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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 4, 2011 7:00am-9:00am PST

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new poll numbers, a short time ago and they tell a dramatic story how the gop race is changing. especially when they go head to head with president obama. inside the cain camp, we'll talk to one of his national advisers about how it unraffled and how campaign workers reacted to the news. president obama heads to one to talk about the other. is he ripping a page from the playbook of another u.s. leader? the spending frenzy. why americans seem to be hitting the shopping malls this holiday season. good morning, everyone e welcome to "weekends with alex witt."
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we're glad to have you with us. a brand new poll released an hour ago shows major changes in the gop race with less than a month to go until the iowa caucuses. this now maris poll shows newt gingrich in first place with 26% support among caucus-goers. he only had 5% as recently as late october. that is a 21% surge. mitt romney is now in second place with 18%. he's down 8% from last month. ron paul is in a virtual tie for second with romney. next is rick perry and herman cain with 9%. cain suspended his campaign yesterday. none of the other cates has more than 5% support. i'm joined by the director of the poll at marist college. the had new hampshire results we have to share also. the iowa numbers first, the big take away here is what in your mind? >> this roller coaster in iowa.
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newt gingrich in the front car. it's coalesced around him. it was cain's a while ago, now it's newt gingrich. he's really punctured the rationale that romney brought to this. the idea that romney was electable. that he had the experience. gingrich really cuts into that. we see not only the transfer to gingrich from cain and others but a dee line in romney. he's running worse than in october. so this is not good news for mitt romney. he doesn't fit with the iowa constituency. far more conservative, evangelical christian, tea party, not his cup of tea, literally. >> i'm curious as we look at the numbers and include a bit of the cain departure from the race which doesn't seem do a heck of a lot. each candidate gets a one two bump at the top there. >> cain didn't have that much. >> exactly. you make that good point. how much do you think the numbers can change in the next
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four weeks? >> it could still be very fluid. only 40% of the folks we've talked to say they're going to participate in the caucus. they're telling us they're firmly committed to the candidate they're picking. there's an awful lot on the table in addition to 10% undecideds. the big question as we get into iowa and get closer, traditionally, you have a lot of people on the ground. out of all the campaign workers, no one has really done that well. gingrich doesn't have a lot of forces on the ground, neither does romney. it's sort of bp this bubble moving and going with the wind one way or another. it will be a great and pivotal four weeks. >> i was listening to romney yesterday in a live news conference that he would be in iowa once in the next week or two. he himself is not focusing that much yet on iowa. different story in new hampshire. i want to talk about the numbers there. mitt romney has a strong lead in that state long likely republican primary voters. 39% of the vote there.
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though he is down 2% since the month of october. then comes newt gingrich, he's got 23%. the significant thing here, this surge, i mean, it's whopping. it's 19% up for him. >> yeah. >> interesting. >> same thing going on in new hampshire as in iowa. the difference is new hampshire is more friendly terrain for romney. so he does better. >> and he had a bigger lead. >> and he had a bigger lead. significantly, that lead has been cut in half. romney has had certainly a very bad two months since october. and the saving grace for romney in all of this, of course, is that independents can vote in new hampshire where they can't in iowa. the good news for romney, he can do well with independents. the bad news if he stumbles in iowa, some of the independents may go shopping to huntsman in new hampshire. >> where he's put everything. >> he's all in. >> only about, what, 4%. >> little higher. among independents. that's the group to watch for
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huntsman. >> okay. >> so the romney -- i guess the voters are just more comfortable with mitt romney. they know him, neighboring state. new hampshire, a far better terrain. he's a better fit also in terms of his profile. >> the head to head with president obama, in iowa among the registered voters there, the president bested everyone but ron paul who he tied. then you go to new hampshire's registered voters, mitt romney got 46 to the president's 43%. he could slightly beat the president in this one. the president's approval ratings underwater in both iowa and new hampshire. he's still ahead of the gop for the most part. what's going on had. >> these are two states that president obama carried four years ago by about nine points. he's certainly nund underperforming from what he did four years ago. he's very competitive nonetheless. you know, the republican primary process has really not been focused on the center of the
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electorate where most folks are, the independents and the like. as they're going down this right ward spiral, they're leaving a lot of the electorate behind. he'd like a republican debate every day so people are seeing the issues being articulated. that have come on during the course of the series of debates. obama does better, runs competitively, weaker than he was four years ago. i think between now and then, anything could happen. but clearly, these are states that obama had four years ago and probably needs to get again this time around. >> very interesting snapshot you bring with you, lee mayor nof. thank you so much. >> good to see you. >> you too. staffers for herman cain are backing their bags this morning following the announcement that he's suspending his campaign. the iowa campaign manager weighed in on the decision talking to nbc news shortly after cain stepped away. >> from beginning to end, it's an unconventional campaign.
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decisions that might have made sense to somebody who has done it for a while, were not made in the traditional way. that's fine. this campaign came from nothing with no money to really dominating the american political landscape. >> newt gingrich is praising former president bill clinton during a town hall on saturday in staten island. he had kind words for president clinton who was once seen a as a bitter rival. >> we couldn't have gotten done what we did without clinton. clinton had been governor for 12 years. he understood negotiating with the legislature. little things, having the right picnic for families. having the families with children bringing the kids over. having people fly on air force one. little courtesies. phone call on a birthday. there are a thousand small
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things that create bipartisanship. another endorsement from mitt romney from the prominent northwest iowa paper. the sioux city journal. the paper says he has the experience skills to run the country. it also endorsed romney in 2008. romney was asked about his differences with newt gingrich. >> i think over time the speaker will lay out his positions and i can look at those and see where we have differences. i don't know a lot of those. last week, he said repealing portions of the child labor law. i certainly don't agree with that. there may be other positions over time that he and i disagree on. we'll get a chance to evaluate those as time goes on. >> ron paul won't participate in an upcoming debate moderated by donald trump. that's set for december 27th. paul pointed out that trump backed out of an appearance at a fundraising event was canceled. >> i didn't think it was worth while to go. i didn't think it was a real
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debate. i didn't think we should honor trump because he dishonored the republican party out in iowa by stiffing them and not showing up and they lost a lot of money over it. >> on the campaign trail today, michele bachmann holds book signing events in south carolina and rick santorum has two town halls planned in iowa. new this morning on meet the press, a top adviser it the president's reelection campaign, david axelrod is slamming republicans for refusing to extend a payroll tax cut. >> they would sooner let taxes go up on 160 million working americans than ask a little more of 300,000 millionaires and that doesn't make sense. that's not good for the economy. >> nbc's mike vi carries at the white house. what sort of tax cut are we looking at? is there any movement in washington on this. >> kent conrad the top democrat in the senate, he let on that
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harry reid, the majority leader will have a new proposal. a quote-unquote compromised that he'll unveil tomorrow. last week the democrats had their version, the republicans had their version. there was a vote on wednesday or thursday. both versions went down in flames. there's still positions back and forth. the way things go in washington, unfortunately, right down to the last minute. that will be christmas eve at this point the way things are going. we'll see what harry reid put forward tomorrow. it is the economy, you know. you're talking about the polls, the republican side. what it all boils down to is the economy. the president getting good news on the unemployment numbers. politically, not to say economically. there are still 13.3 million people unemployed. the unemployment going down to 8.6%. republicans will continue to hammer the president on the economy and also on meet the press, we had the chairman of the republican national
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committee priebus take that. >> he was nowhere to be found. healthcare costs, he said obama care would make everything bet ner regard to healthcare. it would lower the cost of healthcare. guess what? cost rs higher. debt is higher. >> so as the republican field, alex, continues to sort itself out, the president is going to continue hammering republicans and congress. he's got more travel this week behind the extension of the payroll tax cut, that proposal that means a thousand dollars to the average working family in this country. if it were to pass. if it were to fail, that would be an extra thousand dollars in taxes that the average family has to pay. alex? >> you realize christmas eve is a saturday. you and i may be getting home late to the families. >> we'll be here anyway, right. you can watch the reairing of meet the press at 2 p.m. on msnbc. another developing story is the weather. in particular the wind storms on the west coast. the folks are still cleaning up from last wednesday.
