Washington Watch Roundtable: Santorum Sweeps Romney, POTUS Reverses On Super PACs, New Housing Plan Unveiled (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

Washington Watch Roundtable: Santorum Sweeps Romney, POTUS Reverses On Super PACs, New Housing Plan Unveiled (VIDEO)

The Republican race for President is getting very interesting, Rick Santorum wins Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Republicans still may not be ready to rally behind GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, President Obama reverses willing to accept super PAC money and his new housing plan.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Sophia Nelson, Joseph Williams, Michelle Bernard and Joe Madison.

MR. MARTIN:  Welcome back to “Washington Watch.”

All right, folks.  Let’s go back to our roundtable.

Republican race for President – it’s very interesting.  I’ve talked about this, and I’ve talked about – people are saying, “Oh, this race is over.  Romney wins Nevada.”  And I’m sitting – and I[’ve] been saying from day one, “Guys, that’s just the fifth state.”  We – we had Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, then Nevada.  There’re 45 left.  Don’t even know the rest of the country.  This week, all of a sudden, Rick Santorum sweeps the week:  Colorado, Minnesota, also sweeps Missouri.

Is – does is – does it make it perfectly clear that Romney has a problem in this GOP, and people should stop assuming that he is going t- — he is the inevitable candidate?

MS. NELSON:  Yeah, I think it’s true.  I’m in agreement with you, Roland.  I think this is going to the convention, actually.  I don’t know how, in what form, but it is very clear to me after the Santorum – first, you had the Newt surge.  Then you had the Santorum surge.  Every surge but Romney.  They don’t want Mitt Romney to be their nominee.  That’s a problem for –

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah.

MS. NELSON:  — him.

MR. MARTIN:  I mean it’s – it’s – it’s very clear, and what gets me is all of these so-called “smart” political people inside this beltway act like, “Oh, hey, he wins Nevada.  Everything is back on track.”  This week, to me, had to be devastating to his campaign – because he lost states he won in 2008.

MS. BERNARD:  He – it had to be devastating to the campaign not only for that reason, but if you look at – it was a low turnout in all of these states, but if you look at who came out to vote, these were the people who go out, and they caucus for their candidates, and they talk about who they want.  They are – they – they are the – I won’t say the far right of the right, but they are the most dedicated conservatives within the Republican Party, and their number one choice – at least this past week – was Rick Santorum.  That — that is a tough pill for Mitt Swomn- [sic – phonetic] — Ri- — Mitt Romney to swallow because, number one, what it tells us is that money doesn’t matter.

MR. MARTIN:  Um-hum?

MS. BERNARD:  His political machinery doesn’t matter.  And we are looking at a Republican electorate that is still saying, “Anybody but Mitt Romney.”

MR. MARTIN:  I want to – Joe?

MR. MADISON:  We’re looking at a pu- — a Republican electorate that is being pushed to the farthest right –

MS. NELSON:  Absolutely.

MR. MADISON:  — that you can po- — we’ve ever seen, I think, since Goldwater.  Just this past week, to have a White nationalist speak at their conference, a man who is opposed to multiculturalism –

MR. MARTIN:  Now, first of all, who’re you talking about?  When –

MR. MADISON:  I’m talking –

MR. MARTIN:  — you –

MR. MADISON:  — about –

MR. MARTIN:  — say the “conference,” meaning –

MR. MADISON:  — Brimha- —

MR. MARTIN:  — the conservative –

MR. MADISON:  — Brimelow.

MR. MARTIN:  — the conservative political –

MS. BERNARD:  At –

MR. MARTIN:  — action committee –

MS. BERNARD:  — the CPAC – [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. MADISON:  At –

MR. MARTIN:  — conference.

MR. MADISON:  — at – at CPAC.  At CPAC – to have him there and not have one, single presidential candidate denounce him, or denounce even having him there.

MS. BERNARD:  Or have Herman Cain

MR. MADISON:  Oh, and –

MS. BERNARD:  — denounce him –

MR. MADISON:  — or –

MS. BERNARD:  — and Herman Cain –

MR. MADISON:  — or –

MS. BERNARD:  — spoke –

MR. MADISON:  — having –

MS. BERNARD:  — earlier this week.

