TODAY | October 29, 2012
>>> joe scarborough and mika brzezinski are the hosts of nbc's " morning joe ."
>> good morning.
>> i'll ask you the unanswerable question. if this storm locks the race in place, who does that benefit?
>> one thing we do know bill clinton will be very nervous about having to fill all that space himself today without barack obama .
>> he'll be fine.
>> he'll do great in orlando, obviously, but mitt romney had momentum. you look at ohio, an ohio poll that came out had him deadlocked, a minnesota poll three. he gets the endorsement from "the des moines register ," first endorsement since nixon got it in '72, and in that state, that's a big deal . this is mitt romney 's best weekend, and it stops. the momentum stops. you don't know how it freezes the race, but you certainly know that it's a new dynamic into the race, and it changes everything with a week to go.
>> it does indeed. the question is how? a lot of people have different theories on which candidate it benefits.
>> it's a moment for the president to be commander in chief, to be presidential, but there are pitfalls with that.
>> it sure is. there are pitfalls and something could go wrong and people could maybe perhaps think the president isn't doing enough. but if this storm is as big as it portends to be, and all indications are that it's going to be massive, expect command centers up and down the east coast and the president to be very visible at all of them, telling people about the federal dollars on the way and that will be an advantage obama.
>> the president will have an opportunity to go to virginia, not as a politician but as a president, somebody there to help out, somebody there to comfort people. you know, the two bushes, bush 41 and bush 43 , had disasters in their handling of hurricanes, george hi. w. bush , his political career was damage there had and, of course, george w. bush in 2005 with katrina. many people in the bush white house say that was the low point of his presidency. a lot of dangers also, a lot of political opportunities.
>> beyond the optics, let's get practical. early voting is happening in a lot of these states. one state maryland cancelled early voting for the day. how much of an impact is that, especially for the obama campaign that's very much counting on early voteing?
>> they are depending on it, counting on it, absolutely right. does have an impact but leads mitt romney back to the optics in an awkward situation. anything he does may seem blatantly needy.
>> what can a challenger do?
>> what can he do?
>> the president of the united states went to the fema command center which, by the way, was is cynical, maybe the people running the campaign said we need to get him there, but the president is doing what presidents do. what does mitt romney do? that's a big question mark .
>> real quickly this, close to the election, does it matter if they have to cancel these rallies, and what about their ads? i mean, if you're in wall-to-wall coverage in some of these markets, the television ads aren't airing?
>> you look at the states on the east coast most impacted, virginia and new hampshire. those states really matter. obviously pennsylvania matters as well because mitt romney 's people believe they are closing that race, but it does change everything. the key here is to not look too political. if you do that, that can be a backlash, not only in the states along the coastline that are impacted by this but across the entire country. it's messy out there, not only weather-wise, but also politically.
>> you two actually interviewed the president over the weekend. you looked him in the eye. do you think he's feeling the heat , mika?
>> i do, and i think he's also enjoying the game. we were out there on the rope line watching him interact with people and getting his message out there, and the responding to some of the latest kerfuffles in the media, and he seemed right in there, right completely engaged, but the campaign, how could they not be nervous? look at the polls, look at them
>> you talk to the romney people, talk to the obama people, neither of them have any idea how this is turning out. both cautiousity optimistic, but can you look in their eyes and see they are also nervous. this is not a slam dunk .
>> both acting confident. we'll know what happens in eight days.
>> thank you, savannah.