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tv   The Daily Rundown  MSNBC  January 21, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EST

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2012, special two-hour edition, primary edition of "the daily rundown." i'm chuck todd. three hours to polls close in the state that it picked the presidential nominee in every election since 1980. mitt romney is acknowledging what days ago was unthinkable, he could lose to newt gingrich tonight. he knows the nomination is a dogfight after gingrich almost dared him to skip the debate in tampa. >> >> romney can't claim he's not prepared to debate. it would become a running joke. i'm confident he'll be there monday. >> we're going to come right through there. >> i'll be doing the debate on monday. yeah. >> not exactly emphatic but he's going to be there. all four qualified candidates will be there. romney is doing everything he
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can now to down play south carolina expectations. >> do you think you can beat newt here? >> it's always -- wow, it's always an uphill battle for me in south carolina. came in fourth last time. i'd love to come in first but we're making progress. we'll keep at it. >> there you go. as long as he doesn't finish fourth, he's made progress playing nice with reporters and even passed out pastries on the press plane last night. >> still some more of these cheesecake babies in there. >> he recorded personalized robo calls suffering to south carolina voters by name. >> hello walker family, it's mitt romney calling. today is election day in south carolina and we're down to the last minute so i'm calling today to ask for your vote. >> you know you have a lot of resources when -- unleashing a new attack on newt gingrich
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calling open him to release details of his contract with freddie mac tempting a bait and switch on his own tax return problem. >> he said he was a historian then he said he told them what they were doing was somehow not going to work. i'd like to see the report and what he told freddie mac. this is a big issue. washington insider talking about freddie mac. let's see what his report was. >> romney's campaign and the super pac supporting him spent $4.7 million on ads in south carolina. they bungled the expectations game though? ten days ago they were talking about going 3-0. four days ago the thought was they could go 3-0. then we found out about the certification in iowa. then newt gingrich and those debates happened and now it's about another fire wall which is something they had always had in the planning. always nervous about south carolina. so florida was always thought of as the second fire wall following new hampshire.
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we'll see if it holds up depending on what happens tonight. meanwhile, newt is surging in the polls and he's enjoying every minute of it for what could be the second resurrection of this campaign season, never mind all of the other ups and downs in his career. he relished a near face to face confrontation with romney at tommy's ham house. the face-off fizzled because romney pulled in 45 minutes early. >> where's mitt? i thought he would stay and we would have a debate here this morning. i find an awful lot of places like tommy's ham house to be sort of familiar. i don't think they serve new england clam chowder here. >> playing son of the south stuff. the romney campaign targeted his time at freddie mac and the
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ethics problems while speaker of the house. >> don't you love these guys, he doesn't -- wait, he doesn't release anything. he doesn't answer anything. and he's even confused on whether or not he will ever release anything. and then they decide to pick a fight over releasing stuff? >> ads highlighting gingrich's debate performance have been running on repeat. and gingrich is using the media as it's foil at every opportunity. >> i had an interesting dialogue monday night in myrtle beach with juan williams about the idea of work, which seemed to juan williams to be a strange, disstant concept. >> there is that other candidate, rick santorum and he was the other anti-romney in the race and trying to remind voters about gingrich's grandiosity. >> bouncing around different
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ideas but you're not a professor when you're the commander in chief of the country. you've got to have clear policies. people have to know why you believe them. >> santorum has lost a lot of steam. the number to watch for tonight with him is 25. if he can get up to 25, it's good news for mitt romney. if he's lingering in closer to 20, even in the high teens, it's good news for newt gingrich. heading into tonight. here's other things to watch for. turnout in 2008 over 445,000. will the rain keep some voters home? he van gel cals were 60% of the voters last time around. and women were 49% of the vote. how will they vote being reminded of newt's checkered history. then how does romney perform on the coast in the low country where mccain did well in 2008, charleston and myrtle beach? will he win by the mccain's
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margins and keep down the upstate vote. by the way today there have been heavy rains. there was even a tornado watch and then in those counties, all four were counties that mccain won four years ago. a lot of factors in the air as we have a few hours to go. newt gingrich is wrapping up an event in the upstate right now. it's one of his five stops across south carolina today. gingrich and mitt romney will be in the state capital this evening as the results come in and that's where we find our pals nbc's ron mott and peter alexander. they've been following both candidates. peter, let me start with you, the expectations game among romney's staff, what is it right now? >> well, first of all, we begin to say welcome back to the weather channel, we're getting hammered by weather. it is already having an impact on the turnout on this state, even as we speak to you we're
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hearing thunder overhead. it's starting to roll through the capital of this state. now mind you, we'll see what the impact that is as the hours go forward. but in terms of the romney campaign, the advisers have been trying to lower those expectations and the way they have done this by tempering the potential for a win, you have to look at what's going on in florida. today of course mitt romney's campaign said they will be there for the nbc news debate scheduled for monday evening. they have been on the air with ads as far back as january 3rd. they have spent millions there already and most notably, more than 170,000 people in the state have already filed absentee ballots. a lot of those ballots sent in before this gingrich surge they would point out to you, 170,000 is significant, especially when you consider the fact it's more than the total voters in the state of iowa. >> we also know the romney super pac has also been up with a lot of ads over the last week.
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ron mott, one of the differences between gingrich's resurrection and the lack of being able to stay on top was the super pac game. he had a super pac almost going toe to toe and financially almost toe to toe with romney and didn't fall as fast. how confident is the gingrich campaign tonight they are going to win? >> i think they are extremely confident, chuck in their chances for winning tonight. when you talk about the super pacs going toe to toe here, i think we should also point out that newt gingrich speaks the language of the folks, from georgia next door. he came down here sort of energized. we came down after new hampshire on his campaign seemed almost deflated and within three or four days the energy has changed. one thing i found kind of interesting, there were a lot of romney supporters there with their signs and i wanted to talk to them, anyone here from south
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carolina? we had one person out of the 30 or 40 people from south carolina. that maybe indicative of the fact that people have deserted the romney vote at least in the upstate there. newt gingrich got a big audience up there. we'll see if that pans out in the upstate in particular. newt gingrich is flying high. >> ron, let me follow with you, you spent a lot of time in florida doing lots of stuff for nbc, politics and nonpolitics. how similar and how different are parts of florida in your view to the type of florida republican voter and the south carolina republican voter? >> reporter: well, i think for newt gingrich going down there to stomp. his speech, that fiery rhetoric that played so well this week. he has to be careful how he plays that in florida. in the panhandle, that's good red meat for that ee lek tore at. in south florida, you have a different republican voter there. he has to walk the balance and
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change the tone to fit the audience, he has a good shot here. if he wins here he has to get organized quickly. florida is a big state. you have to do a lot of advertising on television and a lot of major markets down there. we'll see how he is able to navigate with the republican party. >> peter, you've already been down there to west palm and the southern part, that's where we're going to see romney spend a lot of time i believe is the southwest part of the state, fort myers and naples and southeast part of the state broward and palm beach. >> reporter: hoping to take advantage of a more moderate electorate. a lot of the moderates come across and vote for mitt romney, it's a different deal with florida. let me put up a photo that was tweeted. it is from tag romney, this is a photo with romney family to do chores before they go.
