tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC January 8, 2012 12:00pm-2:00pm EST
showdown in new hampshire. two days before the nation's first presidential primary. the republican candidates duke it out in debate. mitt romney the target. >> i was criticized last night by governor romney for putting my country first. >> we want somebody who is going to stand up and fight for the conservative principles and not bailout and run and not run to the left of ted kennedy. >> can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? >> welcome to "weekends with
alex witt." we are going to size up the candidates ahead of the new hampshire primary. the attacks started early with them wasting no time at all going after mitt romney, questioning whether he could beat obama in the election. >> a bold reagan conservative with a very strong economic plan is a lot more likely to succeed in that campaign than a relatively massachusetts moderate. >> if you didn't want to stand before the people of massachusetts -- >> i went to massachusetts to make a difference. i didn't go there for a political rcareer, running time and time again. it would be about me. i was trying to get the help in the state the best way that i could. you have the opportunity to use the experience that i have.
>> still, it's my time, and are you going to tell people you are not -- >> rick? rick? it's still my time. >> i am just asking. >> former u.s. ambassador to china, jon huntsman made comments. >> he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country, yes, under a democrat, like my two sons are doing in the united states navy, they are not asking what political affiliation the president is. i want to be clear. i will always put my country first. >> i think the decision to go and work with president obama is one you took, and i don't disrespect your division to do that, and it's most likely the person that should represent our party running against president obama is somebody that called him a remarkable leader and went to represent him in china.
>> this state is divided, because of attitudes like that. >> and then perry making up for it's oops movement. >> we would make reductions, and i would be the department of commerce and energy and education that we're going to do away with. >> that was worth a good laugh. for more on the debate, i am joined by chris matthews, who has been doing duty the last 90 minutes, and john harwood. it's afternoon now. this was a debate critical for auflt candidates. who did you think had the best performance and the worst performance? >> i think you sized it up, they are all after romney, and they know romney has a number in the latest polling as low as mid-30s, and probably the high
30s. he will be very high to beat up here. i think they decided this morning that they will go after him and not just each other. that was the big division. last night was an inner mural, but then an assault. they attacked his character as an outsider, and he is somebody that has ran for public life for 20 years, and largely has been unsuccessful. that's why he's not a career politician. it was really about his presentation. i thought it was tough. i thought that retort that you just showed from jon huntsman will go down in the history books as an example of attacking from a defensive position which will be remembered longer than any of the attacks on him by romney. it will appeal to huntsman case to the moderate and independent
who would like to have caused the country a surprise. i think it will help huntsman the most. >> i think all the other candidates other than romney had nightmares about how terrible they were, and they woke up and smelled the coffee and realized they were running out of time. they were reasonably affective. the pious baloney line from strong, and santorum had a strong and sort of aggressive attack on romney for the why didn't you run for re-election, and getting at some of the vulnerability that romney has on just how sincere he is on the statements he is making. i think he will win the caucus. i am not sure anything happened today -- david gregory did a terrific job, but i am not sure
it will make a big difference. >> the tactic that was used to put romney defensive, was that effective in taking him down a notch? >> well, i guess the problem that conservatives have with romney is not that he is a phoney, or that he is full of pious baloney, if you will, in the words of newt, but he is not comfortable in that kind of open meeting that they have been holding and the rallies they have been having. he is clearly somewhere in the somewhere between moderate and centrist conservative spectrum there. i would call him a business conservative, the kind of person that reads the "wall street journal" and gets up and thinks about reducing the size of government. he's a classic business republican. he's not a white ringer.
i think that -- i don't think they nicked him. i think he's still what he was a. business conservative. >> one thing they were talking about the class distinctions, he quoted his father as saying you should not the run for office if you have to worry about paying the mortgage if you don't win the race. that sounds like saying you need to have a lot of money in the bank if you are going to go into politics, and that's not something that will go over well with some of the people rick santorum is trying to appeal to with the working class style of republicans. >> i will start with you, jon, and he had everything at stake, santorum, and his campaign really wept south after this moment you remember, it was in the cnbc debate that you moderated. >> i can't -- the third one i
can't, sorry. oops. >> so he needed to make up on his previous debate performances, and did he manage to undo the past at any level here? >> no. there is no undoing the past for him. he has seen his moment come and go in the race. i think he decided to end the campaign on a better note in south carolina, and you know, it's an unpredictable race if he hits lightning in a bottle and does well, his campaign will go on, but the likelihood is while conservatives are gravitating to some considerable degree to rick santorum, who is rising, perry is in the process of walking through the last chapter of the campaign. even though he was good, it's not likely to make a difference with him. >> how long do you think it is
until perry drops out? >> i think south carolina is going to be in a phrase that i came up with last night, five vetings and a funeral. >> that's good. really good. >> five vetings and a funeral. he's cooked. i think it ended last night when he said he wanted to put the troops back in iraq. i don't care how hockish of an american you are and right wing of a republican, you realize we paid our debt in terms of iraqi politics, and we're not going back into iraq, and that's a big mistake to call for that. >> one thing is that important more so than that perry, because like chris i suspect perry's last day in the race will be the south carolina pry playery night, but if newt gingrich does poorly in new hampshire, will that be space for consolidation, and that would increase rick
santorums chance. >> i am going to tweet out the five vetings and a funeral. i will attribute you, chris, don't worry. the gop candidates are back on the campaign trail this morning following the back to back debates. mitt romney will hold a rally -- actually it's going on right now with support from tim pawlenty. and chris christie will join romney later this afternoon. ron paul, newt gingrich, and huntsman, they have events planned in new hampshire, and rick perry and rick santorum is in south carolina to get things going there. and after a busy 12 hours for the candidates, including personal attacks between gingrich and paul in last
night's abc news debate. >> dr. paul makes a lot of comments and it's part of his style, and as an army brat that watched his brother and sisters and father for 27 years, i have a good sense of what military families need. >> i think people who don't surf when they could and they get three or four or five deferments aren't -- they have no right to send our kids off to war. >> with his rivals mainsquabbli among themselves. >> we had an president that never led a business or a city, and never led a state, and as a result, he learned on the job being president of the united states, and he has made one error after another related to foreign policy, and the most serious relates to iran. >> i am joined by republican stat gist, mike murphy, and john
mccain and too many others to count. mike, good morning and good to see you. >> good morning, or afternoon. >> you have been up a long time, so you can blur the lines there. >> today, romney got his feathers ruffled just a bit. >> i was hoping on the sleep deprivation factor that you have somebody throw a chair and go into a zombie like trance, but what happened was the other candidates woke up and thought i think there's an election coming up. in many ways it was the first day of the south carolina primary. but today's debate, it was like watching cats attack an oak tree. milt is going to win the primary, and the only question is who is going to be second. ron paul is shown as seconds,
and it could give newt or santorum momentum. >> he did go after ron paul in the first half of today's debate. here is a chunk from that. >> washington is polarized, and the country is polarized, and the american people are sick of the fact that nothing gets done in washington. >> the serious issue from congressman paul is you are right, he never passed anything of importance. one of the reasons people like congressman paul is his economic plan, but he never has been able to accomplish that and has no track record of working together, and he has been unsuccessful in working together with anybody to do anything. >> so what is the point of attacking ron paul. if anything, mike, that can alienate his fur vent diehard following. is that a bad strategy? >> it's a good strategy.
