Nightly News   |  January 22, 2012

Romney looks to rebound in Florida debates

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney looks to make a strong showing in the upcoming Florida primary after losing to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

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

>> chuck todd is nbc news political director and chief white house correspondent. he joins us now from tampa, florida , site of tomorrow night's nbc news presidential debate . you see the set there behind him him. chuck, let me ask you how the debates may have hurt romney in south carolina and how you expect him to change, perhaps, when he goes back on the podium tomorrow.

>> well, it is interesting we do sort of -- mitt romney telegrafd he'll get more aggressive against speaker gingrich . speaker gingrich has shown his ability to be aggressive with the moderate, a little bit with his opponents. it will be interesting to watch romney do this. four years ago, almost in this exact same period in the presidential race , he was feeling the pressure from huckabee and mccain, romney went on the attack and his numbers went down even lower. in fact, at the florida debates then he was very aggressive and it didn't help him. he struggles walking that line of going on the attack and at the same time without turning off voters and newt gingrich is somebody that knows he lives for these moments. he knows how to respond and sort of get under mitt romney 's skin in a way that we haven't seen in a while, lester.

>> a couple of weeks ago, a lot of folks thought romney was cruising to victory in south carolina . he was buying up ad time in florida . explain the landscape in florida now as this campaign essentially gets reset.

>> reporter: it is and they have always viewed it as their second firewall. new hampshire was one. this was the second one. but it is a close primary, meaning only registered republicans who voted, it is a lot more conservative than new hampshire, only slightly more moderate than south carolina . it is a big state. the question is, does gingrich have the resources to take advantage of his momentum? that's an open question , lester.

>> chuck todd . chuck, thank you very much.

>>> brian williams moderates the republican candidates debate from florida tomorrow night at 9:00, 8:00 central here on nbc .