Huffpost Media
Jason Linkins Headshot

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Posted: Updated:

Now that was some exciting action last night. A heavy favorite, with an aristocratic bent, enters the night fully convinced that being crowned the champion by March was completely achieveable, only to end up getting jammed at the very end by a scrappy Southern upstart who everyone thought lacked the money and the machinery to compete. And at Cameron Indoor Arena, too! Amazing! Oh, and also Mitt Romney lost the South Carolina primary.

Yes, hello and welcome once again to an incredibly sleep-deprived version of your Sunday Morning Liveblog, January 2012 Is Killing Us edition. My name is Jason, and today, we will hear from the triumphant Newt Gingrich, who prevailed in South Carolina after reminding voters there of a better and brighter era where you just cold put Juan Williams in his place whenever he opened his mouth. And we'll also apparently hear from Chris Christie, standing in for the emasculated Mitt Romney. And by the way, the news is the Mittens will release his tax returns on Tuesday. This was very hard for him, for reasons we may soon know. Who knows? Anyway, y'all know the drill, feel free to chat it up in the comments, send an email if the mood hits you, and as always you are invited to witness me working out my complicated feelings about America on Twitter.

THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

Bronze medalist Rick Santorum is here, being told that lots of conservatives are going to tell him to get out of the race, by GSteph. Really, though? Santorum says that actually conservatives are "concerned" by the Mitt/Newt choice. "It's a choice between a moderate and an erratic conservative" who loves mandates and chilling on the couch with Nancy Pelosi and amnesty for illegals. He says that he is the guy you won't have to worry about criticizing Paul Ryan's plan or driving his staff away.

GSteph points out that the exit polls in South Carolina found few people who thought he could beat Obama, and twice as many people who believed Gingrich was "very conservative." Santorum says that in Iowa and New Hampshire, the numbers were different, and that Newt had "planted his flag in South Carolina" and that the early races were "baked" much more than "the races going forward."

"Newt finished fourth and fifth," he points out, "where was everybody telling him to get out of the race." Oh, they were there!

On the matter of Gingrich's instability and grandiosity, Santorum says that while Newt is a friend, he has leadership issues -- can't focus, can't stay disciplined. "We need someone who can make Obama the issue in the race, not the Republican nominee." Asked if he was saying Newt couldn't be trusted in the White House, Santorum says that he's a "very high risk candidate." Unfocused and unreliable and prone to episodes where he undermines conservatives. He's really mad at Newt for briefly supporting climate science, instead of frenzied denialist nonsense.

GSteph shows Santorum the super PAC ad that inspired him, at last Monday's debate, to run a pretty bit of punch and counterpunch on Mitt. How will he compete against that sort of big money? Santorum really doesn't have an answer for that question unless he can answer, "I recently came into a multi-millionaire patron," so he launches into a monologue about it being a long race and he has a strong record.

Where will Santorum get his next win? Santorum says that he's just going to "go out and compete" and "pick up delegates" and he'll "have an opportunity to win states."

"Huge" is how he describes the body blow that Romney had to absorb in South Carolina yesterday. I'll say. This time yesterday, my co-workers and I were gushing over our colleague Elise Foley's lede, which read: "South Carolinians say it's the state that picks presidents. Mitt Romney used to say so too." Santorum, echoing Palin, says that "the longer this goes on...the better for conservatives." Maybe Palin can give him her endorsement of the day next time?

And now it's panel time, with George Will, Katrina VandenHeuvel (hereafter referred to as KVH), Matthew Dowd, Amy Walter, and Ron Brownstein.

How is George Will feeling about this? He hates Mitt AND Newt. Seemingly well -- he notes that Mitt Romney's electability argument is pretty specious given the fact that he is really only good at losing. "Mitt Romney's problem is somehow his Romneyness," he says.

Dowd says that the "most consistent thing" in the race is Romney's inability to close the sale in this race. "Maybe it's not his Romneyness, maybe it's his Mittness." Okay, that doesn't really make sense but Dowd delivers the line so hilariously that I'm going to allow it. "He cannot sell himself as an authentic, competent conservative."

KVH says his "bleeding" stems from the tax issue he won't contend with, and the revival of the Nixonian, "southern strategy" stuff isn't helping Romney either. KVH notes that while some Democrats may be cheering Newt's rise, they should consider the ugly politics that come along with it, and curb their enthusiasm.

