tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC November 27, 2011 10:00am-12:00pm EST
's on a really good corner. let's see if we can buy the property." and the branch manager said, "all right, i will take a chance with the two of you." and we've been loyal to bank of america for the last 71 years. newt gingrich gets a big nod. what's the political fallout after one newspaper endorses the former house speaker? 2012 strategy talk. a look at how the math shapes up for the reelection for obama and how it fares in key state. big news on black friday, the latest numbers show what some people call a surprise. the holidays at the white house, a new book looks at how past families celebrated there. we'll show you never before seen pictures. good morning everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it's 10 a.m. in the east, 7 a.m. in the west.
let's get to one of the most coveted endorsements in the presidential election. the new hampshire union leader is endorsing newt gingrich for president. the paper calls him an innovative and forward looking leader. we'll go there in a minute. michele bachmann is taking on newt gingrich and his immigration policy. at a book signing in iowa saturday, the congresswoman cited a letter signed in 2004 by several republicans, including gingrich. supporting george w. bush's immigration plan. at the time conservatives called it amnesty. >> what the letter shows today is that he's fully in support of president bush's amnesty program. this is something that i have been against throughout my career. and i have always said that we need to uphold the laws of the land. >> during his own book signing in florida, gingrich responded to the ongoing attacks. >> i clearly did not call for amnesty tuesday night.
i clearly did not suggest 11 people -- i'm happy to debate all of my friends in this race. it would be nice if they stuck to the facts and were willing to work at being honest. >> and the dream is still alive for hardcore sarah palin supporters. the group conservatives for palin says it's raised enough money to run a tv ad in iowa urging her to reconsider a white house run. meanwhile, gary johnson is hinting as a run as a third party candidate. he feels abandoned by the republican party and may run as a libertarian. >> the candidates are on the road today. michele bachmann signs books in iowament herman cain attends the statesman dinner in florida. jon huntsman and rick santorum in new hampshire. let's get more on the gingrich endorsement joe mcquaide writes "a lot of candidates say they're going to improve washington. newt gingrich has actually done
that. in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again. newt gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate but republican primary volters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. he has the experience, leadership qualities and the vision to lead this country in trying times. we're joined from a long time political analyst and expert on the ground there and a political science professor at the university of new hampshire. good morning. >> good morning. >> your reaction to the endorsement. are you surprised sm. >> if you had told me an labor day that newt gingrich would be endorsed by a new hampshire leader, i would be surprised. i would guess -- after the last few weeks newt gingrich has had, i think a lot of conservatives like the he had corial board of the leader see newt gingrich as the best, most viable candidate not named mitt romney.
>> i want to rewind to four years ago today. this is an average of the polls in the last contest on november 27, 2008. exactly four years ago. here we go. it's an average that real clear politics posted that day where mitt romney was ahead of cain. cain was in third place. union leader then endorsed john mccain -- then cain beat romney by five points in the new hampshire primary. is there a cause/effect relationship between the endorsement and a primary victory. >> i think that union leader endorsement was a cause of mccain's victory in 2008. it wasn't necessarily the cause. rudy giuliani's collapse in december of to 07 in new hampshire paved the way for john mccain to pick up moderate republicans, but the union leader endorsement could be a gift that keeps on giving for newt gingrich. because the key question now is, will the union leader start
hammering mitt romney in front page editorials for the next five or six weeks. is this a one-shot deal for newt gingrich or is the union leader going to aggressively go after mitt romney. that's the key question going forward. >> if you're thinking of a one-shot deal. no one disputes that newt gingrich has baggage. do you think -- i think he's well on his way to doing that. i think very conservative voters in new hampshire who don't like mitt romney because they see him as essentially more of the same. not a clear change in direction from barack obama. they basically run out of candidates. michele bachmann, herman cain, rick perry, they've all -- they've looked at the candidates and they don't like any of them. so now i think newt gingrich has made the first cut among those conservative voters looking for a romney alternative. now the question is whether gingrich can start to reach in to some of mitt romney's base of
somewhat less conservative voters. >> when you see a romney alternative, do you think that is the position of the union leader? do they not like him? they did endorse him four years ago, not endorsing him this time. >> yeah. i think they at least hold him at arm's length with skepticism because they look at romney's record as governor of massachusetts and they suspect someone who turns with the political tides and they don't see newt gingrich in that same way. >> here's what's interesting. the paper may be saying something. if you look at the later university of new hampshire poll, that shows romney has a commanding lead in new hampshire. gingrich is 27 points behind romney there. however shall it is worth noting, 16% of the likely primary voters say they know who they're voting for. keeping that in mind, what do you think will happen in the next six weeks before the primary? >> my colleague who runs the poll under scores the volatility
of the electorate in the run-up to primaries. a lot of voters haven't made up their minds for sure yet. one-third of mitt romney voters see newt gingrich as their second choice according to the later unh poll. there's lots of time here for voters to make up their minds and for those polls to change. >> do you think bottom line two-horse race, gingrich, romney? >> in new hampshire, there's a couple of potential spoilers. one is ron paul, who is going to get a certain segment of the electorate no matter what. the other spoiler is jon huntsman. he has been on the ground a long time in new hampshire and now his super p.a.c. is running a lot of ads. if some of the ads target mitt romney, romney may find himself caught in the middle between huntman on his left and gingrich on his right. thanks, dante. just moments ago on meet the press, conservative grover norquist weighed in on the newt
gingrich endorsement. here it is. >> the union leader endorsement is very important. i think highly of romney and he's been the front-runner. newt, romney, one of those guys is moving forward. they both looked you in the eye and said they're not going to raise your taxes. >> kristen welker is live. good morning to you. new york senator chuck schumer was also on meet the press in a week after the failure of the debt super committee. he's now making predictions. >> reporter: that's right he is. good morning, alex. senator sumer still thinks, that lawmakers can get a deal done on deficit reduction saying it would be based on that which was laid out, the proposal laid out by the simpson bowls commission which called for $3 trillion in new revenues and cuts to spending. now, he also weighed in on this issue of these automatic cuts that will go into effect in 2013 if there is no deal on deficit reduction. big cuts to defense spending and
domestic spending. some republican lawmakers have signalled that they've started to write legislation to get around these automatic cuts that will go into effect in 2013. president obama has said he will veto any such legislation. today on meet the press, senator schumer said that was the right move by the president. >> the whole purpose of what was put in place in july with the debt ceiling was to have very sharp knives hanging over the heads of each party. and the fear that those knives would come into effect is supposed to bring us to an agreement. i think actually we can get an agreement in 2012. >> now, alex, senator schumer also called on congress to pass an extension of the payroll tax cuts as well as unemployment insurance, both of which are set to expire at the end of the year. it's not clear if either will make it way through congress and given the partisan gridlock in
the past months, alex, not a surprise. >> more from kristen welker later. a strained relationship between the u.s. and pakistan. pakistan buried two dozens soldiers shot at two army posts yesterday. fellow solders carried the flag draped coffins into the funeral ground. they've closed a border crossing used by nato to supply the forces in afghanistan. we have a reporter in kabul this morning. let's get the latest. >> good morning, alex. the tensions continue to grow between nato's u.s. and pakistani. showing the flag draped coffins all day long. showing grieving families, pakistanis are very angry. the growing anti-american sentiment seems to continue to grow in pakistan. nato officials are saying that they're still investigating exactly what may have gone on. one u.s. official has told nbc
news that they believe that nato is responding to fire against nato forces on the afghan side of the border as well as afghan forces. what isn't clear is that they were in coordination with the pakistani to figure out if they were going to target pakistani forces or target insurgents. >> okay. so, again, it could have been just small arms fire, not directed at nato forces? that is the concern. i mean, that seems like a viable response? >> reporter: well, alex, let me give you insight of what the afghans have been talking about in afghanistan. what i've seen in afghan media the last couple of months and what media traps teimmediate --o the provinces in afghanistan,they continue to receive rocket fire from across the border and many of them do believe 100% that it's coming
from the pakistani military forces. but they feel as though their hands are tied behind their backs. they can't fire back because it will increase the tension we're seeing right now between pakistan, the u.s. and nato. but if you look at the afghan media, if you talk to the officials, they'll tell you that they've seen afghan civilians dying on this side of the border from pakistani rockets. the military, on the other hand, say that the rockets being fired from their side of the border into afghanistan is actually targeting insurgents. many of the afghan officials here will say that in the end, it's killed afghan forces as well as afghan civilians. >> complicated to say the least. an update on the pepper spray incident in california walmart. the l.a. times says police aren't sure whether they'll charge the woman who turned herself in yesterday. 20 people were injured thursday night when the unidentified woman reportedly sprayed the crowd to get shopping advantage.
