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Notes on the February 5, 2012, Broadcast of Meet The Press

February 5, 2012

This morning’s Meet The Press began with GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R-GA) who vows to fight on in the nomination race despite exit polls showing his rival, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), winning support even among the most conservative voters in yesterday’s Nevada caucus. In fact, Gingrich seems intent on destroying Romney’s chances even in the general election, by calling him timid, pro-abortion, and pro-gun control.

Meet The Press is ready for Super Bowl Sunday (photo owned by NBC News)

Gingrich did find time to criticize President Barack Obama as well. He criticized the unemployment statistics for not including those who have stopped looking for work. Gingrich briefly mentioned the “U6” unemployment rate which includes all of those who have dropped out of the work force. However, he did not mention that even the U6 number has dropped dramatically over the last two years.

Referring to federal rules which require all employer-provided health care plans to cover legal contraception, Gingrich said, “President Obama has declared war on the Catholic Church.” He also referred to Romney’s negative campaigning by saying, “I am trying to draw more people into politics, not carpet-bomb them out of it.”

Next up were Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York City), Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), and Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) in a Super Bowl-themed match up. The game, broadcast by NBC, will be in Indianapolis today featuring the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Bloomberg, free from party affiliation, can say some pretty bold but common sense things. He wants the president to end all of the Bush era tax cuts (across the board) and adopt the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan.

All the guests in this segment bemoaned the negativity of the presidential campaign thus far. Bloomberg made a pitch for MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org.

In the roundtable, Host David Gregory skimmed over what I think might be the most important numbers of the day. Winning the Republican presidential nomination will require 1,144 convention delegates. Even after Nevada, Romney has 83, Gingrich has 28, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has 13, and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has 11. Oh my God, we are going to be in this for long time!

Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) addressed the religious freedom and contraception issue saying, if your church wants to become an insurance company, they will have to follow the insurance laws.

Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said that for a long time he was pessimistic about Republican chances to beat President Obama, but now he thinks they have a better shot. His reason is that Republicans are now making the case for economic growth. He said, “Democrats want to talk about Mitt Romney’s paycheck, but Romney and the Republicans want to talk about people’s paychecks.”

There was a fairly meaty discussion of real policies and options for the country. So much so that Gregory even apologized when he brought the conversation back to the horse race. He asked Castellanos if there was any path for Gingrich to win the GOP nomination. He said no.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

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