MR. MADISON:  — West denounce him.  I mean this is a man who during this conference said that being multiling[ual] was “hogwash.”  This is a man who said immigration is – is terrible, and he’s an immigrant himself.  And no one at that conference had the audacity to suggest –

MR. MADISON:  Joe –

MR. MADISON:  — that this should not –

MR. WILLIAMS:  Isn’t –

MR. MADISON:  — have happened.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — isn’t that what CPAC is all about, though?  I mean –

MR. MADISON:  But –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — isn’t –

MR. MADISON:  — but – but that’s my point.  And here’s what’s happening out there across the state.  The party is pushing its moderates away.  This is what’s causing all the problems.

MR. MARTIN:  And I’ll tell you.  I’ll tell you I actually dropped by CPAC this week, o- — on Thursday, and it was very interesting.  I was sitting in there.  On the panel was Cal Thomas, Jonah Goldberg and a couple other folks – and somebody from the Heritage Foundation.  They were actually moderating it.  And it was interesting when Romney[’s] name came up, I heard several people mutter, “He’s a liberal!” — ’cause they were saying, “What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s a liberal!”

And I was sitting here, going, “Look” – you could see – I mean Mitt Romney got n- — virtually no love among that audience.  And so what does it say about the next states, moving forward?  I mean do you think, Joe, we’re literally going to see, as Sophia said – which I believe – we’re going to see this regional thing?  Somebody’s going to win these two or three states.  Gingrich may very well win Georgia, maybe Mississippi.  S- — Santorum may pick up Alabama and Tennessee – that we literally are going to see a fractured state, and all 50 states may very well have to decide who’s going to be their nominee.

MR. WILLIAMS:  Well, but not only that.  You go into a convention with that kind of fissure –

MS. NELSON:  Yep.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — it is going to be ugly.  I mean you’re going to –

MS. NELSON:  Like –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — have each –

MS. NELSON:  — ’68.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — faction trying to fight it out, duke it out.  Who’s got the most power?  Who’s got the most influence?  But also further beyond that, once they do decide on a nominee, and we’ve got the super PAC situation going, where anybody can contribute into a – a political action committee to help any candidate, a lot of the money is coming from the people who push that far-right agenda.

MR. MARTIN:  I – I – I wa- — I want to speak to a couple of thing- — more things.  We[’ve] got about five minutes left in the panel, and I want to deal with the issue of super PAC[s] and then – then get to housing.

On super PACs, Pres. Obama, frankly, reversed himself, saying, “Look, we will accept super PAC money.”  I said, “Will he get tagged as a hypocrite?”  Yes, but frankly –

MR. MADISON:  He – [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  — to the panel – he had no choice.

MR. MADISON:  He has no choice.

MS. NELSON:  Right.  That’s true.

MS. BERNARD:  Absolutely.

MR. MADISON:  He has no choice.

MS. BERNARD:  Better a smart –

MR. MADISON:  I mean –

MS. BERNARD:  — hypocrite than a dumb –

MR. MADISON:  — yeah —

MS. BERNARD:  — one.

MR. MADISON:  — I mean –

MS. BERNARD:  [Laughs.]

[CHUCKLING.]

MR. MADISON:  — he ha- — he ha- — he had no choice.  I mean it – look.  It – it’s the law of the land until it’s changed – thanks to the Supreme Court decision.  You – he – and – and he said he had no choice, and we all knew he was going to get hit with being a flip-flopper from – again –

MS. NELSON:  “Show me the” –

MR. MADISON:  — the right.

MS. NELSON:  — “money.”

MR. MARTIN:  And, of course, I mean let’s remember.  2008, he said that he would enter an agreement when it come[s] to publicly financed campaigns –

OFF CAMERA:    Nope!

[CHUCKLING.]

MR. MARTIN:  — but when he – but – but when he –

MS. BERNARD:  And – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — realized, “Man!  I’m raising a hell of a lot more money than them” –

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. MARTIN:  — “I’m not gon’ really go with that one.”

[CHUCKLING.]

