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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 11, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at keller.edu. the maine event. republicans battle it out today in yet another caucus state but some of the candidates didn't show up. see who it might come down to in the ends. callista gingrich warms up the crowd. we will hear what she has to say. >> harry smith talks about his encounters with richard nixon and you will not want to miss his unique take. plus. ♪ >> nice.
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the first lady doing the robot. you're going to see what inspired mrs. obama to get on stage with dozens of kids. good morning, everyone! welcome to "weekends with alex witt." the maine caucuses and stories unfolding at this hour. this morning, both mitt romney and ron paul spoke at the same caucus site an hour apart and report today suggests a very tight race between those two candidates. romney held a town hall in portland last night and faced a number of hucklers. >> do you think it's patriotic of you to stash your money away in the caiman islands? >> that's okay. that's a good question. come on. i got to take some shots now and then or it won't be interesting. >> let's go to nbc's ron allen who is live for us in portland, maine. a good saturday morning to you. how important of a day is it for romney today, ron?
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>> reporter: it's a really, really important day. it was a day that romney was going to take off and have some down time but he has two events in maine and you saw that town hall was an effort to get him out in front of voters to give him a chance to interact with people at a more human level and out of his comfort zone and cliche of him being aloof and out of touch businessman, if you will. very lively event that romney took a few jabs from the crowd. he handled it pretty billiwell e is trying to change up the pace. he lost three in a row to rick santorum. maine is a state he is supposed to win and in his backyard of new england. however, the challenge here is ron paul who has spent a lot of time in this state and there are some experts who think that ron paul could actually win this state which would create a dooms day narrative for romney lost three in a row and fourth to ron
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paul. it wasn't supposed to be that way for mitt romney but that's where it is today and why he has got two events now. and pushing hard to the finish to try to convince these caucus goers who are streaming into this school here along with other sites around the state to try and put him over the top to try to just try and finally convince conservatives he is, in fact, their guy. >> you have the two races come down between them but rick santorum and newt gingrich skipping the state pretty much altogether. why is that? >> reporter: they are focusing their attention in other places where they think they can do better. remember, weeks ago, maine was really thought to be insignificant, if you will, because, again, it's right in mitt romney's backyard. it was always assumed he would do well here. gingrich and santorum looking ahead to next week in arizona. later in the month in arizona and michigan and ten states will be selecting delegates in march. that is what they are looking forward to.
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ironically, this has become mitt romney's race to win or lose. he really has to win here. if he loses, it's contributing to the narrative the party wants anybody besides him. >> ron allen, thank you. more on what happens in maine. most of the state has been voting over this past week. others cast their ballots even earlier. some continue into march. officials will announce straw poll results tonight at 7:30 eastern time but maine's decision is nonbinding. the actual awarding of the 24 delegates will happen at the state convention in may. watch special coverage of the maine caucus tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 here on msnbc. momentum appears to be building for rick santorum in two key states. in tennessee a new poll shows 34% of likely republican primary voters support santorum. 27% back mitt romney. newt gingrich and ron paul trail those. tennessee is a stronghold of
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evangelical voters. a new poll has santorum running neck to neck with romney in pennsylvania. romney increased to 29%. grinning rich and ron paul are far beyond in that state. pennsylvania's gop primary takes place april 24. conservatives are gathering again today in washington, d.c. for the third and final day of the group known as c-pac. former alaska governor sarah palin will give the key note address there. mitt romney, rick santorum and ron paul will address the cpac. >> this is the year to reset this country in a decisive, bold way. we need to teach the republican
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establishment a lesson. we will rebuild america and not manage its decay and with your help that is what we will do. >> gingrich was introduced by his wife. the battle over contraception and religion appears to be moving forward despite president obama's solution. under the president's plan women will still get free access to birth control regardless of their employer and religious institutions will not have to provide coverage. instead the rule shifts the responsibility to the insurers, not the employers. mike viqueira is live at the white house for us. >> reporter: it had become a political mess for the obama administration not because the public doesn't back the policy of supplying insurance companies, requiring them or requiring institutions and companies and corporations across this country to supply contraceptive coverage but they did so on the religious
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institutions and vocal criticism not only on the right but from the catholic church as well. you can call it a backtrack or a compromise. the president yesterday appeared next to secretary sebelius you just saw announcing the null rule. >> whether you're a teacher or a small businesswoman or a nurse or a janitor, no woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes. every woman should be in control of the decision that affect her over health, period. >> reporter: and as we said, the u.s. conference of catholic biz hops was among the most vocal critics and came out with a statement a good first step and expressing more reservations in another statement. it plays into their narrative president obama sort of this impeerious government by decree and here is newt gingrich yesterday in response.
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>> i frankly don't care what deal he tries to cut. this is a man who is deeply admitted. if he wins re-election he will wage war on the catholic church the morning after he is reelected. we cannot trust him and we know who he really is and we should make sure the country knows who he really is. >> reporter: whatever the case may be, it does not take a rule this -- this rule does not take effect on these religious institutions for another 18 months, alex. august 2013. >> let's get more on this. to do that, i'm joined by erin mcpike and susan page from "usa today." nice to see you both, ladies. >> good morning. >> susan, what is the political calculation behind walking back the health care contraception policy in the catholic church? do you think beforehand the president and his advisers knew
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they were going to get to this position? this was a sticky issue. >> you know, they were in an impossible situation. it wasn't because critics like newt gingrich was going to town on the policy. it was that their allies like tim kaine, the former virginia governor running for the senate, former democratic national chairman for barack obama. allies like that were saying they were opposed to the policy and it had to be change. i don't think they had a choice walking it back. as to whether they knew about it, people in the administration warned beforehand this policy would bring great criticism from the catholic church and others. that makes -- after all they could have started out with the policy that they have ended up with. it was a policy that was discussed internally before the original rule came out. >> yeah. erin, the fact this has been walked back now, is it over and satisfy the critics or will it continue to percolate? >> it will continue some and i
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will tell you as a spokesman for house speaker john boehner put out a statement saying they weren't sure if they were okay with it or not. a lot of democratic women coming to on the defense of the president saying they were okay with the policy. right there saying they are okay with it and a little bit of uncertainty from the other side tells you that it's going to keep going just a little bit. >> okay. let's turn now to the caucuses in maine today. susan, do you think maine is a must win for romney? >> i don't think we should go too crazy about maine because, you know, frankly, it's like the first time we have talked about it as a center of the political universe. we only expect 5,000 or 6,000 people to show up for these caucuses. on the other hand, it comes at a bad time for mitt romney because he is coming off of these losses. what would be especially embarrassing to him if he loses in maine tonight, he'll lose to ron paul who is not considered a very likely to actually win the
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nomination. it will be just one more sign that the republican party has some qualms about the guy who seems to be who we all think is their front-runner. >> yeah. ar erin, what is your take on maine? >> we have been saying a long time ron paul is up in maine campaigning a lot and people have expected for a long time that he could upset everyone in maine. so for that -- in that sense, maine is not all that crucial but also mitt romney has bigger problems than the maine caucuses. we are looking really to some primaries later on in the month like arizona and michigan that are more critical, but in addition, there's a new national poll out this morning by a democratic polling firm, public policy polling that shows rick santorum beating minimum rot kn -- mitt romney and mitt romney has more to worry about than the main caucuses. >> susan, i love your new article you have about the six lessons learned during the primary campaign. one of the lessons that
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especially caught my eye is old rules will be broken that certain primaries will not be an indicator this year. in fact, if you look at history, tli three would indicate different nominees. i was, like, wow! she put it together right there. >> it's a volatile year and a great year to be a political reporter. some of these things we always point to that definitely shows you will win or lose. well, the republican nominee has invariably won either iowa or new hampshire and means it would be mitt romney or rick santorum. the south carolina winner has been invariably won the republican nomination and that is newt gingrich. one of those rules will be broken this year. it is conceivable they might both be broken. >> it's a great article in "usa today." i want you to check it out as they should everything and will clear politics by erin mcpike. girls, thanks. >> thanks. if mitt romney loses in maine what does it mean for the gop and the white house.
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i will read some of your tweets throughout this morning. next up, ron paul's disappearing act. why he went days without a campaign event. plus, callista gingrich moment in cpac. you will see how she did coming up. harry smith on the people he calls cafeteria catholics. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ♪
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we're going to get back to maine in a minute. you are seeing here signs of winter in new york city! look at that from that camera's perspective. it's not sticking on the ground so it's not making too much of a half for the roadways. at least at this point. it gets wet and slushy when it hits the ground. i can tell you about several multiple car pileups on i-75 in michigan after the temperatures suddenly dipped but no serious injuries reported, fortunately. the northeast is see something snow and the weather channel mike bettis has the details. >> reporter: it finally looks and feels like winter out there. look at some of these temperatures across the upper midwest in the twin cities. in the single digits now and the cool air will get down to the south. temperatures are going to be generally in the 50s and 60s to start your day here across florida. a large storm system through the
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ohio valley and the northeast and look at the snow falling. detroit has had biggest snowfall of the season 4 inches and fell for us in detroit and big complex here extends from cleveland to pittsburgh through west virginia. a place like cleveland a place like pittsburgh 1 to 3 and 2 to 4 and big snow through the mountains of west virginia and through the hills a foot plus and i think the ski lovers will be enjoying that. the snow moves into the northeast and getting it now in philadelphia. up through new jersey. a place like trenton and newark you'll be getting the snow. new york as well but 1 inch to less accumulation and heavier accumulation into new england. there is a look at the forecast today. very chilly across the north including 16 in minneapolis and 20 chicago. your mix in boston snow in new york and d.c. and chilly across the south and temperatures in the 70s today across south florida but talk cold tomorrow. just 66 in miami and 48 in new orleans. that is a look at your weather. alex, back to you. >> thank you.
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new twists in the tensions with iran this morning. iran today is celebrating the 33rd anniversary of its islamic revolution their -- rallies rather. it's not clear if or when israel might attack iran's nuclear sites. joining is colonel jack jacobs. something else disturbing. president of iran saying there could be something. >> they could satisfy their internal requirements where they have a new one bit of information says that they have got the new capability which is now disbursed and underground to produce the fuel that they require for their internal nuclear needs. and they have been moving their stuff around and putting it underground so that is what it means. >> you don't think it's anything like we are close? they will not admit they are looking for a nuclear weaponry?
