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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  January 3, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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because i'm still standing. >> i think what i'm telling you to do is to pick the more conservative of the candidates. it's not to settle for something less than what you believe is the best. and sometimes the best isn't that great, but it's the best. >> when you lay your head down on the pillow at night, do you see yourself in the oval office? >> not really, but i think it's a possibility. >> we have piles of money in front of us right now. i ask everyone at this panel on this panel and michael steele remotely, who is going to win this thing? let's put some fake money down on it. >> i'm going to go first. >> you start. >> you go first, jimmy. >> i'm betting everything i own on santorum. >> wow. >> every dime i own on santorum. that guy has momentum, he's a real conservative. i think he's nuts. i think he's crazy. i don't think he's completely even electable but people in iowa, that vote in iowa caucuses on the republican side, love that guy.
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look at his numbers. in a week, what he's done, that's astonishing. what has romney dom? nothing in five years. >> a convincing argument, sometimes the best isn't that good but sometimes you should vote for it, whatever he said. steve, where is your money going? you have poker chips here. >> yeah, a pile of red chips worth an unknown amount and fake money made in china. >> i won't say the money may be made in china in the future -- >> i would bet my chinese money and red chips -- i was going to go with santorum but jim where stole my thunder. i'm going with newt gingrich has body temperature and there for the winner of the iowa caucus. i'll go for the longshot, ron paul. >> i like it. >> wouldn't be my choice, you know, if i was just doing so sosome analysis for the website, but if we're betting money and jimmy's already got santorum, i want -- >> that's interesting to me you now think newt gingrich is less of a longshot than ron paul.
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>> to win iowa. >> a few days ago it would have been the reverse. michael steele, do we have you? we haven't yet seen your handsome face. >> i'm right here. >> we don't know if you have a fake pile of chinese american currency in front of you, but if you did, who would your vote be for tonight in iowa? >> i only play with the real thing, so -- >> oh, hey. what a true republican. all right. >> absolutely. all these democrats do that fake money stuff. no, we're talking about real economy here. no, i'm going to put my $10,000 down on mitt romney. i think that he's going to surprise folks with a very solid win here. it's going to be as a result of campaign organization, it's going to be as a result of his connection finally to some degree with the voters here who are coming around to the idea of not just electability but maybe a little likability. so, we'll see. >> likability. we will touch on that more a little later.
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likability in mitt romney. >> i'm going to combine some currencies here because it looks like have i some 20s, some fake money and i have some -- i'm going to put it all down and join my colleague in michael steele and say mitt romney is going to take it. i said months ago this was going to be a decisive win for mitt romney. it was going to come early. it wasn't going to go into june and july. he's going to do well in iowa. he's going to do well in new hampshire. that's kind of going to be the end of it. >> interesting. i'm going to pull in an unprecedented move and put all my money down for nobody at all, which is to say, some arg temporary person is going to get 20-some percent of the vote but at the end of the day there will be no clear winner in iowa. >> isn't that newt gingrich who said, whatever happens he wins? >> know has a different way of hedging this but i think we need to look at new hampshire. i think south carolina is a big point for this race. i think it will go to florida. cloudy with a chance of meat balls is basically my prediction.
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>> don't forget, they added -- one of the options on the ballot is uncommitted. in the past they've won significant shares. >> you have the lack of commitment and candidates themselves saying i may not -- i'm the best, least, worst, whatever, option. there was -- my favorite quote of the morning was from a 72-year-old caucus goer who said in "the new york times," i can't imagine not caucusing for romney but do i so with no enthusiasm. he's just, to me, not a real person. he's almost robotic in his mannerisms. he has no warmth. michael steele i just said you thought this guy was finally getting likability, gaining ground in the likability polls. where does that square with this? >> clearly, not with that person. i think that there is -- you know, there's general feeling that's beginning to develop as people kind of look at this. we figured, i think she's right, as folks got closer to looking at these folks up close and personal and seeing these candidates, yeah, they're seeing things about them that appeals
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to them. romney has to do more about that. no doubt about that. don't get me wrong on the likability thing. it's not like he's, you know, clearing out the decks with that but he's begun to sort of humanize himself, put himself in personal settings where voters begin to see him and his family in that kind context as the first family. and understand and appreciate their story. that can help, i think, down the road with him because there is this sort of stilted kind of formal corporate image he has that i think he needs to break not just with broad voters but certainly starting with his own base. >> michael, you know, something very interesting that governor romney said yesterday. he said that -- he's kind of going glenn beck on us a little bit. he said president obama is poisoning the spirit of america, right? i mean, this is a guy that now has flip -- i mean, he makes john kerry look like the most consistent politician of all u.s. history. that's physically impossible. i like john kerry perfectly fine. you know, eric erickson said no way on romney.