let's go to black friday and the early retail estimates look pretty huge. shopper track says sales were up a whopping 6.6% over last year with shoppers spending more than $11 billion. that's the biggest black friday every. foot traffic in stores was up more than 5%. we have more on the fantastic start to holiday shopping. >> reporter: across the country, the weekend shopping spree continues full force. >> you doing christmas shopping? >> at a washington bookstore, the first family was in the act. it was particularly strong on-line. according to core metrics, black friday internet buying jumped 25% over last year. a whopping 39% on thanksgiving day. >> it's getting bigger and bigger every year. about 60 million dollar -- $60 billion is going to be transacted on-line this year. >> analysts say it's driven by the search for the best possible deals. >> i'm going to be spending less because we don't know what the
future holds. >> once i reach my limit, that's it. everything is at a budget. >> but not everyone is feeling the pinch. analysts say the affluent are looking for the highest quality possible or innovative products. >> we're seeing higher tickets being sold. they may not bias much, but they're buying the items that are the most expensive. >> at the low end, it's all about the price. the deals that are out there, they're extensive and they're coming at all different times. >> i don't know yang, nbc news, new york. royal rescue. prince william takes part in a mission at sea. the pictures next on that. also the onslaught of attack ads against president obama. how will new hampshire union leader endorsement of newt gingrich affect the presidential race. you can talk to me on twitter. i'll read your responses later on weekends with alex witt.
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welcome back everyone. it's a big travel day capping off the holiday weekend. will the weather be a problem? in new york city, not so much. because it's clear and warm here, but that's not the case everywhere. jeff morrow from the weather channel has the details. good morning, jeff. >> good morning, alex. hope you had a great holiday. if everybody is traveling or a lot of folks are traveling home after the holidays, this probably is the biggest travel day. i don't think you'll have any problems here along the northeast corridor, anywhere from boston to new york to philly, to washington. once you head back to my hometown of pittsburgh and far west, you get into heavy rain. that's an issue, cincinnati maybe up to cleveland and detroit. here along the eastern seaboard, the weather shouldn't be an issue. that won't be the case in
florida. atlanta is getting rain, new orleans, birmingham, little rock, arkansas as well. as we head into the upper midwest, chicago, which of course is always the big hub, there could be issues there. we'll keep an eye on that through the afternoon. most of the west, alex, looking high and dry. the exception may be seattle. >> okay. we like to see a lot of green instead of red with the airplanes. thanks, jeff morrow. let's go to politics and the race for 2012. a new report today suggests republican and conservative groups are on the attack spending record amounts of money to defeat president obama. today's new york times reports that in the past six months, $13 million has been spent on negative ads targeting president obama. one analysis finds 2012 tv ad spending could top, are you sitting down, $3 billion. i'm joined by washington post white house reporter, anne kornblut who spent time in chicago. good day to you.
>> good day to you. >> the sky is the limit when it comes to attacks. like karl rove. does team obama have an answer to this onslaught snoo. >> they're not surprised neither are you i'm sure, this amount of money is being raised on the other side. it's been an orgds organized republican -- not the number you cited but in the hundreds of millions of dollars. team obama is in a position here where they can't actually respond with outside groups. that's the nature of the outside groups. they're not allowed to have any contact with them. there are a number of groups ha has been formed. the so-called super packs are out there on the democratic side like on the republican side. it's a bit of a different setup. there's a unified headquarter on the democratic side. there is a democratic campaign for all democrats to contribute to. at this point, the obama campaign is saying that they are not counting on any outside groups to help them. they're going to try and do it
themselves. and already you see a lot of organizations in the states as a result. >> you know, the obama 2012 team is headquartered in chicago. that was a very deliberate move. your article, it slugged obama chicago campaign staff living good life away from washington. how does that help in. >> well, i was a skeptic of this move when they first announced it because it seemed strange to have the candidate and the campaign so many hundreds of miles away from each other. when you get out there, you see that the benefits really are separating the staff from the daily comings and goings of washington. when we were bogged down in the super committee, they weren't thinking about that. they were thinking about how to organize in the states. so what that they're removed from the candidate they would say. they were removed from him last time because he was on an airplane the entire time. they would argue and i think there's something to it, that they got a level of focus and a degree of concentration by being
far from what's going on here. >> has the obama camp been gearing up for a challenge from romney and with the endorsement of newt gingrich does that change that and do you think he would rather face gingrich instead in. >> i suspect they would be salivating is too strong a word but hoping for somebody other than romney. they have been for quite some time counting on romney as their opponent. as much as they would have hoped for rick perry at one point or before that sarah palin even. they were always hoping for somebody who they could cast as an extreme republican. romney has not ever been as easy to pigeonhole. they've worked hard to portray him as a flipflopper. it will be interesting to see if they switch gears now that gingrich has the momentum. there are things to look forward in a gingrich candidacy. not least of which is his record, which is long and storied. there are a lot of people in washington and in the obama campaign who know newt's history
very well. anne kornblut, you'll stick around for the big three next hour. thank you. >> thank you. prince william tack took part in a rescue. powerful winds out of coast of north wales, the vessel sank and the russian crew was lost. the prince was the co-pilot of the helicopter who arrived on the scene. two crew members were saved and five others have yet to be found. small businesses in austin, texas are thinking local. mason arnold runs green loaf distributing from green gate farms and baked goods. they're helping the economy of their community. for more, watch your business sunday mornings at 7:30 on ms. nbs. [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun.