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the forecasts say another round of dangerous gusts may be on the way. meanwhile, some 77,000 people are still without power. >> we are were all huddled here keeping each other warm. what's going to happen, you're left in the dark after a couple of days. won't even know what the next day is going to be like. >> so what will today be like where you are? ray stagich is here from the latest from the weather channel. good morning, ray. >> alex, thanks a lot. the winds luckily have begun to slack across southern californiament they are going to return, though. but we aren't going to see as much wind as the last event. some of the winds dpus gusted in excess of 150 miles per hour. this is the model forecast through tuesday. watch sunday as we start to see stronger winds come in as we head on through late sunday into monday, southern parts of nevada, down through southern california cal even the i-5 corridor. looks like stronger winds but
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not as big an event as earlier this week. the other big story in the country is the rain. the rain is coming in through texas where you need it. up through parts of arkansas where there are flood watches and warnings. it spreads through the ohio val any places like detroit and cincinnati through the day today. st. louis, you should be out of it. but still, a little wet weather around as we get into the afternoon. texas, much-needed rain in this drought stricken area. we've been pecking away at the drought. we'll take what we can get. little rock, break in the action but record rain in the month of november for you. more hef toy rain to the north and west. we should see some relief in parts of texas. houston, exceptional drought. although we have lessened it just a bit. we'll continue to get rain here and it should help alleviate some of the very dry conditions. southeast, starting to see drought. as we go through the next couple of days, certainly going to see that moisture head on off toward the east. alex? ray stagich, thanks so much. the saga of a campaign
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unraveling. a look at where the trouble started for herman cain. plus, how staffers found out about his decision. we'll hear from a former top aide. stadium bedlam. the frenzy as thousands of fans rush the field. what sparked that chaos? precious car dpoe. two pandas on a 5,000-mile trip to their new home. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." we'll see what that's like. congratulations. congratulations. congratulations. today, the city of charlotte can use verizon technology to inspire businesses to conserve energy and monitor costs. making communities greener... congratulations. ... and buildings as valuable to the bottom line... whoa ! ... as the people inside them. congratulations. because when you add verizon to your company, you don't just add, you multiply. ♪ discover something new... verizon.
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championship. 13 people were injured. two critically. witnesses say the crowd was so
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big, it took police 45 minutes to clear people from the field. last night's win could possibly put the cowboys in the national championship. will the field of republican presidential candidates smaller this morning after herman cain suspended his campaign yesterday. cain told supporters in atlanta that his campaign was distracted by the allegations of marital infidelity and sexual harassment against him. we're joined by the national policy director for the cain campaign. bo good morning. >> good morning. thank you alex. >> the first question out of the gate is were you consulted at all in his decision-making process? >> i'm sorry? >> were you consulted with the decision that cain came to? >> of course. one of the things that you consider when making this decision, my job as political director for the campaign is to manage our state staff and operations and figure out a path to victory in each of the early
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states. new hampshire, south carolina, florida and beyond. so my analysis of the situation is to look at what do we need to do in each of the early states to be able to regain the support that we once had that would bring us back into the lead. how much time do we have to do that. how many resources do we have to do that and is there a credible path to victory. because he said all along, he's not running for second place. he's running to win. going through that analysis -- >> bo, were you consulted about yesterday? >> certainly. all of us had input into this decision ultimately. it's a very personal decision for mr. cain. >> absolutely. when did you find out he was going to suspend his campaign? >> we watched on tv the same as everyone else. truly, it was a decision that he kept very, very close to have the vest. personal decision for himself and his family. while all of us had input into
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explaining our various functions and to helping him do that analysis, ultimately it was a decision that he made on his own. and most of us found out at the time that it was announced publicly. >> so bo, that decision then, do you feel it was the right decision? >> herman cain is a businessman. he made a decision based on what is best for him and his family personally as well as a business decision in terms of what can we do to -- to win in each of the state. to go on to victory. so he's looking at everything from what can i do to satisfy the questions about the allegations. what sort of resources are available. how much of my support can come back if that is done and how long do we have to do it? so he takes all of that calculus and has a very, very personal decision to make as well, alex.
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thinking about his wife and his family, seeing these things on tv and in the newspapers, week after week after week, they're a very private family and what kind much a toll that takes. you can imagine a wife, a daughter sitting at home and seeing these things said about your dad or your husband week after week after week. it's very much a personal decision as well as a political decision. >> absolutely understandably so. bo, regarding all these allegations, were there concerns that other women could possibly come forward? >> you know, he has said as much. that in the sort of a feeding frenzy atmosphere, that you never know what sort of allegations may be made. butlet look at these. we have three allegations essentially. first the original two harassment claims that were settled by the restaurant association. both of those are sealed from 15 years ago. there's no way to know whether
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those were substantive claims or frivolous claims, either way. so we don't have an answer to that. the second allegation of the woman who claimed that he acted inappropriately toward her in a car, again 15 years ago it was the two of them, there's no way to find out if they even metaphor dinner much less rode in a car together much less whether he did anything inappropriate. there's no way to know. >> no. >> the third allegation of the ongoing affair. >> ginger white. >> he claims that it was a friendship and he was merely helping someone who needed financial assistance. she claims it was more. >> not telling -- not telling his wife about it, bo. and putting forth money to help this woman stay above water, pay her housing expenses and the like for 13 years? i mean, i guess my question to you is, do you believe in your heart where there's smoke there's fire? >> you know, that's a decision that the voters have to make and
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that herman cain and his family have to make. clearly, the decision was made by his family, it was obviously politically influenced as well in terms of how much support can be garnered for the campaign. it was a decision made by his family that this isn't something we want to continue to have to subject ourselves to. there's no way to know the answer. there's no way. but ultimately, we have to ask a larger question, which is how much influence should these sorts of things have on who we choose for president. we've had sex scandals for as long as we've had politicians. >> sure. >> on both sides of the aisle of all different ideological stripes. >> we've had people bring down the pol tigs whether in the esteem of the voters or in some case put them out of their position certainly. another question to you would be, do you feel at all, well,
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annoyed, i guess is the word that when you signed on to herman cain's campaign, that he did not say to you, look, here's the big package, here's what you're signing on to and here's what could possibly come forward. i mean, was there any sort of honesty, candor, anything? you really think this came out of left field for him and he had no clue any of these allegations could come forward? >> certainly the harassment claims that were settled by the restaurant association years ago, that's part of the public record. that's something that people can be aware of and know about. >> were you aware of it, bo? when you signed on? >> i became aware of it at the same time that others did. >> okay. so you didn't know about it when you signed on? >> not when i joined the campaign, no. >> okay. do you know whom you're going to throw your support behind now? >> you know, this is all very fresh. it's been less than 24 hours for me, for his other supporters and so i think that everyone, myself, the voters, others are
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going to evaluate, see what he has to say and make decisions going forward. >> based on all of your research, do you have an idea who cain supporters will move towards? michele bachmann claimed that a lot -- bulk of the support would go to her. do you agree with her or do you think it's someone else? >> there are certainly polling data that indicates who cain supporters second choice is and that splits among a variety of the candidates. there are a number of folks that people can choose to support. all good people. all of the folks in the field have strengths and weaknesses and in our supporters are very independent-minded folks. they're going to make up their mind based on a variety of factors. some will choose to support each of the remaining candidates, i'm sure, for a variety of reasons. >> bo harmon, thank you very
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much on this day after speaking to us. best of luck to you. >> thanks for your time. is the president taking a page from a teddy roosevelt's playbook? that's the subject of the strategy talk. holiday spending, what's fueling that? does it make any sense? this new at&t 4g lte is fast. did you hear sam...