I don't know what in particular GSteph doesn't like hearing -- maybe it's too early in the morning to hear someone get real about the toxicity of Nixonland-style politics, but he talks over KVH and cuts her off. Dick move, Stephanopoulos. Our reward is we get to watch a video of Gingrich using Juan Williams as a punching bag. Which I only feel a little bad about, on Williams' behalf, because let's face it, being a punching bag is exactly what he's paid to do. He's actually an exceptionally well paid punching bag.

We get to see Gingrich emasculate John King, too, and I also don't feel THAT bad for him because CNN's debates really have been terrible. But let's not pretend that Gingrich was really authentically angry at getting that question. He planned for it, rehearsed a response, knew he's get it, hoped he'd get it, got it, and delivered the rebuke he'd drawn up in debate prep. And his execution was excellent, if I'd been advising him I'd have told him to do the very same thing, but let's not get it twisted: Newt Gingrich was HAPPY that he got that question.

"Debates matter a lot," GSteph says, and then Ron Brownstein says a bunch of demographic stuff that's boring and not worth recapping. Romney "faces a risk" that the "downscale vote" might coalesce around Newt.

"There's a reason that Santorum called [Newt] erratic," says Walter, who adds that with the Bain Capital issue and Romney's inability to answer for it, the problem isn't Bain, it's Romney's dodginess. KVH says that the campaign is giving America an "MRI" of the fundamental problem of income inequality. She notes that Romney's father never forgot to release his income taxes. (If I'm not mistaken, George Romney was the first politician to make a habit of that. Any George Romney enthusiasts out there?)

Dowd's campaign positives? Debates matter, consultants don't. Will offers a "minor dissent," saying that Newt's candidacy is premised on the idea he can outdebate Obama. "We're talking about giving the guy nuclear weapons for eight years, perhaps," says Will. You just KNEW he'd find a way to do Newt dirty, didn't you?

Dowd says that all he was trying to say was that Newt's demonstrated that he's the "strong, decisive conservative" and not Mitt. Brownstein says that the GOP is changing into a downscale party that Romney doesn't connect with. Maybe, Ron, but mind that you don't miss the rest of the country looking too close at South Carolina -- Mitt connected just fine with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

GSteph says that a lot of people were mystified by the fact that Romney didn't seem to understand that OF COURSE people wanted to look at his tax returns. That did seem a little odd! KVH reckons that Romney's left behind the entire job creator argument, and that his campaign seems not to have anticipated a moment would come when they'd not be the frontrunner. Dowd's skeptical that there's a smoking gun in Romney's taxes, saying that Romney just strikes him as someone who just got it in his head that it wasn't something he had to do and he wasn't gonna do it, by golly! Brownstein says that the contents of his tax returns go to his unsteadiness as a candidate, and I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

Will points out that a small sliver of a silver lining for Mitt is that Republicans all across the country have woken up this morning to the possibility that Newt Gingrich was going to be at the "top of the ticket" and that is DOOM DOOM GET IN A TOMB for their hopes and dreams, unless they too want to crank up the white-hot anger machine and scorch the planet with hate.

More paneling about politics. Is Florida a "must win" for Mitt Romney? No. Though it has fifty delegates that are winner take all. Walter reminds us that we have two debates next week (ugh) and the same dynamic as the week before. Dowd says that by Tuesday, the race will be tied and Gingrich is heading for a six to eight point win, so for that to change, Romney will have to do something to alter the dynamics of the race. Brownstein says that Florida is slightly more favorable territory to Romney, because it's more "upscale" and South Carolina is more evangelical and more populist.

KVH isn't sure Romney's campaign stump speech section railing against "entitlements" is going to fly in Florida, which is packed to the gills with shambling old people. She may be forgetting that whole thing Romney does where he "tells people what they want to hear" because he's a "transparent liar."

She goes on to say that the debates would matter even more were it not for the super PAC ads. For like the third time today, GSteph cuts her off. George, please, get over your complicated feelings, okay?

More crosstalk.

Dowd says that he's not buying the super PAC hype, saying that it's not that big a difference maker. I disagree -- super PACs are playing a big role in the week-to-week rise and decline of these candidates.

Can Romney come back? Will says it can be "good to have a bad week," and it's better to have one during "spring training." Brownstein says Romney's still the frontrunner, but that Gingrich can gather a coalition of voters to elongate the race. Walter says that poll respondents say that a core of GOP voters "definitely won't vote" for Gingrich, and it's a larger number than those who won't vote for Mitt under any circumstances.

