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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  January 7, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PST

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mitt's it. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in manchester, new hampshire, four days before the first in the country primary. leading off tonight, chasing mitt. we know mitt romney's extremely hard to beat here in new hampshire, but now a new poll shows mitt with a strong lead in south carolina as well. rick santorum hopes to be the guy to stop him, but santorum is learning that old ef hutton motto holds for presidential candidates too. when front-runners talk, people listen.
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and santorum is having a sticky time scoring points after his first-place tie in iowa. newt takes on mitt. in just a few weeks, newt gingrich has gone from undisputed front-runner to also ran. and he has mitt romney and his stealth ad campaign to thank for that. i sat down with newt last night after the program and he did not hold back. >> he ought to take those ads home and show them to his grandsons and said, grandpa did this, what do you think about this kind of trash on television? >> newt vows to be the last man in the fight with mitt. plus, politico called it mitt's weekend from hell. the big debate weekend coming up with everyone looking down -- looking to take down romney. "meet the press" anchor and debate host david gregory looks ahead to what could be a make-or-break battle this sunday. and speaking of republican debates, there was one today, a phony funny or die debate on yahoo!. in fact, sometimes satire is better than the real thing. we'll check it out later in the show. finally, let me finish tonight with the fight to fight
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obama and where it's headed now. we start with chasing mitt romney. howard fineman, msnbc political analyst, and "the huffington post" media group editorial director, and the great joe klein. he's a columnist for "time" magazine. because he is the great, as you are, howard. let's take a look at these poll numbers. basically, the poll numbers out, let's take a look at the latest poll numbers out of both south carolina -- well, south carolina, let's start with that. mitt romney has jumped into a first down there with a dominant lead at 37%. that's up 17 points from early december. rick santorum also got a huge boost. he's in second place now down there with 19, followed very closely by newt gingrich in third. that one. we also have a poll from up here. romney is in the lead at 40%, followed by ron paul at 17. rick santorum is at 11. romney leads nationally at 29 b
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21. so, joe klein, it looks like rick santorum is slowly edging up to be the number one challenger to romney. >> the south carolina number is interesting. i don't want to break any news here, but this new hampshire primary isn't all that interesting this time. you know, the next really big deal is south carolina. except for the two debates here this weekend, i might add. >> doesn't what happens this weekend set up what happens on tuesday? that sets up what happens in south carolina. it's dynamic. >> but in the past, you could see the dynamic asserting itself in the week between iowa and new hampshire. i don't see all that much happening out here and you can see that in the polls. >> it seems like such a short chasm between the two. i remember that ronald reagan had, what, 36 days to make up for what he lost in '80? >> this is one week. there are a couple reasons. one is, as joe says, the debates. everything's kind of stalled, waiting for the weekend -- >> this saturday night -- >> from the weekend from heck,
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as mitt romney would call it. the other reason is rick santorum, who should be coming on like gangbusters, should be reaching up toward mitt romney. he's had a difficult day in the past. and even though he raised a lot of money, he's having problems. for example, it turns out that rick santorum can't buy any tv time here in new hampshire. his campaign said that all of the tv time, for every tv station, and i assume that's boston as well as new hampshire, has already been taken. it's a small detail, but it's an important one that shows the difficulties he has catching up with the slow moving, not all that popular, but still juggernaut-like mitt romney campaign. >> and in the free media that he's getting -- >> let's talk about that. let's look at the free media. yesterday rick santorum got into a heated back and forth with a college student about gay marriage. no surprise there, given his very conservative position. let's watch part of the exchange. >> how about the idea that all
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men are created equal and, like, the rights to happiness and liberty? [ applause ] >> okay. so are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry? >> yes! >> yes! >> okay. so anyone can marry anybody else. >> yes! >> yeah! >> so anybody can marry anybody else. so anybody can marry several people. >> no! >> stop, no, this is not participatory. we're not going to do this. we're going to have a civil discussion or we're going to move on to another question. okay. thank you. >> well, you might have expected that, howard, every time you get into a younger generation, they're going to have a fight. you can generally expect with rick santorum. he's very much for traditional marriage, as he would put it, against any kind of same sex. in fact, against the lawrence case decision about sodomy, he's basically for -- he said the it would be fine with him, constitutionally, to outlaw
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birth control. obviously, he's going to have a fight with every kid he meets. >> yeah, this is a clash. the thing that rick santorum is most passionate about are these issues. >> family. >> birth control, family, contraception, gay marriage, especially. he walks into a meeting of college kids from all over new england, who are democrats, republicans, and independents, and that is oil and water and the result, you saw. >> and that's not what he wants to talk about. >> that's right. if he talks about that, he's got no shot here. >> i was there yesterday, and it was really remarkable. because he tried to engage these kids in a socratic dialogue, and phony socratic dialogue, and during the course of this entire hour he spent with him, he never mentioned his manufacturing plan or his economic policy -- >> or his grandfather. >> or his grandfather with the big hands. >> but he invites it, though, because this is -- i've covered a million of his events. this is what he cares most passionately about. and of course, they fed right into it by asking him about it. >> it's almost like frank sinatra. the guy comes in the room, the kids say, do you want to fight