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with your help, we can reach $20 million dollars by the end of this, our fourth year. and welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." unemployment could be at the heart of the race for the white house when saul said and done. the latest job report showed a significant drop in the jobless rate. good news for the white house. is it enough for the election team to breathe easy? a topic debated on "meet the press" this morning. >> we continue to have big challenges. but let's recognize that we've created 2.9 million private sector jobs in the last 21 months. >> the reason the actual percentage of people filing with the department of labor went down was because 300,000 people threw up their hands and said guess what, this economy is so
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bad, i'm not going to file a piece of paper. >> you can see the rest of the discussion with david axelrod and priebus on meet the press airing on 2:00 p.m. on msnbc. the unemployment rate of the country is 8.6% thanks to 120,000 new jobs. washington post reporter neil irwin filed a story on the glimmers of hope the new jobs report might bring. good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> what is the prevailing attitude about this report? looking at the long hoaul, is i good or bad? >> it's sort of good. pretty good. it's progress. a move in the right direction. nothing is fixed yet. what happened as the guys from meet the press said a second ago, it is the case that part of this gain and this drop in unemployment was people dropping out of the labor force. people not looking for a job anymore. it wasn't all that. it was about half dropping out, about half the people finding jobs. so there is improvement. there are glimmers of hope. we have seen four months in a row of the household survey when
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they call up individuals and say do you have a job or not, we've seen progress in that survey in the last four month. there is progress in the labor market. just not getting back to normal or a place where the 13 million unemployed are finding work. >> i don't want to be a scrooge but is it attributed to the temporary retail jobs that will happen over the holidays? >> well, you know, these numbers are seasonally adjusted. they adjust for normal variations when retailers hire. that said, even afa justing for the normal hiring, retailers added 50,000 jobs. that's over and above what they would normally do in november wrapping up the holiday season. that's a good sign. that's a sign that retailers are feeling fairly confident heading into the holiday season. >> that is good. you say america's continued growth is directly tied up in europe and the turmoil over there could make it harder for us here. why is that? >> we always seen over and over the last couple of years, when europe flares up, we catch the
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cold when they have the cough. we saw in 2010. it fell apart when europe got ugly. same thing in early 2011. it has not happened this time. europe got ugly in the summer and it was unclear how they would resolve the crisis. we've kept on chugging. can it continue? i'm not sure. what happens when europe looks ugly, stock market drops, business takes a hit, consumer confidence takes a hit. all these things conspire to a stagnant situation. let's hope the europeans can figure out their situation. >> yeah. from a political perspective, though, getting the economy back on track and creating more jobs, this is a huge issue for the president. he needs to undo three years of pessimism on the economy. what must he do to achieve that and can it be done in your mind? >> look, what's not going to happen is we won't be back at 5 or 6% unemployment by less than a year away. >> he said it's not going to happen. >> exactly. the question is, is there momentum in the right direction
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by election day next year? that's what matters. we won't be at 6% unemployment. but will little things head in the right direction. are incomes starting to rise? is unemployment really falling? apart from this one month, are we seeing real progress? that's the question. there's a chance there. we had the chance of a stronger growth, especially if the european situation is figured out and the higher oil prices and all the things are not there in 2012. there's a lot of risk and headwinds out there. it's a crapshoot whether we're moving in the right direction by november. >> keep it in the upwards trajectory. neil irwin, many thanks. >> thanks alec. do you think the economy is on the upswing. i will read some of your throughout the morning. let's go to politics an the drama where herman cain decided so suspend his campaign over charges of improprieties that he
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still denies. it was a year of ups and downs. we have more now. >> it's been a roller coaster presidential primary for herman ca cain. a political novice, few took the former godfather's pizza ceo seriously. >> we the people are still in charge of this country. >> unconventional tax plan. >> 9-9-99-9-9. >> as michele bachmann and rick perry faded. >> oops. >> cain surged to the front of the pack. >> he vaulted into the lead in the race for the republican nomination that nationally. >> cain struggled to explain his 9-9-9 tax plan. >> that's apples and oranges. >> i'm getting a bushel basket with apples and oranges in it because i have to pay both taxes. >> he failed to show substance on foreign policy. >> when they asked me the president of u beck stand, i'm going to say i don't know. >> when asked about libya, he drew a blank. >> okay, libya.
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>> new popularity brought new scrutiny and cain's biggest obstacle proved to be his past. >> at nbc news has confirmed that two women accuse cain of inappropriate sexual conduct while he was ceo of the national restaurant association and that at least one of them received a financial settlement. >> cain's response? flat-out denial. >> the charges and the accusations are absolutely reject. they simply didn't happen. >> as the pressure mounted, cain struggled to fend off the media firestorm. >> excuse me. excuse me. >> but the breaking point came after allegations from an atlanta woman saying she and cain had a 13-year extramarital affair. >> it was full of fantasy for me. >> cain denied the affair but acknowledged the woman was a friend. he also admitted sending her dozens of text messages and
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helping her financially, all without telling his wife. cain returned to atlanta friday saying he would reassess his campaign and speak to his wife face to face for the first time in weeks. >> we're reassessing several factors, several things. getting out is an option. >> with his poll numbers plummeting the. pressure for cain and his family proved to be too great. >> i am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family. >> nbc news, washington. >> let's get more now on the cain campaign. andrew rafferty has been traveling with them for the last two months. good morning, andrew. >> good morning, alec. >> so you're at the place where it all wound down to the suspension there. you've been inside the cain campaign. how much of a surprise was his
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decision to his staff and supporters? >> well, it was quite a surprise. i mean, just about 24 hours ago at this time they were setting up for a party. i mean, the rally yesterday had all the makings of a great campaign stuff, good crowd, music, food and it kind of built up the crowd in a way that made -- that the announcement of the suspension even harder for them to take. you know, we saw a range of emotions from disappointment and anger, and from his staff, they found out about this relatively soon -- he will relatively shortly after he had said it. it was a surprise to the supporters and to the staff as much as it was to us in the media. >> you know, i'm going to ask a really to those supporters, even the staffers. because didn't they hear all of these allegations, didn't they see this last month, herman cain having to focus on defending himself against allegations and
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accusations? do you really think people thought that he was going to remain completely unscathed by all of this. >> well, the rhetoric was really the interesting thing. we heard him on the campaign trail even after the reassessment, he was defiant. he was still talking about his future plans, sending out e-mail releases asking for supporters' help, asking for donations. again, the scene yesterday seemed like a buildup not too an end of a campaign but to a new beginning, a renewal is what the side of his campaign bus said yesterday. that's why the supporters here put aside all the stuff that they had been reading, all the stuff they had heard. all these allegations and taking in the moment, they thought this was the start of something new. >> but can i ask you personally, what is it like to travel with a candidate like this whose cam surges and then boom, falls? >> well, it's interesting.
