good evening, welcome to "mtp daily." i'm steve kornacki, in for chuck todd. we are coming to you live tonight from stoff's coffee roasters outside columbus, ohio, home of ohio state university. and this, a state that is one of the biggest prizes on the board in tuesday's do or die presidential primary contest. arguably, this will be the most important primary day we have seen yet. five states on the line, five big states, full of delegates, ohio, florida, illinois, missouri, and north carolina. right now we are just hours away from the final showdown on the republican side before those do or daikon tests next tuesday. both races, they appear set to go the distance, through the springing maybe into the summer. it looks like we'll need votes from all 50 states. that takes you well into june before a winner is crowned in each side.
or i should say if a winner is crowned. we'll explain all of the math behind that in a minute. but it has been, first, a chaotic and confrontational day on the campaign trail for both sides. there is a growing backlash at this hour over donald trump's latest sweeping comments about muslims. tensions also boiling over at trump events. a man charged today with assaulting a protester at last night's trump rally in north carolina. president obama delivering a stinging rebuke of trump and of the republican race in general. and there is also new drama in the battle between clinton and sanders building on sanders' big upset win this week in next door michigan. we are going to begin this hour with donald trump and with his incendiary comments last night. >> i think islam hates us. there's something -- there's something there that's a tremendous hatred there.
we have to get to the bottom of it. there's an unbelievable hatred of us. >> that comment getting a lot of attention today. republican senator lindsey graham, who has been a vocal critic of and also target of trump, went on the attack today saying, quote, we should help them not disparage the islamic faith. also what about the thousands of american muslims who wear the uniform of the united states? florida's governor, republican rick scott, did not denounce trumps comments in an interview today on "morning joe" he called florida a great melting pot and expressed concerns about syrian refugees coming into the united states. moments ago, muslim leaders held a press conference demanding an apology from trump. >> mr. trump has built his campaign a vehicle of injustice and in doing so, he has attacked
the disabled, mexicans, muslims, african-americans, asians, and women. >> and there is much more trump drama in just a moment. we'll cover all of it. meanwhile, the ted cruz campaign today continuing to gain momentum in their quest to try to make this a two-man race. ted cruz versus donald trump. cruz picking up his first endorsement from a fellow senator today. mike lee of utah. this, of course, another blow to marco rubio. he had been firmly in the any one but trump campaign. campaigned with both rubio and cruz but now on team cruz. >> it's time to expect more. time to expect freedom. it's time to elect ted cruz as the next president of the united states. >> and also today, president obama delivering a defiant
denouncement of the republican campaign while taking questions from reporters at an event with the canadian prime minister. president obama rejecting republican critics who say he is partly responsible for the rise of donald trump. >> what i'm not going to do is validate some motion that the republican crack up that's been taking place is -- is a consequence of actions that i've taken. there are thoughtful conservatives who are troubled by this, who are troubled by the direction of their party. i think it is very important for them to reflect on what it is about the politics they've engaged in that allows the
circus we've been seeing to transpire. >> so there is a lot of angry rhetoric thrown around been both sides. things got uglier today with this news. a north carolina man, identified by authorities as john mcgraw, has been arrested and charged with assault. assault of a protester at a trump rally last night in fayetteville, north carolina. looking at social media footage of that incident. the trump campaign's statement, quote, we are not involve in that incident. the television show "inside edition" smoke to mcgraw, the man who perpetrated the assault, immediately after the incident. this is what he had to say. >> we don't know who he is but we know he's not acting like an american. >> he deserved it? >> every bit of it. >> what was that? >> yes, he deserved it. next time we see him, we might have to kill him. >> and then just moments ago, the protester who was punched by
that man, rakeem jones, spoke exclusively to msnbc's kate snow. >> telling us to go, so we get up and as we're getting up, you see in the video, walking up, surrounded by sheriffs, i got hit, like, it just threw me off. next thing you know, i'm on the ground. >> flu reaction now from hillary clinton on this incident, speaking to my colleague, rachel maddow in an interview that's going to air at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. >> the man was just charged today with assault and battery for attacking a young black protester getting thrown out of a trump rally last night. i wondered if you have any advice for people who are thinking about going to donald trump events in order to protest them. do you think that's a worthwhile political response? he's obviously bothered and upset a lot of people in this
country. >> well, and me, too. count me among those who are truly distraught and even appalled about i a lot of what i see going on, what i hear being said. you don't make america great by, you know, dumping on everything that made america great, like freedom of speech and assembly and, you know, the right of people to protest. clearly, i know that everybody in public life gets protested against and sometimes people have to be removed but it should be done in an appropriate manner. other people in the audience should not be joining in. mr. trump should not be urging people on. this is deeply distressing and i think as the campaign goes further, more and more americans are going to be really disturbed by the kind of campaign he's running. >> you can hear all of what hillary clinton had to say about donald trump and also about her surprise loss in michigan earlier this week.
