tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 29, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PST
this sunday, battleground florida. romney and gingrich dueling for victory in the sunshine state offering a final approximate pitch to voters? >> i think as you look at the speaker's record over time, it has been highly erratic. >> if you have been campaigning for six years, and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. and when you get desperate, you say almost anything. >> it's a week where the debate, yet again, looms large. >> did you check your own investments? you also have investments and mutual funds that also invested in freddie mac and fannie mae. thrpg we debut new florida
poll numbers. romney versus gingrich, a debate against both sides. for romney, arizona senator john mccain, who campaigns aggressively for him in florida, and for gingrich, fred thompson. plus, the president makes his pitch for reelection in the pointed state of the union address. >> asking a billionaire to pay as much as a secretary in taxes, most people would call that common sense. >> we ask david axelrod. finally our political roundtable breaks down the fight for florida and talks about where the race goes from here. host of msnbc's "morning joe," joe scarborough will be here, and presidential historian, doris kearns goodwin will be here, as well as our nbc chief political director, chuck todd. good morning, the final 48 hours before republican voters go to the polls in florida, and this is how the race now stands in the sunshine state.
mitt romney going away, a 15-point lead over gingrich. it's our new nbc news/maris poll. we will go through the final arguments with john mccain. first, let's go in with chuck todd. chuck? >> well, good morning, david. we asked folks what is the most important quality in making your decision? electability, can beat obama 41%, and mitt romney has a larger lead over newt gingrich. but romney leads in all of the categories, and in fact experience to govern can beat obama more than a majority, and that's where mitt romney does best. this issue of electablility showed up in the poll. mitt romney performed best of the three candidates. but look at this. rick santorum does better
against president obama than newt gingrich, and we saw the same thing in the florida numbers, and this long campaign is taking a toll on the republican party. look at this. all three republican candidates have a net negative positive approval rating there on the personal numbers, and that's an issue they will have to deal with in the general, and that's why mitt romney needs to wrap this up sooner than later. >> chuck, thank you very much. we'll see you of course in a few minutes. joining me now for a special debate, former presidential candidates themselves, the 2008 nominee john mccain, and fred thompson, welcome to both of you. i want to make a quick note to our viewers. we had an interview scheduled later with rick santorum, but we got word his daughter bella has been hospitalized in philadelphia, and certainly our thoughts and prayers are with senator santorum this morning. now we will turn to politics and the all-important race in florida.
good to have you both here. senator mccain, you know it was florida in 2008 where you effectively shut the door and got the nomination. what does florida mean now? >> i think it means more than it did in 2008 because you got a split between new hampshire and south carolina, as you know. so it's a vital race here. i am glad to see that mitt is doing so well. >> for your candidate, newt gingrich, he has to be looking at the florida numbers after a win in south carolina saying this could put a lot of pressure on him and make romney the frontrunner again should he win. >> yeah, first of all, i know we both want to express our concern as far as rick is concerned and his family. rick has been a guy, a warrior, and that family is to be greatly commended for the way they handled the illness of their small child. we hope for the best. yeah, thanks for starting the show off with those poll numbers.
really perked my day up. no, it looks like the way the poll numbers play out, romney could have a victory in florida. that means, what, 10% of the delegates could have been counted? i think you will look at a longer race. i think that, you know, the -- we'll see the two wins and the majority. in south carolina, newt won practically every group there, except for those with higher incomes, and high degrees, and we'll break it down and see what it means. but it's probably about 10% of the delegates i would think. >> let's talk about some of the dynamics. you have the establishment of the republican party saying newt gingrich cannot be the nominee. we were talking before we came on about former senator bob dole, and we will put a portion of his statement on the screen.
