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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 30, 2011 10:00am-11:00am PST

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conservative vote was clearly divided among six candidates all splitting tea party support. chuck todd is nbc news chief white house correspondent, host of "the daily rundown" and political director. three titles, a big job and you're doing it all nonstop. >> we've got a wild 96 hours ahead of us. >> this is wild. when you look at that tea party support. 20% goes to santorum, he has more than anyone else, how volatile is it? >> the ceiling is 20. bachmann, the sixth place candidate gets 10% of tea party. so six candidates are between 10 and 20 and among that's half of our sample, but that is the explanation, if mitt romney wins. because the conservatives have not cool esed around one candidate. but remember a poll is a snap shot. the question is when you take your snap shot are you watching your picture of somebody rising, and you're catching it in the middle and he's still rising? say rick santorum. or are you in the middle of somebody who's falling and the bottom is falling out, say speaker gingrich at this point? we don't know.
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but you see a lot of warning signs in there for speaker gingrich and the fact that his unacceptable rating about being the nominee has skyrocketed. >> 35% saying unacceptable. >> in a month went from 5114 to 35, 35. there's one explanation for that. he was pummelled on tv ads. i saw that one service analyzed all of the traffic. half of the negative traffic overall were negative ads against newt gingrich here in iowa. >> we'll see in a moment, i asked mitt romney about that. is it the mitt romney people? the rick perry people, all piling on newt gingrich. >> ron paul. don't forget. >> and this is the new reality, that they can use super pacs, supporters, they say they're arm's length, but because of the supreme court decision, it goes back two years -- >> what a difference citizens united make. >> four years ago romney had to do it himself on huckabee and it
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backfi backfired. r it went after huckabee. romney had to be the guy that said i'm mitt romney and i approve this message and it was a negative against mike huckabee. he hasn't had to run a single negative ad because the super pac has done all the dirty work. i think now you're seeing the citizens united impact on how these caucuses and frankly it could end up being why mitt romney is able, if he is, to wrap this thing up early. >> chuck todd. we'll be seeing you throughout the day, the evenings, throughout the day. >> in ten city of support. >> santorum has the intensity of support. and mitt romney doesn't. >> that's something who shows up if you're the i guess i'm with mitt rom dmi. do you show up on tuesday? biggest question. >> that's the difference between a caucus and a primary. >> yes. >> thank you, chuck. and there was a time when mitt romney who lost iowa four years ago kept his distance from the hawkeye state. not anymore. he is all-in. and he took a break from his morning rally today to discuss the campaign, his ads, hi
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opponents, and a possible running mate. you love being out here in iowa. what's different this time? >> well, there's a lot of excitement. i think part of that is because people really do want to see change. last time around, we didn't know who would become president. now we have president obama, people in iowa recognize that he has not done the job they'd hoped he'd do and they're excited about bringing real change to washington. >> our new nbc news poll shows that there is, while you're out front, there's a lack of enthusiasm. you're behind perry and paul supporters among your supporters in terms of real enthusiasm for you. why do you think that's the case? >> well, i'm pleased to be doing pretty darn well in the polls and to have the kind of support you saw here today. huge crowds, a lot of excitement. you know, i can't tell you how we're going to do here in iowa. but i can tell you that i'm pretty confident that we're going to get the 1150 delegates we need going to this whole process to get the nomination. >> you're confident enough in iowa that you're staying here through caucus night. an indication that you think you have a good chance of winning. >> well, i want to do well here.
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i don't think you can predict who's going to win in iowa. it's a state where you don't know what's going to come to the caucus, and how they'll finally make up their minds but you do hope to get to some of the delegates from iowa. i need new hampshire and we go on, it's probably going to be a pretty long road. i want to make sure we have a good start and a good finish. >> our new poll shows a lot of support and rising support and enthusiasm for rick perry, as well as ron paul. but rick perry and of course santorum coming up from behind. there could be some surprises, and some big disappointments for you. >> oh, i'm not planning on being disappointed. this is a good -- a good place to start. and got a good, strong support across the country and i'm going to be able to get the delegates i think i need to get the nomination. no thing is a sure thing at this point. but it feels terrific at this stage. >> newt gingrich has tanked. and by all accounts, it's because of the super pac barrage of ads from both you and some of the other campaigns.