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i mean, cain, to say that he had an unconventional campaign is a bit of an understatement. there were times when you could look at things logically and the office it -- it was hard to read into anything he said, that his advisers said. most of the time you didn't know what was going to happen until it came out of herman cain's mouth. it was a tough thing to do. but it was certainly very interesting. >> i'd say and probably a little bit exciting keeping you on your toes, andrew rafferty. many thanks. >> absolutely. thanks, alex. the message president obama has for the struggling middle class that dates back to 1910. will it work? it's all in strategy talk next on weekends with alex witt. [ alarm rings ]
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strategy talk for 2012 and reset time for president obama. a couple new reports suggest the president may be taking a page from teddy roosevelt's playbook
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this week. his focus, the struggling middle class. this one he makes a visit to kansas on tuesday, which is the same city roosevelt trafltd traveled to in august of 1910 to deliver an address calling for a new nationalism where every american got a square deal. joining me now, gop strategist and former special assistant to president george w. bush, and democratic strike that ji and adviser to hillary clinton during her presidential campaign. dave hat away. >> good morning alex. roosevelt's speech in kansas a century ago focused on the government's role in promoting social justice, regulating the economy to help the poor. how is president obama going to get this same message to work for him in 2012? >> i think the middle class is hungry for a speech like this. we've done eggs tensive research and they want to hear the president talk about a vision for helping everybody work toward their version of the american dream and making sure
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every american has the opportunity to do that. far too many people right now feel like the american dream is actually dying, that it's no longer true that you can work hard and get ahead in this country. they want to hear his vision for how he and the government can help create the environment allowing people to do that. i think the timing is just right. the message is right on the money. it will be well-received if he takes that tact. >> ron, many, not all are blocking the extension of tpayr tax. yet,republicans refuse to consider any tax increases for millionaires and billionaires. ron, why shouldn't the middle class be angry at the gop? >> well, alex, i don't think that the middle class should be angry at anybody. i think that one of the things most disturbing about this president sis and a lot of the rhetoric, he's trying to pick winners and losers based on income. this payroll tax, you're not talking about money from the general revenue, you're talking
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about money diverted from social security. that's the first point. the second point is, when you have a system in the united states where nearly half of the american people pay no federal income tax, you have to ask yourself, when is enough enough? republicans put the better part of $400 million on the table for new revenue. the question was, the democrats didn't want to accept it because as you pointed out, the president wants to run begins the do nothing congress like fdr in 1948. republicans want revenue on the table and have this payroll tax extended but we want to make sure it's paid for. that's the difference. >> part of the argument will be because there won't be job creators argument. the korngss are sitting on their largest stockpiles of cash in history. why aren't they creating jobs? >> well, as one who actually runs a small business, alex. i can tell you that a lot of the corporations and a lot of the small businesses around this country are looking at a level of uncertainty. what is the government going to
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do? is the government going to tax me more, regulate more? are they going to otherwise impede in my ability to create jobs and have a creative and positive climate for growth? i think a lot of the corporations are sort of sitting and waiting it see is obama care going to be ruled constitutional. is the president going to continue to tax and regulate? what are the folks in washington going to do? that's what i think the corporations are sitting on that stockpile. they're not sure how the government will regulate them. >> ron was alluding to the president running against a do-nothing congress like fdr did. george will writes about this. he writes republican stands and always has toad for special interests. they have proved conclusively in the record that they made in this do-nothing congress. that was part of a speech done by harry truman. george willis is bringing this up. if they run on a do nothing congress, does that mean he
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can't run on his own record and is that a flawed approach? >> i think he needs to do both. i actually think he should take the attack that roosevelt did, not just a attack on a do nothing congress but point out it's the republicans obstructing meaningful progress on jobs bills and not doing anything meaningful to cut the deficit. in fact, the tax burden in the middle class. he needs to make clear who is the problem in dot-nothing congress. at the same time, he has a record to run on. there are millions of people working today who wouldn't be otherwise if he hadn't done the economic recovery program that he did. millions of people do have healthcare and better healthcare that wouldn't have it. he needs to run on that record as well. i think he needs to do both. not just about bashing the congress. >> do you think, doug, the president is greening his energy proposal when he stood by former president bill clinton. do you think that will catch on with people?
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it will create the kind of jobs he's hoping for and even more over, the voters will embrace this concept? >> well, people, first and foremost, want the jobs. they'd like the benefits of a green economy. i think the way he needs to talk about a green economy is that this is a cutting-edge economy for us. we need to get ahead of the foreign competition and create cutting-edge jobs that are going to allow people not only to protect the environment and save money on energy, but to have cool new jobs that they can be proud of and be ex ieted about. i think what's really behind the message of a clean economy and clean approach. government does have to work with business to make this sort of thing happen over our history government has worked hand in hand with business to innovate and jump-start new industries like clean energy. that happened with the internet for example and look at the economic powerhouse that has become. you can contrast that with the republicans who essentially say
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that government should do nothing to help create jobs like this. >> ron, i'm supposed to wrap. do you want to react, republicans doing nothing to create jobs like this. >> of course. the house has pass 20 pieces of legislation, the do nothing congress is the senate controlled by the democrats. republicans recognize the need to innovate republicans, recognize the need for government to be part of the solution rather than the problem. the democrats running on a ticket of do nothing congress would rather do that than allow a bipartisan solution for many problems. >> clearly might not find much agreement between the two of you, but that's okay. well the story behind the big boost in holiday spending. do shoppers really have a good reason to splurge? our next guest says maybe not and his name is not mr. grinch. i see him there. you're watching "weekends with alex witt."
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code. what's creating the buzz around the globe? good morning everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it's 11:0 on the east coast, 8:00 a.m. out west. a brand new poll this morning showing a major surge for one candidate. the marist poll shows newt gingrich with the lead in iowa right now with 26% support among the likely gop caucus-goers. we'll have more in-depth look at the numbers in a bit. that was before he announced he was suspending his campaign. his staffers are backing up with many are sad to see it end, including cain's campaign manager in iowa. >> from beginning to end, an unconventional campaign. decisions that might have made sense to somebody who has done it for a while that were not made in the traditional way. that's fine. this campaign came from nothing with no money to really dominating the american political landscape.
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>> here's something you don't hear every day. newt gingrich praising former president bill clinton on saturday in staten island. he reflected on his time as speaker of the house and had kind words for the once president who was seen as a bitter rival. >> we couldn't have done without clinton. he had been governor for 12 years. he understood negotiating with the legislature. little things. having the right picnic for families, having the families of children over, having people fly on air force one. little courtesies, phone call on a birthday. there are a thousand small things that create bipartisanship. mitt romney scored another endorsement. the prominent northwest iowa paper, the sioux city journal announced it's backing romney. the paper says he has the experience, skills and charisma to lead the country.