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richard vigry is never going for romney. how in god's name are conservative and evangelicals going for a guy that's now going glenn beck -- >> they're not the ash terrrbit of conservative vote. there are plenty of conservatives hedging their bets on mitt romney and who think smartly and pragmatically that he is -- whatever he is not he's at least the most electable. that's what counts. >> he wins on electable but "the des moines register" poll, ron paul gets 42%. >> let's state how much republican voters are coming around to mitt romney even if he wins iowa. the other question is, maybe he wins tonight in this muddled seven-way race but what percentage of the vote does he get? mitt romney has not beb able to move above 30%, outside new hampshire in a single national poll or a single key early state poll this year. meanwhile, a guy like rick perry
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zoomed to 42% in september. newt gingrich got up to 40%. i think this is the most important statistic to keep in mind about the iowa election night, 62% of voters in 2008 identified themselves as evangelical christians and we're talking about a mormon conservative from massachusetts here. >> michael steele, i think -- no, go ahead. >> i was going to answer steve's point. i don't think he breaks 30% tonight, which is a problem. i think he's somewhere between 25% and 27%, you know, if he wins. that's with a good, hefty turnout. if the turnout's a little lower, that number's going to be smaller. i think steve has hit on a very good point. you were asking me my bet for tonight. beyond iowa it's a very different program. new hampshire, we set that aside because we know the dynamics there. when you get to south carolina, you get to florida, you start -- you start getting closer to those states where the base is really revved up, it's going to be a different race for someone
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like mitt romney. >> michael steele, you may not have a pile of fake chinese american currency in front of you, but we like the conviction with which you say this. thank you, as always, for joining us. we look forward to seeing more from you later on in the week. after the break, battered and bruised. no one is pulling punches. are mitt and newt sizing each up for new hampshire and beyond? [ male announcer ] is zero worth nothing? ♪ imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil. ♪ this is why we at nissan built a car inspired by zero. because zero is worth everything. the zero gas, 100% electric nissan leaf. innovation for the planet. innovation for all.
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i wish mitt would just, you know, level with the american people, be who he really is and let's have a debate about a massachusetts moderate versus a real conservative. >> that's newt gingrich this
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morning striking back at mitt romney, the former speaker of the house says he's done playing nice with the republican front-runner but is it too little, too late? joining us now from with washington, john heilemann, editor at new york magazine, msnbc analyst, and joining us on set is matt lewis from the daily caller. i'll take this to our man in des moines, john heilemann. has we were -- we are taking pets here with fake currency, which is the best bet to take. i wonder in terms of gingrich-n's prospects, what do you make of them at this point? we know he said he's going to use $9 million in his war chest to hit romney harder. you've written a column about gingrich's plan for new hampshire, but where do you put him in the iowa race at this point? >> oh, alex, i think that -- although newt yesterday first said that he was not going to win the iowa caucuses and then later that afternoon or early in the eke last night said he might stage one of the great koth comebacks in iowa history,
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thereby demonstrating his remarkable consistency yet again, i think that the conventional -- the conventional wisdom out here is that he is bound for fourth and possibly even as low as fifth place here. i don't think it's really that relevant in the sense that he needed to finish higher than either one of those things to really make an impact here. and i don't think it's relevant in the sense going forward, as you indicated. he is planning a full frontal negative barrage against mitt romney on very conservative grounds. he'll attack romney on abortion, planned parenthood, the moderation that he demonstrated in massachusetts and on romney care. he is going to use all four of the forthcoming debates, two in new hampshire and two in south carolina, to try to turn south carolina into the place where he rallies conservative anti-romney support around himself. i don't think it's all -- it's entirely impossible that that will happen. the question really coming out of iowa, especially if romney wins, is whether conservative
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movement decides to coalesce behind either mitt romney -- i mean, either newt gingrich or rick perry in south carolina. if that happens, we will have a two-person race coming out of south carolina going to florida and beyond. >> matt lewis, the debate thing john brings up is a very good point. heretofor the reason newt gingrich has surged is because of his incredibly strong debate performances. there haven't been debates in recent weeks, a barrage of negative advertising but two debates scheduled for saturday and sunday. does that help newt gingrich. >> absolutely. he's a great debater. you're absolutely right. that is what propelled him. the clip we played earlier is very telling. you will hear newt gingrich call romney a massachusetts moderate. he knows granite staters hate massachusetts. >> do you think that's -- >> i guarantee you. nothing happens by accident. >> listen, that is -- >> that's intentional. >> there's a pulse running here. you have our good, close friend