the problem santorum had, he came out of iowa with a lot of steam, i thought the opportunity to break through and get to second, which would really have given him advantages going into south carolina, and i don't think it's impossible he could do that here. he spent a lot of times arguing with college kids, and it wasn't a way to close in new hampshire. i think there's a chance somebody could break through. i think huntsman will get some of the late vote here. and there's not anywhere for huntsman to go down south. so they all want paul to go away, and rick was voicing i think the secret mind bubble of the politicians that will be in the process. there's a guy like ron paul, and my friend wrote an essay about the crank at the end of the bar. a lot of opinions but no impact.
he's in the way of that a real debate, i think. >> i am curious about whom you think ultimately distinguished themselves in these debates. where was this perry six months ago? >> when perry got in, i thought he was as real as a republican heart attack, and then his campaign imploded, and he's one of the guys that i have seen start bad in the debate and get worst. i have seen it before, when they think it's's over and there's nothing at stake,they get good. i am not riding out perry, he will have enough money to have voter contact and that's a gift to mitt romney. because of santorum, gingrich and perry are fighting for the right in south carolina, and that's tougher terrain than new hampshire. >> okay.
mike murphy, good to see you. don't be a stranger. you have to come back on this show. >> thank you. well, here is an indicator that may bode well for president obama's re-election chances. no incumbent president lost when the employment rate fell, and that occurs to be happening now. it ways 9.8%, and now it's down to 8.5%, and the unemployment remains at the recession levels. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be.
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because you're the frontrunner, but could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? just level with the american people, you have been running since the 1990s. >> ouch. and they were piling on mitt romney for anything and everything he has done and said over the years. welcome back, everybody. for more i am joined now by jonathan alter, and scott sproudling. >> kind much snappy in the morning, scott. maybe we should have more debates when the candidates are sleep deprived. what do you think? >> that's probably a good idea. two debates in 12 hours time. by the performances this
morning, these candidates gave new hampshire voters time to think of who is going to win the primary. >> who fell flat, and is this all about second? >> it is all about second. it's about expectations. in the debate last night, nobody laid a glove on mitt romney, and today's debate was quite significant in how he will play and whether he will beat the expectations spread. that's the phase we're in right now. people right now are egg spektding he will win by double digits. if he wins by single digits, especially if somebody surges into second place with some momentum, he won't be seen as a big win for him in mitt romney's backyard. we have seen many examples in the past of dramatic changes in the last 48 hours before the new hampshire primary, and the
democratic primary, remember, hillary clinton cried and everything changed. you had a situation in 2000, where i was covering john mccain, and he went in and behind george w. bush and won the next day by 19 points. so new hampshire voters are fluid in their allegiances. this debate was the pious baloney debate, and they drew blood on mitt romney. >> the polls have consistently shown romney way out in front, but there's room for the lead to plunge. you have a long history covering new hampshire politics, and how do you view the race and do you believe the assessment that romney could take a plunge? >> i do. with that said, this has been a different cycle.
the voting populist wants to be the one that picks presidents. the one thing we consistently have seen is that republicans still haven't completely fallen for the idea of marrying mitt romney and riding him all the way through the general election. he is leading way out in front in new hampshire, because of the hard work he has done. he got that early head start and as jonathan points out, the candidates only very recently in new hampshire tried to lay gloves on mitt romney, and they have given him a pass in so many different debates, and they started to attack so late it will be difficult to eat into the lead. the voters finally make up their minds in the last 48 hours, but we are looking for who is going to be the alternative for mitt romney. >> i have to ask you something about what you wrote about, people should not be socked to see santorum to emerge as the
nominee. do you still feel that way? >> i do. i am not saying he is the favorite. obviously romney is. but there's a tendency in the press, and it's over and it's done, and it's just beginning, and there will be a candidate before this process is over. i think it's likely to be santorum. if he doesn't show talent for organization and fund-raising, he won't be able to go the distance. but if he gets votes particularly from the north country where there are a little more blue color, and he has appeal with them in new hampshire, and then if he can get perry and gingrich to fade-in south carolina so he gets a cleaner shot at romney, he will be a factor throughout this process. i think he did badly on the ground by getting into an argument a couple days ago with a college student hair in nere
hampshire. he looks plausible as a nominee, and he had not before iowa. don't count rick santorum out. >> we won't, because you said so and we shouldn't because the voters have not decided. there's more evidence that rick santorum could be the top voice of conservatives. and then like father like son. a republican hopeful son says if dad don't succeed, he might give it a shot at some point. to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind. ♪ [ male announcer ] the citi thank you card. earn points you can use for travel on any airline, with no blackout dates.
