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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 4, 2012 6:00am-9:00am PST

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% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. the first test in the west, gop presidential contenders battle for nevada today. we are going to take you live to las vegas to get the morning line on who might be the big winner. on the jobs front, some good news for president obama. unemployment down again. how will this affect the 2012 campaign? will it change the message from either party? it's the most powerful snowstorm of this winter. it pounded colorado. now it is moving east. but how far will it reach? we are going to bring you a live report. it's super saturday. more than 24 hours from the big game. we will bring you some of the staggering numbers behind the super bowl. good morning, everyone. welcome.
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it's 9:00 a.m. here on the east and 6:00 a.m. on the west and get to what is happening out there. new twists in the presidential race hours before the nevada republican caucuses so let's go right to las vegas and ron mott with a good morning to you. what kind of a turnout are they expecting in first half? >> reporter: good morning to you, alex. we could see a pretty good turnout today especially among mormon voters. a recent poll showed 86% of americans surveyed identified them ses as mormon and caucus for mitt romney. he could have a big day today. start voting at 12:00 eastern. at least two of these gop presidential candidates tried to turn that to their advantage. with the nation's worst unemployment, nevada would seem the best place in the country to celebrate friday's dip in the national jobless rate. down 0.2 of 8.3% in january, the lowest level in three years. instead, republican front-runner mitt romney attacked the white
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house at a business round table in sparks, nevada. >> i believe the economy will come back. it always does. it has taken a lot longer than it should have to come back, in part, because the policies of this administration have not been helpful. they, in fact, have been harmful. for that the president deserves the blame that he'll receive in this campaign. >> reporter: romney's chief opponent former house speaker newt gingrich, also placed blame with the president saying in a statement, anemic growth is not growth. i believe the economy will begin to recover the day barack obama is voted out of office. gingrich linked romney and obama on health care and food stamps at a las vegas rally and sought to gain more mileage out of romney's recent comments about the poor. >> my goal, the exact opposite of governor romney. my goal is not to forget the poor and turn the safety net into a trampoline to allow the poor to rise and be like the rest of us and have a job and buy a house. >> reporter: rick santorum court
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votes elsewhere and rallying supporters in missouri which holds its primary on tuesday with a notable omission on the ballot. >> now we have an opportunity here in missouri to see how one-on-one contest between mitt romney and rick santorum would work out. so i would just encourage each and every one of you to take a good look at the two candidates. >> reporter: ron paul, meanwhile, told his backers in nevada so show the country on saturday. >> looks like a lot of energy and i always like to come to nevada because a lot of people out here still believe in liberty and that is what i like! >> reporter: that notable exception on the missouri ballot is newt gingrich. he is not on the ballot. not a lot of rest for these road candidates. between now and next saturday four other states will vote. noigs missouri, maine, colorado and minnesota. >> joining me for more on this is molly ball, a national political report with the
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atlantic and john harwood. good morning. >> good morning. >> ladies first. molly, the latest polls would show mitt romney well ahead in nevada. do the gingrich insiders say anything different to these numbers? gingrich spectacular. expectations at this point really second considering how little romn romney's organization but ron paul's organization. have that.
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that? he will keep trying. newt gingrich has a lot of pride and belief in his own ability and has essentially run his own campaign which is a big part of the campaign unless you have a big apparatus behind you and in terms of infrastructure you can't compete over the long-term for a nomination. what he does have is impressive rhetorical skill and ability to frame arguments and accident to attack the other side and better attacking when he is behind. one of the things to watch the next month is, a, how does he get oxygen, media attention without a bunch of debates which have fueled his campaign in the past, and how does he go after mitt romney, to what extent does he frame this as a relentlessly negative attack on romney to try to get some attention? because the more negative you are, the more attention you get. >> yeah. molly, let's focus specifically on nevada, because the unemployment rate in that state is 12.6% for a fifth straight
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year. nevada has had the highest rate of home foreclosure filings there. pessimistic, because of those things you're talking about. a lot of anxiety that one of these beat president around. that has doing better than nation. financing housing market crashed. the unemployment rate dropping candidates continue to blast the president on the economy. do you have any sort of hint that gop insiders are worried by this trend in the numbers?
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>> absolutely, they are worried. this is the worst kind of news for a party trying to kick somebody out of the white house. the candidates are going to try and figure out a way to twist arguments around to say, well, okay, yeah, this is good news. you know? you go for months attacking the president for bad news. look what just happened, it's his fault. then when the news is good, you say look what just happened but it would have been a lot better if not for what he was trying to do. speaker boehner put out a statement yesterday on behalf of the republicans saying the president's policies haven't worked as advertised. that's a lot different from saying they haven't worked at all. so it's particularly threatening to mitt romney, though, because mitt romney's argument is obama doesn't know what he is doing about the economy and i do. the better news you get and the more that's ratified by positive reaction, say, by the stock market had a robust day in the stock market yesterday, all of president. you, if this economic trend continues and
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how much president obama's path first. particularly what the trend is direction, . s trending for him. riding when the economy is terrible. to when you're cruising and picking up speed as you're going downhill. and if you really pick up speed, if you get a robust cruising.
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get. ahead. santorum campaigning in hannib hannibal, missouri. despite better numbers in december, unemployment is still a big problem. >> unemployment participation rate is the lowest in 30 years which means the unemployment rate is going to be down but it's going to be down as much because people are leaving the work force as opposed to joining -- getting jobs. >> today, rick santorum has campaign rallies scheduled in colorado. ron paul supporters greeted the candidate at a las vegas gun store last night. paul moved through the crowd signing autographs and posing for pictures. he then visited the leather neck club and backed a proposal to give v.a. benefits to filipinos who fought in world war ii. >> i think them not getting thanked or recognized they lost
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a lot of benefits and our government broke their promise. that needs to be rectified. >> paul was an air force flight surgeon during the 1960s. as for where the candidates are today, romney won't be in nevada. he is in colorado springs at a rally. rick santorum is also in colorado. newt gingrich is in las vegas. ron paul is in rochester, minnesota. today nevada caucus is the first voting contest in the west, by the way. here is how it all works. the registered gop voters will conduct party business including selecting local leaders and delegates. voters can then suggest any issues they want considered in the party platform. representatives for the candidate will then speak hoping those caucus goers will back their candidate and finally voters cast a ballot for their candidate of choice. when does this happen? the voters will begin caucusing at various times this morning and some as early as 8:00. officials will begin releasing results at 5:00 p.m. local time bull the doors are not going to close until 7:00 p.m. local time
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and that is 10:00 p.m. eastern. overseas this morning rising concern that israel may soon attack iran over its nuclear program. iran has started new military exercises after reports defense secretary leon panetta said israel could make a military strike soon. richard engel has the latest in tel aviv. >> reporter: in this climate, today a show of force from iran. the iranian revolutionary guard commanded directly by the supreme leader began military exercises in southern iran. on friday, the supreme leader issued an even more strident warning saying his government would remove the regime like a cancerus tumor and the united states would pay ten-fold for any military reaction against their program whether it was carried out by israel or the united states.
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the united states has said the best way to contain iran's nuclear program which iran insists is peaceful is through ongoing sanctions, not a direct military strike. alex? >> richard engel, thank you very much. in syria, activists say government forces killed more than 200 people in city of holmes today. the syrian government denies the assault. tunisia announced they will exspell exspell the ambassador over that. we will bring you a live report at the bottom of the hour, u.n. security council meets this hour on syria. stay with us here on "weekends with alex witt." [ female announcer ] experience dual-action power,
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♪ of course those nevada stats ahead of the caucuses. in colorado snowstorm today. snow drifts this morning towering as high as six feet in the rocky mountain foothills and likely to be a rocky travel day through denver. the storm forced cancellation of 600 flights and weather channel mike sidell is in the middle of it all.
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good morning. >> reporter: good morning. welcome to a record-setting snowfall. the biggest storm they have seen in denver in february. this is not the snowest time in the year. that's usually in the fall and march and april. 15 inches and still flaking and snowed 33 consecutive hours and stopped overnight a couple of hours and flaking again. 15 inches of snow is a lot of snow. their average in february is only 6. look at this. come back to the bushes. isn't this just beautiful? how it just falls off, alex? this is powder. oh, my gosh. ah! show you what it looked like yesterday before i nod off. the snow came down hard yesterday acre it's been snowing since thursday night. that is sometimes 2 to 3 inches an hour. highest total so far in the foothills west of denver in pine cliff, 50.5 inches. you mentioned the airport. a lot of delays and cancellations yesterday, 600. i saul the live shot from kusa and looks like a ghost town but
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folks will be coming out later. a beautiful scene out here. the ski resorts most of them west of the continental divide got little, if any, snow out of this. it was more front range, foothills and out towards nebraska and iowa. >> but it's enough to put some skis on. thank you for the happy picture that way, mike seidel. politics now. the nevada caucuses under way in a matter of hours. former house speaker newt gingrich is in las vegas. >> why is it you're so excited? is it you just think it's time? you're ready or are you positive about the outcome? >> i'm positive about the outcome. you know, governor romney has been here for five years campaigning and he is very
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organized and so are the ron paul supporters. our campaign, the gingrich campaign, is a grassroots effort and we're polling well and we are hoping that we come in second, that would be a big win for us. you know, our delegates are proportional here in nevada so if you win, place, or show, you'll go home with some se delegates. >> if newt gingrich loses by 20 points in nevada what do you think that means for him going forward? even though he says he is going to stay in it until the convention. >> i don't think there is any question he is going to stay through the convention. there's a lot of activity going on in the next month and in march as well. march could be a very good month for the speaker. so i don't look at the percentages as far as where he lands. he's here, he's given a great effort, he's been here for 20
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years off and on all throughout nevada and no strange to nevada and he speaks to conservatives' hearts. i believe is going to show very well today. >> sue, nothing that atracks the money like a winner. and we have nevada casino owner sheldon adelson a big supporter. do you give a sense speaker gingrich needs more money from him to compete effectively? >> i don't want to speak for speaker gingrich in regards to what mr. adelson might do or not do for him. but i know that the grassroots support is strong for him. he is going to have a lot of support in the south, a lot of support in texas, we're hoping, with governor perry throwing his support to the speaker. that's a lot of delegates there. this race is far from over. >> sue, i want to look at you and break down your support from your past, because in 2010 you
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lost to sharon engle and some suggest you were the more moderate candidate. is that true and if so, why did you pick beginning riff over romney? >> well, you know, we were all conservatives in that race and i don't know how i became the moderate in that race. but the tea party, surprisingly, frankly, went with sharon engle. i considered myself a tea party favorite and was very surprised with their endorsement of sharon engle. i've known the speaker for many, many years. and like i said he's been here in nevada. i remember the '90s when he, you know, was in charge of the republican revolution. i remember when we had a balanced budget in washington and we haven't had one since, by the way. i remember welfare reform -- there's a lot of good things he has done along the way and he has proven his leadership. >> it is nevada, right? not nevada? i hear nevada all the time and it makes me crazy!
