Thanks to Chris, Dorr, MI for the question!
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss Jon Huntsman's chances in this 2012 GOP presidential primary.
Edited and produced by NBC's Lauren Selsky.
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss whether the Republican Party will eventually come around to support a Romney candidacy like Clinton's supporters did for Obama in 2008.
Thanks to Steeler Fan for the question!
Who has the upper hand in the payroll tax fight - and what happens politically if it's not extended? Thanks to Yellowdog Mark D for the question!
Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman
P.S. - look for several more Boiler Rooms in the next few days and weeks answering your questions.
Inside the Boiler Room NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro debate how serious the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is taking GOP hopeful and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls, and whether the Romney camp will now reconsider Iowa.
Thanks to phinephancy-4252115 for the question! Keep an eye out for the next editions of Inside the Boiler Room and don't forget to post your questions for Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro. You can also tweet us, @NBCFirstRead,@mmurraypolitics or @DomenicoNBC, or post on our Facebook page.
Video edited and transcribed by NBC's Morgan Parmet.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome to the latest edition of inside the boiler room. I'm Mark Murray joined by my colleague Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we have a question from phinephancy. This is phinephancy's first question, I think, inside the boiler room. How serious is the Romney campaign taking Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls? Will they now reconsider Iowa?
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, we know they're reconsidering Iowa a little bit. They went up with their first TV ad. So they're actually going to play there a little bit. I think they're taking New Gingrich's rise a little bit more seriously than they were a week ago. You know we've started to see a back and forth over about two or three days. Newt Gingrich called Mitt Romney the former front runner.
MARK MURRAY: Right.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: And Romney hit him back calling him a lifelong politician. Newt Gingrich hit him back. Romney hit him back. So, you know, I think it's going to be a really interesting next 30 days.
MARK MURRAY: Right, the only question is is this two man race going to stay? I mean remember it wasn't too long ago we thought we had a two man race between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in August and September. Look how that ended up turning out. One other thing about Mitt Romney. He's actually going to have Chris Christie campaigning for him. I mean yes, there is a play going on for Iowa. They might not be all in, but this is now a significant contest and the stakes are very high.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: They're like two legs in.
MARK MURRAY: Right.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: One other small thing, The Hill newspaper today had a blind item from a member of congress Republican saying Newt Gingrich's finger is always six inches away from the self-destruct button.
MARK MURRAY: (laughs)
DOMENICO MONTANARO: So, you know, that's what a lot of people are talking about. If he's able to maintain the message discipline and he said himself he needs to be more disciplined. If he maintains that discipline, maybe he can be the guy over the next 30 days to compete with Romney head to head.
MARK MURRAY: We have about 30 days to go until Iowa.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: We'll see.
MARK MURRAY: We'll see. Thanks.
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss whether Newt Gingrich can continue his current lead in Republican polls. With Gingrich’s inconsistent positions and personal history, can he survive on top until the New Hampshire primary?
Thanks Amy B. Portland, ME for the question!
Keep an eye out for future editions of Inside the Boiler Room and don't forget to post your questions for Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro. You can also tweet us, @NBCFirstRead, @mmurraypolitics or @DomenicoNBC, or post on our Facebook page.
Video edited and transcribed by NBC's Matt Loffman.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome to the latest edition of Inside the Boiler Room. I'm Mark Murray joined by colleague Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we have a question from one of our commenters Amy B., Portland, Maine who asks 'Does Newt Gingrich really have a chance to beat Mitt Romney in the Republican primary?'
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Wow. Newt Gingrich is really at the top of the polls. It's really something to see considering where he was seven months ago. Can he beat Mitt Romney? Well, anybody who can coalesce that anti-Romney vote has a chance at beating Mitt Romney, but call me skeptical. And I'll give you three reasons why, and hopefully I can remember all three. 1) his inconsistencies, okay? I mean, there's a full range of flip flops that we've seen from Newt Gingrich which we've highlighted already. 2) His lack of discipline. He even said it himself that he has to be more disciplined. And 3) his personal problems. Look, we know about his three marriages. We know how polarizing he's been. We know about Tiffany's. Hello, like this is all stuff that's going to come back out for the scrutiny. And I only remembered those three things, because I had notes.