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but the super pacs that are supporting mitt romney have just been savage against newt gingrich. i know you've said you'd go to the big house if anyone could establish that you were involved but the fact is that it's your former colleagues, your friends, former colleagues, contributed anonymo anonymously a million dollars. do you have an apology to make to the voters in iowa and around the country, for the kind of negative advertising that's been run? >> actually, speaker gingrich's numbers have gone down more in new hampshire than they have in iowa. and i don't think there are any negative ads in new hampshire at all. >> but they've really plummeted here governor because of those ads. >> they've gone down even more in new hampshire than they have in iowa. and the nature of a campaign is that you're going to have attacks coming from the obama team, their super pac has already gone after me the obama pac has. if you can't stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait until you get obama's kitchen. it's going to be a battle of ideas, but of course recognize that campaigns are going to
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point out distinctions between the candidates. and you know, i can handle the heat, i got big shoulders, i know there are tough blows that will be coming my way. >> is that the kind of campaign you want to run, a negative campaign? >> my campaign is going to describe why i should be president and how i'm uniquely qualified to lead the country. >> and why is newt zbrch not qualified to lead the country? >> oh, i think anyone on the stage who is running for president on the republican side would do a better job than president obama. >> do you think ron paul in foreign policy, with his position on iran, for instance, would do a better job than president obama? >> i totally disagree with ron paul's positions on iran, and on a whole series of other issues. i don't believe he will become our nominee. i'm working harder than anyone i know to make sure he's not our nominee. i hope to become our nominee myself but i say, as i have for some time, and i think everyone else has said, that we'll support the republican nominee. and i'm confident that i've got a got shod at making that happen. >> i know you've said you would not as president allow iran to become a nuclear nation, but
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what would you do right now if iran were to take action to block international oil traffic in international waters, the strait of hoar news? >> i'd assure that they do not do that. >> by military action? >> of course we have to keep all of our options available. i would want to review with our military all the options we have with regards to preventing a closure of the sea lanes that exist in the straits of hormuz, and that's a -- that's an action that the president of the united states has to take. >> you, in the past, said that if you're president you wouldn't be apologizing for america. fact checker and other organizations have not found any instance where barack obama ever, quote, apologized for america. >> well, when he went to the arab world in his first weeks in office and said america had dictated to other nations, that america had been divisive, these kinds of -- of words are certainly apologetic in tone, and nature. it was deemed the apology tour by many. the london "times" reported that
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this president had been more critical of his own country on foreign soil than any american president in history. and so many of us appropriately, i believe, saw this as an apology by the president for the united states of america, with which i vehemently disagree. >> another thing that you've said, is that you'll decide later what to do about releasing tax returns. every recent president, every modern-day president has released their tax returns. can you commit that you would release your tax returns if elected president of the united states? >> you know, i'm -- we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves in terms of what we'll release when. i'll certainly follow all the lays -- >> there's no law, but there is tradition, there is precedent. >> i do remember when i was running against ted kennedy, he would not release his tax returns. i kept trying to get him to do so. i was unable to get him to do that. we have a very full process for scoping out the various candidates for -- for president, learning about their financial assets.
