Roundtable: Fight for Florida

George Will, Donna Brazile, Austan Goolsbee, and Laura Ingraham
0:16 | 01/29/12

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Transcript for Roundtable: Fight for Florida
You know volume of sales in in the the state of the union for 2000. Well. Obviously for a speech like this joint session. You want -- -- and we want to warm up the crowd gradually. Good morning. Are -- students were friends fill Malcolm Wallop that Jay Leno and -- was cracked and lies. Crime rates in this country is soaring just yesterday to peanuts were walking on the -- and one was a solemn day. But we'll get to the president's state of the union. In a moment but first the Florida primaries just two days away -- here to discuss that and more our roundtable as always George well. Donna Brazil. Austan Goolsbee the president's former economic advisor and now ABC news consultant welcome Austin. And Laura Ingraham host of the nationally -- -- Laura Ingraham show Andy Fox News contributor welcome to you all. George just in the last few minutes we have some new poll numbers out of Florida a Marist poll. Having Romney 42 Gingrich 27 Santorum sixteen Paul eleven -- the opening up that -- With Gingrich even more than the Miami Herald poll what's going -- Time is not Newt Gingrich's friend because the mark timing has the more he talks and the -- he talks tomorrow he says things as he just did here this morning. He said I'd I'd love to be civil but I'm running against a -- -- Now that's pretty strong language. I don't know if you've ever told long fellows nursery -- to your four year old daughter Alice. No idea there is a little girl had a little -- right in the middle of her forehead when she was good she was very good indeed and when she was bad she was horrid. And worth the -- stage with Newt Gingrich you. You know he won South Carolina it through the entire Republican nomination process and turn him off he's being announced that five the one in Florida. Mitt Romney has been on the ground for -- a long time in Florida 14 of Floridians voted early in 2008. But once again we have seen a great deal of Floridians going to the polls early voting early at -- -- -- has drawn -- and independence. Women. Hispanics -- potent against new interest he has a problem. He didn't solid South Carolina. Florida will either make him what I call. The third comeback kid oil it will destroy -- -- -- Define himself in South Carolina he framed the debate as on the real conservative Mitt -- the faux conservative he's late to this game of conservative politics. What happened is he became. He became that the figure in the godfathers trapped in the revolving door OK the bullets are coming everywhere and that report -- all revolving door with stock he couldn't get out of it. And -- today on the show he spent a lot of the time complaining about the tone of the campaign negative ads they're -- that trip. That makes some of it may be true. But here's the real thought and politics if -- at a point where your complaining about the other guy being mean and unfair and on civil that's probably is on your lives and that's -- he's facing. Austin your close with a lot of the Obama campaign which is headquartered in your hometown of Chicago. Who would President Obama rather face Newt Gingrich commitment room I mean I -- -- they'd certainly rather face Newt Gingrich she's thrown the ball himself up. I do think Mitt Romney. Perhaps is learning. A negative lesson -- the wrong lesson from his experiences. In this primary so. If you go to the movie and there's a guy we have been at a guys sit there -- response nurturing and but he's too into the movie that he doesn't notice and people like search your your phone ringing -- -- I'm watching the movie that Mitt Romney is that guy. They've had he's been surpassed by. A guy running a pizza chain a guy who couldn't remember the three branches of government. Newt Gingrich has passed them twice. On that platform of launching moon bases and having taken a million plus dollars from Fannie and Freddie. What Mitt Romney. Took from it is not that he should change his pattern it's just sit first and do nothing and -- blow themselves up. And then second if -- if you they start gaining. Dump everything you have and a negative way on that don't turned a policy. Don't make it about ideas but instead. Just try to make it about them and scandal I think that's right I think. Mitt Romney is still learning the great lesson which is it's very risky to be cautious in presidential politics. -- a man -- going all the way back to last -- couldn't get from all right I mean life's full of complicated questions that's not one of them. I think Al Gore's given -- -- and he was still splitting the difference as a -- Stop I think we have to also remember that in on the pig pile on news. That was anything like and he said it was carpet bombing. That's pretty much what it was my -- there -- a lot of -- -- in Washington today. Who wouldn't be here probably if it weren't for -- people like three people Bill Buckley. Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich so for all these people who -- in George and I want him if Gingrich is a real conservative and. He has some ideas that truly are not conservative but he was the face of conservatism in the 1990s he's vilified by the left and he was hailed by the right. And not right now he is still connecting among independents Mitt Romney in the last NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Is shown to be plummeting among independent voters. Gingrich I think he still has some strength there we'll see what happens I don't think he can withstand this this this. Fuselage. He's getting it -- -- -- -- -- support among independents is 22%. I'm talking about Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama when he met the metric of Romney vs Obama the invincibility aura -- -- Mitt Romney I don't think a lot of. -- -- one -- -- his I've gotten beaten in my life I don't call Florida 2008. You know but. Apparently it's great to get some other -- I might -- Now. But let me today is some new -- is perhaps the only Republican that I've been in battle with. As a democratic strategist and -- that. Witness 94. 