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>> they have to distill it and concentrate it so that they coo yahoo! it for bombs and they don't have a way to deliver it yet. no, i think it's going to be something on the order of their -- something like their capability to actually produce material is now greatly enhanced and disbursed it into the ground. >> the potential attack on iran, a time line. the united states and israel not in agreement on here. >> the united states thinks that the sanctions that we're putting on iran are actually having some effect and that it's just a matter of time before they knuckle under and come to the conference table and agree to stop production. the israelis say, listen. they are already disbursing their capabilities underground and once they get it all underground or most of it underground, nobody, including israel or the united states is going to be able to attack it and iran can take its time putting together nuclear weapons. there is an official who has
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told nbc news that israel is using iranian opposition groups to go and assassinate the nuclear scientists. >> once you eliminate the possibility that the israelis wandering around ta rain makes a great deal of sense, doesn't it? they are targeting scientists but only secondary and tertiary scientists not to derail iran's capability to produce nuclear weapons but instill doubt among the scientists so few of them will work or work hard and slow down and so forth. one of the many ways they can attack iran's capability to produce nuclear weapons. you remember the virus that attacked iran's centrifuges? israel is looking for nonkinetic
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ways. >> thank you. >> thanks for having me. after no big snowfall for 26 years, thal has been hit byitat with a second snowfall in a week. in sports, jeremy lin is becoming a household name in the nba. last night in a new york knicks uniform he was incredible scoring 38 points against the lakers to lead the knicks to their fourth straight win. until now he has received little attention being the first american born player of taiwanese incident to pldissente nba. >> i play as hard as i can and try to do everything i can to
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help my team win. >> due to soaring interests in lin, the ratings for the knicks game have come up. first lady michelle obama worked up a sweat in a crowd in iowa this week. she was grooving to techomusic. she learned the popular interlude dance, a creation of students at the university of northern iowa and a big hit on the internet and it it includes the robot. check it out as the first lady is working it. ♪ your finances can't manage themselves. but that doesn't mean they won't try.
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the campaign trail. it changed yesterday when she introduced a balance room packed with conservative activists in washington. >> when we decided to run, we knew there would be tough stories from the media, as well as hurtful attacks from some of our opponents. what we didn't know was how kind so many americans would be to us. >> in the same speech, she couldn't resist poking fun at her husband for his golf game and his singing ability. >> newt loves books. we have books in every corner of our home. newt also has an entire library on his kindle. i may be the most grateful person in america for this invention. newt is also very supportive. when i sing at the basilica of the national shrine or play my
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french horn with the city of fairfax band, he is right there listening. i am personal grateful for his wisdom in not trying to sing as a candidate. he knows his limitations. >> well, a number of folks in the twitter verse, if you call it that, panned her efforts. we will be back. yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can come from any faucet anywhere. the brita bottle with the filter inside.
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♪[music plays] ♪[music plays] purina one beyond. food for your cat or dog. new reactsion this morning to president obama revamping his recent controversial birth control policy. the president announced friday female employees at religious institutions will be able to receive free birth control directly from health insurance companies. some religious employers fiercely objected to the president's initial mandate which required them to provide contraception despite it going against their religious beliefs. >> if a woman's employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part
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of their health plan, the insurance company, not the hospital, not the charlt charity, will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraception free of charge without copays and without hassles. >> not all critics are satisfied. roy blunt of missouri said religious employers would indirectly subsidizing birth control. he i should this statement, quote. because you can pretend religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate does not mean you have satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all americans are guaranteed. the cpac raps he wraps up today and not before john boltedon wi be speaking an hour from now. florida governor rick scott will speak at 11:25 eastern time and much later at 4:30 this afternoon sarah palin will give
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the key note address before the convention adjourns. president obama propose a new budget plan for 2013 on monday. plus 350 billion in short-term job growth measures and it includes nearly 1.5 trillion in tax increases on the wealthy over ten years. in any this week's office politics, we talk with nbc's harry smith and discuss the divisiveness in washington and his first interview with richard nixon and the very personal souvenir nixon left behind. do you think politics has deinvolved to a point where those people who run for office are those who have such definitive views almost polarizing of people who they may not agree with or opposite sides? they are going into politics because it seems like the cafeteria catholics you decide
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that is me and probably you and probably the people in this r m room. you know, i think it reflects the majority of america be we elect them to represent us in 0 a platform they try to stick to. >> we look at the primary process, who really has the power. it's the people who are most -- that really are the ones who show up for the primaries and other ones who, you know, are the ones who sort of lift those folks into office and, you know, i'm not -- i'm not disheartened, only as much as the process is still very much alive. >> yeah. >> the tea party showed something really important. if i feel very, very strongly about a thing, i can really folks around me just as this process was intended to do to say i'm going to represent that
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voice in congress, or in the senate, or at state legislature. and so that process is alive and well, i think, is -- bodes well for us on a bunch of different levels. but in the end of the day, i still feel like somehow, you know, we'll get served. the other point in all of this also is as you look at the tea party sweeps and the power and there is a paralysis in washington, people get to vote for congress every two years. if there is a great degree of, say, you know, people -- as people are voted in, they can just as well be voted out. >> what is the significance of richard nixon and elvis presley? >> well, the more important piece of material in this box is the handkerchief. i interviewed richard nixon, i think, three times altogether. and after the first time i interviewed him, he got up from the chair and walked out of the studio and we said our good-byes
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or whatever. as we all came walking back n i realized he had left his handkerchief. on the handkerchief was a piece of, what was it? a booger. the tiny remnants of the booger are still left on there. >> you did not frame that! >> i did not. a senior producer on the show at cbs on the sheen now a producer at rock center made this box for me. so there i am in my first interview with richard nixon and i've got -- i've got the loaded glove down there! you think i'm going to lay a glove on him? it was so interesting because he was such a student of this whole process and he detected, what, a tiny, small change in my body language, whatever it was, and as i started to ask -- a question i don't even remember
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now, that i'm i'm going to nail this former president, he saw it coming and he interrupts mid question and he says, well, you know, harry, i was i wasn't a big football star like you were at central college and this is preinternet, preeverything, right? this is somebody having to really scratch through and do their homework. i rode the bench at witness ihi. it goes into this crazy story and i'm so taken aback by his knowing intimate but sort of important personal details in my life that are not easily accessible, that by the time i regained my footing, i'm already on the mat, forget it. the bell had sounded to end the round, you know? good luck, buddy, try it again after the next commercial. he was amazing. >> our conversation with harry is going to continue at 11:00 when i talk about the country's
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polarizing politicians and his coverage of a story that made some headlines around the world. can you all watch harry smith's reports on rock center with brian williams no9:00 p.m. on n. tough fight in key swing states looking ahead to november but also in the gop primary. the latest susquehanna poll showing mitt romney edging out newt gingrich. lae sabato joins me now. . we have new polls to show you. first, pennsylvania's santorum's home state he has lost by 17 points as the incumbent in 2006. is he back? >> you have to say historically in modern times, that was the second worse loss by an incumbent senator ever. blanche lincoln was the only one from arkansas who lost by a
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larger margin. you know, there is no disgrace in losing and lots of republicans lost in 2006 when santorum lost his seat but they lost by 2, 3, 4, 5 points. they didn't lose by 17 points. so it suggests if santorum were the republican nominee, he'd have an uphill fight to carry his own home state and that is also true for romney for massachusetts. >> what about head-to-head races in pennsylvania? interestingly, romney does better than santorum against president obama and romney beats the president by two points and president beats santorum by four points. how do you interpret those numbers? >> well, again, i think it's resistance to santorum. they know him well. he's been in office in pennsylvania since 1990, was elected to the senate in 1994 and 2000, ran again in 2006 and lost. so they have seen a lot of santorum. they have made a judgment about santorum and pennsylvania is also a lean democratic state. you know, even those numbers suggesting romney is narrowly
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ahead, let's see where the economy is in the fall. there's a large built-in democratic vote in philadelphia. i think that will be a tough state for republicans. remember back when george w. bush in 2000, he and his team were sure they could carry p. a pennsylvania and he lost to al gore in pennsylvania. >> i remember that. that was chad. everybody was going, what? your home state in virginia. the closest to the president is mitt romney who is behind four points in that one. president obama winning virginia by six points in 2008. how well do the new numbers bode for the president? they bode as well as long as the economy continues improving. that is the factor that caused obama's bump up in virginia. he was tied or behind romney for
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a good bit of 2011, or at least tied. so this is the economy, good economy acting on the electorate. the other big change in virginia that gives the president surprisingly a better chance in virginia than in states like ohio and florida is the enormous growth of minorities in virginia, particularly in northern virginia, particularly college educated, graduate educated. we have gone from about 20% of the statewide vote being all minorities, african-americans, asian americans and hispanic americans at the beginning of the 21st century to about 30%. that's an increase of ten points in a relatively short period of time. fountain president's team can generate a minority vote even approaching 30% again as they did it in 2008, in 2012, it's difficult to see how a republican will carry virginia.