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doing laundry today, that's certainly a shot not a lot of people of familiar seeing. two don't exactly mesh for a lot of americans. >> the every man right there. >> washers and dryeres at the white house. >> get dry and get out of the lightning. thank you both. the republican race could be reshaped by what happened in south carolina today. what looked like a sprint could be turning into a marathon. we're going to talk about the road ahead. you're watching a special two-hour edition of "the daily reas rundown." no other place to be than the place for politics. we'll be right back. wake up!
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this is a wide open race. this race is going to go on for a long time. i'm excited about the prospects of it doing so. it's going to be a good thing for the process. i think it will be the best thing that can happen for the vul republican nominee. >> that of course was rick san store up in greenville, south carolina. is the nominating process going to go on for months? with me now, the chairman of the republican national committee, he was part of the team that put together this calendar. >> how are you, chuck? >> i'm good. nice to hear you there. >> i heard you the other day on "morning joe", you basically said it's six and one and a half or the other whether you would like a nominee in february or whether you're comfortable
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having -- the rommy plan is by april or whether you're comfortable waiting for most of the spring before you have one. >> yeah, i think it is -- you can find some benefits with bojesen air yoes, one may be a little easier to raise money early but we haven't been doing that bad when you compare our money raising to the dnc. other piece is the competition, the debates and the little bit of drama, it's been good for our party. it's not something i have to spin it this way to sound good. i think it's been -- it's good. it worked very well for barack obama and hillary clinton. we put everyone to sleep on our primary back in '08 with mccain. there was nothing to talk about for months and everyone was watching hillary and barack obama. he cleaned our clocks pl s pret much. they had all of the drama too. >> there's no doubt. that's a fair thing to point to.
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this issue of electability, how important is it when you go to rnc events and deal with the activi activists, is that the first thing you hear or is the first thing you hear, we can't have another quote, mccain, got to have somebody who's more conservative? >> no, the first thing i hear is that we've got to fire barack obama and save america. and i think that's the first thing on most people's minds. >> that's elect ablabilityelect. you hear that argument first? >> it's electability but i believe our candidates are electable over this president. first of all, you have to look at the fact when i president comes in for re-election, chuck, it's a job review of that president. that's number one. that's question one going into the voting both that americans are going to have. should he or shouldn't he be re-elected and did he meet the promises and standards he met? that's the first question. the second question is, okay, do
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we have a viable and articulate, intelligent alternative to barack obama. for that i'm confident that we will. >> what about this argument over quote/unquote baggage at both sides. you've got gingrich beating mitt romney up, both for his past ties to what he argues will be a preview of what's to come from the president. but the second thing has to do with his tax return. would you like to see romney sort of get this story line over with and release these things and not deal with the drama? >> first of all, chuck, you know, these candidates have to make number one their own decisions. they have to decide in the political climate they are in, what they need to do in order to win the nomination and they have to live with those decisions and voters make their decision based on what they see the candidates doing. as far as baggage is concerned, when someone releases their taxes and 20-year-old marriage stories, i don't think are any baggage compared to the 2 million people out of work and
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the mess barack obama has created in this country. with you're on the break on an economic collapse, that's baggage. when release your taxes and 20-year-old marriage stories, that's not baggage. that's something they will deal with. i think what the president has done to this country is what the story will be in november and what the americans will make their decision based on. >> you don't think that there are -- you don't think there are voters uncomfortable with gingrich's three marriages? >> i'm sure there are voters -- obviously we have a whole lot of people in america. i'm sure there are some people that are uncomfortable with a lot of things about many of the candidates on both sides of the aisle. no matter where they are in america. i think in the end what this election comes down to is not small ball. not going to come down to that. it's going to come down to the big picture. where we are on jobs and taxes and spending and deficit, all of
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the things that barack obama promised. we're going to hold barack obama according to the standard that barack obama set for himself. if he can meet the standard that he set for himself, then maybe he'll get re-elected but he's not going meet the standard he set for himself and i think he's going to be a one-term president. >> quick question about ron paul, have you had overtures with his supporters and people close to him doing things to make sure he stays in the party? are you worried about him going third party? does that brother you he will not completely shut the door on that? >> we communicate with ron paul's folks all the time. they love america and love our party. i'm not concerned one bit about that. i think that he cares a whole lot about beating barack obama and he's a republican. >> let me ask you about vote counting tonight. first of all, we saw what happened, the state party fully in charge in iowa. that was kind of a mess. do you wish there were some ways -- are you coming up with
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ways to fix that four years from now so we don't have a mess? >> i'm sure the folks in iowa are coming up with ways to make sure that doesn't happen. i think when you have a razor thin election like that, it brings out the things that need to be corrected. i know that matt straughn and the team in iowa are already back to work on making sure there's a system there that can handle such a close election. it's something that was brought out in this election and they dealt with it and are moving on. >> tonight is a hybrid, the state is kind of involved but so is the state party? are you confident in how the count will go tonight? >> absolutely. this is more or less the same sort of practice that you would have in any primary general election and states involved in the funding side and some in the operation. it's general lly the same kind election that most people are used to. >> reince priebus.
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you provided us with quite the calendar. >> it's better for our party in the end. >> i'll check back in with you. there's no football to watch anyway. >> what a tragedy. >> yes. there's an american tragedy. thanks. we've got a viewers guide, what to watch for tonight as the results start coming in from that pal met to state formerly known as the iodine state. in what year did the capital of south carolina move from charleston to columbia? perhaps the worst decision ever made if you're like us and wish we could be spending more time in charleston. tweet me the answer. the first correct answer gets a follow saturday for us. we'll be right back. people with a machine.
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i have to say, it's going to be easy to figure out tonight. south carolina is is a state we had two primaries and it will boil down to a few key counties. we have good historical context that sheds a lot of light at what's at play tonight. let's look at the '08 results. you see mccain went with 33% of the vote. this was of course, the number that romney was hoping to have. if you look at the conservative totals, you have basically 30% for huckabee. 15, 45% conservative and yet essentially 48% moderate if you assume the romney vote then was a little moderate though he was also playing to conservatives a little bit. this is the kind of breakdown, the way a mitt romney would win. that doesn't look like that will be the case. we have romney and huckabee counties here essentially.
