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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  January 29, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EST

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a new poll from florida this morning tells an interesting tale about what's happening in the republican race for president. but there's more. it also shows how the president is faring against all the gop candidates in florida. we are going to take a very close look inside all the numbers for you. the economy, one new number suggests there could be signs of life. we'll explain the numbers for you. and they're here. the zany super bowl ads. we're going to take a look at one that caught our eye because it pokes fun at what appears to be an apple product. good morning everyone. welcome to weeken"weekends with witt." let's get to what's happening. developing news. a new poll shows mitt romney widening his lead in florida. just two days before the crucial
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gop primary happening there. the marist poll shows romney leading by 15 points. 42% to -- we have surprising news on how president obama fares in the sunshine state. newt gingrich may not fare too well in the latest poll but his campaign is getting a boost of a different kind. a big endorsement. ron mott is in florida for us this morning. good sunday morning to you, ron. who is the big announcement from. >> reporter: well, the big announcement comes from herman cain. newt gingrich showed up for church services here within the past half hour. maybe he needs divine intervention because of the poll numbers we're starting to see. in addition to our poll numbers. look at the front page of the tampa bay tribune. romney holds solidly. he's up 11 points with 48 hours to go in the race. we can tell you herman cain at one point was the front-runner in the polls in a more crowded gop field before he dropped out of the race in december amid
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allegations of sexual harassment and carrying on a long timex tra marital affair. charges that he denies. ten days ago at the conference up in columbia, south carolina, he said he was going to make an endorsement. all the media shows up and then he endorsed, "we the people." a lot of people found that strange. he then followed that up with an odd rally with steven colbert who has mocked this campaign finance system allowing the super pacs to spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising. last night at an event in west palm beach, herman cain showed up unannounced and stood up in front of the microphone. >> i hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse newt gingrich for president of the united states. >> reporter: a lot of folks are asking if this endorsement means anything for the former speaker. we know that herman cain will campaign with newt gingrich on monday. as for mitt romney, he's not
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letting up off the accelerator going on the attack again. it shows about 196 names of republicans who voted in 1997 to reprimand newt gingrich as speaker for ethics violations. with two days to go, the romney camp is not letting up. they want to win and win it big here in florida. alex. >> ron, you have that one-on-one with newt gingrich. has he told you or has he indicated elsewhere what the campaign's future is if he loses on tuesday in florida? >> reporter: he has said over the last couple of days, alex, that they will go all the way to the convention. as you know, his super pac is being supported in large part by sheldon adelson, billionaire casino mogul in vegas. apparently, adelson is prepared to write more checks as newt gingrich needs. i asked the former speaker after his south carolina victory if the fundraising was easier. he said it did. if they lose on tuesday, that will not drop them out of the race. they plan to go on to nevada in
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the middle part of next week, alex. >> many thanks for that live report. another nod toward gingrich. though not a formal endorsement coming from former vice presidential candidate sarah palin. not only did she say she would have voted for gingrich in south carolina. she's speaking out -- the ex alaska governor called some of the criticisms of gingrich from fellow republicans stal inesque. palin said florida republicans should vote for newt. more on that marist poll showing romney with a lead over newt gingrich. lee mayor nof, the director of the marist poll. we have the great numbers to share. before we get to details, any trends you can read? >> coming out of south carolina, newt gingrich was in good shape. the momentum fizzled when he hit florida. romney has been able to shore up
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support among moderates, higher income voters, people who want somebody who can beat barack obama. romney has been able to cut his losses among tea party and conservative voters. it's all playing his way right now in florida. >> let's talk about the acceptability factor and there are the pros and cons for both. when it comes to mitt romney, 61% say he's an acceptable candidate. 26% say he's acceptable but they have reservations about him. 11% say not acceptable. newt gingrich, 46 say acceptable, 26 acceptable with those reservations. 26% say unacceptable. interpret the numbers. >> we're seeing the effect of the romney ads. he's really driven gingrich's negatives up to the point that he's demonstrated that, well, for voters looking for-electability. maybe he isn't that acceptable. it's a very different campaign than a week ago. but then again, that's been the story of 2012. >> right. >> roller coaster ride and now
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romney is in the front car. >> one up, one down. as the state goes. let's go to president obama, the numbers reflecting his status. 46% of the voters approving of the job. 46% don't approve of how the president is doing his job. statistically, same as last month. what does that say to you? >> the country at a national level is polarized. floridians are waiting for what the rest of the country is waiting for. a sign that the economy is turning around. if the economy starts to turn around and people have confidence in his leadership on the economic front, his numbers will go up and indeed he'll be a strong candidate for reelection. if not, we'll get the race like in the republicans. combative and not particularly pleasant interchange among the candidates. it could get nasty. >> as people look beyond the primaries to the general election, you match up the president with the four candidates, the potentials with
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mitt romney. the president leads him 49 to 41%. with newt gingrich, the president leads 52 to 35. ron paul, the president leads 50% to 36. for rick santorum, the president leads 50 to 35%. juice looking at that, the president fares the best against newt gingrich. >> that's the unelectability of gingrich. also in all this, obama's approval rating in the mid 40s. yet he's better whether people will vote for obama or one of the republicans. that's reflecting just this conservative trend within the republican dialog, people don't like the tone. independents have been scared away from the republican candidates. let's say romney ultimately gets the nomination, oh, he's got to pivot immediately and start appealing to independents. that's not his group right now. they've been watching his debates and saying this isn't for me. they're going with obama. that's where the race is going to be. who can ultimately control.