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>> but is it all about the demographics in that state? because hasn't it been republican strong hold for decades? >> well, it has. but virginia has been changing fast. it's no longer a southern state. there are southern parts of the state but they tend to be more rural. virginia is much more of a middle atlantic state than it is a southern state any more and you think about the middle atlantic. well, the middle atlantic is pretty democratic and if you look at the northern part of virginia where one-third of the vote now resides, it's substantially democratic. >> okay. larry sabato, we will see if your predictions are correct, which they probably are, knowing you, because you from uva grad school. >> thank you. latest federal figures show fund-raising of 155.5 million dollars. that is more than the president's $125 million haul. all told, candidates have raised $281 million so far. 85% coming from individuals and
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life well planned. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you. i'm now going to serve as your calendar. three days to valentine's day! plenty deals available for a romantic get away. if you want to travel you might found a bargain. valerie is joining us now with a look at the best sweetheart deals. this is fun. good morning. >> good morning. >> i hear lowe's hotel has a promotion get a room? >> get a room and you'll also get some little nibbles. >> good! >> also cocktails like a cupid cosmo and it's 15 of their resorts and hotels across the country. >> that's great. >> except for orlando. this is good for february only. and it starts from 109 in denver
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all the way up to 449 in miami. >> wow. that's still pretty nice deal. omni hotels has this oohh hand lah-lah. >> you have a romance concierge. the omni hotels and omni has 35 properties that are participating. this is actually good through december 20th so you don't have to rush out and say do it now. you can give it as a gift and i like that. it also comes with wine and french macaroons and you get the breakfast in the room or down at the restaurant. >> ooh lah-lah on that one. how about the elite island resorts? if you book now two for the price of one? >> i like this because i am crazy about the caribbean and
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island resorts on there. a spa resort on one island. you have to book by february 14th and two in one a all-inclusi all-inclusive. you book three nights to 14 nights so they match that there. >> pretty nice. those who don't have time to go too far, i know just a little closer to home in new york city there is the terry townhouse? about 20 miles north of the city? >> it's in the hudson river valley and on a spread of acres and mansions that date back to the 1800s and it's 299 for the night with a full-course wine pairing meal. >> that's include? that is great! >> as well with a late checkout and dining room is in the cellar of the mary biddel mansion so
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history there well. >> that is for valentine's day? >> you meet even be able to get in tonight. it's not for valentine's day proper but next weekend for two nights. >> that's a holiday weekend. >> it is. you have a lot of choices with this so valentine's day can really last throughout the week. and through the year. so love just goes a long way. >> ooh-la, la, i like that. americans are gambling more of their hard-earned dough and especially in las vegas. gaining revenue increased last year to $10.7 billion. atlantic city has seen a decline with revenue falling 7% to 3.3 billion. the figures run through november but industry experts say the trend is clear. americans are returning to the gaming tables. ♪
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pf pf there's apparently less interest we've been doesing you this morning, if mitt romney loses in maine today, what does it mean for the gop and/or white house? lose maine it only drives home the point the gop has rejected him. if mitt romney loses maine it means that mon can't buy you love. it further confirms he's too weak to beat obama. it's a catch-22. he's too weak and santorum is to
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ideological rigid. now we'll get the latest in the case of jerry sandusky. he wants more freedom. he went to court asking for the judge's help. nbc news national investigative correspondent michael izikoff has the rest of the story. >> reporter: jerry sandusky under house arrest while awaiting trial on more nan than counts of child sex abuse relaxrelax s on his back porch. people are alarmed because his deck overlooks a school playground. >> people at the school are concerned about it. they're shocked he's there and don't feel he should be there. >> reporter: the neighbors say he's even watching the children play during recess. >> to think that he's up there watching our kids and that's his new outlet, it's just creepy. >> reporter: sandusky, who denies all charges, is today asking a judge for more freedom,
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to see his young grandchildren and leave his home to help a private investigator identify potential witnesses in the case. but in court papers prosecutors say they want sandusky's bail conditions tightened, not eased, to protect the public. house arrest is not meant to be a house party, they write. >> it doesn't go away. it doesn't end. it's very much in our faces. >> reporter: sandusky is currently allowed to be on his walk way and porch, but prosecutors now want to prevent him from leaving the walls of his house for any reason unless accompanied by a court officer. >> nbc's michael izikoff reporting there. in our next hour, oohs and ahhs, proud celebrity parents show off their bundle of xbrjoy and it's beginning to look and feel a lot more like winter but not in the big apple. what gives?
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stopping the streak. mitt romney pushes to make sure maine doesn't become his fourth loss in a row, but could ron paul wind up winning? after the compromise. the new signs this morning the fight over birth control may be far from over in washington. plus, the preview of the new jason bourne movie without matt damon. can a new face pick up the slack? good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." another huge day for republicans, the maine caucuses today. it's expected to be a very close race between romney and paul. earlier this morning romney attended a caucus site at a gym in sanford. >> i know this president wants to transform america. i want to restore to america the principles that made us the nation that we are. >> about an hour earlier ron paul visited that same site and shook hands with supporters. neither newt gingrich nor rick
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santorum have any events scheduled today. let's go live to ron allen who's live in portland, maine. i know mitt romney was scheduled to take the weekend, but he instead is headed to maine. how important of a day is it for romney? >> reporter: that says it all. he was supposed to take the weekend off, but he is here because it's that important. he's lost several primaries in a row now. this a state that's in his backyard. it's been long thought he'd win here because he's a new englander and has been ahead in polls. he's leaving to chance because he wants to not lose again. competition is is ron paul. many analysts believe this is the state ron paul has the best chance of winning. he's spent a lot of time here, has a loyal and enthusiastic following here. again, the real doomsday snar yoe for mitt romney is to lose again and to lose to ron paul. that's why he's here.
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he has two events. we expect him ear at this site in 45 minutes or so to try and seal the deal. vg, again, there's always been this feeling about romney that the republican base seems to be for anybody but him. he really wants to turn that around. the best way to do that is with a win here. >> what about newt gingrich's rick santorum? they're just skipping the state altogether. especially after santorum's wins you think he may want to pick up on that and propel himself further in the state of nain main. >> reporter: you would, but apparently he's trying to parcel his resources. again, this is a state that mitt romney is likely to win, it's in his backyard. so santorum and gingrich are trying to focus their sights on states down the road and fight another day. we have arizona, michigan coming up, then of course there are all those prizes on super tuesday march stixth. so they're looking ahead. the way this has shaped up, again, maine, a very small state, only 5,000ing to 6,000
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caucusgoers participating in the process. small state. huge stakes for mitt romney. >> thank you very much, see you again, ron allen. rick santorum has brought in a lot of cash since his three wins on tuesday. his spokesman tweeted yesterday the candidate has raised 3 million in three days. san form raised the least amount of money last year among the four major republican candidates. after maine, the campaigns move to arizona and michigan, both states holding their primaries on the 28th. the washington caucuses kick off the busy month of march. then 11 states hold primaries and caucuses on super tuesday, march 6th. let's get more on today's battle for maine with romney look for a campaign bounce after santorum's clean sweep of colorado minnesota and missouri. joining me now, jonathan ris kin, washington bureau chief and knee yam henderson, political reporter for "the washington post." good morning. >> good to be here. >> i'll reach out to you first, jonathan, how crucial do you think maine is for mitt romney
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today and do you think ron paul could walk away the winnrn? >> number one, maine won't make or break romney. he really needs to change the narrative. the maine caucuses are a bit of a strange beast. they're actually a weeklong series, they're nonbinding. more of a presidential straw poll. mitt romney did come in friday and saturday, sort of raised the profile as ron mention of what's going on there. but a lot of the kauks uses already took place. the state is tallying the results and keeping it secret. they'll announce the results tonight at a big event. the state party chairman believes it will be one way or the other 200 votes, romney or paul. it will be close. >> i want to look at the national polls with you, knee yam leak ka. as we look at the national poll with mitt romney in the lead, 33%, san form 23%, gingrich with 22%. the latest gallup tracking poll also hasan torm ahe santorum ah
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gingrich. >> santorum certainly wants to frame it as he he ahead of gingrich thaxt ae gingrich. that's why he was so focused on the three primaries. now it's a question if he can turn that into further wins down the road. he'll be in michigan, ohio, in washington. he's already pivoting ahead. but we do see a new side of mitt romney. mitt romney 2.0 not really taking anything for granted in maine even though this is in some ways a beauty contest, a straw poll, he's there because he realized that he got his clock cleaned and that people are having all sorts of doubts now about his candidacy and thinking he's a bit of a fragile front -runne front-runner. >> in your article, john athoon, when you talk about this being decide by a 2-vote span, you talk about the one-time low-profile maine caucuses are critical, if romney wins he can
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change the narrative. how so? >> well, that's right. i'm not sure it's critical in the long run. he still has to do well obviously on super tuesday. but after a week in which he just got his clock cleaned by rick santorum, he really needs a win here. he's a former massachusetts governor. he easily won the maine caucuses in 2008. now if he loses again the fourth time in less than a week, to ron paul, he has to listen to that narrative that he can't win and that the party is rejecting him potentially. all the way until february 28th. that's a long time to listen to that narrative. so he really needs a win tonight i think to change the narrative and change the story leading up to february 28th. >> i want to look at the keystone state of pennsylvania and look at the details. one new poll there shows mitt romney could beat president obama 45% to 43%, then obama beating santorum, again formerly of that state, 47% to 43%, all within the margin of error. this was also before the big
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dustup with the catholic church and contraception and insurance. >> this is a snapshot at this point, but pennsylvania always a very important stiet, usually a swing state. it's gone for democrats for the last couple of years. bob casey is there, he was critical with the president along with the contraception, and forcing the catholic church to provide contraception to women. it's surprising i think that santorum is losing because his argument, that he can go into states like pennsylvania, ohio, blue collar states and really do well against the president. in some ways i think this poll undermines sort of santorum's key argument. >> jonathan, looking ahead to the results today, how long do you think it is before one of the four left standing drops out and who might that be? >> well, they all seem like they're in it for the long run. i think everybody will at least
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go through super tuesday. you know, ron paul i think is just going to keep trying to win some of the smaller states or at least build up some delegates to the convention. so i think everybody goes through super tuesday and then whoever does worse on super tuesday i think it would be difficult for that person to keep going except for ron paul. i think he'll go as long as he can go. >> would you agree with that? >> i think that's true. >> we're all in this for -- ff they're in this together. they still have money, a lot of thunders whether it's through their super pacs or smaller donors. but i think we'll see some sort of movement in this race march 6th. you know, one of the things that's happened over the last couple of days is people aren't really talking about newt gingrich. i was with him in ohio last week. he looked like he was running out of steam a little bit. he was at cpac. i saw him again yesterday. he was giving the exact same stump speech, didn't bring anything new. then we have an emboldened romney who needs to change the narrative very quickly. we have a debate february 22nd,
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see if there's a different story coming out of that. >> i think it was your article where i read the reaction to newt gingrich, it's polite applause, one standing ovation, nothing compared to rick santorum. >> that's right. >> thank you both very much. if mitt romney loses in maine, what does it mean for the gop and if /or white house? we read some of your responses last hour. we'll do more later. new questions this morning about whether the contra exception and religion battle is over following a white house compromise. president obama back tracked from his contraceptive mandate after it drew fire from republicans, some members of his own party and catholic bishops. >> whether you're a teacher or small businesswoman or a nurse or a janitor, no woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes. every woman should be in control
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of the decisions that affect her own health. period. >> three weeks ago the administration announced that all religiously affiliated institutions would have to cover contraception at no cost to their employees. now insurance companies will have to provide coverage at no cost to workers. the question now, will opponents accept the compromise plan? well, republican roy blunt from missouri writes, just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions don't have to pay for the mandate does not mean you've satisfied the fundamentally constitutional freedoms that ault americans are guaranteed. i will be discussing this coming up at the half hour. taking a look at the weather now, here it is. >> hey, it finally looks and feels like winter out there. look at some of these temperatures across the upper midwest, twin cities in the single digits right now. the cool air all the way to the south, temperatures in the 50s and 60s across florida. there's a large storm system
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here in the eastern half of the country, including through the ohio valley, into the northeast. and look at the snow that is falling, detroit we've had our biggest snowfall of the season, four inches officially in detroit, snow off of lake michigan. a big complex that extends from cleveland to pittsburgh, down through west virginia. pittsburgh, cleveland, one to three, two to four, big snow through the mountains west virginia wf, a foot-plus, the ski lovers will be enjoying that. but that snow also moves into the northeast, getting it now in philadelphia, up through new jersey, a place like trenton, newark, you'll be getting the snow. new york as well but generally one inch or less accumulation for us here. maybe heavier accumulation as you head up into new england. there is a look at the forecast today, very chilly across the north, 16 in minneapolis, 20 in chicago. there's your mix in boston, snow in new york and d.c. and very chilly across the south, temperatures should be in the 70s across south florida. you want to talk cold, tomorrow just 66 in miami and 48 in new orleans. that's a look at your weather.