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in the white are the romney counties. -- the mccain counties and you can see there we'll fix it later. charlton, low beach, the low country, these are where nonnative south carolinans live, greenville is the most conservative areas, these are huckabee counties as well. let's go down to the 2000 republican primary this was essentially a two-way race and those numbers are flipped a little bit, it was bush 53, mccain 41. we'll get this fixed up. you can see the bush counties it yellow, the only places where mccain won were in the coastal counties. this thing is romney not only has got to win the coast but win by big margins. that's what mccain did. gingrich, if he's winning tonight, he's gotting to winning
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in places like greenville and spartanburg. if you're looking for a swing area, right in the suburbs of columbia itself. we're going to be looking a lot of those counties around columbia. that will be one, alexandriail whoever wins wins the state and it's probably going to be a pattern again. upstate is expected to be big on gingrich. if romney is overperforming there, good night for romney. the coast should be a good place for mitt romney. in gingrich is overperforming, big veterans vote and they are a little split. no natural constituency the way there was for john mccain. eyes on the prize, ron paul's campaign is already looking past south carolina. in fact past florida, promising he's in it for the very long haul. how long does he hang on? we'll ask his campaign chairman who comes up next in our first
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welcome back to our coverage of the south carolina primary. ron paul has kept clear of cameras ahead of today's results leaving open questions about his own expectations tonight and the strategy for florida and beyond. for answers we're going to go to jesse benton. i hope you're dry. my apologies for the weather but there's nothing i can do about it. >> it's coming down hard but rain can't keep ron paul supporters home. >> i was going to say, in an odd way i assume that the lower the
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turnout, playing a numbers game here, the better for ron paul? fair enough? because your supporters are more fired up than the spofrters of the other candidates, may not be as big sometimes but those that come, come. >> you make a good point there. we have a lot of voter intensity for dr. paul. our performance speaks for itself. strong third place in new hampshire, strong second place in new hampshire and our surge from the low single digits to the mid to high teens doing very, very well. we didn't campaign down here. ron paul has been down here about five days. south carolina was never a focus for us. we're doing this grass roots and through straight enthusiasm. we're focused downstream on nevada, minnesota, maine, kansas, north dakota, washington, colorado, louisiana, those caucus states we're in to win. >> one of things you have this time you didn't have four years ago is money. and i think you were the second
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largest advertiser in new hampshire and i believe as far as campaigns are concerned, you may end up being second in south carolina. but you're essentially skipping florida, or are you? is that a fair way to put it? >> not skipping florida but we're not investing a lot of financial resources there. we're doing to do it all on grass roots and we'll get a lot of votes and make a mark in florida. you point out something that's correct is that we fund raise very, very well but we also don't have billionaire gambling moegles sending millions to super pacs. we raise our money $100 at a time from grass roots all around the country. we look at florida and look at the cal cue husband there, there's only 50 delegates, so investing 9 or $10 million didn't make a lot of sense. 28 delegates for 300 grand. we had a delegate focused strategy and we're crunching on
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winning delegates. >> one of the reasons you didn't invest in south carolina is any place where nonregistered republicans can participate or have same day voter registration, is that what the decision you make when it comes to investing in a state, for instance, florida will be a close primary, no same-day registration and it's a winner take all. >> that's part of it. dr. paul does very, very well. with conservatives and does very well with independents and brings independents and disaffected democrats into the republican party. that's a positive thing. we're proud of that. and just looking at flor darks like we said, 9 or $10 million for 50 delegates didn't make sense. we're focused on the long haul all the way to june. >> your campaign have been very critical of newt gingrich and rick perry when he was relevant
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in the race and critical of rick san store up. we don't see much criticism of mitt romney. why is that? >> well, takes an issue with that, we have four different television commercials with millions of dollars calling him a flip-flopper and hip krit. we're very critical of governor romney. he supported t.a.r.p. and obama care, all kinds of things like that. at the end of the day, dr. paul is committed to running a serious adult conversation based campaign on the issues that are important to americans and he's not just unnecessarily throwing elbows. we want to have a respectful debate. we're going to point out mitt romney's bad record and the things we think are out of step with what the american people want. >> is it fair you have a cordial relationship with romney's campaign than santorum or gingrich? >> i think that's fair to say. we disagree with governor romney on several key issues but he's a nice person and a gentleman and
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there's mutual respect. >> i have to ask the third party question simply because you never slam the door on it. why? >> there's virtually no chance he's going to run third party. >> there you go again. >> dr. paul doesn't like to run in absolutes. >> it's not going to happen, chuck. >> jesse benton. >> take care. campaign chair for the ron paul campaign, thanks for braving the weather for the outdoor live shot. we'll check in with you again. thank you, sir. >> thanks, chuck. south carolina may have tightened into a two-man race between romney and gingrich. but remember rick santorum won something this week, iowa. he says he's in the race for the long hall. joining me now, nbc's andrew raferty and it's been a tough week for mitt romney. he came into south carolina with a full head of steam but then of
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a sudden he found out he lost iowa and a lot of people thought that would be a little boost for rick santorum yet you have seen his crowds get smaller and smaller. >> that's right, we're at the cidtadel where he's going to take the stage. really for first time yesterday and today he's seen a level of enthusiasm that compared to iowa. he admitted earlier he didn't see the excitement around the candidacy, but a strong debate performance and rick perry leaving and mitt romney missteps starting to see a little surge comparing it to his finish in iowa. but again, running against the clock here. only a little bit of time to impact voters in south carolina to sway them to the santorum -- >> are they even playing an expectations game with you?
