The Ed Show | December 06, 2011
>>> the wheels are flying off the republican bus as candidates decide whether or not to participate in the donald debate. today mitt romney gave his answer.
>> no, i'm not participating in that. we have two debates in december that i've agreed to participate in. the rest of the month is going to be spent campaigning.
>> so what do you think happened after that? true to form, trump took a shot at mitt romney for turning him down. in a statement to "the huffington post 's" sam stein, trump said, it would seem logical to me that if i was behind in the polls especially in iowa , south carolina and florida, i would be participating in the debate but i can understand why romney decided not to do it. karl rove continues to panic.
>> is mr. trump going to ask the candidates whether they agree with him that barack obama was not born in the united states , if they agree with him what we ought to do is tax chinese imports setting off a trade war ? let's ask and see if the candidates agree with him on that.
>> all right. of course, trump won't stand for any criticism of his behavior without taking pot shots of his own.
>> you read about a huntsman who's upset or ron paul who's never going to win anything, but you don't read about the thousands of people that want it. i mean, most people want -- i heard stephen king was on today.
>> george will , and karl rove --
>> these are the three people, i have to tell you, they're hacks, they don't speak for anybody. they have no power. a guy like karl rove is the one who gave us bush which ultimately gave us obama.
>> trump is putting fox news in kind of a tight spot. they want him on all their shows, but they don't want him kneecapping paid contributors like karl rove . he still is pretty influential in the republican party , but trump isn't interested in fox news damage control .
>> we like karl rove . we also like you. i just don't want to --
>> i like people that are straight. he's got his own agenda. 100%. i've always viewed him as a hack.
>> let's bring in msnbc contributor, political reporter for slate.com, david weigel. dave, what do you make of all this back and forth? is this just a game show for trump ?
>> i defer to conservatives who have had enough of trump and had enough of trump for a very long time. with the nationl "national re view" when the debate broke as news editorialized he was a fraud who should stay out of the presidential election . i align myself with the conservative elite on that one. rarely has anyone taken such a large and loud megaphone and said so little with it. everyone's a hack, everyone's stupid.
>> is this maybe one of the best political moves mitt romney 's made in some time?
>> well, romney 's been playing an opposite game compared to newt gingrich . and this is actually not the best encapsulation of it, but it's one version of it. he has been winning the conservative elite. he's been winning opinion makers. he's been impressing members of congress, certainly. gingrich has been -- we kind of misuse this word, i hate to misuse this word after tom frank was on, but more populist. what very angry conservative voters think. he's already -- i'm sorry, go ahead?
>> well, the surge is on for gingrich . the iowa polls are out there and he's moving way ahead at 31% to mitt romney 's 17%. is mitt worried about this? i mean, shouldn't he go in there and just bust some chops with donald trump and newt gingrich ?
>> there's an eerey calm about the way the romney campaign is responding. they have two debates left. since they're in conversations with republicans who make endorsements, who spend money, they know these people are not comfortable with gingrich . i was asking a couple of elected republicans in congress today just basic question if they were comfortable with gingrich as the nominee, if they agreed with a couple of statements. they don't want to confront this reality and the romney campaign are pretty confident they have enough time to win those people back.
>> you know, one of three people it looks like is going to be president of the united states . it's either going to be president obama , his re-election or it's going to be newt gingrich or going to be mitt romney . why wouldn't romney view this as an opportunity to go in there and just bust both of them and break out? here's michele bachmann taking shots at gingrich and romney this morning on this network.
>> if you want to talk about a poster child for crony capitalism, it would be newt gingrich . as the ultimate consummate influence peddler but also mitt romney is also cut out of the same cloth.
>> so david , what do you think? iowa is still wide open . does michele bachmann have a shot?
>> well, you know, nate silver at "the new york times" had a good post today pointing out that maybe 2004 , howard dean was an exception, but most often the people succeeding right now in the polls win iowa . and she has been in the dumps for a few months now. if you look at "the new york times" poll that just came out, the only area where voters agree with her, republican voters, is on values. they share her values. they don't -- i don't think she gets much -- she gets to be in this kind of scrappy, always punching above her weight category where she does a little bit of damage, but maybe gingrich can be punctured. i don't think it's with attacks like that. i think it's going to be with on-air attacks and with mail and with the traditional subrosa ways the people get attacked. gingrich has risen at the right time where she's not accountable for the things she's talking about.
>> he's risen at the right time. he's doing well in the polls. can he survive the scrutiny over the next month?
>> republicans are pretty convinced -- maybe they wouldn't say he can't survive. they're expecting him it get more scrutiny. mark kirk of illinois, he's not up next year, but he'd probably like it if the strongest possible republican nominee was at the top of the ticket in illinois was kind of nudging a couple of reporters he was talking to. you guys are going to give him more scrutiny. you let him go for a while and you're going to pay more attention to him for now. they all expect -- this kind of narrative you've seen about gingrich that no one's really looked at the way he used his power, the way he used his influence in the years since the speakership, that's going to come out. the interview he did with glenn beck today, you're going to see more interviews where people ask him, look, philosophically you've come out for mandates. can you be our nominee?
>> he's the best conservative of the two. that's what richard viguerie told me today. david weigel.