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alex, back to you. >> mike bettes, thanks so much. give you some live looks right now -- well, we were. you know what it looks like in new york city. we had some snow earlier. there it is, it's just not sticking. that makes it just pretty. we'll talk coming up. let's go back to the pictures of the houses for sale and foreclosure settlement. who benefits and when a check could be in the mail. we'll be talking about that right here on "weekends with alex witt." [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind. ♪ [ male announcer ] the citi thank you card.
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ka. well, everyone, quite a dramatic turn in the uprising in syria. a gunman assailing -- assassinating an army general in
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damascus, marking the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the syrian capital since the fighting began 11 months ago. no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. the atook indicates the violence in syria is reaching the tightly-paroled capital. in the meantime, the fighting continues in homs. syrian troops are trying to regain control since last saturday when they started a major offensive in the rebel-held areas. tensions with iran have been escalating as time runs out before the tehran government has the potential to build a nuclear weapon. in iran today, crowds are celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the islamic revolution with rallies in the streets. iran is in the headlines every day it seems. joining me from wug is former u.s. ambassador to morocco, mark ginsburg. good morning, good to see you. >> good morning, alex. >> let's talk about the three big headlines out of iran, one that you've got ahmadinejad who is going to talk about some major announcement relative to their nuclear capability
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development. do we know what that is? >> we suspect it's going to be one of two things, alex. first, it's the probable announcement that they have enriched a sufficient amount of uranium in order indeed to proceed to a level that would permit the weaponization of a nuclear weapon. in other words, they now have enough to do it. the question is whether or not they have reached the point where they can actually take that uranium and transfer it into a bomb. that's the hard part. >> okay. how about in terms of timing? because the u.s. and israel are very split on how much time is left before israel feels that it has to attack iran's nuclear sites? what's your take on this? >> well, the defense minister of israel gave a speech a few days ago in tell la veef in which he said, quote, we no longer can assume that we can wait until later. later is too late. in other words, what he was saying and telegraphing is iran
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has indeed reached the point where it has now sufficient uranium in order to be able to produce a bomb. now, the question of course is will they test it? that's going to be the key. that will be the best signal to everybody, including those intelligence officials who have been going around and assassinating nuclear scientists. they probably know more than anyone where iran is at this point. because if you know where those sign activities are, you know what's going on with their weapons program. >> you know, it sounds like a spy movie when you talk about the assassination of these scientists. and we do have an official that told nbc news that these were arranged by israel, these assassinations of these kind of lower target nuclear scientists by opposition groups there in iran. i mean, what happens as reprisals from that? i mean, we're talking eye for an eye. >> indeed. in fact, one of the controversies here is that there's an iranian group that's based in iraq that has been supporting the united states and is under attack by the iraqi
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government. this is called the mek. there's been some press reports that the mek, which is anti-iranian, anti-ayatollah, has been working with the israeli intelligence services to plan these attacks. now, the mek has denied this, and of course no one is going to admit what's going on. but the iranian government has accused that organization of supporting efforts to assassinate those nuclear scientists. >> okay. here's a headline, that saudi arabia is threatening to build its own atopmic weapon if iran gets one. what would that do? >> not only saudi arabia but jordan, the united emirates. they've all asked the united states to support nuclear programs and the saudis consider iran with a nuclear weapon, believe it or not, to be an ex-is ten shall threat to their
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safety. they're the largest druck beaters to stop iran from developing a weapon. there's been secret talks between the leadership of israel and saudi arabia to coordinate either a military or political or both response to iran's nuclear weapon. could you imagine that, alex? >> no. >> awed saudi arabia and israel plotting to deal with it. >> it's extraordinary. mark, overall, when you think of the potential of all of these individual entities having the ability to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, does that strike terror, fear in your heart? >> of course it does. look at the turmoil in the middle east. look what's going on in iraq and iran. look at what's going on in syria, which also is planning a nuclear program until the israelis took it out. you can never tell. during the arab revolts taking place how many governments will fall, what islamists will do when they gain power, what this means for the united states and our allies as well as the price of oil. the region is already unstable.
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can you imagine adding nuclear weapons to these countries as well? it's a nightmare for diplomats in the united states. >> well, we thank you for having a candid conversation with us. mark, thank you. ron paul's vanishing act. why he went days without a campaign event. we're going to hear from one of his advisers coming up right here on "weekends with alex witt." copd makes it hard to breathe,
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announcement. let's go washington state where later this morning two little boys will be buried. josh powell killed his two sons in a horrific house fire last sunday. this morning there are new details about recently discovered evidence. nbc's miguel almaguer is in washington. >> reporter: a large crowd is expected here in just a few hours. family, friends and strangers grieving for charlie and for braden powell. we are learning more about their father late today and the evidence police have collected against him. in the hours before the double murder/suicide, josh powell was conducting his final preparations. seen here withdrawing $7,000 from a bank. but it's the images found on his home computer that disturb police the most. >> what that was, was pornography in that it was animated. it was cartoons, but it still kind of hinted at insuccess tus kids and adults but it was animation, cartoon. >> reporter: the images, say
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investigators, were among the reasons powell feared he would lose supervised visits with his two boys. >> it blew up the house and the kids. >> reporter: on sunday, when a social worker brought 7-year-old charlie and 5-year-old braden to his home, he took their lives in what police call the well-planned and calculated fire. the social worker says powell told his boys, i have a surprise for you, after slamming the front door shut. after hearing a scream from braden, the social worker dialed 911. >> they have to respond to emergency life threatening situations first. >> well, this could be life threatening. >> reporter: on the initial emergency call, confusion. a deputy wasn't dispatched for eight minutes. by the time police arrived, 22 minutes after the call, there was nothing they could do. >> i just wish that i had understood better what the circumstances were and the lethal quality of this call and all of the dangerous potential that was there. >> reporter: though never charged with a crime, josh powell was named a person of
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interest in his wife susan's 2009 disappearance. this week investigators seized a blood-stained comforter from a storage unit rented by powell. the blood will undergo further testing, but police now call his double murder/suicide an admission of guilt in his wife's suspected murder. >> and it's not over. our daughter's still missing. we don't know where she is. >> reporter: josh powell's father steven powell who was arrested on a count of child pornography and pled not guilty has been named a person of interest in this case. police say so far they have not been able to speak to him. meantime, later on today the focus will be on charlie and braden, those two boys who were murdered by their father. alex? >> nbc's miguel almaguer, thank you very much for the story. up next, strategy talk in the fight of a contraception and the catholic church. is it a question of religious freedom or women's rights? plus, in our three big business headlines, are americans ready to spend? you might be surprised by a new
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number just out. this is "weekends with alex witt."
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well, everyone, will come back to "weekends with alex witt." mitt romney is trying to avoid a setback with the maine caucuses. romney and paul are holding events across the state. a report today suggests a very tight race between the two candidates. neither rick santorum nor newt gingrich is actively campaigning in the state. have have no events scheduled today. we have new reaction this morning to president obama shifting his position on contraception coverage and health insurance.