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>> well, they've been very quick to tame any expectations. you know, yesterday santorum compared south carolina to -- he said newt gingrich's iowa. this is the place where he planted his flagship and based his candidacy in. to do better than him, gingrich -- while santorum was in iowa. if gingrich pulls this out, we'll hear santorum go forward citing that it's one, one and one, all three of us have won one and now it's a very even re
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schedule for him going down to florida to calm rumors about -- it's kind of a sign to figure out this want how they want to play their strategy. >> andrew rafferty, thanks very much. let's turn to the romney campaign and headquarters in columbia, garrett, how did you pull this off? you got to stay dry and alexander has to go in the rain. we'll discuss that after the shot. in all seriously, personalized robo calls from the romney campaign. wow. >> reporter: i know you've got the sound we can listen to in a second. this is part of the whole operation. they was never a strong state for governor romney. they came in fourth here four years ago. they have been aggressively tamping down expectations that they would be able to win this
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thing outright but they are pretty well organized. this is a personalized robo calls that the romney campaign is using to reach to voters directly. take a listen. >> hello walker family, it's mitt romney calling. today is election day in south carolina and we're down to the last minute so i'm calling again to does for your vote. >> it's stunning, garrett, i have to say. that to me sounds like a campaign that's spending a lot of money and putting a lot of resources into trying to win this state tonight. >> reporter: it's interesting chuck, in north carolina there was one campaign headquarters. we had events in two separate campaign headquarters one in charlton and greenville and we'll be in columbia for the final event. all expectation modifications aside, these guys do have a presence here and big endorsements. they have had john mccain and
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nickky haley who is the only person who didn't get the memo about keeping expectations down. she was anticipating a win. why didn't we see him this week? the last couple of days? garre garrett, interesting day. >> south carolina voters are making their picks on our special two-hour primary day edition of "the daily reasundow we're heading south to the iconic doc's barbecue and their soup of the day is good stuff. catfish stew. how do you go wrong? you put everything in it, claim you throw catfish in it and you've got a great stew. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] let's level the playing field. take the privileged investing tools of wall street
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back to our special coverage. polls close at 7:00 p.m. eastern, just over two hours from now. robert costa with the national review and contributor to the kudlow report. robert tranum, an msnbc contributor. body language is the first clue you get on primary day. if you read the language for the romney campaign, they are bracing for a rough night. >> they are lowering expectations every time -- >> drastically. >> they are saying -- >> by the hour. >> getting sadder by the hour. internally they are hearing it's not going to be a good night. >> then you have the weather thing. nobody needed good weather more than mitt romney. >> absolutely. he needed a big turnout in the southern part of the state but to everyone's point, this is going to be newt's night.
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the question is how big -- my prediction is at least five or six points. >> we see the romney campaign setting up what they hope the debate is over the next week. instead of his bain and tax returns, we going to have gingrich again. let's do fannie mae. >> didn't he say he was going to release information about his relationship there? let's see what report he wrote for fannie mae and freddie mac? and what the contract looked like. i thought he said he was going to do that. let's have him describe his relationships in washington. >> look, smart way to attack, i think fannie and freddie, it's amazing how many repuican voters believe fanny and freddie is a boogy man and love to beat up on them so this is smart republican primary politics, is it not? >> i'm not sure.
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when you talk to voters on the trail, this is a question of sensibility. they are looking for someone who's going to be a fighter with barack obama -- >> that was south carolina. >> that's sort of the question. is it going to be florida too. >> i think so. i think what romney is trying to do is connect the dots. you know first it's a marital issues with newt gingrich. secondly it's fannie mae and thirdly it's the ethics. you see this person is not trustworthy, not a good republican from an ethical standpoint. >> this primary is about newt having big moments and going right at romney and right at obama. >> newt is the republican that everyone knows but mitt romney wants to make him the republican know one knows anything about behind closed doors. >> there's going to be debate whether did the romney campaign get sucked into a trap. i joked the other day, it's a trap. did they get sucked into the south carolina trap here? >> i don't think it's a trap.
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his whole argumentize a national candidate and will compete everyone. it's not the best territory. if he can come in close second that's still strong going into florida. >> newt is a southern -- doesn't speak like most southern applicati politicians. >> he's a southern politician and the south is the heart of the republican primary. >> you have to remember who things, he's a historian and secondly he claims he helped ronald reagan build the south in the 1980s. say whatever you want about his thoughts, he understands the south and to a certain degree he is a person of the south. >> i can't believe how the expectations have gone so much higher for newt if a half hour. >> we'll see what happens. >> the two roberts, thanks you both. what year did the capital of south carolina move from the great city of charleston to an okay city -- i like columbia, don't get me wrong? the answer was 1786 when they
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voted to move state capital to columbia, a centralized location. and my home state of florida, why do we have tallahassee as capital. central to nothing. you're watching "the daily rundown" only on msnbc. ...there are no sick days. ♪ vicks dayquil. defeats 5 cold & flu symptoms. [ snoring ] [ indistinct talking on tv ] [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] vicks nyquil cold and flu. the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got with a cold...medicine. ♪ the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption.
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once the polls close the candidates will be looking for results. joining us from columbia, ania, it's a little columbia but it's a lot the burbes of columbia. it is that area, the closest media market we have to a swing market. >> reporter: that's right. and columbia of course, actually has a democratic mayor, a black
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mayor, it's an area john mccain did pretty well last go-around and important for mitt romney to do well too if he has a hope of making this thing close to winning. they are lowering the expectations now. i was out with newt and that's going to be important for him to get the voters out in this really, really wet, dreary weather. they were certainly excited to see newt gingrich and he very much was excited himself. i covered him initially he was very all over the place in terms of his message, running late to events and going after bain and trying to be a populist. that didn't really work. it seems something really changed in terms of the energy of the crowds and who he was on the stump after those debate performances. in talking to people on the stump, they very much were talking about the debate performances and also talking about him being able to beat obama, which let's remember that was essentially romney's message as well. >> that's what's going to be fascinating tonight.
