that he's willing to bet $10,000 on it. He offered the lucrative wager to Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine on State of the Union. "If I was as rich as Mitt Romney, I would bet Mike DeWine $10,000 that the president is going to win Ohio," Strickland said. Dewine, a Romney supporter, sees it differently, obviously. "Romney's going to carry Ohio," DeWine said. "It's going to be very very close race." Strickland's offer came as a response to Dewine's glowing review of Romney's debate performance. "What you saw Wednesday night was the first opportunity that the average person had to see these two candidates head to head for the very first time," DeWine said. Strickland gave Romney an overall failing grade, though. "I give him a B+ on style, but I give him a D- on substance and truthfulness," Strickland said.

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Two economists came on State of the Union to say the job numbers truthers are all a bunch of quacks. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain's former economic adviser, and Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, both said the numbers were solid. "It's a statical anomaly, not a conspiracy," Holtz-Eakin said. "The numbers were collected in a professional way. It's the same procedures used every month." Zandi thinks it's silly. "It's silly, counterproductive," he said. "Silly because these are professionals doing it, not politicians," he said. "It's counter-productive because it seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the political process."

Robert Gibbs thinks Mitt Romney is a master thespian. During an appearance on ABC's This Week, he told host George Stephanopolous that Romney put on a "masterful" performance on Wednesday. "Gov. Romney had a masterful theatrical performance just this past week," Gibbs said, "but the underpinnings and foundations of that performance were fundamentally dishonest." Gibbs particularly loved Romney's comments on his economic plan. "He walked away from the central tenet of his economic theory by saying he had no idea what the president was talking about," he said. "Ten minutes after the debate, even his own staff is walking back his answers on health care and preexisting conditions." But don't let that silly problem detract from the performance as a whole. "I don’t want to take anything away from what I think, again, was a masterful, masterful performance by Gov. Romney," Gibbs said. "But I don’t think Gov. Romney’s positions have changed, and fundamentally, I don’t think the campaign has changed."

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Ed Gillespie thinks his boss's plan to cut PBS funding won't hurt Sesame Street. At least, that's what he said during his This Week appearance. "Big Bird would be pretty successful, I suspect, without a government, federal subsidy and all that debt," Gillespie said. He thinks the country can't afford to fund public programming for kids. "If you have to borrow money from China to pay for these programs, is it worth it?" Gillespie said. "That's the test that should be applied if we're going to impose this debt on future generations." Also, Ed Gillespie is a dad and he's seen Sesame Street toys at Walmart before. You can't fool him. "Big Bird, I can tell you as the father of three children — grown now — but any father who's gone to a toy store knows that Big Bird is a pretty commercially successful entity," he said.

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Newt Gingrich thinks Clint Eastwood's chair performance may have been a vision into the future. Or, at least, it was symbolic of his debate performance. "Mitt Romney walked over him," Gingrich said on NBC's Meet the Press. "The weird moment with Eastwood and an empty chair may turn out to be symbolic." He unsurprisingly thinks Romney did a better job. "The job of the president is supposed to be to be competent and to be able to stand up for what he believes in and to be able to articulate what's wrong," he said.

The Terminator also appeared on Meet the Press. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a chat with David Gregory about his new book and his family on Sunday. He actually launched into an inspired defence of bipartisanship during their talk. "I learned first hand that the only action is when both parties come together," Schwarzenegger said. "I've seen first hand, that when you bring both of the parties together and if you do the people's work -- if you see yourself as public servant rather than a party servant," he said. And, by his own count, he was pretty good at encouraging bitpartisan cooperation while he governor. "When we brought Democrats and Republicans together, we did the infrastructure, we made a commitment to rebuild California, we did all of our environmental progress in reducing the greenhouse gases, and making a commitment to 33 percent of renewables, and stem cell research and on and on and on," he said.

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