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president says the revamped policy will both protect religious freedoms as well as a woman's right to contraception. under the plan, religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees. instead, the government will demand that insurance companies will directly responsible for providing free konlt contraception. joining me in studio for a change, we were just talking about that, msnbc contributor susan del percio and msnbc contributor crystal ball. it's good to have you guys here. >> thank you. >> let's get the conversation going with you, susan. do you have a snar yoe cenario you believe this is exactly how the white house expected this all to play out? here's why i say this. because the president went out there and got women to stee that he is a staunch supporter of female rafe rights and then tweaked it a bit to satisfy the religious groups. dow think this was the play from day one? >> it looks like it in retrospect. but when you saw this unfolding it really did not seem the case. when david axelrod had to come
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out, the president's campaign manager, and had to walk this back, they took a lot of heat for it. it was a big gamble if it was preorchestrated. >> crystal, does this provide the president with political cover, even with some members of his own party who may adhere to some strong religious doctrines and feel like maybe there's a crossing of a line, it's a hard and blurred line for some certainly, because it doesn't change the end result effectively. >> right. well, it doesn't change the end result in that women will have equal access to health care, women will have access to the birth control pill. na way it doesn't chge the end result, but i think you're exactly right. this is the big question with the president, right? is he the master chess player, or was he caught flat-footed and just responded well? either way, i do think that ultimately it played out perfectly for him. you have republicans talking about birth control in a year where people are going, come on, guys, we want to talk about the
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economy. you have women who had been frustrated with the president quite frankly during the health care reform bill, remember the stupak amendment and the deal about abortion. you have women having the president stand with him and a lift to rick santorum and extending the presidential prima primary. >> i would tweak that a little bit. you have the opportunity to talk about religious freedom, which is something that mobilizes. we've been talking in this political season that they're concerned conservatives won't show up in november, if mitt romney is the nominee. >> but this lights a fire. >> this does in fact light a fire for conservatives. >> it lights a fire for conservatives. >> they're not going to talk about contraception at the end of the day. they're going to talk about going to war with the church. they're going to talk about government yet once again overreaching of. those are the things they'll use. >> but what are independents going to take away from this? they're going to go, really, guys? birth control? 9
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99% of women who are sex oolly active use birth control. >> there's no way the white house has a slogan for birth control but there's the right to come back and say this is is about individual freedoms abdomen church freedom. >> do you think each side will spin it in a way it benefits their perspective, whether it's about religious freedom, women's rights? is is there going to be an ongoing conversation? >> no. i think it will come down to the economy come november and this is a conversation that has a place now in february, but at the end of the day -- >> in november -- >> come november it won't be a question. >> the timing of this is important because i don't think the republicans would have latched onto it quite as much if we weren't in a primary season where they were trying to get their base fired up, which has not been particularly fired up. so that's part of why it's become political football. i don't want to overstate the impact, but i do think for a lot of women this has reminded them where the president stands versus where the republicans stand. >> well, though, kris tal, to your point here, even as the
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president was walking this back, some of the gop presidential candidates did not let this go. let's listen to some of what they had to say. >> i frankly don't care what deal he tries to cut, this is a man who is deeply committed -- if he wins reelection, he will wage war on the catholic church the morning after he's reelected. we cannot trust him. we know who he really is. and we should make sure the country knows who he really is. >> and i will reverse every single obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life in this country. >> so the question is, in november does the president get more votes from women who support this or lose votes from people who believe in religious freedom? >> well, if you broaden this out a little bit, i think one of the major problems for republicans in this primary is it has forced them so far to the right and it's forced them to play so much to the base that they really have been pushed out of the mainstream and into some positions that are going to be awkward for the general election. now, they've been talking about
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obama's supposed war on religion, their fantasy war on religion, for quite a while now and they've tied this into that whole narrative. but let's be clear. the president's critics are never going to be satisfied. if he says the sky is blue, they'd say it's orange. whatever he says is not going to be enough. >> at the end of the day, i think, again, when we talk about women's issues, women care about the economy. that's what we're going to be facing. now, the only one who this really does affect is mitt romney because at first his overall strategy was to be somewhat mod root erate in comi against obama to appeal independents. was supposed to be fiscal conservative but not as conservative as santorum on social issues. now he is going to have to tweak his game plan for the general election should he be the nominee. >> right. >> i was just going to say it's also been a little awkward since
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he had a similar policy in massachusetts he's had to defend. >> but not one he enacted. >> who's getting the last word? >> you are. >> good to see you. meanwhile, watch special coverage of the maine caucus from 6:00 to 8:00 right here on msnbc. now let's look at the slowly growing economy with our big three money headlines. buyer beware, consumer confidence dips to start february after reaching an 11-month high in january. some possible relief for the housing market with a $26 billion home foreclosure settlement reached. and love ain't free, not at all, no. billions of dollars to be shelled out this valentine's day. let's get to our financial analyst valentine, vera gibbons joining us now. >> good morning. >> the employment picture looks better, but consume of confidence interestingly still fell. >> if fell because we're up against shrinking paychecks. one in four families saw their paychecks actually shrink.
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despite the fact the economy is showing facts of improvement and despite the fact the job market is showing improvement, did if you don't have mnl and costs are going up, you are not happy. >> yeah. what about this $26 billion foreclosure settlement reached? what does this mean to the average consumer, average homeowner? >> not a lot. it's a multibillion-dollar settlement, a commitment from five of the largest banks to help distress home owners, help those who have lost their homes to foreclosure by giving them some compensation. but the problem is that a large portion of the funds which are going to be dedicated specifically to those who are under water is that we have so many people under water, 11 million homeowners, one in thai, this is going to help maybe a million at best. so it's a step in the right direction you could argue but not a silver bullet, not going to solve the housing crisis. it's just something to provide a little bit of assistance to those who are distressed. >> and the best things in life are free, i guess or maybe they're not. >> love, no they're not. >> love is is something people are paying up for on valentine's
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day in a big way. >> love is costly, alex. we're expected to spend more than valentine's day than we've spentd over the last ten years. average spending $126 per person, up 8.5% over last year, a large chunk of that 3.6 billion going to be spending on dining out. that's where you're seeing sort of the biggest chunk of that spending. and the biggest increase, 6.1% over last year, that's more than we spent on candy, flour flours, travel, the increase is bigger. a lot of people eating out. it's one of those days where you feel like you have to go out, which is a reason to stay in. >> wait a minute, what is this, a valentine's xroog? no, not vera. >> no way. the first baby picture of beyonce and jay-z's baby girl.
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♪ toothpicks in maine. who knew? a snowstorm that brought heavy snow no the midwest has arrived in the northeast, wet, slushy snow falling here in the new york city area. doesn't seem to be sticking on any of the sidewalks though. so here's the question, will it last? as we give you a live look right now. kind of pretty, as long as it stays off the roads. that's what i'm thinking. a look there at manhattan. what's the weather where you are? we're going to go to the weather cham's mike bettes here in studio with us for a change. good morning. >> good morning. i think the drive home for you is going to be fine, but it feels like winter in a lot of places. whether you look at some of the numbers, they're impressive. hasn't felt like winter so far this year, but it's 3 in minneapolis right now, a very chilly 12 in chicago, just 9 in kansas city, and 30s for you in
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the northeast. now, we've got snow to go along with it. little slushy in detroit where you had four inches this morning, snow bands off of lake michigan where at some point we had snowfall rates of five inches an hour incredible. another foot of snow could come in the mountains west virginia. most of us in the northeast you're going to end up seeing just wet roadways, maybe a dusting on the grassy surfaces. cleveland you could be a big winner, especially the eastern suburbs with the laichke-effect snow. the resorts in west virginia looking great, pittsburgh almost on the back end of the snow for you right now. through state college and central p.a. and philadelphia and trenton you're clearing out. newark and new york, by lunchtime everything should be gone for you. we'll have some snow that remains in and around boston and downeast maine. maine along i-95 cob a problem highway for you. keep that in mind. there is a look at your forecast, 16 in minneapolis, 41 in atlanta, chilly there, a 51 in new orleans. we'll do even colder tomorrow,
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48 in new orleans and i've got to tell you, we usually recommend south florida, but, alex, 66 is cold for floridians, that's for sure, tomorrow aels forecast. bundle up. >> oh, cry me a river. are you kidding me? if those folks are complaining about 66! mike, thank you so much. well, the fight over contraception and the catholic church and white house health care policy, what kind of impact might this have on the 2012 race? joining me now is john green, professor of political science at the university of akron ohio. professor green, good to see you. >> great to be with you. >> is this the kind of religious issue that's going to linger into november, or do you think this is just a couple of weeks of a dustup and then it will go away? >> it all depends on how voters end up defining the issue. as your previous guests mentioned on the program, if it's defined as a public policy issue, it may not have a lasting impact. if it's about women's rights and so forth. on the other hand, if it gets defined as a religious liberty issue, it has the capacity in
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november to pull catholic voters and maybe other religious voters away from the democrats and towards the republicans, and if it's a very close election, you wouldn't have to change that many votes for it to have an impact. >> let's go through some steps. i'll talk with you about the impact this has. one in four u.s. voters are catholic in 2008, obama won the catholic vote 54% to 46% but lost the white catholic vote. john, what's the significance here? interpret these numbers for us. >> obama did win the catholic vote largely on the strength of hispanic catholics. he may continue to do very well with hispanic kachbcatholics. but catholics of european background and descent actually went for mccain by a small majority. there is the potential at least that that would shift even more republican and it could be especially problematic among practice being catholics, the regular mass attending catholics who may be very sensitive to
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freedom of conscience issues. >> let's look at more numbers with regard to among catholics who attend mass once a week or more, president obama lost that vote 41% to 59%. however, he did win the support of the white kooj licks who are not the regular churchgoers, 52% to 48%. >> it turns out mass attendance is an important factor when it comes to how people vote. it ae's possible if this were defined as a religious liberty issue those regular mass attending catholics would shift even more republican. that could be problematic in states like highway and pennsylvania and missouri where there are lots of regular mass attending catholics. but even more problematic, perhaps, for the president would be if those less-observant catholics because of their love of catholic institutions may move a bit in the republican direction as well. >> in which key states do you think this will have the greatestest pact? >> most likely in ohio, one of
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the key battleground states and maybe pennsylvania. there are lots of catholics in wisconsin and iowa and missouri. and of course some catholics also in florida. so to the extent that this becomes an issue, it could have an effect in those key states. >> all right. want to thank you for speaking with us, professor john green there from the university of akron ohio. thank you! >> you're very welcome. today's quick list of number ones has a rather youthful outlook. we begin with ann arbor, michigan, home to one of the greatest universitieses it's rated ann arbor as the best country for singles, high income, reasonable cost of living and a well-educated dating pool are the reasons for that. bloomington, illinois, the first runner-up for pretty much the same reasons as ann arbor. santa cruz, california, baltimore and los angeles complete the top five. with spring break just around the corner, co-ed magazine has listed the trashiest destinations for spring break, where the college kids can
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indulge in guilty pleasures. oh, my. sto maybe it's not surprising to see las vegas at number one. hey, i knit has it all, of cour, except for the beach. but the mretful pool parties make up for that. key west, florida, comes in second, followed by south padre island, texas. traditional springtime destination daytona florida, ranks fourth, myrtle beach, fifth. party with the best of them! and i'm gonna go down to the river! >> part of a hilarious scene from "bridesmaids" with a very tipsy kristen wiig. we mention it now because it is the most popular video on demand movie of all time. "braidz maidz" has racked up 4.8 million rentals in four weeks, $24 million and full disclosure, "bridesmaids" is from universal pictures owned by our parent
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♪ to today's maine caucus now and ron paul is hoping for his first victory in the gop primary season. paul campaigned in maine more than any other candidate. his biggest competition there is expected to come from mitt romney. but just a couple of days ago paul defended romney. >> there's a bit of irony, though, for santorum to be the
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one that's criticizing mitt romney for being liberal because when we do the analysis and look at his voting repore ining recoa moderate. he has voted for a lot of big government things. so from my viewpoint it's a bit ironic that the criticism and arguments and debates going back and forth, i don't know, maybe the people are getting tired of it. maybe they're getting tired of republicans bickering among themselves when they realize their positions are essentially the same. >> ron paul senior adviser doug wead is joining me from washington. doug, nice to see you. >> good morning, alex. >> so ron paul could win maine if he beats mitt romney but he's still dending him as you heard in that sound bite. what's going on? >> well, he likes the fact that mitt romney debates the issues and doesn't get personal and doesn't say outrageous things. i mean, we had a candidate that was going around lying about his position just absolutely taking
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a position and saying the opposite and we had a candidate is saying ron paul will wait until an american city is wiped out by a nuclear bond before he will respond. so i think he resents the demagoguery. he's an intelligent man. he wants to debate the issues. but we are sharply divided from mitt romney. he's the goldman sachs. he won't audit the fed. let's keep it all secret. we have sharp differences with him. and we believe under romney this process of the wealth moving from the poor and the middle class to the rich is going to continue. >> doug, if you don't win maine, then realistically, when is your next opportunity as we look at this primary calendar? my director jason is is putting it up. we look at this calendar, where do you pick up a ron paul win? >> well, let me explain a little bit this delegate thing as we see it. as we see it. our object is to win delegates. we won beauty contests for two years and people kept saying, so
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what? it means nothing. there's no delegates. we won california straw poll and a week later they were saying herman cain is the front-runner because he won the florida straw poll. so our object is to win delegates. we will win minnesota. we may not win the beauty contest. but whether we come in third or seconds or first, we will have most of the delegates out of minnesota because we know who our people are at the precinct level and they will take those delegates slots as they have in minnesota and as they did in colorado and nevada and move on to the district or in some cases the counties and then to the state, and we will own those delegations. so why spend our money on a beauty contest to impress the media? we won cpac the last two years in a row. why do it again? >> doug, why didn't you guys go back to cpac, though? this is the election year. >> because there are no delegates at cpac. we are winning the battle of delegates and nobody seems to notice it. but it is a delegate strategy.