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personafy the reagan look better than santorum. the younger paul said himself he may run for president in 2016 if his father does not win it this year. a word from iowa about the vote count are now official. in a statement to the new york times, iowa's republican chairman says the votes have been certificated. a former mitt romney rival joins among the campaign trail. we will take you there next on "weekends with alex witt." look! the phillips' lady! we have to thank you for the advice on phillips' caplets. magnesium, right? you bet! phillips' caplets use magnesium. works more naturally than stimulant laxatives... for gentle relief of occasional constipation. can i get an autograph? [ female announcer ] live the regular life.
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a right to liberty, and it causes divisiveness when we see people in groups, because for too long we punish groups and the answer is what has relieved them by giving them affirmative action, so i think both are wrong. >> ron paul responding to a question about equal rights at the debate this morning. mitt romney pasted no time getting right back out on the campaign trail in new hampshire after this morning's debate. and nbc's ron allen is at the rally, and he is joining us right now with a good day to you right now on this sunday. what is romney's message following today's debate? >> reporter: i think the romney camp is feeling good about where they stand after the two debates over the weekend. tim pawlenty, former minnesota governor is on stage now warming up the crowd. later today, mitt romney will be joined by governor christie of new jersey, and governor haily
has been there, too. there's an overnight poll that has him down by five points, and he still have a comfortable lead and always has here. his camp is happy he has survived unscathed. i think the feeling in the romney camp is that romney handled the attacks well and gave as good as he got. they are feeling good about things, but they are not taking anything for granted. the race moves from here to south carolina, and then that's a little bit tougher ground for romney to do well in because it's a more conservative state. at this point they are feel good about where he stands. >> do you, as you watch this, last night to today, and we did not see much sleep deprivation
today. do you think romney is invig rated by his strong poll numbers and bedadebate performances? >> the romney camp knew it was going to be a big moment, particularly for the guys in the pack of the pack racing for a second place. i did not see any evidence of romney looking tired or, you know, they are really focused in on where they are at this moment right now. i think the romney camp is very pleased, and i remember covering him four years ago, and he's a different candidate, much cleaner and fresher and more precise in what he is doing. he stood their casually and did not get flustered, and that will make his camp feel good going forward. if he wins iowa and new hampshire, that's precedented in the republican campaign to a
president. this whole thing could be over pretty soon. >> we are giving you two live pictures, romney in the moment, and ron allen right there. coming up, i will speak with bud bud buddy roemer. and then we will show you how bells are ringing in tucson, arizona, because of the shooting there. president obama spoke at a service in tucson to remember the victims. congressman giffords has spent the last year overcoming her wounds, and on august 1st, she made a surprise return to the
house. she is at the event at tucson today. and good sunday morning to you, miguel. as we talk about the scene there, i just got chills listening to those bells considering what they signify. >> reporter: the bells went off in several different locations, including outside of the safe way where the congresswoman was shot and six others were killed. there was a moment of silence for employees that worked inside that safeway. they put out a tribute. nurses and doctors came out and paid their respect, and this community bonded together and tried to move toward together, and at 6:30 local time here at the university of arizona, where thousands could gather for a candlelight vigil, as you mention, congresswoman giffords is expected to be here but not
expected to speak, and her presence will mean a lot to so many victims and survivors, as well as thousands that watched. >> what do you know about any talk about re-election possibilities? >> i heard -- her staff always said that that is something that they are going to look at and closely look into in the next several months. they have several more months before they have to make a division. her husband said her progression has been good, and she is more mobile than she was and still has problems with her speech. she does have some issues with mobility, but she is getting much better. she still laz a couple more months before she has to make a division. there's no official word at the campaign except they are actively assessing that division as to whether she will rerun,
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is there any clear indication as to who came out on top this morning? >> as we have been discussing before. a lot of candidates battling it out for second place, but this morning they did not reserve any right not to attack mitt romney. what was particularly interesting was the underdog candidate, jon huntsman has had a lot of trouble getting his message out, and today he got a little piece of time and capitalized on it, i think he came out as somebody who took most advantage of today's debate. he got two days to go before his first test in the new hampshire primary, and as a former new hampshire governor, it's like a basketball game here in the new hampshire primary, it's not going to be decided until the last two minutes, alex. >> how about the way new hampshire voters listened to the candidates and their
involvement, and they come to new hampshire, and do you get a sense that the candidates' messages evolved between the states? >> absolutely. i think in new hampshire you have a wider spectrum of conservative voters, so you have different candidates that can play to different strengths and interests across the state. rick santorum's rise has created something among the gop voters, and little known fact that he has been here as much as mitt romney, yet the message did not really resonate until the iowa caucuses. jon huntsman is suffering from the lack of the buzz factor and is now just with the debate today his attack coming through. mitt romney has a great machine of volunteers and people here on the ground who are really, really trying to maintain that 40%. you have a lot of different messages going on here, and it's just to see how is it going to split up and affect mitt romney or not on tuesday night, alex.
>> thank you for that. one republican presidential candidate not on the stage today is buddy roemer, but he did not announce he was suspending his race for candidate and will stay on as a republican. joining me now from manchester is presidential candidate, buddy roemer. >> it's important to be on the shows. i appreciate it. >> i am glad we could give you time to air your voices and thoughts. buddy, you have to look at the rules for being included in the debates. they are based on the candidate's showing in the polls, and in the newest poll showing from the university of new hampshire, it shows you 1%.
>> i mean, this is so arbitrary, i am the only guy running who has been a governor and congressman. but it's not about me. it's never about these candidates. it's all i, i, i, me, me, me. you know what it's about? it's about a country in decline. it's about unfairness and corruption in washington. it's about the lobbyist money that they all take. they talked today in the debate about the super packs, the difference between jon huntsman and mitt romney and newt gingrich and the rest is how many super packs they have. how do we pick a president on how much money they have, or what their ideas are. here is what i would do. i would clean up washington and limit washington. i would have full disclosure, 48 hour reporting. i would have criminal penalties for congressman and president who violate the law. we need to get serious in america. it's not about me. it's about us.