and the news she made at last night's debate. catch all of that again tonight. ra ra rachel maddow's exclusive interview, 9:00 p.m. eastern time. we can say with relative certainty, we are in more much more of this slugfest. in each primary, both republican and democratic race. this all has to do with the delegate math. trump right now, the leader on the republican side, he hat 459 delegates. the total you need to get the nomination is 1237. so, if trump continues at his current pace, and that would mean taking the winner take all contests in both ohio and florida, that would give him 721 delegates after big contest tech tuesday. if he wants to clinch the nomination before june 7th, that's when california and four other states hold the final contests of the season, if he wants to do it before then, he'd have to win 80% of the remaining
delegates up for grabs. that is a tall order in a campaign like the one we're seeing. on the democratic side, hillary clinton holds a commanding lead in the delegate count now, 1194 to 569. that is including the super delegates who are not locked in with their preferences. for clinton to clinch the nomination before june, she'd need to match her current pace, picking up 58% of the remaining pledge delegates, ones at stake in primaries and caucuses she would need to pick up more than 200 additional super delegates in addition to holding on to those committed to her right now. that is the best-case scenario for hillary clinton. primary calendar shifting into industrial states in the north. those are states where sanders could do well. look what he did earlier when he pulled off that upset in michigan. we'll talk to top supporters of trump, cruz, kasich in a moment. but we are going to start with how these shocking headlines are
resonating here in ohio. i'm joined by julie carr smith, covers ohio politics for the associated press and msnbc's chris jansing. the news coming out of the trump rally in north carolina last flight, a lot of people who have been to rallies, reported on them, talk about sort of the volatility that sort of playing out in front of them. you've covered donald trump. tell us what it's like to be there in person for one of the rallies. what goes on? what's the atmosphere. >> there's an intensity unlike anything if ever seen, i've been covering presidential politics since 1980, including places where people won the nomination, surrounded by people who are incredibly excited to see them. this is a very different kind of dynamic. now, i've never seen a protester removed from any of the trump rallies. but what i have seen is the reaction off the crowd when donald trump will say something negative about an opponent or negative about something that is going on and the very positive
reinforcement he gets when that kind of thing happens. there is just a level of energy. and this is often after one of the things that really surprised me, steve, early on, first, the level of intensity given the fact he was only months in, but people in iowa and new hampshire who lined up for hours in the freezing cold without complaint to get in, there was something about him that made member want to come out and do that. and they just felt that they had to. very different from anything i've experienced. >> watching these on television, it feels to to me, when he singles out a protester, when a protester starts speaking up, it draws the crowd, the pro-trump crowd, it seems much closer to him and gets them more sort of involved in the moment. at least it feels that way for television. >> i've talked to people about that, and what they've told me, when i'm at rallies, they say he's giving us a voice. even people who don't necessarily agree with everything he says, if you're somebody who is middle class,
someone who lost their job or knows someone who lost their job or live in cincinnati, for example, here in ohio, you understand that the top 5% earn 16 times what the lower 20% earn, and what one person said to me that resonated was, you know, we all say things sitting around a table with our friends that are inappropriate that we wouldn't necessarily want people to hear us say. and hes gives voice to the frustration people. i've had people say to me, i wish i could say that. so, that's where that's coming from. we know it's about that frustration but sometimes that frustration voiced in a very inappropriate way. like when he said recently at the end of february, i'd like to punch him when somebody was being taken out, a protester was taken out of a rally. >> set the stage for us in ohio. ewent through the delegate