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>> is there any independent that you're seeing this goes to the gop anywhere. or just obama. >> the independent voters are moving obamas way. the tone has been towards tea party, evangelical christians. conservative voters. ultimately that's where the votes are to determine the presidential election. >> lee miringoff with that. the herman cain endorsement. i'm joined by the congressman, the only latino lawmaker to endorse newt gingrich in florida. >> good morning. >> i'm glad you're here congressman. kind of a good news, bad news for the gingrich camp. the herman cain endorsement. what's your honest assessment of how much that helps newt gingrich with 48 hours to go. >> it's important at this stage in the campaign with the election on tuesday because it can add great momentum to the candidacy for speaker gingrich. a lot of herman cain supporters are very conservative, activist
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republicans in the state of florida. remember, herman cain won the florida presidential straw poll. he won it going away. he has a lot of support here in the state of florida. a lot of those grassroots activists that catapulted him to victory at the florida presidency five straw poll. hopefully they'll be listening to his message. speaker gingrich is for economic equality. they will support the speaker as well. >> the director of the marist poll showing your candidate down 15 points to mitt romney. you're from florida. do you see a realistic where that turns around. is there anything that you know that you say, don't be surprised if? >> actually, i think that these polls have a different message. i think florida's role in this presidential primary was to select the conservative alternative to mitt romney. so as far as i'm concerned, newt gingrich has already won florida. because every time i see poll
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results from florida, they only show two candidates, mitt romney and newt gingrich. so if newt gingrich comes out of florida, whether he wins by five or wins by seven or loses by seven, florida cemented newt gingrich as the conservative alternative to mitt romney. that's a victory for newt gingrich. we move forward in this campaign with newt gingrich as that conservative alternative to states like nevada and arizona and minnesota and michigan. newt gingrich has already won the state of florida according to these polls. >> that's your interpretation. but if he doesn't come out with the vote tally win, why is that? is it because of the ground organization not being what it should? is it the lack of money to compete against the very wealthy campaign of mitt romney? is the debate performance the last week, those two that he didn't seem to have as quite the ownership as he has previously? >> you know, it could be a combination of many factors. newt gingrich is still fighting in florida. we've got a long way to go. a lot can happen between now and
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tuesday. we'll see what the ultimate results are. no matter what happens and what the results are, florida cemented newt gingrich has the conservative alternative to mitt romney. that's an important victory for speaker gingrich. everybody has been waiting for this. since iowa and new hampshire and south carolina to see who the alternative to mitt romney was going to be. floridians are saying that that candidate needs to be newt gingrich. >> the problem is, again, coming from the poll numbers, if a head to head race is between president obama and newt gingrich, newt gingrich fares the worst of all four gop candidates there in florida. the president will beat him by the widest margin. >> even the polls you just showed showed everybody is in the same boat, whether it's ron paul, rick santorum or mitt romney. they're all in the same percentage points in terms of the numbers you showed against obama. the fact of the matter is, when you have so many republican candidates, even conservatives and others -- when we have a
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nominee, they're going to fare a lot better in the polls head to head with barack obama. we've already seen he's split 46/46 in your poll. when we get to august and september after the convention and we have a name next to that 46%, you'll see a very competitive republican nominee. no matter who the candidate is. >> i'm going to tell you, given all the questions i've asked you, you are a glass half full kind of guy. i want to thank you very much congressman david rivera from florida. >> thank you. new figures on the number of people who took advantage of early voting in florida. these are a first look at the numbers. the final numbers may change. 275,000 absentee ballots were returned out of the 500,000 that were requested and nearly sl 8,000 people cast votes early. a total of $462,000 early votes cast in the sunshine state. also new this morning, president obama's reelection campaign chief is talking about the 2012 strategy while blasting
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presidential hopeful mitt romney. he was on meet the press with david gregory. >> it's not right that someone like governor romney can make 20, $22 million and pay less than the lower middle class person. not at a time when we have all these needs. >> you can see more of that interview when meet the press airs at 2:00 p.m. here on msnbc. will the campaign help the president or the republicans in@alex witt, talk to me on twitter. i'll read the tweets throughout the morning. a live look at new york city where it's been quite a mild january. in fact, city officials canceled a winter festival this weekend because it's too darn warm to make artificial snow. what's it going to be where you are. alex wallace has the details from the weather channel. good morning, alex. >> good morning, alec. >> very, very mild here as we have started this 2012 for us.
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look at the numbers into the gulf coastal areas. 60s, 70s. in miami, where there's a little bit of rain. there will be snow showers around the great lakes. nothing too hefty as a fast-moving system moves through there. morning flakes near chicago ending in the afternoon. the southern plains, a nice day. a lot of sunshine in dallas. your high for the day should reach around 63 degrees. pleasant for you there. another unsettled day in the northwest. seattle, more rain expected for you. southern california is looking great. look at san diego at 73 degrees. enjoy that. meanwhile, we're tracking that snow here moving across the great lakesment again, it's fairly light and moving quickly at this time. there's the system moving on through. by the time we get to monday, should be well to the east. just a few lingering snow showers on monday for us across the eastern lakes. we could be talking in buffalo of 3 to 5 inches of snow when it's all said and done. >> alex, many thanks for that. new insight into how mitt romney's campaign changed course
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after the south carolina primary. could there still be potential for a florida surprise? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] feeling like a shadow of your former self? c'mon, michael! get in the game! [ male announcer ] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down. you might not just be getting older. you might have a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. millions of men, forty-five or older, may have low t. so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you? [ male announcer ] learn more at isitlowt.com. [ laughs ] hey! this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people wanted to visit us... in louisiana. they came to see us in florida... nice try, they came to hang out with us in alabama... once folks heard mississippi had the welcome sign out, they couldn't wait to get here.
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♪ ♪ two big new developments this morning in the gop race for president. first up, a brand new nbc news marist poll shows romney leading gingrich among likely gop primary voters in florida with two days to go until the primary there.
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secondly, despite that poll, gingrich got good news last night. an endorsement from tea party favorite and former contender, herman cain. >> i hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse newt gingrich for president of the united states. >> joining me now from washington, white house reporter for the washington post, ann karn blut and perry bacon. good morning to you. >> good morning. perry, how much will this endorsement help gingrich and will it be enough? >> i'm glad we got herman cain back. he's funny. he'll add humor to the campaign trail. the nbc poll released today showed this as well. herman cain is popular with tea party supporters. gingrich has that vote. his problem is among moderate and women voters and nontea party voters. that doesn't help.
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herman cain doesn't have a lot of strength in those voters either. he's not going to add a lot for gingrich in terms of winning florida. >> do you agree with that, anne? if you agree with him, what does the herman cain endorsement bring other than a little bit of fun and le-- it might be too la for gingrich to reverse the momentum with the vote a couple days away. it was good to proclaim. he wasn't having a great day since the debate last thursday. it was a chance to say look, there are good things going my way. if he could do that again the next couple of days, if there were other big endorsements, although there are not many left, it might help him get attention. with the poll numbers, he's facing an uphill battle. >> i want to get further into the poll numbers again. the nbc news marist poll numbers. romney is ahead by 15 points, which doesn't look good for gingrich. do you, perry, think there's a
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potential for a surprise two days before the primary. i think back to the thursday, ten days ago prior to south carolina when there was that day that had so much news that you all went whoa. is there that kind of potential? >> there's no debates left. gingrich, until this week, did very well in debates. that helped him. the next couple of days, not any kind of big event on the calendar that i see at least where he can reengage, jolt the momentum, change the dynamic. romney has a lot of ads on tv and pounding gingrich on the trail and on tv. i'm not sure what gingrich can do to stop that. >> i want you to listen with me to what gingrich said this weekend. let's hear it. >> i will go all the way to the convention. i expect to win the nomination. you just had two national polls that show me ahead. >> is this a realistic statement other than the two national polls which show him ahead, which it is true they do in this past week. >> look, he can stay in the race.