>> now, buddy, this is a message that is all well and good, and absolutely has some very good points there, and that said, is your timing off? do you think that -- >> no. alex -- >> do you think people want to hear more about the jobs? >> but you can't do budget reform without dealing with the earmarks that come from the lobbyist. you can be the do tax reform without dealing with the loopholes, and you cannot do health care reform unless you get doctors, nurses, and patients in the room, and finally, you cannot do bank reform listening to the 19th wall street banks who got bailed out. here is my point, alex, you won't do these things. they all need to be done, but you won't do them until you have a president who is free to lead, a president who doesn't take
their money. ask obama how it is to be president? he is in gridlock. he has not proposed a single thing that got passed. you know why? he doesn't run the government. the lobbyists do. >> but, buddy, you want a $100 limit for politics. look at rick santorums specifically. here is a guy that could not get ad space because it comes from the pricey boston market. perhaps he did not have the money to put in for those limited campaign advertising spots that he would be able to buy. so his message can't get there. do you think that you could really run a national campaign with $100 donations? >> absolutely. i need a million people to stand with me. we have 312 million americans,
and i need one million to contribute $100. they can do it on the website. we have left running government to the lobbyist and the big corporations. are you happy america? do you trust your government? are we headed in the right direction? i am a realist. i am a very practical guy. i am the only guy running who has been a congressman and governor. i am a realist. i know money is needed. but where do you get your money now? you get big checks in the dark from the specialists. i would rather get small checks from real people. that's why the debates are important to me, alex. that's how rick santorum stood up. he was in 16 debates. you know how many i have been in in? zero. it's time to get a level playing field. it's not about me. it's about the issues, whose government is it this?
the big fat cats, the big corporations, or americans? i think the answer is clear. americans. if you listen to the debates, it's more of the same, over and over and over, and they won't do any of those things. we'll have another failed president. you know why? because they are hooked by the lobbyists. >> presidential candidate, buddy roemer, you may not feel appreciated by those that run the debates, but we appreciate you here. >> thank you. and does military service matter much to voters? you are watching "weekends with alex witt." our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education.
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candidates going forward. joining me now, the political director for mitt romney's election back in 2008, and a former senior adviser to president clinton that worked on every state of the union from 1995 to 2000. thank you for being here, gentlemen. don, do you think that everybody got a chance to use the barbs they have been dying to use this morning? >> you never use them all. i think, you know, you could tell romney had prepared on everything they were going to throw at him. there was a sort of sense of spawn t spontaneousness there, and whether everything was effective is another question. >> so far this election cycle you have yet to endorse anybody. what is your read on mitt romney of 2012 versus then, and why you have yet to endorse him?
>> i think mitt romney this time around is disciplined on his message and confident in his own campaigning and that has made a big difference. he is focused on highlighting why he is economically proficient, relative to the field and to barack obama, and i think he tried to make the case in a very disciplined manner that he has the skills and the abimt in the background to turn the country around next year. and this time around, i think he's more disciplined in his message, and expanded his organization, and i think that made a big difference. >> but you didn't answer the question, why you have not endorsed him yet? >> i wanted to take a look at the whole field to see what they have, and like a lot of new hampshire voters i wanted to give everybody a chance and meet them all. i like and respect mitt romney and i think he has done a good job and is probably in a very strong position at this point, but this time around i wanted to give others a chance to see what
they had to offer and let them distinguish themselves. >> he managed to deflect a lot of attacks last night, but did you get the sense he was more vulnerable this morning? >> maybe a little more. i think there's a larger perspective, and the larger perspective with romney, he's steady, and he's actually risen above where the other candidates are, and he's not quite at the presidential level. but that's what he is aspiring to. what will happen in the next three to four weeks, if he does emerge as the candidate for the republicans. the next eight months will be pretty stunning, if you are going to have a candidate you already know, and it will be romney for the republicans. how are they going to face-off next one another?
>> how would you advice the campaign to take on romney that is on the display? >> i would advice the obama campaign to be the president and use the presidency, and the state of the union address january 24th, that's where the president gets to show that he is still the president, he is still the one that can layout an agenda for the future of the country, and how are we going to get the country moving and growing again, and all of those things that build the future with we know we have severe budget problems. that's where the presidency really comes into play, and that is frankly where alabaobama is to be at his best. for romney, the trick will be how does he critique the president and how to look more presidential himself. >> how do you think the president -- what does he have
to do to withstand the gop attacks? >> i think that the president up to this point has failed in showing leadership in trying to curtail government spending and reign in deficit spending and create an environment where companies and businesses can grow jobs. if he doesn't do that, and if unemployment is high and the economic growth is low next year, i don't know what i could tell him to help him out. >> okay, gentlemen, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, rallying behind santorum, is he the conservatives best bet to beat romney? i wasn't eating well. she's a dietitian, and she suggested i try boost complete nutritional drink to help get the nutrition i was missing. now i drink it every day and i love the great taste. [ female announcer ] boost has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to help keep bones strong and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. and our great taste is guaranteed or your money back. learn more at boost.com.
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thousands of environmental samples from across the gulf have been analyzed by independent labs under the direction of the us coast guard. i'm glad to report all beaches and waters are open for everyone to enjoy. and the economy is showing progress with many areas on the gulf coast having their best tourism seasons in years. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. we're committed to the gulf for everyone who loves it, and everyone who calls it home. hello, everyone. welcome back to a special edition of "weekends with alex witt." the battle is on, and the gloves came off early with mitt romney's rivals taking turns. >> i just think there's a huge
difference between a reagan consrvetive and somebody that comes out of the passes culture with an essentially moderate record and i think will have a hard time in a debate with president obama. >> he ran for ronald reagan, and he said he was going to be to the left of ted kennedy on gay rights and a host of other issues, and we want somebody when times get tough, and it will in this election, we want somebody to stand up and fight for the conservative principles. >> and mitt romney hit back at his fellow candidates and at president obama. >> you have to choose somebody that has not been a lifelong politician and has not spent his entire career in washington and in sted has proven time and again he can lead, in the private sector twice and in the olympics and as a governor. we have to elect somebody is that a leader if we are going to replace somebody who was not a leader. >> and then huntsman here.