scenarios we nomar it is not looking good for him florida. if you're a republican who wanted to stop trump, that makes it all the more important to stop him here in ohio. what are his prospects here in ohio? >> a couple of things going on. trump is leading in some polls but it's very close to governor john kasich who is being -- who is the one who can speak for not only the establishment but can speak for sort of the more reasonable moderate voice of the country. he has really upped his ground game in recent days. in addition, getting help from a big pac, anti-trump pac, who had ken blackwell join in, just today, who is a very noted conservative in ohio, fighting against trump specifically. all of that is coming together
to kind of help boost kasich in his own turf. >> the home state is not automatic, at least with rubio in florida, coming from the state, winning in the state is not translating into winning that state in the presidential election. john kasich, he's been elected twice here statewide in ohio. it was a big re-election win a couple of years ago. what do you think that's going to translate in terms of loyalty to him. how many republicans feel this is my governor, my guy, i want to be there for him next week. >> ohio voters are classically not fickle but classically independent-minded and what they want to do, we're hearing people are pulling ballots for republicans to vote specifically for trump, maybe they're going to pull up democratic ballot in tuesday's election and vote for hillary clinton and bernfulie instead of voting republican at all. he has a really good shot. he's a well-liked governor.
i myself was at a trump rally last week and people said i really like john kasich. i think he's been a good governor but i'm really enthused by trump and what he has to say. >> i don't want to imply the people that i've met at trump rallies would condone any violence or punching people out but there is this elevated level of, as i said, intensity you feel. >> there's an energy there. the other big piece of news in ohio, serious, urban meyer, football coach, won the national title two years ago, he endorsed john kasich. somebody said his approval rating, 85% approve, 2% disapprove. the most popular individual person in ohio. >> for people that never have seen a football game. >> the lead story on the local news. urban meyer endorses john kasich. that could be a very big deal. thank you for joining us. ohio, florida, they are not
the only states we're looking at that could have a big impact next week. three other biggies next tuesday, illinois, missouri, north carolina, a close look at all of them. and we'll talk with a trump campaign supporter about the tone on the trail next. ♪ ♪ it was always just a hobby. something you did for fun. until the day it became something much more. and that is why you invest. the best returns aren't just measured in dollars. td ameritrade.
we have been telling you about the 11 million in attack ads against donald trump hitting airwaves. new numbers showing which of the next big primary states are seeing bulk of the anti-trump ads. three main groups are american future fund, club for growth, and our principles pack, spending $2.5 million on ads in illinois, more than $4 million in florida. that 4 million number does not include upwards of $4 million in additional anti-trump dollars. these ads being run in florida by the super pac supporting
marco rubio. so that's a total of $8 million against donald trump in florida. trump attack ads accounting for two-thirds of team rubio's overall ad spending in florida. and rubio is far and away the biggest spender in the sunshine state right now. the only other campaign on the air there is trump's. none of the anti-trump ads are airing in ohio where trump is the only other campaign on the air, aside the home state candidate, john kasich. on the democratic side, buckeye state, more than $1 million apiece. team sanders is outspending clinton by a bit here. sanders outspending her in missouri and north carolina. clinton spending the most in florida and illinois. we've got much more "mtp daily" straight ahead, including a trip to those other crucial march 15th stated. we'll be right back. n o this mom didn't have time to worry about a cracked windshield.
