Is 2012 race the most uncivil in campaign history?
Our Focus Group weighs in
- Duration 12:19
- Date Aug 23, 2012
Our Focus Group weighs in
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
You fallout today from what some political pros have called one of the most divisive.
And polarized presidential race.
In recent history.
Remember back in 2008.
Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren held a sit down.
With the presidential candidates than John McCain and then senator Barack Obama.
It was such a success that pastor Warren planned a similar forum this week between President Obama and governor Romney.
But yesterday -- announced it was canceled because he said.
He was concerned about the negative tone between these two camps in recent weeks.
Here are some of the remarks from both sides that have drawn recent attention.
Either Mitt Romney threw his own words and his own signature.
His position at -- to the SEC when -- -- felony.
Or he would misrepresenting.
-- position that made to the American people to avoid -- responsibility.
For some of the consequences of his investment.
Look can you imagine how -- This president is introducing the concept of felony into the discourse.
When this president comes out of Chicago politics.
Where a felony and politics -- sometimes a synonym Romney wants to let that he says the first hundred days he's good the big banks once again right through rules.
They're gonna -- you all back in shaves.
This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like so Mr.
Take your campaign and division.
And hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuild.
If you look at the overall trajectory of our campaign.
And he adds that I've approved.
And -- produced by my campaign you'll see that.
We point -- sharp differences between the candidates.
But we don't go out of bounds.
So is there any way to overcome this kind of vitriol.
Or is this the future of American politics.
Here now our focus group.
A panel voters both Democrats and Republicans and independents panel welcome back.
I mean -- those -- tell the story of what we've been watching unfold in this country over recent weeks and let mr.
with UN is Kevin.
Are are both sides equal opportunity offenders.
No and I think what's surprising people is that the Republicans have fought so hard this time normally.
With the Clinton and the Obama campaigns and in years past you've seen kind of scorched earth philosophies from David Axelrod and those types.
This time Republicans and got a little bit of spine behind them and they said we're gonna push back and not just peace steamrolled.
I think that's what's next shot you like -- comment that -- sit -- -- date back to your darn accurate I think he's saying you are it it is a divisive campaign.
And it's it's not anything like.
They were gonna put you back in chains to do the the size of the rhetoric -- Ronnie took flak for saying take your hate it back to Chicago you're -- and divisive misses and -- hate.
Maybe took it to another level -- -- and that's absolutely not I think it's not even hate that I focus on its anger.
And so there's a racial component to that that I hear when I hear him call the first black president.
Angry I also think that you know the tone of the campaign and the tone of the Obama administration you can't get to compromise without.
Both sides making concessions.
And Republicans came into office are what -- -- -- office Republicans outright said we don't want him to get second term we will do everything to block him.
And so it's not necessarily that he as the one that suffice it it's both sides.
Are doing partisanship thinks the same time he's almost.
Clips and it wasn't really President Obama and it wasn't really as much governor Romney but there's surrogates have been out there and in the voice of Barack Obama his vice president.
And his deputy campaign manager and is a question about whether that takes this to another -- -- one thing you know.
President when he -- -- presidential candidate and I say this for somebody who's was in the all Oval Office with President Clinton and frankly we -- run a scorched earth campaign we got a balanced budget agreement done with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans afford a president.
Of the United States.
The Republican nominee.
Can shut this kind of taught these ads down in a second by saying stop it by offering leadership vision consensus and conciliation.
And if you look at the record I was like -- yeah.
Yeah ninety's that's what -- Look I don't get any email when asked if president went about President Obama this president said when he was inaugurated.
That he was going to heal the partisan divides.
Now that may have then you know a lofty aspiration.
But is there any question about whether he has done medically -- you but you Molly O'Donnell.
-- I don't think he has I think that the partisan the -- is not much bigger.
I mean we need a leader we need somebody who helped give some direction to help us out wouldn't it I'm a businessman in New York I don't know where we going.
There's no -- it is no nothing it's just not part of it has -- I mean.
-- -- full assortment has their own agenda.
But when you get elected to office shouldn't -- be a leader should you do your -- should you do -- for the people and.
I guess I'll ask you Brad has been your -- Democrats -- hasn't healed the partisan divides.
The you don't like the partisans of kids started way before just this campaign it's a good start of the second that -- the president.
But yeah -- -- -- as President Obama said that he was going to with humility.
Pulled the red states and the Blue States together and help heal the partisan -- I look at the look at how easy it now gut check time for your weekend.
You look at the legislation that he's proposed.
He's -- he has gone to the Republicans they've put there input into some legislation including the health care legislation and every single time to ask that it's every every single.
Every Republican Robert and I couldn't stonewalled him -- when it came down to the heck yeah.
-- it is what does that.
He upsets of the committee he he tried but he was stonewalled and now he's angry he's angry and I take account and I -- you.
Okay well this is a symptom of a country that is deeply divided I wish both would -- -- that -- rhetoric a little bit.
But I don't have a big hope for that between now and November and she got half the people paying the taxes in the country and the other half of want them to pay more.
You've got half the country that want to expand entitlements and the other half saying we've had enough of this.
