tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC January 22, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PST
if your neighbor could bring his jaw back up, he'd say, "thank you for making every day halloween." insp by all you attention grabbers comes gain hawaiian aloha and other scents that are, like you, anything but ordinary. we proved here in south carolina that people power with the right ideas beats big money and with your help we're going to prove it again in florida. >> he's wrong. we're right and this is a battle we cannot lose. >> the battle is joined and newt gingrich dropping -- turn the gop rates upside down. both candidates are talking about last night and we're going to hear from them. inside the exit polls.
who exactly voted for newt gingrich and why. you might be surprised by the numbers. next up, florida. they'll talk to the chairman of the republican party there. will momentum trump the ground game? a bonus. if you're in miami, put on a happy face. five minutes to midnight. the doomsday clock ticks towards, well, doomsday. what's different this year? it's not just about nuclear war anymore. good morning, welcome to "weekends with alex witt." 10 a.m. on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. on the west. we have breaking news to share. just moments ago, gop press depgs candidate mitt romney said he is going to release his tax returns. here's what he told fox news sunday. >> i will release my tax returns for 2010, which is the last returns that were completed. i'll do that on tuesday of this week. i'll also release at the same time an estimate for 2011 tax returns. so you'll have two years. people can take a good look at it. we'll put them on the website. you can go through the pages.
>> quick reaction to that announce. i'm joined by john harwood with a good morning, john. what's your take on this? is this enough? >> no, probably not enough. he said he's going to release more. but what makes it interesting about 2010, alex, is mitt romney's political adversaries have been assuming the delay in releasing current tax returns has been so that mitt romney's accountants can make sure he pays a higher tax rates than the estimates have been. he said that he's only paid 15% because that's tax on investment income, much less than most americans pay. if he releases 2010, those were prepared before the occupy wall street, before all the attention on income inequality. potentially those could be interesting and not subject to the kind of pressures that the 2011 return could. he's indicated he could release multiple returns. i think the story will be dealt with in part on tuesday but not
in full and then i think you can expect, alex, for the romney campaign to turn its guns squarely on newt gingrich. remember, the most success they've had in defeating newt gingrich has been when they negative on him as in iowa. >> what do you think it is that maybe in 2010 that his handlers will most fear getting out there? off shore investments? is it the incredible emphasis on capital gains as being the sole source of his income? >> i think it's a couple of things. one is the magnitude of his income. this is a very rich guy. one of the richest guys ever to run for president, okay? so the obama campaign wants to turn him into a walking, talking 1% to run against him on behalf of the 99%. one is the magnitude of income, the next is level of tax rate and the complexities of where the income comes from, all of the arrangements, which may sound like inside deals that they don't like about wall street. whether or not they're perfectly
legit or not. >> okay. sit tight, john. thanks so much. we'll get back to you in a minute. romney's move comes a day after gingrich won handily. he finished 40% of the vote. romney, 28%. rick santorum at 17 and ron paul at 13%. let's head to south carolina. ron mott is in columbia for us. good sunday morning to you, ron. tell us how we got here this morning. >> hey there, alex. good morning to you. what a week it's been. newt gingrich pulled off something that seemed impossible a week ago. he came down here, he spoke the language, he got out the vote and in the end, he shocked the establishment and then some. at 68, he's far from a kid. but not from a come back. newt gingrich, after o forgettable showings in iowa and new hampshire surprised naysayers and maybe a even few supporters winning the south
carolina primary in fashion. gingrich capitalized on their appetite for rough and tumble politic. sharpening his tongue against mitt romney. >> where is mitt? i thought he was -- i thought he was going to stay and we'd have a little debate. >> president obama? >> he's been the best food stamp president. >> in a debate. >> i'm appalled you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. >> just about anybody who crossed him or his line. >> what gingrich did in south carolina was unite the conservative vote. if he can do that in florida and beyond, watch out, he could actually get this nomination. >> while the gingrich campaign soars to florida on the wings of victory, mitt romney heads to the sunshine state under a cloud of doubt, having lost a double-digit lead to finish second in south carolina. >> we're now three contests into a long primary season. this is a hard fight because
there's so much worth fighting for. >> as for former pennsylvania senator, rick santorum competing for the conservative vote, he vowed to continue fighting in florida and nevada thereafter. >> three states, three winners. what a great country. >> texas congressman ron paul greeted his enthusiastic supporters saturday night saying his campaign strategy is simple. keep running, keep tallying delegates, keep selling a message of change. >> this campaign has a long way to go. the momentum is growing. >> all right. voters in florida head to the polls in another nine days, on january 31st. that's a virtual eternity in primary politics. expect a lot of cash to be spent down there between now and then. >> absolutely. with a few folks already casting votes in the sunshine states. thank you, ron mott. gingrich and romney made the morning talk show appearances.
on fox, romney talked about his sudden change of heart in the tax return release. >> we made a mistake. it was a distraction. we want to get pack to the issue in the campaign, leadership, character, a vision for america. how to get jobs again in america and how to rein in the excessive scale of the federal government. >> meantime, gingrich told david gregory, his victory in south carolina snds a couple of strong messages. >> the number of people who walked up to me who have been out of work for a year, year and a half, people who want to work hard, who want a better future and provide for their families. that was really there. the second, though, which i think nobody in washington or new york gets is the level of anger at the national establishment. people who are sick and tired of being told what they're allowed to think and say. >> you can see more of that interview when meet the press airs at 2:00 here on msnbc. more now on newt gingrich's big win and his strategy going forward. i'm joined with like tyler.
tyler is a foormer spokesman for newt gingrich and a welcome back to the program. we spoke yesterday. you were pretty confident. i want to get your reaction now to mitt romney's announcement that he's going to release the tax returns this week on tuesday. doesn't this take away one of gingrich's main lines of argument against romney? >> we're happy that he releases his tax returns and they can make their own judgments. >> all right. do you credit some of the negative ads from gingrich and your super pac for his victory and if so, are we going to so more negativity going forward? >> well, negative is in the eyes of the beholder. what we provided was a contrast. you want a contrast between you and your opponent. we provided that contrast.