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time for another installment of number ones. what's the best state for business in america? forbes says utah. reasons include a low corporate tax rate, low energy costs. major employers are expanding and hiring. thanks to the packers, real estate mogul names green bay the best place for a football fan. the median cost of housing is $122,000. britney spears is back on top, not on the music charts, but give her credit, she's the
most followed person on the new social media network. about a thousand more followers than larry page. football player to the moon. ah! >> oh, yeah. charlie brown fails again to kick the football but he did kick lady gaga's rear in the raids. the annual airing of a charlie brown thanksgiving beat a gaga thanksgiving special. both lost to the big bang theory. finally, the most famous christmas tree in america. a 74-foot tall spruce is the rockefeller tree. when the 30,000 lights are turned on thursday it will look something like this. it's pretty beautiful. that's are your number ones on "weekends with alex witt." it's new! ahhh-ahh-ahh!
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." at half past the hour, a big boost for newt gingrich's presidential campaign. the former house speaker got the highly coveted endorsement from the new hampshire union leader. that paper endorsed john mccain the last election cycle. mccain came from behind to win the new hampshire primary in january 2008. joining me now, jolene kent who is in the paper's newsroomment you were up all night. we think you got the scoop, girlfriend. let me tell you, i think you were the first one tweeting it out there. let's talk about what the paper is saying about why it endorsed gingrich? >> reporter: good morning first of all. it was a long night. the union leader finally endorsed newt gingrich. they say it's based off of his conservative credentials and his experience in washington.
but they also were very quick to point out that he is far from the perfect candidate but the best of the lot. what's the most important thing to point out here is the union leader did not for the second cycle in a row endorse mitt romney who has basically been living in new hampshire for the past five years. campaigning here and courting the editorial team. so that perhaps is one of the largest outpumps. it means this race is up for grabs, alex. >> have we heard from the gingrich camp about this endorsement? >> yes, we have. we talked to them this morning before dawn and they're very, very excitedment but i think we need to remember that the onions have -- the layers of the onion have yet to be peeled back on newt gingrich. he's got a lot of baggage. a lot of the freddie mac stuff that has yet to be fully investigated by the voters here in new hampshire. alex? >> joe lynn kent, well done. you got the scoop early this morning.
so what lies ahead following the super committee's big fail and how long could it take to repair the economic damage and how bad automatic cuts could be for the pentagon. that's coming up in about 20 minutes from now. thanksgiving travel got a boost. 42.5 million americans hit the road this weekend making it the most significant travel increase since the recession hit. the return trip can be a haul. nbc's mark potter has more. >> reporter: good morning alex at the miami international airport and others around the country will be heavy travel days. at this airport alone, 117,000 people are expected to go -- get on the planes here. supervisor says it's about the same as last year. they're expecting a 2% drop in air travel this year at a couple of the airports that we called last night, san francisco and atlanta, we were actually hearing about increased travel. the best news of all is that
there are no travel delays around the country. the news is pretty good out there weatherwise. throughout the country also, the planes are said to be very full, they're jammed and so travelers are urged to get to the airports early today so that they can get through the check-in and the screening along with everyone else. meantime, on the roads, there's a lot of activity there today as people are heading home. this is one of the busiest travel days for drivers this year. 90% of the people who are traveling this holiday are actually doing so by car. aaa says that 38 million people will be driving 50 miles or more. up 4% over last year. we're not sure that actually occurred. we won't know that for a couple of months. we have to do surveys. as the day goes on, we know that the traffic is expected to build. more people out there on the roads. more troopers. everyone just urged to be careful out there. alex? >> okay. mark potter, many thanks for that.
the oklahoma women's basketball team made an emotional victorious return to the court saturday. the cowgirls won in their first game since the tragic plane wreck killed their coaches. loyal fans who showed up wanted to see them win. >> i can't imagine how tough it is to lose a coach and i'm sure he's more than a coach to them and for the girls to have the support of not only their families and coaches they have now but the cowboy family. i think it's important for everybody to get out to show their support today. >> coaches kurt budke and miles an hour an aserna died. the cause of the plane crash still under investigation. hours from now, occupy los angeles protesters are facing eviction. hundreds of demonstrators have been camping out for almost two months now. the city says they have to leave by monday at 12:01 a.m. protesters have turned down offers for alternative locations to camp out. strategy talk for 2012.
a looking at the math needed for president obama to win. the think tank, the center for american progress claims the race will come down to these 12 states, all of which president obama won in 2008. joining me is former rnc chairman michael steele and governor of ohio ted strickland, the former governor there. >> governor strickland, i'm begin with you. we're showing you the 12 key states. when we put up this map, it may not be likely for the president to win all 12 again. which ones do you see as must wins in 2012? >> well, i think ohio is the ultimate swing state and so i'm hopeful that the president will once again carry ohio. but michigan, pennsylvania, florida, these are critical state. i think the president will do okay in ohio. in large part because of the opposition. if it's mitt romney, he's the guy who opposed saving the american auto industry. and i don't know how mitt romney
comes to ohio and talks to ohio ans about job creation given his past stance regarding the auto industry. if it's newt gingrich, well we all know newt, i served with him in the house. i think the president will do okay against newt in ohio. it's a week republican field in my judgment. i think that will help the president immensely as he comes into the midwest. >> well, michael may have a different tactic there because of the 12 states. >> just a little. >> do you think the gop candidate must win or the ultimate gop candidate has to win to take the white house? michael, no republican has won the white house without winning governor strickland's home state of ohio. >> ohio will be at the top of the list. i think along with florida. what will be important for the gop next year will be to get back virginia and north carolina which they lost in 2008. they were huge losses in the sense that it began to eat into one of the core stint weconstit
in the south and wrapping our arms around ohio sets in place the pathway to 270 votes in the electoral college. but i think it's doable. i think the president has a lot of baggage as they like to say. to care any this campaign. certainly, ohio will be competitive because of the state of economy, the failure to create the level of jobs that workers need and want. and i think that mitt romney and newt gingrich can very effectively go into ohio and speak to that despite issues of concerns folks may have about their positions of auto workers et cetera. >> governor strickland, the study suggests that president obama's weakness could be with the white working class. as we look at the results from 2008, white voters earning less than $50,000 went for mccain. in this economic kriemt, do you
think the president is at risk of losing more of those voters and by the way, i don't have to tell you, your state is made up of many of those voters. >> alec, i'm one of those. i'm a white appalachian lower middle class kid who grew up and became ohio's governor. i understand the people of southern and southeastern ohio very well. the appalachian area of ohio. i think the president will do well for this reason. he is the only one that is talking seriously about job creation. i think this election will be decided ultimately as the people decide which of the two parties put forth a candidate that is serious about creating jobs. there's a lot of pain throughout america and certainly throughout ohio today. people are unemployed and underemployed. people are without adequate healthcare and which ever candidate actually speaks to the
heart and soul of the american people will be the winner and quite frankly, the only thing that i'm hearing, with all due respect, and i don't want to be unfair and overly partisan here, but the only thing i'm hearing out of the republican presidential candidates is a call to protect tax cuts for the richest people in our country. and there seems to be a disconnect between what's happening throughout america and throughout ohio and the rhetoric that we're hearing coming from the republican debates. >> gentlemen, since i have talking about strategy. i want to get into this question, michael. the study says that hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the country and they could strongly influence some states, as well as african-american turnout. that's critical too. look at the minority vote in 2008 when obama carried most of that vote. do you think -- which state would you target for this? >> they're going to have to work
at it. no doubt about that. i think that having a lackadaisical attitude about hispanic, african-american votes, which has been typical for republicans in the past, just won't cut it. particularly as their voting presence and their margins grow in the various campaigns that lie ahead. when you look at a state like florida for example, you have to spend some time not just courting but engaging and speaking very clearly and succinctly to the hispanic community as you see in other part of the south and the southwest. respect to african-american voters, that's a tall mountain to climb. i mean, there's a lot of historic frustration between african-americans and republicans which i think republicans have had fits and starts with addressing. i think the candidate, the nominee will have to be much more forthright and really speak about fundamentally the principles and values that we have and how they relate not just to the policy but to the personal side of their lives and
can make a difference whether you're an entrepreneur, raising your kids by yourself. there are a lot of things that we can talk to them about. we need to do that and certainly florida becomes important in that regard. california becomes important in that regard. as we've seen in places in the midwest where you have a growing number of african-americans, hispanics, we've got to be on the ground there. >> governor strickland, i know we're having the segment. i don't want to ask about two demographics, younger voters and single women. two to one the last election. enthusiasm is down according to this study. economic pessimism is up. how do -- how do candidates and n and the president in particular ensure that there will be the enthusiasm and the turnout from these groups? >> well, i think it's going to be tougher this year than perhaps during the last campaign. simply because of the economy and so many people are demoralized. younger people are looking for jobs. they have -- many of them have
high debt left over from their educational experiences. i think it will be tough. i go back to what i said earlier, alex. michael steele is such a reasonable person. i would hope that more people in his party would listen to him. but the fact is that which ever candidate talks meaningfully about the economy and creating jobs will be the candidate that will win and i repeat my sif in saying that i think president obama is the only one who is talking seriously about specific plans to get this economy back on track and to create jobs. he's being met with obstruction from the other side continuously. if that continues, then i think the president will do well. if someone within the republican party, the leadership says we've got to focus on jobs and actually begins doing it, then i think the race will become much, much more competitive in ohio and across the country.