>> he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in china, yes, for a democrat. i want to be clear with the people here in new hampshire in this country, i will always put my country first. >> the decision to go and work for president obama, it's most likely the person that should represent our party running against president obama is not somebody that called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador. >> and some of the most pointed attacks here were made at president obama. >> we want somebody that will stand up and fight for the conservative principles and not bail out and run to the left of ted kennedy.
>> and joining me now from manchester, new hampshire, and together they write for politico.com. thank you both for joining me. alex, i will begin with you. the biggest moment coming out of the debate was? >> i think if you had to narrow it down, it was newt gingrich calling out mitt as being a pious baloney. it was on the issue of character and in many ways more than the specific disagreements conservatives have with romney, it sums up the hesitations republicans have for him. it's too late for that kind of attack to sum up, but i think you will go forward. >> pious baloney, you are right,
that will stick around for a while. >> maggie, i want to play this again for you, this moment from mitt romney. here it is. >> if people are looking for somebody who will discriminate against gays, or will try to suggest that people that don't have sexual orientation differently have different rights, they won't find that for me. >> when did you speak out for increasing gay rights? >> right now. >> all right. keeping in mind those to whom he is supposed to appeal, what does this mean for him going forward noo i thought it was a good moment for mitt romney. he is still in new hampshire. he is not riding hard at the moment. he's up 20 points in every poll. he is widely expected to win. i also thought that he turned it pretty well. he was not forced to disown the comments he made in the earlier statement and he was not pushed by the moderator and he managed to make it sound that he is not objecting to gay rights and not
taking a hard line in either direction. if he continues on get pressed on this in other debates, it may be an issue. this was one of his better moments. >> it's a fine line they have to walk with trying to keep a national focus on things, and then it's not always the same constituency. as we talk about those in new hampshire, alex, what do you think their reaction has been. what do you know about the reaction and the candidates and their debates? >> it's probably too soon to see how people are responding because of the back to back debates that ended minutes ago. what exactly is the market space of voters that has not decided to get onboard with mitt romney or ron paul? are those remaining undecided voters, more huntsman or gingrich voters? i think you can see a dramatic
change in the polls between now and tuesday, and it's just a matter of figuring out who the voters really are. >> maggie, what are you seeing on the ground in new hampshire right now? >> the two people to watch, as alex indicated, ron paul and mitt romney are the people in front. rick santorum may do better than some polls indicating, and the other person to watch is jon huntsman. they do have something of a ground game going in new hampshire where he staked his entire campaign. and the other thing to watch is mitt romney and how high the numbers go. his numbers have been so high for so long, anything short of a certain margin, even while it's not necessarily fair, will be seen as something a loss, which is obviously the wrong word, but not a victory here because it's his neighbor state. >> who do you think is poised right now to make the most out of the last two days, and fits
jon huntsman and were he to come in third, and second would be a near victory for him, is that enough? >> well, what he said himself is he needs a top three finish in order to keep going. you do have that prohuntsman super pack, buying ad time in south carolina. so clearly there's an appetite to keep going. one of the things to watch in the next 36 hours, is newt gingrich has been seen as fading in this state in the last couple weeks. he had two strong debate performances. if anybody was the aggressor on the stage, it was gingrich. he does have the support of the newspaper, and that could give him a list here in the 11th hour. >> thank you, we love you both. thank you so much. the gop hopefuls aren't wasting anytime getting on the campaign trail after the back to
back debates. mitt romney is holding a rally at this hour, and chris christie will be joining him. and then newt gingrich and ron paul will host events in the granite state. and perry and santorum are turning their campaigns to south carolina. and then a las vegas billionaire is contributing $5 million to a super pack run by gingrich allies, all this coming after a busy 12 hours. >> dr. paul makes a lot of comments. that's part of his style. i would say as an army brat that watched his mother and sisters and brother for 20 years, i have a good sense of what military and veteran family needs. >> i think people that don't serve when they could get and deferments, they have no right to send our kids off to war.
>> with his rivals mainly squabbling among themselves, he came out unscathed. >> we have a president that never led a business, never led a city, never led a state, and as a result, he learned on the job being president of the united states, and he has made one error after another related to foreign policy. the most serious of which relates to iran. >> mitt romney right now is campaigning in rochester, new hampshire. and we are back with nbc's ron allen at the rally. romney was hit pretty hard at today's debate, even standing up to the accusation that he is a liar. how do they think he performed? >> reporter: they are feeling good about the polls and events like this, and there are several
hundred people filing out of the town hall where romney gave a wholesome speech with his family, and many of his kids and grandkids, and everybody from the romney clan out on the stage behind him, a very wholesome picture of america. and he even quotes america the beautiful, the song. so that's the kind of events he has been having here now. he's way up in the polls. and there's every expectation he will win here, and win significantly. they have the wind in share sails here, and they are saying they will not take anything for granted. talked to some people in the crowd here, and there are still some independents and nonbelievers who say things like romney is a chameleon and so forth. some independents here say they are still making up their minds, and some people are not convinced that romney is what he says he is, and he's a fairly well known figure here, and he was a governor for so long and
so familiar here. the challenge for romney is going forward, going south to south carolina. for the last couple days, he has been joined by that state's governor, and he was a realty party conservative and essentially is lending credibility to romney in the conservative movement. he's already here in new hampshire, and he has governor pawlenty, and christie, and he's trying to run up the numbers here. >> you know, you may not have heard another name in the crowd, but if you did, whose name did you hear most from those that are undecideundecided? >> ron paul, and i heard a couple gingrichs, but there's no consensus about the alternative, and that's the problem for the republican party and for romney's challenges. they are splintering the field
and that conservative vote. and romney cramp is hoping it will stay that way, they are splitting the vote that is the anti-romney vote, if you will. and meanwhile, romney just continues to move on forward. >> okay. ron allen, a many thinks. coming up, the latest on christian conservatives. does michelle bachmann hold a grudge against iowa? an excerpt from "saturday night live." [ male announcer ] meet lafayette. we asked him to be part of an experiment to prove that febreze air effects can eliminate tough cooking odors. [ moderator ] take a deep breath and then tell me what you smell. wow. it takes you kinda to like an island. like a paradise.