i have not been critical of newt gingrich, and it will have an average impact on candidates. hardly anybody that served with newt gingrich in congress endorsed him, and that speaks for itself. he was a one-man band who rarely took advice. it was his way or the highway. and senator thompson, you know gingrich well and served with him, and this is the view, if he is the nominee, it helps president obama. >> i served with him, so i am one of those people that have endorsed him and there are several others that have served with him, too. but there is old score settling going on. newt had some run-ins with people of his own party, but, you know, a lot of them -- i am not talking about bob dole who i love, but a lot of them were holding newt's coat back when he conceived to have the first republican speaker in years, when they balanced the budget and held bill clinton's feet to
the fire and got welfare reform passed, and we were winning elections and his personality and leadership skills didn't seem to be a problem back then, but when the poll numbers dropped off and started to lose elections we should have won, everything changed and mitt romney has been the frontrunner for a long time. people are piling on the band wagon. >> is the real fear, as governor christie said last week, that he is an embarrassment to the republican party. >> i would not say that, but i would say we had rather unpleasant experiences with newt gingrich, and one of them was the government shut down, and bob dole is the one that called a halt to it because it was killing us. the american people rejected the idea of us shutting down the government. my problems with newt has been over earmark spending. billions and billions and billions. when newt gingrich became speaker they turned earmarks
into an art form, and it's the gateway to corruption. and we have former members of congress in jail. duke cunningham, may and abramoff, and all of this is because of the corruption that is bread by the outrageous obscene corruption earmark process. they went in his first year from $7.8 billion in earmarks to two years later to $14.5 billion in earmarks. i read up on the floor of the senate, 52 pages of earmarks. that kind of thing, they had the k street project, where there was a relationship with a lobbyist on k street. it was not the principles of abe lincoln and ronald reagan. finally, he criticized on march 21st, 1986 on the floor of the senate and said that ronald reagan was a failure in the war -- in the struggle against the soviet union.
i want to emphasize, the reason why mitt has the electability is because of his experience as a governor and business person and saved the olympics in salt lake city, and i think people are looking at that as a reason for his electability. >> if you go to the negatives for gingrich, and can newt gingrich beat president obama? >> i think any of our candidates can. you just showed the numbers up there. we have to stop the debates. enough with the debates, because they are driving up our candidates, all of them on unfavorability. we have had enough of that. they have turned it into mud wrestling. we've had enough of that. and it's time to recognize who the real adversary is, and that's not each other. >> what about the negative advertise something this is the growth of the super pac in this race? do you condemn those as well on this side? >> i can condemn on all sides, and i can condemn the united states supreme court for the decision which is an outrage.
now we have a casino owner and his wife, $10 million into the race. he makes a lot of his money there. on both sides, we have incredible amounts of money, and i guarantee you, there will be a scandal. there is too much money washing around politics, and it's making the parties irrelevant. >> but you think the gingrich campaign is where this is coming from? >> no, it's going to be a scandal that has to do with foreign money and a scandal to do with the way it was raised. i guarantee you you cannot have this much money washing around -- >> do we want to talk about money? i understand shelgtston asked mitt romney for a loan. is that right? >> a reverse mortgage? >> yeah. citizens united is not responsible for all this. it does not stop many from pulling millions of dollars in.
of course not everybody -- >> is it hurting the nominee-to-be? >> not everybody can be self-funded. i will tell you what is hurting the nominee. by the way, john hit on the basic philosophical difference that divides newt and some of his colleagues. back when newt was trying to hold clinton's feet to the fire, and clinton shut down the government, republicans got credit for it. and newt got a lot of criticism, and a lot of people said if we would have held out longer clinton would have caved, and we would have won the day. bob dole went to the floor and said enough was enough, and he thought republicans were getting hurt and we ought to accommodate clinton, and that's what we did. that's the philosophical difference, and all the other overkill, bringing members of congress and putting them in the gingrich rallies and causing disruptions and things like that is way overboard. what is hurting us and what is going to be hurting our nominee, let's say romney is the nominee. his plan is to play nice guy until somebody gets close to him
and then he unleashes his attack machine. and that's what happened in iowa and what is happening in florida, and spending millions -- i think they spent $16 million in television ads alone in florida. >> but, this is moderate politics? >> well, it's being bad when the shoe is on the other foot, and gingrich does something that they don't like. he out spent -- this goes to electability, too. he out spent gingrich in south carolina, and that was not enough. and he is out spending him in 5-1 in florida with a lead ad that is totally false according to the wall street journal yesterday saying that he was forced out of congress in disgrace. says don't believe mitt romney when he tries to pedal this stuff. wall street journal yesterday.