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and with regards to my tax returns, why, time will tell. that's not something i'm planning today, but never say never. >> but, if you were president, it's not that hard to make a commitment that if you're elected president of the united states, that you would release the tax returns, every president does. >> know, if i become president, why then i'll consider that. it's a little premature for me to be talking about that at this stage. >> is there some secret? people know you're wealthy. >> yeah, i understand. >> there's nothing to hide? >> no, i agree. there's nothing to hide. >> we saw you with chris christie on the stage. chris christie said jokingly that he's from jersey, and if they didn't vote for you, you know, he'd come at them. is that a possible future ticket? >> you know, i -- you can't eliminate anybody as a possible vp contender. we've got a long list -- >> what would he bring to the ticket? >> we've got a long list of terrific people. i don't want to give any indication of who might be on the short list or who would be a final contender. but i'm sure chris christie among many others is one that any one of the people running
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for president would be proud to have as a running mate. >> after asking romney about his possible running mate, i got a chance to ask the new jersey governor what he thought about being on a romney/christie ticket. are you a possible running mate? >> oh, no, listen, that's -- all those decisions are going to be up to the nominee of the party. he's going to be the nominee of the party. >> but you're not ruling it out? >> well why would you? the fact of the matter is it's extraordinarily presumptuous to do something like that. unlike running for president, which is a personal decision, you know, running for vice president is the decision of the person who is going to be the nominee. i wouldn't rule anything out but the fact of the matter is i'm just here to help him, as i have been since october. >> what do you think of the gingrich collapse, what's happened here? >> it's not surprising. >> why? >> well, because i think that, you know, people in iowa, people across the country, understand that this election needs to be about president obama and his record. and speaker gingrich would not make it about that. he would make it about himself.
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that's what he always does. and so that's not positive for our party. and also i think we've had enough of legislators in the white house. i think we need a governor in the white house. i think that's why i'm with governor romney. >> would you enthusiastically, if it's not mitt romney, can you support santorum or rick perry or both coming up in the polls here? >> i won't have to worry about it because it's going to be mitt romney. i didn't pick mitt romney because ee was going to lose. >> and just ahead more of my interview with republican front-runner mitt romney. and the personal side, his wife anne. it is all leading up to an obama, romney match-up. mark halperin takes a look at the big three questions for 2012. and you have a question for me to answer. join me for a live web chat from iowa between 2:15 and 2:45 eastern online at andrea.msnbc.com. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" live from des moines only on msnbc. nature fusion cold & flu syrup. flavored with real honey. powerful cold medicine that leaves out artificial flavors and dyes
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mitt romney and barack obama have had their shares of ups and downs this year but both appear to be finishing 2011 in better position than when the year began. where are they headed in 2012? mark halperin writes about all that in the upcoming issue of "time" magazine. he's "time's" editor at large and msnbc senior political analyst and an old pal from the campaign trail. mark, here we go again, as they say. >> tan, rested and ready. >> but let's talk about mitt romney's 2011. has he had a good year? >> he has. he started as the front-runner. he's had so much luck this year. in boston they say it's better to be wicked smart than lucky. and he has been. they've made a lot of their own luck. but having a lot of the big titan candidates like chris christie not run and having a field of social conservatives who have risen and fallen in
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different cycles but all still here really opens the door for him to win iowa. may not win it. but going forward, you go through every scenario. even if he doesn't win here he's going to be ahead going into south carolina and florida in a much stronger position. most remarkable thing in the last few days of this run up to iowa the attacks are ron paul and newt gingrich. romney is barely being attacked. they all are playing a game of trying to become the romney alternative. there may not be a romney alternative if no one can stop him here. >> there's still time if they were to get together and somehow settle on one or another to be the romney alternative. >> this is more romney luck. you've got santorum and perry and gingrich all with a reasonable hope of saying i can leave iowa as the romney alternative. why should i get out? why should i throw my support to someone else? >> a few of them dislike each other -- >> there's all that, as well. >> what about barack obama? >> had a very rough 2011 but ended it really strong. >> what's coming up? >> ended so strong. the fight over the payroll tax
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really helped him. we've seen some numbers like consumer confidence, unemployment, improve a little bit. and the president looks at this deal that has the republican nomination fight has worked out. the president, i still make him a favorite to win. he's still going to have a tough time, but the last few months end of november into december has given him a chance to have a pretty happy new year in hawaii. >> of course you never know, the unintended always hitting an incumbent president. do you now see, i know none of us wants to make a prediction going into iowa, which is so unpredictable but do you see this moving towards an obama, romney match-up? >> again, romney could be the nominee before the state of the union address. if he wins iowa, new hampshire, i think he sweeps the first four. even if that doesn't happen, even if it's an elongated fight, it's hard to come up with a scenario where someone could stop him. it could happen, especially if