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>> it makes us crazy here! >> all right. sue lowden, many thanks for your time. >> nice to be here. >> the best of office politics including what mitt romney and president obama have in common. we will have it for you here on "weekends with alex witt."
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guess who is there? nbc's craig melvin and he is joining me from indy from indy. how did you get so lucky? i know you. let's talk about the money and all of that. how much money is injected into the local economy? >> reporter: a whole heck of a lot. mayor of indianapolis greg ballard saying the impact on the city of indianapolis should be between $250,000 and $350 million. that's a whole lot of peek spending money the next few days. that's for the city. here is the thing, though. to get to indy, to actually watch the super bowl is going to cost you a great deal of money. the average ticket price, the average ticket price right now, $3,800. back in 1967, the first year the super bowl was played before it
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was even called the super bowl, the average ticket price was $9. the cheapest ticket we found on stubhub somewhere around1,900 and a few tickets still available. if you're wealthy, if you're rich, part of the 1% and you like to go in with a few of your buddies you can get a field level suite as well for about $650,000. the super bowl is an expensive venture for a lot of fans but for the city of indianapolis, it's going to be one heck of a windfall as well. >> you're going to come back, i understand, with more numbers and i'm just going to try to digest that $650,000 one you just threw out there. >> that's before you have flown and before you have eaten and found a place to stay well. >> wow! you got to love football for that one. thank you. >> see you soon. >> you can watch the pregame coverage of the super bowl that gets under way tomorrow at 2:00 eastern time. if you haven't heard the game will be streamed in its entirety
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." mitt romney is looking past this contest where he is favored to win. in a few hours he will leave for colorado to campaign ahead of tuesday's primary there. nbc campaign is gater hake. where are you? i can see it right there. venetian? you and your locations! we talk about the romney team which seems to be confident about nevada. what kind of reception is he getting there and what is the decision behind to leave nevada and hit colorado? >> you're absolutely right, alex. they are extremely confident how they are going to do in nevada. we had three events across the state yesterday in reno and then northern part of the state and back in las vegas. mormon vote here is a big deal
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which ron already mentioned. the second thing is people know him out here not as a governor of massachusetts and not even as much as a businessman but as the guy who saved the olympics next door. you find he gets better applause lines for all of the times he mentions the olympics. folks here, a bunch of voters yesterday i met drove in from salt lake city and wanted to see this guy again. he is well known out in the west. in regards to colorado it's a similar situation. another big western state and another state with a strong mormon population and another state that knows him as the guy who save the olympics. these are states that they think they can really build a bit of a firewall in february before newt gingrich gets a chance to get any wind back in his sails and win a couple of in a row. >> any concern about voter complacency? sometimes someone is so strongly projected to win, you know? nice day outside. you want to go do other things. you may worry about people actually going. >> sure. it's super bowl weekend in las vegas so obviously other things
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to do. they make a point of this at every stop. the lieutenant governor of nevada has been out with governor romney, he brackets romney every time he speaks saying we got to get people out. again, it is a caucus state so not like you can just show up and pull a lever. the machinery of the caulk he's here is weird. precincts open and close at different times. there is a big sort of voter education effort going on. we made a quick stop yesterday at a call center for romney. hundreds of volunteers in place. just trying to get people their information they need to get out to the polls on time and in the right spot. >> garrett haake, see you again. many thanks. new numbers out today. concerns are growing within the party about the infighting between presidential candidates romney and gingrich and how that could damage the party. a new hampshire poll out today shows what voting would look like if the general election were held today. look at this. president obama ten-point lead over romney, the republican front-runner. i'm joined by al, nice to see you again.
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good morning, al. >> hey, good morning, alex. good to be with you. >> let's talk about this new hampshire poll. you saw the numbers. obama is leading romney by ten points were that vote to be held today for the election. we are still a long way from november and give you that. does that poll raise alarms within the gop? do you think that is a valid snapshot of the sentiment across the country? >> yeah, probably is and it's bad news. you know, we were doing pretty well the first 10 or 12 debates and talking about our differences with the white house and with each other in terms of the issues, but it's gotten prim primal. it's gotten personal the last five or six debates. i think voters on both sides of the aisle don't like it and ever since that process started, you know, it's made a difference on results in the primary but it's also given the president an edge, and the sooner we get through the primal states the better we all are. the sooner the primary is over, the happier people like me will be because, obviously, the
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damage can be undone and there will be plenty of time to face the president and regain the ground that we have lost but we have lost ground to him, no doubt about it. >> al, a polster who conducted that new hampshire poll said, quote, the big thing is president obama has seen his approval numbers jump in new hampshire over the last several months despite or maybe because of the new hampshire republican primary. what is your take on that, especially when you look at the way new hampshire kind of is built up with its constituents? a lot of independents there. we know general elections come down to that group. >> yeah. new hampshire is one of the 14 or 15 so-called purple states that will decide the outcome. what happens in states like new hampshire we need to pay notice to. i'm confident there is plenty of time. once we select our nominee and band together that we can make up that difference, but we can't continue in this path for too long because we don't want to get to a point where it's
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irreversible. so it's worrisome. the candidates can hopefully, take notice and back to the early phase of the campaign they can concentrate on taking on the president and talking about their differences on the issues. we need to get past this primal states. >> the issues being the economy you know a major lining of the attack against the president has been the economy. look at january jobs report. this is showing unemployment now at 8.3%. that is the lowest in three years. so if -- a big if -- if that rate continues to drop, does that limit the amount of ammunition the gop has against him? >> that's an indicator and certainly one the white house will use but on the other side of the fence, one of the mainly indicators is how many people have lost hope and have stopped looking for work. how many people are underemployed? if you look at the intangibles and you go out there uneasiness and fears in the hearts of many americans that the opportunities are not there. look at the most impacted
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groups. our youth, our unemployment rate and people under 25 is over 20%. minorities, especially in our inner cities, over 20%, 25%. clearly, the constituency that obama supposed to feel strongest about is one that still very much impacted by this, as well as everyone else. he still has a lot of difficulties on his hands. >> al, can you give me a read on the hispanic vote? we know that vote was far away in favor of president obama four years ago. do you see any reason to believe that is going turn around and throw more support by the gop contender? >> it has to or we will lose. last time, the margins were too great. we couldn't make it up. as i said, we pretty much know the outcome whether we like that or not and what is going to happen on 35 states or so. . but look at the swing states. virginia, florida, colorado, new mexico, nevada where you are. all of these states have a significant hispanic population and if we don't get close to that 40% magic number for the
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gop, we're not going to win those states and if we don't win those states, we lose the election. it's a major challenge. i feel better about it today than i did six months ago. i think our candidates in the primary are taking a more reasonable stand on issues and i think they are coming across well. the turnout in florida in the hispanic community was high which is good news. we will see how the caucuses in nevada go. we will learn more in colorado. those are three key states so we will keep an eye on that. >> we will help you do that. al, thanks for joining us. appreciate it. join msnbc for live coverage of nevada caucuses. developing right now. activists in syria say at least 200 killed there in the government's deadliest crackdown to date. they reportedly unleashed barrage of military overnight and sending buildings up into
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flame. nbc's raymond modine is in cairo with the latest on this developing situation. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, alex. you know, it's been described by some of the eyewitnesses horrific and thousands of syrians took to streets in the city of holmes today. they are carrying funeral processions and burying some of the people who have been killed. it's, obviously, a situation disturbing. because journalists cannot get into the country and report on the ground very easily we have been relying really on amateur footage september out by the t activists to file the reports. some of the images are disturbing. it is described as a massacre. the deadliest day of syria's 11-month uprising against the rule of the president bashage al asaid. this footage which is not verify i said shows mortar shells falling on the city of holmes.
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hundreds were killed and more injured overnight and number is expected to rise. it was not clear what triggered the sudden escalation in violence but holmes has seen some of the most intense fighting between syrian government forces and military defectors known as the free syrian army. on saturday, the free syrian army reportedly carried out attacks on pro assad military positions in and around holmes and they may have instigated the onslaught. as the blood shed at the news desk inside syria, protesters outside the country demonstrated at syrian embassies in greece and london and australia. all eyes are shifting to new york where you mentioned the united nations security council will hold a rare weekend meeting to discuss a resolution that calls on president assad to step down but serious opposition from
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the russians. whether or not it gets the approval of all the members is yet to be seen. >> thank you. it is a stunning headline stemming from facebook becoming public, a stock offering. information and company documents uncovered by "the new york times" and financial times show that facebook cofounder mark zuckerberg plans to have symptom options with $5 billion and as a result he would reportedly owe $2 million in federal and state taxes and have one of the biggest individual tax bills in u.s. history! isn't he just 27? yikes! ♪ taking care of business it's all right taking care of business and working overtime workout ♪ [ female announcer ] sometimes a good deal turns out to be not such a good deal. but new bounty gives you value you can see. in this lab demo, one sheet of new bounty leaves this surface cleaner than two sheets of the leading ordinary brand. so you can clean this mess with half as many sheets.
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but no way it's 80 calories, right? no way. lady, i just drive the truck. right, there's no way right, right? have a nice day. [ male announcer ] 80 delicious calories. fiber one. i'm going to own my own restaurant. i want to be a volunteer firefighter. when i grow up, i want to write a novel. i want to go on a road trip. when i grow up, i'm going to go there. i want to fix up old houses. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. i want to fall in love again. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life. get this free travel bag when you join at it is caucus day in nevada. 50,000 gop voters expected to turn out to select their candidate. latest poll from the las vegas review journal shows mitt romney with a commanding lead. he is beating gingrich by about 20 points. joining us is jon ralston of the
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las vegas sun. give me an indication what is going on on the ground there. do you have a feeling this contest will be closer than expected? this 20-point margin would suggest a blowout. >> yeah. most people think and i do too that romney will win by a substantial margin. if it gets above 60,000 i think it will turn out. i think ron paul support is underrepresented in those polls and he could really challenge newt gingrich for second place which would be very bad, of course, for the former speaker. but there is almost no nobody who thinks that romney is going to lose. >> yeah. in fact, you spoke with both mitt romney and newt gingrich this week. you asked romney about that controversial comment about him saying he is not very concerned about the poor because there is a safety net. here is what he said to you. let's take a listen. >> jon, it was a misstatement.