and that's his key to victory. and there's a page today where romney's staff is patting themselves on the back, talking about how down they are and how they have matt grudge in their back pocket and how romney is in on it and how they are sending surrogates to the opposition rallies and so forth. is this a way to win? >> there's a fight within the republican party. you have the rise of the tea party and the establishment making an argument, and your former running mate, sarah palin, posted something on facebook. i want to look at a portion of it. it is very interesting. she writes, i have a great concern about the gop establishment trying to anoint a candidate without the blessing of the grassroots. you do have the split in the party. does that guarantee that gingrich could stay in and this could go on quite a while? >> i think it could go on a while and it would not be to our benefit. by the way, if we would have
hung on in 1995, we could have -- the libertarian party could have won the next election. to say we should have hung on a little longer is remarkable. but the point is -- listen, by the way i love sarah and i agree with her. she may have had different experiences with newt than i did in 2007 when president bush showed great courage and started the surge and that's what saved us in iraq, at least militarily. newt went to the floor and said it was irrelevant and inadequate. he attacked ronald reagan back in 1986 when pwerp getting enough attacks from the left. i think mitt romney knows how to work with democrats. that's the case in massachusetts. he knows the private sector. by the way, attacking people who make money in the private sector is -- i guess you will have mr. axelrod on later on, and i think he will be appreciative of that.
the point is he has the experience and knowledge and the background, and i have gotten to know mitt and gotten to know his wife and my wife, cindy, has, and i think he is displaying now the kind of delivery and persuasive argument that is going to carry him through. >> you did in 2008 attack him as a flip-flopper, and for his conduct running bain capital? >> newt can raise whatever issue he wants, and i remember the fights between ronald reagan and bush who later chose him as vice president, and mitt romney was on a very short list of my considerations to be a running mate. when these things are over you have to get together and be sure of what the objective is, and that's victory in the general election. i think we can do that, fred.
>> well, we better. but i thought we were past the ronald reagan stuff. ronald reagan son endorsed newt, and nancy reagan said we are handing off the mantle from reagan to newt. even mitt wouldn't back up the on the ronald reagan stuff. and let's put that aside for a minute. here is the underlying issue. our country is in deep trouble. this is where i am coming from. our country is possibly on the brink. we have to make basic divisions. our economy stopped, and for all practical purposes i think the fed indicated they expected that to happen in the foreseeable future with the interest rate statement that they made the other day. we're in serious trouble. we have a president that is out there now trying to divide the american people and mislead the american people, saying good news, we are importing less oil than before, and it's because of
the obama recession that we're importing less oil. that's like congratulating a sick person for losing weight. we have to have somebody who is courageous, who is tough, who can challenge obama on his policies but the underpinnings of the policies. we don't need a data processor, even somebody who has been a very successful one. but we need somebody who is courageous and will shake things up in washington. if you look at mitt's policies, his capital gains policy, for example, tracks barack obama's. we still don't know what his problem with obamacare is. we have been through 18 debates and we have yet to know -- they said it was on a federal level instead of a state level, what his problem was with obamacare? >> before we go, this got a lot of attention, this picture in a
heated discussion with president obama. you said this week it's very well known that obama has a prickly personality. >> unlike me. >> are you concerned about that incident? >> i am concerned about whenever there's a situation that evolves like that. it doesn't help. the president doesn't help our governor. but she has a legitimate point. he has been to arizona on many occasions, and he has never been to the u.s./arizona border. where fast and furious took place. approximate where we had an agent killed. and drugs are flooding into arizona and around the country. 40,000 people have been killed on the other side of the border and the president won't even go down and have a look? that's one of the things that was the subject of her letter. let's invite the president down on the whole immigration issue about securing the border. the cartels have people sitting on mountain tops in arizona guiding the drug runners up to
phoenix where it's distributed all over the country, and it's a big issue. >> and as you know, you are making history, tying your appearance with dole. you realize you have to have one more and then you will get the universal studios tour package. >> i think you're ready for it. >> thanks for having me on with my old pal. >> thank you both. coming up, as republicans continue to battle in the sunshine state, president obama unveils his own campaign pitch this week. is he in a better position for re-election than many first thought? we will take a look inside his 2012 playbook and his chief campaign strategist, david ex el rod. and then two days before the florida primary. our political roundtable is here to weigh in on the state of the race. up next, we will take a look at the president's re-election play book with his chief