mitt didn't want people to know two things. which was not answered in iowa or in new hampshire. we responded here. he does not want people to know his record and did not want people to know newt gingrich's record. i think it was successful in getting out mitt's massachusetts record as governor governor and his record as a so-called businessman creating jobs which was our central contention. the work against capitalism is a nice red herring. it's not going to work. we got out the fact that newt gingrich, as speaker, 11 million jobs created as newt gingrich. it doesn't mean he created them. he created the environment. that's the contrast. that's what we're going to use going forward. >> i'm curious how confident you are, rick. the exit polls showed more than half of the primary voters did not decide on the candidate until the last few days. of those 44% went for gingrich. if this is a group waiting to gather information an see how debate performances go and consider viability of being
elected and all of that, how confident are you that this group will stay with you, those still undecideds? >> well, we saw all the candidates other than mitt go dramatically up and then dramatically down. mitt stayed at 25% basically through the whole thing. there's been a winnowing out of the contenders. i think newt is the only one left standing. if 75% of the party doesn't want mitt and the republican party is acting like nominating mitt is like getting a wildcat into a trash can, then i think the yob is simple. we simply align newt gingrich with the 75% who don't want mitt. i think here in florida all we have to do is remind people that mitt romney is charlie chris. if you voted for charlie then vote for mitt. if you didn't, you should vote for newt. >> here's a potential problems. if you look at the opinions from a national perspective, there's a poll, 56% of americans have an unfavorable opinion of gingrich, which is the worst of any gop
candidate. isn't this a huge problem for a general election? >> well, i would compare those negatives to the president's performance negatives on policies and whether he can handle the economy. what newt has proved over and over again, remember there was a 55 point turn around in south carolina. that's pretty dramatic. what i learned about that, when newt gingrich gets in the room, you know, the way the media paints him and the way mitt romney painted him in his ads doesn't reconcile when people meet him. i mean, newt is a warm, wonderful, affectionate, generous person and frankly, people in the media have said to me, the big surprise about covering newt gingrich is how much fun he is to be around and how interesting he is. i think people will find that. people here, look, this is florida, south carolina borders georgia, people in florida know newt gingrich and once they are reminded that he's a fighter and will fight for them, i'm confident they'll rally around
newt gingrich. >> thank you. more reaction from the results last night. i'm joined by john harwood. washington post political reporter, malik a henderson. >> mia, i'll begin with you. does this throw the race into disarray? >> absolutely. i think we came into this thing in south carolina thinking that mitt romney was a contest away from winning this whole thing and wrapping it up very quickly. now in thing looks like it's going to go on. florida is a huge, huge state, obviously. i think one of the questions will be whether gingrich can get up to speed in terms of his campaign which has been in some ways very disorkd. whether he can get the money he needs, it's a huge media market down there. romney is already up on the air with about $2 million worth of ads. there are ten media markets there. it's a big, unwieldy important state. the real test is whether he's
able to really turn this around. turn his campaign around and capitalize on who he's done in south carolina. >> here's interesting stat. 45% of the voters in south carolina said electability was most important factor to them. of that group, newt gingrich got 51% to mitt romney's 37. we kept hearing before south carolina fof iowa and new hampshire folks that romney was viewed the most electable in a general election. what happened here? what do you think the difference was between those voters and those in south carolina? >> one of the things that happens, alex, when you have a big win and momentum carries you to a double-digit margin over the next person, you'll carry all sorts of groups you weren't used to carrying. some of it reflects the conservatism of the state and the surge that newt gingrich had at the end. it doesn't necessarily mean people in other states are going to decide that he's more electable than mitt romney for some of the reasons you were talking about with rick tyler. one of of the things we've seen
so far is momentum effects have been in this race so far within individual states. santorum momentum at the end in iowa, romney in new hampshire, gingrich in south carolina. hasn't necessarily carried over from state to state. but i have to confess one thing, alex, i am in an open relationship with my predictions for this gop primary race. the idea that mitt romney has the advantages to win it on the long haul, i still love her the best but i'm flirting big time with the idea that newt gingrich may be getting serious connection with republican primary voters in a way that mitt romney can't do. >> you are one bad boy is all i have to say. >> mia malik a, with regard to the voters, 60% said religion matters. of them -- 46 to romney's 20. san form got 22%. all in that john is referring to, the talk of the open marriage, the infidelity, could that have helped gingrich in
some strange way in. >> it seemed to have helped him. the folksy talked to on the stump down here, gingrich supporters said it didn't matter. they were mad at the media nor bringing this one. they felt like his personal business is his personal business. he's made this argument that he's a different man now. he's had this conversion from being a sinner to a good husband. that fits very neatly within the christian belief system. in that way, i think it ended up helping him. that moment where he slammed john king at that debate, it was like a two-minute standing ovation, double standing ovation for that section of the intro section of the debate. i think it ended up really helping him. i think we'll have to see going into florida whether or not it's an issue. if it comes up again in a debate. i think mitt romney is in some ways invoking the fact that he's had a good marriage by having his wife around, by having these ads up that feature his wife or being married for 45 years.
again, gingrich seems to have for now, put the issue to rest in a conservative state. >> i think we got to watch and see what newt gingrich does to try to pick a fight with brian williams on monday night. >> we'll see. >> seriously, he's written that -- i thought when we moderated in november and he went after maria for an absurd question. i thought that was tough. then after juan williams, then twice as hard against john king. i don't know what he's going do with brian. maybe he'll attack his obsession with bruce springsteen or something. >> my money is still on brian though. we know that guy. thank you both for joining me. john harwood, nia malik a henderson. a look at what's behind the exit poll numbers here on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪
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well x next up after south carolina for the gop is the primary in florida. it will be held tuesday, january 31st. at stake 50 delegates. this one is winner take all. joining me is republican party chairman, lenny curry. >> good morning. >> glad to be here. >> i'm curious how last night's events changes the equation in florida. >> well, it just exemplifies or shine more light on what we've been saying for a year, that's the fact that it's going to be all about florida. florida is going to be competitive. florida is going to matter.
our voice and whomever we vote for, whoever our voters pick on january 31st will be the nominee. >> give me an assessment of florida voters, what they're like and their differences from those in south carolina. >> florida represents what america has represented from the beginning of time, the idea that it's represented, we actually are doing and living it. that's diverse group of people from different socioeconomic, ethnic backgrounds, living and working together. we're a true melting pot. we are a large state. so we have ten major media markets. retail door to door politicking is difficult in florida. you have to have the resources to play on television. >> on time magazine.com the page mark hall person quotes an operative. florida will be rocket fuel for newtie, mccain had zero people in florida until a couple of days after south carolina. ground game is not a factor in presidential primaries in florida. momentum and being a
conservative is. which suggests that a gingrich win in florida could be inevitable. what's your take on that? >> i don't think anything is inevitable at this stage. i think florida is wide open. what we have experienced this campaign season is the debates really matter. on any given debate, somebody can emerge. there are two debates here next week, both of which will be critical in voters making up their minds. floridians all over the state will be watching. i would encourage viewers to tune in, watch the debates, make a decision based on substance, make a decision based on whoever can present a plan to create the most jobs and vote for the candidate of your choice. >> lenny, curry, thank very much for joining us. i'm sorry this is abbreviated. we have breaking news to share with you. we're getting word a order cording to the joe paterno's family that he has passed away at the age of 85. he racked up more wins than anyone else in major college
football. of course, he was fired from penn state amid a child sex abuse scandal. nbc's ron allen has a look back at his life. >> joe paterno was one of the greatest figures ever in college sports. 46 years as head coach at penn state. 409 victories. the most at a division i school. everyone called him joe pa and penn state was known as happy valley. >> people ask me why i stay here so long and you know what, look around. look around. i stayed here because i love you all. >> but last year everything changed. in his final days, paterno battled lung cancer. his spirit and legacy battered by the child sexual abuse scandal centered around his assistant, jerry sandusky. in an interview with the washington post, paterno talked about the first time he heard
about the agss. >> and then i called my superiors and i said hey, we got a problem i think. would you guys look into it. because i didn't know, you know. i had never had to deal with something like that. i didn't feel adequate. >> he was widely criticized for not taking more responsibility or confronting sandusky. after his dismissal, paterno tried to stay positive. >> i've had a wonderful year, experience at penn state. i don't want to walk away from this thing bitter. >> joseph vincent paterno was born december 21st, 1926. in brooklyn, new york. a depressioneer a child of italian immigrants. he graduated from brown university, served a year in the u.s. army as world war ii ended and then went to coach at penn state as an assistant where he stayed for 61 years. beyond all the football glory, paterno also gave millions of dollars to penn state for
academics. a legendary coach. in the end tainted by scandal who leaves a very complicated legacy behind. ron allen, nbc news, new york. i'm going to read you in part the statement that was released by joe paterno's family a short while ago. it is with great sadness that we announce that joe paterno passed away earlier today. his loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled. he died as he lived. he fought hard until the end. stayed positive. thought only o of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. his a.m. bigs were far-reaching but he never believed he had to leave his happy valley to achieve them. he have a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community. he has been many things in his life, a soldier, scholar, mentor, coach shall friend and father. to my mother, he was and is her soul mate. the last several weeks have shown the strength of their love. to his children and grandchildren, he's an example of how to lead a good, decent
and honest life. a standard to which we aspire. joe paterno, dead at the age of 85. [ male announcer ] how'd you learn to do that? when did you start that project? every new year comes with a few stories waiting to be built. it's when our brand-new to-do lists become "you did that yourself?" so when we can save more on the projects that let us fix, make, and do more, that just makes the stories even better. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get this glacier bay vanity for the new lower price of just 39 bucks.
