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NBC's Scarborough Rants: Romney Having 'One of the Worst Weeks of Any Presidential Candidate'

Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made one hyperbolic doomsday declaration after another about Mitt Romney's campaign: "This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember....Unemployment is still 8% plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race." [Listen to the audio]

Scarborough frantically asserted: "[Republicans] are so depressed this morning, they just can't believe that Mitt Romney is blowing a race against a president who they believe has mismanaged the economy terribly over the past four years.....It is too much for many Republicans to handle." As the segment concluded, the former GOP Congressman went so far as to tell co-host Savannah Guthrie: "I'm going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon."

Scarborough was reacting to the supposedly controversial video of Mitt Romney describing the portion of the electorate who will vote for President Obama no matter what. Guthrie began the interview by wondering if the newly-released video of Romney speaking to fundraisers in May would be a "Category 5 crisis" or just a "blip" for the Republican.

After noting that a strong Romney debate performance could deflate the controversy, Scarborough wrung his hands and decried perceived gaffes by the campaign: "...we had Clint Eastwood and then we had the chair, and then over this past week, it's been absolutely remarkable. You combined Libya and the press conference, which is polling horribly for him, the campaign shakeup yesterday that was in several publications, and then this video, very, very bad news."

Guthrie followed up by claiming that the video was "dangerous" to Romney because "he basically dismisses half the nation as deadbeats," which may "feed into the very narrative that the Obama campaign has been trying to push on Romney all summer."

Scarborough eagerly agreed:

Feeds into what [political analyst] Jeff Greenfield called the 'Thurston Howell III candidate'.....white suburban moms in Philadelphia, in the I-4 corridor, are in swing districts that may look at Republicans as being too harsh and too uncaring. This is dangerous, not because he's going to lose that 47% of the vote, but because you're going to start seeing suburban voters, swing voters, storm away from the campaign as quickly as possible, unless he fixes it.

Guthrie then further pushed the theme of Romney losing by asking: "And you mentioned some of the disarray that's been reported in the campaign, an article in Politico saying that advisers were basically sniping at each other in blind quotes....you don't usually see these kinds of stories until late in a campaign when campaign advisers know they're losing. Do you think that's what's happening here?"

Scarborough lambasted Romney for denying any such "disarray" in a recent interview:

[Romney] said he has a terrific campaign. Actually he doesn't. He says that the campaign workers are working well together, well, actually, no, they're not working well together, and that his campaign's going in the right direction. No, it's not. And this is not being said by liberals, who are gleeful about what's happened to Mitt Romney's campaign over the past couple of weeks, these are conservatives. These are GOP strategists.

On September 7, the day after the Democratic National Convention concluded, Scarborough showed up on Today to proclaim that the Republican National Convention was no match for the liberal gathering: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..."

Here is a full transcript of Scarborough's September 18 appearance on the morning show:

7:07AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough hosts Morning Joe on MSNBC. Joe, good morning to you.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: A Fresh Start; Will New Strategy Work for the Romney Campaign?]

GUTHRIE: Let's start with this video, is this a Category 5 crisis for the Romney campaign or is it a blip, a minor embarrassment, something that will have no real impact?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, that really depends on whether they turn the campaign around or not. I mean, think about it Savannah, you've got about 50 days left. Mitt Romney is going to be spending over $100 million in 30-second ads, outside groups are going to be spending a lot of money. You've got three presidential debates. There is no doubt if Mitt Romney clearly out-performs Barack Obama in all three presidential debates, nobody's going to be talking about this other than how it helped Mitt Romney focus and turn things around.

But here's the problem. This is an absolutely critical time for this campaign. And go back to the convention, start with that video, the high point of Mitt Romney's campaign was his RNC video, which was so moving and made you think, you know what? I kind of โ€“ I think I can relate to this guy, and then we had Clint Eastwood and then we had the chair, and then over this past week, it's been absolutely remarkable. You combined Libya and the press conference, which is polling horribly for him, the campaign shakeup yesterday that was in several publications, and then this video, very, very bad news. This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember around this table.

GUTHRIE: And how dangerous potentially are these remarks? At one point he basically dismisses half the nation as deadbeats, saying, "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Does this feed into the very narrative that the Obama campaign has been trying to push on Romney all summer?

SCARBOROUGH: Feeds into what Jeff Greenfield called the "Thurston Howell III candidate" six months ago, David Brooks is talking about it this morning. And listen, this is what's important, okay? 47% of these โ€“ these, quote, "victims," that Mitt Romney talked about, were not going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway, but Jeb Bush and George W. Bush, when they campaigned, they would always start their campaigns in inner cities. They would always go talk to the truly disadvantaged, not because they believed they would get those votes, but because they believed they would get swing voters, white suburban moms in Philadelphia, in the I-4 corridor, are in swing districts that may look at Republicans as being too harsh and too uncaring.

Maybe Republicans are the candidates that are going to take care of their tax dollars better, going to run government more wisely, but the hard edge scared them. George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, they figured that out. This is dangerous, not because he's going to lose that 47% of the vote, but because you're going to start seeing suburban voters, swing voters, storm away from the campaign as quickly as possible, unless he fixes it.

GUTHRIE: And you mentioned some of the disarray that's been reported in the campaign, an article in Politico saying that advisers were basically sniping at each other in blind quotes. Here's what Romney said on Telemundo about that story.

MITT ROMNEY: I've got a terrific campaign. My senior campaign people work extraordinarily well together. I work well with them. Our campaign is doing well.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: So no changes in your campaign?

ROMNEY: No, I've got a good team.

GUTHRIE: You know, Joe, you don't usually see these kinds of stories until late in a campaign when campaign advisers know they're losing. Do you think that's what's happening here?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I โ€“ just a few points of view that are a little different than what Mitt Romney said. He said he has a terrific campaign. Actually he doesn't. He says that the campaign workers are working well together, well, actually, no, they're not working well together, and that his campaign's going in the right direction. No, it's not. And this is not being said by liberals, who are gleeful about what's happened to Mitt Romney's campaign over the past couple of weeks, these are conservatives.

These are GOP strategists. These are people that have invested in the Reagan revolution, invested in the Gingrich revolution of '94, invested in George W. Bush's campaign. They are so depressed this morning they just can't believe that Mitt Romney is blowing a race against a president who they believe has mismanaged the economy terribly over the past four years, has spent us $5 trillion deeper into debt, has run trillion-dollar deficits per year, has had the largest stimulus spending bill ever, has had the largest health care plan ever, and it's not working. Unemployment is still 8% plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race. It is too much for many Republicans to handle.

GUTHRIE: Well, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, thank you for your perspective this morning.

SCARBOROUGH: Savannah, I'm going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon.

[LAUGHTER]

GUTHRIE: Alright, we'll see you soon.

SCARBOROUGH: Where's that bag?

GUTHRIE: Joe, thanks.