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"new york times" comes out with a story that rick santorum has 37 delegates it's so confusing and it's so inaccurate that the rnc actually produced a memo, sent it out monday to explain who all had -- rick santorum had three delegates. there have been no delegates chosen in iowa, in nevada, in minnesota, colorado. in most of those states we think we've won, and our delegates we can give them names and addresses. the others are in the minds of the writers. >> okay, doug, look, part of what's been going on with ron paul, it's been a message campaign. so if he does not end up being the nominee, who do you think has the greatest potential to carry on ron paul's message? >> well, we're not ready tore that yet. we're not there yet. for example, i just mentioned to you, we have won maine. whether we come in first or second or third in the beauty contest, put yourself in our shoes. why should we dump $3 million
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into television advertising to win a beauty contest in maine when the delegates there are unbound? so whether we come in first or third, while that's important to u and it's important briefly for fund raising if you're a santorum because you need the money, it does not add to your aggregate delegate total. we believe right now, if you sat down at the kitchen table, alex, and you parcelled out where these delegates are going, we are in the hunt. we may be in first place in delegates when all of this is processed from iowa, from minnesota, from colorado. and we can show you precinct by precinct how we put that together. >> we may put you to that. thank you very much, doug wead. good to see you. thanks. >> thank you, alex. office politics with harry smith and people he calls cafeteria catholics, coming up here on "weekends with alex witt." gomery and abigail higgins had... ...a tree that bore the most rare and magical fruit. which provided for their every financial need.
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up next, it's the maine course. but where will it lead in the battle for the white house? plus, money matters. your tax dollars at work. new word this morning on just how much the president wants to spend and how he's going to pay for it. there are fires burning on either side, and sort of what about us? >> harry smith on the impact of the bitter divide in washington. lin drives in and lays it in! >> and it's lin-credible, an overlooked player suddenly finds star.com right here in the big app apple. good morning, everyone. it's just past 11:00 a.m. in the east, 8:00 a.m. in the west. today is another big day for republicans on the campaign trail. the maine caucuses. the race is expected to be very close between mitt romney and ron paul. earlier this morning mitt romney and ron paul visited the same caucus site in sanford. romney spoke to the voters there. >> i know this president wants
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to transform america. i want to restore to america the principles that made us the nation that we are. >> we're going to go right now to ron allen who's live for us in portland, maine. let's talk about the importance of today, mitt romney who hadn't been expected to be there all that much, look where he is. >> reporter: yeah, he's here trying to save the day essentially after losing three in a row to rick santorum last week, which was a big surprise. certainly a big surprise to mitt romney as well. losing four in a row and losing here in his own backyard of new england would be a real shock to his campaign. here the challenge is not santorum, though, it's ron paul who has perhaps spent more time than any other candidate here. it's the one state where he really has a chance to win. that would be a real big deal for him and perhaps again even a bigger deal for mitt romney. we just heard him speak here at a caucus site, another site from where you ran the clip earlier, and one thing that was noteworthy in his speech is he said something to the effect of,
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we are here to make more than just a statement, saying to voters essentially, look, take this really seriously. i need your votes. i really need to make this happen here today because essentially this is a nonbinding vote. so if you want to get into the tech nalities of it, the delegates will be selected later. but he's trying to say, come, vote, participate, give me a win. we need it here. he does, he needs to generate momentum, change the story of the race from mitt romney who at one time seemed the inevitable to put him in control, back winning and not losing. >> newt gingrich, rick santorum, they pretty much skipped the state altogether. >> reporter: they did, because, again, this is mitt romney's backyard. they're looking to fight another day. we move to arizona, to michigan later in the month, and then we have all those states on march 6th, super tuesday, where there's a whole treasure trove of delegates to be selected. that's where tlair focusing their attention. remember a month ago maine seemed insignificant. it seemed like it was going to
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be a walk for mitt romney. that's why gingrich and san tarm haven't done much here at all. losing had here for them isn't probably a big deal for them in the grand scheme of things, at least not in the perception race. they're living to fight another day in arizona and michigan 234e6789 wenext week. here it's all about mitt romney. losing would be a big blow to his campaign. winning would give him some momentum but again probably not all the momentum he wants because everybody will just say, he was expected to win there anyway. but losing would be a big deal for him here. >> absolutely. thank you so much, ron allen. good to see you. all of you be sure to watch special coverage of the maine caucuses, airing tonight 6:00 to 8:00 right here on your place for politics, msnbc. conservatives are gathering today washington, d.c., for the third and final day for the conference of cpac. former alaska governor sarah palin will deliver the keynote address. she accepted the invitation to give the keynote address in both
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2008 and 2009 before canceling weeks before the event each time. all four candidates addressed cpac. gingrich the last candidate to speak and he took a swipe at the gop establishment. >> this is the year to reset this country in a decisive, bold way. we need to teach the republican establishment a lesson. we are determined to rebuild america, not to manage it. and with your help, that is is what we will do. >> and we showed you there callista introduced newt. mixed reaction to president obama's revamped plan on birth control and health insurance. the president announced his updated plan on friday, saying it protects religious liberties while protecting women's access to contraception. under the changes, religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees. instead, the government will demand that insurance companies be directly responsible for providing free contraception.
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for more on that and today's caucuses in maine, i'm joined by perry bacon jr. and congressional reporter for "the washington post," felicia son mez. good morning. parry, my question to you, what's the political calculation in the white house behind their twaeking this health care contraception policy and the catholic church. do you think before hand the president and his advisers knew they'd be in the sticky position they found themselves in? >> they did know this would be a controversial issue. there was a lot of reporting this week that vice president biden and others had talked about it and they knew it would be a big issue. what seemed to surprise them was the democrats that spoke out against it, tim kaine, john kerry. at the end of the day they had to come up with a compromise that the democratic catholics could accept. you saw yesterday the compromise the president announced, tim kaine and others were supportive of it. i think they're getting past the
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issues in terms of catholics moderates and democrats. they've accepted what they've done. >> phylicia, dow think this will satisfy his critics or do you think this issue has a fair amount of fuel left in it? >> oh, it's absolutely not going to satisfy anybody, alex. there were definitely some democrats who came out yesterday and said that this did appease them, but right here in portland last night you saw mitt romney, governor of massachusetts and gop front-runner, basically coming ought saying this was a deception, not a move by the white house to really turn course on this. so it's really only the beginning of this, at least on the campaign trail. i think you're going to see a lot more candidates out there bringing this up as an issue. and it's one that the white house really could not come among a worst constituency for them. they really need to round up support among independent voters. a lot of the people out there upset about this are not just republican primary voters but a lot of catholics who are democrats, independents, all over the place. >> perry, of course the other
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big story of the day and the reason felicia is is out in the snow is the maine caucuses. is maine a must-win for mitt romney, perry? >>noor, it's not a must-win. it would be bad if our the front-runner to lose three contests in the same week. at the same time, romney gave a speech at cpac where he says, by the way, i'm a conservative. we're in month 12 of his campaign. it tells you''s not as strong of te'i candidate we thought he was going into this. if he loses today, he can still win the primary, he could still lose it down the line. but it will be a much longer race. it's not great if he loses but he'll still keep going. it's not a must-win i don't think. >> how about your sense of that, felicia, if it's a must-win for romney and basically the sense on the ground there. what's it like? what are people saying? >> well, i think the most important thing to keep in mind here, amp.mmpl.m. alex, this is lowest turnout conclude r cauau
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see. four years ago about 2% of registered republicans turned out for the caucuses, only about 5,500 people. the most important thing there is that, while that's sort of downplaying the importance of these because it's a very slice of the elect rat, it makes them more important in a way because it shows who's the most enthusiastic, who's going to turn out today and indeed over this past week. for mitt romney it's a really important race because four years he won here overwhelmingly. if he loses here today and not only loses but to ron paul who has yet to win in either of these races, it's a pretty big blow to him, at least among the republican base voters who are the ones most likely to go out there today. >> felicia sonmez, get inside and warm up. perry bacon, thank you. after maine, the campaigns move to arizona and michigan, both states holding their primaries on the 28th. the washington caucuses kick off the very busy month of month,
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then 11 states a s hold their primaries and caucuses on super tuesday, march 6th. on monday, president obama will unveil his new budget proposals for 2013. the call for new spending to create jobs and raise taxes on upper income people. nbc's mike viqueira is live ke white house with us. what's the latest on this budget plan? >> reporter: well, you know, it's interesting. the president or any president is is required by law to submit a budget for the following year this time in february every year. the president will certainly do thaxt but alex it's late by become more of a notional thing. it gives everybody an idea of where the president wants to head, sort of a political document. almost like a written state of the union because it's really not going anywhere in its current form, sternal not in the house of representatives and probably not the sflat either. here's some of the stuff he's talking about. tax reform is big on the table. remember last summer when they had the debate about reducing taxes and had the grand bargain
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on the table. he's going to address that, talk about the buffet rule, the surcharge on income over $1 million, closing loopholes in the tax code. and expiring tax cuts for upper income people, those bush tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000 a year. he'll still be pushing that. on the front burner now, of course, is the payroll tax cut extension, that deal back in december, extended it for two months, it's due to expire later this month. today in his radio address the president talked about the need for that extension. >> congress needs to stop this middle class tax hike from happening. period. no drama. no delay. and no ideological side issues that have nothing to do with this tax cut. now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our recovery. now is the time for common sense action. >> reporter: and yes the economy is is improving. there have been better figures coming out on gdp and unemployment as well, it's down to 8.3% as you know, alex.