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eva longoria is lasting him for having children work as janitors at their schools. she state you clearly know little about the latina community. they start businesses at six times the national average. on the campaign trail, michele bachmann will hold book signing events in south carolina and rick santorum has would town halls planned in iowa. let's go back to the nbc marist poll that shows newt gingrich taking the lead in iowa. even though newt is in front, it's the man in the number two spot hammered the hardest on meet the press this morning. david gregory challenged obama 2012 adviser david axelrod over claims from the left that mitt romney has no core. >> i honor his personal life. i respect him as a father. i respect his religious convictions. but this isn't approximate that. this is about how you behave in public and he seems to think that every day is a new day that he can simply change all of his
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positions depending on who -- what the political circumstances and that is not what you want in a president of the united states. >> nbc's mike viqueira at the white house for you. good sunday morning for you. >> good morning alex. >> where does the white house stand on the gop field? >> isn't it fascinating since last summer we have seen michele bachmann, rick perry, herman cain and now we see newt gingrich surge to the front or near the front of the republican field and still the president and his surrogates take the time out after saying they're not paying much attention to the race to attack mitt romney. you heard david earlier on meet the press that this is a man with no core. david gregly the host of meet the press called axelrod out on that. asked him to defend that stance that the obama campaign has taken. that's what david axelrod had to say. meanwhile the new poll with the marist organization and other polls a month out from the iowa
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caucus, with gingrich surging to the front. romney is still the focus of the fire. that tells you about what democrats and the white house is going to be the ultimate outcome of that. meanwhile, priebus, he is the chairman of the republican national committee, he was sitting next to david axelrod today on meet the press and david gregory asked him, what about this back and forth, this volatility in the republican field, who wha will it mean? will it weaken the republican victor? here's what he had to say. >> this idea that somehow competitive primaries is somehow bad for a party, this president, hillary clinton and barack obama nearly gouged each other's eyes out through the end of june before a national convention and guess ha? barack obama won pretty easily. >> so we had the surrogates attacking mitt romney watching this republican race unfold. meanwhile the president is staying above it all. he's got more travel plans this week, tuesday going to kansas.
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he'll be hammering the republican congress on the failure or they're blocking that vote last week to extend and expand the payroll tax cut. the republicans want to do it. the argument. how do you pay for it? >> miiqthat. i'm joined by dana mill bank. good morning. >> good morning. alex. you heard what riens priebus said. is it making the gop weaker? >> it's highlighting certain flaws in the party and if we've seen one candidate after another bite the dust. now we've seen the -- newt gingrich will go through this next maybe. particularly that man is mitt romney. what does not kill you makes you stronger. i think it's a little early to say that this is doomed the eventual republican. i would love to hear what you think about the herman cain event yesterday?
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suspending the campaign. the spectacle of it. the political theater. >> isn't it just so delightful, alex. it was an irrelevant event in the sense that he was done anyway. the guy was never going to be the nominee. it's really quite a devious plan he came up with. he's got his name out there in the public, he's going to make a lot of money from it. he'll probably get his fox news show and now he gets to come out with an endorsement and everybody can kiss his ring for the next few weeks as they wait for him to do that. i think he's played it well. didn't work out well for the family. but it worked out well for herman cain. >> i'm a bit cynical. i looked at his website that he's promoting yesterday. first thing off the bat is asking people to continue donating, which i have trouble understanding how people will go ahead and do that. because it's a suspended campaign. he's got to stay through the fourth quarter as an active to some degree. not declaring that he's canceled. to get the federal matching fund
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before he can do what he said he was going to do which is endorse somebody else. that will happen in january. i mean, i'm getting worked up here. i get that. to me, it's just such theater. >> well, of course, it's theater. people enjoy theater. i could see a lot of democrats maybe want to contribute something to herman cain to keep this going so the clock doesn't run out on him here. i could see some satirists wanting to give money to herman cain. he's made a joke of the process from the beginning, alex. it came back to bite him in terms of the exposure. very few of us knew who he was before. now he is a national celebrity. in a way, he gets the last laugh. >> okay. speaking of political theater, we have donald trump moderating the republican presidential debate in iowa. ron paul says he's not going. his campaign calls trump's participation "beneath the office of the president" and says that it flies in the face of that office's history and dignity. jon huntsman is not going
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either. his spokesman says he's looking forward to watching governor m romney suck up to trump. >> i would want to just go for the entertainment value, he saysment. >> sure. >> what do you think? >> it's a delayed christmas gift to the country. i only regret i'll be on christmas holiday then. i may have to come back and cover it. you don't get to see this sort of reality show every day. but look, we're going to have 25 republican debates here. but this could be one for the history books. >> what about the gop contest? it gets closer to producing the actual nominee. do you get a sense the obama administration is getting more confident about it's 2012 prospect? >> you certainly think so. if you look at axelrod this morning and what the democratic party has been doing in general, they're saying absolutely nothing about newt gingrich. in fact, they're privately praying that the nominee is newt gingrich and nobody expects that it will be. they think the political gods
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can't be that kind to president obama. but even with romney who is the one they'd least like to run against, he has been enough weaknesses have been exposed that a year that should be a strong republican one is not guaranteed to be any longer. >> thank you, dana mill bank. >> thanks, alex. riot cops arrested 20 anti-wall street protesters who tried to set up camp inside a portland park. cleanup crews tore down the tent as they cleaned up the area. quite a different scene in l.a. on saturday. 300 protesters rallied in front of city hall and police headquarters. they were holding signs, but only one person was arrested. right now, sales are surging in the holiday season. a question that all of us are asking is why? some say consumer optimism is tied to solid job numbers but a new article in u.s. news and world report suggests folks are splurging before things get worse. rick newman is the author of the piece that i alluded to as the
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grinch. >> somebody has to be. >> i guess so. you do raise interesting point here. u.s. credit rating down. congress at an impasse. new employee hiring relatively weak. so why are people forking over the money? >> i'm not sure. the real question is where are they getting the money? incomes have not gone up over the last year after you account for inflation. spending obviously has been strong so far. that makes you say what's going on behind the scenes. we do know that people are saving less. so they're willing to put a little bit less in the bank and spend more. i don't think that explains all of it. another thing that might be going on here is people are starting to use credit cards more. debt went down for three years straight. we don't have the data yet. but there might be a bump in credit cards. one last wrinkle to this might be that people who defaulted on credit card loans over the last couple of years may suddenly feeley got rid of $2,000 worth of debt so maybe i'm going to spend a little more this year. >> i'm going to back up that savings that we're not saving as much. i'm going to ask our director jason to throw up this full
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screen showing the numbers there. do you think people are tired of being frugal in. >> yes. people are sick of hearing people like me saying save more and spend less. this is call the frugality fatigue. another survey show that people are spending more on themselves as well as buying new gifts. it could be that people say, i've just -- we got to turn the corner at some point. i'm going to let loose a little bit this holiday season. >> the downside or the personal risk at doing this, if you don't have the money in the bank, i mean, we've learned a lesson on the big picture here what that's about. >> yep. that means sales will collapse at the beginning of 2012. people still have a lot of debt that they haven't paid off. it's also very possible that awful these aggressive promotions that we've seen, opening the stores on thanksgiving night and deeper discounts and so forth, maybe people are spending their money earlier and going to pull back later in the holiday season. maybe we'll see a slump in sales as we get closer to christmas and if not then, maybe it will
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come in 2012. i hope not. the numbers aren't adding up right now. >> i know you'll be watching closely. let us know how it develops. >> thanks, alex. breaking down the poems. newt gingrich's dramatic rise to the top. is he there to stay? what's with mitt? what's keeping romney from being the leader of the pack? we'll take a look on "weekends with alex witt." congratulations. congratulations. today, the city of charlotte can use verizon technology to inspire businesses to conserve energy and monitor costs. making communities greener... congratulations. ... and buildings as valuable to the bottom line... whoa ! ... as the people inside them. congratulations. because when you add verizon to your company, you don't just add, you multiply. ♪ discover something new... verizon. [ female announcer ] try pantene nature fusion shampoo. its pro-v formula makes weak, brittle hair up to 10x stronger. ♪ healthier hair. [ female announcer ] nature fusion from pantene.