98 we came back and we try to whip him so he knows a battle. What I don't understand is that he he saw the Romney campaign. Taken apart right before now costs he knows that they have money they -- -- -- targets I was on southwest. South by southwest I was on southwest and others in the he had always Republican members of congress is when you went down into the -- -- was in Jacksonville and I was head down South Florida. I'm sitting in a metal strategically because I'm sitting between the Romney people and against its people and -- -- where you've gone. Dependent -- where you got new gambit that a lot of people are following new -- out there at 10 o'clock AM members of congress and there. Basically saying he's unstable he's un electable and is -- it got to a so he has the conservative in the race as well as I'm concerned about look alike to me. And I don't care who we go up against the -- -- -- sentencing policies. But there's something fundamentally wrong when you think its campaign. -- he doesn't understand how Romney is is 10 o'clock and he -- not respond like a understands that it's happening he doesn't seem to know what to do about it. What you had you have you have national review you have folks at the American spectator. He and Ann Coulter yet Matt Drudge and you have people across the board who were who were really critical and it's. Well I think they believe that over time he will as -- pointed out you know destroy himself that that Mitt Mitt Romney. Might be too careful sometimes but he's methodical and -- a crisis manager -- the turnaround guy he's gonna go into this campaign is -- figure out what the problems are. And he's going to methodically solved his problem who. To try to do the same mold again against the president and then it's basically act in a war. And he I don't think Mitt Romney realizes. That in the battle what Newt Gingrich yes he's beating Newt Gingrich by just swamping them with sewage throughout the primaries wherever he starts to rise up again. But they've opened -- issues with -- tax returns they've opened up the issues of his business record. They've opened up a number of things which the polling at least indicate. Independents are very concerned about. And I don't think they've been answered he's been very real doesn't mean obesity is in the same way that I don't think it's right I'm almost done behind them in this Reverend Wright case or in other cases the clintons release their tax returns early. They released all of them. They tried to get everything that you could get out in the beginning so that when it came back when it would come back months later say look we've been through this route that the opposite they released. They went back what you hear and it's a circumstance in which he's got -- -- just shut -- Swiss bank accounts -- -- ten million ironically Cayman Islands did you have monetary resources person. Rock Obama likes baseball last night while huge crowd wants to help out and I loved them yeah I mean. But I was sitting next -- to other. Very prominent conservatives former bush cabinet members. Were looking at each -- going. Out there on it can be. It was. He's got -- -- -- -- -- it can't just can't just be you know the kind of thing -- I think it's because Obama's operations really Smart and they're gonna run a tough campaign I want. To your horn for 12 -- this is one of the most interesting fights I've heard out of Mitt Romney from your radio show in which you talked to him about the challenge of running against President Obama as the economy is recovering for the role that -- How do you answer the president's argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign. Well of course it's getting better. If the economy always gets better after recession the question is as -- recovered by virtuoso but the president's not. Or has he delayed their every -- more painful and the -- of course via the truth. It's not -- -- sentiment. And then he says have you got a better one Laura it just happens to you the truth -- -- -- -- time that enemies don't go through all the other ideas that have been a little bit better than -- the economy getting better but on the got -- -- -- -- But again he is a manager and he's a really Smart businessman -- -- is acute -- -- looking at. But if you're gonna start this conversation of the bomber like there are glimmers of of of signs on the on the horizon that the economy is getting better. Hard argument to make he's got get away from haven't -- we have the worst year for new house sales last year in fifty years we have people who still are very pessimistic about the future and and on the guided it to turn this around -- -- economy is getting battered. This is is getting better manufacturing is that -- economies on the -- and Republicans can find. Anything nice to see about an economy that is yes -- struggling people are still trying to find jobs. But you know what you cannot -- -- and tell the American people it's gonna get better if you put me in office because there's no signs that the Republicans will do anything for the middle. I -- to turn out to President Obama in the state of the union because he talked about a lot of these issues here's an interview he gave. Two Diane Sawyer on Thursday. I think whether -- Romney or Gingrich or Santorum. Or any of these folks. The question asked of them is we now have the lowest tax rates. In fifty years and if in fact we're gonna reduce our deficit while still investing in those things that we know make America -- Somebody's got to -- for. President Obama talking a great deal about changes he wants to make to the tax cuts or tax code he wants to criminalize leaving high school before eighteen. He says he -- Austin -- -- that I'm gonna. Get rid of some regulations that will save us ten billion dollars over five years that's what the government borrows every 53 hours I mean