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it's like i got hit, now i'm on the ground getting detained by the police and they're not looking at videos. i really good hit. they watched it. really, like, as you can see, i'm being escorted by officers, like, they're still at -- after i'm hit, they're still leading me up the stairs. >> that was protester rakeem jones speaking exclusively to msnbc's kate snow about what you just watched there, punched by a trump supporter who authorities have identified as john mcgraw at a trump rally last night. as we told you, mcgraw has since been arrested and charged with assault. trump campaign issuing a one-sentence statement saying, quote, we are not involved in this incident. this comes two days after a breitbart reporter alleges that trump's campaign manager forcefully grabbed her arm. trump campaign says that accusation is, quote, entirely false. now we'll bring in arizona state
treasure and trump's arizona state chair, jeff dewitt. let me ask you, this is a developing story this afternoon. i think you just saw the video there, this happened at a trump rally. what's your reaction to seeing that video? >> well, you never like to see that kind of a thing happen. there's obviously a lot of passion for and in some cases against donald trump and here you had a frustrated person seeing a group of protesters that had made their way into a pro-trump rally and doing an anti-trump routine there, and somebody got frustrated and did something that he shouldn't have done. the authorities are taking the appropriate actions to deal with that. but you know, it's something you never want to see happen. but it's not connected to the campaign whatsoever. it's just something that happened in the crowd by bystanders. >> what some would say here, let me ask, it is connected to the campaign or maybe it's connected
to the campaign in terms of the tone and the atmosphere that the candidate himself is creating. it was just a month ago, i think, one rally where donald trump talked about to the crowd wanting to see a protester get punched. >> well you know, more recently, he's been saying, because i've been at some of the rallies, he's been saying, i've got to be nicer, i'm saying please leave, get him out of here. actually he has changed the tone of even that in more recent rallies. it something that happens. he is the leading front-runner for the gop nomination and liberals and other groups sfleek people in to do stupid things. it common that they have to be dealt with. it also why mr. trump was one of the very first to get secret service protection some months back, because of the passion level foreand against. he's not just a regular candidate. he's the leader of a movement, make america great again movement, that has inspired a lot of people to follow him.
anytime you do that you're going to have naysayers that want to try to derail that. >> jeff dewit, trump supporter, thanks for the time. joining me a cruz supporter, former congressman jack kingston of georgia. let me ask you, seeing that video, do you think that that is connected to the trump campaign in any way, or do you accept what we were hearing from a trump supporter saying it's unfortunate that it happened but it has no link to the campaign or the candidates. own words and actions? >> i'm going to accept what they're saying that it is not connected to the campaign. i do know at campaigns you get a wide variety of people on all spectrums of philosophy pro and against things. what voters are telling us in florida they want a true conservative and i think with somebody like mr. trump, you don't really know where he stands, if he's conservative, liberal, what day of the week it is sometimes.
here's a guy who has supported hillary clinton, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer and what voters in florida are telling us, they want somebody who is consistent. what they find in ted cruz is that sort of consistency that they're looking for. >> reporter: do you think, though, we've seen a campaign where so many -- i can catalog the number of instances where people have said something happened, this is going to hurt donald trump, this is going to backfire. i'm wondering if an incident like this, does it end up drawing trump supporters closer to him? this idea that now there's going to be so much criticism raining down on the campaign, maybe the candidate's words have something to do with this. is this something he's benefited from? does it draw supporters close to him? is that something you've seen? >> you know, i think in the past he has benefitted from things like there is but i think right now the shine is wearing off. i think, as this has become a
two-man race and people looking at consistent conservative policies of ted cruz versus philosophically erratic votes and positions of donald trump, they're saying, you know what, as it's a two-man race i can focus on who donald trump really is, who he is not and i like ted cruz more and more. and what we're seeing now is mr. trump's numbers are slipping in florida. we've made a major investment here, we have ten offices, a lot of enthusiastic crowds, native son mr. rubio is losing crowds at his events. we're feeling better and better, not just florida, ohio, north carolina, missouri. we believe the fact this is a two-man race has started to pay off to us because people know that ted cruz is the only conservative who can beat hillary clinton. >> jack kingston, ted cruz supporter, thanks for the time. joining me here in columbus,
ohio, congressman and kasich supporter, pat tea berry. you heard your former colleague saying two-man race, this is the word from the cruz people. down to cruz and trump. bad poll news for marco rubio in florida. if john kasich wins ohio next week, this is not a two-man race. >> it's a two-man race in ohio but kasich's at first. and that will be a game changer across the country. polling going forward, frankly, shows it's a three-man race. >> what happens? if you get what you're look for, if john kasich wins ohio and marco rubio does lose florida to donald trump, what is the strategy for the kasich campaign. >> one elections at a time. he's not looking long. he's going and talking to voters state by state by state where he can connect with voters he does well. michigan after the debate, all of the votes cast after the debate john kasich won.
