TODAY | November 06, 2012
>>> back now at 8:10 with more of "today on the trail." women voters could hold the key to deciding today's presidential race so what is driving them to the polls. the co-hosts of msnbc's "the cycle" joins us now.
>> good morning, savannah.
>> looking far to you battling it out in a few seconds. let's talk about the women 's vote generally. seen both campaigns bend over backwards to woot women vote, whether it's in their ads, their speeches, we can all remember an romney saying i love you women at the republican convention . why is it a potentially decisive bloc of voters.
>> typically because men outnumber the men at the polls. just in terms of the math it makes sense to go after women and there's a sense that women are up for grabs. they have been dissatisfied and unhappy with the progress on the economy and on the other hand upset with big extremism on the republican social issues. there's a battle there, and both sides are trying to get their message across.
>> break it down further, s.e., unmarried women who are potentially the swing voters in this election. what does governor romney need to do to close the gap with them?
>> too late, election day . actually, i mean, as much as i agree that women are a valuable part of the electorate i don't think either side has really done a good job of courting women . i think on the left democrats have reduced women to reproductive rights and on the right i don't think romney has explained in great detail what his economic policies are and neither have began out of their way to address the issue which most women care about which is tax reform . i'm a small business owner. i'm a woman. i may have a family one day. would i love the tax system to be a little bit more simple, and neither candidate really talked about what they would do in terms of -- outside of expanding the bush tax cuts or not.
>> how do you explain the fact that governor romney has made up some ground with women in our most recent polling?
>> well, you know, i think when the gap was at the widest it was because actually democrats were talking a lot about things like the lilly ledbetter fair pay act . they were talking about women 's health issues which are important to a lot of women , and that's not -- that's not reducing them down just to reproductive rights , but that is an important issue that women are concerned about. during the debates, romney went above and beyond to portray himself as reasonable, as moderate, as someone what you shouldn't be scared of, who is not extreme. there wasn't a lot of talk about lilly ledbetter and the fair pay act and not a lot of talk about things like defunding planned parenthood , personhood amendments which are seen as very extreme so because he made that rhetorical shift to the center, i think women started to feel a bit more comfortable.
>> s.e., you say they haven't really addressed women 's issues and it's not all about reproductive rights , not the only women 's issue but do you think some of the inpolitic remarks coming out of republican senate candidates have hurt the republican cause and potentially mitt romney in.
>> absolutely. they were crazy statements, and democrats were very good at spinning them to make them look like representative of the party and representative of the presidential candidate , and they are not, of course, but then that put mitt romney and other republicans into damage control mode. they suddenly had to speak for todd akin and mourdock and explain them away and provide some nuance to their -- to their statements.
>> well, in actuality, while todd akin and his bizarre comments are not representative of the republican mainstream, the position on abortion, no abortion, no exceptions, even in the case of rain and incest, that is the republican party platform, and paul ryan in fact co-sponsored legislation with todd akin to redefine rape so to say it's totally --
>> not mitt romney 's platform so it put mitt romney in a position to say that's not what i believe and now i have to explain for this guy and my party and tell you what i would do differently. it was a heavy lift for him.
>> crystal and s.e.cupp who just prove the point just because you agree you don't agree