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not only how many south carolina voters say electability was the most important issue, but then how gingrich does among those who care the most about electability. the weather, it's clearly a factor. you know, just the anecdotal you're hearing from "washington post" reporters about turnout. >> reporter: yeah, i mean, i was at a couple of polling stations and it was a little light. it was very, very rainy, almost flooding in some areas that i saw, parking lots flooded. i think that's going to be a problem especially for romney, who let's face it, he has voters who are a little more mediocre in terms of their passion and energy. i think that could be a problem for him. again, newt gingrich seems to have a lot of energy and a lot of his supporters. we had a little face-off in terms of their supporters up in spartanburg earlier but i do
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think that will be a factor. as you said in the previous panel, lots of lowering the expectations of mitt romney. this happened in a number of hours. maybe 24, 36 hours this thing completely changed, caught ugs by surprise in the media and certainly romney's campaign. >> nia, it's going to be an interesting night. thanks for braving the weather. up next, even more of our special two-hour primary day edition of "the daily rundown." i'm talk to former governor pawlenty, a romney supporter. and don't forget on monday night, the nbc news republican presidential debate moderated by brian williams live from the university of south carolina that will be at 9:00, 8:00 central on nbc. we'll be right back with our continuing coverage of the south carolina primary. ♪
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we're down to four candidates and they are fighting in the fits. will south carolina republicans ruin romney's ride? could a gingrich win today make the road to nomination longer than anyone thought it would be? two hours until the polls close in a special edition of "the daily rundown." in minutes we'll talk to a romney supporter and former governor tim pawlenty. dnc chair debbie wasserman shultz next on the road to the republican nomination. craig melvin is live in columbia. craig, what are you hearing this hour, what we keep hearing is a lowering of expectations for mitt romney. >> reporter: i want to talk -- i heard you talking about it, we have new information on turnout
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specifically in the upstate. upstate going to be very important for newt gingrich, counties like greenville and pickens and spartan berg, 40% of voters tend too come from upstate south carolina. right now we're hearing the words record turnout thrown around in pickens county and also heavier than expected. that's despite a lot of rain that we've seen, tornado watches in effect for several counties as well. but the upstate right now again, when you start looking at the number of voters who are turning out, that's going to be very good news for newt gingrich. speak gs of some of the expectations you were talking about, political pundits, pollsters, probably more of them per capita in south carolina than any other state in this country. i've talked to a number of them today and they are saying pretty much the same thing. it's not a question of whether newt gingrich wins this thing, the question now is about how many percentage points and these are folks who have been in the trenches of republican politics
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in south carolina for many, many years. a lot of them say they are flat out stunned by what they have seen play out here in the palmetto state. >> you say seven days? it feels like the last 48 hours. >> reporter: it's true. >> it's been so dramatic. it's amazing what you're hearing about turnout up there. on the coast, not the same, is it? >> reporter: no. on the coast it's not. that's particularly interesting because the coastal areas have been especially important for mitt romney when you look at the previous polls, light to steady is what we're hearing along the coast, charleston county, the mid lands, the least conservative part, light to steady as well. when you start talking about running up the numbers. if you run up the numbers historically in the upper part of south carolina, you generally tend to do very well. if you look back to 2000 with
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the highest turnout, 70,000 primary voters the lion's share of those voters upstate south carolina. again, the assumption is if you see a lot of folks turning out to vote out there, they are very excited about the person that they are voting for. >> as you pointed out the greenville area is is the largest area of republicans in the state of south carolina. craig melvin in columbia. thank you very much, sir. it could be a long night for the candidates if the results are as close as the polling might suggest. a potential reality that may be settling in for the romney campaign. listen to romney this morning in greenville at a local restaurant. >> we'd like to win here of course but we got a long way to go. come join us in florida then in nevada and michigan, colorado, we've got a long way to go. >> joining us now romney supporter and former minnesota governor tim pawlenty.
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what does governor romney -- give you your first best shot at setting expectations. what does he have to do tonight? >> he hopes to win but if you step back from the sent. of the moment, he said it would be a uphill climb for him. if he could be somewhere at or near the top would a good result for mitt. looking at it as you've done at south carolina and how mitt might do there. pornlly, he has a campaign that's built to last. he's got momentum. he's going to continue to be the front-runner at or the front of the pack. he has a campaign that's built to go the distance and got the organization and resources to go down to florida and compete and win in florida and the states beyond. not all candidates can say that. >> one of the things that appears to have hurt romney over the past several days, is the fact two weeks ago he was put on the defensive about the days at
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bay bain capital. he seemed to be for a loss of words on what to do for his tax returns and seemed to be going back and forth. have you given advice to governor romney about how to handle the tax return question? >> i think he's been pretty clear. he said during the debate he will release his returns. number two, he's going to do it april or before. number three it will be for multiple years. >> governor -- >> to disclose -- >> he finally said that at the last answer. he said that at the last answer. he had about 17 other chances to say that and he didn't. do you think that not having a clear answer like you just said is -- was a little bit of a problem? >> well, i think obviously he's come out and clarified what he meant to say. it's very clear and more than ron paul who said he wouldn't release returns at all and more than newt gingrich who only released one year and rick
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santorum gave a nonanswer. he didn't say when or for how many years. ironically, mitt has made the most specific and aggressive commitment to disclose of any candidate on that stage. >> it's interesting, one of the reasons some analysts are giving particularly long-time republican analysts are giving to gingrich's rise in south carolina is that he speaks to this idea of resentment that maybe some republican primary voters particularly in the south have in general for the government and maybe for the obama administration. and that romney doesn't channel that anger as well. you were accused of that. being minnesota nice. this republican party today, it does seem to be a faction of it, that wants more aggressiveness. do you think romney needs to channel that more? >> if the republican party and conservative movement is looking for somebody who is an outsider to take on washington, d.c., the answer to that is not newt gingrich. he essentially lived his whole
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life in washington, d.c. or some derivative of it. mitt romney spent four years as governor of massachusetts and spent the rest of his life as a conservative successful business leader. if you want to ask and answer the question, how do you grow jobs? you don't go ask the politicians in washington, d.c., including newt gingrich. you ask people who have done that and grow businesses and provide jobs. there's one person on the stage who's not spent the bulk of his adult life in washington, d.c. and that's mitt romney. >> i understand your answer there. what about the passion issue? >> well, passion is important. mitt has passion but you have to have other things as well. you have to have a steadiness, a sturdiness and run the graunt let of the campaign and be president and be able to have the executive function and experience and leadership, not just be a legislator pushing buttons on lobbyist. he has the passion but he also
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has the other tools and assets you need to be a successful candidate. if you're going to take on barack obama and win the campaign and be president, day in and day out, week in and week out and you know full well what it requires, you can't be a peaks and valley kind of person. you have to have sturdiness and steadiness day in and day out. mitt romney has it, the other candidates don't. >> fair to say florida is a must win for governor romney. >> his campaign is built to last. this is going to be a long campaign and long road. he said that from the very begin being. i don't think you have to win any one state but you have to get to the magic number of delegates. what i do know for sure, mitt romney has the only campaign built to go the distance and he's going to be the nominee in my view. >> so you don't put florida in a must-win category? winner take all as far as delegates and big swing state, little more -- >> important state. >> little more of a diverse
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republican electorate. >> important state for sure but no one state is a do or die state for a candidate who has a campaign. florida is a very important state. mitt romney will do well. we're confident of that. >> governor tim pawlenty, a supporter and surrogate for governor romney's campaign. nice to see you. >> good to see you. coming up, congresswoman debbie wasserman shultz, of course she's the chair of the dnc. we'll get her take on today's actions and her party's plans for 2012. don't forget as the fight moves to florida, be sure to stay tuned for the post south carolina debate live on nbc, the broadcast network at 9:00 p.m. eastern monday night in tampa with our partners, the tampa daytimes and national journal. this is an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron,
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south carolina looks like it might be a photo finish, that could end with newt gingrich in the winner's circle, democrats seem to have a one track mind when it comes to who president obama will face in a general election. debbie wasserman shultz of the cha chairwoman of the democratic national committee. let me ask, we looked at the last five press releases on romney's name is mentions 76 times. >> only 76? >> we have 75 on the screen but we found even one more. gingrich is mentioned none. come on. you guys only have one person you're focused on, is that fair to say?