his message resonates. he's a reformer who has had results in congress and ohio. >> what do you think of the incident we've been talking about at trump rally. people have said it looks like john kasich ticked up over the last week since that last debate. you had three candidates on one side jumping all over each other and kasich doing his own thing. does an incident like this reinforce the roll kasich's trying to play the calmer voice? >> i worked for john for eight years, john's a unique guy. he beats his own drum. he's focused on getting his message out. he's a guy who is not just talking the talk, he's walking the walk. he's been a reformer in washington, with results in ohio and that's connecting voters. he's ignoring the sideshow and circus and talk to voters what he can do as president of the united states. >> if you win this, if he gets the republican nomination it's going to have to be at an open
convention. >> he's focused on winning states and connecting with voters. even donald trump, under best-case scenario short of his goal. >> if he's short like 1237 is the imagine number if he gets to 1120 at the end of the primary. >> he's short. >> can you take it away. >> it's up to the delegate. i'm not a delegate. it up to the delegates at the end of the day. that's what the rules call for. no one's talking about changes rules. that's what the rules call for, convention delegates will decide. a number of those are not even valid so their candidate is out of the race so they're up for grabs at convention. >> people talked about at some point it ends up with trump teaming up with john kasich. could you see kasich running on a ticket with donald trump? >> donald trump running on a kasich ticket, right. >> listen, john's focused on being the president. nominee and maybe donald trump will consider being his vice president, i don't think that has come across john's mind, you never know.
>> thanks for joining us. reminder after tonight's debate, chris matthews will have highlights and analysis, special edition of "hardball" 11:00 p.m. eastern. governor kasich will maybe his case directly to voters ahead of the must-win contest here in ohio. that's with willie geist hosting a town hall special with governor kasich tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. still ahead on "mtp daily," how the vote in illinois, missouri, north carolina, the other big three states up next tuesday, how that could affect both races. can a business have a mind? a subconscious. a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive?
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has any chance of stopping donald trump. march 15th contests are way bigger than just florida and just ohio in their winner take all republican primaries. there are 358 republican delegates up for grabs this coming tuesday. on the democratic side, nearly 800. illinois, missouri, north carolina, they make up about 200 of the delegates for republicans and 400 for the democrats. those states do not have much reliable polling now, at least compared to ohio and florida. they aren't as predictable. but in combination, they are rich in delegates. they are huge in significance. they are a real chance for candidates to put some serious points on the board. so, let's start with illinois, rick pierson, political reporter for "the chicago tribune," his paper has endorsed marco rubio. but donald trump leads in their latest poll. rick, we are short on time. i'm going to ask you to set the stage, the lay of the land in illinois right now, what should we be expecting? who is the favorite in the
republican race. >> who is the favorite in the democratic race? >> donald trump led our poll with 32%, ten-point advantage over the rest of the feel. one thing to watch, as you focus on john kasich in ohio the prospect of kasich making rapid movement. you've got ted cruz in second place here in illinois in our polling. i think kasich has more of the establishment support, illinois republicans tend to lean more establishment. but that having been said, in the vote-rich counties outside chicago, that's where donald trump has his biggest advantage. as far as the democratic side, hillary clinton is way up here. she was born in chicago, raised in suburban park ridge. i think there's a good carryover from even though the president obama has not endorsed hillary clinton, i think there's a strong carryover for that. that, having been said, the tightest part of the race voters under 50 where it's basically neck and neck and it's a matter
seeing how turnout is and bernie sanders trying to motivate the youth vote. >> rick pearson, thank you. it's a huge state, illinois, delegates on both sides should be getting more attention. appreciate that. missouri now. jo, the same question to you, we do not have much polling in missouri. lots of delegate. give us the lay of the land, republican race, democratic race. >> there's no public polling at all. you hear rumors that some of the candidate polling is showing different people ahead. but the proof is who's coming. we had bernie sanders in southern illinois across the river a few days ago, bill clinton on tuesday. we have donald trump here tomorrow. we have hillary clinton and ted cruz here on saturday. and one of the things that they're going to be looking at ace missouri has an open primary, anybody can take any ballot. there's no record of who polls what kind of ballot.