The panel seems to agree that a brokered convention is not in the cards, because the process is largely "self-consolidating." Will says that it's just "hard to believe" that someone won't simply take the number of delegates needed to win.

KVH says that she "expects and wants" to hear Obama expand on his vision for the future in America, that "lays out a different idea of an economy" in his State of the Union. Will figures he'll "steal a plank" from Romney by attacking China, and shift from taxing people who make a quarter of a million in income to just "millionaires and billionaires."

Okay, at least GSteph is starting to cut off everyone else now.

KVH wants Obama to make a case against the banks on behalf of those who were eaten alive by predators in the housing crisis. Dowd points out that he's got very little credibility there, with a chief of staff from Citi and a planned convention speech at Bank Of America stadium.

What about the uptick in good economic news? Walter say that Americans want to see someone who does what they say are going to do...and I think now everyone is just slapping strings of cliches at the teevee camera.

Will offers that Obama has broken a long streak of Democratic presidents who have been perceived as weak on foreign policy and defense -- "he has largely immunized himself there." He and KVH disagree on whether Mitt Romney and Leon Panetta have the same policy on Iran or not. KVH says that the neocons are advising Romney, not Obama. Dowd says that it boils down to macroeconomic trajectory -- "if it's up he wins, if it's down he loses" -- and the scary thing is that the White House is just not in a position to affect the outcomes -- the primary worry is the Eurozone crisis.

Here's This Week's cutesy "Close Up" segment, on math:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW

Today, the Apple Genius Bar of politics discusses the mystery that is Mittens, with Major Garrett, Andrea Mitchell, Kathleen Parker, and Neil Swidey.

This was taped on Thursday, so Matthews says "Mitt Romney is still the heavy favorite to win the nomination." LOL. I mean, that's probably still true in spite of everything, but L to the OL power, just the same.

But what could possibly by motivating Mitt Romney to run for President, besides perhaps an unquenchable thirst for power and/or Combos? (You get all the Combos you want at the White House mess as President, ask anyone.) Well Matthews reckons that Romney could be doing it for his dad, to prove that a Romney can win the White House. Or, Romney could be "driven by ideology." Let me know when you figure out what that ideology is! Or! Romney's past career in business built the foundation for a political career. But that's not motive...that's means. Someone, please show Chris Matthews two episodes of Law And Order at random so that he understands the distinction!

Swidey, who is a Boston Globe man, says that Mitt is substantially driven to follow in his father's footsteps. He says that in the past, he's shown Mitt video of his father and watched his "face dissolve" so that you could see Romney's neural circuits and cheekbone armature and "jowl servos" and EVERYTHING.

"It's all psychobabble to some extent," says Matthews, referring to the topic, as well as 76% of all political commentary. Ha! And now Parker says she's bored with the conversation and says she wants to stop talking about the father and son stuff. SHUT UP NEIL SWIDEY, AND YOUR YEARS OF REPORTING! (Though Kathleen is right, it is BORING.) But now Andrea Mitchell says that Romney is hanging his dad's picture all over the campaign bus, so I guess we're back to talking about this.

Swidey says that the words that came to most people's mind when they were asked to describe what it would be like to be Romney's neighbor were "high hedges." Trimmed by undocumented workers!

Chris Matthews loves the term "high hedges." Also "data driven." Is he data driven? Is he literally "Data," from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Will he care for a kitten, play the violin, learn about human emotion? Will he bomb Iran? When Gingrich worries about EMP attacks, does he recognize that the moment may come when terrorists knock President Romney offline?

Hey, is Major Garrett ever going to get to talk, today?

There he is! He says, "yes you can have input and output." So, bring some HDMI cables to your interviews with Mitt.

"He doesn't seem to relate to people" the way his father did, says Mitchell, who built this car called the "Rambler." Maybe George Romney BUILT Mitt! Maybe Mitt is the real rambler! The MIDNIGHT rambler!

Parker says that she's noticed that Romney has an inner circle of devotees that like him very much and that there's just an endearing awkwardness that keeps him from showing fellowship beyond his close circles. Garrett says that personally, Romney's a smart and anatlytical guy. Swidey suggests that Romney falls in a hole when he's on camera, because off camera, he does a better job of connecting to people.