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and welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." at the half hour, the race for president has taken another wild turn with newt gingrich's stunning win in the gop primary. gingrich finished with 40% of the vote followed by mitt romney's 28%. rick santorum finished with 17% and ron paul 13%. here's more about last night. >> the biggest thing i take from the campaign in south carolina is that it is very humbling and very sobering to have so many people who so deeply want their country to get back on the right track. the fact is, if you look at the four of us, we are proof that you can come from a wide range of backgrounds and in america
you have a chance to try to make your case no matter what the elites think in new york and washington. this is the most important election of our lifetime. if barack obama can get re-elected after this disaster, right, just think how radical he would be in a second term. if you want your children to have a life of dependency and food stamps, you have a candidate, it's barack obama. if you want your children to have a life of independence and paychecks, you have a candidate, that's newt gingrich. i'll bet you we have votes everywhere. >> i want to congratulate speaker gingrich and my fellow republicans. we're three contests into a long primary season. this is a hard fight because there's so much worth fighting for. three years ago, we had promises and slogans by which to judge
this president. today we have a record of deficits, decline and debt. president obama likes to remind us that elections have consequences. well, today the consequences are clear and the stakes have never been higher. i've said this before and i firmly believe that this election is a battle for the soul of america. >> three states, three winners, what a great country. i had the pleasure and it was a pleasure to congratulate my friend newt gingrich just a few minutes ago on really an amazing victory for him. i mean, he's been -- he's been up and he's been down and he never stopped fighting. to newt gingrich, let's give him a big round of applause for staying in there and fighting. good job, buddy. good job. >> a lot has been done in the last week or so. also, there's been now three elections and a total of 37 delegates have been chosen so far. less than 2%, like 1.5%.
this is the beginning of a long hard fight. let's get to strategy talk. joining me to discuss the twists and the minority vote in south carolina is reverend jesse jackson, president of the rainbow push coalition as well as michael steele. gentlemen, good morning. nice to see you both. >> good morning. reverend jackson, i'll get to your recent article about the gop and african-american voters in south carolina in a moment. first i want your reaction to what happened last night. >> well, can i just say at a liberty here, hats off to joe paterno and his legacy. he had plus and minuses but he died in the a surplus. he was a huge force. god bless his family. >> i agree with that. thank you for saying so. last night? south carolina, we really saw a skewed election. this was an open primary. this is very skewed at the two thirds, almost at the exclusion
of the blacks in that state indeed who are citizens and so you still see the brandishing of the confederate flag. it's like the old south versus the new america. respected people like mr. steele, so much respect like colin powell, seem to have no place in the primary when part of the state is african-american. >> michael, is newt gingrich's win in south carolina a good thing or a bad thing for the gop? >> first off, let me offer my con dole ens to the paterno family as well. with respect to the question, i think it's a good thing. we designed a primary process last year for the sole purpose of opening up the opportunity for every candidate to have their voice, their message heard by the base of the party. those voting republicans and to the extent you have open
primaries, independent voters to judge for themselves. i think what we've seen in this contest and rick santorum had it right, three states, three different winners. you have the base making a decision. they're deciding who is going to be the ultimate standard for them. i think it's good for the process, it's healthy. i agree with reverend jackson. given the african-american population here in south carolina that more did not participate in the republican primary. that's something i think the party should look at, particularly when you have an open primary. you have an opportunity for independent african-americans to participate. we should encourage that. i think overall this process has been a good one and i'm looking forward to a lot more twists and turns ahead. i have my popcorn and i'm ready. >> but we have that many african-americans involved in the race and there's not one black in an advertisement, not one visit to a neighborhood,
that indicates a kind of unwelcome sign. what strikes me about even all the attacking and counterattack is that 25% of the youth in that state are in poverty. their parents actually work. if you have these kind of cuts that poor people, food stamp president, with all this double entend entendre, the fact is, unemployment, you can expect more. that is an ugly suggestion. who benefits from food stamps, the farmer and the trucker and the store. it's based upon supplementing human needs. to make food stamps a bad issue. is jesus the deficient loaves of bread savior. those are -- that's unnecessary of one who leads the nation. >> reverend jackson shall i want to read something you wrote on the day of the new hampshire primary. it was ahead of the south carolina primary. before i read what's on the screen, as people read that themselves, you're the man to have written this article because you are from greenville, south carolina. we should remind viewers of the
first time you were ever arrested was because you dared to go into a public library, which at that time was segregated. what you were saying there with the relative of that state's population, south carolina, 28% are african-american and could be a major factor in the primary. but you say the republican candidates have made little effort to reach out to the black community. beyond just going into the community and saying things, i mean, what do you want them to say or do? >> issues that matter. given the impact of poverty, triple unemployment. the new south, michelin in south carolina, we pulled the cotton tur tan down. the cotton is gone. the tobacco is gone. you can't have had the carolina panthers and falcons behind the curtain. we made the new south possible.