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joining me now, senior adviser to president obama's reelection campaign, david axelrod. good to have you. welcome back. >> good to be back. before we start, let me add my prayers and thoughts for senator santorum and his child. i have been through problems with a child and my heart goes out to him and his family. >> yeah, as does ours, and he promises to be back on the campaign trail and we will watch for that. and let's talk about the state of the union address the president gave this week, and it was in many ways a blueprint how he intended to run against the republicans, whoever the nominee is this fall. and one of the criticisms was this. how relatively small it was in terms of -- on big problems that the country faces. david brooks, a regular, wrote this in his column on friday and i'll let you react to it. this election is about averting national decline. the president is making a
mistake in ceding the size advantage for the republicans. i am big. it's my presidency that got small. as he trimmed his sales a bit from being a transform active leader? >> i love david, and he's a great friend of mine and the truth is republicans are not offering ideas to deal with the economic challenges. they want to go back to the same ideas that were in place in the last decade. as far as the president goes, david may not think it's a big idea to transform the education system and increase access to higher education and turn our college system into a skills training center so people can get jobs. and he may not think that reviving american manufacturing is a big idea, but most americans would disagree with him who are living out there in the real world. >> if you look how dire the fiscal situation is in the country, and we just came off a
debt debacle this summer, and one said where is the heart stuff and where is the beef? where are the hard choices americans are going to have to make? what are americans going to have to do with less of if this president gets re-elected? >> first of all, americans are struggling in this economy right now. we will have to have chaired sacrifice. the president already authorized $2 trillion in savings and cuts in the budget, and he is willing to do more. the debate is how do we do it in a balanced way? are we going to pursue the path of a mitt romney and those in the republican party who say we're going to do it without any new revenues, so instead of asking millionaires to pay a little bit more, we will cut education by 25%, and cut research and development by 25%, and cut our investments and energy and other areas that we need to grow an economy in a way in which the middle class and opportunity is growing and not shrinking?
>> but we're not dealing with the big drivers of the debt, as you know. the debt commission that the president convened is not advice that he acted on. and the reality is the fiscal situation is dire. if we are not dealing with entitlements -- and you talk about shared sacrifice, and there was a stimulus plan and a new health care entitlement. >> he is willing to do a grand bargain, a large deal to deal with our def sits, but understand, senator simpson put forward a proposal he was impanelled by the president, and they put forward a proposal that would have called for significant new revenues by asking more of upper income americans and the republican party said no we will not do that. and so we have to have a balanced way forward when the republican party is willing to step forward, the republicans in congress and saying let's do this together in a balanced way and protect the key investments we need to grow and yet cut and
ask more from people that can afford it and willing to do it, i think. >> let me ask you about the republican race. it seems mitt romney was very much on the president's mind when he gave the state of the union address, and he talked about an argument he will take to the general election which is economic fairness or requiring the rich to pay more in tbgs taxes. this is a portion of what the president said. >> we can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do well by a growing number of people get by. or we can restore an economy where everybody does their fair share and everybody plays about the same set of rules. >> it was revealed that governor romney paid a tax rate about 15% over the last couple years. he was asked about his wealth and taxes during the debate and this is what he said. >> i have earned the money that i have. i did not inherit it. i take risks and investments.
those investments lead to jobs in america. >> what did he do that was not fair? did he not play by the rules? >> well, he absolutely -- i am not saying he didn't play by the rules. the rules allow you to have swiss bank accounts, and to set up businesses in bermuda. and have money in the cayman islands. the rules allow all of that. the question is, are the rules right? he would continue those rules. they are not right. it's not right that somebody like governor romney can make $22 million and pay an effective tax rate lower than the middle class in the country. this depose back to our previous discussion. if we are going to solve the deficit, then everybody is going to have to give a little, and that includes people at the top. his view is that somehow our economy profits because he has special benefits that other people of more modest means don't have, and we just disagree. >> why doesn't that appear to be a more poll tested question?