MARK MURRAY: I'm glad you remembered.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: The other thing. Debates. Everyone was talking about how Newt Gingrich has rode these debates to the top of the polls, and he has because he's had limited money. His campaign team quit on him completely, right? So he had nothing else to go off of except these debates, but let's not write off Mitt Romney's ability to debate here. We saw at one of the most recent debates, he actually took Newt Gingrich to task on the individual mandate. Quite a moment.
MARK MURRAY: Well right. I feel like that Newt Gingrich's lack of organization is really going to be able to hurt him and really this entire Bloomberg story that he took $1.6, at least $1.6 million from Freddie Mac is devastating to him because it makes him seem like he's part of Washington. That's not what Tea Party conservative Republicans want. So that's really tough for him, but Domenico, this has been such a fascinating cycle where one person has gone up, another person has gone down. But what's really interesting as we've had these cycles is that they didn't just come out of the blue. These Tea Party conservative voters are changing their opinion. So as one person, they might not like Rick Perry anymore. All of sudden Herman Cain is the new flavor of the month. Herman Cain now has some baggage. It becomes Newt Gingrich. I'm just fascinated to see where they end up come January when we have Iowa and New Hampshire. That's the big question.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah and the likelihood we're moving toward it could be Mitt Romney, you know, sealing it quickly if he can win Iowa or South Carolina. But that's still a huge question if he can peel off some of those more conservative voters.
MARK MURRAY: Or there could be just another flavor of the month. We don't know. Thanks, Amy.
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro weigh the possibility of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., or Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va. as a vice presidential candidate on the 2012 ticket.
NOTE: Since we taped this segment, Republicans won control of the state Senate in Virginia. Both Democrats and Republicans hold 20 seats in the Virginia Senate. Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling holds the tie-breaking vote, giving Republicans their one-vote advantage.
Thanks to Bob-1887910 for the question! Keep an eye out later in the week for our next Inside the Boiler Room segments!
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Welcome again to another edition of Inside the Boiler Room. Well, we have another question from Bob 1887910 we always love to be able to get comments from Bob and he says: “If my immensely popular Governor Bob McDonnell helps flips the State Senate to the GOP next week, giving Republicans unprecedented full control of Virginia government, will he then top Marco Rubio in the Veepstakes rankings?” A lot there.
MARK MURRAY: Well, right. Here’s how I kind of look at the GOP Veepstakes stakes right now. Marco Rubio had kind of a tough row with that Washington Post report about when his parents came to the United States. You can get into the particulars, but it came to the point that he hasn’t yet been vetted. You can almost look at him “1A,” Bob McDonnell “1B.” What McDonnell essentially ends up giving you is somebody who could, is a popular governor of a battleground state in Virginia, so automatically they might think, look you know we’re going to have a problem in Virginia. If you get Bob McDonnell. He could also end up helping if say, Mitt Romney is the nominee. Sure some of that evangelical, social conservative--
DOMENICO MONTANARO: -- Sure, a lot of people don’t know he takes a very moderate tone, he’s been a moderate governor, but he went to Liberty University and is a strong Evangelical.
MARK MURRAY: Yeah, absolutely. So, and one other thing to keep in mind about Bob McDonnell: his job runs out in 2013. And so when you’re looking at Marco Rubio’s world, he’s only been in the senate for one year, he has big ambitions. Chris Christie of course, he might end up running for re-election. Bob McDonnell is actually going to need a job, come pretty soon because he’s terminated, you only get one term as governor. And so, if you are the republican nominee, he ends up making a lot of sense.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, that’s definitely true. Rubio, you’re right, took a hit because of that story. You know there are also some other issues with Rubio as to whether or not you know, he’s experienced enough, but Barak Obama had that issue. And you know, whether or not he actually appeals to, what demographic he appeals to, you know, who knows. But, picking him would be all about Florida. If Republicans felt that they couldn’t win Florida. His popularity there--
MARK MURRAY: And you know the Latino vote too, potentially--
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, in Florida. But, and then when you look at somebody else, Chris Christie, you know could be another person, you know, John McCain picked Sarah Palin, that most of us had taken her of the veep list because of issues back in Alaska that we thought, she’s under investigation, he’s not going to pick her. But he did because she could fire up the base. Nobody fires up the base like Chris Christie does. So you know, maybe there’s somebody like him. And McDonnell also, aside from the state senate stuff, which you mention would be a nice feather in his cap, just what he’s done with jobs in the state. You know, he beat out Maryland for these defense contractor jobs. He understands federal workers, and he can speak that way because they are a large constituency group in Northern Virginia. So, I think that he, because of that, is an attractive candidate because he’s not going to make too many mistakes.