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someone finishes a weak second or third or fourth, which i don't rule out. we don't know if voters will vote for mitt romney. looks like it. looks like he's going to be the establishment candidate which will be more than enough to win with some tea party support. looks like that's the kind of match-up we're headed for except there's still a possibility of a third candidate. still a possibility that someone will take this line that the group americans elect has, likely to have in all 50 states and get into it and disrupt the one-on-one contest. >> and newt gingrich has had the ups and downs, i mean, such a perilous month, and the fact is, really down, our new nbc news/maris poll today, 35% find him unacceptable. that's second only to those who find ron paul unacceptable. he seemed downbeat going into this meet and greet with a mother's group and perhaps it was a little bit raw. you were in the room. he was asked. let's play what happened when he was asked about his mother. >> get me all teary eyed, callist ta will tell you i get
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teary eyed every time we sing christmas carols. my mother -- excuse me, comes in directly from dealing with -- see -- of dealing with, you know, the real problems of real people in my family. so it's not a theory. it's, in fact, you know, my mother. >> you know, this -- there's a lot of pressure in these campaigns. and you were all there in new hampshire when it happened with hillary clinton. it was a. atal moment for her. that was a human side of newt gingrich, you were there. i don't know -- >> i said two guys ago on "hardball" that i thought without any debates, without a lot of money for television advertising the only way newt gingrich is going to have a comeback is with some moment like a hillary moment. >> i was watching. >> not only with the tearing up and clearly, hillary there was some question, did she cry, did she just get a little bit catch in her throat. he clearly teared up there.
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>> oh, yes. >> and his message was the same. the reason i'm emotional is because politics is not a game. politics is something that matters. and talking about his mother and the end of her life, his two daughters were in the front row, two grandchildren in the front row, his sons-in-law, his wife, it is an emotional time. it's going to be fascinating to see in the next 24 hours. remember what happened with hillary all over local media. what will the local iowa press do with that clip? >> politics is a human experience fundamentally. mark halperin, thank you. >> thank you. >> and up next the politico briefing conservative candidates dividing the evangelical vote. is that the best news for mitt romney? in? this is "andrea mitchell reports" live from des moines. ♪ like so many great pioneers before me, guided only by a dream. i'm embarking on a journey of epic proportion. i will travel, from sea to shining sea,
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president obama is delaying his request to increases debt limb the by $1.2 trillion.
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this at the request of congressional leaders. the white use had been prepared to ask for the increase today, because the government is now within $100 billion of exhausting its current borrowing authority. but senior white house official says that congressional leaders have now asked the white house to delay that request so members will have time to voice their opinions. the treasury department does have some leeway on that $100 billion left to spend. and in our latest nbc news/maris poll, rick santorum is the comer, rising in the polls and positioned to grab evangelical supporters for abandoning michelle bachmann in droves. santorum now gets 20% of the tea party voters, the most of any, and they are, of course, the tea party now comprises half of all caucusgoers. with me now to talk about this politico is roger simon who wrote about it today. great to see you out here in des moines. tea party voters, half of all caucusgoers, 20% of them say they were supporting santorum. he's rising but there's this
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divide among the evangelical voters and this is all playing to mitt romney's benefit. >> it is. evangelical voters can be a very powerful force in iowa. committ committed, dedicated, not necessarily determined and powerful, but only if they're united behind one candidate. if rick santorum can emerge as that candidate, it's good news for him. but he's got to still worry no matter what their poll standings about michele bachmann, he's got to worry about rick perry. and, in act, if you talk to evangelical voters, they're not crazy zealots, i'm sure some are, but most are not. they care not only about difficult issues like abortion and gay marriage, they also care very much about the environment. they don't want to see god's earth despoiled by man. they care about the security of israel. they care about jobs. they care about education. so, it is hard these days to
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just stick to social issues and say that's going to catapult me to victory. >> when you look at the polling, our new poll, 59% of voters polled say that they are committed to rick santorum. he has the highest number of committed voters. ron paul has 54%. mitt romney has 51%. the fewest are committed to him. enthusiasm and commitment matters when you're in a caucus state. >> it matters a great deal. there's some classic elements. passion is an element. an organization is another element. the question is, iowa has a fairly complicated voting process, even for republicans, but, can he convert that position into actually getting people out tuesday night to go to their polling places? to even know where their polling places is. barack obama did very well by providing an 00 number where you could call in and it would tell you where to vote.