so there could be crossover. i think everyone's paying close attention, as you know, missouri used to be considered a bellwether state and a lot of people are curious how this shakes out. >> yeah, i look at the states around missouri on the map and a lot of them have been ted cruz states. i'm remembering that 2012 senate primary you guys had on the republican side that todd akin, a socially conservative candidate, got into trouble in the general election. i'm remembering he won the primary and maybe that bodes well for ted cruz out there? >> possibly. one of my questions is whether or not he's going to show up in southwestern missouri, the hotbed of evangelicals, huckabee campaigned a lot out there. we're not hear ig anything about cruz being out there before tuesday but maybe he will. it's surprising that so many of them are campaigning in st. louis, in the st. louis area, where the core city is democratic. but the suburbs are mixed, the
suburbs are swing territory. of course the universities, going to be a lot of students, from what i'm hearing a lot for bernie sanders. it's interesting both clintons are coming here within a few days of each other. they must be seeing something. >> all right. joe mannies in missouri. interesting stuff. the other big prize tuesday, north carolina. jim moore for the charlotte observer joins me. set the stage for us. republican race, any sense who the favorite right be? a dark horse to watch? what do you make of the democratic side. >> the favorite on the republican side is donald trump. he had an 11-point lead in the polling average by real clear politics based on recent polls. he had 10,000 people at a rally in fayetteville last night. he's -- he had a rally near charlotte a couple of days ago and 4,000 people at that one. but i think like some of your other people have said, two-person race here in north
carolina. and you can tell by the schedule of the candidates. we haven't seen anything of senator rubio or governor kasich. ted cruz was here a couple of days ago. at a church at a small town, old mill town, near charlotte. he's coming back to the charlotte motor speedway for an event on sunday. i think it's between the two of them. they seem comfortable. right now donald trump appears to be in the lead. on the democratic side, we haven't had any recent polling but hillary clinton's had a 20-point lead over sanders. she was in the triangle area, raleigh-durham area. her husband was in charlotte, historically black college last week, rallying people. and bernie sanders will be back in the triangle tomorrow. >> just quickly, mentioning the triangle. one area where it seems donald trump has struggled, have we seen any gap for him in the polling, it's voters with college degrees, republican
voters who have college degrees, advanced degrees. there's a gap there for donald trump. any positioned to take advantage of that in the republican side in north carolina? >> you know i don't know. i don't see a lot of support out there for kasich, although former governor jim martin endorsed him here. but it's hard to see him doing much down here. senator rubio had a lot of endorsements, establishment endorsements from legislators. he probably had more endorsements than anybody, along with jeb bush before that. but you know, it's hard to see this other than a two-person race. >> yeah, we've seen what good the endorsements have done for candidates this cycle, not too much. thanks for the time. we've got a lot more "mtp daily" coming up right after this. please, stay tuned.er e self-prod financial superstars pitch you investment opportunities. ve got a fantastic deal for you- gold!
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the best returns aren't just asured in dollars. td ameritrade. this. and it is time for the ws, starting with the who. it's two former congressman laump laumplging come back bids, a republican after losing his seat as a democratic back in 2012, doug collins, the where, well, it is jerry brown's desk in sacramento, a bill to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21, in the state of california, now awaits the governor's signature.