MARK MURRAY: He is. The one thing that, to note about Virginia though, is that all of their recent governors have been very popular. You have Mark Warner with his job growth, Tim Cain was very popular and now you have Bob McDonnell. One of the reasons Virginia is doing so well is it’s so close to Washington, DC. There’ve been a ton of jobs, the defense contractors, etc. and it doesn’t look like the rest of the nation just yet. But, I mean, I think that he, right now Bob McDonnell certainly looks like a 1A or 1B to me on whoever is on the veepstakes next.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: They’re real popular until you give them a second term, right. We’ll see.
Transcribed by NBC's Annie Emberland and Laura Olson.
MARK MURRAY: Welcome back to Inside the Boiler Room. Domenico, we have a question from Frank “Grimey” Grimes. This must be Grimey’s like sixth or seventh question he’s…
DOMENICO MONTANARO: I wonder if he gets like an award.
MARK MURRAY: There will have to be an award. After this election cycle, we will give an award to our—in some form or fashion.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: He heard it here!
MARK MURRAY: Yeah, you heard it here first, breaking news! Domenico, Grimey’s question is this—it’s fairly obvious that the overriding issue in the 2012 election will be the economy. However, the Presidency will be won or lost based on battles fought in a handful of swing states. What are some of the other issues that could move a swing state one way or another outside the economy? Grimey mentions one example would be like Social Security and Florida. Your take?
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, it’s a really good question because, yes, the economy is going to be the overarching issue, even in states where there might be some other issues, like Virginia where jobs is a big issue, of course. You know, federal government spending, things like that, are still going to be on—but let’s look at a few other states. So, if you think about social security in Florida, this is exactly why Mitt Romney tried to slam home the fact that Rick Perry had called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He’s been playing for the general election the entire time. You know, he took a pause from that strategy in having to hit Perry, but that’s why you heard him, you know, not talk about, not talk, you know, hit him more on Social Security. Other things, like the auto bailout in Michigan, you know in Michigan, in Rustbelt states, the auto bailout, if it’s Mitt Romney versus President Obama—there is Mitt Romney saying that he thought that, you know…
MARK MURRAY: The government bailout wasn’t a good idea.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: That they needed to go bankrupt. You know, in Nevada, you know, look at home foreclosures, in Nevada, Florida, Arizona—these are key states! Home foreclosures are very high. One in 118 homes in Nevada is foreclosed on. Mitt Romney has that comment where he said that we need to let the foreclosure market bottom out, and the DNC has been pushing these comments. And we’ve been seeing that, you know, played everywhere. Immigration, if you look at the West, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico are President Obama’s firewall we like to say. And if he wins those states then that’s—you know it could fire up one way or the other in Arizona too. You never know. They want to make that a potential toss up states with Democrats and try to make Republicans spend money there, but we’ll see, you know, if that issue can resonate. Hispanics, Hispanics, Hispanics is what people have told us, that that is going to be the new Florida, Florida, Florida. And that also translates to Florida, but it translates to, you know, the Southwest in particular. You look at union issues, collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin and Ohio, key swing states. We’ve seen less, a lessening of attention on that issue, but on the margins, where this could be a very close election, those margins matter.
MARK MURRAY: Well, absolutely. A couple other issues, Grimey mentioned Florida and you were talking about Social Security -- Medicare. Don’t forget that, because that’s going to be a very big issue as well. You’re going to see Democrats play that a lot and also, energy in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, even Virginia on both sides of the issue. Particularly some coal-producing states, and about oil production there. So..
DOMENICO MONTANARO: It’s part of Rick Perry’s jobs plan.
MARK MURRAY: It’s going to be chock-full of issues. And of course, when you look at even broader, like nation-based issues on the future of the Supreme Court, on you know, issues like abortion, other things. We’re gonna have plenty of stuff to cover in a general election.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: And of course, foreign policy is going to be an over-arching issue. You know, and they’re going to talk about it. But, you know, still you come back to it. A lot of times the people try to push those issues that are second and third on the totem pole, are the people who are kind of coming from behind because the main issues isn’t helping them. So you’re going to hear a lot about these other issues from the White House because the economy is not doing well.
