Nightly News | March 03, 2012
>>> i want to turn to other news. late word of an apology from limbaugh to the student caught up in the birth control battle. it landed him in the middle of a firestorm leaving several of the advertisers to pull their ads from his show. part of the statement posted on limbaugh's website tonight reads my choice of words was not the best and in the intent to be humorous, i created a national stir. i sincerely apologize to ms. fluke for the insulting word choices.
>>> and strovoters are having their say in the washington caucuses and the candidates are campaigning in 72 hours when 11 states will be up for grabs. for the latest on all this, we want to bring in "meet the press" moderator david gregory . david, let me first get your thoughts on the limbaugh apology. was it beginning to affect the republican race in some way?
>> i don't think the republicans are happy to have this fight when it came to rush limbaugh 's comments. i think there's a lot of conservatives whether it's rick santorum or gingrich or others, although romney has hedged on this, who are happy to energize this debate by talk of religious freedom being infringed upon by president obama . it's resonating on some voters. but what limbaugh did in going after this georgetown law student was to take it to a much more offensive level which is why i think he apologized if you read the statement. i think there are a lot of republicans who are worried this is a, a fight that the republicans should not be having right now over contraception of all things which is a pretty much a settled matter in terms of access for women. not only is birth control but a matter of women's health, but he escalated it to the degree and there are women voters on the democratic side who are energized by this.
>> let me get your thoughts on super tuesday. ohio is considered the big prize, but how important is it for santorum and romney to create some distance with ohio being key to that?
>> it's a general election battle ground and if you're mitt romney you want to create some momentum after winning in michigan and arizona. if he can turn around and say to the party, i won both ohio and florida, he might get a long way toward getting the party to coalescing around him. on the other side, if it's santorum, he has an opportunity. air is getting out of the balloon, but if he can win ohio he's back in the hunt.
>> david gregory , thanks. a program note , facing a pivotal day on super tuesday, newt gingrich will be among david's gues guests sunday morning on "meet the press."