While Mitt Romney is polling strong in Nevada – as her own network had reported – CNN's Ashleigh Banfield still questioned how anyone in the state could "connect" with him over his laissez-faire approach to the foreclosure crisis. Banfield's question came at the bottom of the 1 p.m. hour of Friday's Newsroom.
The CNN host dismissed Romney's free market solution as hurtful to his own campaign, as if Nevada voters might not support such a remedy for the housing market.
"[H]ow is it that anybody in Nevada, conservative or not, could connect with Mitt Romney when he says something about foreclosures to this effect?" Banfield asked on Friday afternoon before playing a clip of Romney saying the crisis needs to "run its course and hit the bottom" before bouncing back up. "Ouch," she exclaimed when the clip ended.
"I know Republicans and really strong conservatives like the free market economy, but I'm not so sure they like it when it applies to their home and they're underwater. How is this going to play in Nevada?" she asked, dismissing the free market conservative solution to Nevada's housing woes.
However, Banfield could easily have asked how Nevadans can "connect" with President Obama over his government-heavy solution to the housing market, given that their unemployment and foreclosure problems are happening under his watch.
And GOP guest Gentry Collins pointed to the polls that Romney actually doing well in Nevada. Banfield's own network, three hours earlier, reported Romney ahead in Nevada by 20 points according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 3 at 1:33 p.m. EST, is as follows:
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: One in 75 properties in Nevada is in foreclosure and unemployment in that state is 12.6 percent. So how is it that anybody in Nevada, conservative or not, could connect with Mitt Romney when he says something about foreclosures to this effect? Have a listen.
MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes. Put renters in them. Fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.
(End Video Clip)
BANFIELD: Ouch. Gentry Collins, here's what I think. I know Republicans and really strong conservatives like the free market economy, but I'm not so sure they like it when it applies to their home and they're underwater. How is this going to play in Nevada?
GENTRY COLLINS, former political director, Republican Party: Well the polling evidence is that it's playing quite well. I think – look, this president has not been honest with the American people. He said we could just spend our way out of this recession and it hasn't worked. We spent most of his presidency over nine percent unemployment. We're celebrating now the fact that we're just at eight-and-a-quarter percent unemployment. Just 18 percent of the American people have an optimistic view about their economic future. This President has failed, and I think that American voters are ready for some straight talk about what it takes to put this economy back on track. That's what they're getting from Governor Romney today.
BANFIELD: And I'll bet you the President would have something different to say, especially after today's jobs numbers. But I know how they can be looked at two different ways.
Let me move to this, and that is the statement that was made about the "I don't care about the very poor." That's one very small sliver of Mitt Romney's statement to Soledad O'Brien the other day. And he's coming out to say, okay look, hey, I talk a lot, I give a lot of interviews. You're killing me here. I made a mistake. Let's listen to how he talked about it just last night.
ROMNEY: It was a misstatement. I misspoke. I've said something that is similar to that, but quite acceptable for a long time. And you know when you do, I don't know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong. And I misspoke. Plain and simple
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What did you mean to say?
ROMNEY: What I said was that my focus – my primary focus is on helping people get in the middle class and grow the middle class.
(End Video Clip)
BANFIELD: Man, there is just nothing like some good old-fashioned contrition from a politician. But, Maria Cardona, I'm going to put you on the hot seat here. I – my "spidey senses" say that you and your Democrats are going to seize on it and exploit it anyway. Are you?