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if he loses florida, i wouldn't necessarily expect mooug newt gingrich to drop out. there's something to be said for hanging in there. he's had ups and downs. florida is obviously a winner take all state of all the delegate. if romney wins it, he'll have a serious advantage in the delegate count. it will be hard for gingrich to catch up. the month of february doesn't have much for him to catch up delegatewise. he'll be looking at super tuesday. that's a long way to stay in a race that you don't appear to be winning. what does he have to lose? we've seen him stay in, in the past when it there seemed no reason to. it's plausible that he might again. >> perry, your latest article, you talk about the different rhetoric used by gingrich and romney against president obama or towards president obama. talk about the differences. >> if you listen to romney, very much the message is i like president, the president was a nice guy, he's not a very good
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president. gingrich talked about the food stamp president. there are different groups. gingrich wants to appeal to tea party and romney to the moderate republicans. that's what we're seeing. that's why gingrich should stay in to come back to your question, he has an appeal with those who want fiery rhetoric that romney is unable to deliver. >> romney is looking more towards the general election, you think? >> that's right. you have to win the primary first. even if he wins florida, he has to secure this primary first. >> okay. anne kornblut, perry bacon, thank you so much. thank you. new word from the president's reelection campaign following the new nbc marist poll. we have a live report from the white house when "weekends with alex witt" continues. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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time for a look at number ones. mitt romney is the richest of all the candidates. the associated press estimates his wealth between 190 and $250 million. if elected. he would probably be in the top four in presidential wealth. who is the richest? according to the website 24/7 wall street, our first president remains the king of wealth. in today's dollars, his estimated worth would be about $525 million. speaking of money, los angeles tobs a new forbes list of the most professor overpriced cities. the price of housing. fresno, california tekd and miami third. go google, the website giants a magazine ris of companies with at least 700 openings. google is looking for software engineers and salespeople. finally, which city spends the most on snack foods? the online grocery store says greenville, north carolina. folks spent more than $20 per
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." new this morning, insight into president obama's 2012 strategy from a senior campaign adviser. david axelrod. he appeared on meet the press with david gregory. >> he's led the country through a very difficult time. we have a long way to go. we're in a much different place than when he got there. he has a vision of how to build a country, as i said, and an economy in which hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded. everybody plays by the same rules and everybody gets a fair shake. he believes that is root north dakota our firmest american values. our most important american values. it is the key to our future. >> nbc's mike viqueira is live
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for us. good sunday morning you. >> good morning, alex. >> what else did david axelrod had to say. >> he distilled the theme of the campaign into a simple phrase. a fair shake. every citizen in the country deserves a fair shake and more than that. everybody should be paying their fair share. that is essentially the theme and that is the preview of the kind of campaign they'll be running against the presumptive nominee. to hear the white house say it, people like david ak elrod, out of that campaign office in chicago, mitt romney, assuming he'll be the nominee. two schools of thought when it comes to the primary fights on the republican side. they get it out of the way early, voters get used to hearing the negative charges and they're inoculated. the general campaign, in the general election. what the obama campaign is hoping the second school of thought. they tear each other down so
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much, they expose vul vulnerabilities exploited later. here's more of what axelrod had to say about mitt romney. >> i'm not saying he didn't play by the rules. the rules allow to you have swiss bank accounts, the rules allow you to put your money in the cayman islands and to set up businesses in bermuda and so on. 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 someone like governor romney can make 20, $22 million and pay an effective tax rate lower than the average middle class person in this kun industry. >> alec, it's interesting, according to the wall street journal poll, mitt romney is the individual that comes closest to beating president obama right now at this stage of the election year in a head to head matchup. he's still down by six points. so with the improving economy,
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good figures coming out, there is reason for the obama campaign and those here at the white house to be optimistic about their prospects in november. >> okay. mike viqueira with it all from the white house. you can watch a reairing of meet the press at 2 eastern. the news from the campaign trail, rick santorum canceled all sunday morning tv appearance ns and events in florida to be at his child's bedside. the former pennsylvania senator's three-year-old daughter bell la is hospitalized in philadelphia. she was born with a serious genetic condition. meanwhile, looking at the campaign calendar for the gop, the florida primaries, it is tuesday. the nevada caucuses kick off in february. after that, caucuses in colorado, minnesota and maine. primaries in minnesota and maine wrap up the month. an article with a fascinating look at how mitt romney's campaign changed course after south carolina. in a call last sunday morning
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hours after mitt romney's double dinl it loss to mr. gingrich in the south carolina primary, the romney team outlined the new approach to the candidate, put aside the more acute focus on president obama and narrowed in on mr. gingrich. that's a quote from the article there. joining me now is former hike huckabee campaign manager, chip salts man and director for president obama, general saki. glad you're here. >> good morning. >> coming out of south carolina, the polls had gingrich tied or ahead in florida. look what's happened in a week especially as we examine the nbc marist poll numbers out a while ago showing romney up by 15 points. what is this dramatic turn around a result of, chip? do you think it's the gingrich camp getting overconfident, romney's camp scared into action? >> yes on both. i think happened when hurricane newt landed in south carolina, the establishment emergency network system went into full
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effect and they went to florida and you saw a different campaign strategy. the romney strategy was effective. they took advantage in iowa. they won new hampshire had a back step in south carolina. then they turned their attention on newt gingrich in florida and have done it very effectively and then you go to the other side, let's be honest, national institute didn't have a good debate. you live by it and die about the debate. all of a sudden the air is out of the gingrich balloon. we'll see what happens. everything indicates that mitt romney may go for a knockout punch in florida. >> let's put up some of the tactics according to the new york times article. they were used by romney camp this week. ratchet up attacks been gingrich in debate. vocal supporters in the audience. flood market with mailers and tv commercials and send surrogates to gingrich campaign events. is this classic strategy if you have the money to do it or is there something new here? >> i was pretty surprised
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reading the new york times story that this was the story the romney campaign wanted coming out last week. they allowed attacks and the process of their attacks to become the story. you saw the same thing at the debate the other night. while mitt romney was more disciplined, he still remained disconnected from the challenges middle class voters are facing. they allowed money managers and the moon to be the story coming out of the debate. i think if you're an average person at home, you're scratching our head and thinking, well, why do i want to hear about their attacks against the other candidates and the stuff they have to take to do that? why don't -- i want to hear more about what they're going to do to make our economy better and get the middle class working again. >> chip, jen makes a point. what do you have to say in response to that? why would the romney campaign want to get that out? >> because that's what the issue of the day with the primary voters are. look, the primaries are never pretty or easy. barack obama and hillary clinton
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were beating the crap out of each other and the democrats were worried this would make barack obama or hillary clinton a weaker candidate. what we're going lieu is like making sausage. nobody wants to watch it. but everybody likes a good piece of sausage at the end of the day. it's important for us to get through the process. get behind our nominee. i think this process will make our nominee for stronger. >> but if you're in gingrich's camp right now, chip, what do you do without the money or the organization? they talk about opening new offices, rick tyler was talking about an 11th office being opened. they don't have the ground game that mitt romney does. >> yeah. it's a chatening. i was there four years ago. you can do that without much money in iowa and new hampshire and south carolina. you can go to the caucus states like nevada and maine and do that. florida is such a big state, the ground you have to cover, look, i think on election day this is going to be a tough night for newt gingrich. he can hope for snowstorms in key part of florida to keep
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everybody home. beyond that, i think mitt romney is going to win tuesday. jen, gingrich has landed a lot of blows to the romney camp. his favorability rating has taken a hit the past couple of weeks. romney's rather. is there a narrative that's been hit upon, the team for the president pick up on that. oh, yeah this is what you got to go with and run with it in the general election. >> i think there are a couple of things in the poll you mentioned. the one, the poll numbers nobody is talking about is the fact that the president leads mitt romney among independents 50 to 36. that means there's a cost to negative attacks and there's a cost to the strategy they've both running on. i think the president and his team are doing exactly what they need to be doing, which is putting their heads down, organizing in states, getting people excited on the ground despite the money that mitt romney and his campaign and his super pac has. remember, they're outspending gingrich in florida. he can't buy energy and enthusiasm for his campaign.
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so, you know, i'm a big supporter of the president of course. i think you'll be out there continuing to communicate his plan and his blueprint for the american people. that's what he needs to be doing right snou. >> chip, i'm curious about the tactics, the taxes, are they going to work in a general election. when it comes to money, the president is going to be able to certainly match romney dollar for dollar if he's the nominee. >> we expect to be outspending in the general election. he'll have upwards of a billion dollars on his own, forget the super pacs. i think the challenge, we're talking about the independent voters, the challenge is they're turned off by a heavy republican primary right now. that happens every election cycle. we have an opportunity to make the -- that's what the reelection of the president is. we're going to be talking about the economy, talk about obama care, talking about do you really think you're better off today than four years ago. that will be the theme of the
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campaign. i think that's where barack obama is vulnerable to independents in some of the key states like ohio, like florida. some of the states that will matter in november. >> okay. chip saltsman, jen psaki. thank you. >> thank you, alex. watch tuesday for the live coverage of the florida primary. live report and analysis from across the state all day and into the night. here are the other stories making headlines. critical u.n. mission under way in ryan right now. they're trying to see if tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program. warnings from the west about safeguarding gulf shipments from blockades. it could be midweek now before the weather improves enough to start pumping out the fuel from the costa concordia. the ship slipped one inch overnight due to a strong sea movement current. new information from police this morning in the search for missing maine toddler. a letter rein alds.