Matthews kvetches that if Romney becomes president, he'll be all analytical and "boring like Barack Obama has become boring." Mofeaux just aren't doing enough to excite Chris Matthews up in this piece! Then he shows people some mock commercial about Mitt Romney using Staples' "That was easy" slogan as his own. Was that supposed to be funny or awkward of forgettable or did an intern working on the show win a bet or get blackmail? OH WHO CARES I'M BORED NOW. [Flounces.]

Matthews says that the GOP super PACs are so far dwarfing the Obama super PAC's in terms of money raised so far. Mitchell says these super PAC's are "new" and they've "changed the political climate." Which, I though we'd already known? Garrett says that big corporations and labor unions prefer the super PAC model because they can seamlessly develop messages, focus group them, and put them on the air without all the nettlesome bureaucracy.

Swidey says that the big question for Obama is does he not adopt the practice that the Supreme Court enabled -- and for which the court earned Obama's rebuke during the State of the Union address.

Here are some things that Matthews doesn't know. Garrett says the SOTU is expected to be partisan, but with Jack Lew in the mix, there's a glimmer of hope that there could be some common ground coming that allows work to get done. Mitchell says that the Hispanic community in Florida is different and more prone to Newt Gingrich's approach to immigration than they are Romney's. Parker tells Matthews that while everyone thinks Romney is perfect because he doesn't drink, he has a weakness for Cool-Whip. (?!?) Finally, Swidey offers that the Bain critique may not offer the Obama administration the cleanest shot at Romney, because they hold both parties responsible for the financial crisis.

Will Obama -- and these are the words Matthews uses, don't blame me -- have "the juice to run a top-speed campaign this year?" Major Garrett says HE WILL HAVE THE JUICE. Mitchell says THERE WILL BE JUICE. Parker says the European economy COULD DRINK THE JUICE. Swidey says some other stuff.
JUICE, PEOPLE. Politics is the Kool-Aid Man, cold busting through the walls of your rec room, with pitchers of sugar water, forever.

MEET THE PRESS

So, today on MEET THE PRESS, Newt Gingrich will lecture David Gregory and if Chris Christie can withstand the gale of condescension, he'll respond on Mitt Romney's behalf. And then paneling!

Gingrich thanks South Carolina for being generous and says that they sent "two messages" last night -- one about the "real pain" of unemployment, and also "anger." Pain and anger. PANGER. DEATH METAL. Newt Gingrich channels your rage tattoos and obliterated your superego with pure id.

Gregory notes, with perhaps a trace of skeptical sarcasm, that Newt -- the longtime Congressman and lobbyist-historian to the stars -- is running as an "outsider." Gingrich says "I was not a lobbyist, you know better than that." No. He was. He was just the kind of lobbyist that doesn't have to register as a lobbyist.

But anyway, he says that Romney is an establishment candidate, and he is a Reagan candidate, who shows up in a footnote in the Reagan diary, but secretly Reagan wishes someone would reanimate his corpse so he could endorse Gingrich. He says that Romney is the guy who doesn't give answers, won't talk about his record, and hides from critics. "The governor is trying really hard to avoid answering anything." And Gingrich's sudden insistence on transparency -- much of what Romney would LOVE LOVE LOVE to find out about Newt is tied up in contracts that require third party permission -- now includes coming clean on RomneyCare, his tax returns, and his famous deleted computers from his days in the Massachusetts statehouse.

Will Newt be satsified with the release of Romney's tax returns? Gingrich says that you want to find out Romney's weakness before he becomes the nominee. He then reiterates his belief that he will outdebate Obama.

Gregory points out that his unfavorable numbers are crazy high, and that plenty of Republican figures think he's erratic and dangerous. Gingrich says that "the establishment should be afraid of a Gingrich presidency" because he'll change everything and make them sad. He also says that everything everyone is saying about Gingrich was once said about Reagan. (Remember when Rick Santorum stood next to Reagan at a debate and basically said "YOU, SIRRAH, ARE A DANGEROUSLY CRAZY MEGALOMANIAC."

And Arsenal has lost to Manchester United, which is the soccer equivalent of having a cathetic removed by tying it to a Ford Taurus and pushing it off a cliff.