MARK MURRAY: Right
DOMENICO MONTANARO: If the economy starts to trend in a better direction, you’ll start hearing them talk about the economy 24/7 and how it’s going better. It it’s not, you’re going to hear republicans talk about the economy and not the White House.
MARK MURRAY: That’s a great response and a great question from Grimey.
Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro give their analysis on why President Obama's poll numbers are rising, and whether or not taking his message to the American people is helping his cause.
Thanks Feisty Readhead for the question! Be sure to look out for new Inside the Boiler Room segments next week. And as always, post your questions for Mark and Domenico on the blog. You can also tweet us, @NBCFirstRead, @mmurraypolitics or@DomenicoNBC, or post on our Facebook page.
Transcribed by NBC's Annie Emberland and Laura Olson.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Hi there again, I’m Domenico Montanaro. Welcome to another edition of Inside the Boiler Room again with my colleague Mark Murray, and Mark, it looks like we wore the uniform, ready to play?
MARK MURRAY: Road uniforms in college football?
DOMENICO MONTARO: Well, football…basketball it’s, you know, these are the home uniforms. We’re here at NBC, so I’ll say we’re at home. Alright, Feisty, you know, she always gets the first answer, here’s her first question. She says--What is your analysis for President Obama’s recent rise in polling? Does taking his message to the people have anything to do with it? Do you think after assessing the current Republican field, moderates and independents are saying thanks, but no thanks? It’s early, we haven’t gotten through a Republican primary yet. But, Mark, what are your thoughts?
MARK MURRAY: Well, there are a couple of polls that are out there that have shown a bump for President Obama, but it’s important to note that these are just two polls. It does not make a trend. What we have seen in the Quinnipiac poll that Obama’s approval went from about 41, 42 percent to 47 percent, and then Gallup has actually shown a little bit of improvement for President Obama. I do think a couple of things are going on, and, it’s important to note, our own NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is going to be coming out on Monday, and so, if that also shows a rise, then we do seem to have enough elements for a trend.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: That’s when we know it’s real…because it’s the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
MARK MURRAY: Right, it’s our poll. But, a couple things, Obama’s had a pretty good last couple of weeks. I mean, you have the end of the Iraq war announcement, you had the killing of Khaddafy, you also had some pretty good economic news, and it’s potentially the jobs number report that might come out, might be pretty good on Friday as well. So, you’re seeing a little bit of this. I would say, that if anything is going to benefit Obama in the three or four months, it going to be so much of a focus on the Republicans. And, in their current fight, he gets to go in the shadows, gets to rehabilitate his image while all the focus is on the latest on Herman Cain, the latest on Rick Perry, etcetera.
DOMENICO MONTANARO: Now, I was just going to say, the focus hasn’t been on him, so there is that advantage because the Republicans are duking it out, you’re seeing some of the dirt flying, so of course that’s going to benefit him in that—Khaddafy’s death, you know, Obama taking stuff on the road, kind of having something to run on and having something to run against with Congress, I think has probably been effective. All of the things that are in the jobs plan are poll tested, you know. He’s like—I know the American people like this—well, yeah, he sees the polls that they’re fairly popular items. So, and there isn’t anything that has to pass or not pass or whatever, so you have those two things—running with something and against someone—then you have the makings of a messaging campaign. He’s firing up the base. Whereas if, think a couple months ago, there was a little bit more wrangling among the base. You know, there was maybe tiny drop-offs, but not very much. But independents, I think, some of the stuff they’ve tailored to see if independents like this stuff, and you probably see slight ticks up with independents. You know, maybe with what’s happening in the Republican field, but the choice is not between Barack Obama and the field yet. The choice is between those Republican candidates, and I think people really aren’t that tuned in. You know, I’m glad Feisty, you know, you’re tuned in and all of our commenters are, thankfully, keep us employed, but I think most Americans, if you’re looking at a general election, they don’t tune it until much later.
MARK MURRAY: Couple things to look at. One, in about the next six months or so, the President Obama’s approval is closer to fifty percent than it is now, that’s a very good sign for him. Also keep an eye, Feisty, on what the situation on the right track, wrong track. A lot of those numbers right now in around the 20 percent or so, closer to 40 percent, you know, in the high thirties. That’s where President Obama would be to end up getting reelected. Thank you.