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i misspoke. i've said something that is similar to that, but quite acceptable for a long time and you know when you do, i don't know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong and i misspoke. >> what did you mean to say? >> my primary focus is helping people get in the middle class and grow the middle class. >> how did you read that answer? >> well, i read it in a couple of ways. i was surprised to hear. i thought he was going to do what mitt romney is good at which is pivot and try to say it was out of context. but the second thing was it was so close, alex, to the time that he had said it it was out of context that clearly that explanation was not working for him. they were worried that the whole narrative of mitt romney out of touch and not able to relate to americans they wanted to get that off the table. of course, you can't unring a bell like that, especially when it's on tape as you well know, alex. they will use it in the fall
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certainly, the democrats will, without that little clip you just showed of him retracting the comment. >> exactly. they will be able to say, but you don't have the whole story and it's going to go back and forth so we expect that. how about your talk with newt gingrich? is he determined to ride this out to the end and go the convention? >> well, i asked him about that. and, of course, he put on as he always does his historian hat and told me about ronald reagan losing those primaries. he likes to compare him to ronald reagan. i do not think he is going to do that well here. if he does he has gotten beyond expectations. he has spent almost no time here until this week. it's clear from what he and his people are saying that he is at least his position now is that he is going all the way to the convention. >> okay. what about nevada politics in general? i know you've covered so much, jon, quite a long time. do you feel anything is different about this campaign season?
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>> well, what i feel is different is that the republican party is here trying to get its act together that it hasn't had for a while. they are still suffering the hangover harry reid in their sights and blowing the race nominating someone who could not win and in 2008 they were so disorganized the democrats swamped them in many races and barack obama won the state. they are trying to get their act together. we will see today the first indication whether they have their act together' can re run the caucus and have a turnout number beyond the 50,000 number you mentioned. the democrats turned out 116,000 in 2008. can they get it up over a hundred thousand? if they do that, then i think we may see some changes in this state. >> jon, many thanks. good to talk with you. >> you bet. it is a soundoff of sorts on the campaign trail for mitt romney and newt gingrich. they stopped using some of the songs at their rallies after the
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song writers complained they did not have permission to use them. "the new york times" says last month the gingrich campaign was accused twice of for using the "eye of the tiger." boom! here it comes! bring it back! bring it home! [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies, you get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. [ british accent ] i host a book club. so sexy... vaga had no tolerance for such dastardly deeds. finally... [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies, you get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. you want to hear you've done a good job. that's why i recommend a rinse like crest pro-health multi-protection. it helps you get a better dental check-up. so be ready for your next dental check-up. try any crest pro-health rinse. you walk into a conventional mattress
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in today's office politics, the best of my conversations with a view for the battle of the white house, the division in washington and a word from my boss. >> who's more likely to understand my problems? that's ultimately what it is. who is it that most understands my problems? and cares about the needs of people like me. that's ultimately that question and who wins that question usually becomes president. >> if you think the economy is going to come back, then obama did a good job. if it doesn't come back, then you'll get a guy who is a businessman, who looks like romney. >> i'm not a huge fan of the 1%/99% argument. there's no doubt we have an income inequality challenge in
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the country. i don't think it's healthy to pit people against each other. >> mitt romney was dog exactly what he everything dog. it wasn't his fault. he should be paying more. >> he's going along with the code. >> of course. >> people are in the top 1%, top 0.5% are going to have to accept higher tax rates, greater responsibility, greater sacrifice is part of what it means to be an american. his biggest challenge i think really is authenticity. i think people -- he has been unable i think effectively to explain and justify changing positions. >> it was funny. i was talking to former gore staffers, they're having flash backs watching mitt romney, feeling as if some of his connection problems are very similar to the same problems gore had with the american public. you can't fake it either. romney has to figure out how to take this maybe weakness, a perceived weakness and figure out how to make it a strength. this is what i do, i'm a fix-it
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guy. >> a simple answer, yes, can we be doing better? you better believe it. with four more years i will make it better. >> i think the challenge both obama and romney have, personalitywise, they're very much alike, they're analytical, spending time with both of them, they're not heart guys. they're head guys. the public wants a populist. neither romney nor obama do pop lynx well. >> people say, are you related to lennon? remember what lennon said. this is a distillation of everything you said at the beginning, if the rich are unhappy, it's their own fault, okay? that's lennon's methodology. i completely subscribe to that. i don't want to make too light, lennon had the quote, like really horrible. >> if republicans feel enough pressure back in their districts, meaning their
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constituents and even tough democratic opponents i think you could find a mass of energy creating, we've got to come back and do something. >> in the last 40 or 50 years ushgs however, i'm not seen it as bad as it is is now. and i think what happened is, it's got a lot to do with campaign finance. because these characters have to dial for dollars and they go home on the weekends, it used to be that they stayed in washington on the weekends. they would play poker together. they would drink together. they would form friendships across party lines. their wives stayed in washington. and, as a result, you had relationships that built. >> we've got to be unique. we've got to be different. how do we make our world better? how do we make our country better? how do we make our politics better? how do we make what we do better? that's what it's about. you come to us and you know it's wild and it's interesting and it's -- you're going to learn something. that's what msnbc should be, and i think that's what we're doing. and what the other guys aren't dog as well. >> i see a couple of pictures of
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you interviewing the president. do you get nervous doing something like that? >> oh, i always get nervous. it's one of those, there's no room for error. you mess up, the network may yank you, it could be a career killer. >> it sounds cliche, but it's my children. i want to be with them -- they're now 14 and 16. i hate it. i dread it already. >> why? terrible teens? >> no. i don't want them ever oust house. now he's 4, about to turn 5, my daughter, she didn't like me gone all the time before, but this time it's harder, i've got both of them on me. now you're talking to both of them on the phone each night. when are you coming home? when are you coming home? >> they are just such a big part of my life, i just hate the idea of them getting older. i go to every game, we spend our time together. it's powerful. >> yes, of course family matters most at home, my kids at home, too, and in the office. our office politics continues next weekend.
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they are adversaries on the campaign trail, but are they? are mitt romney and ron paul a political odd couple? that's ahead. >> plus, a challenge to president obama's chachbss for reelection and it may be bigger than the entire gop combined. and it's a dawning of a new era at the super bowl, the arrival of a new way for you to enjoy the game. we'll share here on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ ♪ you and me and the big old tree ♪ ♪ side by side, one, two, three ♪
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west. the gop caucuses in nevada today, in a las vegas church newt gingrich went after mitt romney again for those comments romney made about the very poor because they have a government safety net. romney has since said the comment was a misstatement. well, here's newt gingrich. >> at least one of my opponents doesn't seem to think he should be concerned about the poor, except after he got beaten up about it he decided he really was concerned about the poor and didn't mean to say he wasn't concerned about the poor because if he had said that it wouldn't have been right so thereof he never quite said it even if he did. >> ron paul is is defending romney's comments on the poort. here's what he said during an interview on cnn. >> i don't believe for a minute that if mitt romney was sitting here, if he released everything in his heart, he says, you know what? the truth is, i really don't care about poor people. >> no. but -- >> that isn't -- >> but what he did say -- >> a new poll shows president obama ahead of all the gop candidates in new hampshire, the
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president leading mitt romney by 10 points, newt gingrich by 25, rick santorum by 21, ron paul by 8. and for today, romney and santorum will campaign in colorado. ron paul has two town halls in minnesota. let's get a check on how things are going in nevada. nbc's ron mott is in las vegas with us. there at the venetian, i can see the waters there of the faux canal behind you, how are things going right now? >> reporter: hey, alex. good morning. we at the media love a good horse race, but here in nevada we may not actually get one. this could be a runaway victory for mitt romney. he won here four years ago, most expectations are that he'll win again, largely because there is such a large mormon population here. 87% of those surveyed said they'll caucus for mitt romney. two key issues on the caucusgoers on their minds,
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housing market and the jobs, both in crisis in nevada. nevada has the nation's worst unemployment. yesterday we got a down-tick in the unemployment rate down to 8.3%, not anything to celebrate according to romney and gingrich. both punch president obama hard on the economy and gingrich put in a shot or two at mitt romney. listen to this. >> this recovery has been slower than it should have been. people have been suffering longer than they should have had to suffer. will it get better? i think it will get better. i don't know how long it's going to take. >> i want to pit paychecks against food stamps and i want every american to have a paycheck. we now know governor romney joins obama, obama is big food stamp, he's little food stamp but they both think food stamps are okay. >> reporter: we're going to see a lot of those similar punches going forward. now, not a lot of rest for these world-weary candidates. fourory states vote between now and next saturday including maine, missouri colorado.
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>> ron mott, appreciate that. as we said, the gop candidates already turning their focus to the next big contest, the colorado and minnesota caucuses, along with the missouri primary. they all take place this tuesday, february 7th. then on february 28th, arizona and michigan will be holding their primaries. then comes super tuesday. look at all those states on march 6th. they'll reveal some key states holding their contests, including ohio and virginia. joichbing me in studio, erin mcpipe, reporter with real clear politics. usually you're in d.c. glad you're here. good morning. >> good morning. >> this latest las vegas journal review poll, it shows romney with a 45% edge, gingrich coming in second with 25%. put this in context for me in terms of how crucial nevada is it is. when you look at these numbers, you're thinking, okay, check, romney, move on. >> romney won nevada four years ago, and everyone expects that he's going to win it again it's
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really not crucial. it's surprising the other candidates even campaigned there because last time they didn't. they just expected romney to win. it's really a beauty contest, the more crucial contests are coming later, like super tuesday. >> and he wins because we've talked about the mormon vote. there's a large mormon representation there and they're going to go for romney. >> it's about 6% of the population, but it's about a quarter of the republican electorate in the caucuses, and that part is important. >> i mentioned some of the key contests leading up to super tuesday, newt gingrich and his interpretation of those contests, ones that he can win. do you see that he might take some of these contests and that would still give him a chance? >> not unless some sort of meltdown happens with one of the other campaigns. he's running a southern strategy so there's some other states voting super tuesday in the south that they're looking toward, also texas further on in the calendar. but really if you look into their political memos, it's all the southern states that are
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later in this count. >> now, speaking of the south, there is a report in politico today that mitt romney's debate coach for those two debates he did well in in florida, that he's splitting with the campaign. it suggests in this article it's because of last week's "new york times" advisers taking credit for romney's big win in florida and there might be some political infighting. what do you know about this? >> well, i do know that some of the big part of the brain trust in boston are romney's headquarters is are angry some of the advisers have taken credit. that's brett o'donnell who did a good thing for romney, made him a much better debater. but the media reaction was really organic. i was in the press rooms when we thought, wow, what got into this guy? he's so much better. but mitt romney himself was angry, we heard, about this report and said, look, i'm the candidate. it's supposed to be me dog thin, not just the advisers making me.