You get eighty million baby boomers who want their piece of the Medicare -- and they're afraid they're not going to get it.
Furthermore in this congress.
Most members of congress are far more vulnerable in a primary than they are in -- general.
So they're always running to their base and ever afraid street too far toward the middle up toward -- compliment.
This kind of back and forth you mentioned the language you -- -- -- hit in the language.
It make you feel when he -- his back and forth that kind of back and forth between the president and governor running these two minute what's president wants to be right at.
And I think that the issue here is -- Is that the language that the leadership has been using has been about division the middle class the 1%.
The wealthy the 99 book the book putting people in box says.
And the fact of the matter is were all Americans that isn't about the Democratic Party is not about the Republican Party it's about Americans -- I would like to see the discourse.
Elevated to say this isn't what the people want I don't think any of us on this.
Panel one and -- yeah leaving you mentioned President Clinton you work preparedness and but there's a business may have believed that this is how politics -- illness and then his way to look at this cutting my.
Spent two years with President Clinton.
I can tell you we work to get an agreement to do what Carol said.
Which is to bring people together.
To talk about differences on issues.
But ultimately work for compromise -- -- what we need now is leadership Carroll's right both candidates have to talk about.
A better future for all Americans regardless of.
Yeah professor Rick -- -- the saddleback -- that the -- camp was quick to point -- -- -- -- actually never agreed to participate -- -- and it was set to take it plays this -- other question about.
Whether -- really was a forum that was about to take place and what exactly got canceled but in any event pastor Warren tries to get the candidates together have a civil discussion he said I think it's not gonna happen here.
I think a lot of folks just felt sad that we're at the point now -- it.
But in this guy doesn't feel the two -- sit down across from each other and have a fashion that won't elevate the debate I mean I want I think I think that those two -- -- -- -- Obama can sit down in a form together.
But I I agree -- today that.
This -- for the first time is at an ideological cross roads.
-- -- -- half the country that wants to go towards a more socialist system in the other half of the country that wants to could stay with what we've always been Wednesday capitalist system.
And with social media and everything.
You're not forced to listen to the other side anymore you're -- that you can just delete your friends -- block your friends who don't agree with your point of use and you get the same thing I -- back to you.
So when you hear something you don't like I think it becomes very divisive very quickly yeah.
Who is this time around because you know last time I was very polarized it.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Obama go ahead again render the.
Part of it all is that the people want progress if you look at the statistics you look at the polls.
Congress' rating is about 12% or less so people -- just dissatisfied look at New York State things have moved forward records has been.
Are reaching across party once they wanna -- to question the political parties want the divisive this the people want progress.
And it's a question of -- the political candidates are going to listen to in this next election.
Chris anywhere not New York Chris Christie in New Jersey just signed a bill with the teacher's union head to head of the teacher's union there with him.
He's gotten -- just passed with both Democrats and Republicans so I think it can be done.
You just need someone who is willing to swallow their pride.
And they need to say yeah.
I think you also need to recognize though that a large portion of the electorate wants leaders who are principles and when you stand on principle you are going to be divisive -- what I'm going to inevitably make people angry and upset.
And if you look back at the 2010 election season a lot of those Tea Party candidates were elected because they were going to dig their heels in on these issues.
That was the way right now right yeah compromise but my right but the question of tone as it is it.
Maybe Atlanta you can elevate the rhetoric and still present two very different visions of where you want this country to -- you can act like adults and not like children and still -- -- -- Because you know we talked about Joseph Biden earlier on the program earlier this week and you know there's something -- about the guy -- even if it for you Republicans do you think -- -- -- and out of -- love yeah.
-- Do you were you offended at the bit to show -- we offended by some of those comments you saw him make in particular the presidential -- I knew it yeah.
I haven't you done in the past just because he's -- -- -- -- he doesn't get a pass on that he should just use another word to describe the same thing you mentioned the race implication that you read into Romney's not remarks about Hayden and anger anger.
Did you see the same on what Joseph Biden was -- I like it but I mean I think that you know obviously -- is not a word you you should use when describing.
You know what Wall Street has done particularly in front of a black audience but I also think that calling the first black president angry I am black obviously.
And I just don't think that when I hear and other kind of -- angry black man if I can change this is this the new reality it's 2012 never.
We've got to -- gas cans I know I keep ripping on -- my apologies.
Hey -- this is exciting now that we -- the -- celebrity.
I don't have it's almost -- -- don't live in Texas society is this reality things.
To change in the second continental congress one senator beat another one over the head with a -- -- got hauled off to jail for -- Because they were having a principled argument.
The idea of advancing principles and what we believe in is what makes -- a representative republic work and it's OK to disagree we just need to be agreeable and doing.
All sizes I -- -- -- maybe a -- in in business all the time people negotiate -- have different interests in different positions that they can come together in contact everyone wants America to be great sound great if you -- speak to and I respectfully I like I was final litigation when you're arguing against the other side.
It would be too much better results than it was all about any other war would -- that.
Panel thank you very -- out.
-- here to see a single kind we are here.