we drove a new south economy. so to not respect and appreciate the cotton curtain coming down is like running an old south and a new america. i would hope those would see america through a door and not through a keyhole. >> michael, i want to talk a little bit about newt gingrich's comment on calling president obama the food stamp president and suggesting he would like to teach work ethics to poor children about making them janitors at their schools. critics will include the naacp have said they're racist. first off, do you think they're racist? >> no, they're not. >> how is the potential gop nominee campaigning for votes in this community? i mean, do you see anybody doing it right? >> well, that's a different question. i think that's the important one in term of how we begin this process. i know that newt gingrich, rick santorum and others have a
working relationship with leadership inside the african-american community. we all know newt gingrich and al sharpton traveled the country together talking babout educatin reform. >> he can talk about -- the issue is how we have this conversation and how the words that we express are received by the african-american community. i agree with jesse jackson, absolutely. this party has to get off its behind and go into the community and engage face to face and have a real conversation about why we believe economic power and ownership are positive tools and these are the resources that we want to bring into the community to help for meant and grow that entrepreneurial spirit, which is very much a part of the african-american experience in this country. my concern is when we start a conversation talking about welfare, talking about underemployment, talking about
poor education, talking about drugs and criminal activity, we immediately jump to black. we make an assumption, standing in the middle of iowa, that this is a conversation that's going to be directed toward the black community when significant majority in the criminal justice system and unemployed are white. tlets get away -- >> you know -- >> go ahead, reverend. i'm sorry. >> that's why lyndon johnson kicked off the war in poverty in appalachia. one in four people are not black or brown. they're white. whether white, black or brown, hunger hurts. we have 50 million americans in poverty. 53 million food insecure and millions on food stamps. naef lost their homes. we've closed plants and they've lost their jobs. they need help not by something to feel guilty but being tough
and poverty stricken predicament. >> real quick, i would say the key thing here, this is the argument we'll take to the people of the country. over the last three years the president's policies have done little, if anything to ale alleviate that condition. when you look at unemployment rate at 9% and double that in a black community, there's a disconnect that this administration still has not figured out. i think that's the crux of the conversation this fallment. >> all right. gentlemen, thank you. >> reviving the tenth amendment will not -- that's the segregation aemt. >> all right, gentlemen. i thank you for that parting thought. appreciate it, guys. if you're just tuning in. we have sad news to pass along. former penn state football coach, joe paterno has died at the age of 85. he racked up more wins than anyone else in major college football. however, he was fired from the university recently amid a child sex abuse scandal.
his family released a statement to announce his death and reads in part: his loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled. again, joe paterno losing his fight with lung cancer this morning. he was 85. wake up! that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life. get this free travel bag when you join at aarp.org/jointoday.
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united club passes, and priority boarding. thanks. ♪ okay. what's your secret? ♪ [ male announcer ] the new united mileageplus explorer card. get it and you're in. just a week ago, gingrich was behind in the south carolina polls and it looked like mitt romney would emerge as the winner. how did he pull off the win in the palmetto state. we're learning more about the voters. joining me is msnbc news
political director mark murray. with a good morning, let's start with electability. 45% of south carolinians said that was the most important factor to them. 51% voted for gingrich, 37% for romney. are you surprised by that? >> very surprised, alex. when you win as dee sies civil as newt gingrich did last night, you win almost all kinds of groups. we saw him do that. for a strength it would normally be elect blt. we saw newt gingrich win that. even among republicans who said the economy is the top issue. that should be mitt romney's wheelhouse. newt gingrich also won there. a decisive across the board victory for newt gingrich last night. >> he seems to have benefited tremendously from the two debate performances this last week. nearly 90 pefrs of the exit poll responded said the polls were a factor in their decision. half of them, 50%, romney got
23. why do you think the debates had such a big impact on this particular race? >> alex, the debates have mattered. we've had 17 debates so far this cycle. each one has mattered. in a lot of respects, they're more important than the tv ads, more important than the endorsement and even breaking down the exit polls a little further, people who said they made up their mind in the last few days, gingrich beat romney among that group by 20 percentage points. the debates certainly did matter. gingrich had two very strong performances the last two debates. mitt romney two very weak ones. the result we saw came last night. >> this is an interesting stat i'm going to share. almost no gender gap according to the exit poll. women and men voters both favoring gingrich over romney. the female vote. did that surprise you given what's come out? >> alex, the mary ann gingrich news didn't end up hurting newt gingrich, at least when it comes
to south carolina. as i mentioned, gingrich has won across the board. every demographic group. the only groups that he won when i looked were moderate. that's a segment of the republican electorate that you normally don't often want to carry. you want to carry that conservative vote. mitt romney did well with them. he also did well with republicans who made $100,000 or more. but outside of that, gingrich won across the board. >> but the women thing real quickly, you would think it should be something perceived as a false positive. we're looking at people, very much believe in forgiveness, the evangelical christians in south carolina. as you go out to other states that don't have as quite a large conservative population like that, don't you think the female vote is going to be one that pause for concern for newt gingrich? >> it is a pause for concern. particularly, if newt gingrich becomes the republican nominee. he has serious vulnerabilities
with women. ideology trumps everything. when you look at the results last night, the exit polls, last night seemed to be an indictment against mitt romney than a validation for newt gingrich. that's my biggest take away from last night. >> interesting. thanks for sharing mark murray. appreciate it. what the struggling gop candidates means for the white house. who would president obama rather see as the nominee, gingrich or romney? [ male announcer ] is zero worth nothing? ♪ imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil. ♪ this is why we at nissan built a car inspired by zero. because zero is worth everything. the zero gas, 100% electric nissan leaf. innovation for the planet. innovation for all.
a new call for action to stop the so-called doomsday clock. the pubulletin issued a new warning showing how close we are to owe live i don't know. they moved the hands to five minutes to midnight. it's noted in the boston globe on thursday. the scientists appealed for help from ordinary people. joining me from boston is the dploeb columnist who wrote that
piece. a former assistant secretary for the department of homeland security. juliette, good morning. a very sobering article that you wrote here. this year they have expanded the threats that affect the doomsday clock, in addition to nuclear proliferation, they mention iran's nuclear program shall the dangers at atomic plants, all that we saw in japan. added climate change, biosecurity. >> yes. >> it's sobering. >> exactly. it's not a hopeful list. actually, when the doomsday clock started, it was obviously addressed to nuclear warfare between the united states and the soviet union in 1947 is had it began. it's ebed and flowed the clock sometimes getting close to midnight, sometimes further away. in 2007, the journal of atomic scientists decided to add environmental disasters, biological disasters. that was criticized internally like they might mute the message or mix up the message. today or this week when they changed the clock, it was sort of a laundry list of sort of our
approach to sort of ending humanity. we got to 11:55 from 11:54 which was set in 2010. >> is that the highest it's ever been in terms of close to midnight? >> no. 1953 got us to 11:5 which was when both russia and the united states tested thermonuclear devic devices. we got to 11:57 under reagan administration with the buildup. we've been closer, but between 11:54 and 11:55 most recently. >> why is that that the scientists have to reach out to the global community and say join us in. >> it's really an interesting essay that the board of the journal wrote as they changed the clock. it compliments the occupy movement, the arab spring, the
protest in russia. it essentially says they've given up on government and they want to appeal to people. it's an appeal to scientists to begin to explain to the ordinary citizen what the meaning of climate change is, what the meaning of these nuclear arsenals they're building up in all these countries is. i think in a way if you step back and look at what they were trying to do, they were trying to go grassroots and sort of say, look, scientists, you've been smart, we've all been talking to ourselves, we have to begin to talk to people. >> okay. juliette, i want to thank you so much for bringing to our attention. it's a topic that we cannot look away from. thank you. appreciate that. >> thank you. sadness on the campus of penn state. former coach joe paterno loses his battle with lung cancer. we'll go there live for reaction in next hour. we'll be right back after a short break. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny.