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newt gingrich calling his opponent in this primary a liar. >> yeah, that will be brought up again if romney gets -- >> you know what else -- >> but let me just finish this one part. what's the great irony, romney is running around saying -- who's the liar here, is it romney? barack obama has apologized for america. no, he hasn't. barack obama said america's weak. no he hasn't, et cetera. romney keeps saying, boom, boom, boom. who calls him out on it? not the obama campaign. newt gingrich calls him out on it and calls him a liar. >> he's not calling him out on apologizing -- >> no but he has the guts -- >> doesn't he sound like bob dole, stop lying about my record? >> the other thing you have to consider, as much as i think romney will do very well tonight, it would behoove to finish second. newt gingrich is the only candidate turning his ire on mitt romney. going into new hampshire where
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mitt is expected to do well, id expect all the other candidates, if he can win tonight, to do the same. if he can finish second and allow ron paul or rick santorum get the brunt of the attacks going into new hampshire i think that does mitt romney good. >> we know in terms of the negative advertising in iowa, almost none has been directed toward mitt romney. >> exactly. >> i want to ask you about this, john, that, you know, he's handling rick santorum with kid gloves. we have sound from him earlier where he's talking about santorum's endorsement and says, you know, our backgrounds are different but doesn't go on the attack at all. >> oh, no, i would say that the romney campaign is propping rst up here. they're doing everything but running ads on his behalf. they love the idea of rick santorum emerging as the conservative who does best, the true conservative who does best in iowa because what they would like to do is have -- not only have rick santorum emerge from iowa as number one or number two
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or three person here, but also have him, because he's perceived as someone who can't win the nomination, that will lure rick perry and newt gingrich down to south carolina. for romney, they want to try to replicate in south carolina what they had in iowa, a split conservative vote, which would allow mitt romney to conceivably win south carolina, like iowa, with 26% or 27% of vote. that's ideal for mitt romney. >> in john mccain getting 32%, that was his margin in south carolina, he beat huckabee by three points, the assist was fred thompson stayed in the race. flipside, two things about south carolina and mitt romney. in 2008 he only got 15% there. this was -- this guy got 25% in iowa, 30 in% in new hampshire. we talked about 60% evangelical vote in south carolina. that's the same number of iowa. you think of, sk, iowa, the republican universe in these
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republican caucuses, very similar and months tile to mitt romney. >> when it comes to iowa, i think there are two elections i'm keeping an eye on. who's in first place and who's in fourth place. so, i'm looking at is it romney orr santorum in first place and almost as important, will it be newt gingrich or rick perry in fourth place? those are the two people who can actually beat mitt romney. i think john heilemann is exactly right. if rick santorum is the alternative, it is like the washington generals against the harlem globe troerts. >> okay, matt, you're talking a big game but you have all of your money and chips on you. where does it go? >> for the big money, first place, i'm putting this on mitt romney. >> on mitt romney. >> ya! >> the fourth place election -- >> some chips. >> i'm betting that steve dies, a popular radio hoegs who endorsed newt gingrich and newt gingrich cried and humanized him, so fourth place is newt
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you heard we're a bench of knee-jerk conservative reactionaries. i guess that's why we went democrat in 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections. how do you like me now? >> that was iowa public television host scott trying to dispel some iowa stereotypes ahead of tonight's caucuses. gop candidates need 1144 delegates to secure the nomination. how many will be granted by night's end? absolutely none. so what exactly is happening tonight? we have focused a lot on this state. and its implications. when it comes down to it, is it
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not just about spin? >> i think the biggest story is the amount of voter fraud that's going to take place tonight. >> in terms of democrats and independents caucusing for -- >> we can pass voter fraud legislation across the country and not in iowa and during the republican caucuses. >> at 7 p.m. local time, a pledge of allegiance, secretary and chairperson will be elected to run meetings, campaign reps, staffers, campaign goers will give speeches themselves, ballots are counted, results announced to the room, then the iowa gop, then they trickle down to us in the media and we'll wrap up -- they'll wrap up by picking delegates and writing platform resolutions. although at the end, the convention all that may be a wash. >> right. >> john heilemann, you know, we were talking about -- or a lot bit about what's happening there in iowa. i know ground game is a huge part of this. give us a sense -- i mean, we