>> michael, quickly, there was a new group of voters last time that the president seized upon. another new group of voters? >> ironically, i think it's the same group of voters. for different reasons. you have now that class, that began with obama in 2008 graduating. they've graduated into an economy as the governor's laid out that is tough right now. the difference is that obama for the last three years has talked about creating jobs and has not done it. they've now walked into that marketplace where their frustrations and concerns about the hope and change of 2008 has become that moment of great disappointment in 2011-2012. how they respond becomes critically important here and i think it's a really good opening for the republican party and particularly our nominee to begin that conversation, engage those voters in a different way. >> this was one long conversation. we're glad we were able to have it with the woet both of you, ted strickland, michael steele,
thank you. coming up, holiday traditions, the stories and pictures of christmas past. coming up on "weekends with alex witt." i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us. massmutual. we'll help you get there. so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function.
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michelle obama is decking the halls for the holiday season. the first lady received the christmas tree on friday. it's a balsam fir. the public won't see it until wednesday. there was a book written about how mrs. obama and others decorate 1600 pennsylvania avenue. colleen joins me now. good morning. >> good morning. let's get to the beginning of the back featuring jackie kennedy's style. >> jackie kennedy, our style icon. she's actually the one who said let's give some thought to christmas at the white house.
let's not just slap something up. let's really think about it and she came up with the christmas theme. but the funniest thing is, she had this great white house tree, but her own private tree was haphazard and thrown together. just really shocking because that was yjackie kennedy. some of the best photos are the wonderful kennedy moments when we see them with their children. >> they have behind the scenes where she's wearing pink pajamas and pearls. >> and smoking a cigarette. >> that was then. this is now. she has a glamorous style. it is the white house, after all. as we move forward in time,let look at the nixon years. >> sure. mrs. nixon was known for decorating with gold which was fun and wonderful and very jazzy and she worked with saks fifth avenue a lot. what she is not as well-known for is first tours for the handicapped of the white house. first candle tours of the working class people could go and see the decorations.
she changed the way people experienced the white house. >> then you had the reagan years. that was a lot of glamour. >> a lot of glamour. a little bit of hollywood at the white house. mrs. reagan also decorated with a lot of gold. she liked to have celebrity santas. larry hagman was here one year. >> we have a picture of mr. tate. she's sitting on his lap. >> he went to the white house one year. what could be fupier than that. what's wonderful is the presidential -- the official moments and also the private moments. that's what's really special. getting to see the first family celebrate christmas. >> the clinton years. she was inspired by the nutcracker, wasn't it? >> mrs. kennedy did the nutcracker first and it kind of an homage to mrs. kennedy, mrs. clinton did the nutcracker. but chelsea also danced in the
nutcrack nutcracker. many forces coming together for that theme. you would think that mrs. clinton would be as interested in decorating. she really was. she went to great trouble to make sure we had beautiful decorations. >> what's interesting with michelle obama's style, she reflects almost that organic garden. she deck rates with a lot of nature inside the white house. >> what i found what was important during the first lady during the year comes out at christmas. she did simple blessings. that was the theme. that was important to her much the garden showed up in the gingerbread house. really sweet. she made wreaths with dried fruit and vegetables and just whatever is important to the first lady will come out in the decorations. >> it is an absolutely beautiful book and among the things you can also get are recipes. i love lady bird johnson's. she gives a cranberry recipe. >> almost like a retro jell-o mold. i tested them out on my family and it was delicious.