good morning everyone. welcome to weekends with al ex-witt. sharing breaking news. we have confirmed that joe paterno has died at the age of 85. paterno passed away this morning after suffering complications from a battle with lung cancer. nbc's national investigative correspondent michael isikoff is joining us from the washington bureau. he has more on the man known as the winningest coach in college football. good morning. >> good morning, alex. just this morning at 10:17, the family issued a statement announcing that joe paterno had passed away. his loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled. he died as he lived. he thought hard until the end. stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. paterno had -- the family announced back in november just
after the jerry sandusky story broke that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. joe paterno did not speak for the next two months then just a week ago when this looked like things were going downhill, he gave his only interview on the subject to sally jenkins of the washington post. it was clear he was suffering then. he was in a wheelchair from having broken his pelvis. he was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. he was frail and weak. but he did give his perspective on the scandal that has -- did tarnish his legacy and led to his firing aspen state coach back in november. i spoke to the historian of penn state football and said that he told me that there will never be another person like joe paterno at penn state or in college football. he turned it into a world class
university. the most winning coach in major college football history. >> yeah. michael, i know you spent some time covering the investigation in the wake of the scandal there on the campus. despite whatever allegations have been out there of a salacious nature, people still look at him as the father, a man who garners inordinate amounts of respect. it seemed like he himself personally, for those closest to him there on campus, remained removed most of the time from all of that. >> well, you know, there was who lot of anger at penn state, at the way joe paterno was treated right after the charges against jerry sandusky, his long-time assistant defensive coordinator were announced in november. paterno was fired abruptly in a single phone call. the board of trustees announced
that they were firing him, called joe paterno and in one brief phone call told him that he had been fired. this provoked a really angry reaction among students and a lot of long-time alumni of penn state and the new president has been on this listening tour, holding town meetings with alumni around the state and hearing very strongly that, from people who felt that joe paterno have been shabbily treated and disrespected in a way, given his enormous contributions to the school over the years. lou prado told me that paterno was not bitter. even with everything that happened, he did not express anger in that interview with the washington post. he did not lash out.
he said he accepted what happened and wanted to concentrate on the positive and i think right now with his passing, people are going to want to focus on the contributions that joe paterno made as opposed to the scandal that erupted around him in the last few months of his life. >> absolutely. understandably. that's what should be focused on today as we thank you for doing so. michael isikoff in washington. former penn state football college, joe paterno, dead at the age of 85. we have another developing story we're following this hour. gop presidential candidate mitt romney just a short time ago a nouned a plan to release his tax returns on tuesday. the decision follows days of pressure and questions and a big loss in south carolina's primary. here's what he told fox news sunday. >> i think we just made a mistake in holding off as long as we did. it just was a distraction. we want to get back to the real issues in the campaign, leadership, character, a vision for america, how to get jobs again in america and how to rein
in the excessive scale of the federal government. >> romney is going to post his 2010 tax returns, as well as an approximation of what 2011 will have for him. it will go on the internet so the public can see them all firsthand. this comes on the heels of newt gingrich's double-digit victory in the south carolina gop primary. gingrich won with 40% of the vote, mitt romney in second with 28%, followed by rick santorum and ron paul. you see the numbers there. gingrich celebrated his win last night alongside his wife calista. he called the win humbling and sobering. >> we want to run not a republican campaign, we want to run an american campaign. [ applause ] because we are optimists about the future because america has always been optimistic about the future. >> i want to congratulate, of course, speaker gingrich and my
fellow republicans on a hard fought campaign in south carolina. we're now three contests into a long primary season. this is a hard fight. because there's so much worth fighting for. >> we're going to head back to columbia, south carolina. nbc's ron mott is there at the center of the screen. good morning to you. what are the candidates saying this morning, ron? >> hey there, alex, good morning to you. really a tale of two campaigns. newt gingrich came down here limping from a pretty bad finish here in new hampshire. we came down on the plane with him. he said he needed a big finish in south carolina or for all practical purposes his campaign was probably going to be finished itself. he gotta mazing turnouts here in the past week. had two solid debates. meantime, mitt romney did not have such good performances during the debate, which might have hurt him. in the end, newt gingrich turned around, maybe 25 to 30 percentage point with the victory. this morning, both of the gentlemen were on the sunday morning talk circuit, talking about south carolina, what
happened here. talking about how they need to change strategies going ahead to florida and beyond. here's a listen at what they had to say this morning. >> you have a clear establishment candidate in mitt romney. look where his monday money comes from, look at his babackg what he's done in massachusetts. he's been a reagan pop list conservative going back to the 1970s. that's a clear contrast. >> i faced a setback. you know, in my experience, a lot of people face setbacks. you come back from them. that's the only way to come back from the inevitable down turns. we're hoping and expecting to do that down the road. >> all right. this race is going to be wide open from here now. we go to florida tonight and they will start campaigning on the ground there tomorrow. the primary there is on january 31st. nine days from now. it's a virtual eternity in primary politics, alex. there's going to be a lot of money spent in florida. the romney camp is well fortified organizationally and
financially. newt gingrich has a mountain to climb there. he sent out a tweet asking people to dig deep to donate to the campaign. he's going to have a struggle trying to compete, hand to hand, foot to foot with mitt romney down in florida. it's going to be interesting. back to you. >> are you kidding me? you said nine days is a virtual eternity. look what happened on one day on thursday. when a whirlwind whiplash in 24 hours. that could happen again. something like it will, no doubt. thank you very much, ron mott. let's get more on the developments and a look ahead, i'm joined by anne kornblut and columnist for the chicago news cooperative. it's good to see you both. thank for joining me. >> great to see you. >> ladies first here. i have to start with mitt romney saying he'll release the tax returns. is this something he had to do in. >> they were struggling with it if you look at the way he responded. he slowly evolved, starting by saying he release them in april. then saying he wasn't sure whether he would release one
year or many years. they obviously knew they had a problem that they had to deal with. i think it's not surprising they wanted to get this all behind them. having the questions why they didn't do it earlier last week. >> he was making that statement himself. he said we waited too long on this. you have to think reflection might have brought on troubles. jim, your take on the tax return announcement. is it enough? 2010 and the approximation of what 2011 will bring? >> well, i mean, i think the significance of it really is it's not a matter of americans being inherently suspicious of rich candidates. look where you're sitting in new york with michael bloomberg, a billionaire who won lost of working class votes. when it comes to presidents starting, george washington was rather wealthy and leading up through lots of other folks including john f. kennedy. we've embraced folks, kennedy, fdr. it's been a matter of the utter defensive nature of the romney campaign on this. just breeding lots of suspicion. throw in the business about his
years as a big-time consultant and what actually happened there and you had a huge problem of their own making. >> anne, i want to look at the results of south carolina in terms of how you process this win by newt gingrich. a 40-20 ratio could be -- a week prior it seemed like it was mitt romney he is to lose. >> there's no question it was a decisive victory on newt gingrich's part. there's no arguing that this was a tie like we saw in iowa. to a certain extent the romney campaign will say of course, newt gingrich was next door and so he was going to always have a leg up somewhat in the way that romney did in new hampshire. i hi that the claim now that there were three different winners of three primary contests is quite accurate. i think that's why you won't see newt gingrich or rick santorum or, certainly not ron paul drop out. we're looking at a race that is going to go on for quite a
while. >> jim, is there a difference between the person south carolinians believe is the most electable, which clearly they voted for gingrich in in way, 50% of them did, only 20-something percent voted for mitt romney that way. between south carolinian viewer -- voter and everybody else in the country, bau the whole air of inevitability out o of iowa and new hampshire, that was mitt romney's. >> you know, alex, this is fascinating. if they're not blown out of the water if not -- as anne spoke about. it speaks to gingrich's impact. assumptions about the supposed irrelevance of american political debates in pre-programmed candidates. then there's the assumptions about south carolina is a firewall for inevitable republican nominees. but when it comes to gingrich,
the disjoint between those south carolina voters and what have been a set of assumptions, alex, by the republican establishment which disdains gingrich, which doesn't trust him, which didn't ever see this possibly coming, a campaign without much money, without many ground forces fueled by visceral rage and frustration, they did not see this coming, which is why a final assumption, namely, the sort of almost metaphysical cal certified of a romney vic at this is slightly lessened. >> what do you think is going on inside the white house, anne? it's been steadily reported that they're gearing up for a run against mitt romney. this potentially throws that out of the water. >> as jim said, there's been a certificate tud about the romney -- >> he has good words. >> about the romney nomination. it was pretty much everyone's.