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few republican organizations in this time are that sophisticated rick santorum does not have a lot of money. he's got to depend on that passion and hope it gets people to come out and sand up and mark a ballot for him. >> we have to figure out whether rick santorum is on the rise or whether he has plateaued. that's what chuck todd was pointing out that's what a poll doesn't really capture the momentum factor. >> right. whatever he gets out of here, if he can get a decent third out of here, survive new hampshire -- >> then he's in south carolina. the sweet spot. >> south carolina, do do well. if he can emerge as the evangelical alternative to mitt rom fly, he might do well. >> thanks so much. good to see you. and up next, more of my interview today with mitt romney. what he says about prejudice against the mormon faith.
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plus the obama campaign strategy of iowa. this is andrea mitchell reports live in iowa. living with the pain of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis... could mean living with joint damage. help stop the damage before it stops you with humira. for many adults with moderate to severe ra, humira's proven to help relieve pain and stop joint damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events can occur, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer, blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection.
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there's some leftover cake. [ male announcer ] the new htc vivid. stay a step ahead with at&t 4g lte, with speeds up to 10x faster than 3g. ♪ topping the headlines right now on "andrea mitchell reports," firefighters have put out a massive fire aboard a docked russian nuclear sub marine. rusch officials say there is no radiation leak and the sub's nuclear tipped missiles were not on board at the time of the fire. north korea is announcing to world leaders there will be no detente in its relationship with south korea following the death of kim jong-il. a government statement issued today also mocked south korea's leaders and puppets and said change would not be coming. the outrage continues to grow today as verizon customers protest against the company's plans to charge a $2 fee for bill payments. the fee goes into effect january 1r5th. it will fit consumers for paying
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their bill by phone or one-time payments online. mitt romney's wife anne plays a central role in his campaign, appearing at his side and helping to warm up his image. >> you never know what decisions are going to be made in the white house, so you really want to understand the character of the man. and this is the man that stands by and does the right thing always. the next president of the united states, mitt romney. >> thank you, sweet heart. >> she does more than just introduce him. she really has an impact on the crowd. when i sat down with romney at his rally today i asked him about his wife and her political role. >> what about ann romney? >> she's the best. >> she -- her introduction to you, if you could just tell us what it means, on a cold, drizzly day in iowa, to have your partner, your wife, at your side? >> well, the funny thing is, she got me into this. i had decided after the last run
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that that was it. and actually she had decided the same thing. there was a camera that was near her after the last campaign was over, and she went over to it and she said i want this on the record, in case i forget, we'll never, ever run for office again. and then after the president had been in office for awhile, she came to me and she said, i've changed my mind. mitt, you've got to run. and -- and i held off for months and months as she continued to work with me and say, mitt, you've got to do this. you've got to get the country on track. you're the only guy that can do what has to be done. so i remind her, i saw this morning, we got up early in our room this morning and she said it's a fine mess i've gotten you into, isn't it? it's an old line from laurel and hardy. >> the fact that she is, and you, as a family, have dealt with her illness, what has that taught you, as you talk to americans here in iowa and around the dle? >> i think ann and i recognize that -- that a lot of people in this country are suffering. people suffer from illness, as she has, she's had both breast
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cancer and m.s. people suffer from financial strain. people suffer when they lose loved ones, when their children are going astray. life is not a bowl of cherries. life has a lot of ups and downs and great difficulty. and being able to experience this on a firsthand basis makes it very personal for us. and you know, i had an opportunity also to serve as the pastor in my congregation for a number of years in belmont, massachusetts and i worked with families that were going through tough times. it, you know, life has its challenges, it's not easy. and i want to help people. the reason i'm running for president is i think this country is the best hope for bringing more happiness and freedom and joy to people than any other nation in history and i want america to remain strong and provide a prosperous future for the people of this country. >> you started out in the campaign by saying that you thought president obama was a nice guy. today you're talking about him