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that surprised a lot of people. even he so, even with the president's budget proposal coming out monday, they project a budget deficit next year of $1.3 trillion. >> mike viqueira at the white house, thank you. they were once kind to newt gingrich but now not so much. why is gingrich fading in the polls? we're going to talk with a gingrich supporter coming up next on "weekends with alex witt". before the break, president obama is fine-tuning his run for reelection, releasing a list of 29 official campaign songs from popular artists. we'll be sampling a few of the selections this afternoon like this tune from the band sugarland called "everyday america." ♪
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the maine caucuses are today, but newt gingrich is not competing there. both he and his wife callista made their mark at the cpac conference in washington. he attacked president obama while callista poked fun at her husband. >> this administration is waging war on religion, but so are the courts. this is why we need a movement that's bigger than just beating obama. >> i'm personally grateful for his wisdom in not trying to sing as a candidate. he knows his limitations. >> joining me now, senior adviser to the gingrich campaign and former congressman from louisiana robert livingston. do you agree with that assessment? have you heard newt sing? >> i've heard him yell, probably as close to singing as he's ever done. it's not much. not pleasant. >> what about speaker gingrich, why did he decide to have his
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wife introduce him? >> well, i think the other wives, certainly ms. romney, has done a good job introducing her husband and making a presence. callista has always been present with newt, but she's not been heard from. i talked to a lot of people that have wanted to hear from her. they heard from her yesterday. she did a great job. so it's just one check in the box, so to speak. but newt did a great job as well. he was -- it was an excellent speech to cpac and i think if people listened to the substance they're going to realize this is the best qualified guy to be president. >> well, let's talk about the s san tarn surtorum surge. how difficult will it be to overcome the santorum surge? >> alex, newt gingrich has been down before. mitt romney spent a lot of money to knock him out of the box right from the beginning in the first primary, and then down in florida he did it again.
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but newt keeps bouncing back like the everready bunny or rocky balboa. this thing is far from over, and i think newt definitely has a good shot at being resurrected so to speak. santorum had a good week last week, no question about it. >> that resurrection, though, sir, will probably not come today as you know because your candidate isn't even competing in maine. given that santorum sweep of the last week, any regrets from the gingrich campaign? thinking you shod have played harder in maine? >> no, i don't think so. that's romney territory. if romney gets beaten by ron paul, it's a terrible blow to him. and last week didn't get santorum any delegates so it really didn't mean anything. i think when you see super tuesday crop up and newt is going to do extremely well in the southern states, he's going to be quite competitive come convention time. >> well, it doesn't mean anything perhaps in terms of the delegates, but it does meaning in smg to win in terms of money. we've seen rick santorum's
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campaign raise 3 million bucks in regard to three days. with regard to newt gingrich's cash coffers, how do they stand and how long can you compete without the infusion of money from the super pac donors like the sheldon adelsons? >> well, money is important, no doubt about it. it's enabled romney to get on television time after time and attack his opponents. but he's not doing as well as he did four years ago. so i'm not too sure it's the end-all. newt has got the capacity to stay in the race past super tuesday. the money will come in when they see him perform. he performed yesterday quite well, and, again, i keep going back to the substance. mitt romney says 29 times that he's a conservative yesterday, but when he came out a week ago in favor of raising -- or indexing the minimum wage, the fact is that people have to question whether or not he really is. he is a moderate from
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massachusetts. >> yeah. i hope you got your earpiece plugged in there. one more question. taking a look ahead to march 6th, you've got 11 states, how do you think newt gingrich is going to fare? do you have certain states that you think are definitely in the gingrich camp? >> yeah. i think that after the next week or two, it will be quiet for a week or two. but about three weeks from now i think newt is going to be looking a lot better. >> robert livingston, thank you very much for your time. good to see you. >> thank you, alex. next up, a must-see, must-avoid. "star wars" in 3d. is it worth the extra coin? we'll take a look next here on "weekends with alex viltwitt." ♪
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from the big apple to sonoma
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county, jeremy lin is fast becoming a household name. yet again last night in a new york knicks uniform lin was simply lin-credible, xoring 38 points against the lakers to lead the knicks to their fourth straight win. until now, he's received little attention to being the first player from chinese descent to play in the nba. but in the span of a week or so, the undrafted second year player from harvard has gone from bench jockey cut by two other teams to a shooting star. loet's go to this weekend's must-sees and must-avoids. here's the latest flick from dwayne "the rock" johnson. >> that's the deadliest part of the ocean. >> there's no island there. >> oh, baby, easy peasy. let's go. oh! that's my security system. >> i'd rather take the titanic. >> joining me, kim vasarafin.
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the rock's new movie, must-see or must-avoid? >> i'm going to say must-see especially for families. it's the sequential to "journey to the center of the earth," about josh hutchison. he gets a mysterious transmission from an island. he goes with his stepfather, dwayne "the rock" johnson. they go in search of the treasure. lots of great 3d, cgi, volcanoes, animals, lush surroundings in hawaii. great 3d, family film. a must-see for families. >> how about "the vow," valentine's day flick. what's your take? >> definitely must-see, especially if you're a girl, female, or especially if you're a guy and you want to impress your significant other, girlfriend or try to impress a girl. definitely a much more female skewing film, but actually doing really, really well. actually all four films opening this weekend are dog really well. we're looking at a record box office weekend for prevalentine's day. but specifically "the vow"
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really driving people. a tear jerker, takes place -- it's based on true events, a woman gets into an accident, loses her memory and has to fall in love with her husband all over again. definitely a tear jerker, perfect for valentine's day. >> excellent. >> definite must-see if you're a girl for sure. >> totally. it's on my list. of course. how about "star wars episode i the phantom menace"? how's that working out? must-see or must-avoid? >> i'm saying must-see again. we've seen rereleases come out with the disney films, this is kind of the new trend to rerelease these films in 3d. i think definitely good, not even just for fans, also a family film. this could be really competing with "journey," too. >> can i talk about the sneak peek we've been getting "bourne leg city"? what do you think about a bourne movie without matt damon? >> definitely a risk, although you have jeremy renner starring in it.
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definitely replacing him with someone really good. and i think with the director was saying is, don't think of him as replacing matt damon. think of it sort of as an extension of the trend, a wider conspiracy. it's basically like he's not the only one. this is sort of an extension of the first three bourne movies. >> okay, if you say so. but i'm a huge matt damon fan. anyway, what about the first pictures we're getting of baby blue ivy? >> oh, love these. would you expect anything better? she is gorgeous. but considering her parents, you knew that would happen. this girl has everything. she already has a hit song, right, that she did with her cries on that song that jay-z recorded. >> right. >> pretty amazing. she looks beautiful. beyonce looks amazing. she made her first public appearance. she looks amazing now. looked amazing then. what a beautiful family. >> yeah. blue ivy, a must-see baby. we'll be seeing a lot of her no doubt. kim sarafisarafin, thank you so >> thanks. coming up, office politics.
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nbc's harry smith talks about a problem in washington that leaves most wondering what is going on. and direct from the new obama campaign songbook, it is earth wind and fire. ♪ 0. i'm al ways looking out for i'm al small ways to be more healthy. like splenda® essentials™ no calorie sweeteners. this bowl of strawberries is loaded with vitamin c. and now, b vitamins to boot. coffee doesn't have fiber. unless you want it to. splenda® essentials™ are the first and only line of sweeteners with a small boost of fiber, or antioxidants, or b vitamins in every packet. mmm. same great taste with an added "way to go, me" feeling. splenda® essentials™. get more out of what you put in.
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♪[music plays] purina one beyond. food for your cat or dog. the crisis in syria is still raging as government troops crack down on protestors, fighting has reportedly lift hundreds of civilians dead in the past week. nbc's andrea mitchell spoke to ambassador robert ford about the situation in syria. >> i spent a good part of the day looking at what's happening in syria, and the shelling again by syrian forces on residential areas in syria's third largest city homs is just absolutely awful. it's horrific. >> we are in cairo with more on syria. good day to you, aimen.
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what's the latest? what are you hearing? >> reporter: good morning, alex. well, if you're looking at syrian state television, you're really getting one side of the story. what they're trying to portray is a country that is fighting an armed insurgency made up of terrorist goongs. today they cited the killing of a high ranking military official in damascus as a latest example of the violence. but if you speak to human rights organizations it's a very different picture. all across the country the military is stepping up a campaign against protestors and dmonl straighter rz particularly in homs where hundreds of people have been killed in the last seven days of fighting and they say the military is just stepping up that crackdown and they're expecting the death toll to continue to rise, alex. >> what do we know about the assassination of the syrian army general there? it was right in damascus? is that unique, in that location? >> reporter: well, damascus is a very tightly-controlled city. we just rush ereturned from syr
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all through the city check points are set up. moving around the city has become very difficult but nonetheless there have been attacks inside the capitol. the implication of today's attack is perhaps the violence is now starting to reach the capital. it's not new that senior officers of the military have been killed, but this is to date an 11-month uprising the most senior military official killed and, more importantly, is that it took place in the capital damascus. he was believed to be the head of the military hospital in the capital, certainly symbolically a major blow to the regime. >> thank you very much for the update on things in syria. let's go to iran today. president mahmoud ahmadinejad spoke on the anniversary of the islamic revolution. he talked about the nuclear achievements. the west suspects the program is aimed at producing atomic
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weapons, a charge tehran denies. a huge day for the gop with today's maine caucus. mitt romney and ron paul expected to fight it out for the top spot. meanwhile, it gifz us the perfect chance to play fact or fiction maine style. joining me from portland is jaime kingman-rice, library for the maine historical society. good morning. we'll get right to it. our first fact or fictioning your way, maine walz one of the 13 original connell nes? >> fiction. it was part of the massachusetts bay colony named the district of massachusetts. technically not one of the original tlooen tlaen. >> thousand about this one, maine is called vacationland, america's most visited national park is in maine? >> that is fiction. we are called vacationland, but acadia national park in maine is ranked number nine with visitors. the great smoky mountains in north carolina is actually number one. >> okay. how about this fact or fiction?