they've been bracing for a romney nomination. i also happen to know they would be thrilled if newt gingrich wins the nomination, based on the previous surge when it looked like he had a real shot in iowa. democrats and obama advisers said they would be as happy with that. they believed that gingrich would be an easier target. i think they've been surprised that romney has not been a stronger candidate. they expected him to be a tough challenger. i think what they said recently watching him, they're less impressed. don't go too far. everyone should know, we'll be speaking with a romney supporter after this break. stay with us here on "weekends with alex witt."
pass along. former penn state football coach, joe paterno has died. he succumbed after suffering complications from lung cancer. the legendary coach was diagnosed with lung cancer days after the child sex abuse charges against his former assistant coach, jerry sandusky came to light. joe paterno was 85. we will take you live to the penn state campus in just a few minutes. while voters in south carolina were choosing their favorites, some votes have already been cast in the florida primary. more than 197,000 of them. republicans who voted there. most of them were absentee ballots but the rest coming from early voting in five florida counties. as of yesterday, all 67 counties are now open for early voting. florida's early voting ends in most counties, next saturday, january 28th and the regular primary voting in florida is on tuesday, january 31st. the candidates are all moving on to florida after south carolina. mitt romney told fox news sunday that he's ready to fight for votes in every state starting with florida.
>> i'm looking forward to a long campaign. this is a tough process. you know that. that's the way it ought to be. we're selecting the president of the united states. someone who is going to face ups and downs and real challenge. i hope through this process, i can demonstrate that i can take a setback and come back strong. >> romney would have to bounce back after finishing second in the south carolina primary behind the surging newt gingrich. joining me from philadelphia is john micah of florida who has endorsed mitt romney. good morning to you. thank you for being here. >> frozen morning in the northeast. everybody needs to head to florida where it's 70 and 80 degrees. >> i was thinking the same thing walking in to work today where it was freezing. i agree with you, sir. i'm going to talk about your endorsement, which is a key one for mitt romney. look what happened in south carolina. look what's happening next in florida. there are those who suggest that he needs a lot of support because of the surge behind newt gingrich. first of all, what happened last week that resulted in last night? how do you interpret it?
>> well, i think the media actually created this surge at the end there. if you see mr. romney's pretty steady. i mean, he's getting beat -- he's been beat up by everybody. he still maintains a pretty strong presence in this. but the media bump, there's no question. >> as a result of the debates? >> yeah. >> most of them attribute it because of that john king -- >> exactly. we've seen the surges, santorum was in the lead, perry was in the lead. >> was that the media telling them or the voters telling them? >> i think the media sets the stage. it was sort of accidental in the debates. you saw what happened. i think south carolinians, republicans and americans were outraged that -- they're concerned about jobs and people that can create a brighter
future for their families and make a difference in this country, which is such a great country. but you know, we've had the obama -- i guess all the republicans or anybody but obama and most americans are that way. there's buyers remorse out there. i think that when things settle down, in florida, it's a different state. we have such a transitory population. i was up here visiting my mother-in-law who is 95, but she's from pennsylvania. my wife's state. i'm from new york. we're an amalgamation of the whole country, florida. i think this is going to be a different game. i think that the american people, too, will settle down. this is not like "american idol" and "dancing with the stars." we have that in the white house. maybe he can sing maybe and dance. what we need is a leader who has had business experience and who
has had executive elected experience. that's the only person i think we have left in the game who can turn the economy around. >> what about the electability factor. if you want to change the post, heretofore it was thought that mitt romney was the most electable candidate. if you look at the exit polls on south carolina on this issue it showed that newt gingrich was the one to get 51% to 37% for mitt romney. so what will -- will that carry over to florida? >> it was in response to an unfair media attack. the american public and floridians, south carolinians they don't like that. they rebel against that. i think you saw that rebellion reflected in the vote. they are concerned, though, about the jobs and the future of the country. i was here a couple of days, i picked up the paper yesterday. gas prices up 27%. my state of florida, i still have 10% unemployment, 14% in
some of my counties. who is going to make the difference in actually getting people to work and has that experience? you know shall this is no longer that. we're not electing the "american idol." we tried that. we've got it. it's failed to lead. >> are you surprised by the fact that former governor jeb bush is not endorsing anyone? he has said ellen dors whomever and support whomever is the nominee. he's not getting out in front of it at all. >> i respect jeb. you've got lots of endorsements. i think half of the congressional delegation, which is extensive have endorsed mr. romney. we've had great candidates and we had good candidates and they have good positions. but again, we aren't, again picking the most popular guy, the most glib guy. we have to get somebody that can get this country turned around and get us moving and make it -- return it to the great country
it is. it's provided so much opportunity and it wasn't big government or big government spending that did that. >> all right. representative john micah, presumably heading back to florida where it's a lot warmer than where you are. safe travels. >> very soon. it's chilly up here. come to florida. >> will do. thank you. >> thank you. president obama prepares for the state of the union. what can we expect to hear from him. "weekends with alex witt." ♪ imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil. ♪ this is why we at nissan built a car inspired by zero. because zero is worth everything. the zero gas, 100% electric nissan leaf. innovation for the planet. innovation for all.
the state of the union address just two days away now. president obama says the speech will go into detail about his central mission as president. >> rebuilding app economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules. >> mike viqueira is here. >> the president says he's still writing his speech.