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solid conservative and brought important change to massachusetts. >> mitt romney defending his conservative record, but it's not just the competition questioning his creds. there's a group gathering to pick somebody to support. gary bauer is endorsing rick santorum. nice to see you again. >> nice to see you. >> why not romney? what is the big fear with romney? >> it's what people have been saying all along in 2008. there's concern about whether or not he has a true moral campus. rick santorum has used those words time and time again is that he has the moral campus.
and people are not quite sure he will do what he says. >> and voters have said mitt romney is the most electable candidate in a general election. would the conservative leaders meeting in texas, would they prefer president obama to mitt romney? >> no, as a matter of fact what i have been told as what will go down in texas, this is not an anti-romney meeting at all. there are folks there that want to basically exchange notes. you talk about james dobson and gary bower and the others, and the american family association. they will all sit in a room and compare notes and say here's what i like about this guy and this is what i like about gingrich and go through the list to see if they can reach a consensus. i have been told they don't expect to reach any consensus. the good news for mitt romney,
he just let's everybody split the difference. >> i want an honest assessment as to whether or not the mormon factor continues to play a factor with christian evangelicals or if mitt romney has gotten past that? >> it's a two-fold answer. there's a small segment of evangelicals that won't vote for a mormon whatsoever. this has been vetted, if you will, in 2008. that's why mitt romney is doing better in 2012, the mormon question was vetted in the process in 2008, and all the flip-flopping we have seen was vetted in 2008, and now he doesn't have to go through it again, and gingrich and santorum and perry and bachmann, they have to go through it because they never ran for president before. >> rick santorum, he is emerging as a leading social conservative candidate, and he is roman
catholic, does that seem to be an issue for him? >> he is a devout catholic, and look, this is a guy that has been in the trenches, evangelicals love him, especially the thank tanks in washington, d.c., and they know what his heart is, and they have no problems at all with rick santorum. the part that could be a problem is he can play the evangelicals and he could play to the blue col collar base. he has to broaden the message, but can he do it? it remains to be seen. >> south carolina is not far away. that's coming up next. weekend warriors, popping up on the campaign trial for mitt romney. [ male announcer ] capri sun has 25% less sugar
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after new hampshire comes south carolina, where the winner has eventually come the republican nominee for 30 years. and the poll shows romney with an 18% lead, and this followed by santorum and gingrich. and then we have gina with us. >> happy to be here. >> we have both ricks, and is this the final stand for those two? >> i think it really can be. new hampshire is seen as the forgone conclusion that it's going to go to romney. rick perry, southern governor, seems custom-made for this state, wears his faith on his sleeve, and talks about things like immigration, and if rick perry can't make it work, he
will have to call it quits. and santorum, evangelical voters, a very big piece here. >> you have written the large part of the field is better for romney. why is that? >> that's because here is south carolina, while romney is leading in a lot of polls, there's a strong anti-romney sentiment. when you talk to supporters of all of these different other candidates, they repeatedly say they just don't trust romney. so if there is some way that these guys split up that anti-romney vote, that does nothing but bolster romney here in south carolina. >> i am curious, and i was looking at the poll there, and i don't see huntsman on that list. where does he stand there? >> huntsman is just barely a blip on the radar here. he is fought it as hard as he
can, and he is seen as the moderate. and romney is filling that position right now in south carolina. romney is the one that is seen as the sort of moderate, the one that most of the base among republicans will get behind. huntsman doesn't have a niche here in south carolina. >> how about, who other than romney has the grassroots support throughout the state to make a true run? >> i think santorum certainly has a lot of volunteers. i think he is hiring right now a lot of paid staffers, and rick perry has people on the ground, and newt gingrich has the largest ground game in the state, and the most number of offices. >> how about the negative campaigning south carolina has been associated with? we have seen attacks in direct mail this week, and are we going to see more of that thing? >> i think absolutely. south carolina, it may get dirty
in dixie, alex, and i think we will see negative ads here on the radio and on tv, and we are prepared for quite the brawl in south carolina. you look at somebody like rick perry, where this could be his last stand, and he has lots of money and has to spend it, and i imagine we will see lots of attack ads. our friends at "saturday night live" last night could not resist poking fun at the headlines. while appearing on "weekend update," michele bachmann showed that she is not bitter at all. >> any final message? >> simply to the iowa voters, i want to say thank you. i so enjoyed my time with you and in turn i hope you be littered with death penals, and force immunizations all ending
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okay. what's your secret? ♪ [ male announcer ] the new united mileageplus explorer card. get it and you're in. the gloves are off. mitt romney's gop rifles came out swinging at the debate in new hampshire two days before the primary there. >> a bold reagan conservative with a very strong economic plan is a lot more likely to succeed in that campaign than a relatively timid massachusetts moderate. >> if his record was so great in massachusetts, why didn't you run for re-election? >> mitt romney focused most of his attacks on president obama and touted his own record as former governor of massachusetts. >> i am very proud of the record that i have, and i think the one thing you can't fool the people of new hampshire about is the record of a governor next door. people watched me over the term
of governor, and they saw that i was a solid con serservativcons. >> and there were light mow maniments where rick perry tried to make up for his oops moment. >> i would tell you it would be the bureaucrats at the department of commerce and energy and education that we're going to do away with. >> we have been keeping tabs on the latest tracking poll out of new hampshire, and it seems there are important movement there. and i am joined by a reporter. good morning to you. very interesting stuff about the tracking poll. what does it show when it comes to santorum and huntsman? >> well, what is interesting, we saw mitt romney take a little bit of a particular down, from 39 to 35 overnight, and we saw huntsman come up a little bit, and santorum leveling off,