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they have been analyzing blood found in the basement of her father's home. ayala was last seen six weeks ago. 300 people arrested during a day of protesting in oakland, california. they clashed with police throughout the day marching from city hall to a vacant convention center. with the super bowl one week away, the first look at the ads airing. the advertisers are releasing teaser ads, previews of the commercials. it's part of an effort to get the spots to go viral before the big game. here's one from cars.com. decided which vehicle to go with today? >> hey baby, i want that car ♪ hey baby i really want that car ♪ snoet. >> that's my confidence. it's been coming out since i used cars.com. i used a side by side comparison tool and this one would be good. >> yeah baby ♪ let's get those keys and go ♪ >> i'll get the keys.
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>> whoo ♪ >> cars.com. okay. here's another trend this year. that being longer ads. the marketing experts say we're going to see more one-minute spots because it gives companies to get more creative and tell a better story. so far our favorite is a doritos commercial. check it out. >> dude, did you really eat all my doritos? >> lee lacks, mu chach owe, this will get us anything we want. sending me more dr it owes. >> send me a sombrero. >> dude, dude, let me try it. >> send me three hot wild girls. >> yeah. >> sending three rottweilers. >> no, hot wild girls. hot wild girls. >> so why are we here again? >> muchacho, really in you'll see more of the ads when you watch the super bowl next sunday on nbc. "weekends with alex witt" back in a moment.
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♪ ♪ u.s. consumer confidence is up to its highest level in almost a year now. the latest u.s. michigan index stats show consumer sentiment climbed to 75 points. that's the highest level in more than a year. forbes magazine writer morgan brennan is here to talk about why. it's a trend we like, though, right? is it signs of life with consumer spending? is it housing trends? where is the good news? >> there is some good news, there is hope on the horizon and yes consumer confidence levels are up. they're up from 69.9 to 75 and that's always good news. consumers are excited. maybe 2012 will be the year we start to see some action. but the truth of the matter is we've seen that number come up
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like this three consecutive years. it's a lot of early year hopefulness in that number. but yeah, we're seeing a lot of positive signs around the housing market. it's still? the doldrums to a large extent. existing home sales were up in december. the inventory went down to below seven-month levels and pending home sales, even though they're still lower off december from november, are looking promising as well. there are some signs of life. >> listen, we got to do what we can. the big bounce in the gdp, as we look at numbers here relative to that shall the gdp gdp 2.8%. some were expecting it to hit 3 morgan. this is the best number in 18 months. are we splitting hairs as we look at all this news or is it translating to the market people buying, spending and the like? >> you know, so it jumps 2.8 percent for the last quarter. remember, that the year in general was still 1.7% growth.
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i am going to split hairs a little bit here because i think those sales we saw so many of them were actually sales involving businesses restocking their shelves. there was a lot of inventory growth there. as far as consumers actually spending, that number was much lower, it was less than -- it was a tiny fraction of that growth than in the last month. i'm a little hesitant to say that we're really going to see a surge in gdp this year. you mentioned 3% is the number that economists were really look for and the reason being, because unemployment rates really start to come down. you need a 3% rate. >> i was going to ask you. unemployment, because we expect the numbers out there friday. what are the expectations there? >> well, the word on the street is that we have been creating some jobs and obviously, we had an 8.5% unemployment rate last month. my concern is the fact that and going back to this gdp report. we saw income levels rise a little less than 1%. so even if we see that job
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growth, i think there's still issues at hand here like income levels and the fact that they're not moving up in a significant way. you have a lot of people who haven't been looking for work. i hope we see a positive number but we have a long ways to go. >> i think you're right unfortunately. morgan brennan from forbes. thank you so much. >> thank youment. did mitt romney want herman cain's endorsement? we'll hear from the co-chairman of his campaign in florida next on weekends with alex witt. ♪ ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance.
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now to some prospective on presidential tax returns. mitt romney and wife earned over $43 million. they gave $7 million in charity, half to the mormon church. gingrich and his wife earned more than $3 million in 2010. president obama and the first
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lady reported $1.7 million. donating to 36 different charities. the tradition after releasing tax returns was started by president richard nixon in 1972. his record showed he made 268,000 of which he gave one tenth of one percent to charity and to church. there we go. that was $295 to charity and church. let's go on to mitt romney. taken a sizable lead in the latest poll in florida. the new nbc marist poll shows him with a 15 point lead over newt gingrich. the former house speaker won the endorsement of herman cain. joining me is the co-chair of the romney campaign in florida. good morning, justin. >> good morning, alabama alex. did he seek herman cain's endorse am and if so, why didn't he get it? herman cain a tea party darling. might that be a tough group nor governor romney to sway? >> i don't think it's a tough group for governor romney.
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i think a number of supporters in earlier states like new hampshire and others have supported governor romney. i think that with regards to herman cain, if anyone who has seen governor romney campaigning, he knows -- everyone knows he's campaigning hard for every single vote. he's not going to get every single vote. my hope and expectation is that after governor romney wins the nomination, the -- everyone will get behind governor romney to defeat president obama in november. >> what about the comments made yesterday by speaker gingrich calling governor romney dishonest. take a listen to this. >> you cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. you just can't. i mean, people say i'm a good debater. i can't debate somebody who won't tell the truth. >> has governor romney responded to that? >> i'm not aware if he has or not. look, speaker gingrich is fair to make whatever accusations he wants. i think he's licking his wounds a little bit. he had two poor debate
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performances in florida this week. that's hurt him. we know about the performance in south carolina that helped him in the final days of that south carolina race. it's been the exact opposite here in florida. i think his supporters expected a lot more from him in the florida debate and he didn't deliver and governor romney had an excellent debate performance on thursday night especially and that's helping give him momentum leading into the primary tuesday. >> do you have concerns about any of that, that could change despite this 15 point lead according to the marist poll out this morning? is that the 15 point lead now but south carolina, you saw newt gingrich close in pretty fast on mitt romney and win. >> absolutely. look, the romney campaign here in florida, i can tell you is not taking anything for granted. governor romney is barnstorming the state over the next 72 hours and he's going to be rallying republican primary voters to his cause. he's running like he's ten points behind in the polls. i think you're going to see a lot of energy and a lot of momentum continue for governor romney over the next two days. >> i'm detecting a tone of
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confidence in your voice, justin. thank you for being with us. thank you very much we appreciate. >> thanks, alex. harold ford jr. tells me what he thinks of romney and president obama's play on the hardwood. it's coming up. today my journey continues across the golden state, where everyone has been unbelievably nice. mornin'. i guess i'm helping them save hundreds on car insurance. it probably also doesn't hurt that i'm a world-famous advertising icon. cheers! i mean, who wouldn't want a piece of that? geico. ah... fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent oh dear...