we're going to add it to our christmas dinner had year. >> that sounds great. the book is "christmas with the first ladies." it's beautiful. it's a great christmas gift. i'm not getting paid to say that. i need to get a few for friends i know. colleen, best of luck to you. >> happy holidays. >> and to you. the super committee fail. an expert on the budget tells us what now. ary ary and i served a tour in iraq. all the skills that i learned in the military are very transferable into the corporate and real world. chase hired me to be a personal banker. the 100,000 jobs mission has definitely helped me get my foot in the door. chase is giving opportunities to vets who don't think that there's any opportunity out there. chase and these other companies are getting a great deal when they hire veterans. chase is proud to help 100,000 veterans find jobs at home. congratulations. congratulations. today, the city of charlotte can use verizon technology to inspire businesses to conserve energy
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more finger pointing over the failed super committee. both parties tell their sides of the story in the pages of the washington post. lawmakers return to work tomorrow. joining me is david walker, former comptroller of the u.s. and founder of the comeback america initial tich. good morning, david. >> good to be with you, alex. >> this may have terrible ramifications. how bad is it really in. >> well, i've never seen this much hyper partisanship, such a great divide and the power of special interests manifest
themselves. this was a total leadership failure. probably about the worst in modern history. you had the wrong chairs. they appointed the wrong people. and frankly, the president was out of time when it came to crunch time. we have to learn from 1992. it's time to go to the people. washington is out of touch and out of control. we need to learn from what ross perot did in 1992. $15 trillion in debt, david. can you put this into perspective and how bad it could get for america? >> we are now over 100% of our economy in debt and we're adding debt at record rates. to compare that, if you look, the highest we ever were was the end of world war ii at 122%. but we're adding debt at record rates. whereas, we were bringing down debt dramatically and rapidly after world war two. we're headed for third world nation status for debt to gdp if we don't end up making some
choices soon. i think we will after the 2012 elections, but not before that. >> but david even if the u.s. did all the right things fiscally, how many years could it take for the u.s. to be in good financial shape again? >> the real key is, how much debt do we have as a percentage of our economy. not all debt is bad. in fact, some level of debt can be good. the real key is we have to get the debt down from where it is now. first, we have to reduce the rate of increase and reduce that to gdp and get down to a reasonable and sustainable level of between 40 to 60% of gdp and then hold it at that level. >> david, do you think that our lawmakers on capitol hill get the big picture of the shape that we're in? or are they so entrenched in their party line, if you will, they're not seeing the forest through the trees? >> i think our political system is broken. we have a situation or a vast
majority of elected officials are determined in the primary which is where the far right and the far left have a dispo portion nat -- we have far too many career politicians who may or may not have had a real job. once elected, they want to keep that job for life. you know, we've got a situation where people are more concerned with keeping their job than doing their jobs. we had historically low rating of congress. 13% in the gallup poll. i expect it will go down. it's embarrassing. >> david, are you optimistic at all? >> i believe we need to take a page out of ross perot's book. in 1992 he was concerned about federal spending, federal deficits, federal debt as a percentage of the economy as well as the low approval ratings of congress. we're much worse now than we were then. we need to go to the people. we need to help them understand what's going on. and to try to be able to turn this thing around. because if you expect the same
people who cause the problem to get us out of the problem, you're dreaming. >> i think we're a lot better off for having listened to you, david walker. many thanks. >> thank you. the strong start to the holiday shopping season. the latest numbers at the top of the hour and willie geist with how how we don't get it. more on "weekends with alex witt." ♪
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it's an attention grabber all right. but does this woman's street stunt bring her dog back? good morning everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." just past 11 a.m. in the east, 8:00 a.m. out west. it's one of the most sought after endorsement at this stage of the race. endorsing newt gingrich for president in a front page editorial. joe mcquaide wrote, a lot of candidates say they're going to improve washington, newt gingrich has done that. in this race, he offers the best shot of doing it again. the endorsement could be a boost for candidates hoping to win the nation's first primary. the gingrich camp is honored to get the paper's approval. the head of the new hampshire campaign released this statement. this is an enormous boost to our campaign and further proof that the people of new hampshire want substance and solutions over sound bites and pandering. let's bring in bloomberg view columnist, jonathan alter. good morning. >> hi alex. >> how surprised were you when you woke up and heard about
this? >> i wasn't too surprised because i heard from the romney campaign that they were expecting them to back newt gingrich. they did hasten to report that in 1988 the union leader endorsed pierre dupont. not george h.w. bush who became president and in 2000, union leader endorsed steve forbes and not george w. bush who went on to be president. we shouldn't read too much into this endorsement. but it does help newt gingrich get competitive in new hampshire. the question is, can he build on this endorsement with some real organization on the ground? right now, romney has all the organization up there. newt gingrich doesn't have much going. we'll see whether he can close the gap in a few weeks. >> you're offering the romney camp perspective. how about the obama team perspective. what do you think the reaction is in the white house in. >> i was in chicago last week talking to officials in the obama camp. and their view now is they're
prepared to run against anybody. they're not ready to say that newt gingrich would necessarily be easier to beat than mitt romney. but they do have some experience with gingrich and they know, having watched his career, that he's a pretty undies plind politician. the chances of him blowing himself up are pretty good. whether it's in the primaries, which would make him lose to romney nor a general election. they're happy to the see that the republicans have not been able to settle on mitt romney yet. that's good news for the obama campaign. >> what's interesting is we're talking about gingrich and romney. everyone talks about cain and romney. or perry and romney. romney seems to be the constant. do you think it's a o two-horse race? >> i do. i think at this point herman cain won't be much of a factor anymore except for comic relief. this is a contest at this point between mitt romney and newt gingrich. but it's such a crazy year,
alex. you cannot rule out somebody else conceivably catching fire, perry comeback or maybe jon huntsman beats all the odds and gets his 15 minutes. not likely. the most likely situation is that the two men who have performed the best in the debates and that's mitt romney and newt gingrich, will square off for many primaries to come. i don't think this is going to get wrapped up too early. i'd be surprised if romney closes the sale at the beginning of 2012. if he couldn't do it after stomping everybody in debates through much of 2011. >> here's an interesting angle. with news max, the conservative news site, bill clinton had nice things to say about his former rival. let's listen to this. >> i think he's doing well just because he's thinking and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense.
it's not any traditional sort of charisma. it's that he thinks about this stuff all the time. he's articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will solve a legitimate problem. >> what's the deal there? are they good friends? there's skeptical journalist in me thinks what's bill clinton up to? he's on the other team. >> he's always worked three or four levels at once. obviously, it's good for the democrats if gingrich does well right now. he also is a trouble maker. doesn't mind making a little trouble for barack obama every so often if it doesn't harm him, which this really doesn't. also, what he says basically is true that gingrich does sometimes think of original future oriented ideas. the problem is that he is very much of a split personality politically. you never are sure whether it's the snarling attack dog
hypocritical newt gingrich who shows up or the more imaginative future-focused gingrich. the list is as long as your arm, alex. he said barney frank deserved to be in jail because of his connections to fannie may and freddie mac and then it comes out that newt gingrich himself, the person who just was throwing those stones, was on the payroll for $1.6 million from freddie mac. that's just the latest. the man has set an indoor record for hypocrisy. there was talk of the union leader about the contract with america. well, there were a lot of things that helped to bring him the power in 1994. like going after the democrats for corruption in the house of representatives. and it turned out he was the first speaker in history ever sanctioned and fined for ethical violations. he went after a previous speaker
on a book deal and it was gingrich's own book deal that didn't look so good. he went after bill clinton, interestingly. on the lewinski affair at the same time that he was having a long-term affair with a congressional staffer out of wedlock. you know, there's a lot of baggage here. you can expect the republican candidates, all of them, to be opening that bag anl and inspecting the contents. they didn't have to do that when newt gingrich ran, he wasn't registered in the polls. but now that he's surging, you can expect a lot of the old issues, the good and the bad newt gingrich to be on display. >> which is going to keep it very interesting. you'll have to come on back. thank you so much jonathan alterment good to see you. >> thanks, alex. michele bachmann is also making headlines for new comments she made at a book signing in iowa. she cited a letter signed in 2004 by several republicans, including gingrich supporting
george w. bush's plan on immigration. >> and what the letter shows today is that he's fully in support of president bush's amnesty program. this is something that i have been against throughout my career. and i have always said that we need to uphold the laws of the land. >> gingrich was quick to respond to the continuing attacks during his book signing event in florida. >> i clearly did not call for amnesty. i clearly did not suggest 11 million people stay in the united states. i'm happy to debate all of my friends in this race but it will be nice if they stuck to the facts and were willing to work at being honest. >> in iowa, just 37 days for the caucuses there and candidates mailers are everywhere. nbc news alex moe got her hands-on a few. all appearing in mail bobbinbox weekend. michele bachmann will be signing books in iowa. herman cain attends the
statesman dinner there in florida. jon huntsman, rick santorum are holding town halls in new hampshire. pakistan is furious this weekend over a nato attack that killed two dozen soldiers. pakistan retaliated by closing border crossings into afghanistan, cutting off the main supply route there for nato. >> they were respond to go small arms fire along the border. >> support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation and it is what highly likely caused pakistan casualties. the government called it unprovoked, intolerable and indiscriminate. kristen welker is joining me with more on this. good morning, kristen. how is the white house dealing with all of this tense situation? >> reporter: good morning again, alex. the white house officials are being incredibly measured had their response to this incident in pakistan. in part,because they don't have all of the facts right now and in part, because the
relationship between the united states and pakistan is so incredibly complicated. white house officials say that president obama has been updated regularly by his national security advise or tom donl and say that top officials reached out to the pakistani counterparts to express condolences and to express support for any investigation getting under way. the state and defense departments also released this statement. we do have a graphic of it. secretaries clinton and panetta have been closely monitoring reports of the -- both express condolences for the loss of life and support the intention to investigate. one analyst says this could be a catastrophic blow to u.s. reels with pakistan. it's already been an incredibly tough year, especially given the killing of osama bin laden. remember, secretary of state hillary clinton just visited pakistan a month ago to try to smooth out relations and also to urge top officials there to get
tougher on militant in the region. some experts say this could undo any gains that were made during that visit by secretary clinton. so analysts certainly watching this very closely. some say you can already see the effects as you mentioned alex. pakistan has closed off that key supply route to afghanistan. so some saying that we're already seeing a ripple effect start to take hold. but others caution look, it's still very early. it just might be too soon to say what the full impact of this incident will be. alex? >> doesn't seem like it's a good perspective from any vantage point. a record day expected for americans traveling home for the holiday. the estimated folks who voyaged out will be on the opposite end of the trip today. what kind of weather can you expect as you head out? so far clear and mild in new york city. for more on the rest of the country, we turn to the weather channel's jeff morrow. good morning, jeff.