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maine is almost as big as all of the other five new england states put together? >> that's a fact. maine is one of the largest states in the nation, square mileswise, and it is 13,215 square miles approximately. >> okay. fact or fiction, maine's largest city, the capital, is portland? >> fiction. maine's largest city is portland, but the capital is actually augusta. it was moved in 1827 to accommodate the state. >> that could have been factish, then. how about this fact or fiction, the moose population is more than five times larger than the number of republican caucus voters in 2008? >> fact. maine's moose population is over 29,000, while the republican
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caucus voters in 2008 was roughly 5,482. so considerably larger. >> i'm sorry i laughed so loud, but that was pretty funny, thinking there's more moose than people voting. >> absolutely. >> actually, not funny if you think about it. thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. in this hour's office politics, we talk with nbc's harley smith. i ask about the country's polarizing politicians and the people he calls cafeteria catholics and we look back at his coverage of a story that made headlines around the world. >> there are a lot who suggest that it is the most divisive it has ever been, and that it's deep divisions getting nastier and nastier. do you agree with that statement? >> i think it's pretty divisive. it's been that way for a long time, though. i was having a conversation with somebody not so long ago, talking about old days in
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washington when there was a degree of word you never heard any more, comity. this sort of sense that people had differences but at the end of the day the sort of nation's business was more important than individual differences. so there was this point at which you would fight and fight and fight and then come to some sort of agreement. not necessarily consensus but agreement. >> to take that point even further, i mean, there were people on opposite sides of the aisle that could get all upset during the day at work and then they would go have dinner at night. >> right. back in the day. doesn't happen anymore. >> but why hasn't it gotten there? is it because of the divide in general? is it that 99% versus 1%? i mean, has the schism become deeper and wider than it was? >> yeah, i think so. you know, i think there's a
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pendulum in america that swings back and forth, and sometimes it swings to the right and sometimes it swings to the left. and what's interesting is, most of us are somewhere in the middle of that. you know, some of us are even sort of like what we used to call cafeteria catholics. you know, we like this dogma, we like that doctrine, that catechism, and we'll pick and choose what we like. and it's interesting what's happened, it seems to me, is the people on that side feel like they're really doing battle with the people on that side. and the people on that side are really dead-set against whatever is is on the agenda on that side. so it's the folks sort of in the in-between, it seems to me, anyway, that are left to sort of say -- you know, there are fires burning on either side and sort of, what about us? what's -- how is this in our interest? >> i want to ask you about a
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story that you did recently. i cannot get over the picture of you in a rubber dingy by the costa convicord area. >> a dive boat. it looks really bad because the skis were phenomenally high. >> it was scary. >> crazy! really, it was one of those -- it was like from a science fiction movie. all i said was, if we're going to go, what we should do is find a captain who can have a conversation with us and we can sort of follow that ship and see what actually happened. it's one of the first statements released by the captain, was that he hit this uncharted rock. i've spent a little time in the mediterranean. i know what the water looks like there. you can see about 90 feet, literally, through to the bottom of certain -- >> nice. >> it's phenomenal. there isn't an inch of the mediterranean that isn't -- that hasn't been charted.
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this guy -- the chance of this guy hitting something that wasn't charted is impossible. >> i want to talk about some things here in the office. first of all, the chair in which i'm sitting, not all that comfortable unless you're at a baseball game. is that what this is? >> these are chairs that were reclaimed from the old comisky park in chicago. i grew up south of chicago in cook county. in a blue collar town. and in chicago it was very much if you were a cubs fan or a white sox fan, it was very much about class. so as a southsider from the blue collar town, i grew up very much a white sox fan. so when they built the new stadium, chicago white sox charities put these up for sale, and we got two. so it's nice. >> yeah. it is very cool. i actually love it because i'm a big baseball fan.
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i would have blue ones, though, because i'm a dodger girl growing up in l.a. just saying. >> ah, right. >> watch more of my conversation with harry smith tomorrow morning at 11:40 eastern. you can all watch harry smith's reports on "rock center" with brian williams, premiering this week wednesday on 9:00 p.m. eastern on nbc. next in the big three, why the vote in maine has become such a big deal for mitt romney. . super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. a lot of things going on in my life and the last thing i want to be thinking about is my dentures. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip.
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joey, is maine most important today for romney because it will let him change the narrative from santorum's tuesday's sweep if he wins? >> you're absolutely right, alex. it will represent romney to regain the momentum he's lies at least in the eyes of the pun. this is another primary without delegates to be won, the same as santorum's wins this past week. he didn't win delegates but got a huge surge from having won three primaries in a row this past week. romney theneeds this win today. >> what do you think, jackie, would a romney maine victory erase the memory of the santorum sweep this week, or is there no erasing that? >> the fact we're looking at maine at this point as another primary where delegates aren't going to be awarded just shows how much this romney ship needs to be righted. no, i don't think it erases the santorum sweep, particularly somewhere like colorado where romney went into that contest,
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last cycle he got 40 more percentage points than john mccain. so they need to do more. it will definitely be a step in the right direction for the romney campaign. >> i'm curious, morris, does a santorum/obama matchup appeal to democrats more? you're a political veteran. how likely is that? >> i don't think it's likely at all. he needs money so he needs more victories to keep the money train running. i don't think he'll eek out many more. romney is going to have to put his footd on the gas and really go after this guy in order to put him to the side the way he did newt gingrich. unless he continues to win, then he'll get money. but i don't think that's the case. i think he raised $2 million in the last two days, but if he doesn't win he doesn't have the money. therefore, i think it's really romney's to lose. >> let's go to our next issue, guys, as we begin with the contraception fight. is that over, morris, the white
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house must have known this backlash was going to occur. why not just immediately come out with the compromise idea off the bat? or did they need to sort of walk it back for some reason? was there a political calculation there? >> well, there was a political miscalculation if anything. >> that's right. >> when your oenlt is beating himself and going down the drain, the best thing to do ask stay oust way. the republicans were having a bad week. we should never have gotten into this mess. this is where sometimes democrats have pledge discipline. we don't have the discipline on message we need. this was a big mistake. we need to think about how we roll things out. and quite frankly we only need to roll things out that are going to create jobs and really get people confident. this is not going to create jobs. this is something we could have done at a different time. we need to focus on what the american people want to hear, job creation. >> really stay away from social issues, morris? >> i think we need to cality brait how we roll it out. it doesn't need to be big and
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audacious. the president doesn't have to do it. maybe a subcabinet rolls some of these things out. it's all about how you handle the message. this stepped on the message when we had the republicans really fighting among them stfls in a big way. >> what do you think, joe, now that the president has tweaked this, this whole catholic contraception, who's going to pay for it, the insurance companies, is that enough? and if it's not enough, is it just politics taking over now? >> he's opened up a can of worms and morris is said it right. you have to pay attention to the message and especially in an election year and especially at a time when republicans are certainly trying to win a nomination against him, to give republicans an issue like this is not good politics. and clearly it's an affront at the end ever the day to lots of catholics, millions of catholics, around the country. certainly to their leadership and to members of the catholic church. so why would you come out with this kind of a mandate at this time? i think morris is is absolutely right in that regard. >> he did say it was way miscalculation. >> jackie, let's listen to whoo
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newt gingrich and mitt romney said at cpac about all of this on friday. >> i frankly don't care what deal he tries to cut, this is a man who is deeply committed -- if he wins reelection, he will wage war on re-election he will wage war on the catholic church the morning after he's reelected. we cannot trust him. we know who he really is and we should make sure he knows who the country is. >> i will reverse every single obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life in this country. >> do you think in the end, jackie, that this is going to be a winning issue for the president because it will attract certain voters or a losing issue because it will push away certain voters? >> i don't know. it may be too soon to tell at this point, but it does give the republicans something else to talk about. another example, they think, of government overreach and they built a lot of the campaign on this. so it's one more thing that we'll hear during debates and especially when there's a republican nominee, this will be brought up again.
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so it's just one more thing that they'll be able to take off and -- whether it's -- it's not necessarily good for the white house. >> okay. jackie joe morris, coming up next with the big three. calista gingrich takes the stage. we'll rate her as well as the week. oh! [ baby crying ] ♪ what started as a whisper ♪ every day, millions of people choose to do the right thing. ♪ slowly turned to a scream ♪ there's an insurance company that does that, too. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? ♪ amen, omen yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can come from any faucet anywhere. the brita bottle with the filter inside.
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when we decided to run, we knew there would be tough stories from the media as well as hurtful attacks from some of our opponents. what we didn't know was how kind so many americans would be to us. >> we are back with the big three and that was calista gingrich introducing her husband newt at cpac in washington, d.c., on friday. we're bringing back in the panel, joe watkins, and jackie. >> i want to ask you about gingrich's speech, she doesn't do a lot of public speaking and what do you make of her introducing her husband on
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friday. >> i think it's a good venue to put her in front of people, a very friendly krout and cpac hassa ulz been very good to the gingrich's. it definitely can't hurt him to have her out there a little bit more, although, and i think they need to start introducing her to people because of some of the stories that have been -- i think it helps and humanizes him a little bit and human iz ones her. >> we've seen her on the campaign trail and she's been by her husband all of the time. why do you think we haven't heard from her. >> she's a real asset to the campaign. i've met calista gingrich. i think very highly of her. she's very smart and she's a tremendous compliment to her husband newt gingrich, and i think it's wise to use her now in front of cpac, and i think it will help him. >> you can tell me after the show. let's get to you, morris, for your picks on the best and the
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worst of the week. we're almost out of time. >> rick santorum had the best week getting momentum and getting money. i think the loser of the week are moderate republicans. this republican race is moving harder and harder to the right. the moderate republican, you want someone that can win in november. none of these candidates look like they'll be a winner in november so moderate republicans are my losers of the week. >> that's interesting. joe, your thoughts on that. rating the week? >> i think the winner was rick santorum. i thought he had a very, very good week. he certainly made a lot of headlines by the primaries and caucuses. i think the losers of the week, i think it was a tough week for mitt romney, and i think it would be bound by a win in maine, and i think the mandate and contraception. >> jackie, best and worst? >> in an effort to be different, i'm going to say later primary states are winners because they'll get more love from can ats at this point because this
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will keep on going and the new york giants were big winners this week. >> happy, too. >> and a big, full wave. we'll see you tomorrow. have a good one. laces? really? slip-on's the way to go. more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag. thanks. i know a quiet little place where we can get some work done. there's a three-prong plug. i have club passes. [ male announcer ] now there's a mileage card that offers special perks on united, like a free checked bag,
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