Roundtable: Two-Man Race?

George Will, Haley Barbour, Bill Burton, Nia-Malika Henderson, David Ignatius.
2:21 | 03/18/12

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Transcript for Roundtable: Two-Man Race?
And we turn now to our roundtable we are joined as always by George Will columnist David Ignatius -- Emily -- Henderson national political report the Washington Post. Former Mississippi governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee Haley Barbour and Bill Burton co-founder of the super pac priorities US today. And of course former deputy Press Secretary for President Obama. George. Tell us are we headed towards a brokered convention -- opening contested convention every -- call. Probably not since the multiplication of primaries in the last fifty years. Conventions and stop being deliberative bodies and become ratified -- it's just ratified it took place elsewhere however. Both torment Gingrich now says there objective is not only to win 11144. Delegates but to stop Romney and this week. Newt Gingrich said he wanted to emulate warm -- talk about defining aspiration -- -- -- of course went to the clinic and from 1920 convention way behind and then in room for a -- -- the Blackstone hotel the original smoke filled room. He finally wound up winning this and that is that is there -- think it's unlikely but it's not impossible. I mean if you look at the numbers though. Wrong he needs to do better than he's been doing to clinch it. It doesn't and you get that big contest coming up on Tuesday they're sort of thing isn't it or bust open the man who looks good for him we got about two dozen more contests and looks better for him -- -- -- -- some southern contest coming up Louisiana West Virginia Texas and down the line. Also we'll have some winds here I think Santorum he's got the momentum going into incidents like. But I think the problem is it's going to be hard to claim momentum if he keeps coming in second. Gingrich is gonna stay in here on it looks like he's having fun it was dancing that's why I'm sure it -- -- point and so he'll stay in -- thank -- in some ways I think. Santorum's. He's in one way he's -- -- man but his worst nightmare instantly. But I think he's going to be able play into the strategy that santorum's campaign outlined in this memo on Monday that since. They're gonna stay in this thing trying to deny -- can actually go. Barbara I think indicators is right about about this that if he stays in. He sat all of his votes suddenly magically go to Rick Santorum I mean it is he -- -- he's taking votes away from Romney as well. I think -- probably -- But look it's up to the primary vote whether or not we have an open convention is up to the primary voters were left between -- -- we've had. Twice three times really governor Romney look like he was -- to Begin coalition. At each -- and he lost the next week and now we're we're -- another another juncture. But if it is -- if it is a convention where we get there with nobody. Have the vote. Surely -- -- the left I would've knocked in seven -- -- after the convention juror Foreman up thirty points against Jimmy Carter problems he had listed poem was out from under Russian and Soviet domination. He probably would've won that election so they contested convention isn't necessarily all by it. If the incumbents convictions -- -- -- course that's one of the advantages pres Obama is no nomination. But in in 1980 of course or were hurt by heavily. But it necessarily -- -- -- have a convention and when the Republican voters decide. It will -- -- that. That's -- -- as does David the and usually what we hear from from your colleagues would be -- whom I mean this is another five months of Republican infighting. This would you know cede ground -- to -- a bombing that you know basically it was Romney said is that there's this -- went into. Obama's him. Well if if Santorum is the come from behind Kidd. Who just gets stronger and stronger as a candidate and he has gotten -- stronger in these in these last races. And that that sense of inevitability falls away more and more from Romney. Coming into a close convention where Romney's work to support crumbles even more. Could make him an even more attractive candidate comes out of that convention having won a big one -- People don't expect. Months ago. Illegal sign up for recruitment and both -- listen currencies it Mitt Romney honest. He blames other people for reasons that are gonna help President Obama says you know -- go this whole way it's -- -- -- help the president. Mitt Romney's problem is -- -- And when you listen to him over the course this week shift his message from anything that a voter -- care about two delegate math you can see why is having trouble catching on. If I'm his campaign I'm trying to focus on the economy trying to focus on issues that actually matter. Not going on television day after today talking about that probability of different mathematical scenarios like that you. You also heard in this points -- made a lot of the governor barbour's made this point that. You know Hillary Clinton Barack Obama that was a brutal bruising battle that -- until June and I think -- didn't like her you guys that -- Well it's hard this say that this campaign is much like that campaign you -- two titans of the Democratic Party duking it out for the nomination and this time around you've got. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich fighting over whether or not Planned Parenthood should exist fighting -- -- contraception. You -- -- delegate this is a different kind of contest that we had in 2000 along primary doesn't necessarily hurt. The nominee that emerges but in this case I think it's hard to argue that Mitt Romney -- longer. As a result of the long extensive. Well I don't thinking about the right -- and thinks this -- the primaries have played out in good for the Republican chances. But what -- is remarkable. Is it had help Obama much look at the public. And in a lot of people in America made up their -- about Barack Obama age -- 41% job revision of 43% job approval. If this Republican nick nick nick nick kind of parameters. Is really hurt and he ought to be -- Well he's not soaring and it's because the American people know that this is a referendum -- Barack Obama's policies. And proposals. Well governor I'm sure people would look for this on the Republican -- would love to just see this -- a referendum as opposed to a choice between the president and member of the Republican nominee is going to be. But let's just take one state for example Michigan. Michigan you had a real knock down drawn out fight between. Rick Santorum men -- and Mitt Romney and the result is that Mitt Romney is down eighteen points to President Obama as a result of that primary and that -- It's early George. Back to the problems that the convention one thing that would be very bad. -- have a repeat of 1952. Eisenhower and Taft tight race Eisenhower went on the first ballot -- he wins. Delegate challenges the seating of -- delegations. Florida broke the rules that your -- winner take all primary. Earlier than the Republican rules allow and if there's a challenge to that. Anyway the challenge to the -- of particular delegations -- settled is gonna consider someone a lot. Hey there's going to be that there will be a challenge to that lawsuit challenging Arizona's it is -- -- challenge the Michigan that you're gonna see a big fight over over those issues can't be all that helpful.

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

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