if you really want shared sacrifice, the middleclass should pay taxes too. if it's a shared sacrifice, why not say to everybody, everybody has to do with less in terms of social safety net and everything else? >> well, there's no doubt that there has been sacrifices in the $2 trillion cuts, and there will be more sacrifices, and we will have to address things involving those programs, but the middle class has seen their income shrink over the last decade, not grow. and people like governor romney have done spectacularly well, and so to say let's put the burden on the middle class seems to be counter intuitive. >> what has governor romney done when he was head of bain? romney's business experience in the free market that gives the president real concern that he will take to the american people, what is that? >> the concern should be on the
part of the american people. he has a great track record for creating wealth for himself and partners, and he has done it by closing stores and offices around the country, and he has done it by outsourcing jobs, and he's done it by profiting by loading companies down with debt and then putting them in bankruptcy, and he and his partners have then made millions of dollars. the point is, is that the vision of how you build a strong -- >> there were jobs gained as well given investments. >> that number is shifting around as you know. governor romney is offering different numbers. his philosophy suggests his emphasis on creating a process profit for himself and his partners and his investors, not creating jobs. the truth is, david, he made the same argument when he ran for governor of massachusetts. what happened when he became governor of massachusetts? they fell to 47th in the nation in job creation. now he is running the same game again, and i think the american people are rightly going to --
>> well, he doesn't want to run on job losses, does he, because he will lose that against mitt romney? >> well, in 2007 and 2008 praised the last administration for the economics, and at a time we were losing millions of jobs heading into our administration, and 4 million jobs in the last six months. i think he will have a hard time making that argument to the american people. >> a lot of people hear you and think you are casting aspersions on venture capital. how is that different than the federal government under this president invest anything clean energy companies like celendra that failed costing the taxpayers a great deal of money and yet the president said we
will double down and not turn our back on clean energy? >> well, governor romney profited off of something quite different where you buy a company loaded with debt and strip it down and let it go bankrupt and make money off fees from the bankruptcy. that's a different approach. >> yeah, and the country is stronger a lot of people would argue. >> and you raise the point, i don't hear governor romney saying i applaud the president for doing things to try and encourage clean energy in the country. which we are doing. we will double renewable energy use over the course of four years on jobs. 22 straight months of private sector job growth. quite a contrast to the six months before we took office when governor romney said the policies were in place that were shoring up the economy. >> what do you think will happen in the race? i know you don't want to handicap it, i have heard you say that before. you are gearing up for governor romney. you have also been through a
primary fight. do you think this fight goes on particularly because of the split between the establishment and the tea party i was talking about a few minutes ago? >> i think it could. i always thought governor romney is a weak frontrunner, and he overpowered gingrich in florida with a 5 to 1 spending advantage and a negative ad campaign, but the nature of the process is you have to accumulate the delegates necessary to win. and i believe this will go on for a while. the thing that's unusual, though, is when we had a long primary process with senator clinton, and -- it strengthened us. we did not see our numbers erode the way governor romney's numbers eroded. independent voters are fleeing governor romney now. his numbers are falling and he's under water nationally. this process is not helping him because he is so intent on pandering to those forces on the right of his party to try to win this nomination. and i always say, you know, he has his own version of state's rights. he thinks he has the right to
change his position in every state he campaigns in. in iowa he ran to the right of gingrich on immigration. in florida, he has tried to run in a different direction. and on every single issue, including, by the way, whether he would release his tax returns. he has been all over the lot and it caused people to doubt his core as one of my colleagues said here some months ago. so i think it's not been a helpful process for him. >> you look at what president obama is up against, and it was captured in the nbc news poll, are you better off or worst off financially with president obama as president. 30% say worse off. 54% say about the same. this will obviously be a fight about the economy. and another thing i have a question about as i watch the president campaign and i read criticisms of him and his style. does he like politics? >> i think he likes to do things that make the community stronger, the country stronger.
that's why he got in public life. he loves to be with people. he enjoys that and you can see that when he is out and campaigning. does he like the kind of sorted stuff that we have seen on display in florida in the last week? probably not. i think any reasonable person would not. but i think that he relishes the opportunity to help devote himself to help making this a stronger country, and he believes very deeply if we don't have an economic policy, the idea that a growing middle class is the key to a strong economy, we will have a very dim future. on the other hand, we have a opportunity to build a brighter future, so he is very motivated. >> you say to somebody that maybe voted for obama in 2008 and is on the fence now why he deserves the second term, not quite the bumper sticker, maybe a little longer answer, and what is it? >> he led the country through a very difficult time. we have a long way to go and we're in a different place than when he got here, and he has a vision to build the country as i
