Who's the best person to give Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney advice? Why, longtime Democratic strategist James Carville, of course. Recapping the Super Tuesday primaries on Wednesday's Good Morning America, former Democratic operative turned Journalist George Stephanopoulos seriously wondered, "James Carville, you usually give advice to Democrats, but take that hat off for a second."
With no sense of humor or irony, the co-host continued, "Give some advice to Mitt Romney. How does he handle this right now?" Of course, Carville had no interest in giving Mitt Romney advice and proceeded to deride the Republican. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos, who worked with Carville in the Clinton White House, tried a different angle, highlighting how long the GOP primaries have gone on: "And, James, Democrats look at that, the President looks at this, his campaign looks at this and says, 'Oh, boy. Keep it going.'"
In a previous segment, Stephanopoulos marginalized Romney's victories. He asked of correspondent John Berman, "And, John, from one angle, it's a pretty sweeping win for Mitt Romney last night. Six states across the country. From another angle, the definition of winning ugly."
Berman agreed, "Mitt Romney won more states, more delegates, but his problem might not be with math but with heart."
A transcript of the March 7 Stephanopoulos segment, which aired at 7:05am EST, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get more from ABC analyst Matthew Dowd, with us right here and in Las Vegas, Democratic political strategist, GMA political contributor, James Carville. Thanks to both of you for coming in. And Matthew, let me begin with you. John talked about this insurmountable delegate lead that Mitt Romney has right now. Let's look at last night. He won 213 delegates to Rick Santorum's 84. Huge, huge advantage. Then, you look overall. He's got well more than twice as many delegates as Santorum right now. They will make the case that there's no way Santorum can catch him.
MATT DOWD: Yeah. They're going to make that math argument all day long. They're probably going to send out 20 Excel spread sheets saying there's no way Rick Santorum can do this. But two things happened last night. One, Mitt Romney won the math, but I think he lost a big part of his mojo. I think he thought he was coming into this thing, would begin to unify the party. At the end of the night, give a big speech and sort of say, we're now moving forward against Barack Obama. He cannot do that as of now. He's got a bad slog against him. Rick Santorum could easily win five primary or caucuses in the next two weeks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And still not catch him. But, James Carville, you usually give advice to Democrats, but take that hat off for a second. Give some advice to Mitt Romney. How does he handle this right now?
CARVILLE: You know, right now, he's in a tough thing. And I think the thing that was said was said that was said that has made the most sense to me in this entire cycle was said by Barbara Bush, who said that this was the worst campaign she's ever seen. And I suspect that Mrs. Bush has seen a lot of campaigns. Romney can't even get on the ballot in Virginia and parts of Ohio. [sic]
CARVILLE: Santorum. He couldn't even get on the ballots in these areas. And Gingrich couldn't get on the ballot in Virginia. Of course, Romney's going to win. He can have his Excel spreadsheets and he's going to put them out there. I think Matthew would agree. He's not running home. He's limping home. The country, if you look at the polls, you'll see it very unimpressive. This has been a terrible cycle for them so far.
DOWD: And this, to me- There have been more sequels in this than the Halloween movies. And just like Jason, this keeps coming up. Every time Mitt Romney thinks he's got it over and it's done, there comes Jason out of the woods and he's coming on 'em again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, here's the difference, Jason can't get the nomination. Neither can Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich given where they are right now.
DOWD: But what they can do is prevent Mitt Romney, by the end of this process, from getting the total amount of delegates he can win. And what their hope is, by doing that, by throwing a bunch of road blocks in front, winning a bunch of states, keeping him from that number, is they can show how weak he is going into the convention and basically turn to the convention and say, you cannot nominate this guy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, James, Democrats look at that, the President looks at this, his campaign looks at this and says, "Oh, boy. Keep it going."
CARVILLE: To some extent it doesn't matter. Romney's not running against Santorum or Gingrich. He's running against 1144 and running to get to that number prior to the time he gets to Tampa. I think it's very, very important to him. And I think most people believe that he can get there. It's just going to take- He'll get there. It's just going to take an awfully long time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, and, and- Matthew, how does he handle it, though? Does he go after Rick Santorum at this point? That's worked for him in the past. Sort of beating his opponents down? Or does he have to get bigger and unify the party?
DOWD: I think we would all agree he has to get bigger and try to do some change. I don't think they will. I think what they'll do is convince themselves that this is a tactical battle, that they're keep doing, keep through he slog, keep doing it at Mitt Romney said is his own speech, day by day. I don't think they're going to change strategy and I think now they know this is going through June and they're just going to keep doing it yard by yard by yard.