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>> well, good morning everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it's 11 o'clock on the east coast, 8:00 out west. we'll get to what's happening. brand new numbers on the crucial florida gop primary contest. they show mitt romney with a growing lead. this nbc news marist poll number shows romney with a 15-point lead. the director explains what the numbers mean two days before the primary. >> coming out of south carolina, newt gingrich was in good shape. the momentum fizzled when he hit florida. his debate performance was lackluster and mitt romney has been able to shore up support among his groups, moderates, higher income voters, people who want someone to beat barack obama. romney has been able to cut losses among tea party and conservative voters. >> more harsh words against mitt romney from the head of team obama on meet the press. the reelection campaign chief, david axelrod, said the former
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massachusetts governor conduct on the campaign trail is hurting his chances. >> we didn't see our numbers erode the way governor romney's numbers have eroded. independent voters are fleeing governor romney now and his numbers are -- he's underwater nationally. this process is not helping him because he's so intent on pandering to those forces on the right of his party to try and win this nomination. he's been so mer curial in his positions that he has his own version of states rights. he has his right to change his position in every state he campaigns in he thinks. if you missed meet the press, you can see it when it reairs at 2 p.m. on msnbc. meanwhile, former speaker gingrich was hammering at mitt romney again, this on fox news sunday. >> the reason that i was relatively flat on thursday's debate is i don't know how you debate a person in a civil -- sit being civil when he stands
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there and he just blatantly doesn't tell the truth. time after time after time when you try to engage governor romney, we just learned yesterday, there were 23 foreign accounts that he did not reveal back when he filed his disclosures. >> nbc's ron mott is in luts, florida for us covering the gingrich campaign. good morning, ron. we have speaker gingrich who went to church this morning, did he in. >> he did indeed. they're letting that service out as we speak, alex. he's going to continue on his way. heavy day of campaigning today. look what he's waking up to in the newspaper this more than. the tampa bay times, romney holds solid lead. 11-point deficit in this paper. this is backing up the nbc news poll that shows a double dinl it advantage before the election on tuesday. no one knows whether this herman cain endorsement means anything. herman cain at one point in a more crowded gop field, led in the polls, but he had to let his campaign go in december after allegations surfaced about
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sexual harassment and maintaining a long-standing extra marital affair that he denied. he got people buzzing about an endorsement and stepped up to the microphones and endorsed "we the people." he followed it up with a strange rally with stephen colbert with all the money being spent on advertising. he shows up at a gop event in west palm beach where he endorsed speaker newt gingrich and he had this to say as well. >> we have become a nation of crises. and it's not going to get any better until we solve point number three and that's a crisis of leadership in the white house. that is our other biggest crisis. >> now, a lot of folks, when herman cain dropped out of the race for sort of jockey to get his endorsement, speaker
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gingrich got it, tomorrow they go on the campaign trail together. for his part, romney is campaigning on the trail today. he's hitting speaker gingrich hard. saying 88% of republicans in 1997 voted to reprimand the speaker. they say it was a first time a speaker was reprimanded in such a way in the 208-year history. he's not letting off the accelerator. he's comfortably ahead. we'll have to see what voters say on tuesday. >> 48 hours to go on that. thank you, ron mott. another favorable nod toward gingrich coming from former vice president shah will candidate sarah palin. not only did she say she would have voted for gingrich in south carolina. she's speaking out against establishment republicans who have been critical of the former speaker of the house. the former alaska governor called the criticisms of gingrich from her fellow republicans stalinesque. on the talk show last night, palin said florida republicans should vote for newt. meanwhile, in florida, bus loads of tea party supporters
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are touring through that state. joining me live is the tea party express chair, amy kramer. amy, good morning. >> hey, how are you? >> i'm well, thank. i want to ask you first up, how many folks are on the bus tours across florida this morning in. >> well, this is a tea party express bus. we have our team of people on and what we do is go to different locations and do rallies and meet local activists there. we're not -- we don't have loads of people on our bus. it's a tea party express team. >>let talk about what happened yesterday with herman cain. the man who delivered the tea party response to the state of the union having just endorsed newt gingrich. is your group ready to endorse gingrich? >> we haven't made an endorsement yet. we want to work with the tea party but not against the movement. we saw in south carolina that there's a lot of support for gingrich. but there's support for all of the candidates. we just simply have not made an endorsement yet. >> okay. what about former alaska
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governor, sarah palin not having officially endorsed gingrich yet, but she's done everything but having said if she were in south carolina, she would have voted for him, florida as well. she defended gingrich by writing a facebook essay spite ld cannibals and employing tactics of the left. she also say gop leaders are trying to crucify gingrich. what do you think of a that assessment? is it a fair one in. >> i think governor palin is saying what is on a lot of people's minds. i think that she's absolutely right that there is this backlash against speaker gingrich from the establishment from people in washington and these people that have been in the party for a long time and it's the -- the problem is, it's not just to get speaker gingrich. it's against the tea party movement too. our position is, alec, that we're sick and tired of having the establishment hand us everything that they want and what they think is best. that's why this movement rose up three years ago. we're tired of it.
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we have the voice in this primary, in this procedure of electing or nominating and electing the president and our voices are going to be heard and they're going to be heard by our vote. >> well, given this mentality, thinking that the republican establishment and some of the candidates are not getting what you want them to have for the tea party, would you endorse a separate candidate? >> no. we absolutely are not going to go third party. we have two viable parties that we need to work from within to effect change. when the movement rose up, people were sick and tired of both party, the democratic and the republican party, but especially the republican party because they've gotten away from their conservative principles and values. that's what people are so angry at. if you look back to 2010, the republican party takes credit for what happened and they had no part in that. it was the tea party movement. everyday activists that made the victories of 2010 happen. so, you know, we're tired of
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this. they think that this seat belongs to them and other seats across the country and it doesn't. this seat, the presidency of the united states represents every person across this country and we have a say in the matter. we're not going to continue to sit back and accept what the republican party and the establishment continues to dish out. we're simply not. >> so, amy, if mitt romney is the nominee, will members of the tea party express support him, turn out and vote for him? >> you know, i think whoever wins the nomination, they're going to have to do it with the support of the tea party movement. we cannot defeat barack obama without the support of the movement. we need the passion, the fire in the belly and the boots on the ground. whoever wins the nomination it going to have the support of the tea party express. because we are going to work to defeat barack obama. that's what we're focused on and taking back the u.s. senate. >> okay. chairman of the tea party express party. amy creamer. thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> sure. a lot of florida residents
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apparently took advantage of early voting. it ended yesterday in the state. jamie says the early figures show nearly 275,000 absentee ballots were returned out of the roughly 500,000 requested. nearly 188,000 people cast their votes early, which is a total of more than 462,000 early votes cast in the state before tuesday's primary. for more now on this primary, i'm joined by political reporter for the washington post in sarasota and national political reporter for politico. good morning, you would. >> good morning, alec. >> hey, alex. >> ladies first with you nia-malika. you're on the ground. the headline in the paper. the herman cain endorsed gingrich. what's your sense this might impact the race and might it be a big enough boost in time for gingrich? >> i'm skeptical about this. skeptical about endorsements in general. i think endorsements only help when they clear doubt about a candidate. here we have a candidate or former candidate in herman cain
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who is accused of extramarital affairs. he denied those endorsing the candidate who has admitted to extramarital affairs. i don't think it's going to give him the boost that he needs. i think it's part of his strategy in some ways of living off the land. he's getting some free media out of this and some headlines and some segments on cable tv and this has been part of his strategy since he doesn't have a lot of money to compete in the air ways. in terms of turning this thing around, we have a 15-point spread between gingrich and romney. i'm not sure it gives him the boost he needs to turn it around. >> david, do you think he can come back? >> i think it's very, very difficultment barring some mistake by mitt romney or a game changing event like rick santorum getting out of the race and throwing his support to gingrich, which i don't think is going to happen. i think it's very, very difficult. you look at the numbers spent in florida alone, there's a report out today, mitt romney and his