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>> so it came from him. >> really? that's interesting. you talk about being on the campaign trail, which you've been for a number of weeks now. what's your biggest takeaway when you analyze the organizations, different campaign structures? >> we all talk about how romney has the best organization, and that's true. his campaign has really gamed out a long strategy. you can tell they're thinking about decisions weeks in advance. whereas the other campaigns are more adaptable, but they don't have these long strategies. you know, when you ask a certain question to the romney campaign, they know whether or not they want to answer it based on their long-held strategy. so it helps him going forward that they've thought this out. >> you're going to help us going forward, little lady. be around with the big three. thank you. when does all this happen? the vote errs will be caucusing early this morning. results will begin at 5:00 p.m. local time. doors will not close until 7:00 local time, 10:00 eastern. be sure to join msnbc for all of
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our live coverage of the nevada caucuses beginning at 6:00 eastern with the returns analysis and reactions. president obama used his weekly address to push a plan that would help struggling homeowners. the president says he'll ask congress to give certain homeowners an easier path to refinance mortgages at historically low rates. he admits the economy takes time to fully bounce back. but this will help the future. >> what this plan will do is help millions of responsible homeowners who make their payments every month but until now couldn't refinance because their home values kept dropping or they got wrapped up in too much red tape. >> the housing crisis has been the single largest drag on the recoffey from the recession. iran is reacting with a military show of force today to the reports that israel might soon attack its nuclear sites. iran's supreme leader has called israel a cancer and warned the u.s. it would face attack if iran is the target of military
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strikes and he has ordered new military exercises that started just this morning. we are in tehran. good day to you and good evening your time, ali. what's the latest from there? >> reporter: that's right, alex. the supreme leader delivered a fiery sermon yesterday during holiday prayer saying any attack by israel on iran's nuclear facilities would be devastating for the united states. he said if israel was to attack iran's nuclear facilities, it would be targeted ten times over. he also pledged to aid any nation or group that challenges israel. and in an apparent reference to iran's forces headed by hezbollah suggesting they could be given the green light to renew attacks on israel as the standoff between these two continues. also, iran's oil minister today says that iran would cut off oil supplies to european countries because of the ban on oil sanctions from iran.
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also, he said if iran is stopped from selling even one drop of oil, they wouldn't backpedal on their nuclear program. as you said, iran's very powerful revolutionary guard started military drills in the south of the country this morgue, which are due to last up to a month. alex? >> so ali you addressed something about the sanctions, but what about any potential talks? could that head off this confrontation? >> reporter: well, iran has said that they're open to talks without preconditions, but the big elephant in the room is uranium enrichment. iran says it won't back down on uranium enrichment. that's a precondition that the west wants to reignite talks. so it's going to be very hard to overcome that huge stumbling block of uranium enrichment. iran says it's its sovereign right and the west says they have no need to do that unless they want to produce a nuclear weapon. so it's a major point of contention. >> nbc's ali aruoiz, thanks.
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activists in syria says government forces killed 200 in homs today. the united nations security council is meeting this morning to discuss a draft resolution on syria. if approved, it would back an arab league call for bashar al assad to step down. tens of thousands gathered in moscow calling for change in russia. people carried signs demanding free elections. allegations of electoral fraud triggered demonstrations back in december. one person is dead, two others injured in coleville, california, after a propane gas explosion in a housing unit near a marine corps training base. that blast damaged seven residences, 38 families forced from their homes. it is still unclear what caused that blast. the campaign trail's odd couple and what mitt romney has to gain by playing nice with ron paul, here on "weekends with alex witt."
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republican presidential candidate rick santorum picked up an important endorsement in nevada heading into today's caucuses. santorum was campaigning in missouri yesterday as former nevada senate candidate and tea party favorite sharron angle announced her support. joining me from reno, nevada, is sharron angle. good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> well, i'm glad you're here. i want to talk with you about what you did coming out with your support for rick santorum. how much help do you think that might be in today's caucuses? >> i don't know. we're pretty independent voters here in nevada, and one person's opinion doesn't necessarily
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shape a whole group of people's opinion. so we're going to go to caucus this morning. we're going to look at the best of the best, and we can't vote for all four so we're going to have to choose the one that most closely aligns with our principles. that's what nevadans are doing today. >> if you look at the latest poll numbers, they're not all that encouraging for your candidate rick santorum. do you expect some potential surprises here? >> i always expect surprises in neve. we certainly had one in 2010. what we're going to look at now is just how well these candidates can do. and, as you know, i've always been a come-from-behind candidate so that doesn't worry me about backing someone that i think most closely aligns with my principles and just waiting to see what the voters of nevada say. >> is is that why you did not throw your support behind the two presumed front-runners, mitt romney, newt gingrich? do you not see them as fitting the tea party mold? >> i don't know what the tea
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party mold really looks like. what we're talking about when we talk about tea party is conservative main street america. and what we want is someone who will grab ahold of fiscal conservatism as well as social conservatism, understanding that here in nevada we have the highest rate of unemployment, the highest rate of foreclosures. we're worried about the price of gas that we put in our car, and we want someone who's concerned about those things as well. so lower taxes, less government regulation. who's going to fight the hardest for what we need right here in neve? >> you mentioned those fiscal concerns. that's one certainly big part of it. but how difficult might it be for the gop to use the economy as an overall issue against president obama if you have unemployment numbers dropping consistently up to the conventions and eventually november? >> they have dropped this month, but, as you know, the cbo is predicting that they'll rise again by the end of the year. it's going to be 8.9% going into 2013 as high as 9.2%.
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so this may be just a lull. also, we're looking at those numbers and understanding that 1.2 million people in this united states have quit looking for jobs. so it's dismal, and here in nevada as you know, we're at 12.6% as of december. so we don't see much of an uptick. we're still holding president obama very accountable for the things that he said about nevada, don't go to nevada because it's a junket is what he said. and when he did that, it really put our economy in the tank and we're still holding him accountable for that. >> sharron, tell me how you feel this 12.6% unemployment. i mean, how does that translate? is it just -- tell me. tell me. where do you have the most hard hit? >> i think new jobs, people coming onto the job market are unable to find good, well-paying jobs. they're having to settle for temporary jobs, hoping that
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somehow the economy will uptick enough to where they can get into a permanent position that offers some security. we have, of course, just like the national average, young people are looking for jobs, people are retiring early. things that weren't happening before are happening here in nevada. and of course as a service-oriented state -- >> tourism, yeah. >> -- where we love people to come and visit us, those jobs aren't necessarily jobs that have a great potential for earnings. and so we are suffering. because of that suffering, we are losing our homes, as i said, we have the highest foreclosure rate. and when the job market begins to pick up, i think that's when nevadans will really say, yes, there is an uptick in the economy. >> okay. well, rick santorum supporter sharron angle, many thanksor to being with us. >> you're welcome. thank you. as we talk about the new unemployment numbers, they show a decline in the jobless rate. we're going to talk with debbie wasserman schultz coming up here
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on "weekend with alex witt." ♪ the best things in life are free ♪
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♪ but when we found work the little money coming worked out well ♪ tech watch, gone are the days of needing a television or ticket to watch the super bowl. tomorrow's big game will be the first to be streamed live on the internet and on smartphones. you can all catch the game on nbc or and if you're on the go and you are a verizon wireless smartphone customer, you can watch the game, too. let's go back to politics. the decisions made in nevada caulk uses today play have a lot to do with the economic hard times there. but the state appears to be on the mend. las vegas is struggling to recover from the recession, nevada with the highest
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unemployment and highest foreclosure rate in the country. but the picture is improving. joining me is the business reporter for the las vegas sun. good morning. >> good morning. >> let's talk about unemployment first. as we know, the highest in the country there in your state, more than 12%. but talk about the signs that it's getting better. what are you seeing? >> well, the one thing that's really good for las vegas is is is, of course, the tourism is coming back. we've had probably about 20 straight months of percentage increases in visitors coming to las vegas. that always bodes well in terms of adding jobs, adding to the economy, just generally it's looking a lot better. >> what about the all-critical housing, though? has that hit bottom yet? >> it has not. that's -- that's the big worry about things right now. you know, we've got so many homes in foreclosure. i think there are two out of every three persons under water in their homes right now. that's a very big problem, of
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course, and then the fact that unemployment is is as high as it is is. things aren't seeming to get it any better on that front. >> yeah. >> the one gold lining of course is is the tourism. >> well, that is good. when you think about tourism, of course, in las vegas you think about casinos and gambling which accounts for about a thirld of the state's overall economy. how does that stand right now? >> right. well, the fact is that there's a lot of marketing to try to get people in here. there are a lot of special events on the calendar. people are starting to come back. people in other parts of the country look at their own economies and say, gee, where things are doing better, let's take a trip, go to las vegas. and they do that. >> what about things like conventions? is that one way you can gauge whether or not tourism is coming back? >> right. conventions are doing very well. last month we had the consumer electronics show. >> right. >> probably one of the biggest we've ever had. we've got a number of big conventions on the horizon, a
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big fashion convention coming into town this month. of course, the super bowl this weekend is is going to bring 286,000 people to las vegas so that's really important in terms of things overall. but the calendar is pretty full up until about the middle of summer when things start to get hot around here. then it's not quite as good. >> i think your room occupancy rate right now because of this weekend something like 87% so that's a pretty good number to focus on. with regard to the shows really quick, is is that something as well, the shows? are you seeing an uptick that way? >> uptick in shows, uptick in the high-end restaurants, things like that, shopping. all that is on the mend here in las vegas. but, you know, look at that occupancy rate, and that kind of tells the story there. >> rick va lotta, thanks for furthering the story for us. presh it. the battle over music on the campaign trail. why musicians are telling certain candidates to stop using their songs. that story in our next hour here on "weekends with alex witt."
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and welcome back to "weekends with alex witt" and the final hours now before the nevada caucuses. the candidates are spread out tloutd several western states. a confident mitt romney is in colorado today, attended an event in henderson, nevada last night. he plans to return to nevada for a party. gingrich remains in las vegas, rick santorum is in colorado. he spent friday campaigning in missouri which holds a nonbinding primary on tuesday. and ron paul is in minnesota. he's going to hold several town halls there today. he greeted locals at a gun store in las vegas last night. strategy talk, a new number
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showing signs of life in the economy. 243,000 jobs were created in january, the fastest pace in it nine months, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%. joining me now, nbc news political analyst ed rendell and presidential historian and director of the university of virginia center for politics larry saab atoe. good to see you both. >> good morning. >> governor, let's talk about the unemployment numbers now. what does 8.3% unemployment feel like in pennsylvania versus 8.5%, what it was last month? do you feel a difference there in your state? >> no. there's no noticeable difference, but it's the spin, it's people like us talking about, the newspapers. and if we're headed in the right direction by november, that's the important thing. when ronald reagan ran for reelection, unemployment was still pretty high. but it had come down. it was headed in the right direction. he could say that we could see morning in america again. it's the trend lines that are almost more important than
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anything else. there's no appreciable difference in that drop, but there is -- 234,000 jobs when we were expecting 120,000, that's real good news. >> i take it from your trend line you talk about, governor, does this make president obama's path to reelection a lot clearer if it stay onz this trend? >> sure. that's the key, if it stays on the trend. if we keep going down and we're around 8%, 7.9%, it's a great case for the president to say, look, we stayed the course, we hung in there, we bailed out the auto industry, we're going in the right direction. our plan is working. >> yelarry, let's talk about a poll coming out of the state of new hampshire showing the president beating his closest rival by ten points. i want to read a line from the accompanying article. the big thing is it president obama has seen his approval numbers jump in new hampshire over the last several months despite or maybe because of the new hampshire republican primary.