said, in an economy where hard work pays off and everybody plays by the same rules and everybody gets a fair shake. he believes that's rooted in the firmest and most important american values and it's the key to our future. >> congratulations on your institute for politics in the university of chicago. >> thank you. appreciate that. hope to have you out there. >> absolutely. >> david axelrod, good to see you. coming up, two days before the republican primary in florida. the new nbc poll in the sunshine state shows mitt romney in the driver's seat, and can gingrich close the gap? what about the road forward? who does the political calendar favor in the road ahead? msnbc's joe scarborough is here, and doris kearns goodwin is here as well as chuck todd. calendar calendar favor in the road ahead? msnbc's joe scarborough favor in the road ahead? time out. sweet. [ female announcer ] with charmin ultra soft, you can get that cushiony feeling you love
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we're back with our political roundtable. joining me the political director for nbc news, chuck todd, and doris kearns goodwin, and host of msnbc's morning joe scarborough, joe scarborough. and the race is 42% to 27%. how has romney done it? how has he put himself in a position to make florida the rebound state for him? >> you don't have to ask me. just ask his advisers who are spilling their guts on the front
page of the "new york times" telling the world it was not the candidate that turned things around, it was their own brilliance. i find it to be one of the most fascinating articles that in the middle of the campaign you would have. one was to make newt angry and mitt romney look tough. and that's worked well. but let's not overstate it. and we were all saying, florida is a big state. chuck and i know this. you win by having lots of money and having 30-second ads and having the wind at your back. these advisers can take all the credit they want in the end. florida is a romney state. >> look at the money. you put it up on the screen. it's quite striking. $15.7 million between the campaign and the super pac dwarfing gingrich. >> and this is the story. it's the money. it's surprising to see all of
these strategists take credit in the "new york times" without giving their candidate credit and that's going to be an interesting internal spat, but money was the answer here. what is interesting in the poll, they made gingrich so unelectable to some conservatives, where if you get rid of the santorum vote, romney's lead grows. they made newt gingrich not just unelectable, but unacceptable. >> debate performances, which we will talk about in a minute, but getting the establishment altogether to say we must stop gingrich, he cannot win. >> i thought it was an extraordinary thing that senator dole said where he said this is our last stand -- that's it. and the only help for gingrich is that he has to try and mobilize the tea party people feel that the establishment closed in on him, and that's where cain comes in and sarah
palin, and etc. >> look at the he debates as well. there's only been 100 debates. this was the exchange over blind trust and investments. watch. >> first of all, my investments are not made by me. my investments for the last ten years have been a blind trust managed by a trustee. investments? you also have investments from mutual funds that also invest in fannie mae and freddie mac? >> yeah, it was like, you have done it too. >> they heard newt talking about it that day, and they did research and voila. a week ago we were talking about the newt surge, and immediately after newt won, doris is right, the republican establishment rebells, just like immediately after romney won new hampshire and looked inevitable, the conservative establishment
rebelled. it's ugly for the republican brand where you have sarah palin coming up and comparing the republican party to stallin? chuck's poll showed these guys are upside down now in the positive and negative ratings. this is hurting the republican party moving forward. >> is and the problem is that newt gives and died by the debates. first he complained last week that there was no reaction allowed from the crowd. and then he said there was too much and it destroyed his rhythm, and then he wanted to go back to the lincoln and douglas debate, and the crowd would yell out hit him again, harder, and what would happen to his rhythm if that happened? >> we will put up on the screen what the tax return showed for mitt romney and how much money he made over the last couple years. you made a remark that wealth
alone is not a problem for presidents, right? george washington did okay. >> so did jfk and teddy roosevelt and franklin roosevelt, but each one had something in their lives that allowed them to connect to regular people. teddy roosevelt had gone to the west. he was in the rough riders. fdr had polio which took him out of the privileged life and allowed him to connect to ordinary people, and jfk was in world war ii. and the problem with romney is maybe he had experiences, but it doesn't show when he wants to make a $10,000 bet, or i have had a pink slip, or i like firing people. that shows that somehow his life experience has not connected him impathetically. >> now he has the one line attack that anybody can do. swiss bank account.
it's one phrase that is going to come up over and over again. he used it. you have heard newt gingrich use it, and last week mitt romney doesn't have a newt gingrich problem, but a mitt romney problem. they fix the newt gingrich problem for now. by now the romney people seem to realize the lesson they learned from the first time they thought they destroyed gingrich was don't let up. they're not suddenly going to win florida by 15 points and say we're going to start acting like the ropl knee. they know this issue of the revenge of the tea party could come bite them at some point in time, and so they are going to keep their foot on newt gingrich's neck. but they still have not fixed the mitt romney problem. >> and first, joe scarborough, when we talk about the rise and fall of newt gingrich, you wrote something that i thought was vibrant. it's use of language. for those tempted to once again predict the speedy collapse of his campaign, consider yourself
forewarned. i have known this guy a long time to realize the only three species to survive will be cockroaches, cher, and newt and leroy gingrich. >> let me tell you something, a 20-point loss is florida is not a nuclear holocaust. newt will be back. february is a down month. that gives the strategist three or four weeks to plan and then look at the calendar. you look at georgia, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, tennessee, oklahoma, texas soon after that. if i have to bet on newt's strongest state, i list all of those. that's exactly what he needs. this is not the end of newt gingrich, and this is not the beginning of the end of newt gingrich. this battle is going well into the summer, and that's really bad news for mitt romney and bad news for the republican party. >> looks like you have been reporting on this all week. look at the numbers in our own poll that shows gingrich is a national favorite. i think to joe's point, if he can hold on and get to super tuesday, and get the revenge of a southern candidate.