>> hey, good morning, alex. hope you had a great holiday. if everybody is traveling or a lot of folks are traveling home after the holidays, this is probably the biggest travel day. i don't think you'll have any problems in the northeast corridor. anywhere from boston to new york, to philly, to washington. once you head back to my hometown of pittsburgh and farther west, you get into heavy rain. that's an issue in cincinnati, maybe up to cleveland and detroit. here along the eastern seaboard, the weather shouldn't be an issue. that won't be the case along the immediate east coast down into florida. but atlanta is getting rain, also new orleans, birmingham, little rock, arkansas as well. now, as we head into the upper midwest, chicago, which of course is always a big hub. there could be issues there. we'll keep an eye on that through the afternoon. most of the west, alex, looking high and dry. the exception may be seattle. all right. jeff morrow, thanks for that. the consequences of the deadly attack on pakistan. what worries the u.s. the most?
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the u.s. and pakistan are in the middle of a dispute triggered by a nato attack by the border between afghanistan and pakistan. today, funerals were held for the two dozen soldiers killed. pakistan has retaliated by closing a major border crossing. the u.s. state and defense departments issued a joint statement stressing the importance of the u.s.-pakistani relationship. the key here, it's a relationship with a nuclear power.
that involves a delicate diplomatic dance. skroing me right now, joe is an expert on nuclear weapons. we welcome you back. >> good morning, alex. >> this situation, joe is compounded by the fact that pakistan has nuclear weapons. how much does that scare you in. >> pakistan is probably the most dangerous country on earth. it has a unique combination of enough material between 60 and 100 nuclear weapons. unstable government, islamic fundamentalist forces active in the military and intelligence apparatus and major terrorist organizations including al qaeda operating within pakistan territory. this is a situation where pakistan could turn from a major u.s. ally into our worst nuclear nightmare overnight. >> that would be because -- do you have concern that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist easily in. >> you have three concerns.
the pakistan army guards nuclear weapons very carefully. security precautions are quite high but terrorists may be able with inside help to pen straight one of the storage facilities and get their hands-on the nuclear material. the second concern is that pakistan shares a border and has tensions with india. they fought three wars in the last 55 years. you're worried about an india pakistan war that could develop into a nuclear war and the third concern is an interrelation of the two. there's some fears that terrorists might provoke an incident with india in order to get the pakistan army to mobilize the nuclear weapons to start operationalizing them, disperse them and in transit make them easier targets for terrorists to get. that keeps experts up at night. >> it's pretty sobering right now. i'm focused on everything you're saying here. do you think in the wake of this nato attack, pakistan could use that as a reason to retaliate
against the u.s. in some way? >> well, the tensions with the u.s. and pakistan have been growing all year. it started with the successful raid that killed osama bin laden in pakistan in may. now, just in the last week, the u.s. ambassador, ambassador from pakistan to the u.s. hussein a can i was forced to resign that he was too close to the u.s. government. this is really unprecedented. we've had incidents where nato forces killed pakistani troops in the past or u.s. forces have. just last year two were accidentally killed. but 25 soldiers, you saw the video of their pakistan flag-draped coffins being marched and the funeral just earlier today. it's provoked demonstrations in karachi, it's causing a split within the government. causing a split within the military. both sides, the u.s. and pakistan have firm reasons for keeping the alliance, but this
is really stirred up domestic opinion which is virulently inside pakistan. >> we sent pakistan billions of dollars in aid. what do we get for that money and do you think there is any lenl it mat reason to revisit that or because of what you're saying and we don't want to send things into further volatility, we have to keep giving them the money? >> i think there is reason to revisit that and to revisit the policy of drone strikes. more than anything else, the drone strikes have stirred up anti-u.s. sentiment. >> which by the way we can't use that base any longer, correct? >> right. >> we use to launch them from there. >> the pakistan government in retaliation for the nato air strike ordered the closing of the air base that we use where you have drones based inside in the province of pakistan that we used to go after terrorist targets. some time ago, we shifted most operations to drone bases inside
afghanistan. it's not clear how much harm it would do to close that base. it's been an asset that the u.s. wanted to preserve. what you're concerned about with pakistan is basically three things. supply routes to nato forces inside afghanistan. 40% of the nonlethal aid to nato forces in afghanistan comes through pakistan. second, you're concerned about the safety of their nuclear weapons. you don't want those nuclear weapons falling in the hand of the network, al qaeda, other terrorist groups and third, you're concerned about the relationship with india. you don't want a nuclear war in the south asian sub continent. the u.s. has maintained a military relationship with pakistan but at this point, you have to question whether the benefits we're getting are worth the amount of money that we're devoting to pakistan and whether this relationship needs retuning. >> okay. joe, thank you. you have an open door to discuss this any time.