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are you surprised, larry, by the numbers we're reading here? and do you think folks in new hampshire are turning to the president because the gop contenders are just beating each other up? >> i'll tell you, alex, that poll really caught my attention. i think it caught the attention of a lot of people in the political community. why? because, assuming romney is the nominee, as most of us do, that would have been the first state, new hampshire would have been the first state that i think we would have switched from the obama column into the romney column. i'm leaving aside the obvious, which is indiana, north carolina probably will switch back to republican in the fall. but new hampshire being right next door to massachusetts, that should be a romney state. if these numbers hold -- and, you know, the governor said if, if, if on the economy. i'm going to say if, if, if on the polls because polls change just like the economy. but that a real warning sign for the republicans. >> okay. but beyond the if, governor, give me a percentage number, with the kind of economic trend
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we've been seeing the past few months, do you think the president is better than 50/50 to win reelection if this trend continues? >> oh, if this trend continues i'd say he's 75%, 80% likely to win the reelection. >> wow, that confident? >> well, two things. as you pointed out in your question to larry, the public and independent voters have seen a veritable clown show from last summer until today. it's a clown show of clownish candidates. even the good candidates making mistakes, saying things that make no sense. the president just has benefitted by doing nothing. >> you know, larry, i want to pick up, you talk about north carolina and indiana. what about ohio, pennsylvania, governor rendell's state, what do you see happening there? how crucial are those states? >> well, pennsylvania is as the governor knows better than i do is a lean democratic state, but it's not a heavily democratic state. it can switch under the right set of circumstances.
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what are those circumstances? a really bad economy would be one, and, again, if the current trends continue, we wouldn't expect that to happen in pennsylvania. ohio, the ultimate great swing state, i love it, every political analyst loves it. they've been right 27 of the last 29 presidential elections. you always look to ohio. that's why we all go there in the fall. so right now, you know, a tiny edge to obama, but it's very competitive. >> governor, i want to talk about the democrats as we move to congress, capitol hill, what's happening with the democrats there needing to gain 25 seats to retake the house, nancy pelosi calling this her drive to 25. if the economy keeps improving, any kans of that? and to that extent, do you think some of those first-term tea partiers in congress are in trouble? >> i think if we he hadn't had redistricting the answer is yes, the democrats could take back
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that congress, particularly if the president wins a significant reelection, which i think he's going to do. but redistricting has hurt dramatically. the republicans in 2010 captured state legislatures and governor's offices. that was the case in p pennsylvan pennsylvania. so they've totally controlled redistricting. that's going to make it very, very, very difficult to win back the congress. it's possible, but it's a lot harder than it would have been if we were facing the same lineup as 2010. >> governor, before i let you guys go, i wanted your take on mitt romney's comment, i'm not concerned about the very poor, they have a safety net. how unprecedented is that for a politician to say, regardless of his ultimate meaning? you know, those kinds of words coming out of his mouth. and does it show he's not a seasoned politician and might that be a good thing in some vote errs' minds? >> well, it's hard to say he's not a seasoned politician. he won election in massachusetts, a heavily democratic state. but it does emphasize that mitt romney, who i think has got a good record in everything he's
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done, is tone-deaf on the campaign trail, saying $378,000 in speech money is pocket change, not to 99.9% of americans is it pocket change. what he meant to say is, i'm focusing on the middle class. but what that statement shows, what's worse about that statement, is it assumes that the very poor in america want to stay very poor and just have a safety net. they don't. they want opportunity. and that's what mitt romney didn't get and missed in that statement. it's a pretty shocking statement. >> and, larry, your take over the poor fracas, if you will? >> you know, alex, videotape lasts forever. if these debates and the gaffes that are being committed now were in isolation in january, february, march, it wouldn't matter. but it does matter because what the republicans have created in their debates and with their gaffes like the one you mentioned that romney made are a series of television ads for president obama in the fall.
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it's always more credible if you can present these things as being said by many eastbouember other party rather than your party. and those attack ads i think are going to prove quite damaging to the nominee in the fall. >> and, alex, very quickly, congress, the republican-controlled house of representatives, has helped president obama, voting no every member on the millionaire's tax. that's a great issue. it just feeds into the fact that the republican party cares about the very wealthiest in america. >> all right. this was a great chat, ed rendell and larry sabato. thanks see you again. be sure to join msnbc for live coverage of the nevada caucuses, all beginning at 6:00 eastern. we'll have returns, reactions and analysis. we'll be right back. for fastidin emily skinner,
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this is mary... who has a million things to pick up each month on top of her prescriptions. so she was thrilled that her walgreens pharmacist recommended a 3-month supply and would always be there to answer questions about her health. now mary gets 3 refills in one and for 3 months, she's done. more or less. ask your pharmacist about a 90 day supply today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well. new proof this morning of ron paul's frugality on the campaign trail. he often mentions he's not wasting a sichk elle dime from campaign donors. his final campaign finance report was filed.
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"usa today" dug through and found 164 separate entries for expenditures of $1 each in paul's report. among them, meals bought at a mcdonald's in new hampshire, a truck stop in iowa and circle k in kansas. paul bought three pieces of music through itunes and office supplies from dollar tree. the report also shows he paid 102 separate tolls on the new hampshire turnpike. talk about details, right? well, a political odd couple is forming in the republican primary race. mitt romney and ron paul. a new article suggests both candidates could benefit from the pairing. "the washington post" amy gardner wrote that article. amy joins us from las vegas. good morning. >> good morning. >> let's get to first up what you think mitt romney can gain in an alliance there. i mean, he hopes to attracts paul's loy, shall we say, bloc of voters. i've heard if they don't vote for paul, they aren't going to vote for anyone. is that true? >> that's been the narrative for
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much of this year, but the fact is ron paul has done a great deal of work actually building his organization inside the republican party. and this is one of the things i explored in the artarticle. it suggests he's not interested in boy kolting the convention, running as a third-party candidate. his folks told me they're trying to build a lasting movement. they see the path to that inside the party. that provides a huge opportunity for romney. this is one of the vibrant is subgroups of the party right now. if he has them at least appeased and working on his behalf in the fall in what is, by all accounts, going to be a very tough election season, that's going to be a huge advantage for him. >> meanwhile, ron paul has gone out of his way to defend mitt rom fe over the recent poor people comment of this week. here's what he said. l let's listen. >> i probably end up defending him more than he defended himself. i don't believe for a minute that if mitt romney were sitting here, if he released everything in his heart, he says, you know
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what? the truth is, i really don't care about poor people. >> but what -- >> but that isn't -- >> but what he did say -- >> amy, what's the angle here for ron paul? do you think he really likes mitt romney? >> i do. in fact, i know they like each other. both sides -- operatives on both sides have told me there's a real friendship that blossomed in 2008 when both were running for president. their wives have become good friends. in the debates, you'll watch those two couples gravitating toward one another first when the debate credits start to roll and you see them genuinely warmly greet one another and chat. you've also seen on the 19 debates we've all watched that they don't lay a hand on each other. i mean, rarely do they do so. it's very interesting to see the attacks going back and forthright now between all the candidates, but you do not see romney and paul hitting each other. >> do you think there's room for ron paul in a romney
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administration? >> you know, it's an interesting question. i honestly don't know the answer. i think that there are a couple of things that ron paul could be after here. one is some, you know, measure of attention to his platform. obviously he's very focused on more oversight and even an audit of the federal reserve. that seems to me something that could be fairly doable and that the romney nominee could be willing to talk about at the convention when they're talking about platform. but there's another factor that i think is really interesting, and that is rand paul, senator rand paul of kentucky, ron paul's son, who is obviously a republican and is just beginning a career, considered a very gifted politician with a potentially long, fruitful career ahead of him. i think that, you know, while ron paul will probably want a prominent speaking berth at the convention in tampa in august, he'll probably also want a prominent speaking slot for his son. making sure that he is inside the party and building this movement inside the party i
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think is vieweds by a lot of folks not only as furthering his own movement and policy platforms he's pursuing but also to bolster the career of his son. >> thank you, amy. that new online presence for super sunday will inflate an already considerable audience of 115 million people expected to watch the big game on tv. all those eyeballs means advertisers will be scrambling to get their products into that coveted ad space, but it won't be cheap. nbc's craig melvin is chejoinine from indianapolis. how much money are the advertisers pouring into super sunday, craig? >> reporter: putting this in perspective back in 1967 a 30-second ad for the first football championship, $42,500. sunday, 3.5 million. that is is what advertisers are going to spend for a 30-second spot for super bowl xlvi. it's an eye-popping figure, but you've got to remember, again, largest audience of the year.
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and here's something else that we've been seeing this year. a lot of those ads, in fact, more than half of the 50 ads we're going to see on super bowl sunday, have already been posted online. and many of those ads have already gotten millions of eyeballs as well, especially that audi ad featuring the vampires, then there's of course the seinfeld ad and the ferris bueller's day off ad as well. so a lot of the ads are seeing double, triple life on the internet and you'll see them on sunday as well. so times, they have changed dramatically, alex witt. >> $3.5 million a pop! wow. >> reporter: 3.5 million. >> unbelievable. craig melvin, thanks. of course, all of you can watch pregame coverage of the super bowl on nbc. it gets under way tomorrow at 2:00 eastern time. now we're going to take you straight to today's quick list of number 1s. we start with gallup's 2011 job approval numbers but not a state
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where the president received the highest approval, it's washington, d.c., where just 81% of those surveyed approved the president's job last year. now if you're talking just states, the president did best in hawaii, the state of his birth, where he received a 56% approval rating. maryland ranking third followed by massachusetts, then connecticut. on the flip side, the president scored the lowest rating of about 28.5% there in utah, followed by idaho, oklahoma, wyoming, and west virginia. being president is stressful but not as much as being a soldier. career names enlisted soldier as the most stressful job in america. the dangers faced on the job are among the criteria used. firefighter is listed as the second most stressful, followed by airline pilot, military general and police officer. no mention of real estate agent on that list, but the housing market provides plenty of stress. perhaps not if you live in the cities making business insiders rankings of the best housing
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markets in five years, medford, oregon, with housing prices projected to go up 11.5% in each year until 2016. my mother in the front row, my mother's mouthing, that's so cute. >> that's actor jason segel after being roasted and toasted last night at harvard's hasty pudding award ceremony. he's the man of the year. and those are your number ones here on weekends with alex witt. . i want to be a volunteer firefighter. when i grow up, i want to write a novel. i want to go on a road trip. when i grow up, i'm going to go there. i want to fix up old houses. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. i want to fall in love again. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life. get this free travel bag when you join at metamucil uses super hard working psyllium fiber,
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which gels to remove unsexy waste and reduce cholesterol. taking psyllium fiber won't make you a model but you should feel a little more super. metamucil. down with cholesterol. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8.