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creating poison in the spirit of america, poisoning the spirit of america. >> i continue to think he's a nice guy. i think he's over his head. i think the class warfare type of rhetoric poisons the notion of a united nation under god. i think in some respects we're substituting envision for ambition. the constant refrains to get the millionaires and billionaires. you know, i just think that's something which is destructive to the national spirit. we don't attack fellow americans. if you want to strengthen the country, we -- i don't begrudge steve jobs his great success. steve jobs made a fortune. doesn't bother me. didn't make anyone else poorer. what steve jobs did need the rest of us better off. and i think the divisive approach has been unfortunate, and i don't think it's -- i don't think it's in keeping with the kind of spirit that the president offered when he was running for president. >> finally, do you think that in a state with so many evangelical voters, people of faith, that
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there is prejudice against your faith, your mormon faith? >> well, there surely would be some people who would rather not vote for a person of my faith, and i understand that. more in some states than in others. but overall in this country, people respect an individual faith, they respect someone who tries to live by their faith, and they're not going to choose their president based on his or her religion. and so i know it will make a difference in some of the primaries, some of the caucuses but it's not going to keep me from becoming the nominee or being elected president. >> good luck out there on the trail. thank you so much, governor romney. >> thanks, andrea, good to see you. i appreciate it. >> andrea mitchell there with mitt romney. we have lost the connection. we have some technical difficulty coming up at java joe's this afternoon. we'll take you back to des moines, iowa right after this. has skin twin technology. other makeup can sit on your skin, so it looks like...makeup. but trublend has skin twin technology to actually merge with your skin.
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i'm richard lew, coming up, the best and worst of washington in 2011.
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while gridlock consumed congress for much of the year, there were some things our lawmakers did do right. i'll talk to a "washington post" reporter about his list of highs and lows. plus, a new year brings new laws. from social security to light bulbs to tanning beds, which new laws go into effect at the stroke of midnight on january the 1st. and how you can score some last-minute tax breaks before the year is over. all that and more coming up on news nation. we're going to try to rejoin andrea mitchell in des moines, iowa. when we do have that connection we'll get right back to her. for now we have some technical issues. i do want to bring in michael steel to discn happening today, that's developments on polling in from nbc/marist new poll. he's former chairman of the republican committee michael steel and nbc news analyst as well. >> how you doing, man? >> very well. yesterday you probably saw this at a new hampshire home, mitt romney went off -- matt romney, rather, went off the elderly, matt romney here, went off the
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message and said his dad mitt would only release his tax returns when obama releases grades and birth certificates. so when you look at surrogates and how they could help this doesn't look like they're staying on script here. >> oh, surrogates are the life of the candidate with surrogates run amok. yeah, they can mess things up a bit, and in particular when you're this close to the vote coming to the table you don't want to have a conversation on something other than what mitt has been out there talking about. which ostensibly has been in very, very broad terms. he has not focused on specific policy initiatives. while the other candidates are kind of batting back his offenses against him, you know, whether it's the commercials, or the rhetoric, he's had the ability to kind of stay above it all. his, you know, son can bring him down a little bit with this kind of noise. >> so we might expect to see more of this as we get farther in to the process? >> oh, absolutely. oh, absolutely. you know, you've got folks
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scattered all across the country. when this thing opens up and you're a candidate trying to hit three and four states at a time, particularly as you get closer to super tuesday, yeah, it can get a little bit murky and messy. >> all right so we have a new poll that's out. share some of the numbers with i. mitt romney at the top in terms of likely iowa gop caucusgoers. a new front-runner, taking 23%. >> right. >> we do have that margin of error of 4.7%. he of is he just reaping the rewards of the others that are running at the moment, going after each other, and for the most part ignoring mitt romney in their negative attacks? >> yeah. i think that that -- i think that is the case, richard. and the reality of it is if you're a candidate and you're looking back over the last 13 to 15 debates that they've had, the fact mitt got out of those virtually unscathed has come back to haunt them. notice what happened to newt gingrich in just a two-week window. look what happened to rick perry after his comments about