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>> well, you know, mitt romney has earned the scrutiny that he has gotten from us and from the rest of the republican field. and i think as you've seen his support on the republican side plummet here in south carolina, it's yet another reflection of what happened as election day approached in iowa, his support dropped and election day approach in new hampshire his support dropped. same thing in south carolina. the more people get to know mitt romney the less they like him. people want someone whots going to be transparent and honest and forthright with them. even middle class republican voters appear to be frustrated that mitt romney won't release his tax returns, that he refuses to actually be honest about what his job was and ceo of bain capital. he was a corporate raider. his job was to make money for his investors. he's gotten no track record of job creation, 47th out of 50
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governors of massachusetts. we want to make sure that the clear contrast is understood by the american voters. >> let me ask you this. it's interesting you say you think he's struggling because somehow it's transparency or things like that. there's another way to look at which may be not good for your party. romney is struggling with conservatives because he's viewed as too moderate. so he ends up as the nominee without being tagged as someone who is too conservative for the middle. are you concerned about that? >> oh, my gosh, mitt romney has spent the entire campaign trying to outright wing the rest of the republican field. he has the most extreme positions, particularly on immigration, he has the most extreme positions when it comes to senior citizens and medicare, supports ending medicare as we know it as they go down to florida and close up shop in south carolina while our campaign will continue to build
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grass roots support here. the 60% of the general election electorate made up of senior citizens, you're from south florida. they are not going to take too kindly to this republican field let by mitt romney that wants to end medicare as we know it and allow people to invest in social security in the stock market. that would not have worked out with the stock market ups and downs in the last few years. >> i don't want to make you play republican analyst here but you're from florida and follow a lot of elections there. from what you've watched of republicans in south carolina versus republicans in florida. what differences do you see? >> well, you know, i think that the republican electorate right now really has pretty much embraced extremism and that's true in south carolina. it's certainly true in florida. they have an extreme right wing tilt which is why all of the republican candidates running for president have not been able to get to the right far enough.
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i think that's going to be really tough for them when they have to try to send their nominee out and appeal to moderate and independent voters. like i said, our general election in florida, 60% of the voters that show up are senior citizens. seniors in florida and across the country put a high provide ort on making sure that the safety net that is social security and medicare will be there for them and republicans have pledged to yank it out from under them. that's going to be tough whether you're republican or democrat in florida. >> go back and put your other hat on as chairwoman of the dnc, do you want to see a long republican primary or short one? >> well, i think that it really doesn't much matter. while president obama is focused on being president and continuing to get the economy turn around. 22 straight months of job growth and making sure he can give a fair opportunity for everyone to succeed and not just the
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wealthiest most fortunate americans, we're at the campaign trying to make sure that voters understand the dramatic contrast that will exist between anyone the republicans nominate and president obama and congressional democrats quite frankly who have been fighting hard to make sure that this make or break moment for the middle class is one that everyone can take advantage of and not just the fortunate few. >> debbie wasserman shultz, the dreaded broward county -- i have to say that. chair of the democratic national committee. thanks for braving the rain. apologies for the weather and outdoor live shot. >> how does romney regroup after what's been a rough week? david gregory, moderator of "meet the press" will be here to help me break it down. a second hour question, little bonus, who was the last republican presidential kand date to lose in south carolina
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and end up the nominee i believe is what this question is supposed to be? tweet me the answer. the first correct answer will get a special super south carolina follow saturday from us. [ male announcer ] vicks nyquil cold and flu. the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got with a cold...medicine. ♪ 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
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♪ got you in a stranglehold, baby ♪ or a can of paint, you turned millions of votes, and hundreds of volunteer hours, into a real difference for over 100,000 people. what's next? tell us on facebook. it's safe to say mitt romney has faced better weeks. his lead in the south carolina polls has shrunk and maybe even completely disappeared and he found out he actually lost iowa. quite the week for mitt romney. joining me now is david gregory. mitt romney has had a rough -- it started two days before the new hampshire primary and his big win sort of they thought would make it all go away but it
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continued. >> there was a whole narrative. here was a guy cruising to the nomination. then you see things. the tax return issue is a couple of things. it's not being handled well in the campaign. it's a sign of chinks in the campaign armor. there's a bigger point, he talked about i want to win this thing. if i release this, people like the democrats will do something to pounce on this. what is in there that's going to be fodder for your rivals, particularly president obama and why is it you're not prepared to deal with all of that? i think it amplified some issues, do we want to slow this down? if you're a voter in south carolina, do we want to end this thing now. we have the capacity to do that or do we want to take a look at gingrich. i remember talking to voters in iowa and new hampshire. when they go to his events, this guy really needs his stuff. we need a really smart president. that's the most powerful part of the gingrich message and
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strategy. there does seem -- any vul nominee goes through these -- through a moment, the near death experience and everybody talks about it a lot. sometimes campaigns retool and sometimes they don't. obama's team did not. bush's team famously in 2000 did not. but reagan did and some others did. do we think romney -- if they retool what is it? >> let me go back. there was a retooling in 2000 in the bush campaign. ran a very idealogical campaign. >> they changed their tactic but not the people. that's what i mean. >> whether there's changes in the campaign matters less than how the candidate absorbs all of this and how mitt romney per severs, if he were to lose here, he has not gone 3-0, but he has gone 1 for 3 and he's in for a longer haul. i can't collect endorsements by established republicans and say this is game over.