it's sobering. >> my pleasure, alex, thanks for having me on. willie geist is up next. first the muppets return to the big screen. can kermit and all of his friends outdraw the latest twilight flick. there's a debate right there. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] wake up, sleepyheads. there are tools to be had. this weekend, the sawdust-makers, the hole-drillers, and the get-it-done machines all cost less. a lot less. so let's load them in our sleighs and call them by name. on ryobi. on dremel. on dewalt and makita. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. here's what the early bird gets. an 18-volt, two-piece ryobi combo kit for just $49.88. ♪ i took some steep risks in my teens. i'd never ride without one now. and since my doctor prescribed lipitor,
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i didn't catch that. to speak to a representative, please say representative now. representative. goodbye! you don't like automated customer service, and neither do we. that's why, unlike other cards, no matter when you call chase sapphire preferred, you immediately get a person not a prompt. chase sapphire preferred. a card of a different color. (phone ringing) chase sapphire preferred, this is julie in springfield. i don't know what to say. the muppet studios are there, gary. i can't believe this. >> better get a move on. we don't want to miss that bus. >> no way. >> muppets are back in theaters this weekend but they're not popular enough to take the number one spot from the box office with breaking dawn. raking in nearly $17 million that movie. the muppets earning a respectable $12.3 million and the top three is happy feet two with $5 million on this family thanksgiving weekend.
it is going to continue to be a crowded holiday at the box office including the film new year's eve. that's getting a lot of attention. that's jam-packed with celebrities. take a look. >> there's going to be more celebrities than rehab. >> did you get all those? joining me pop culture expert amy palmer. good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> you know what was so fun. i was stopped one morning in the middle of the night coming into work. they were filming the new year's eve a few months ago. >> it is so fun. >> it's genuine, right here. >> right in new york. it is the ultimate romantic comedy movie. i think that right now people want to see these types of films. it has dozens of intersecting story lines. lea michele, ashton kutcher, hilary swank, michelle pfeiffer. you're getting so much bang for
your buck in in film. i think it's going to do well. gary march shl directed this film who also did val tiens well. which did really well. >> it's like valentine's day same kind of thing. >> there's no holiday i can't make a movie around. i brought in $200 million worldwide. i like to remind people, it's the movie business. as long as it's making money, you will probably see a sequel. which is what we're seeing right now. >> sounds good. talk about sequels with sherlock holmes. let get a peek at that. here's a clip, everyone. >> i see your web of conspiracy has expanded. >> i'm knee deep in the super most important case of my career. the clues point in one direction. >> professor james moriarty. >> are you sure you want to play that game? >> i'm afraid you'd lose. >> they're always so dark. what's the word on this one? >> this is getting great reviews. let me tell you about the movie business. the first one brought in half a
billion dollars worldwide. this movie was fast tracked as you can imagine. it's based on a short story called the final problem in the genre of sherlock holmes. people who love this kind of movie will love this. robert downey, jr., jude law plays his sidekick, watson. anyone who loves this type of movie will love to see this movie as well. >> there are a lot of movie gophers that lover meryl streep and to see her take on margaret thatcher, britain's former minister. that's getting a lot of buzz, including pre-screening oscar buzz. that's almost par for the course her. >> anything that meryl streep does is so amazing. this performance is not an exception. definitely oscar worthy. spans seven decades of margaret thatcher. what it means to be a woman in power. what are the sacrifices the family has to make. what does it do to a marriage? what kind of effort does it take to rise to this point of political power?
oscar buzz and i think that people all over the world will be anxious to see this film. >> sounds like the j. edgar, same kind of feel. >> kind of. she's a really incredible historical figure, especially for women. >> yeah. looking forward to all of those. thank you so much, amy palmer. >> thank you, alex. the big three panel is up next on the endorsement for newt gingrich. is that a game changer? historic holiday shopping. why was there such a huge jump in black friday spending this year? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." congratulations.
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comcast network. hello to you. >> good morning. karen, i'll begin with you. the influential union leader newspaper endorses newt gingrich. is this a game change sner. >> it's a very big deal. it's a coveted endorsement. no question. certainly, today the romney campaign is not happy. this definitely put a kink in their strategy, no question. it remains to be seen whether or not it's really a game changer. again, the conversation we've been having about newt is that this is a guy who rises and falls but has a bad tendency to shoot himself in the foot when he rises to prominence. whether or not he can capture the momentum out of this, do well in iowa, then do well in new hampshire and actually stay in the game remains to be seen. it's a very good start. >> i don't know, robert. karen seems too giddy about all of this. do you think that ultimately this could be -- is it good or bad for the gop? >> i don't know if it's good or
bad. it's good for gingrich. let put this in perspective. joe mcquaide and the manchester leader and so forth, they have endorsed peter dupont, steve forbes and none of those individuals have become our next president. to karen's point, this was a race between mitt romney. this was a race between romney and newt gingrich. the conservative wing of the party will have a conversation with us all. do you want a bona fide conservative like newt gingrich who led to you a revolution in 1994 or do you want more of a middle of the road candidate like a mitt romney who potent l potentially has a better chance of beating president obama this time next year? that's the conversation that conservatives have to have with themselves between now and the primary in a couple of weeks. >> anne, since you got back from visiting the obama campaign headquarters in chicago, when you were talking and walking around, did you they talk about newt gingrich or more talk about romney or were they hands off about who the president will be
facing? >> it was a few days, a little over a week ago, of course, everything changes from week to week. gingrich was not a sen dant as he seems to be now. they take all of the candidates seriously. i think romney has to them been the scariest because he has the resources, more organization, certainly than gingrich does. he's been running for many years now. in the general election race, i think could make the case that he's among the most appealing to centrist independents. they've been taking him seriously, working hard to undercut romney as a flipflopper. we'll see when the attention shifts to gingrich, i suspect they might welcome him as the nominee. >> karen, do you think it changes the obama strategy? >> it might. one thing to remember about newt gingrich, there's volumes of research done on him. one thing to keep in mind, in terms of shifting strategy,
there's plenty of material to work with. he gives us plenty more every day. so -- >> what's aqua research? >> opposition research. >> on research. >> sorry. i think the expectation is that romney has quite a bit of opposition research and will use that against newt gingrich if he sees him as a real threat. on the democratic side, we did quite a bit in 2008. there had already been quite a bit done from when he was speaker and i'm sure more done in the interim. so you know, there again, unclear how this changes the dynamic. the one area that will be interesting is immigration where you see gingrich is trying to kind of cut himself a path of being humane, if you will, even though he's ridiculous on things like having little kids scrub toilets. it will be interesting to see how that helps him, if that helps him with the latino vote. >> i know robert want to answer this. unfortunately, i have to table further conversation after a
commercial break or two. sit tight the big three. okay. thank you. time for office politics. my final interview with willie geist. he's co-host of morning joe and he's been talking about what's wrong with washington lately. take a listen. >> it seems like neither party is endearing itself to the american public. what are the parties missing? >> they're missing common sense, which is that we don't care about your partisan differents. i don't care that you signed the pledge to somebody. i don't care that you're protecting your reels ship with aarp for the democrats. we want you to do things. imagine you don't have a job. you're sitting somewhere, you haven't had a job for a year or perhaps more and you're watching these guys tinker and argue and put up predictable press statements attacking the other guy. this is not -- they're not credible anymore. they're missing common sense. >> i want to look at some things in your office. you have a beautiful family. like a picture perfect american