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about marriage? fine, good, let's talk about it. and as you said, socratic method, he says, let me give you another case. >> he does it at events, asking questions of the crowd. he asks them if they know the answer to questions. >> it's like bidding at bridge. >> and some young person who's not going to engage in a one-on-one discussion, they'll challenge him as a candidate. >> here's what a professional politician would do. he would say, look, my position on gay marriage comes from my church, i adhere to it, let's talk about manufacturing. how i want to zero out the corporate tax. >> i think joe and i separately concluded that he does remind us of the social studies teacher in high school who was really interesting, wanted to engage the kids, until he sort of went off the deep end into something that was clearly an obsession of his. and that's the way it is with santorum. you know, all those teachers. and him, it's abortion, gay
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marriage, and birth control. >> but in all fairness, you can't pick your audience. >> go ahead. >> but he had the final twist on that. he said he was a social studies teacher at a jesuit high school. >> by the way, i don't have -- in college they like to argue. thank you. coming up, my interview with newt gingrich. for newt,itis getting personal. that's ahead. you're hatching "hardball." [ male announcer ] juice drink too watery? ♪ feel the power my young friend. mmm! [ male announcer ] for unsurpassed fruit and veggie nutrition... v8 v-fusion. could've had a v8.
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welcome back to "hardball." newt gingrich is campaigning hard in new hampshire, following a dramatic fall in the polls, due in large part to a barrage of negative ads run by a
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pro-romney super pac called restore our future. i caught up with the former speaker in meredith, new hampshire, late last night and i got his criticism of his two chief rivals now, mitt romney and rick santorum. here with me to discuss my interview is john heilemann, national affairs editor for "new york" magazine and an msnbc analyst. we begin, john, with those nasty ads from team romney. and i asked gingrich about the tone of his republican campaign so far. let's listen. >> let me ask you about -- you made some comments about the quality of the campaign. the tone of the campaign, and the tone of the administration that will follow it. you talked about, you compared, i think, what was going on now from the romney campaign with what happened in 2004 with the swiftboating of john kerry, and how that sort of polluted the water, if you will, keeping the metaphor, for what happened in the second bush term. he couldn't get things done like privatization. >> that's right. one of the reasons i began drifting towards running was a paper i wrote in the summer of '04, which said that on 53 issues, john kerry was in the
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minority by an average of 77-17. that he was to the left of ted kennedy. you could run a clean, straight choice campaign of big issues, and they would have won by a margin like nixon did mcgovern or you know, reagan, mondale. they couldn't break lose. for some reason, they were committed to trying to take on kerry personally. when you do this, when you run negative ads that are personal, you may break the other guy, but you also break yourself. >> and divide the country. >> you divide the country. >> let me ask you about this campaign. i know you want to go positive, but the nature of this campaign, and what was done against you in iowa, let's talk about it. we all watched it. you couldn't turn on a tv set without hearing a negative on you, and they were about you personally, and they were written by somebody who did the ad copy, but they were never signed by anybody. >> that's right. >> there was no name on it, that said, i paid for this ad, pay for my mitt romney. what does that do to the system? >> that's right. and i took on mitt romney head-on. those were his staff from the
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last campaign with his millionaire friends paying for it. those were his ads. he just didn't have the guts to admit it. >> he did come out saying, i could have called off the dogs, not using his words. i could have made it less negative, by why should i? this guy should take the heat. he basically backed them up. >> here's my answer. he has grandchildren. he ought to run a campaign worthy of his grandchildren. he ought to take those ads home and show them to his grandson and say, grandpa did this. what do you think about this kind of trash on television? what do you think about somebody being beaten up like this on television? we should run campaigns worthy of our best, not campaigns that demean us to a worse. >> pretty tough. pretty personal. he's accusing him of trashing the other candidate. it would be embarrassing to his family, his grand kids. he's sort of below the cut of a person that should be president. he said he's swift boating, basically him. he's accusing him of being, in fact, he went after w. to get him. so he nailed w. and his entire republican campaign in '04 to trash romney. >> you know, i am always a little bit hesitant, you know,
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when we do political analysis to talk about, well, it's personal, so-and-so doesn't like -- i mean, those things exist, but usually there's a greater stra t.j. strate e being u thinkd have run a carpet bombing campaign against the other guy. >> i think he would have fought back and been able to respond in a more effective way than he did if he had some money. he didn't really get the surge of cash until after he had the surge in the polls, and by then, it was too late to convert that into an effective strategy. >> it's like nixon coming in his third or fourth campaign and saying, there's a new nixon.