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an economic mixed bag for president obama this week with big implications for the general election. for the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate is lower, dropping to 8.3%. the government says employers added 243,000 jobs last month, and it's the most in nine months. the congressional budget office report released this office, though, says depending on what happens in congress, the economy could grow by only 1.1% next year and then unemployment could climb back up to 9.2%. talk about a mixed bag. joining me now is dnc chair
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and florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. nice to see you. good morning. >> you, too. thanks. >> let's talk about the good news here, the unemployment rate down to 8.3%. but, look, that is just a number. do you feel it? do your constituents feel? or does it still suggest there is a lot of pain? >> well, across my district, yes, people are starting to feel it. small business owners are feeling more confident. you can tell in the consumer confidence index, which is an important measurement, that consumers in general are starting to feel that there's some immrofment. but there's still caution. president obama feels that caution. and we need, even though we've made some really significant progress -- we've got a long way to go, and that's why we've got to focus on making sure we can create jobs and get the economy turned around and focus on the middle class and working families, focus or tax policy on making sure that we can give opportunities for success to middle income americans instead
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of the republican way to go under mitt romney and under the republican congress, which is focused exclusively on millionaires and billionaires, extending the bush tax breaks and making sure the wealthy can keep the wind at their backs. that's the convict it trast. >> the "new york times" is echoing your sentiments. here's how it describes the current underemployment situation. the underemployment is another stubborn problem, 8.2 million in january, including that group and those who have stopped looking for work altogether. the broader measure of unemployment was 15.1%. if it stays at this level, what will the president's message on the economy be? >> well, the president continues to not just -- it's not about messaging. it's about policy. the president, in the state of the union, if you recall, focused on making sure that we can have a resurgence for
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america, that we can change the tax code, so that we incentivize companies who have shipped jobs overseas to bring back back to the united states instead of having the tax code incentivize the other way around and that we can make sure that when we focus on tax policy that it not just be tax breaks for the wealthiest, that we give, for example, the 17 tax breaks that president obama has already palaced into law for small business owners and the 95% of americans that got a tax break or the fight over the payroll tax cut extension where mitt romney and the republican congress stalled it, didn't want to pass it again. we're still struggling to get them to agree to another payroll tax cut extension. and president obama recognizes it and is pushing for tax cut policy that helps the middle class. >> if we look -- >> that's how we're going to continue to jump-start the economy. >> if we look at some of the key battleground states out there, if you look at the high unemployment, some of them higher than the national average, florida, michigan, nevada, states close to the national average include ohio,
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colorado and pennsylvania. which of these states can the president not afford to lose? and where do you think he's most vulnerable? >> well, in nevada and florida in particular, the housing crisis is still really a vexing problem. if you look at the contrast between the two policy directions, president obama has been rolling out more proposals to help make sure that people can remain in their homes, they can work their mortgages out with their banks, that they can have more reasonable terms for refinancing. and mitt romney thinks that we should just let it hit rock bottom, do nothing to assist the homeowners. when you have 75% of homeowners in nevada that are upside down in their mortgages, 44% in my home state of florida, they don't want to hear, let's just let the free market work itself out. the wathey want to make sure th have some assistance in making sure that they have an opportunity to remain in their homes, especially because most of these people, alex, are paying their mortgages and are
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on time in paying their mortgages. that's a critical distinction, and i think it will be a key determinant in how those voters choose their candidate for president. >> dnc chair and florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, always good to see you. thank you so much. >> thanks so much. fact or fiction vegas edition. what you didn't know about the state of nevada and the bunny ranch. oh, yeah, we'll have more pictures, too, i promise. we'll be back. ♪
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welcome to "weekends with alex witt "oixt we're going to get to what's happening right now. right to the breaking news, president obama issued a strong statement condemning is syria's bloody crackdown. the u.n. security council are going to vote on a draft resolution calling for syrian president bashar al assad to step down. meanwhile, act swriivists in sy says government attacks kill ee 200 people in homs. mike viqueira is with us. good morning. >> reporter: there are a lot of movie ining parts on this story the wake of by all accounts a massacre in the syria city of homs, a hotbed fighting against the assad family led by bashar al assad. there have been problems there in the past. it's been unfolding and escalating and seems to have come to a head in the last 24 to 48 hours.
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some 200, as you report, upwards of 200, reports are sketchy, dead now in the city of homs an the president out with a very tough statement this morning. he says, in part, i strongly condemn the syrian government's unspeakable assault against the people of homs and i offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. assad must stop his campaign of killing and crimes of his own people now. he must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately. you mentioned the security council is meeting behind closed tours. they have a resolution on the table calling for a cease-fire, for the assad regime to withdraw forces and release prisoners. we're learning -- russia had been dragging its feet on the resolution, they're now making overtures of a possible compromise with the security council. but unclear whether the security council will go as far as the u.s. government and president this morning calling for assad to step down, alex.
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>> compromise is better than the suggestion of the power of the veto russia had spoken about. we'll see i guess. mike, thanks for bringing it up. strong reaction around the globe to the violence in syria. the images from london where demonstrators gathered outside the syrian embassy to protest. an angry mob stormed the embassy in cairo this morning. protestors smashed furniture, equipment and set parts of the building on fire. from there to politics and the gop nomination race out west today with the nevada caucuses. mitt romney is looking to build on his win in florida while the other contenders look to close the gap. we're going right to las vegas, nbc's ron mott is there for us. when does this all get under way this morning? good morning. >> reporter: alex, good monk to you. they just opened the doors around the state to all the caucus meetings. they'll officially start at the top of the next hour. there are two key issues people are talking about at the caucus sites, jobs and housing, both of which in crisis here. unemployment is the highest here
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in nevada than anywhere in the country. as the candidates stumped for votes, those two things were centerpieces to their speeches. yesterday, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%, normally good news. mitt romney found an opening criticizing the president for how long it's taken for the jobs to come back to the economy. newt gingrich not only criticized president obama but took another shot at mitt romney about some recent comments he made about the poor. >> i believe the economy will come back. it always does. it has taken a lot longer than it should have to come back, in part because the policies of this administration have not been helpful, they in fact have been harmful. >> so governor romney trying to recover from his boo boo as the elite media did what obama will this fall and kept replaying "i don't really care about the poor," which is not something clever for something very wealthy to say. talk about every example of what
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we don't want in a general election candidate. >> reporter: mitt romney won nevada four years ago, the odds-on favorite for the state today. four states vote between now and next saturday including maine, missouri minnesota and colorado, which is where romney is today before heading back here to what he assumes will be a victory in nevada. >> he does have a party plan. we'll see. thank you very much. well, ron paul and rick santorum are turning their attention outside of nevada today. santorum has two events scheduled in afternoon in colorado, that state's caucus takes place tuesday. minnesota's gop caucus also takes place tuesday. that is where ron paul is is today at a series of town halls. for more on the caucuses in nevada, i'm joins by national political reporter from politico and jonathan arthur, author of "the promise." good morning, guys. good to see you. james, i'll reach out to you first long distance. we have good economic news for
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the president, the unemployment rate down to 8.3%. how have the gop candidates handled that in vegas where you are today? >> well, alex, the unemployment rate still is very high here in nevada. really has the worst unemployment rate in the country, the worst housing crisis in the country. initially yesterday morning it was very funny. newt gingrich refuse to respond to the jobs report and was overheard by reporters asking his spokesman for advice about how they should handle the good news for the president. mitt romney's chief economic adviser, a professor at harvard, wrote on his blog the numbers were great for obama and will help him win. republicans are trying to navigate this, still attacking him but giving him some credit, trying to walk that delicate balancing act. >> jonathan, what about white house insiders? what are they saying and could they have possibly gotten any better news? >> they were very happy about it. remember a few days ago, alex, there was a congressional budget
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office report saying that the economy was going to decline in the third quarter, putting the president's reelection chances at serious risk if those projections turned out to be true. i don't think anybody was expecting 253,000 new jobs to have been created in january. you know, their expectations were well under 200,000. >> sure. >> so this was very, very good news for them. but it's always with a caveat, which is that this economy is still weak, and there is a sense that things could move in a different direction between now and the election. >> yeah. >> so they're not getting overconfident about the way this is going to go, and they shouldn't be. >> well, you've got those numbers coming in from the nonpartisan cbo so the potential is certainly there. >> james, with regard to the hard-fought nature of the campaign, we saw so many negative ads in florida. what about there in las vegas? is it a nonstop blasting of negative ads? >> it's really not, because
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turnout is so low. because it's a caucus and not a primary, really only 40,000 to 60,000 people are expected to vote of nearly 4 million in the state. what we're actually seeing is far fewer ads than in florida. the ads aren't quite as negative, and newt gingrich hasn't gone on the air at all. when you turn on tv, the two candidates you see ads for are mitt romney and his super pac, who is blasting beginning rich, and ron paul who is also making a real effort here to edge out gingrich for second place. >> i was just going to say this point that james just made is is critically important for how this will go on the republican side in the next few months. it's really all about one guy, shelley adelson, who's from nevada, the venetian hotel is the centerpiece of his holdings. if he decides he's going to invest in newt gingrich, then we'll have a contest. newt won't necessarily win, but we'll have a contest.
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if he doesn't, you know, as the british might say, no shelley, no telly. there's not going to be any television ads on for newt gingrich because he doesn't have other money. that's what american politics has come to, as we have almost an oligarchy where a very small number of very wealthy men are going to determine in large part how this is going to go, at least in the primaries. >> which is is something -- >> yesterday newt gingrich only had one public event and he spent hours at the adelson, met with his big donors. that speaks to just how important adelson is to gingrich's future. >> did anybody see gingrich come out of the meeting and read his face to see the reaction? >> people did see -- gingrich was pressed by a local tv reporter on, why are you meeting with this guy who's giving money to this supposedly independent super pac? gingrich kind of had to bend over backwards to say he was
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complying with the letter of the law, which doesn't allow coordination of independent super pacs. >> can i ask you about the poll in new hampshire, the president beating every candidate in head-to-head matchups. what's doing this, is is the gop beating themselves up or do people feel the economy is getting better? >> i think it's probably some combination of the two. you know, new hampshire voters got a real up-close look at those republican candidates t s during the republican primary there, and obviously a lot of the independents didn't liking what they saw. turnout was not very heavy and so obama, who had been behind in new hampshire, picked up a lot of ground just in the last couple of months there, and that's a real swing state and very important one to watch moving forward. but i would just caution everybody that it's still so early that new hampshire could swing back and forth several times between now and the election, as could other battleground states.
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>> james, real quick for you, what do you think it is? >> the more the election is about barack obama, the mohr likely obama is to lose. what happened in new hampshire is now the candidates are defined. mitt romney is no longer a generic republican. people have heard the knocks on romney from all his opponents. so they understand his negatives and unfavorables there are higher than in other places with independent voters. >> jonathan, james, thank you so much. be sure to join msnbc for live coverage of the nevada caucuses beginning 6:00 eastern with the returns, reactions and analysis. in just a moment, the ron paul factor in the battle for the white house, it may be greater than you think. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." capital one's new cash rewards card gives you a 50% annual bonus! so you earn 50% more cash. according to research, everybody likes more cash. well, almost everybody...
