MSNBC’S "MORNING JOE" PROFILED – "Scarborough sharpens plea to his party," by AP Television Writer David Bauder: "Joe Scarborough must be doing something right to be attacked by both Paul Krugman and Mark Levin in the same month. … Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, is staking out a wide middle ground between the liberal columnist Krugman and conservative radio host Levin. Since Mitt Romney’s … defeat, he has stepped up an effort to convince his party to broaden its appeal. ‘I’m a different type of Republican, a Republican who likes to win’ … He believes it’s telling that Republican presidential candidates have lost four of five popular votes since 1996, the year Fox News Channel began. While Republicans now have what they long wished for, a booming infrastructure of media outlets that appeal to them, being encased in a bubble of like-minded thinkers is ultimately risky. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said … ‘Morning Joe’ has ‘kept a freshness to it’ since the election. ‘[T]he discussions are in some way sharper and crisper’ …

"Scarborough said … the amount of criticism he gets from fellow Republicans seems to be decreasing. ‘Republicans realize that Joe was right about Romney,’ said GOP political consultant Mark McKinnon. ‘And many of them are recognizing that the party needs to grow and evolve in the direction that Scarborough has been advocating.’ … With its serious, often extended, discussions about politics and policy, ‘Morning Joe’ has established a niche in large part because of its absence elsewhere. It has the type of guests that used to be regulars on network morning shows before their increased focus on crime stories and lighter topics. … ‘"Morning Joe" has become the most influential show in politics,’ McKinnon said. ‘Anyone who is anyone in politics, or cares about politics these days, is plugged into the program most mornings. They created a format that is substantive, informative and entertaining.’

"Two years ago , it … nearly relocated to CBS News. NBC News management had signed off on letting everyone on the show out of their contracts to take over mornings on CBS. … Both hosts were intrigued at the thought of reaching a bigger audience … [T]heir producer, Chris Licht, ultimately jumped. [Mika] Brzezinski, a former CBS News reporter, wondered if they’d have the same freedom. Then Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBC Universal, called Scarborough upstairs, wondering why he was being asked to approve giving away a show he and his friends watched every day. He urged them to stay, that things will work out, and it would be the best decision they’d ever made. ‘He was right,’ Scarborough said. ‘Because we get to do everything we want here.’ Scarborough has been approached about getting back into politics, and … doesn’t dismiss out of hand reports that he might want to run for president someday."