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he has to grind it out a little bit and go in the debates and go in the offensive and draw real bright lines and not just keep his focus on obama. he'll have to engage a real rival. >> you saw him today, hey, release freddie mac -- but we've talked about this as we said our friend joe scarborough probably put it best. what he seems to be missing is this channelling of the angry republican conservative republican. >> this has always been a question for me. where is the tea party republican in 2012? we know where they were in 2010 in the mid-term elections that gave republicans a historic win and power in the house. where are they in 2012? because the reality is that all of that angst and anxiety and all of that anger has not been channelled or funneled into one candidate. it is still been an establishment figure in mitt romney who has been able to harness most of that support. why? because you've had conservative
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candidates who didn't look like they were ready to be that vessel and now maybe gingrich is for the time being the one who can get that. two things, if gingrich does win south carolina, i would think the most remarkable thing, he did it without the major players, right? we had jim demint sidelines and nikki haley put her out there for romney. he had nobody big. that makes you wonder. so these endorsements really are kind of meaningless? >> there's been a lot of criticisms by those who think romney will always have a hard time in south carolina and raised expectations -- and was -- look, whether he did that or not. when he won iowa and looked like he won iowa, won new hampshire, can't slow that train down and say who knows how we're going to do -- >> remember the week before iowa, he spent half of his time in iowa and half of the time in
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new hampshire. the expectation was he would do the same thing with the pairing of south carolina and florida. >> right. >> when he didn't do that, he sent the signal i'm in to win. and. >> he put the chips on table and now he has to try to win the bet. it's not clear he's going to do that. romney has fundamental problems that could make this a near death experience or make i am much stronger. connection with voters who are hurting and angry when the republican party is going to be fundamentally important. if he loses tonight, he has to grind it up. >> the establishment has been trickling towards romney, the rob portman and bob mcdonald, senator from ohio, governor from virginia, two running mate people potentially, do you think it speeds up for him or suddenly do they stop and say, maybe we ought to wait and look around? >> i think it could perhaps stall it a little bit. i think there's considerable
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unease in the establishment. we're talking about elected officials. >> even major fundrazors. >> who look at newt gingrich. where are the big backers of newt gingrich? they are not there. >> one guy. >> casino mogul. >> right they have not been there. i don't think they are necessarily going to show up. they may be impressed but there's a great deal of consternation about the prospect of him becoming the nominee. >> they remember the 1990 mid-term elections which they blame on newt gingrich. you'll have newt gingrich tomorrow? >> yes, we'll have special results and analysis on what tonight means and where we go with the campaign. >> all primaries should be on saturdays -- >> i know. >> makes "meet the press" so much better. >> we want to clarify something on our trivia question, who was
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better in '08. the voters i talked to pretty much to a man sort of brought up the tax return thing and said romney supporters said for the tax returns and the gingrich people agree with that of course. but it seems no one i talk to did the marriage issue come up at all unless i pressed them. gingrich may have gotten past that surprisingly this week for the next few days. >> it's fascinating, there's been different metrics out there and your former colleague, our friend of the show chris cillizza noted the top four google searches in south carolina all had to do about the marriage issue. you're saying most brought up taxes before that? >> it may be one of those things you don't tell a reporter i'm concerned about this but do google this at home. it would suggest he got past an issue -- if he told me gingrich's wife came out and
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talked about open marriage the week before the primary, we would agree that would not be a great thing for him. it looks like he may have been able to weather that here. >> the fact that he got to basically rebut before the interview aired was probably a big thing on that. timing can be everything in politics. perry bacon in columbia. good to talk to you, sir. south carolina may be viewed as a fire wall to stop or slowdown mitt romney. can they pull it off? robert livingston is from louisiana, he's backing newt gingrich and john braybender is a senior adviser to the santorum campaign. john, what do you got to do tonight? >> well, i think we have the easy night. i mean as you look at this, there's three states and this is a little bit like willy won ka, you better have a golden ticket to go on. last night it was announced that rick santorum won iowa. we have one of the tickets, one
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of the first three states. mitt romney won new hampshire, the only state where there was more independents that voted than republicans but does have the gold ticket. the pressure to see if he can play in a real republican state and newt gingrich's highest finish to date has been fourth place, behind rick santorum in the early two states. it's a lot of pressure to prove he deserves a golden ticket. >> congressman livingston, do you buy that -- >> that's a great explanation except he won then and newt is winning now. i expect newt to carry this primary. once he does, he goes into florida, a southern state ahead and or at least with momentum that rick santorum will not retrieve. i think he's out of the race in three weeks. >> have you felt any pressure gingrich has gone around the state calling a vote for santorum is a vote for romney,
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and the fact of the matter is, you do split up this. do you look at these primaries and caucuses and say, you add up the santorum number and gingrich number and that tells you what the conservative number is? >> i agree with the premise. first of all from the santorum standpoint what we want is a one on one match-up with romney. i think the fallacy comes in when you look at is gingrich as strong as a conservative. he has a lot of things like voting -- supporting mandates, like being for the wall street bailouts, questions that people have if he's truly a trusted conservative. obviously there's a lot of other issues he has to deal with. i believe ultimately people will say who is the trusted conservative to take on mitt romney. and we saw just last weekend for example, the evangelicals got together got behind rick santorum not newt gingrich.
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as we moved forward, we'll see more and more conservatives have concerns and look at newt gingrich as a risk. >> let me ask you about another concern congressman livington that he didn't bring up but romney's people bring up all the time, this idea that if gingrich is at the top of the ticket that could hurt republicans on ballot. we were having this conversation off camera and you were bringing up the reagan example. he has been the ahead of the party twice. he was certainly had an impact in '96 negatively and in '98 there's an argument it had a gative impact and ended up costing him the speakership. >> in '94, it was general newt gingrich who brought the republicans to the party. democrats controlled the house of representatives for 40 years. and because of newt gingrich who had the vision and grasp and the ability to project to the people, we ended up taking majority, which we kept for some
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time thereafter. newt gingrich was speaker of the house for four years. i'm astounded to hear rick santorum compares his record with speaker gingrich. it doesn't compare. under newt gingrich's leadership we balanced the budget and cut spending and cut programs and reduced taxes and brought in welfare reform. the fact is newt gingrich was a very con sefb tif speaker and he's going to be a conservative president when he wins the nomination and goes beyond. >> quickly john, i want to follow up. when you talk to the republican primary voter and i've heard people -- you bring up the issues, yeah, that does bother me but they also remember the good things. how do you combat that if you're rick santorum? >> i would be the last person to say newt gingrich didn't do a lot of good. but i would also say there's a lot of problematic things that we have to question do we want him as the nominee to take on barack obama. rick santorum's record is different than newt gingrich's.
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he was never up on ethics violations by way of example. as far as the '94 election, it wasn't newt gingrich that rallied the republicans it was bill clinton that rallied the republicans quite frankly. i don't want toe say to say newt gingrich hasn't done a lot of good. there's no doubt about it. i do believe as the republican nominee to take on barack obama, he brings so much risks to the table that we could squander an opportunity to take back the white house. >> what's the message being sent. if gingrich wins tonight and does it it without major favors, he does it with what john brought up, didn't have the support of evangelical -- >> i want to talk to that, i've talked to people in that meeting and in fact including the speaker of the house -- house of representatives of south carolina and others -- rick santorum did not win that. it was a split vote. newt did very well. rick is claiming that he is the
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victor there. newt gingrich has unique talents. he has the ability to speak over the press and over the people and show leadership -- over the opponents and speak directly to the people of the united states. they want a strong person to tackle the very difficult issues that we have today. he has that ability because he's turned the ship astate before. he can do it again. >> john brabender, john livingston, thank you both. polls close in 80 minutes. our south carolina primary political panel joins me next but first, the white house is closed so we checked in with tommy's ham house, pangasius fish, which is sort of like a catfish, i'll bet congressman livingston you know what that type of fish is in louisiana. you're watching "the daily
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rundown." south carolina is winning the food primary as far as all of us are concerned. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ you and me and the big old tree ♪ ♪ side by side, one, two, three ♪ ♪ count the birds in the big old tree ♪ ♪ la la la [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales.