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new reaction from the penn state community following a new interview with jerry sandusky. the former penn state assistant coach charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing boys over 15 years. the new york times released the interview with sandusky this weekend. listen to part of it followed by the reaction from a few penn state students. >> these allegations are false. i didn't do those things.
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i don't know. >> it definitely brings a lot of heartbreak to our university. it's a lot. >> i feel that everyone in the community is disgusted with it. hopefully justice will be brought to all the people who harmed. >> nbc's jay gray is in state college, pennsylvania. good morning, jay. so we hear from a few students there. what are people telling you? >> you know, i think the overwhelming thing you hear from a lot of people here in this community is how could he do this again after the costas interview. how could he get back in front of a microphone on camera and talk and more importantly, how could his attorney allow him to do this. there were questions about his responses in this interview as well. it boils down to the victims and a lot of people say that hearing jerry sandusky speak is like a slap in the face from the victims. we heard from some of the toerps attorneys of some of the young men identified in the grand jury report. let's hear what they had to say.
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>> i was horrified by it. >> that felt like a punch in the stomach to me just knowing victim one and his mother. >> i think it's one of the most difficult things he's ever done, testifying in a public hearing. >> and really, that's the key, alex. the one group we haven't heard from are those young men identified as victim. we could, though, in the coming weeks as jerry sandusky has his first hearing in the case. >> jay gray, interesting reactions that interview. thanks for bringing it to us. brand new polls in the race for 2012 shows a big bounce for one presidential hopeful. the des moines register shows newt gingrich with the lead there. ahead of ron paul and mitt romney. gingrich leads the pack in the new nbc news marist poll released a couple hours ago. romney in second and paul in third. when you look at new hampshire, mitt romney hold on to his lead there in the new marist poll. however, gingrich is creeping up to a closer second and paul is
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in third. joining me in the washington bureau is chief for usa today, the washington bureau chief, susan page and editor in chief of the gallup poll joins me here. welcome back. >> good morningment. >> susan, lots of movement in this race in the past few weeks. your reaction is what when you look at the new poll numbers? >> newt gingrich is the sixth person to lead in the gallup poll this year. we've really seen one front-runner after another. he's timed this pretty well. four weeks before voters actually saying what they think in iowa and new hampshire. definitely an opportunity for him to build on this position defended against the attacks coming heavily from michele bachmann this morning on one of the sunday shows. one thing to keep in mind is how unsettled this race continues to be. in iet wa poll, the poll that the des moines register it, seven out of ten said they don't have a choice. or they might change their minds. this race continues to be very unsettled. one other thing i might mention,
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this fade by mitt romney for the first time in the iowa poll, he's below to 20%. ron paul finishing third. that would be pretty serious i think for mitt romney in iowa. >> i am curious from a historical perspective, being a month away from the caucuses, frank, how much movement could there still be? or is this pretty much the lineup going into caucus night? >> at gallup, we're behaviorists. we like to look at past behavior, i would say everything could change. back at this point in '308, we had hillary clinton 20 points ahead of barack obama among democrats. john mccain was an asterisk. mitt romney was ahead of john mccain in november shall december of '07. of course, giuliani, fred thompson. go back to '04 shall the democrats, john kerry won. he was almost an asterisk. joe lieberman held higher than he did. in answer to your question,
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we'll see how much changes between now and january 3rd. but everything can change starting in january. these are very, very temporary positions. >> okay. susan, numbers aside. you participated in a focus group this week hosted by peter hart in battleground virginia. people gave gut reactions. here they are for strengths. proven track record, knows how the system works. negotiator and doer. weaknesses, more or less and marriages. what does gingrich have to do susan to maintain his front-runner status looking at the way people feel about him. >> it was interesting in the focus group among republican voters in northern virginia. the fact that he has three marriages, not a big problem. even his position on immigration, not a big problem with voters. the idea that he has changed position on issues like climate change and healthcare mandates, those were the things that created some uncertainty monday the voters. i think that's going to be the nature of the attack by his rivals against him. that he's a flipflopper like mitt romney.
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that he's not a true conservative you can trust. >> can i say quickly since you were in the focus group. the mitt romney reaction. moral character, strong leaders, rolls up his cleefs and role model. the weaknesses, not strong enough, republican in name only. wish i wauwishy-washy and romne care. can he still define himself at this point? >> one of the biggest issues we saw it in the focus group. peter hart said who would he be in your family. he would be the rich relative who doesn't bother to come to family events. >> distant,right? >> that's right. for whatever reason, mitt romney has failed to forge the kind of personal connection with voters even though he's pretty familiar to them. that they had with herman cain for a while and that they have with potentially with newt gingrich right now. >> yeah. frank, beyond the horse race numbers, you guys at gallup measure the positive intensity scores. how much enthusiasm o do voters have for these candidates?
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where do they stack up right now in. >> that's very, very important measure, we think, at gallup. positive intensity alex is the percent of republicans that know the candidates who feel really strongly about them, who have the intensity, excitement and drum roll, mitt romney has not done well on this for all year. we had rick perry up there high. we had michele bachmann who has scored very high. herman cain set the record at a score of 34. mitt romney never about 20. now he's at nine a couple of points above rick santorum. i think this under scores the issue with mitt romney. when our gallup interviewers say what do you think about mitt romney. he's republican. he's pretty good. then we say, is he strongly, silence on the phone. very few say i feel strongly about mitt romney. that's potentially an issue. >> always great to talk to the two of you. frank newport, susan page. we'll do it again. thank you. >> thanks, alex. a couple post scripts. the house voted to do away with
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taxpayer -- that would mean the end of the checkoff box on the federal tax return. senate majority leaders saying that the bill will not get past the senate. mother jones magazine points out that president obama has been busy fundraising. he's had 69 fundraisers equal to one every five days. a pace that outdoes former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton.
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♪ to think about the girl you love ♪ ♪ and hold her tight ♪ so happy together [ male announcer ] when life changes, so can your insurances needs. use travelers free guide to better coverage to stay prepared. is your auto and home insurance keeping up with you? contact your local travelers agent, or call 800-my-coverage. she has perhaps the most famous smile in the world. better looking smile than on that graphic. ha smile we're talking about. art historian discovered something hidden behind the mysterious smile of the mona lisa. nbc's kyra simmons is joining me live from london. this is a good one. good morning. >> alex, good morning. what's interesting, there are thousands of people here in london, experts have studied every brush stoke.
