Gingrich to suspend campaign after Romney’s five-state sweep

MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks to Political Power Panel Alicia Menendez of NBC Latino, J.P. Freire of New Media Strategies, and MSNBC Contributor and Washington Post Editorial Writer Jonathan Capehart about Newt Gingrich’s decision to suspend his campaign and whether Rick Santorum is ready to support Mitt Romney.

>>> breaking news on msnbc and nbc news confirming that newt gingrich will suspend his campaign for president and do so next week. he is deciding to do after a four-hour meeting last night and says there is a high likelihood he will endorse the presumptive gop nominee as well, presumptive because mitt romney scored a decisive five state sweep shutting out rivals once and for all. the victories helped him sprint way ahead in the slow and steady race for delegates. take a peek. romney used the victory lap from pivot from the primary season to the general election and his opponent, president obama .

>> this america is fundamentally fair. we will stop the urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice. those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty around. it is still about the economy and we are not stupid.

>> joining me today for our political power panel, we have alyssa mendez and jp freyer and jonathan capehart. jonathan, i want to start with you. newt gingrich saying he will suspend or drop out saying this is all because of logistical reasons but here is what he had to say just a little while ago this morning. take a listen.

>> i do think it is pretty clear that governor romney is only going to be the nominee and we'll do everything we can to make sure that he is in fact effective and that we as a team are effective both in winning this fall and then frankly in governing.

>> and then on the other hand we are rick santorum who gave a not so full endorsement last night of mitt romney . take a listen to that.

>> do you believe that mitt romney is the right guy?

>> i believe he is better -- obviously i believed i was the better choice. i am not in the race anymore.

>> he won the race. is he therefore the right guy.

>> absolutely.

>> the petals have fallen off the rose around this. newt gingrich making this announcement that will most likely drop out on tuesday of next week. rick santorum said that he has has a meeting scheduled with mitt romney on may 4th . is newt gingrich about to steal the santorum thunder?

>> if he is, great. fine. you should have gotten out a long time ago. he is getting out now because he put all of his eggs in the delaware basket. et been in the state many times during this fall low period in terms of primaries and made it clear if we win delaware, that's our spring board to north carolina and other states coming up and that will be our third bite at the apple of trying to take the nomination. didn't happen. he had to get out. rick santorum on the other hand, you know, the idea that he will not for the life of him just endorse mitt romney shows him to be rather ingracious. i think steve schmidt, i can't remember the word he used, but very similar to that.

>> talking about being the poker player and over playing his hand.

>> exactly what kind of leverage he will have at the may 4th meeting, i don't know. the longer he draws this out i think as steve said says the less leverage he will have against mitt romney .

>> the good cards being dealt to mitt romney more and more right now. j.p., let me get your thoughts. what do you think about newt gingrich not dropping out completely, saying he will hold out. we have jackie gingrich cushman on yesterday saying this campaign has always been about reassessing, reassessing, so why the way lay to next week?

>> i think it is probably a little smart for newt gingrich to stick around and make sure president obama has targets to go after and that mitt romney 's feet are held to the fire. so long as gingrich is promoting a fairly conservative message romney will have to be responsive to he can't tack to the center the way he wants to.

>> we talked about mitt romney hitting the restart button and doing so last night and forcing mitt romney to wander way over to the right. where are the windows of opportunity as he seeks to appeal this wider base now but not alienate all of those that he collected over on the right?

>> i think he is on exactly the message he ought to be on, focusing exclusively on the economy and there are still a number of positions he will have to clarify and moderate. already you see him saying he did not call arizona's sb 070 a national model. you see him being more considerate of the dream act or the conservative alternative to the dream act so on myriad issues he will have to come back to the center and that's why you hear him talking about the economy. it is his strongest point. at the same time i think it is interesting they're saying, republicans saying, that barack obama doesn't want to talk about his record. you don't hear mitt romney talking about his time as governor of massachusetts . that's because that doesn't appeal to his conservative base. even on the economy he continues to walk a fine line .

>> romney refusing to hand over the fairness argument to the president and took it straight ahead last night when he referred to it not only trying to render the president's argument for re-election ineffective but seeking to erode the president's support among the core constituencies in this country. could that work?

>> i think it could. a lot of conservatives and moderates have not been satisfied with this gimmicks put out by the democratic party in this. you have the buffett rule and the overall discussion of millionaires and tax fairness and all of that and none of which seem to address the real problem in the economy which is that we need to address entitlements and we need real leadership that obama reefd to provide.

>> as the president heads into the general election he is showcasing the ease or cool confidence that he has amassed as president. take a look at this from jimmy fallon last night.

>> now is not the time to make school more expensive for our young people .

>> oh, yeah. you should listen to the president. or as i like to call him, the presi of the united steasi.

>> frankly, i don't buy it.

>> mmm, mmm, mmm. the ba rackness monster ain't buying it.

>> college kids all around and the president earlier in the day spoke to college students yesterday referencing himself and the first lady saying they only paid off their student loans over eight years ago and when they got together to get maerds they sat down to figure out what are our wins and losses of getting together and we have a lot of debt when we get married.

>> right.

>> what does it say that the president can go out and do something like that and does mitt romney see this as a challenge? maybe accepting to go on "saturday night live" and say i have to raise the ante here?

>> the difference between mitt romney and barack obama . barack obama despite the low job approval numbers, he has a very high like ability rating. people just like him. they feel comfortable with him. he is clearly comfortable enough in his own skin to go on jimmy fallon and other programs and just be funny and be himself. mitt romney on "saturday night live," if he does it and please do it, i think will be a highly rated program. people want to see.

>> dwraes camera one, close up.

>> yes. i think people want to see does he have it in him to be personable and funny, to laugh at himself? we're not sure he can do that. despite the cool confidence we're seeing in the president, keep in mind he was talking to young voters. he was in north carolina . he needs north carolina if he wants to win re-election and needs voters to come out in the convey they did four years ago in he wants to win re-election.

>> and i think a lot of people want to see him resonate in the capacity and be likeable like that because he has this robot personality thing going on but his family says he is a real cut up. switch to something else. the topics in the repeat controversy involving you and james o'keefe who used your name to attempt to commit voter fraud . it is a video making its way around the web right now and i want to show it to everybody. he used your name as well as other names of well known people to prove a point about voting.

>> with he wsd the name the poll worker asked us for id. because they asked us for identification they prevented us from being offered alicia menendez's ballot.

>> do you have id.

>> it is in the car. i will get it.

>> this was a way to prove holes within the system about what's going on in this country, to prove the reason why we need voter id laws. you look from the other angle. what's your response to the video itself and what's your response to being used like that?

>> well, no one wants to be used like that. no one wants someone going into their polling place and pretending to be them and fortunately most americans tonight do that. in fact, voter fraud is so rare that james o'keefe had to go out and try to create it himself in order to make this point. what he fails to tell you is there are already systems in place to make sure this type of thing can't happen. say i had been the second person to go to the poll, i would have been given a provisional ballot . i would have then cancelled out that first vote, so we already have systems in place. we should be talking about how to bring more people into the system and talking about same day voter registration , online voter registration , not talking about how we keep one out of every ten americans from casting their vote.

>> she said i am going to go out to the car and come back and never came back. it was interesting to watch and i am sure people should he can which out your write up on this on nbc latino. it is interesting the takedown that you have on this. thanks to you will aof you. i really appreciate you being here with me this morning.

Gingrich to suspend campaign after Romney