looking like his bounce out of iowa may be kind of flat. he may not be able to get up to where he would want to get to. couple reasons for this, he has not changed his eye wau messaging or strategy, and he is trying to run the same campaign in new hampshire, and the voters are different, and he has had a tougher time selling the message. he already left the state after the debate, and he is now in south carolina. huntsman, i think he has to get at least second place here. if he doesn't finish in second place after moving to the state, how does he get momentum to move on to another state? people in south carolina are already watching what iowa and new hampshire are doing, and he's going to have to do better than just himself, he said he cd take the top three. and some are feared that he is not registering at all, and he is definitely in sixth place
there at all. if he doesn't make the top three, does he quit now or do you think he heads to south carolina no matter what? >> i think he will have to make an evaluation on that, and see if he will have any of the money coming in. his dad is one of the wealthier people in utah and has largely been backing the super back that has been spending money in this state on behalf of huntsman, and whether or not his dad and other backers of his would think it's worth it after new hampshire if he doesn't finish very well, that may be what it comes down to as to whether or not he moves on. >> thank you for the update. we'll see you soon. as expected in the final debate before the primary, the republican candidates went after each other but also turned their attention to president obama. rick perry called the president a socialists. >> we have a president is that a socialists. i don't think our founding fathers wanted america to be a socialists country, so i
disagree with that premise that somehow or another that president obama reflects our founding fathers. he doesn't. he talk bz having a more powerful and centralized and costly federal government. >> now, let's get a democratic response to this morning's debate. and joining me is a key obama supporter in 2008 and again here in 2012. thank you for being here. >> good afternoon, alex. >> what about that obama is a socialist line? does that have any traction with the voters in new hampshire? >> i don't think so. they are a sensible lot, and they take their responsibility in the new hampshire primary seriously. they are issue driven and look at peoples' records and their practical problem solving views and not their comments, so that will not find much residence with the voters.
>> and then let's take a listen to this. >> you have agreed with the characterization that governor romney is a liar. look at him now and do you stand by that claim? >> i wish you would calmly state it's your friends running the attack -- >> of course it's former staff of mine, and of course they are people that support me. >> how are these super packs going to play in the president's campaign against romney or whomever the eventual republican nominee is? >> i am sure we will see that. that's part of the american landscape, but in new hampshire, it goes handshake to handshake, and at the national level, it's not as effective as the ground game. president obama, for example, has already demonstrated he is taking new hampshire very seriously. it's a swing state. we will see practical solutions offered for new hampshire voters. the republicans who will do the
best will be the ones to talk in a practical fashion. >> mitt romney is expected to win that primary, and do you have any insight into what is happening in the white house, and do they have their sights set exclusively on mitt romney? >> i think they do. it's interesting to watch the process, but he is clearly evolving as the frontrunner. here in new hampshire, they will have seven officers open, and has a lot of people on the ground and a lot of events, and the thing that works with new hampshire, how do you solve problems? we have a well-educated state with a workforce that is welcoming to business, and i think the president's tax relief for those people, those small businesses, i think what the president does for the community college system and has done is really going to resonate in new
hampshire. that's clear to me that he is going to bring that sort of effort here in new hampshire and get that message across to voters. >> and the message for jobs, jobs, jobs, how is the president doing all that and is there any room for a slower pace for recovery or a backslide at any point this year without it hurting his re-election chances? >> always people vote their pocket books, and we enjoy a very low unemployment rate in new hampshire and we're fortunate we have a multilayers small business economy, and what the president brings to us is support for families trying to educate children and get them those jobs, and i think where we have been fortunate in new hampshire, we believe his efforts -- i believe, have been successful, and i think that will bear out well in the end. >> the president won by ten points last time, and do you think it's possible this time? >> given where the economy is, it's likely to be a closer race. if you look at the recent jobs that he added to the economy on
his watch, if you look at what he does with the military, how he treated vet ins, don't forget, they have a strong active and retired community, and the shipyard being a big player as well, and with the new strategies we know we need to over haul submarines, and i think his military record will be helpful and i think all of those things will help keep a good showing here in new hampshire. >> thank you for helping us this morning -- or afternoon now. here is a programming note. we invite all of you to watch the re-airing of the debate. moving to tucson, arizona, today. the first anniversary of the mass shooting last january. six of those shot were killed and 12 others were wounded and among them
congressman giffords. she is in tucson today as is nbc's miguel almaguera. i am glad you are here to talk about this. do we know how gabby giffords is marking this anniversary? >> reporter: we know she will be here and join the other victims at the university of arizona for a candlelight vigil. we are told several thousand people may show up. gabby giffords has not made many public appearances. she did go to safeway where she as well as 13 others were shot and six people were killed. we know that she also stopped by the hospital to thank the nurses and doctors that treated her for several weeks when she was here in tucson, and she also went to the zimmerman trail, and she was his trusted aide, and she spent the last few days here with so
much of the community remembering and reflecting upon those that were injured and lost their lives here in tucson. >> thank you very much and we appreciate that. coming up next, who's in the biggest trouble after this morning's debate. we'll discuss it after the break. wouldn't it be cool if your car could handle the kids... ♪ ...and the nurburgring? or what if you built a car in tennessee that could change the world? yeah, that would be cool. nissan. innovation for today. innovation for tomorrow. innovation for all. ♪ innovation for all. but you go in pieces. [ female announcer ] you can't pass mom's inspection with lots of pieces left behind. that's why there's charmin ultra strong. its diamondweave texture is soft and more durable so it holds up better. fewer pieces left behind. charmin ultra strong.