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alex, here's the question this morning. did we all miss something in da vinci's paintings that one man in new york stumbled upon? >> mystery is never far from the name leonardo da vinci. >> her smile is in the facial frequencies. >> in the film. the da vince a code, it sheds light on a secret centuries old. it's taken from the famous painting the last supper where some believe the picture has jesus next to mary magdalene, not john the baptist. but there's another da vinci masterpiece that may conceal another puzzle. the mona lisa. mona lisa's enigmatic smile has, one man says, other hidden messages. for look at little closer and isn't that face of an animal mal? >> i took the mona lisa and turned it on her side and in the the face and the lion's head.
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>> ron from rochester new york was researching an art project when he found writing in da vinci's own notebook referencing the beasts and discovered them in the very paintings themselves. >> we have the nose, we have the eyes. we have the mouth and the whole ape face is highlighted. >> in london, where an exhibition of the 500-year-old art is drawing large crowds, experts agree the painter liked his pictures to be more than a little cryptic but are yet to be convinced about the latest discovery. >> there is deeper meaning in the paintings but there are not kind of hidden objects. they're not some kind of puzzle in that sense. >> the mona lisa is on display at the louvre in paris. perhaps from now on those visiting that famous museum might take a little more time and step just a touch nearer. whether there really are animals hidden in the paintings. >> you call it an accidental discovery. not sure why i came about this
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and no one else hasn't. >> whether ron is seeing things that aren't there, that perhaps is the real riddle. if he was still here, i imagine da vinci would like seeing us scratching our heads over his paintings because he likes the idea of people seeing things in the work he did beyond just the work. alex, you spotted the shapes in his paintings year ago, right? >> no, no. but i have to say, next time i go to see the mona lisa, i'm going to have look like this. cocked to the side and kind of looking. >> up close. >> yeah. we'll see how that works out. good to see you. kier. i'll do that the next time. in a moment the big three comments on newt gingrich's kind words for bill clinton. what's that all about? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." out of your mouth. [ male announcer ] that onion after taste after you again? new crest complete with scope dual blast technology
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." it's time for the big three panel. three topic, three talkers and today we're looking at cain's dramatic exit. president obama channeling teddy roosevelt this week and the new love fest between bill clinton and newt gingrich. here it is. >> we couldn't have gotten done what we did without clinton. he understood negotiating with the legislature. >> he's always thinking. he's always got a bunch of new ideas. some of them are pretty good. >> i'm joined by karen finney, former communications director and nbc political analyst. robert tranham and david cantonese reporter for politico. >> hey you guys. >> good morning. we're going to listen to more from gingrich on clinton praising the way clinton dealt with republicans while in office. here we go. >> clinton had been governor for 12 years. he understood negotiating over the legislature.
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little things. having the right picnic for families. having the families of children bringing the i kids over. having people fly on air force one. courtesies. phone call on a birthday. there are a thousand small things that create bipartisanship. >> okay. this was said at a tea party event in staten island yesterday. so robert, what's the angle here? >> well, i appreciate that, alex. first of all, let me start off by saying, you know, i was a staffer in the republican congress during that time. speaker gingrich is not embellishing here. say whatever you want about the relationship between speaker gingrich and president clinton during the government shutdowns an the cry baby thing on the back of air force one and so forth. there was a genuine mutual respect between the two, both from a political standpoint and a personal standpoint.
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the bipartisanship. stay whatever you want about the lack of it today, there really was a lot of bipartisanship when you take a look at school uniforms, when you look at welfare reform, not once but twice. there was a lot of things that republicans and democrats did together in 1990s. bill clinton and newt gingrich, there really a genuine mutual respect for each other. >> it sounds ronald reagan, tip o'neilesque to me. what is bill clinton's -- >> having been on the other side during the shutdowns and watching president clinton, robert is exactly right. president clinton has a respect for newt gingrich and newt gingrich, i will say, he is smart, has interesting ideas. i don't agree with some of the recent ideas. but from time to time he has really good ideas. sometimes that's exactly what gets him into trouble, however, is that he's thinking about the big ideas and not necessarily on the here's how we get from a to b. that being said, the president, president clinton and speaker
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gingrich, everybody loves a tough opponent, right? when you win, when you lose, you want to beat somebody who you really feel was your equal or at least almost your equal. i think that's part of where that comes from. >> what about your take, david? >> i don't know exactly what newt gingrich said after that sound bite, but what i'm guessing is he krood it as a transition to critique president obama. you know, it's always better -- he's not running against clinton. one of the critiques republicans are using with obama is he doesn't get involved, he was on the sidelines during the super committee. this is his job. i think it's helpful, sure, he was foes with clinton but now clinton is much better. even clinton was better than obama. i think that's gingrich's argument. >> do you think there may be something to this how we're in such a bipartisan, opposite ends of the spectrum state right now on capitol hill. if you look at the new nbc news marist poll today that was
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released, it shows gingrich surging 21 points in iowa, 19 in new hampshire. he's been talking like this, throwing out these ideas. do you think this is a larger strategy here, whatever -- because he seems to be doing it. it seems to be working. he's trying to talk about people from the other side, being positive. as if he's presenting himself in a bipartisan fashion, karen? >> well, maybe. he's clearly -- he has tried to take credit from the fall of communism to the balancing the budget, which actually was done in concert with president clinton and on a bipartisan basis. i think some of this, though, is to balance out some of the other crazy stuff he said about kids and toilets and changing labor laws. i mean, this is what i mean about gingrich. he's got a dichotomy where he'll say things, david is exactly right, it sounds perfectly reasonable. that's his problem though. i don't know if we know the gains in the polls will stick
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>> david, do you think people see his problem as being with his ideas or the way he delivers them? >> gingrich you're referring to? >> yes. >> see, i think gingrich is getting a bump in part because he's looking like the most grown-up in the room. skron than martin has a piece on politico talking about why herman cain fell. it's linked to gingrich. cain an outsider, but people still want some experience, some command of the issues. that's what gingrich can provide and remember, yes, he's an insider. but that was years and years and years ago. he's getting forgiven just because of time in some of the instances. wasn't the most recent quote-unquote insider. i do think he gets some point for offering big ideas and willing to broach tough topics. >> you know, quickly robert, i got to say it's a long way from newt gingrich having pushed for
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president clinton's impeach. ? >> there's no question about it. it's a long way, also a long way from newt gingrich resigning from the congress. obviously almost a decade ago. >> being forced out, i think you mean, robert, by republicans. >>e gosh, you're putting up your dukes. okay. all three of you sit tight. we have other news to do. we'll get back to you, i promise. meantime, we're beginning to see the outcome of the wave of the revolution called the arab spring. it may not be what americans envisioned. in fact, in egypt this week, voters made their choices for a new government in the long band muslim brotherhood appears to be the big winner. islam a controlled government may be the new reality there. >> joining me james traub who writes for the magazine and foreign james, good to see you. welcome back. >> good to be here. >> your latest call, informed policy you right about the elections there. in egypt, the muslim brotherhood appears to have won majority
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support and will lead some sort of civilian government. first, what does this mean for egypt's long-standing type of israel? >> alec, my guess is that it wouldn't matter who won. it wouldn't be good forisse real. israel depended on ought krat i can leaders who don't care about majority opinion. majority opinion in the middle east is 100% in favor of a palestinian state. it's anti-israel. having an islamist government is probably not as good from israel's point of view as having a military dictator. israel has to live in a world where it has to respond to public opinion which was not true in the past. >> okay. but this new islamic republican egypt, tunisia, possibly in libya, what does this mean for us here in america? is this arab spring and the change of leadership, is this going to make the region less friendly to us? >> well, i don't think it's going to be an islamic republic. when we hear that, we think iran. of course, another iran, that would be a bad thing.
