Nightly News   |  January 04, 2012

Race gets closer after Iowa caucuses

NBC’s Chuck Todd and Meet The Press moderator David Gregory join Brian Williams from New Hampshire.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> and chief white house correspondent chuck todd and from our washington bureau, david gregory , moderator of "meet the press." chuck, we'll start with you. if you're mitt romney -- we just looked it up -- we got six fewer votes this time than four years ago. locked at 25%, four years apart, millions of dollars in expenditures apart. what is the lesson? what's the takeaway from iowa last night?

>> well, they do look on the bright side and they see it this way. number one, a win is a win. they won in a place that they lost last time. always important when you're running a second time. number two, they are kind of happy their chief conservative rival is not rick perry , is not newt gingrich , but is rick santorum for the very reason andrea brought up in her piece. he lacks resources. he may not be able to put together a national campaign. while it's still clear mitt romney has a base problem they think over time that they can overcome this and eventually woo conservatives to them, possibly by the south carolina primary , but even if they lose there, by the florida primary at the end of the month, brian.

>> david gregory , a question to you about santorum . the risk, of course, in iowa is what happens in iowa can stay in iowa . after all, huckabee won it there last time. how does santorum convert and what's he up against?

>> he's got a big hill to climb here. good news/bad news. he's got ron paul , rick perry still and newt gingrich attacking frontrunner mitt romney . he'd like to be alone. the only social conservative needs to get the energy behind him. as andrea noted as well, he's going to make a play on electability. he had an effective message on the economy as well. it was about restoring the manufacturing base in this country as working class voter appeal here. it's a good contrast the santorum folks think they will have against mitt romney .

>> i used the expression "welcome to the nfl." it gets start starting right about now. this calendar becomes gruelling.

>> it does. you have to move quickly. we are already six days from the new hampshire primary. for rick santorum to prove he can go the distance, he's at least got to finish second here and probably in a healthy number with 20%, 25%. now by the way if you're the conservative candidate you have to win south carolina . that's only 11 days away . ten days is florida. if mitt romney wins just two of any of the next three he's going to be the nominee. it may take a while before he formally gets a delegate but he will be the de facto nominee.

>> chuck todd and david gregory . thank you very much. the