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have a lot of anecdotal evidence mitt romney has incredible ground game. we've talked less about ron paul but we know the paul -- maybe you coined that term were a fairly well organized bunch. at this point, where does santorum fit into that? where does newt gingrich fit into the practicalities? >> the polistas and paulinas. all top three candidates right now have, again n relative terms, not compared to past years but compared to this year's crop, have relatively strong ground games. romney campaign spent a lot of this year in stealth mode but when they decided to play here they were able to activate their network from 2008 quickly. the paul ground game is probably the strongest of all the candidates. the question is whether he's going to be able to turn out a lot of the nontraditional republican voters they need for him to do well, which is to say, independents and democrats who will register as republicans for a night in order to vote for ron
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paul. rick santorum for the amount of money he has in his campaign has a decent organization, but there's so little money there he's not able to compete quite as well. what he has on his side is the church network. i spoke to one romney person this morning who still has images of the church buses coming over the hills in 2008 for mike huckabee, worries that could happen on ron powell's -- i'm sorry, on rick santorum's behalf today and you could see conceivably a rick santorum upset on that basis. he had a real moment yesterday talking about very sensitive issue in the pro-life crowd that might rally evangelical supporters more than they have been. >> we'll talk about that moment later in the show. if you're an independent or democrat caucusing, whugs your man or woman? >> santorum. >> are you -- >> no, it's got to be ron paul. >> i'm not just saying -- like if you are rig to gain this contest, who are you -- >> to my point earlier. >> you think it's santorum? >> i would think it's ron paul. >> it has to be ron paul. ron paul has a very
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iowa-specific appeal. i know he's got a lot of support. but of the candidates, he is the least likely to win the nomination. it's impossible. it's not going to happen. >> no, but that's why -- >> you want to prop him up. >> if you're a democrat, you're asking yourself, okay, the one candidate in this republican field who conceivably given how bad the economy is right now, it may get worse next year, romney has the best shot on paper in the general election. who's the most likely non-romney guy or woman, bachmann, who can win this nomination? i would say it's rick santorum. i say it's a longshot but if you're a democrat you would much rather run against santorum than mitt romney. if i was -- you know, if i was a democratic operative two weeks ago i would have been excited about the prospect of newt gingrich. i look at gingrich and i say, maybe this guy has legs. not necessarily the same about santorum, but he's probably your most viable non-romney option at this point. >> santorum -- look, i talked to santorum -- i talked to santorum's people yesterday and they're really, really excited about new hampshire.
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they say that they have the second most endorsements -- >> they've never been there before. >> forget new hampshire. that's not the game anymore. >> let me finish. they say they have the second most endorsements of any contender, second to romney in new hampshire. 82 county captains spread through all new hampshire counties. i don't believe he has a ground game in new hampshire. >> i don't either. >> he doesn't have a chance in new hampshire. but they're excited. >> john heilemann, unfortunately, we have to say good-bye to you. i know you were shaking your head. i'll let have you the last two seconds of the segment. thank you for joining us. take it away. >> rick santorum will not be the republican nominee. have a wonderful caucus day, you guys. it will be a lovely night. >> that's right. >> thank you. when we come back, santorum's time in the spotlight. can he handle it? an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement, if your car is totaled,
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rick santorum was brought to tears yesterday over a question about his son who died at birth. he says the experience of losing a child has only bolstered his anti-abortion stance. >> one of the things he told all of us was that it was so important to recognize for the family, to recognize the life of that child. and for all the children to know they had a brother and sister. and -- >> that's right. >> and we did. elizabeth, they were young. elizabeth was here. i know it's hard. >> joining us from iowa, maggie who has been covering the caucus in iowa for politico. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> i thought that moment was a
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really -- humanizing is tossed around but emotional just watching it. as we talk about rick santorum, he has a lot of support among social conservatives. i would assume this only bols r bolsters that support. what is your read on his candidacy right now? >> he's the momentum candidate. i'm not saying anything original in saying that but that's what the polls are showing, that's what the energy around his campaign events are showing. what i don't know is whether he has enough of a ground game, because he is running something of a rag tag campaign. he's done this with basically no money. to date, by to date i mean noon my time right now on caucus day, social conservatives and evangelical voters have not publicly coalesced around his candidacy. we'll see when they go to caucus if they do. if they do, he's poised for a very strong night. i think john heilemann is correct when he predicts rick santorum will be the dom knee over mitt romney but i think it's possible he could win tonight.