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first of all, it's not even clear if the military government in ee yipt is going to pull back far enough to allow a civilian government to operate. if they do and if that -- if the majority power and that government is the muslim brotherhood, the question i think for the future is, which are they going to go? muslim brotherhood has been a monolith that's never been forced what it is politically. there's more extreme, the muslim brotherhood have 40%. the other quarter or so with liberal secular folks. which way is it going to go? the guess is probably with the more liberal secular folks. but ut not clear yet. >> does the brotherhood have the chops to run egypt? >> first of all, who does? in other words, this is a country that has been run by a military dictator since 1952. it's never had a very effective government. the brotherhood, interestingly, decided or really was able to
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have parliamently representation starting in 2005. so actually, they haven't run a government. they've had a real role in parliament. where it's important to say, they didn't introduce more legislation about banning movies or forcing women to ware their veil. no, they focused on issues. we have to see if they're as good as their claims are. their claims are to bring democracy to the country and they're prepared to be voted out in a fair vote. i've heard that from them myself. >> lots more to come. we'll have you back and talk further. thank you so much. >> thank you. he used to drive an old chevrol chevrolet. now he's a billionaire. you'll meet him next in today's office politics. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way.
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it's time for office politics. my interview with mort zuckerman. he's a real estate powerhouse. he started out as a young man from canada with very little in his pocket. >> i came to the states to go to
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graduate school, business school and law school. i never left. i've had the most wonderful time in this absolutely spectacular country. i had a six-year-old chevy convertible. i've had a wonderful run. i could not have had a better time or better experience in any other country in the world. i'm absolutely passionate about this country. >> there's a picture on your wall where you're looking pensive. it's clearly a bipartisan meeting. you have bill clinton in that meeting, leon panetta, george schultz, newt gingrich. you can see from the back. what was happening there? what were you discussing? >> all the usual things is all i can say. >> you're going to kill me. you can't talk about it, it's top secret. >> it was something to be intended to be within the group. i kept quiet within the group. that was a hell of a group of people in terms of their ability to sit down and do things. >> when you came out of the
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meeting, whatever the topic was, had you accomplished something. >> it's not impossible. there isn't anything that i do in my business career where i get 100% of what i would like. in fact, i don't get in any part of my life, i might say. but you've got to find some way to find common ground. that is not an impossible art. it happens all the time in the business world. it happens in much of the political world. it just is not happening now. there are reasons for it. part of the reason is the way the house districts get gerrymandered in a sense that they're partisan. part of the way the lobbyist, the role that they play. frankly, the media particularly television media has become a more polarizing force in american politics. that's why we elect people. they have to have the talent to overcome these things and find a way to reach across the aisle and make things happen, particularly since we're in the worst economic straits since the great depression. i can't get over this. you have 24, 25 million people underemployed or unemployed,
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that covers more than most people,covers their families too. you have 48, 49 million people living below the poverty line. do you know what that is for a family of four. about $22,360. can you imagine that? in america we have that. that should not be tolerated. both sides have got to do whatever it takes and not break politics with it. by the way, if they didn't break politics for it, that would be the best politicment. >> do you think the occupy wall street movement has legitimate grievances? when you talk about how we need today have this federal bailout, yet when it comes to bailing out main street, it would seem that the administration has not moved as aggressively. >> well, let me just deal with the first part of it. there, i think there is -- i believe there is a legitimate. i do think that there is a perception that a lot of the major financial institutions were bailed out by huge gobs of federal money whereas the average working person was not. what are the benefits if the economy turned around, employment built back up. they probably would have accepted it.
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but without that happening, they don't feel that good about it. secondly, you know, it is appropriate that we get some kind of long-term longer term fix on our fiscal problems, because without that, we will have an overhang of debt that is going to be a long, long time before that unravelled, and therefore i think it should have been possible for both parties -- here i blame the republicans, for not being willing to accept the fact that the wealthy have to make a contribution. it's essential that they do that, as a political matter, never mind as a economic matter, and they didn't do it and we're paying the price for that. >> do you think republicans are being seen as obstructionist, and is that fair? >> well, what is going on in this country it's at a level that i have not seen for a long time, the deep partisanship is overwhelming, and frankly the
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only way to break it is at the presidential level. the president has to deal with these people on the a private basis and say the following as he did not do in congress at the jobs act, and he should have gotten the leaders together of both parties in private and said this country is facing a real problem, and i want to do something where all of us will get the credit and all will get the blame, and tell us what you need and we'll meet you halfway in one form or another. >> and you can watch more on and straight ahead, the herman cain swan song is next. the storm is moving out, and that means we will have cool air left behind in places like kansas city, denver, and
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minneapolis with highs only in the 30s. in some cases, only in the 20s. meanwhile, a few more clouds in the northeast, but looking pretty good as far as the temperatures go. it will be mild with highs in the 50s. ♪ i think i'm falling ♪ i think i'm falling ♪ i think i'm falling
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president obama is traveling to kansas on tuesday for a big economic speech on the middle class. he will travel to the town just like teddy roosevelt did in 1910 when he called for a new, quote, nationalism in america.
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karen, not a lot of americans were around when teddy roosevelt made the speech in 1910. what does visiting this specific location buy president obama? >> being in the middle of the country is important. those are voters who are, you know, those were the important independent voters, and it's trying to reach out to people -- he's been going all over the country and make his case to the american people and this is a part of the country that should not be ignored. >> what are your expectations for tuesday's speech? >> you know, goodwin said the obama's post partisanship didn't work and he should try to run with people getting a fair shake. you might try to see more of that, but will he embrace the populist brand? that will be a big question all through 2012. >> our third topic, herman cain, who suspended his candidacy on
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thursday. your thoughts? >> very little. this was a person that bursts on the scene too early. a lot of people out there in the middle of the country and all overt country thought that his 9-9-9 plan had merit and he raised a lot of false hopes and i am very disappointed in him and his campaign for wasting peoples' time. let's get to your must reads. robert? >> speaking of herman cain we have a piece that i wrote talking about herman cain, and talking about how he set back the black conservative movement, and he wasted peoples time. >> and on politico, one of my colleagues goes through on herman cain and how being an outsider is not enough.
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>> karen? >> how the food industry eats your kids' lunch. school programs are being outsourced and our kids are getting fatter. >> we're out and done, and see you everybody. so much shrimp cocktail. where do you think it all comes from? elves. [ laughs ] [ thunder crashes ] hurry up, lads! storm's brewin'. ♪ [ woman laughs ] stop it. ♪ how did i get here? dumb luck? or good decisions?
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