and now to the what. it's president obama approval rating. it is now the highest it's been since may of 2013, 50% in this week's poll. when, it's eight years ago this month that sitting president george w. bush endorsed john mccain for president. today, on the subject of endorsing in his own party's race, president obama had this to say. >> i think that the democratic voters are doing just fine working this out. i think it's useful that we've had a vigorous debate among two good people who care deeply about our country. >> and finally, to the why. why was president obama in the rose garden in the first place today? well, canadian prime minister justin tru justin trudeau is at the white
house. often called canwhy that matter. they're obviously close allies, this is the first state visit for a canadian prime minister since back in 1997. the two leaders discussed trade, global warming, and foreign policy. we'll be right back. giving you more time for what matters most. (team sing) ♪safelite repair, safelite replace.♪ you've finally earned enough on your airline credit card. now you just book a seat, right? not quite. sometimes those seats are out of reach, costing an outrageous number of miles. it's time to switch... to the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day. and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline and use your miles to cover the cost. now that's more like it. what's in your wallet?
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that candidate is ted cruz. >> and that was utah senator mike lee today endorsing his colleague, ted cruz for president. by doing that, lee becomes the first senator to endorse cruz's white house campaign. with that, it's time for the lid. joining me from the gop debate site down in coral gable florida, the beat for nbc news. let's start with the mike lee endorsement. one of the most conservative members of the senate, but still, it's significant for ted cruz to get support from one of his colleagues there. >> here is what it does. it cuts off the line of attack we've heard from donald trump before, that cruz has no endorsement from senate colleagues. remember the moment in one of the debates where trump said you should be ashamed you have no endorsements from your colleagues. well, trump can't say that now. granted, it's mike lee and not a surprising endorsement
necessarily. lee and cruz are close. lee is one of the cruz's closest allies in the senate. cruz calls him like a brother. but here is the interesting part. lee, as you know, has been on the campaign trail not just with ted cruz but with marco rubio as well. i smoke with senator lee a few weeks ago, and we had an interview live actually. he talked a little bit about being conflicted about being stuck between two good friends. we followed up on the discussion today, pressing leon why now. why come out and pore him now, at this moment in time. he talked about what he believes is a building ground swell essentially behind cruz. and this potentially, steve, is a signal to marco rubio now about where the establishment is going. i have to add, too, lindsey graham, talking to nbc news said the lee endorsement shows he believes ted cruz is becoming the most viable candidate to try to slow down donald trump. so we'll see how this shakes out over the next few days. more congressional endorsements
in the coming days. >> gabe, obviously the kind of comments hallie is talking about, it's the worst news possible for rubio's campaign right now. he needs momentum to overcome the lead donald trump has in florida. it really feels like the republican establishment may be here is okay with rubio losing florida and think it's best bet might be to get cruz in the one-on-one after florida and see what happens. >> yeah, steve. it's going to be a big question. as hallie mentioned, will it lead to other endorsements, the steering committee, it implies there could be other endorsement on the way. the rubio campaign is saying it's not over. the fox news poll has him 23 points down, but they're pointing to other polls, the "washington post" poll, still a difficult place for marco rubio to be. really we'll have to see whether he has a good debate tonight.
expect him to go after donald trump on policy, not so much the personal insults that some people think really unraveled his campaign. he admitted he regretted it yesterday. can he somehow bounce back in the debate tonight. can he get some traction in the next couple of days and regain some of the momentum. yes, mike lee, it has to sting, because he had campaigned for marco rubio in south carolina, and you know, the question is, you know, has -- did rubio wait too long to start his ground game here? can he recover in time before the crucial primary on tuesday. we'll have to wait and see. steve. >> yeah, you are mentioning the debate, expressing regret for how he handled trump the last couple of weeks. we'll see if it's a passive rubio or we'll be curious to watch it. thank you to both of you. and we want to give the biggest thank you of all today to this
coffee shop auto right here in columbus for hosting us all week. exceptional hosts. we really appreciate it. chuck todd will be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily," tune in tonight with a special edition of "hardball," 11:00 p.m. eastern and "with all due respect" starts right now. >> i'm jothe pride of miami, in pocket, fires a spiral to his receiver, oh, so close. now rubio takes the snap. oh, he drops it. rubio passes to his man. just out of reach. here comes a quick one to rubio, he snags it, here's the hand off. a fumble. rubio, wide open. youch. one final chance for rubio to save the game. can he do it. >> a couple thousand but what we're seeing is aou