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ron paul's not campaigning in neve today. he's in rochester, minnesota. last night he visited a gun shop, though, in las vegas. paul moved through the crowd signing autographs and posing for pictures. the veteran then visited the lernlg neck club where he back ed giving benefits to veterans who fought in world war ii. >> i think what the filipino soldiers suffered was a lot more than just not getting thanked or recognized. they lost benefits and the government proek their promise. >> we're going live to paul's senior adviser doug wead. good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> let's talk about your candidate ron paul. he's been campaigning in the silver state since 2008, but the latest poll shows him in last place. could it be a disappointing day for the campaign? >> i don't think so. we'll wait and see what happens, but i've been watching your
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show. we like a lot of the numbers, even the numbers you're showing. you showed this poll in new hampshire, and if you'll notice,ed candidate who does the best against barack obama is ron paul. you know, last time i was on your show we were talking about military donations, how he had more than all the other republican candidates combined. now he has twice as much as all the candidates combined including obama. and i heard you earlier talking about the importance of independents, the last cbs poll shows us fifrlt, ahead of obama and all the candidates, with independents. now the show's showing us strongest among hispanics in the republican party, which are key votes. >> well, doug, i'm not going to try to rain on the parade here, but as you know all politics is local and it's not like he's racking up a huge number of delegates along his way here. he's got to do that if he has any chance of taking this thing to the finish line. >> that's true. however, some of the reports you see on television about delegates are not accurate. for example, there laz has not been a single delegate named in
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iowa yet, in spite of the fact you see that given out on tv in numbers. and we're just now getting into the delegate-rich caucus states where we plan to do well. we were hurt because we didn't go into florida. we knew we would be and we'd have to regain the momentum again in neve. that's what we're hoping to do tonight. >> let's talk about ron paul, who defended mitt romney on those kbhent comments on the p earlier this week. >> i think i probably end up defending him more than he defended himself. i don't believe for a second if mitt romney was sitting here, if he released everything in his heart, he says, you know what? the truth is, i really don't care about poor people. >> but what -- >> but that isn't -- >> but what he did say -- >> what's going on here? is ron paul just genuinely fond of mitt romney is there an angle for a potential position in a romney administration? >> no. i've been part of seven presidential campaigns and this is very common. these people are backstage together and develop personal
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relationships. i mean, we've had other candidates lie about us on television, lie about us and on the campaign trail stop by stop tell lies about our position. romney hasn't done that. we differ very deeply with mitt romney on the economy. his number one donor is goldman sachs, so is barack obama's we've seen this huge transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy under obama. that would continue under mitt rom romney. but we don't think he's against the poor. we just think his policies are against the poor and we need some transparency. now we hear the romney people are going to move to housing, mortgage crisis. your members can google 2003, you can see romney didn't have a clue about the housing mess and mortgage crisis. ron paul called it and knew about it. >> how long does dr. paul plan on competing? does he have the money and organization to last through super tuesday next month? >> until it's over.
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we will just follow the yogi better radrra adage. according to the polls you just showed on the program, mitt romney ought to drop out and support us. we're leading in the swing states against obama and we're leading with independents. so it isn't over yet. and newt gingrich is going to do very well in the south. they're very easily could be a brokered convention. all of these early states that you see romney winning have been moved up to the front for romney precisely to get him to lock down this nomination. they thought it would be done in south carolina. it's not done, and it's going to keep going. >> i appreciate your confidence, doug wead. i'm sure ron paul does as well. thanks. let's go to super bowl xlvi, nfl show case tomorrow will consume 44 blocks in the heart of indianapolis and security will be tight. an estimated 1,000 police officers will be in the stadium and on the streets, joined by hundreds of officers from other agencies, including state police and even the fbi.
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nbc's craig nemelvin is there, too. he's joining me from indianapolis. another good morning to you. what is it about security that has the folks most concerned during the big game? what are they worried about? >> reporter: we want to emphasize fist and foremost here that right now there is no credible threat that we've been told about here, according homeland security. outside the white house, come tomorrow, indianapolis, indiana, is going to be the safest and most secure spot in america. with the exception of an event involving the president of the united states and secret service, the super bowl year in and year out is ranked as a national security event because of the media attention, because of the international attention, because of the number of foreign dignitaries that descend on the super bowl. as you mentioned, a great deal being done to make sure that the tens of thousands of folks who come are safe. some of the things they tell us about, a lot of the things they don't. but we're told that they are scanning all of the delivery
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truck that's are coming in. we're also told there are literally hundreds of officers who have been devoted to making sure that radiation-emitting devices are being closely monitored as well. but one of the things that they're keeping an eye on this year, exploding manhole covers. here in indianapolis, since 2005, there have been 12 underground explosions, and they haven't been able to precisely pinpoint exactly what's causing these. but since december they have replaced about 150 of those manhole covers. so it could be that pick pockets and manhole covers concern security experts here in indianapolis more than anything else. >> yeah, exploding manhole covers. that's kind of scary. craig melvin, thank you. >> reporter: take care. >> be sure to catch the fre pregame coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern time on nbc.
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today's nevada caucus is calling attention to some of the silver state's most glaring problems. nevada epitomizes the nation's economic woes, with the worst unemployment rate and highest rate of foreclosures in the nation. vera gibbons is here to break down the numbers. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> this is really the poster child for the bad economy if you look at these two factors. >> it really epitomizes the nation's problems. it leads the country in all of the indicators, the highest unemployment rate in the country at 12.6%, well above the national average of 8.3%. the economy totally unraveled after the 2007 recession, the economy shrank 10% over the next
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couple of years, construction jobs went out the window of course. construction jobs used to account for 12% of all jobs, now about 5%. >> well, you have not only the highest unemployment rate but the foreclosure rate. >> highest in the country for five years running. this is why they refer it to ground zero of the housing crisis. just a total mess there. 65% of homeowners owe more than their property is worth. you have 1 in every 75 homes recently received a foreclosure filing notice. just a complete mess. if you drive through the suburbs, you see vacant lots, half-finished projects with special move-in rates. it's virtual ghost towns. >> tourism being up a little bit, does that translate to gambling being up? >> good point. tourism, gambling, sales tax receipts up a bit, more traffic at the airport. but home values continue to fall. they're at levels you haven't seen since the 1990s. they were recently down 9%.
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if you combine housing and the construction woes, this is an economy in trouble. you obviously can't rely on real estate to get out of this mess. you need a more diverse economy. >> thanks. it is a stunning headline stemming from facebook's coming public stock offering. documents uncovered by the new york tiexz and "financial times" show that mark zuckerberg plans to -- as a result, he would reportedly owe $2 billion in federal and state taxes and have one of the biggest individual tax bills in u.s. had historhis. when bp made a commitment to the gulf, we were determined to see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists
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in las vegas, the nevada caucuses are just about to get under way, the doors opened about a half hour ago. the meetings will get going at noon. in all, 125 locations across the silver state and depending on the precinct the voting could be wrapped up in about 30 minutes. welcome back, everyone to "weekends with alex witt."
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while the front-runner in nevada, mitt romney is headed to colorado, newt gingrich is still in neve. he's hoping for a second place finish there where romney is expected to cruise to an ease ji victory. alex mo joins me know from las vegas. good saturday morning to you, alex. >> hi. how are you? >> i'm very well. thanks. i hope you are, too. what about the gingrich campaign? is it losing confidence at all? what does that mean as we look ahead to tuesday's primary in colorado? >> well, speaker gingrich still seems very confident in his speeches here in nevada. he's only been doing two events a day. today as you mentioned he doesn't have any public events before results come in. in past states he's done four, five, six, sometimes seven events a day. it does seem he's lowering expectations here in nevada, but it does -- the campaign says that he's focusing more of his time on fund raising. he's doing calls and asking for money. there's even reports that yesterday he met with his big
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super pac contributor sheldon adelson. he's planning to be here in las vegas tomorrow after the caucus and then maybe to minnesota or colorado. we still don't know where he's going next. >> so you get a sense from the campaign they're not expecting to win. are they trying to spin this like second place is good enough? >> well, he did say his first stop here in reno in nevada that he always likes to win, that he is hoping to still do respectably. but it does seem like knit rmit romney, is obviously going to do well, won the state in 2008. he's hoping for a respectable finish, but i think we all recognize that a second place finish is going to be as probably as good as the speaker can do. he's focusing more time on fund raising for those next nominating states ahead. >> campaign embed alex so w nevada? you can all find out later today. we'll bring you the returns and reactions on the nevada caucuses
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beginning at 6:00 eastern. a tale of two ohios. a new article in "fortune" says the obama campaign is confident about taking the crucial battleground state. but an article in "the national journal" suggests the campaign has been dog a lot of bluffing. joining me are the authors, tory new meyer, writer for "fortune" and the executive editor of the "national journal" hotline. interesting topic. tory, i want to start with you. you write in your piece, quote, the obama campaign believes it is heading into the election year can with a major if unexpected tactical advantage in the buckeye state. what's behind the obama camp's confidence? >> there are a couple of things. they believe that the ohio governor, who is a freshman republican and not very popular right now, a guy named john kasich. t they think he severely overreached his first year in office when he forced through a package of reform union
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organizing rules and it galvanized what had been a more bant democratic state. they forced a ballot and won in novemberment the obama campaign is treating that as a dry run for their ground operation in ohio in november. the bigger thing for the obama campaign right now in the state is the success of the auto bailout. they think that it's manifest, you can see this on the ground, the economy is turning around. it really owes to the gutsy play that the administration made investing taxpayer dollars in the auto industry. and they can draw a clear distinction between them and the romney campaign, if he's the eventual nominee, on that issue. >> now, josh, i want to look at your "national journal" piece where you point out the current approval rating for obama is 42% in ohio, however, 50% of the voters disapprove of his performance. you write, president obama's election team has spun multiple
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pathways to an electoral vote majority but a glance at his state by state approval ratings throughout 2011 suggests the campaign has been doing a lot of bluffing. like how? >> alex, the economy and state of economy is really driving president obama's numbers down and gallup came out with its survey state by state throughout the year of 2011, and it had a lot of surprising results that raised an eyebrow both with the obama campaign and i think with the republican strategists looking at the numbers. you have the numbers in ohio, which is really close to a must-win battleground state, and his disapproval rate is ailt points higher than his approval. then you look at some of the states that obama team feels like it really has to win in the southwest, states like colorado, new mexico, nevada where the caucuses are held today. his numbers there are also very, very deeply under water. and it's all about the economy. when you have unemployment rates in the double digits in some of those states, the president is taking the burden. and you look at the whole map,
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when you look at a pathway to victory, there doesn't seem to be -- the battleground states aren't looking as favorable as they once did. so it's a challenge. the one bright spot for the obama campaign is the latest unemployment report which seems to show the economy heading in the right direction. they're hoping the numbers improve as well. >> yeah. and they better because, tory, you mention in your piece this fact, that no president since franklin dell anor roosevelt has been elected -- so talk about the uphill battle that this means for president obama, not on in ohio but in all of the battleground states. >> well, i think it's really -- josh makes a good point. it is hard to overstate the impact of that jobs report that we saw yesterday. that was huge. it was unexpected. and it was an unaloyed win for this white house and this president's reelection campaign. it was top to bottom positive. there were no asterisks in it.