Anyway, Gingrich is happy to be considered as a Ronald Reagan figure, which only he considers. And remember, everyone, Gingrich REALLY BELIEVES THIS STUFF. This is the guy whose staff quit on him all at once. Gingrich now says that he wanted to "provoke" his staff in that way. Sorry, that's bonkers! Who runs for President and says, "Wow, look at all these fine people who have generously flocked here to help me, giving up their jobs and free time. I CAN'T WAIT TO RUN THEM OFF TO MAKE A POINT THAT I'LL HAVE TO STILL BE EXPLAINING MONTHS FROM NOW."

Gregory asks if voters should judge his conduct, in terms of his wanting to bang all sorts of ladies, whilst being married to other ladies. Gingrich says sure, and South Carolina said that was all okay. Open marriages for everyone, provided that they are a Reaganesque super genius ideas factory.

Gregory wants to know if Gingrich is going to win independent voters by referencing Saul Alinsky -- Gingrich says yes, because Reagan did it. If it weren't for people like Newt Gingrich, nobody from any other generation other than an ancient one would even know who he is -- as a political figure, his biography and ideas have been as dead as disco for some forty years. Nevertheless, I have to imagine that Ezra Klein is on point here:

And, I mean, let's not forget that Newt Gingrich worked side by side with this dangerous radical administration of socialist infiltrators when the organizing idea was grandiose enough to attract him.

Mitt Romney is going to release some tax returns. What say you, Newt? "That particular issue is set aside." (We'll see!)

Here's Chris Christie, to defend Romney's manhood. Naturally, he says that Romney is awesome, and has awesomely decided to release his tax returns. Gregory points out that Romney's defense of his decision to not release them (before he flip flopped on that -- CLASSIC MITTENS) was because the Democrats would use it as the ingredients of an attack. (Why imply this?) Christie says there's surely nothing to worry about in the tax returns he hasn't seen because no one's seen them because Romney thinks that someone might see something, point at it, and start making those INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS noises.

Christie reminds Gregory of that time he pressured Romney to release his returns, like any good surrogate would do. He says that last night's result was disappointing, but "you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fight." Except that I think Romney has a team of footmen who do the "picking up," and the "dusting off" is handled by a space-age dust absorption unit manufactured by Dyson that is not yet street-legal, because of ONEROUS OBAMA REGULATIONS GRRR!

Christie says that he told Oprah that eventually, Mitt will meet the challenge of connecting with humans without leaving the impression that he will crush their small pocket pets with his powerful robot arms.

What's disqualifying about Newt Gingrich? First, he says "we don't need another legislator in the Oval Office," and that we need someone who can "bring Congress together." They have to have run a state and a company. "Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party," he says, saying that Romney hasn't and won't. "I don't need to regale the country with the entire list" of things that Newt did wrong, Christie says. But doesn't Mitt Romney WANT you to? Because it would help his campaign? I tell you, Chris Christie and Tim Pawlenty are the strangest campaign surrogates ever.

Christie does allow that Gingrich could beat Obama in the general.

OH GOD, Gregory has a "slightly different way" of asking Christie if he'd consider being vice-president. He doesn't. Christie wants to be Governor or New Jersey. And he will, unless he becomes, through some Freaky Friday accident, the Hispanic junior Senator from Florida.

Gregory takes the next five minutes to keep asking the question, and this is Meet The Press at it's best, when it's merely inessential viewing, instead of unwatchable.

Can the President say anything at the SOTU that would galvanize the GOP to work with him? He says the embracing Simpson-Bowles would do it. I doubt that! Obama put a budget plan that involved a $4 to $1 trillion ratio of cuts to revenues, with changes to the eligibility age of Medicare, and John Boehner said, "Hot damn, this would be a great win for us!" and took it to his colleagues, who spoke with one voice, "If Obama says he wants it, then we reject it." The same will be true for Simpson-Bowles. And it would be true for fighting tooth decay. Obama durst not come out in favor of brushing teeth, lest the entire Bible belt collapse under the weight of gum disease expenses.

There are some perfunctory questions about Christie's record as governor, which have all been asked and answered before. He predicts that the "New Jersey Giants" will beat the 49ers today.

Okay, we're panelling with Joe Scarborough and Mike Murphy and Katty Kay and Chuck Todd, who says that "if two weeks ago we'd told you that electability is a key issue you'd have assumed it was going to be a Romney victory." But last night, Newt won the electability argument. It reminded me of a tweet I saw last night, which reminded me of something that's true about politics.

Just keep that in mind!