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>> matt and i were talking about the david brooks op-ed in "the new york times," which basically makes the case for santorum as a representative of the white working class which is an angle that hasn't been explored. we talked about his position as a christian conservative on the social issues but that sector, which a lot of folks are focusing on for 20 12, is a group of people -- i mean, santorum's grandfather, i think, was a coal miner, son of a italian immigrant. brooks makes the case that's his strongest arrow in the quiver. >> he does. actually, i will give props to my colleague and co-blogger alex burns who picked up on this several days ago. it's very much tim pawlenty like. what we saw with his candidacy early on, he was a sam's club republican, very much about working class voters. that's why santorum is more of a threat than people think. if he wins or comes in a close second, i think he's going to be someone to watch going forward. remember, we have this compressed schedule right now. there's two debate this is
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weekend in new hampshire. i don't expect anybody to drop out, maybe one or to. but there's no reason -- they can all make a case going forward, living off the land, et cetera. i think that rick santorum, his whole case has started that he's making here has been ele electabili electability. he's arguing mitt romney is not the only one who has that. he says he's from the northeast. i know how to win. i think it will be interesting to see how he does in new hampshire. but it speaks very much to that working class ethic that you're talking about. >> it is interesting. maggie makes a good point because santorum has been saying that, but i don't -- and people have been really focusing on the evangelical side. it does probably bear mentioning that, you know, if we're talking about the pros and cons of his candidacy, money, honey. santorum, how much money does he have in the bank? 108 -- ouch. as of the last filing period, the third quarter before the surge, he had $189,000 in the
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bank. >> riding around in a pickup truck until the duggars lent him their-b bus. he's done with very little. if it has any positive showing for him, it was going to be in iowa. this is where it was going to be, both because of the evangelical vote and because he's been famously to 99 counties. whether he can turn that into currency, that goes on to new hampshire and beyond to south carolina, of course, is what we're all waiting to see. >> that's the good thing about iowa. the argument for iowa, it allows a guy like a rick santorum to work hard, to travel to all 99 counties. and to maybe catch fire, then that tran lates to momentum, he gets money -- >> so we need iowa after all, is what you're saying? >> doesn't count for delegates but for momentum is huge. romney has the establishment moderate vote. ron paul has the libertarian vote. but the vote -- everyone's vying for, of course, are the evangelicals and the conservative base. the problem that santorum has is
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newt takes some of that, bachmann takes some of that, perry takes some of that. that's the big "x" factor. >> the bigger -- first of all, he wins tonight, that's important tonight. the bigger the margin, harder for other guys to make a claim they need to stay on and go on to south carolina. >> let's talk about other guys, like rick perry has been hammering santorum hard, negative ads. this is his -- the target is on rick santorum's back if you're rick perry. any chance that rick perry takes any votes away from rick santorum? >> rick perry spent more money in iowa than any other candidate. that's crazy. not a lot to show for it. but he's betting all he has to do is make it to south carolina where he's supposed to have his big, you know, deb you tatant b his debut. if he spends money, he's got a lot of it. >> if i had to bet, though, more of this fake currency, if there's one candidate likely to drop out -- not likely but most mrausly going to drop out, i would say it's rick perry. >> before south carolina? why? >> it's a longshot scene air
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yoe -- >> and return the $15 million. >> two reasons. one, he's the only one between gingrich, bachmann and perry he's only one running what i call a serious president. gingrich ran for brand-building potential. bachmann ran to get her name out there. if perry falls flat on his face, and santorum gets 30% and gingrich goes to th9% additio-- >> perry would be a fool to drop out before south carolina. >> he says he wants a third place finish. what if he's fifth or worse? >> i think -- i agree with matt that if it's extremely lopsided, if he gets 9%, i don't think you'll see him to soldier on because his day job is governor of texas. he has to go back to that without as few dings as possible. i think if he comes in a close fourth place, i think he will springboard off that because this is all about expectations beating. at this point i don't think anybody expects perry to come in
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third. he could come in third. frankly, after the last several months he's had -- may i say that obviously, there were some issues internally in the campaign. largely, it is the candidate's job to get themselves elected. this candidate has struggled with this repeatedly. after the last two months, three months that he has had, i think that if he comes in, you know, 16% as a close fourth finish, that's not bad for him. >> it was, in fact, in your paper, maggie, there was incredible expose on what may or may not have happened behind the scenes at the rick perry camp. >> with my name in it, even. >> and a good point to mention that you wrote. but that -- in fairness, rick perry said until you can name a source i'm not going to say yea or nay on any of that. if we talk about his campaign, it's miraculous to me that newt gingrich who has a badly run campaign is not on the ballot, and in good company with rick perry, but we're giving himg a second look. >> we're talking about people
