COMMENTS: Destroy the Republican Party

NBC had Brian Williams anchor its newscast from Boca Raton, where he prepared to co-anchor MSNBC's Republican debate with Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press in the run-up to Tuesday's Florida primary. David Gregory portrayed the Florida vote as a contest for the mantle of Ronald Reagan between Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John McCain. He did not factor Rudolph Giuliani into the race. Gregory argued that a coalition that united "social, economic and national security conservatives" was forged in 1980 and only Romney is campaigning as the full-spectrum heir to that legacy. Yet in South Carolina, true red state conservatives had supported McCain and Huckabee. Gregory played a radio soundbite from Rush Limbaugh warning his dittoheads about them: "If either of those two guys gets the nomination, it is going to destroy the Republican Party. It is going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people are not going to vote. You watch."

NBC's Russert released topline results of his network's latest General Election poll. It found voters generically preferring a Democrat over a Republican (51% v 34%) yet in individual match-ups John McCain polled even with Barack Obama (42% v 42%) and slightly ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton (46% v 44%) but within the margin of error.


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