TODAY | October 16, 2012
>> much. msnbc political analyst steve schmitt is a republican strategist and adviser on john mccain 's presidential campaign and jennifer gran home hosts "the war room " on current tv . nice to see you. you've run your fair share of campaigns. is it in the realm of possibility that paul ryan was washing clean dishes, would a campaign do it?
>> it is absolutely within the realm of possibility.
>> i thought you were going to say no.
>> and those dishes are extra clean now, absolutely.
>> wow. governor. let me go to you. before the first debate it seemed all the pressure was on mitt romney that he was presidential and could handle the big stage. boy, is the shoe on the other foot.
>> i know.
>> all the pressure on president obama . is this game seven, to use a sports analogy, win or go home for him in.
>> it's not win or go home because there's a third debate so the question for him though is can he put that first debate behind him? and i think he can. he's really just got to talk about what he's done, how the economy is moved, and he cannot let the misstatements sit there like he did in the first debate.
>> in other words, he's got to go after mitt romney and challenge him to come up with specifics?
>> it's a target rich environment, if you will, because there's been a lot of ambiguities.
>> no question, steve, that there's going to be a different barack obama facing mitt romney tonight. can mitt romney use that to his advantage. can he look at voters and say which president obama is in the room right now, the way that president obama is probably going to say to voters which mitt romney is in the room, the conservative or the moderate?
>> sure, absolutely, and president obama has to be very careful not to overcompensate after the bad first performance by coming out tonight by being too negative, being too hot. if he does that it could backfire badly with a very small group of voters that are going to decide this election.
>> here's what obama is now saying on the campaign trail. he's saying, quote, after running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative mitt romney is trying to convince you he was severely kidding. how does mitt romney answer that question why have you moved to the middle tonight?
>> i don't think he has to answer that question.
>> i think he does.
>> i think the one thing that everybody in this country knows is that mitt romney has had a flexibility were his positions on any one of a number of issues. it's about what is the plan to move the country forward. what is his plan to create economic growth, and i think if obama spends his evening trying to point out something that everybody already understands, it's going to be difficult for him.
>> if everybody already understands that he was a severely conservative guy who is trying to put on this facade of being a moderate, that's a question of trust. who are you really? what is your core? and if you are masking what you are really bringing, then i think the president can really take advantage of that.
>> there's been some discussion of the moderator in this, candy crowley . a town hall style debate. the questions coming from undecided voters , but candy in interviews on her network say i feel i have the right to follow up questions as i see necessary, and it seems both campaigns are a bit upset by this because it's been carefully negotiated, but we're choosing the leader of the free world here. shouldn't voters expect that these guys can handle a couple of follow-up questions.
>> you go, girl. that's what i say.
>> i thought you were talking to me, that's weird. i didn't know where you were going.
>> you're overreacting, matt.
>> that shouldn't be an issue.
>> there's no bad question, only bad answers and both campaigns will try to work the refs a little bit before the debate and be prepared for whatever comes.
>> real quickly, you don't get to ask the question tonight, governor. what's the one question you would like to ask of mitt romney tonight?
>> personally i would want to ask him are you going to have a litmus test for appointing justices to the supreme court to overturn "roe v. wade" like you said in the president.
>> and your one question for the president?
>> why would the next four years be any different than the last four?
>> we're moving, man, come on.
>> wait until the physical violence at least holds off to the end.
>> thank you very much. you can watch the debate tonight at 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific time right here on nbc.