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super pacs outspending gingrich. florida is a huge state. romney's lead is increasing this week. from 8 as nia said, 8 to 10 to 15 point. very tough for newt to win this thing, i think, in florida. >> i want to pick up more with you on the ad wars going on. you have the romney and the pro romney, restore our future. they've outspent, what is it, the pro gingrich super pac winning our future, outspending is four to one actually. are you getting deluged on the radio and as you look at television and are floridians having to suffer through all this negative ad fatigue? >> absolutely. i mean, i woke up this morning on sunday and said maybe they'll take a break since it's sunday and people are off to church. no such luck. they're being hammered. viewers and voters by these ads. almost all of the negative, negative against gingrich,
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talking about romney's campaign highlighting some of the ethics charges that the former speaker had while he was in the house. and then you have gingrich really calling out mitt romney for being a moderate, calls him a liberal, a governor, from massachuset massachusetts in a couple of the ads. and then newt gingrich on television this morning essentially calling mitt romney a liar. that is his strategy in the last days. really calling them out and saying he's not to be trusted in carrying forward the conservative agenda. >> in terms of favorability, david, there's no question that this gop fight has damaged both gingrich and romney. but especially romney. if you look at the new washington post abc news poll shows two weeks ago romney was favorable by 35% of americans. look at the numbers now. favorably by 31% and unfavorably by 49. do you think this damage is irreparable. should he be the nominee going into the election? >> i don't think it's
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irreparable. we're in the moment right now. this is a tough rye mary. a week is a long time in politics, let alone seven, eight months. will we be talking about these attacks on mitt romney if he is the presumed nominee seven, eight months from now? i don't think so. i think it will be more focused on the president versus the nominee. but i do think how long this primary campaign goes on will have an affect, newt gingrich saying i'll go all the way to the convention. if that is true, that could present problems down the road because, remember, these primary cop contests, they split up the votes. they're not winner take all after florida. gingrich says he's going on. if this is prolonged. that could be a problem for romney if he's ultimately nominated. >> nia-malika henderson, thanks to you both. >> thanks. the marist poll provides good news for romney but there's another poll result that will not please any of the republican contende contenders. it may have nothing to do with
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president obama. also ahead, what's behind president obama's upswing in those polls and what does he immediate to do to maintain that? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." [ dad ] i'm usually checking up on my kids, but last year my daughter was checking up on me. i wasn't eating well. she's a dietitian, and she suggested i try boost complete nutritional drink to help get the nutrition i was missing. now i drink it every day and i love the great taste. [ female announcer ] boost has 26
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mitt romney may be leading in the latest florida polls, but how do florida republicans really feel about the current field of gop presidential candidate. a new marist poll shows that 43% say they would like to see someone else run. a slight majority, 52% are satisfied with the current crop of candidates. we're hearing new details from the president's reelection team. here's what david axelrod said on today's mgs meet the press".
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>> the middle class has seen their income shrink not grow over the last decade. people like governor romney have done spectacularly well. to say, let's put the burden on the middle class seems to be counterintuiti counterintuitive. >> joining me jonathan alter, good morning, jonathan. >> hi, alening. do you get there's a sense a confident message out of the president's campaign. >> it's confident in two ways. i think they're on track to get re-elected. not a sure thing. all systems are go. they're on their game plan. they want to convey an aura of confidence about where the country is going. because they believe in their study of history that it's the confident, optimistic forward-looking presidents who tend to get re-elected. the conversation about america in decline, they're more likely to lose. if it's about america's back, general motors' back, things are beginning to inch upward, then
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they're in a better position. >> i'm wondering if what you are talking about, this inching upward is why you see in the marist poll numbers the president beats each one of the four gop potential candidates by a fair amount. i mean, quite handily. the closest race is by a few points between the president and mitt romney. but do you think that is what's happening, there's a trend. given the economy where it stands now, it's not so good. >> i think it's too early to give much meaning to those polls. but i think there is a certain amount of what you could call familiarity breeds contempt when looking at these republican candidates from the eyes of independent voters. remember, these independents will determine the election. they're not movement conservatives. a lot of what they're hearing out of these debate, what, 19 debates, is -- makes no sense to them. they're not even talking about the right issues. so when they watch that, they're
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a little bit more inclined to decide with president obama for now. there's so much time to go. >> i was going to say, when do independents get into the race and get their minds set? do we have any sense of that? you're right, we talk about republicans and democrats, when really if we wanted to, we could shape this race and really analytically look at with just looking at the middle percentage there >> we could. but nothing definitive until october. a lot of late deciders. a lot of them are low information voters. these are people who, unfortunately, don't watch msnbc. they're busy with their lives and they're not really paying close attention. they vote once every four years. it's instructive to look at the difference in the voting universe between 2008 when 130 million americans voted and 2010 when 80 million americans voted. those 50 million who didn't vote in 2010, a lot of them are independents. we really don't know which way
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they're going to go. of the ones that did vote in 2010, they went republican. but when they voted in 2008, they went democratic. so this is part of what makes this so fascinating when you have this tea party element that you were talking about earlier. >> yeah. >> if the tea party goes against romney in a big way and it looks like that might be happening, that's going to be another factor. another big thing that's come up with implications for the fall is romney has had to go very, very negative on gingrich. might win the nomination that way. but it will be harder for him to complain about obama going negative on him in the general election, which is what the chicago campaign plans to do. >> listen to this sound bite. the front-runner framing the attack against president obama. here we go. mitt romney. >> people are coming down because they're concerned about america. they recognize what's at stake. they see a president turning this into a european-style welfare state. you have a president that doesn't seem to be bothered by
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borrowing a trillion dollars every year. the foreign policy are pretty pleased not working terribly well. as part of that strategy, he is comfortable with reducing the capacity of our military. >> they expect this line of attack in the fall? >> sure. i think the first couple elements they might make some headway. the last one on foreign policy, at least right now, not going anywhere. it's hard to make the argument it's a pretty please when they blew osama bin laden away. it's hard to argue that the pentagon shouldn't have cuts when the generals, uniform military signed off on all the cuts and realize there needs to be reductions. had it comes to the economy, things could look a lot better for mitt romney if they look worse for the american economy. >> thank you, i don't know than alter. good to see you. capitol hill, spending on lob yig declined for the first time in a decade $3.25 billion
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coming through! [ male announcer ] introducing spark the small business credit cards from capital one. get more by choosing unlimited double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. what's in your wallet? still ahead. they could be pictures of political division in the republican ranks. president obama is at the center of the snapshots. plus, in office politic, the key trade in mitt romney that harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." bag of ice anti-freeze harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." rtrade in mitt romne harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." aitrade in mitt romn harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." trade in mitt romney harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." rade in mitt romney harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ade in mitt romney t harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." de in mitt romney th harold ford jr. really likes. you're watching "weekends with alex witwash a
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t up, too. thank you. don't thank me. i'm just the messenger.