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immigration and how the others kind of went after him and really chopped him up. that has not happened with mitt, and he's the beneficiary of that going into this weekend. but he's at 23% which means that the core of the party, the conservative vote has not coalesced around him, is not coalescing around him, and that still does not bode well for him coming out of iowa. wean a nice -- a nice day, and going in to new hampshire, it could be a problem. >> michael stand by. matt romney did apologize for that comment. andrea mitchell rejoins us. we've got satellites working for us? >> satellites are back working. the wiring is fixed. thanks so much, richard. michael, just to ask you, about this whole birther issue, though, it just doesn't seem to die out among some republicans. we saw newt gingrich handling it with someone asking him about it and he really knocked it out of the park in putting it down,
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john mccain did that. as well four years ago. what is it about some republican voters who won't accept this fact of life about barack obama? >> it's stuck in their craw. i have no idea. i mean, i don't know what more the president can do. than what he did. which, in my view was wholly unnecessary. but, okay, there it is. but the reality of it is for some people they just -- they believe the conspiracy is real. they think it's deep and dark, and they won't get it go. and i think for the romney campaign, and for all of these candidates, they do not need that associated with them. it doesn't help, it only drags it down and makes it harder for them to have a national conversation about unemployment, job creation, wealth creation in this country, and they don't want to talk about birther issive k59s. >> and also, michael, when you look at the nbc/marist poll today, do you see any chance that evangelicals and other
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conservatives are going to come together and instead of dividing the vote against mitt romney decide on supporting one or another of them? or is it really too late in the game and they all have an equal opportunity, an equal shot now at coming out of here with a ticket to new hampshire? >> my gut tells me unless somebody has called a meeting, i don't think that there's -- i don't think there's going to be a coalescing going on between now and tuesday. i think, you know, having said that, one of these candidates can come out and say something that sparks a fire, that galvanizes the imagination and the attention of voters but the reality of it is i don't see that happening. this is all working towards mitt's probable win on tuesday. michael steel, richard lui, we'll see you in a few minutes, as well. here in iowa, republicans aren't the only ones mobilizing for caucus night. the president's re-election team is hoping to re-ignite the grassrootds support that powered him to a win here three years ago.
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>> they said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. but on this january night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do. >> well, he didn't have any gray hair before he took the oval office. the chair of the iowa democratic party, sue, thanks for joining us here. the action's all on the republican side, of course, but what do democrats do as they watch this play out in the gop? >> well, the thing that we do is we just keep working, we just keep organizing. the sound and fury and all the drama is focussed on the presidential selection on the other side and i understand that. really these things are won in the frenchs. and we started re-igniting the president's organization, which had never left iowa, in april when he announced.
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and we've been moving forward. it's not very glamorous. there's no top secret plan. it is what it is. it's a door-to-door, street by street. >> well, you did it so well four years ago. now looks as though mitt romney has not only the organization, and the money to sustain a victory but has a divided opposition. and he would be the toughest nominee for the republicans for barack obama to face. >> i don't know. you know, i've listened to this for the whole 11, 12 months, andrea, and honestly, if you close your eyes, and you listen, you don't know which of those debates you're at, you don't know what city you're at. they're -- mitt romney is like the rest of them. i have listened to him all these months not here in iowa, because he wasn't here so much. but i've listened to him all these months and all i hear are pushing back to the same failed policies. i don't hear anything new. i don't hear him talking about the middle class. i don't hear him presenting a new program. i really do, i know that the
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flip-flop thing is kind of a cliche, i know it's going to get overused, we're going to have to come up with something else, but there is a weather vane aspect to this candidacy. i feel -- >> you met with some of the occupy folks who've been out here as well in iowa. they reflect an anxiety and an anger, in some cases not an articulated anger but a lot of discontent because of the economy. that is a real -- a real challenge for the president. >> i think it's a real challenge for the entire political system. they're talking about middle class issues and so is barack obama. they're talking about jobs, and so is barack obama. and i don't hear the other six talking about that. so honestly, yes, they are reflecting an anxiety, but i think that message is being delivered. it's changing the course of the conversation, and middle class issues, jobs, sustainable infrastructure, those things are what the president's talking about. >> thank you so much.