MS. BERNARD:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  So – but – bu- — but wha- — what do you make, though, of the President, Sophia and Joe, criticizing the negative nature of super PACs?  He can criticize it, but super PACs su- — supporting him – they’re going to have to be just as negative and nats- — nasty to help him win reelection.

MS. NELSON:  Well, I think it goes to what Michelle said.  I mean better a smart hypocrite than a dumb one.  I mean this is the game now.  It’s all about the money.  “Show me the money.”  And at the end of the day, the President may not like what the super PACs do, but he’s got to deal with it – because if he doesn’t, he falls behind.

MR. WILLIAMS:  Well, it’s a little bit like arguing about the forward pass.  I mean Woody Hayes –

MS. NELSON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. WILLIAMS:  — wanted three yards and a cloud of dust.  That doesn’t play anymore.  You’ve got to play the ball – you’ve got to throw the ball through the air to g-

— to – to – to score the points.

But two things that come – come to mind when talking about this [are] money equals influence.  So, depending on –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — who donates into the campaign, those people have the President’s ear, because it definitely talks.  That could result in some strange policy.  We saw what happened with healthcare.

MR. MARTIN:  I want to get to this whole issue of this housing settlement.  [The] attorney general of California, Kamala Harris, was really one of the big holdouts –

MS. NELSON:  Soror.

MR. MARTIN:  — pushing this administration, saying, “Look.  You need to step up.”

Look at you giving a[n] AKA shout-out.  Calm down.

MS. NELSON:  [Chuckles.]

MS. BERNARD:  And my classmate from Howard University.

MR. MARTIN:  Oh, Lord!  Now we got all kind[s] of –

[CROSSTALK, CHUCKLING.]

MR. MARTIN:  — shout-outs!

[LAUGHTER.]

MR. MARTIN:  Here’s what the President had to say this week about that settlement.

[VIDEO CLIP.]

PRES. BARACK OBAMA:  Many companies that handled these foreclosures didn’t give people a fighting chance to hold on to their homes.  Some of them didn’t read what they were signing at all.

We[’ve] got to think about that.  You work, and you save your entire life to buy a home.  That’s where you raise your family.  That’s where your kids’ memories are formed.  That’s your stake, your claim on the American Dream.  And the person signing the document couldn’t take enough time to even make sure that the foreclosure was legitimate.

These practices were plainly irresponsible, and we refused to let them go unanswered.

[END OF VIDEO.]

MR. MARTIN:  Was this a question of this administration needing a win when it comes to this whole issue of foreclosures?  Or, did the folks out there – the regular folks – get sold out by basically letting these banks off the hook?

MR. WILLIAMS:  Well, I think it’s, like, two things.  The first was this all originated from the ground up.  You had state attorney generals [sic] suing companies that – that were redundant.  One state would sue the same person for the same thing.  So, what you had was a whole coalition of state attorneys general, the White House attempting to martial it.  It was a win-win.  They get some PR in that they helped this thing come about, and they’re seen as doing something about the housing crisis, which is dragging down the economy.

Second point:  once the win was finally established, a lot of liberals hate it – mainly because they think it’s small-ball; they think it’s not enough.  The Administration says back that, “This is only the beginning.  We[’ve] got more to do.”

MR. MARTIN:  Will they be held accountable?  That’s the b- — the – the –

MR. MADISON:  Well, they –

MS. BERNARD:  They’re – well –

MR. MADISON:  — haven’t –

MR. MARTIN:  — banks and the mortgage companies.

MS. BERNARD:  — they’re – they’re being held accountable, but the other thing that we have to keep in mind [is] I think this – the – the optics matter.  This is a win for the Administration because it gives the President and the people who work for him the ability to go out and say, “Look what we were able to accomplish with a do-nothing Congress.  This is a Congress we can’t work” –

MR. WILLIAMS:  “And we” –

MS. BERNARD:  — “with.”

MR. WILLIAMS:  — “did it on our own.”

MS. BERNARD:  “We” — “We” – “We did it on our own.”

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MS. BERNARD:  “We are the party that cares about the people” –

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MS. BERNARD:  — “and we did this despite Congress.”

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  We certainly appreciate it; but, panel, thanks a bunch.  Sophia, Joe, Michelle, Joe – we appreciate it.  Like a law firm.