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and it's surprising what it goes through in the course of a day. but what's even more surprising is that brushing alone isn't enough to keep it clean. fortunately, you've got listerine. unlike brushing which misses 75% of your mouth, listerine cleans virtually your entire mouth. so what are you waiting for? it's time to take your mouth to a whole new level of health. listerine... power to your mouth. welcome back to weekends wi"wee alex witt". it's time for the big three. walking on sunshine, predictions and a tale of two pictures. joining me now, washington post reporter, anne kornblut, and armstrong williams and msnbc analyst, former dnc
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communications director, karen finney. welcome to all of you. >> good morning. >> guys, first we'll go to the tale of two pictures. look at this. arizona governor jan brewer infamous finger pointing in the face of president obama on wednesday. a few days later, president obama sitting in the oval office with former president george h.w. bush and his son, former governor, jeb bush. armstrong, don't the two pictures illustrate the current split in the republican party? what's your take in. >> i could not imagine that, alex. listen, on governor brewer, she was expressing herself to the p. the president felt she was not cordial to him in her book. it's a way of her expressing herself. she is a governor who is a woman, can get away at wagging her finger. something that can happen. if it would have been a guy, it's a different story. if it was body language, she was making her point and she's feverish about it. in terms of president bush and his son, the president invited him by to talk about politics. they were all presidents at one
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time. just because they're republicans doesn't mean they don't share the care and kerp of this country and the world. >> how about the democrats, what do you think about using these pictures to their advantage? anyway do that? >> look, i think the picture with jan brewer speaks a thousand words. first of all, let me say, i think it was incredible sexist to suggest it's okay because she's a woman. as a woman, i would never stick my finger in the face of a president of the united states whether that person was a republican or a democrat. i mean, here you have the president giving a patriotic speech, a let's be ununited american speech shall the picture with the bushes shows where there are issues of common ground, they're going to work together and the picture with jan brewer shows the kind of lack of respect that we've seen from the republicans toward this president. >> yeah. i just heard anne talking under. i hope she didn't lose her ifb. are you back? >> i can. >> both of these events, do they make president obama look good shall the picture snapshots?
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>> i think there's a case to be made and certainly we heard it a little bit out of the white house an altercation with jan brewer is not necessarily a bad thin. the president was taking issue with her character zax of a meeting on immunization. and i think a lot of democrats and hispanic democrats would say that the president is where they are on the issue and not jan brewer. getting in a fight her on the tarmac, maybe not such a bad thing. the same could be said for frankly sitting down with jeb bush who shared the views on immigration as well. at the end the day, not that big a deal neither one of these things. they're sort of distractions. but probably not a bad thing to the extent that they matter either. >> let's go to the next topic, guys. president obama getting good numbers in florida. the president ahead of gingrich and romney in the florida voters. armstrong, the economic environment in florida, not that great right now if you look at the unemployment rate, like 9.9%.
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yet the president is still beating romney and gingrich in this key state. what does this say and how does it bode for the gop? >> the president is defeating two people contenders for the white house. they've not been nominated. the nomination is not in sight. they're potential candidates. if there's a brokered convention, there's another candidate that could ride. the president should continue to do well. unemployment is dropping. it seems as though the economic indicators shows that the economy is turning around. it's difficult to want to change horses in the middle of the stream. many americans are hoping that the president succeeds because we all succeed. but i think that it is not about the gop candidates, the president is running against himself, it's his to lose. if the economy turns around, if jobs are found in the economy. if people's life sometime stops diminish and if the president gamble on europe is not miscalculating. he doesn't lose there, he will be re-elected. it's all about the president, not about the gop candidates. >> can i ask you to back it up a second. did you say brokered convention
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meaning another candidate would come in and rise. do you think that could happen? >> i think speaker gingrich is very angry. i think you can see it by the nuclear warfare going on in florida. i don't think it's going to change any time soon. i'm not blaming the speaker. when he was trying to be kind and note using invectives in the campaign. this is a year unlike weave seen that could possibly be a brokered convention and mitch daniels could rise as the gop nominee. >> wow. buckle up. here we go. really need to tighten the seatbelt. karen, your reaction to that first. >> i tell you, i would love and i think most of us as democrats would love the opportunity to run against a mitch daniels, the architect of the bush budget that basically took us from surplus to deficit. that would be a joy. then we could really have a conversation about fiscal discipline, fiscal responsibility and a lot of the ideas of the president put forward, which includes how we
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cut but how we need to invest and grow for our future. that would be -- i would love to have that conversation with mitch daniels. look, i agree with armstrong in that at this point any of the head to head polls that we see, it's really hard to gauge what that really means. until you've got two candidates face to face, talking about ideas, it's really -- i think it's they're guessing what they're feeling. i do think though, the fight that we're seeing on the republican side is going to do some damage and continue to divide the party. i think that the president and the president's campaign team have wisely done a lot of good work in terms of proactively putting the president's message out there. doing the organizing work, doing the grassroots work and really doing bracketing of their own out of the dnc around the republican candidates. it gives them more of an opportunity to be on offense. >> okay. anne, i want to get quickly your thought on how the white house should interpret all of the
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positive numbers. i mean, moef is a long way off. >> exactly. i think the short answer is very carefully. i think karen is exactly right. they have always viewed their real opponent as the economy not what republican they might get. they do think that they've got strengths that any of these republican candidates, if they were the nominee, wouldn't be able to match. but in a state like florida, yeah, sure his numbers look good now. karen is right. it's not until they're winning against a real nominee or opponent. they're being cautious but optimistic. >> the big three is coming back with big predictions. we're going to make you guys give them to us on florida. be readiment. we have news in the gop campaign trail. rick santorum is away from the fight. he can sild plans to campaign today. he remains in pennsylvania after his youngest daughter was admitted to a philadelphia hospital. his campaign says he intends to return to the campaign trail as soon as possible.
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meantime, ron paul campaigned in maine. he held town hall meetings, but paul is back home in texas. in office politics this morning, former congressman and current nbc analyst harold ford jr. and he begins by telling us what he really likes about mitt romney. >> one of the things i'm most impressed with romney is as i read the stories about him, here's a guy who grew -- i didn't grow up wealthy. his parents taught him the value of hard work and ethics. he seem to be fairly thrifty and conservative guy, at least the stories i've read. you can't always believe everything you read. there's been a consistent stream. he was taught you were given a little bit something but you got to build on it. that's an impressive part of the guy in a lot of ways. i'm curious to hear and watch him again. i'm an obama supporter. but i'm going to be curious to watch as we on the other side, to try to figure out how to beat him to figure out how he not
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only explains his life but explains the choices he's made. in politics and life, you have to be who you are if you expect people to vote for you. that sounds silly and simple, but you can't be one person one day and another person the next. people will figure it out and you won't be effective at either. mitt romney is probably a moderate guy. he's masquerading as a conservative. but he seems to be a moderate guy. >> ha kind of pressure is there to say you got to go right, you got to go left. get with the program? >> in the business of politics, i don't mean that in a bad way but congress and the senate and legislatures around the country, being a moderate is tough. because you don't really have a natural place to sit. >> a niche? >> however, that's where the majority of the country is. i look at the approach of being results oriented. if you understand in life that you're not going to always get all that you want but if you can achieve on monday 70% of it and
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have the opportunity to come back two or three weeks later and have 10%. that seems to be a far smarter approach than saying i can't get all of what i want, we will do nothing. >> your smeerns in congress, you served what, ten years? >> ten years. >> when you look at what's ahead this year, are we going to get anything done given the divisive nature of what's happening on capitol hill, couple that with being an election year, trying to stake their vantage points and make their claims to appeal to their constituents. >> admittedly it will be harder for the reasons you articulated. the president, i know he wants to get something done. if the republicans feel enough pressure in the district, meaning their constituents and even from tough opponents, democratic opponents, i think he could find a mass of energy creating where people say we got to come back and do something. if that happens, we all win. >> yeah. >> it may do -- republicans may do better in the congressional races as a result. but at the same time, i want to see the country develop. i know the president does.