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it's newt coming in and say, i'm not going to be a dirtball guy this time. this time i'm going to do it clean. we're going completely legit this time. then mr. pure, mr. nice, he's killing him with trash ads, all night long, all day long. >> yeah. >> meanwhile, not getting his fingers dirty. wouldn't you get mad? >> i would. i would be furious. and when i saw romney on "morning joe" saying, well, we can't tell them to stop, because we'd go to jail for that, it was ludicrous. of course, it's true -- >> on another occasion, he said he could have told them to stop. >> of course it's true you can't coordinate, but there's nothing in the law that -- >> well, as the rumor mill would have said, more of the raw seat of the hurricane. he's going after liberal judges. where we going here? >> welcome to south carolina and new hampshire. >> look at the base, i'm not saying it's what he's going to do. newt is ready to go after romney
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tomorrow night and sunday. >> the positive campaign is over. a lot of things they hit newt on, he's saying i'm being factual. they hit him on taking money from freddie mac. pictures of him with nancy pelosi. it's critical to say he's doing facts. bob wrote a column suggesting what newt should say to romney. >> i think he's ready. >> and saying pictures of mitt romney with ted kennedy signing the massachusetts health care law. pictures of signing the no child left behind. if you are a republican, you are a ted kennedy republican. >> i want to bring this back. is what newt is doing serving up what the republicans can do later in the year and the conservatives that run third party, right? >> yes. >> and the democrats can determine if he's too nimble.
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stay with us we have more newt coming up. you are going to see what newt is going to use over the weekend with the debates. he's got to get romney. before he gets to romney, he's got to get past santorum. you'll see him hit in both directions. this is like world war ii. wac here in manchester in a minute. we'll be right back.
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we're back with john heilemann. gingrich's chief rival is rick santorum. to go up against romney, before that, of course, he has to beat that other guy, rick santorum. let's look at this criticism coming up of rick santorum. it's in the interview. let's watch.
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you call him your junior partner. check him out in the fight. >> i think it will happen. people are going to look and make a judgment. maybe i won't be the judgment, my hunch is i will be. we have a national campaign. i wasn't trying to knock rick, he's a good guy. i was speaker of the house. he was a senator not in leadership at that point. he did significant things. he was key to passing welfare reform. i scheduled it. >> you got clinton reelected. >> it was a wonderful moment. >> that's the strange part of gingrich. the one good part of his record from a sen tryst perspective, in the late '90s, he and clinton reduced the federal deficit to
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zero, created a surplus. you can argue what you want. they got health care together. it worked. it's good and bad, whatever you want to call it, it worked. santorum doesn't get a piece of that. >> he didn't quite say that. look, it's true, by the time rick santorum, i covered his 1994 campaign. he was a junior senator. just the fact he was in senate doesn't make him senior to gingrich. it's a bit of a shot, but based in reality. the other day, gingrich was saying openly he was ready to make common cause with santorum if he had to. the key to new hampshire, if gingrich finished in single digits and santorum over 20, does gingrich get behind
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santorum in south carolina? the two of them together right now are even with romney. >> if they throw in perry, they are ahead. >> they are ahead. >> an optimist about his chances against romney in the long run. let's listen to newt. jimmy carter ran against four liberals and won the nomination but was never the hero to the party. same thing. romney is running against a number of conservatives, yourself, perry, dichbt kiffere of conservatives. 70% of the party don't want romney but you are dividing it up. >> the great irony for romney, this is the year to have the longest representation. he's never going to get 25% to 30% of the delegates until
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april. by april, it's going to be gingrich versus romney. at that point, he's going to lose. >> you can deny the majorities until then? >> i don't think he'll get majorities. >> in the primaries? >> no. >> what do you think he'll get here? >> he was 41 this afternoon. i think he'll be lucky if he gets that. >> what solidifies against romney. why did 75% reject him? >> he's a massachusetts governor. they all know who he is. he hopes they don't. he goes around and says i'm conservative. >> how is the tea party you are with tonight? how do they accept it when he'll never go to a tea party meeting. there's all kinds of reasons he won't show. >> it's why he's not going to get their vote. >> you said you are up against an amateur conservative and amateur model.
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the conservative is -- rick santorum. >> when you talk majority -- >> who are you talking about? it must be rick santorum. the other is -- >> mitt romney. >> there he is. let me give you the latest polling. it just came out. romney up to 44%, close to 50 here at least. ron paul at 20%. santorum and gingrich at eight points each. it's not a good picture for the challengers. >> i'll say, this has been the one state that's exceptional for romney. he's able to breakthrough the 25% ceiling we talk about. today, romney at 37. 37 in south carolina is a good number for romney. if he builds that out, if he
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does well in south carolina and florida, i think the ceiling may disappear and you'll see romney rise above it. >> thank you very much. that's "hardball" for now. up next, "your business" with j.j. ram berg. whee whee wheeeeeeeeeeee! pure adrenaline. whee whee wheeeeeeeeeeee! everything you love about geico, now mobile. download the new geico app today. whee wheeeeeeeeeeee-he-he-heeeeee!
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