Anyway, you'd be shocked to learn, I imagine, that Gingrich was seen as the conservative alternative to Romney, by South Carolinians.

Scarborough says that Romney lost because Newt uses the "politics of resentment and grievance" to obscure his record, which is not conservative. He reminds that he called Paul Ryan a "right-wing radical" and says there will be more talk of a brokered convention. (Of that possibility, I'll tell you that Josh Putnam of Frontloading HQ told me on Twitter yesterday, "Not gonna happen.")

Murphy says that Romney has to seize back the momentum at the debates before Florida. Which will be interesting.

Kay says that Gingrich won because the campaign was about "heart" -- voters see Gingrich as a rebel who will channel their anger against Obama. But Gingrich is erratic, with peaks and valleys and personality that he'll need to "keep in check" as Romney runs through all of his monetary and structural advantages.

I am just going to put this out there: most of this analysis is REALLY being strained through a South Carolina prism, and the state's own unique ways actually tell 90% of the story. It's a very sexy prism, because of all the yelling and screaming at debates and the big sexy super PAC fight. But in a few weeks, we'll be in Nevada, and then Colorado, and Michigan and Maine. Those voters won't respond and react the way Palmetto State voters do. Which isn't to say that Newt can't win those states as well. I'm just saying, "PEOPLE. LAST NIGHT DID NOT PRODUCE A UNIFIED FIELD THEOREM THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING."

Here's Charles Pierce, explaining why South Carolina explains what happened specifically in South Carolina:

Opinions that are on the fringe everywhere else are in the mainstream here. Issues long since settled are reopened regularly with the prybars of ancient prejudices. (Ron Paul, of all people, comes down here and blames Roe vs. Wade on the 1960's, and quotes John Adams on why the Beatles sent the country to hell in a bucket. Willard Romney, that old smoothie, yells at a heckler while appearing to be channelling Joe McCarthy.) There is no scar tissue down here, only scabs that open, over and over again.

Willard never really understood this. He never measured the depth of resentment down here and, inevitably, he found it turned against him and he drowned in it. He never saw the diamond-hard identity of the place as an actual opponent. They all came down here talking about the greatness of "America," but they were doing so in the historical home office of national division. In 1780, Tories in this part of the state handed the state back to the British. Fifty-odd years later, John C. Calhoun concocted a theory of American government that nearly came to guns over the tariff, and one that eventually did come to guns over the issue of owning human beings as property. South Carolina didn't ratify the constitutional amendment allowing women's suffrage until 1969. The state's sad history on racial desegregation need not be rehearsed here again, but it was a group of South Carolinians — most notably Harry Dent and, later, Lee Atwater — who invented the method of turning that resistance to racial integration into an anti-government paradigm that made the Republican party a dominant force for over 40 years. Willard Romney was remarkably blind to all of this. He never saw South Carolina as a singular place that is itself alone. He never saw it as anything more than another media market. Goddamn, was he ever wrong.

Chuck Todd says that "everytime Newt's risen, the people at American's Elect get more phone calls." Ha! Well, Jon Huntsman is free now to be that phony organizations' phony candidate!

Oh, we're not done yet? I guess not. Will there be more "fantasy football" where the GOP dreams of getting Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels into the race? Murphy says sure, but Romney could come back and win Florida. If he does, everything calms down. If Newt wins and suddenly everyone goes nuts, there will be even more freaking out, and suddenly Newt Gingrich is turned into some sort of unsympathetic, bizarro version of Ned Stark, beheaded by someone like Haley Barbour, who Scarborough says has called the potential Gingrich presidency a disaster.

Scarborough says that "people like Bill Kristol" is talking about other candidates getting on the ballot in various states, junking up the delegate process, and then "Jeb Bush is dragged kicking and screaming" to the Florida convention. I would love to spend a year liveblogging that level of hilarity, but it's the wish that's just never going to come.

Chuck Todd says BROKERED CONVENTION IS OUT and THIRD PARTY RUN IS IN. So, good news for Gary Johnson!

Meet The Press reports that Meet The Press had an awesome moment today when Meet The Press asked Newt Gingrich a question on Meet The Press. So, Meet The Press is a special little snowflake.

And that's all, thankfully. Time to enjoy the rest of Sunday before next week arrives and brings its five million debates with it. Everyone get excited about Newt Gingrich, I guess! And football! Hope your football team wins today, all right? And I hope everyone has a great week.