>> that's all he is. when you really look deep in our poll, he had a monster lead among southerners, very conservative. and the tea partier. and the heart of all three of those, the way the calendar sets up in march, it could be a good month for gingrich. february was a horrible period for hillary clinton, and she was counting on march because march had ohio, and that's where she was going to come back, and now it looks like february is a bad time for gingrich. where is he going to win? those caucuses, ron paul will do well and they are set up for mitt romney, and then michigan is one of romney's home states. arizona, i can make an argument that gingrich should do fairly well there. it's a very conservative state. but his position on immigration, i think the romney people will be able to exploit it and make it a liability for him there. he could go 0 for the next 6, going into super tuesday, and that's a problem.
>> meantime, doris kearns goodwin, you have the president, president obama who got into the game big. there could be a lot of pwe dates. when you are president you can give the state of the union address and reach 40 million people, even if the numbers are down. here is the cover of a magazine, and it shows president obama watching the super bowl and it's gingrich and romney tackling each other. it's becoming a more and more bruising contest. what kind of week did president obama have in unveiling his campaign strategy? >> well, i think he had a terrific week in two respects. the more course the language between the republicans the more they lose as a brand for the party. it's the worst that i have seen in a while. it is. the song was van buren deserves the lowest place in hell. they haven't descended to that. now, on the other side -- >> the good old days. >> the state of the union i think gave the tone for the campaign in a very positive way.
fairness is an issue that i think is felt in people's hearts and minds. that was the central argument. somehow mobility has been hurt in this country. and the idea that brought immigrants to the shore, if you worked hard you could have a decent life and move up, people sense that that has been lost, and he said that's what he is going to fight for, fairness, because the system is rigged against ordinary people. >> joe, you talk about this all the time on "morning joe," the problems are so monumental, the politics seem small. is it a fair knock to say the american people are going to have to do with a lot less if we are going to get ourselves back on good financial footing? >> and this was bill clinton's 1996-1997 speech, and it's a great campaign speech. you take all these small items like school uniforms. you put them in a speech. and it is a great campaign speech. it's not a great governing document.
i thought david brooks nailed it. this is sort of depressing. if you look at the politics on both sides, republican and democrat alike, look what they are saying and compare it to what simpson-bowles did, when they went out and took a chance to save the country fiscally. that's not happening on the president's side and not out at the white house, but the president has to do what he has to do to move towards re-election and that's to say the right words and watch the republicans destroy each other. >> chuck todd, i was thinking i don't know what the most fascinating part of america is, but newt gingrich this week told me. >> i pretty enthusiastically in my career tried to figure out a way to get away from the sugar subsidy. and the cane sugar goes behind beet sugar. and there are just too many beet sugar districts in the state. >> i'm from los angeles. i didn't know what this meant.
but you helped me, a floridian. >> there is a whole conspiracy that the whole embargo on cuba, a lot believe it's about the profit in the sugar industry. you laugh, but, right, joe, the assumption is that once you realize how much sugar that cuba could provide and does provide the world -- >> beet sugar in knew hrar colonies. >> beet farms. >> these are not quite the big ideas that i was talking about. i am actually talking about cutting spending instead of setting up colonies on the moon. >> mitt romney, i've heard this from a lot of republicans who obviously don't want newt. where is the big idea? i'm going to give you the best chance on the holding the house. >> he thought that intellect would make it work but temperament is far more important.
i am afraid the temperament is the problem that showed up with the angry newt. >> he can win conservatives over if he said, you are right, i paid 14% and 15%, but that's double taxation, and let me explain how i think it's destructive, and he never connects the dots for conservatives. >> we will be watching on tuesday for the big vote. before we go, a quick programming note. i sat down with mr. cordray. the man president obama chose to head the consumer financial protection bureau. coverage of the on the blog.ui countdown to the florida primary and the result here tuesday night. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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