Roundtable I: GOP Endgame

Jake Tapper, Austan Goolsbee, Mary Matalin, Eliot Spitzer and Nicolle Wallace.
0:10 | 03/11/12

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Transcript for Roundtable I: GOP Endgame
Let's bring in the round table -- -- as they take their seats take a look at the GOP candidates courting and being courted by the -- and of those primaries and Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday. I'm learning to stay solvent and I like grits and things are strange things are happening to in the morning young. -- -- -- I guess that it right this morning with a biscuits and cheesy grits out. Delicious gift and garden -- knows just what deserving of the morning. -- -- Yeah. And time. Man. They call themselves Santorum girls every once in place right now George Will off today -- we're happy to welcome Republican strategist Mary Matalin. Eliot Spitzer the former governor of New York that Elliott you know you also -- both sides now. You made your show -- red to have you here today -- said Nicole Wallace Republican strategist veteran of the bush White House McCain campaign. Austan Goolsbee former -- -- president Obama's council of economic advisors around White House correspondent Jake Tapper welcome to all of you -- let me Begin where Lindsey Graham. A left off in this delegate -- in the Republican primary show the board. Right now Agassi -- 54 delegates for Mitt Romney more than double what Rick Santorum has right now. Is Romney right is the campaign when they -- it could take an act of god -- Lindsey Graham seemed pretty much they say yes. I wouldn't. Throw got into this equation at this point given what's happened but that -- won the most states he has the most delegates he has the best organization he has. The most money he's. He's getting it done wearing needs to get done he's the only candidate that's -- 40% I mean he's just getting better is closing better to have assistant. Insist. Well let me say this that it goes on is not a bad thing that is a big man. Myth that ninety's they'd left campaign and -- that the liberal campaign they went into June and Hillary was. -- screaming at Obama for being elitist -- talking about bitter clinger isn't saying shame on you for Iraq so. John Allen -- they did find the short campaign is not necessarily good campaign -- carry over the last. Nominees from the short campaign so I think it goes on I don't think that's bad. But there's a fundamental difference and that is the passion and energy in the campaign which is totally whacked him behind Mitt Romney. And the reason for that is there's three Republican -- there's the theological party. There is the Libertarian Party obvious theological part of being led by Rick Santorum right now. Paul -- the Libertarian Party Mitt Romney has what remains of the sort of corporate party for the three don't go together very well and Mitt Romney and I agree it'll probably be the nominee. But when he emerges there won't be any energy -- passion behind him. Hillary and Barack there was energy that you have never seen before. Romanticized. He does it look like where we're starting to well I think the major -- -- meeting. Force in 2008 was their anger at the bush legacy in the bush years it was not passion love and affection for Hillary and Obama. That is the -- that they romanticizing an election without. I think what what Mitt Romney has going for him if people want him to do well almost with as much intensity. As as as as anything else -- so people are pulling for him and people are desperate for him to look stronger to do better and to put this the way so. In as much as I think -- I expect that. The fact that it goes on and on May fortify him for the general election people want to see him stronger they want to see him hidden racism they want to see him look like our nominee. And he has picked up. Points in week that we don't traditional Republicans may bring this to you Los angles need to -- -- romanticizing. 20081 thing you saw coming out of a long fight. In 2008 was a lot of talk about. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton getting together on the ticket and that brings me to the question of what Rick Santorum is going to be able to demand if he continues to. Picked up by putting everything away I think that. Conundrum the puzzle of this race compared to 2000 and it had and I think it's right we -- over romanticized. But if you looked at the numbers it was up like this it wasn't debilitating. -- candidates. Their favorability wasn't plunging among independent woman with -- -- -- on this point due 2000. Yes but it wasn't getting worse what's happened in the Republican. A primary. Is that as it's gone on it still remains interesting. But they're it's just chewing them up. And it's not clear whether that's because of what there the -- I don't know what daddy all are looking at the enthusiasm among Republicans is greater than among Democrats and it's greater than it wasn't always -- The data is. At bat which makes you weaken a primary strengthens you an independent voters -- -- -- very heavily against all the Republican candidates in a way that did not happen in the democratic and that. Raises the question because Mitt -- -- that especially -- his favorability among independents is he's he's got a real deficit right -- -- -- -- -- -- Going into these next several weeks. Well he needs to win and he needs to well -- strong but that's probably not gonna happen. And at least -- in the next contests and Alabama although he won in Mississippi and Alabama that could -- this rather quickly. They could but I don't see any indication that's in former Gingrich are gonna drop out and it's not any time soon and -- -- both their campaigns make the case. Look the path might be difficult -- -- -- -- they have to win sixty or 70% of all the remaining delegates but Romney has to win 50% of all the remaining delegates the Romney people will acknowledge. That. The campaign as it goes forward today could denying him the key number of delegates 1144. And if you talk to the Gingrich people. They are already talking about -- Gingrich is gonna go to Tampa they're the only ones who is no matter what no matter what and they say. -- Gingrich is the only one who was ever run. A whip operation when he was that house majority whip he he is -- -- minority whip and that says to me that they are actually literally preparing for a floor fight and that's critical -- Austin reached critical issue the question is how do independent voters view these candidates winning the nomination isn't that the objective here to winning in November. Independent voters will determine that and the narrative over the next few weeks will be determined. By both. Gingrich and Santorum which means the field watchable debate which is driving independent voters away. I didn't Dominic did realities now reality is that there's never -- the numbers at this in March 9 months before the election that were predictive. Of the head to head tokens and third this thank you independent back pay attention -- -- -- the lady let's take. -- -- because it puts you -- and Nicole how does an -- and nickel you go first. How does Mitt Romney managed to continue to try to get conservatives over to his side while reaching out to independence. I think the troubles that he's having. In in bringing along that really the hardcore elements of our base. Will serve him well in the jet was a little bit similar to what John McCain -- where he had supported comprehensive immigration reform that was a huge burden in the Republican primary. But if it didn't some of the more difficult things to swallow for women voters who make up the majority independent. Made it easier for him to make his case to those same voters in the general election and I think that you -- -- well with Latino voters are women while. While women if it means some of these issues that feel harder harsh. Turn off women -- and I think that -- have have an easy attending I think some of that social issues and some of that because he had done attached themselves -- Romney does he have the freedom that this. Going to do what a lot of people recommending -- a place to pick a fight just distance. From the base of the party -- That's. Ridiculous kind of hundred strategy they work for. I don't know. Com. You can look at any poll and by 314 to one I don't care what -- conservative you are. You care about the economy I don't care what kind of independent hearing care about the economy the very last thing voters say they care about our social issues and he's not. He's going to be running against Iraq Obama whose numbers as an incumbent. Clothes -- closely resembled. Bush won. And Carter they do not resemble LBJ's. Or Clinton so this canard about -- this is a Goldwater or -- -- -- Dole analogy is it's just -- it's opine on the Republican Party about which she knows so much. Well yeah. But you can -- here's what I would say. You're right the economy will be -- positive and that story about what increasingly come back to the White House will be favorable for them but on the subsidiary issues by your term. Of immigration women's rights civil rights. Critical issues to get the lets -- -- -- female voters who determine that centrist middle. The Republican party's losing going to homeless perfect stopping point as a lot more to -- I want -- -- the general lesson that --

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

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