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sue dvorsky in iowa, democratic chair. and iran, meanwhile is upping its aggressive posture toward the west today, announcing that the iranian navy will test-fire long range missiles in the persian gulf tomorrow. this as tensions are mounting over iran's threat to shut the strait of hormuz. william cohn is former defense secretary and joins us from washington. bill, thanks so much for being with us. we've heard this kind of bluster from iran before. this could just be more noise, and sound and fury, because to cut the strait, and oil traffic would also be hurting their chief revenue source. the same time there is rising tension with iran that we can't ignore and we heard some very tough comments out of the pentagon this week. >> i'm sorry, i thought you were going to play a segment from the pentagon. but first of all what's happening in iran is the economy is in trouble. it's subject to corruption, incompetence and the sanctions that are starting to bite much further and harder than they had
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anticipated. secondly the eu is about to impose more sanctions, possibly an embargo on iranian oil. if that's the case you can expect the economy to go even further into the tank than it . that's one of the reasons why they are speaking out, threatening to shut the gulf down. that's unlikely to happen and it can't happen in terms of capability. the united states has been following everything they have been doing for years. we looked at all the contingencies and what thigh might be do and what would be necessary to counter that. the notion to shut it down is unrealistic. not impossible, but it would be impossible to carry out. it reflects their concern that the world finally is getting serious about shutting down their attempt to be a nuclear power. >> turning to syria, there have been more massive protests. at least 19 people reportedly killed since those arab league monitors first got into syria earlier this week.
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the death toll is mounting. what do you project happening in syria? >> the international community will come down hard or syria. seeing what takes place when regimes resist the voice of the people. the people are now coming out by the thousands. syria is reacting by using force to suppress them. the result will be that this regime will be gone. we are seeing a continuation of the arab spring and this is one thing taking place in syria and i mighting is to the extent that iran continues to crack down in the fashion they have, given the economic conditions we will see a change in iranian policy in terms of not going forward with the nuclear program or see a change in regime. that's something they may have to be concerned about and should be. >> that is quite a projection for the new year. happy new year to you. >> same to you. >> thanks so much for all of your help this year.
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looking ahead, what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours. that's next here on "andrea mitchell reports." ♪ made sure his credit score did not go bad ♪ ♪ with a free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ ♪ app that he had ♪ downloaded it in the himalayas ♪ ♪ while meditating like a true playa ♪ ♪ now when he's surfing down in chile'a ♪ ♪ he can see when his score is in danger ♪ ♪ if you're a mobile type on the go ♪ ♪ i suggest you take a tip from my bro ♪ ♪ and download the app that lets you know ♪ ♪ at free-credit-score-dot-com now let's go. ♪ vo: offer applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com™.
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. which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? john, the next 24 hours a big campaign moment here, but mitt romney is going back to new hampshire and ron paul is out of sight in texas. >> this is a terrific moment. you couldn't have the stars align themselves in a better way. it was laying low and playing cautiously. now at the end, all of the other candidates who rose up are having problems. he had at the lead of the meris poll. if he can combine a victory or strong second place behind ron paul in ira, go on to new hampshire where he has a 20-point lead, he is off to the race unless conservatives can
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consolidate all that non-romney vote. >> this weekend is strange. thank you, john harwood. happy new year. we will celebrate new year's eve somewhere. that does it for this edition of andrea mitchell reports and that's it for this year. all of the other republican and democratic activities in the year ahead. happy new year to all of you and richard louie, happy new year to you too in for tamron hall. >> thank you, andrea. in the next hour, president obama is delaying a request to congress for a trillion dollar increase in the debt limit. the final 100 mitt romney and ron paul remain neck and neck and make a push for iowa. just four days until caucus day. we will tell you about an employer who is offering unlimited vacation as long as they get all of their work done. is this a good idea?
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