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what it shows is that the recovery is real, and it has momentum. and i think it's possible that the momentum is going to be more important than the actual unemployment number itself. if people feel like things are getting better, they're going to be much more likely to vote to send obama back to the white house for a second term. >> yeah. josh, i want to have our director put that graphic up, we saw three states highlighted there, those being the states of virginia florida and iowa, which you say is the most plausible path for the president's reelection run. how come? >> well, when you talk to the obama campaign, they're looking at two demographic groups, affluent white voters, independent swing voters like those in northern virginia, the d.c. suburbs, they view virginia as a very winnable state, a state he's doing relatively well even though he's facing a tough times with approval ratings. virginia is a linchpin to the obama strategy. with florida, the hispanic vote is absolutely crucial to the obama campaign. they not only need a win but
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they also need to make sure hispanics turn out in large nubz. if they can do that, florida also becomes very winnable. his numbers aren't great but they're within reach. he certainly has a shot at winning the sunshine state. that's why two of those three states are just so important. if obama wins florida, wins jirnlg of virginia, his reelection chachblss are very, very good. >> well, great analysis, tory new meyer, josh crawshaw, thank you so much. in light of today's gop caucus in nevada, time for fact or fiction vegas edition. our first question -- the infamous legal brothel in carson city, the moonlite bunny ranch is throwing its support behind a gop candidate for president. we'll get that answer and a whole lot more from journalist steve frees, author of the blog "vegas happens here." i get that, as in what happens here stays here. here we go. we have the fact or fiction -- the girls of the moonlite bunny ranch are supporting a gop
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candidate. >> that's a fact, alex. actually, it makes sense. it's like pimpin for paul i think is the name. it's sort of the perfect congress between personal politics and states' rights and personal rights. >> pimpin' for paul. we just wanted another excuse for the director to throw up this video. we're moving on. the official slogan for vegas is, what happens in vegas stays in vegas. fact or fiction? >> actually, you said it right a few moments ago. that's fiction. it's actually what happens here stays here. as recently as yesterday on the "today" show, matt lauer said it the wrong way, too. it's just sort of one of the pet peeves of people who know vegas. >> oh, our apologies. how about this fact or fiction. elvis presley was the first entertainer to earn $100,000 a week in vegas. >> that is a fiction.
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actually, several sources say it was frank sinatra in 1967, but andy williams, of all people, the dean now of branson, missouri, he told me once that he made $100,000 to open the caesar's palace in 1966. >> okay. how about this, fact or fiction. with celine dion's show is the most successful show in vegas. >> that's a factish one. it depends on how you slice it. if you're talking about the most successful headliner, absolutely no doult about it. but when you run the numbers, the cirque du soleil show "o" at the bluj yoe has been on since 1998, it sells out every night, ten shows a week, 46 weeks a year and there's 1800 seats there. so i think it might not just be the most successful vegas show but possibly one of the most successful production shows in the world. >> i'd say those are the two biggest shows i've seen recently, and they're both fabulous and worth it. >> yes. >> moving to the fact or fiction
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regarding the vegas strip. casinos make most of their money from gambling. >> that's a fiction. they actually nowadays make about 40% of their money on gaming and about 60% or possibly more on other stuff. since about 1999 that's been the case, that the majority of the revenue has come from the dining, the shows, the hotel rooms. all that stuff. >> okay. well, this has been a lot of fun, fact or fiction vegas style, steve frees, thanks so much. >> thanks, alex. up next in "the big three," could what has been a weakness for president obama turn out to be a strength?
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it is time for this weekend's "big three." starting with the economy, is it a giem-changer for president? if romney wins this hand big, will anyone else cash out? and game change the movie, the early buzz on the hbo film. we're going to breath in our panel, msnbc contributor susan
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dell fers yoe, managing editor for the joanne reid and erin mcpike. thanks for being here. susan, i'll begin with you with the unemployment numbers down to 8.3%, is part of what appears to be a positive trend for the economy and therefore the president. if it continues this way, does the gop lose one of its attack lines on the president? >> to some extent, yes. but i think there's a rchb they're not calling this the wifrnts of recovery like the obama administration referred to the summer of recovery a few years ago. no one expects these numbers to remain. if it did, it would be wonderful. >> joanne, your take on the numbers. are they just nuks or do you think people across the country really feel it's getting better? >> i think the polls have shown a lifting of the mood. i think people feel better about the economy, slightly more confident. all of those measures of confidence are improving.
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lo look, the only thing about a recession is it's followed inevitably by a recovery. i think if the trend continues and we stay in this range, i think the obama administration will have a good talking point. the biggest problem is for mitt romney. he has predicated his entire run for president on the fact the economy is terrible and he's the only one who can fix it. if it's not terrible, i don't know his reason for running. >> erin, what about the new poll out of new hampshire shthat sho the president beating all of the gop candidates. do you think, erin, this is more about the economy getting better and approval ratings on the side or might it be because the gop candidates are beating each other up? >> i think it's both because just a month ago those numbers were reversed. romney was beating president obama a month ago and now's reversed. i think it's improvements in the economy, romney came out with a
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huge victory, then over the last month he's been really torn down by his rivals and by his own missteps. so it's both, but it's -- it also just shows that these polls are going to go up and down throughout the year, and if you see such a wild swing in a month we're going to see those iswing all the way through the campaign. >> this was a poll of random adult voters on land lines and cell phones chb. i don't know how much credit there is. >> if mitt romney cruises to this major win in nevada as xpektsed, what does that say about the gop race, does it say more about a state wide nap shot, or can you extrapolate nationwide? >> no. it's a snapshot because everybody is expecting him to win. what's interesting is the next two weeks. does he retool his campaign? does he really brush up for his debate on i believe february 22nd? these are the things that people are going to be expecting from the romney campaign. will he finally have a message?
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he was going primary warfare for a month and now he got to come back with his own message, not going negative on everybody elimination. >> erin, if romney wins in nevada as xpektsed, does anybody drob out? if so, who and when? >> no. and these kanld dats are also continuing to go into other states, colorado, minnesota. we're seeing them go all over. and they expect that mitt romney will win nevada so they're moving on to these other states, and i think that debate we're going to see on february 22nd is in arizona, which has a very raucous republican electorate. i think we'll see a lot of sparks at that debate. >> you agree, joanne, or do you think somebody will drop out? >> no. nobody drops out after nevada. romney has been expected to win. i don't think it matters all that much if he wins, what happens there. everybody knows he's going to winl. i think the issue is, romney is going to win pretty much everything in february and we'll see if anyone still has the money to play by super tuesday in march. i think the question is whether or not the sort of other b-tier
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candidates even have the resources to go into super tuesday. >> ladies, just sit tight because up next, everyone, the "big three" talks game change, the movie.
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i'm not sure how much he knows about foreign policy. >> you can actually see russia from land, here in alaska. >> my god, what have we done? >> was it my fault? i wasn't properly prepped? >> my baby. >> she's on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. >> they're telling me what to say, what to wear, how to talk! i am not your puppet! >> that is a scene from the much-anticipated upcoming hbo film "game change." it's a behind the scenes look at the 2008 mccain campaign. the movie will debut march 10th on hbo and that kicks off the next round of the big three. joining me susan di%io and joy
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ann reed. >> how exactly julianne moore looks exactly like sarah palin. i can't wait to see how she portrays her. i do think that after seeing sarah palin she's warmer and she looked exactly like her. >> she actually does a very good job. >> what have you heard about this film? >> i need to order hbo just to watch it based on what i've seen of it. it sounds like it will be very interesting. i just believe somewhere deep down, in the depth of his soul john mccain kind of regrets picking sarah palin and i think he will not allow any television to be on in his home the entire month of march. >> what do you think of this film? >> there's a lot of excitement about it and it should be pretty well received. i would be curious to see those who come out to say this wasn't the space what the reaction is from the republicans on the film itself and see if it has backlash on that.
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>> yeah, but it was that or tina fey? who do you think will do the better impersonation? julianne moore is a great actress so she will do her darnedest to get sarah palin there in the crosshairs. let's go to best and worst in the week now. who had the worst week and who had the best week? >> i think the worst week was mitt romney. coming out and doing a press conference with donald "you're fired" trump, makes him the worst week. the best week was women. i think that the planned parenthood with susan komen for the cure showed that women are not going take assaults on their liberty lying down. so women had the best week. >> you don't think that mitt romney didn't do himself a bit of a pickup when he tried to clarify what he said and said let's keep this on context and made the admission that he misspoke like, hey, that was just a flat-out mistake is what he said when he was talking about the poor. >> the problem is there's no good way to state what he said.
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there's no way that he could have restated it that he wouldn't have sounded terrible. you can't say i'm not concerned about the poor and it had an aloofness. >> and it made for negative tv ads. >> who had the worst week? was it mitt romney and best week as well from you? >> it was newt gingrich because he thought he would get the trump endorsement. it was all out there. >> right? what was behind this? how did that happen? >> i don't know. but it makes you wonder how "the apprentice" will turn out, right? >> how about you? best and worst of the week? >> i go with mitt romney on both. he won florida and it looks like he's going to be the nominee again. he's had his inevitability restored and he also handled a couple of things better. he got glitter bombed in minnesota and he handled that in a funny way. he sang "america the beautiful" for the first time to an audience and he's loosening up as a can at and doing better
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things and it was a rough week for him, too. >> susan del percio, joy ann reid. >> i'll see you at a special time tomorrow at noon eastern. stay with us. we have headline, updates andic braing news as it happens. have yourself a great day. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] discover what's next in your life. get this free travel bag when you join at when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok... little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation,
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ask me how great my back feels every morning. [ male announcer ] did you know there's a tempur-pedic for everybody? tempur-pedic beds now come in soft, firm, and everything in between. ask me how i don't wake up anymore when he comes to bed. [ male announcer ] these are real tempur-pedic owners. ask someone you know. check out twitter or your friends on facebook. you'll hear it all, unedited. ask me how i wish i'd done this sooner. ask me how it's the best investment i've ever made. [ male announcer ] tempur-pedic brand owners are more satisfied than owners of any traditional mattress brand. ♪ to learn more or find an authorized retailer near you, visit tempur-pedic. the most highly recommended bed in america. to help protect your eye health as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye-care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients.


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