Nightly News   |  January 09, 2012

Nastiness in New Hampshire: ‘reality has set in’

‘Meet The Press’ moderator David Gregory joins Brian Williams.

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

>>> today's attacks on romney picked up where things left off yesterday during our nbc news "meet the press" facebook debate yesterday morning moderated by david gregory , who is also part of our team in new hampshire tonight. i guess this becomes the question. is mitt romney stoppable or unstoppable coming out of new hampshire ?

>> the rival campaigns see an opening tonight, brian. it's not a huge opening, but since the debate and on the campaign trail today, romney 's rivals see an opportunity to touch a chord with conservative voters who already are not entirely sold on the idea of romney as a conservative. to now make the argument that he's vulnerable in a general election . he is not electable because of his experience at bayne capital, because he may be gap-prone. they say take a second look, new hampshire , and take a look at him again in south carolina . a veteran republican from south carolina told me tonight, brian, he actually sees evidence of consolidation around romney in his favor. his rivals don't have a lot of time left.

>> was interesting this weekend, you have two debates, what, 10, 11 hours apart. it was clear the candidates waited for the second one, yours yesterday morning to attack romney and leave that lasting down in voters' minds.

>> i think that's right. i think the reality set in. he won in iowa. he's way ahead here in new hampshire . he's ahead in south carolina . if they are successfully going to make the case whether it's huntsman, santorum or gingrich that romney shouldn't be the nominee, they need to do that soon.

>> david gregory in new hampshire ,