mrs. Micro politics and -- of the worst sort. To me the most interest in fact but state of the union with the audience for a this year over last year was down 12%. People are tired of listening. Austin interestingly one of the biggest. Targets of this potential Warren Buffett rule change in taxes. Require anyone who makes over million dollars to pay at least 30%. On taxes would be. -- coincidence it agreed to admit it it is quite striking. And if you compare that there's never -- in an actual candidate. Who personified. The -- policies. Of the tax code. That the president's been hunting and -- and you try and I -- -- but the biggest book I I think the tax returns are going to be a problem for Mitt Romney. We knew we had numerous people. And able to be confirmed because Republicans in the senate went through their tax returns and said no you've got discrepancies you've got overseas account. I don't think Mitt Romney could be confirmed to the 400 -- -- Treasury Secretary if you can't out what that thing is an erotic expect and if you look at the issue the president raised. I think the arguments about class warfare that -- that you saw Boehner making. I don't think hold up as well because. Over the last fourteen years the rate this year of income that the highest income people of -- back cut in half. And to go back to what it was. Is not class -- for any more than getting into where it is now what's glass. -- -- What do you think President Obama would rather face larceny through expressed some skepticism that Newt Gingrich would actually be the preferred one because. It would be so easy to use the Warren Buffett rule on this tax code changes. To go after Mitt Romney is here is -- multi millionaire several times over who only pays a 15% -- Well there's no question that Mitt Romney in his -- his record. And Bain Capital. His his taxes the fact that he has to non in his financial to close disclose -- form. Mitt Romney would be a great candidate to run against in terms of the economy because all of this local assets he -- terms I'm a business person I know how to run things. I mean Newt Gingrich is exposed -- mix and torment others that. There's really not a lot there you can even come out without a good precise number on the number of jobs -- but look I still believe that the bulk of them look the same to me. They have -- they have. And -- different that you are as I know because I've been hanging out with the Tea Party conservatives and you have been going to you know these debates. -- -- -- -- -- -- Mainstream establishment conservatives and -- -- so there's no such things in -- -- -- and I tell you one thing. They have all morning on the same field tax policies and economic policies that got us into the -- that weren't. You know right now so they're both the -- Torch 2011. The economy grew at one point -- now that's not enough to keep up with the growth of the job market and job creation. Ten monster from now eight months three months and I we may be talking about what Greece did Italy and Italy and Europe and -- the United States we're gonna have big issues big events between now and election look towards a 100%. Right about that. And I would say if the economy is growing the way it did in 2000 tan. Or is simply 3% above the president is going to have major wind it is back. If it's growing less than 2% or if things go wrong in Europe he's going to be facing trouble but we're somewhere right now. Split meant the difference and so were going to be in this. In this -- -- record of that was the one thing I'd say is the argument that it's all about the growth of government. The numbers that came out on Friday. Showed that the private sector is growing almost 5% a year it's a huge -- -- thing that's dragging down the economy is the government is shrinking so rapidly. That pulling B while overall growth rate at two. And -- what that we're running at a time. I wanted ya -- wanna bet you the photo of the week from the tarmac in Phoenix Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer a Republican governor of Arizona and President Obama talking one other. Bit of information before that confrontation. Which was partly about her book and how she. Recreated -- a meeting with the president. Her Amazon's sales ranking for a book scorpions for breakfast was 343222. And on Saturday it was number rates so that picture to me is a rorschach test and I -- -- get. Your thoughts and your thoughts very quickly. Potluck I think it's state power vs federal power and he talked to folks and its southern states -- that feel like -- and -- -- on. Just about enough and they didn't much like cattle and Eric Holder comes through and starts filed lawsuits against their state initiatives and there's a lot of anger -- -- -- acrimony. Maybe it was just a PR push for the book but I don't think so that something -- there. Another simple operate on stability looks he's an -- Executive she understands that that was just totally disrespectful disdain for the president United States. The contempt but the office itself. It is it yes it makes her the warrior woman I guess -- Michelle Bachmann. Now on the sidelines Sarah Palin not that hearing -- understand. Then now but is it it was really disrespectful when it was just tasteful. And I tell you are if it that if it was the reverse if it was President Obama. -- his -- My my heart int hat now he did not he did not Wear it at an executive it was. It was very distasteful we're about forty seconds left Austin and George quickly on the photo if you haven't found and for the people who said the president let it was tense and I guess they came from the governor what I looked at the photo it looked like he was almost. And -- -- -- little good news so I was. I -- that George class worked well -- agree I don't think I just donated to disagree with the president. On the tarmac waving your finger -- looked like two grown -- -- vigorous conversation big deal.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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