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now, which do you suppose has better nutrition for you? mmm. great grains. the whole whole grain cereal. just over an hour the polls will close in south carolina. it's an early poll closing time. newt gingrich is about to kick off his fifth event of the day while team romney is working to lower expectations drastically. let's bring in you're super saturday panel, nbc news's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell, and the "washington post" chris cillizza is a a contributor and helpful partner to andrea and i.
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>> i try if i ever take a day off. >> you are a daily fix. >> i want to start with one thing we know, win or lose, the last two days have been w horrendous for mitt romney. we hear the issue on taxes and we put together this montage. it may be romney's problems in a nutshell right now. let's hear it. >> i doubt it. i will provide all of the financial information, which is an extraordinary pile of documents that show investments and so forth. i don't intend to release tax returns. >> i do remember when i was running against ted kennedy he wouldn't release his tax returns. >> it's not that hard to make a commitment if you're elected president of the united states you would release the tax returns. every president does. >> if i become president, i'll consider that. >> see what the future holds, i don't have any plans to release tax returns. >> we're showing a lot of exposure at this point and if i
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become our nominee, and what's happened in history people have released them about april of the coming year. that's probably what i'd do. >> if i'm the nominee, people want to seep the most recent year than have multiple releases of tax returns. we'll wait until the tax returns for the recent year are completed and release them. >> i don't know how many years i'll release, i'll look at what our documents are. and i'll release multiple years. >> all right. let's start with ramesh, we were part of this conversation, we basically kicked this conversation off if you will back in iowa by asking him this. look at that transformation, this is exactly i believe 30 days of -- it was i believe december 22nd when i asked him that. what are we up to, january 21st. this is his problem in a nutshell. >> i've spoken to a lot of republicans about this question for several weeks actually.
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and nobody can figure out what the strategy of the romney campaign is or if there is one. you've got to figure that he would be in better shape if he released it a month ago. he says he's not releasing them because he's afraid of being attacked which is a defensive post tour and being attacked for not doing it anyway. >> in your experience, when you see a candidate struggle with some issue like this, usually it's actually not a staff issue, usually it is a candidate issue, isn't it? >> i was interviewing governor zununu in south carolina. why hasn't he released it? ron paul hasn't released his and gave me a 20-second answer which actually dealt with it. you just did that in 20 seconds. why can't your candidate? he said i don't know. the fact is that jay carney teed up the question about george romney. >> the george romney -- >> the fact it was very smartly asked at that debate, you would
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think he could say more than maybe. i don't get it. >> i think chuck, to your point here, it does not seem to be a staff issue. the one thing we know -- even if they weren't -- >> sounds like a candidate issue. >> monday night when he fumbled about tax returns on thursday they were ready for it. he got asked it and he gave this -- in the past year i may come to -- it sounded -- here's what it is. it sounds like he's hiding something. i don't think he is but he's uncomfortable with something in there. i don't know whether it's his wealth. we know he's wealthy. >> teddy roosevelt, john kennedy. >> barack obama -- >> fdr, one other point here, newt gingrich could be vulnerable on taxes because the way rehe released his taxes, most of his income is sheltered and not revealed. >> through the foundation. so you could go after him on that if you were mitt romney but you can't if you haven't
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released your own tax returns. >> ramesh we're getting some things we can talk about on the exit polls but can't talk about anything that characterizes the race. a few things to let people know about. the percentage of republicans is lower participation, 71% of those that went to the polls today call themselves a republican, 26% independent. in 2008 it was 80 to 18. part of that is more independents maybe four years participated in the primary. >> and there was more going on in both parties at that time. the interesting numbers of course in addition to who wins and by how much. we'll want to see how evangelicals vote. >> and what the split is. that's something we're waiting on because it does characterize the race. >> andrea mitchell, one other nugget, two-thirds of those who went to the polls say the debates were either the most important issue or one of the most important issues. >> and there were a lot of late deciders going in. and debates would tell you that would certainly -- if those
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numbers hold up, that's good news for newt gingrich. >> andrea and i talked about this earlier, i continue to believe if there were not debates monday and thursday of this week, newt gingrich a mome candidate in south carolina, we had the same race we had a week ago. the debates -- >> what is the romney strategy going forward, if indeed he doesn't pull this off tonight? that's going to be after the break. trivia, we asked who was the last republican presidential nominee, of course we asked it a couple of times, to lose south carolina in general election? the answer and the answer for a lot of southern states, gerald ford in 19 76. that year a son of the south, jimmy carter won south carolina's electoral votes and the white house. a lot of southern states went for jimmy carter that year. ok! who gets occasional constipation,
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let's bring back the panel,
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rameesh, andrea mitchell. and chris soliza. the road ahead for mitt romney. how do they retool? >> they have to set aside any dream this was going to be a short race. they thought at the beginning of the week it could be over after something something and florida. now i think even if romney wins florida, this going to continue. he will have been weakened, assuming he loses south carolina and it's going to be a grinding fight for delegates. >> the conservative gut-check. the same race we thought that mitt romney was going to have when he started and he has this problem with conservatives. >> depending on the results tonight, rick santorum was not able to leverage the endorsement of the evangelicals and make new inroads. the fact that newt gingrich, i think romney has poured money into florida.
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one good thing from their standpoint is it is proportional delegate rewarding. >> it's winner take all here. florida is winner take all. last one for a while. >> but south carolina only gets half as many delegates because it pushed itself forward. >> the other thing to remember about florida, he think we always overlook, i know you, florida native, don't, it's the first closed primary. it's the first time it's only republicans. a florida republican and a south carolina republican -- ron paul is not going to be a factor. it shows you in a closed primary, if gingrich is able to wind up on top tonight, momentum carries him. let's see how far it carries him. organization matters. >> there has been no momentum state to state. >> newt's long-term problem is still money.
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does sheldon adelson keep writing the checks? >> i think writes another check. >> the debates do slow down after these two weeks. >> the big one on monday. >> that's what we're focused on. >> romney was outspending gingrich 2-1 in media in south carolina and debates trumped campaign dollars. >> amazing. >> 7:00 polls close. >> i've got hit a cue, that's it for the edition of "the daily rundown." i'll be live from tampa, it's monday, don't miss the nbc news national journal tampa bay times republican presidential debate with brian williams moderating live from the campus of the university of south florida, the only weekday primetime debate. stay tuned for our primetime coverage, kicks off in 20 seconds with chris matthews,
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