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from honey nut cheerios to cinnamon toast crunch to lucky charms, get more whole grain than any other ingredient... without question. just look for the white check. it is time now for the big three panel, three topics and three talkers, and we are looking at the weekend warriors, republicans not taking a break, and the buddy system, and why and then the record scratch moments of the debates. you know the sound. yeah. they are the mow manies that make you go, huh? like this one. >> i think it's important to note as they would say in china, mit mitt. [ speaking chinese ]
>> joining us is our panel. hello, and good to see you all. erin, the sound bite was from last night's abc debate. what was the point of that? >> he was trying to show that mitt romney doesn't know what he is talking about in china, which he does. he was ambassador to china, and he has a difference of opinion on mitt romney on america's approach to china, and he thinks that mitt romney is trying to start a trade war with his isolation stance, where huntsman says that's not the language. the press erupted into laughter at him speaking mandarin. >> here is something from this morning's debate. >> i realize the red light
doesn't mean anything to you because you are the frontrunner, but could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? just level with the american people. you have been running from at least the 1990s. >> this was near the top and he came out swinging. probably the harshest moment in any of the debates. the pious baloney will stay in the books. >> and it's the pot calling the kettle black. mitt romney is the frontrunner and they cannot attack him for being a career politician and a businessman all at the same time. >> and then back in the '80s and '90s, and here is part of paul's
defense. >> more importantly, you ought to ask me what my relationship is for racial relationships, and one of my heroes is martin luther king, and he practiced civil disobedience, as did rosa marks did. >> interesting point, and chuck todd points out paul voted against making martin luther king's a national holiday, and what is your reaction to paul today? >> that's the real issue. ron paul did vote against the martin luther king holiday inn 1983, but i would suggest that ron paul would have voted against anybody's national holiday. at the ends of the day, saying martin luther king is your national hero, is like saying i like grape jam, because everybody does. you know, that's something ron paul has yet to answer for.
here in georgia, we had a group of teachers use slavery imagery in a math test for students. how many slaves would it take to screw in a lightbulb, or something like that. that's something this country could live without, and we could live without some of the things he has put in his news letters. >> and then mitt romney has john mccain and nicky hailly, and what do they do for romney's image? what is the strategy there? >> it's trying to legitimize him with all the elected officials, he is trying to show strength and he is the man to beat in this republican primary. the thing that is funny about this, alex, is in the 2010 mid terms, people were running so far away from elect the
officials because they wanted to show they were outsiders, and the tea party candidates they wanted to be from the outside, but now mitt romney is the candidate with the least amount of time in politics, and yet he is still the candidate of the establishment. he is just trying to show strength in that regard. >> megan, your father travelled extensively with joe laeberman and lindsay graham in '08, and now he's out in romney, do you see romney using the leaders as advisers in a similar way your dad did, or is there something else going on? >> yes, he is using him and taking my father's advice, and that's politics and what people do. when i was on the road with my father and senator laeb lieberman, and graham, they give political advice that comes in handy. they are those that have done this before, and it's doing nothing but helping mitt romney. >> sit tight, and we will be back with more from you.
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what are the three areas that you would make some reductions that people would feel some pain, and i would tell you it would be the bureaucrats at the department of can commerce and education that we're going do away with. it's getting a laugh every time. it's a redemmive moment for rick perry. you'll, of course, recall he couldn't remember the three federal agencies he wanted to abollish. he said whoops. now he did it the hard way. now for our third big three topic and that is the weekend warriors. meghan, beginning with you, a weekend of two debates and just two short days till new hampshire's primary. who do you think is looking the strongest and who do you think is in trouble? >> i think mitt romney has it locked and loaded and he's going
to be our next president and everybody else is going to be in trouble. >> do you agree with chris mathieus it will be five. if it's a funeral, who do you think it would be for? >> i think rick perry -- you know, he's over in every way. he's campaigned so hard. what's gone wrong. thing from here on out it's going to be a small process of everyone dropping out and mitt romney going on to be the next president and beating him in 2012. >> okay. so you could have a couple. how about you, erin? who's your take in who won the week and who's in trouble? >> mitt romney won the weekend. you know, he had a great debate last night. the candidates weren't going after him. they tried to this morning but they were just trying to compare who's been in politics longer, and it just didn't really work. his adviser said after the debate that he thinks he won because all of the other candidates knew it was their
last chance to attack him and it didn't really work, so i agree completely with meghan. i think the campaign is waiting to be over, going down in north carolina and florida and spending their money to lock this thing up early. as far as who's out. it looks like rick perry is not pulling very well at all. he's 1% in new hampshire and not even doing that well in south carolina where he's trying to make a stand. so i agree with meghan. it's mitt romney's to lose and rick perry seems to be out already. >> goldie, he said you can't count him out. do you think he's on his way to that status and that it will come down to a fight between mitt romney and rick santorum? >> i think my colleague has it right. i mean at the end f the day, mitt romney had a great weekend not because of what he did but
because of what others weren't able to do. if conservatives, diehard true conservatives are able to coalesce around a single candidate like a rick santorum, then this process gets a little bit longer. is mitt romney on a path to a nomination? yes. am i willing to reward it to him because he's taken away one state? no. i'd like to see the votes get tabulated before we call a winner but if conservatives come up and coalesce around a candidate other than mitt romney, then there's real trouble and this contest goes on a bit longer. >> okay. we have a couple must-reads go through. meghan has howard kufrt of "the daily beast" right? thumbs up? you think that's what people should read? >> i do. i think it's a great take on the debate. mitt romney is both a career politician and successful businessman. >> okay. we have goldie, "the washington
post." the gop finds itself stuck. i'm stuck with saying good-bye because we're so out of time. ladies, thank you so much. that's a wrapup of sundays with alex witt. we have a re-airing of the debate next. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at keller.edu. i have twins, 21 years old. each kid has their own path. they grow up, and they're out having their life. i really started to talk to them about the things that are important that they have to take ownership over. my name's colleen stiles, and my kids and i did our wills on legalzoom. [ shapiro ] we created legalzoom
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