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dropping out after iowa. after iowa -- let's say -- suppose mitt romney wins iowa and new hampshire. he gets 12 delegates out of 1,144 needed to win. the fact we talk about people needed to drop out when less than 1% of the delegates have been allocated, i think you stay in. there's no insen stcentive to g. >> these things typically end when less than 10% of the delegates have been selected. you look at how bob dole basically put them away after south carolina in 1996. george bush sr. after new hampshire in 1988. bob dole -- >> i think he goes to florida and that's why mitt romney win. because they stay in the race. they divide up -- i think it's going to be like '08 actually, where there's no incentive to get out. they divide the vote. instead of john mccain winning it's mitt romney. >> that's interesting -- that is an interesting point. >> after florida. >> and what happens when you have such a divided race? we'll talk about that next coming up, republican candidates have been courting the votes in iowa but are their views too
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i don't want to make people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. i want to give them an opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families. >> after the iowa caucus and after the republican primary, one of these candidates will have to run against president obama. and they will he-l need to explain comment like that to the rest of the country. matt, we were talking about this when we were getting our noses powdered in the makeup room. i heard, i don't know if the rest of you heard, some debate whether he said black people or said. rick santorum said that was in reference for waiting for superman, the education documentary he has just seen and
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he doesn't quite recall the context. the thing i think worth mentioning and discussing here is whether you can pivot off something of this rhetoric, some of this language and some of these positions that have been adopted in iowa for the general election. does iowa do more harm than good? >> look, i think that this is always a challenge that candidates have is, you know, defending things they've said in the past, as well as winning a primary and then going to win a general election. i don't think anything has happened this cycle that would be disqualifying except for ron paul's news letters, which, by the way, i think that goes without saying. >> which haven't as yet disqualified him. >> i was at the heritage debate in d.c. when he said that our legal system works effectively against national terrorism because we caught the oklahoma city bomber with within hours. the audience in that room audibly gasped and newt gingrich said, what everyone was thinking is that he was successful. i mean, ron paul has to defend
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statements he's made as recently as a month ago. >> "the new york times" editorial board said ron paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishes the federal reserve, returning to the gold standard. >> most of that is good stuff. >> if he won a nomination he wouldn't win the general election. let's look at candidates who have a shot. i think there has been damage to their general election prospects. if mitt romney had to do, one thing to tamp down the newt gingrich surge was line up hard behind the paul ryan medicare plan. who do you really trust? that is an issue democrats are dying to use against the republican nominee. mitt romney was forced to come out forcefully behind it. >> i want to add something here. i find it utterly fascinating
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when white people think they know how black people think. >> you're talking santorum? >> yes. when men think they can tell women what to do with their bodies. >> this is taken completely out of context. rick santorum talks about social economics all the time. he talks -- >> that was the only thing he talked about in the senate was abortion. when was the last time rick santorum had an abortion? >> he talks about how two-person families are better economically for the country. he talks about how conservative social policies are better for white people, for black -- >> i take great offense to that. as a gay man making plenty money i can't raise a kid as well as a mom and dad. >> that's not what he said. >> he's a homophobe and bigot. >> he talks about the economic politics and social issues. it's so theoretical without ties to anything -- >> in that -- >> that's what he does. >> in that comment he's singling
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out black folks in particular -- >> in that two-second sound bite. >> i would -- >> i would encourage people -- >> there are 84, 86% of the people on food stamps in iowa are white. what it speaks to is a contentious and an idea in the back of some people in the republican party's head which is the people taking from the makers are people of color and they don't deserve this -- these handouts anymore. >> well, that is not santorum's point. i know him well. that is not his belief. >> this is not the first time we've heard that rhetoric. think of newt gingrich two weeks ago talking about, let's go into the inner city where people don't understand what work is. who was that dish. >> janitors and -- >> i'm not going to defend newt gingrich. >> again, though, i think rick santorum -- >> newt was -- you may disagree with whether or not allowing kids to be janitors, it sounds absurd but his point was, folks, let's get people involved in the work force and maybe give them a leg up so that they can be successful. you may disagree with the tactic