family. >> this george,he's two now. he's much, much more hair. lucy is four. my wife is christina. who i met when we were 11 years old. >> really? >> true story. mr. kaplan's homeroom. george washington's middle class in new jersey. i like to say that. >> that's a good one. >> bigger than life is your dad, bill geist who worked for cbs for so many years. i mean, he's literally a living legend. i was so excited meeting him. what was it like growing up with someone who was in television. did that influence you to do what you're doing now? >> absolutely. he was a newspaper writer when he started. until i was in seventh grade, he was a writer. then in 1987 don hewitt who red my dad's columns in the new york times called him up out of the clear blue sky and said ever thought about doing in television what you do in print. no, i'm just a writer with
glasses and curly red hair. probably not good for tv. he said come on, don hewitt said we'll shoot a pilot. my dad did it. they had fun doing it and convinced him with the help of charles can you remember at to come to sunday morning. he's a writer at his core and he taught me that writing is paramount. if you can write, you can do anything. he doesn't come with the trappings of television. he flies to some little town across the country, goes to a state fair where there may not be a story and makes a story out of it. puts something great on the air. that's from curiosity and that's from great writing. so he's been a huge, of course, he's the reason i do this. >> last thing i want to talk about is love seeing you on "today." did you have fun do doing that? >> yes yeah. >> did you get nervous. the "today" show, the pinnacle of success in morning news. >> the first time i was fortunate to fill in for matt, i was next to meredith vieira, i
didn't have time to be nervous but there was that one moment where you're sitting there and the opening animation starts and -- >> announcer: this is "today." >> just for a second. you got to keep going. oh, my god. that's meredith vieira. it's exciting and great. it's such a exercise than morning joe. it's three hours, it's loose, you go for ten minutes. it's not so good you go for five minutes. kind of say whatever comes to the top of your mind. >> i just want to go on lord as saying i love you willie geist. >> really? >> i love you alex witt. >> it's a good thing. >> this is a work professional. >> christina knows. she's cool with it. honestly, you're a great person to have around. i think you make this place a better place. >> i think everyone loves willie geist. you can all catch him every morning at 5:30 on way too early, also at 6:00 on morning joe at msnbc. a young lady in san diego is
regretting her attempts to find her lost chihuahua. to attract attention, she stood on a street corner wearing a bikini. she's starving herself until the dog is returned. she got creepy responses. one sent a picture of his private parts and a picture of a chihuahua. she thinks he's stalking her. >> this is so scary. i was shaking. i was like maybe he really does have my dog or he's just a creep. >> after all that, the woman decided to give the bikini stunt a rest. do you think? good idea. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months,
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reportedly sprayed the crowd to try to gain a shopping advantage. the retailers are still counting their cash. early estimates indicate it was a record black friday. the blitz started early krer this year. apparently, it paid off. shopper track shows sales up 6.6% over last year with shoppers spending more than $11 billion and foot traffic in stores was up more than 5%. retail reporter from the washington post is joining me now. good morning. >> good morning alex. >> what do you think of the phenomenal numbers? >> i think that one thing you're finding is that consumers are definitely looking for a deal. the buzz around the midnight black friday openings and the thanksgiving day openings drew customers out to the stores earlier and got them to shop. this increase that you're seeing is the biggest one since 2007. but that doesn't mean that we're back to pre-recession spending yet. one thing that retailers are watching carefully is whether or not the sales simply were pulled
forward. in other words, that people shopped early and not saturday or sunday. we'll see later if people were shopping earlier or if there's an overall increase in retail sales. >> we can take that to the internet sales as well. we saw the huge jump in internet sales. up 39% on thanksgiving and 24% on black friday. do you have concern on cyber monday that maybe people have done their shopping. >> on-line retailing is one of the bright spots this year. cyber monday is definitely a big holiday. but we're finding that that holiday is being sort of diluted as people shop on sunday, maybe the deals started already. may last as long as friday or saturday. you know, whether or not folks shop on cyber monday or over the week remains to be seen. either way, retailers plan to cash in on that. on-line retail seals are expected to increase 15%. >> with prices on the rise,
people are still spending. given the economy, how does that add up? >> one thing that you're finding is that even though consumer confidence is down, people are still managing to pull out their wallets. even though they're sort of in a tough state and frustrated by what's happening in washington and maybe what's happening in europe, that that hasn't yet trickled down to their wallets. we're expecting this holiday season to be an okay holiday season but certainly not gangbusters as folks wait for the other shoe to drop and moderate spending accordly. >> many thanks. >> thank you. the big three returns in just a moment to talk about president obama's strategy for reelection coming up. a bluetooth connection. a stolen vehicle locator. roadside assistance. and something that could help save your life - automatic help in a crash. it's the technology of five devices in one hard-working mirror. because life happens while you drive. this holiday, give someone
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congress to do that. do you think it will work these days? >> i think it will work until there's a republican nominee. then it becomes a conquest between two visions, two ideas and who can make the most compelling argument. >> what about congress and republican snz do they hand the president a truman presidency? >> once the nominee is chosen, it's about two different vision ares about the country. on the end of the day it's president obama's name on the ballot and his republican counterpart. it's about the economy and future i'm not sure about the congress this time around. >> we were in the headquarters in chicago recently. what about the super failure of the super committee? how are they working with that? >> i don't think it really matters ultimately too of in fo.
nobody really thought it would succeed and for those it's another failed congress are. i think the really danger for the president is there will be democrats in congress who either don't embrace him had or criticize him for the strategy since they would like to take back the house and keep control of the senate. that could become problematic especially in swing states if it's taken too far. >> you know, al elf,ex i think s where the do-congress could matter and that's in the convict gregs -- congressional races, they could say, we stood between the democrats raising your taxes and democrats can say, we stopped republicans from taking away medicare and social security. we'll see if that is a compelling enough argument. >> of course then if you have a split congress and difference in the white house, it can lead to more do nothing. >> that's right. >> let's talk to the black
friday issues here because economically speaking we look at it with the sales jumping civ i from a year ago, do you think this might be a sign it had may not all be doom and gloom and do you think the president and his rivals can use this to their advantageous? advantage? >> it's too early to tell. how did those who spent the billions use the money? did they put it on their credit cards and their question is for the 9.1% unemployment rate. those individuals i fear did not spend a lot of money. it really was about those who did have a job. i'm not sure this is a really good barometer in terms of the president's reelections chances in terms of his using the argument that the good black friday we had is a recipe if you will for a good economy. >> do you think the president spin it to his advantage, anne? >> it is just one day. robert is right. unemployment is far more
meaningful than people's ability to spend on one day. though you saw the president shopping yesterday to encourage people to patronize small businesses. but i agree. kweel go through your must-reads. anne, tell us yours. >> in the new york tiemtz a lovely piece about the obama reelection effort. that's a good one. >> karen? >> "the washington post" has a great piece about newt inc. and how newt kind of built his empire and how he was kicked oust the speakership. it tells you a lot about how he makes his money and where his influence comes and goes. >> any mention of freddie mac or fannie mae? >> yes, how he pays for the jets and private cars, shows a little bit of how he's trying to influence policy here and there with some different nonprofits. >> robert? >> speaking of endorsements, the "new york times" has a great