ha do we know so far? >> we can be relatively assured that it's going to be about jobs, jobs training, jobs, energy jobs, jobs. not much on the agenda. they're calling it the most dysfunctional congress in history. the congress that was convened just a year ago. it's going to continue into this year. the only thing on the plate is extending the tax cut. you remember that big fight last month in december where they extended them only for two months. they're going to extend them for the rest of the year. there will be a lot of noise about that. the president is going to be building on those themes that you just heard about. he first used those themes. first harkened back to them when he went to kansas. you may remember this speech a couple of months ago when he evoked some of the themes put forward a hundred years ago by teddy roosevelt. about fairness in the system, fair chance for all in in economy. you can expect the president to work on those themes as wellheading into tuesday night.
it's the bully pulpit. this really is an advantage that the president has, commands a national audience in a campaign season, alec. >> okay. mike viqueira thank you very much. we'll see you again. all of you stay with us all day tuesday. we'll have coverage of the president's state of the union address. you're watching weekends alex witt. we'll be right back. wake up!
we are following this breaking news this morning. penn state college football coach joe paterno has died. paterno died this morning after suffering a series of complications related to treatment for lung cancer. nbc's michelle franzen has the latest from state college. michelle, with a good sunday morning to you. what's the reaction to this news around the campus? >> certainly, as soon as the news, alex, came around in the last few days that joe paterno's health was deteriorating, many of the students gathered around that statue at the stadium of joe paterno leaving flowers and
certainly praying in that area. tonight they're expected to hold a vigil in that very spot. of course, joe paternos, the heart and soul of penn state. many say the most important part of the paterno family according to their family's statement this morning releasing a statement saying it is with great sadness that we announce that joe paterno passed away today. his loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled. he died as he lived. he fought hard until the end. stayed positive. thought only of others. constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. of course, joe paterno in these final week, granted an interview to the washington post. reporter sally jenkins saying that he seemed determined to go on record making sure that he wanted to make sure that the public knew that he felt he did all he could back in 2002 when he was approached about allegations regarding jerry sandusky and the child sex abuse scandal that certainly rocked
this campus and also led to joe paterno's firing back in november. >> well, michelle, when you talk about sort of the somber tone there, i know that there were -- there had been rumors about his death last night, which was very difficult for, i know, the family members having to deal with that and trying to clarify the story. but was there a family spokesperson that came out today or a chaplain? do you know how the message was delivered? >> a family spokesperson released the statement from the family. we have not heard personally from anyone. nobody publicly has spoken. just the release of the statement at this time. yes, it has been a very difficult 48 hours for the family. we are told that they were by his side throughout the last 24 hours, called to the hospital yesterday, and that, of course, when they heard those reports, jay paterno, joe paterno's son immediately sending out a message on twitter saying not
only are those reports false, he's very much alive, fighting and inspired by the outpouring of emotion that he saw -- that his son told him was happening throughout the community. yes, a very difficult time. of course, his diagnosis with lung cancer was made public shortly after he was fired from penn state. he had been receiving treatments since then. that cancer treatment being doctors say, certainly took its toll on his body. >> we can imagine. michelle franzen with the latest on joe paterno. we're going to go to politics as mitt romney announces a plan to release his tax returns. he's also fending off questions about his ability to remain calm under fire. on fox news sunday, romney denied pressures of the campaign trail were getting to him. branding himself a passionate candidate. >> i'm proud to be pretty steady. i no one says to me that someone that flies off the handle, that i'm erratic or incapable of
dealing with stressful situations many people see me as a guy calm mr fire. i've been tested. i've had successes and losses. i've learned from those losses and i will show passion and from time to time perhaps a little energy as i think is appropriate. as i feel it in my heart. but i am a person of sobriety capacity, steady necessary and think you need that in the white house. >> romney adds that he's looking forward to taking his fight to florida. newt gingrich is enjoying his surprise win in south carolina. this is an across the board look at what happened. gingrich won by double digits followed by romney, then rick santorum, then ron paul. new reaction this morning from gingrich as he appeared on "meet the press requesting "where david gregory asked him about revelations about his personal life. >> you were outspoken about the views of your personal life. on this program in the past, you've said that they were fair questions. we've had those conversations. let me ask you more generally.
if voters are going to consider your family values versus the family values of governor romney, should they judge your conduct? >> sure, of course, they should. they should judge who i am. i think the people of south carolina did just that. they did it by a huge margin. they repudiated the effort to go back and drag up things, particularly at the very opening of a national debate. last night, on stage, close to an we have a wonderful marnl. my two grandchildren were there, my chief debate coaches shall everybody who watched us knows i'm a 68-year-old grandfather. i've done things in my life i regret. i've had to go to god for forgiveness and reconciliation. i have a great relationship with my wife, a great relationship with my children, a great relationship with my grandchildren and at 68, i think i'm the person best prepared to know how to get this country back on the right track and i'm the person who is tough enough
to take every single hits and keep coming. i'll do the same thing as president. we will get america back on track with the help of the american people. i always ask them to be with me, not for me. this is going to be a very, very difficult job. >> stay tuned everyone. you can see more of the interview with newt gingrich when meet the press airs at 2 p.m. on msnbc. we're going to pause here. coming up, office politics. >> the richer are happy. it's their own fault. >> mad money man, jim cramer shares his frank opinions about the economy and politics. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." crisp, clear, untouched. that's why there's brita, to make the water we drink, taste a little more, perfect. reduce lead and other impurities with the advanced filtration system of brita.
74% say the race is important. it is time now for office politics. my interview with cnbc's jim cramer, host of mad money. i got his take on how the political environment affect our economy. how much does the state of u.s. politics affect the economy? i mean, can people look at congress and the president and really hold them accountable for the economy or is that overblown? >> i think that it's radically overblown. i mean, i don't want to be -- i'm a nonpolitical guy. i'm not left, i'm not right. what i see is demand and supply. okay? the government can help stimulate demand at times. but in the end, what matters is -- and government can create a world where there's more confidence. therefore, you're willing to take more risk. what's happening in this country is that we just cut back so much that we just have to start replenishing. that's automobiles. that's why i think housing -- it's so easy to blame
government. it's a great new story. it's obama's fault, it was george w. bush's faumt. no, there was not enough regulation so a lot of things were done wrong in the housing industry. it was a poorly regulated industry. it hurt. for the most part, what drives people to start businesses, they never talk about this in washing fon, is the opportunity to work for yourself to make more money than you're being paid. that's greed. i'm not talking gordon gecko. you can do better. i think the government's role is overblown both for -- to stimulate demand and also the government as a payer, as a buyer of things. they -- it can play a role but it's not essential. >> how about the fact that the timing of this year, an election year, does that make things more unstable because wall street has a fear of the unknown? >> i mean, i think that we're in a situation where i've been saying that this is a kind of a special moment in that if you
think the economy is going to come back, then obama did a good job. if it doesn't come back, then you'll get a guy who is a businessman. looks like romney. >> yeah. >> so you kind of could win both ways. one of the reasons why the stock market has been pretty good. it's like, okay, with obama, business is bad. it's going to turn on business or unemployment. whether we like it or not, whether that's fair or not. if employment turns down again, then i presume that obama will be kicked out. >> in other words, if they feel it's moving in the right direction, that's all they need. don't need substantive change or different. >> no, they don't. george w. bush was a very pro business president. he wrecked a lot of business. that's why i'm really loathed to say the government can really help. we had a president who is supposed to be a great business person. but here's this horrendous obama, the stock market is up since obama came in. jobs have come back.