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>> are voters have a chance to vote for harold ford jr.? >> i've learned -- i don't make she is kind of deck layerings unless my wife is here. i hope to be able to. my wife is supportive of it. i love public policy, i love politic. i love politics because of the public policy part of it. i'm not the money raising and the primary -- that doesn't excite me. what excites me is trying to be a part of providing answers. >> when you're not working at the bank or teaching at the college or working at the network, how do you fill your time? what's your passion? are you a musician, a reader? what are you? >> i love to play a little basketball. >> you ever play in the president? >> i have played with the president -- not since he's been in the white house. but i've played with him before. >> you did not beat him. you could when he wasn't in the white house, right? >> the president is a fundamentally sound basketball player. he's a great shot. lefties are normally great
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shots. by fundamentally, he plays great defense shall plays hard. you're not going to beat him if you're not paying attention. >> with the super bowl coming up, i had to ask ford who he wants to win the trophy and his answer is, blue. the giants. in a moment, florida's early voting hachlt does it tell us about what to expect in tuesday's primary? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." is it fast? it's got 10 speeds, my friend. ♪ is it fast? it's got a lightning bolt on it, doesn't it? ♪ is it fast? i don't even know if it's street-legal. ♪ is it safe? oh, yeah. it's a volkswagen. [ male announcer ] the security of a jetta. one of nine volkswagen models named a 2012 iihs top safety pick. ♪ got you in a stranglehold, baby ♪
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newt gingrich's lunar ambition creating buzz on the internet. the washington post's mention machine. twitter trackerment there were at least 237,000 tweets about gingrich last week. his win in south carolina surely helped trigger that. president obama was second with 250,000 tweet mentions and about
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a thousand more than ron paul. mitt romney was mentioned about 220,000 times on twitter. santorum was the trailer with 70,000 twitter mentions. we have the. 275,000 absentee ballots. 180,000 cast. compare that to the total votes cast in 2008. nearly two million. joining me now, chairman, reince priebus. >> good morning, alec. >> i hope you're fine. >> i'm doing great. >> let's start with the early voting numbers. more than 452,000 votes cast. about a quarter of the total number who voted in pflorida in 2008. is this an unusually high number then versus now? how do you read the numbers? >> well, i think we see enthusiasm across the board on our side of the aisle.
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obviously, we did pretty well in iowa. records in new hampshire, south carolina. i expect a record turnout again on tuesday in florida. i think -- this goes back to something you and i talked about before, which is -- you were talking about it on your panel. this republican primary. the fact that everyone is talking about the republican primary in the same way that everyone was talking about hillary clinton and barack obama in 2008, equals very positive things for the republican party. now, to some people that sounds counterintuitive. but if you look at history, if you look at previous presidential campaigns, look at the governor's race there in florida that took place a year and a half ago, tough primaries usually create excitement and horsepower for the challenging party. it's just a fact of life. >> you're tapped into the party action in florida. among the current crop of candidates, who does all this turnout favor the most in your
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opinion? >> i think it favors all of the republican candidates. i think in the end, all of this buildup creates an infrastructure that's better. it creates more excitement on the ground and gets the absentee ballot going, the ground game going. in the end, it benefit the republican party and it hurts the president when he's limping into a reelection campaign having to try to make the case for the american people that everything is great. we all know it's not. we're going to be ready to make sure to make him a one-term president. >> when you look at the latest marist poll numbers comparing -- >> i saw those. >> the president is leading among the florida voters. granted, we have a long way to november. but the economy is in pretty bad shape. the unemployment rate, 9.9%. one in 360 homes in foreclosure. reins, given that, shouldn't your candidates be doing better against this president. >> you moipoint to one poll.
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i would say they are doing better. we're sitting in a republican primary, alex, trying to figure out who our candidate is going to be. and you're showing head to head polls between the president and the individual candidates. this is going to be a tight race. i think that the voters were florida are pretty smart when it comes to the economy. they know this president hasn't delivered on his promises. when you break it down and we have one nominee versus president obama, we're going to do very, very well and i think florida is going to be a red state without a doubt. >> you mentioned listening to the panel that i had, the big three, did you hear armstrong williams say he wouldn't be surprised if there was a brokered convention. >> i laughed. >> you laughed? >> what is says, you've got a bunch of democrats on a panel that want to talk about brokered conventions. first of all, i don't know what's going to happen. i don't know who is going to win the super bowl next week and no one knows how long this is going to take. i think in the end, this is going to be a referendum on
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barack obama. this is going to be an election about whether or not after a job review of president obama, he's done the job for the american people. people. >> okay. >> that's what this is about. >> let me say that -- they are not all democrats on that panel. karen finney, yes. we have -- ann is a journalist. you don't put her in any category. armstrong williams, he is a conservative. he is the one who says -- brokered convention. >> your "washington post" writer, she made comments in her -- in her remarks very negative against candidates and very positive about the president. i'm not going to get into the panel. the fact of the matter is that the president's numbers, the numbers that we care about right now, are the right track/wrong track numbers. poll after poll show that 70% plus of the american people believe that this country is to wrong track. those are numbers as a an incumbent president you don't want to defend. and, you know, he is the
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president hoop he will be held according to the standards that he set for himself to the american people. and he can't meet his own standards, therefore, he will be a one-term president. >> okay. rnc chair. i look forward to having you back again. >> happy to do. >> it we will have that panel back in just a moment. how will the florida primary vote unfold tuesday? the big three is weighing in next here on "weekends with alex witt."
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back to the big three. talking predictions and bringing in the panel once again. washington white house reporter for "the washington post." armstrong williams, radio talk show host. karen finney, msnbc political analyst. former dnc communications director. i felt like you can take that blo blog off. what do you see happening tuesday in florida? >> well, wow, what a conversation, bitter much?
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i think that in florida, we are going to see mitt romney actually win but i am sure that we will hear some kind of rationaliratio rationale from newt gingrich how he one. >> for the record, you are not a democrat. i made that point. i hope you -- you know, were listening. anyway, look into your crystal ball and tell me what you see playing out on tuesday. >> you know, gingrich between now and tuesday has the continuing to show that conservatives especially the tea party and -- not comfortable with romney as the heir apparent in terms of he gave romney care in massachusetts and feel there is not much to between himself and president obama and has the continue -- to continue to explore with that and try to close the gap. i don't think he can win it on tuesday but believe between and tuesday he can close the gap. >> going beyond that with you, i know you don't make prediction, how many times i have tried to pin you down and you never do it
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for me. however p. gingrich vows he will stay in the race until the conventi convention. would you say the conventional wisdom is that that is not likely or is it? >> well, you know, think we have to see what happens tuesday night. i say the odds are long but you never know. because newt has come and risen and fall wren and risen again. i certainly wouldn't rule it out at this point. i think we will have a little more guideens on tuesday night. certainly more after super tuesday as to how long he will stay in it. but if i were him i would be looking at the past history and saying there's really nothing to lose here. >> okay. we are going to blast through your must-reads. ann, give me the title of yours first. >> piece in "washington post" about a cia operative, woman, mother of three, who was killed in afghanistan the n the coast bombing. it is a powerful piece. i recommend that. >> sounds like that. armstrong, yours? >> george soros, there will be riots the streets of america. george soros predicts class warfare in the united states as euro triggers collapsed of the global economy. >> karen, i have to read yours.
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what's that one? >> to reach women, try talking jobs, co-written by msnbc contributor susan del percio. >> we are good. that's it. see you, folks. ♪ ♪
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