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but i think it's actually a compassionate thing to do. >> it is. >> maggie, we still have you in iowa. you're listening to all of these sland slanderous assaults be be lobbied. let's use as mitt romney. he came out a few days ago and said he would have vetoed the dream act. how much, if he is the nominee, is he going to have to backtrack when it's time for a general election? >> i think he'll hear a lot about that from democrats. i think he'll hear about that before he actually becomes nominee f he the eventual nominee. i think in terms of rick santorum, that particular comment aside, as you knowledge was taken out of context, i wasn't there so i can't speak to it. it's obviously inflammatory just as the sentence itself. in terms of rick santorum, he has consistently been conservative on issues. i think you can characterize it however you want but i don't think a pivot is that easy for rick santorum. remember, this was an issue for
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him in his 2006 senate race in pennsylvania, which he lost his last race. i don't know how he could easily do that. mitt romney is a different story. he has been dealing with charges of flip-flopping, that he's actually a moderate, that he attacked conservative in his last presidential run and now he's talking about the economy all the time. i think that dream act comment caught a lot of people by surprise. i think that you will be hearing much more about that, the hispanic vote is going to be pivotal in the general election. and i think that the democrats are very well aware of highlighting and emphasizing things like that. >> maggie, thank you for your expertise and wisdom. after the break, i will give my postscript to the iowa caucus. that will be next. [ male announcer ] juice drink too watery? ♪ feel the power my young friend. mmm! [ male announcer ] for unsurpassed fruit and veggie nutrition...
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on to a little postscript. in a few hours the gop will have
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a front-runner in the race for presidency, at least tonight. clown car rolls on to new hampshire, south carolina, florida and beyond. with the iowa caucus soon to be over, perhaps we can remember the state for what it actually is. a swing state with a surgings hispanic population, high-tech and research community, a state barack obama won in 2008 by a nine-point margin. so, then to the victor tonight, a reminder, after all the rhetoric about magnets and illegals, after the disavowels of science and climate change, after the single-minded push to dismantle programs that assist the poor, working class, elde y elderly, have you have to come back to this state, you will probably try to win this state. four your sake, let's hope iowans have a very short memory. before we go, we'll leave our readers with -- watchers, audience w this idea of volatility and whether it serves the party. in previous races, volatile
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fields have let us with barry goldwater as a nominee, john kerry, and michael dukakis as a nominee. do we think that this volatile field serves the republican party well? >> it's a weak field. luckily for republicans, strong bench, rubio, chris christie next time. this time it's a weak field. guess what, in '64, lbj, george h.w. bush. >> i think it's like 2004. john kerry had that election handed to him on a platter and still lost it in spectacular fashion. we could do the same -- >> you're saying no? >> we could. i mean, it's ours to lose. the climate is ripe for us to come in and win. but we could mess it up. it's happened before. >> how many republicans sat out this year and made this such a volatile field because they thought 2016 was a better bet than 20121234? >> that's right. >> or got out early. >> the grand hedging of bets. >> i'm thrilled the second tier of candidates didn't run because i would like to put any up
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against hillary clinton and watch them kick -- >> we don't use those words on this show. so much has been said from that corner that it will be a very, very interesting race. remains volatile race. i keep my chinese american currency and poker chips on the bet that we won't know that much more after iowa, but we all certainly will be watching. thanks to matt, steve, and jimmy. that wraps it for us today on "now." stay tuned to msnbc all day and all night for the latest caucus results. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. you can follow us on twitter, or as rick perry would have it at tweeter @nowalex. andrea mitchell is next. how are you doing on this caucus day? . it's a great caucus day out here in iowa. thanks so much. a new round, though, of attacks
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in iowa as newt gingrich goes after mitt romney. tom brokaw will join me with more on what's driving voters to caucuses. president obama is not sitting on the sidelines. democratic chairmanwoman debbie wasserman schultz is here with more on his strategy. "morning joe's" joe and mika joining us on the voters who say they're undecided. we're live next in iowa on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] medicare...
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