maybe not fast enough. but you know, the idea that if we get this republican in, like george w. bush was like the worst president for business i've ever seen. he was that bad. in my lifetime. because great recession, the only time that was worse was under hoover. i mean the guy was hoover-like. >> tell me what means the most to you of all of this. >> lenin. >> the painting? >> a lot of people stop me on the street and ask if i'm related to lenin. so i incorporated it. this is a distillation of everything you asked me about at the beginning. >> here we go. >> if the rich are unhappy, it's their own fault. okay? that's the ideology. i completely subscribe to that. lenin did have that great quality, like one of the most awful people of the 20th century. really horrible. i have to tell you that lenin is like, that's like -- it's like people say, it's -- are you related to lenin? i mean, i'm always asked if i'm related. so i put a picture of lenin and said i like that. right before the show begins, i
like to psyche everybody out. if you're not clapping, i tell you to leave. you come in and burst through the tunnel and say i'm cramer, that's what we do every night. >> my next job, i want to come back as one of your stagehands. >> you'd love it. we have fun. we love it. we throw these things. there. we con staptly throw stuff. >> the guy is great. you can catch his show, mad money, every weekday at 6:00 p.m. and 11 p.m. eastern on cnbc. thank you very much for the good time, jim. in a moment, the big three panel weighs in on the issues propelled newt gingrich to victory in south carolina. can he score big in florida? now the mitt romney has agreed to release two of his tax returns, will that make the difference? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." this is a look at your sunday
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brand-nbran brand-new game. i'm joined by karen finney, msnbc political analyst, susan elpercio, republican strategist, and a reporter for real clear politics. thanks for joining me. let's talk right now about this tax announcement. i will begin it with you, erin. why did it take so long? >> mitt romney has not wanted to release those returns. he is a very wealthy man and made that very clear and he doesn't pay a very high tax rate. he has said that within the last week he pays about 15% in taxes. you know, alex, here is the thing. he said that he would release two years of tax returns. the republican just e-mailed me to say that back in 2008 in march when barack obama was running for president, he released his tax returns all the way back to 2000. it was six years of returns that he released at that point. so what they are saying to me is that the chicago headquarters of
barack obama's re-election campaign must be very happy because they can continue to make the case against mitt romney and he's not releasing enough. >> yeah. well, could be, susan. what about the romney's camp for the reasoning behind keeping the tax returns under wraps. what do you think we are going to find out that might give, i guess, the reason behind the waiting to do this? >> well, i'm not sure if they decided wanted to keep it under wraps he said he will get them out in april. hay should have stuck to it. the fact is they were so ill-prepared that this nearly led to a disastrous week for romney. what them find in those reports is he is a wealthy man. that shouldn't become too much of a surprise to many people. but again, he should have had a much clearer path to release his tax returns and now he's drilled it out and looks weak for. >> it do you think this will open up a new can of worms for mitt romney? >> absolutely. i mean, look, i think erin's point is well taken.
doing one year and then an estimate for another year when traditionally candidates put out several years at a time. and it is going to look like okay, what's in the rest of those years. >> didn't his father put out several years? >> yes. that was a question he was -- remember, he was asked directly this week in the debates and he kind of hemmed and hawed. here's what i suspect is going on having been in the campaigns. number one, this read to me like there was a disagreement between the strategist and camp. he is not comfortable talking about his welt and should have been prepared but it certainly felt like as -- his answer evolved there was clearly some kind of ongoing conversation going on behind the scenes. second, it seems that what they probably made the decision a couple of days ago they would do this. and this period is all about, you know, i'm not going say cooking the books but essentially getting things in order so that they can have a clear explanation and i would imagine that's why they are not releasing more on tuesday
because they can only get through this couple of years in terms of an -- satisfactory answer. >> we will have much more to talk about after tuesday. let's switch up and talk about newt gingrich. runaway winner in south carolina. here's part of what he said last night. >> the american people feel that they have elites who have been trying for a half century to force us to quit being american and become some kind of other system. people completely misunderstand what's going on. it is not that i am a good debater. it is that i articulate the deepest-felt values of the american people. >> pretty confident guy there. what do you make of his argument? >> i think he is overconfident, frankly. that's what gets him into trouble. i mean, he did have a very good substantial win but is going into florida and there's two debates. if romney can step up and put him in his place and beat him on the advertising dollars, it should humble gingrich a little bit. >> what do you make of the reasoning here, karen? because he -- he has obviously
struck a chord wi-- cord with t north carolina voters? >> absolutely. he tried it with the iowa voters. i mean, you know, here's a couple of things. one of the things i noticed it was a very divisive speech. he clearly is tapping into the elite and media. there are code phrases akin to when he talks about a culture poverty when he talked about a classical america which made me wonder what's that mean to you? i think he knew exactly what that men in terms of, you know, racial lines and divides within his country. i think what he is doing, though, he's figuring out how to pick off pieces of the republican primary electorate and really target his messaging and exactly to what it is he thinks that they want to hear and what will stir the pot with those people. the problem ultimately will be -- this has been newt's problem a long time, it is very divisive and i don't think that a general election electorate will want to be divided like that. >> what do you think about his line, though, karen? i guess one of his new campaign slogans that we are running a
campaign for america, not just for republicans. i mean that got a lot of applause. >> it sure did. i will tell you what, it was chilling to me, quite seriously, because it made me think of when i their some of the southern republican governors talk about state's rights or made me think about -- what america are you talking about? are you not talking about an america where there is equal opportunity for every person of every color? and an america where women can vote and women have certain rights and freedom? i mean, what america does he think he is protecting? i think he is sending a signal to protect an america that's not where we should be. >> i'm curious also about the last-minute nature of all of this, erin, with you because the decision was mate last minute by so many. look at the exit poll number by nbc news. more than half of the primary voters didn't even decide on a candidate to the last days and of those, look at that, 44%, when went with gingrich. should the camp be worried that last-minute support is easy come, easy go? 55% went with him. that's a lot.
>> it has been a very topsy-turvy race. swhint be making predictions about any of the states and going into florida, newt gingrich seems to have momentum. romney has money organization. this campaign needs to be litigated over the next ten days here in florida. and, you know, we are see how he does in those debates. >> we will indeed. we are going to talk about the president's state of the union speech with you next hour. thank you for sticking around. stay with us for another hour. extend eed edition. the passing of the legendary joe paterno. experience dual-action power, with listerine® whitening plus restoring rinse. it's the only listerine® that gets teeth two shades whiter and makes tooth enamel two times stronger. get dual-action listerine® whitening rinse. building whiter, stronger teeth.