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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  March 21, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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support of hillary clinton. i'm betting hillary admired her too. now, the only thing is part of me feels the same way i felt as a girl when i hoped that earhart had defied the odds as the hero she was, that her plane had landed and she swum in and is living happily ever after. now knowing what happened to her would still be a great birthday present this year. our continuing coverage of the illinois primary continues right now. tonight, last word on illinois. >> tonight, a last word of illinois? and the first word in the rest of the race. the winner? >> god bless the united states of america. >> the losers. >> we're feeling very, very good about winning louisiana on saturday, i might add. >> i am a much better debater than iert romney or santorum. >> each day, we move closer not just to victory, but to a better america. join us. join us.
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together, we're going to ensure that america's greatest days are still ahead. >> the battle of the gop. this is piers morgan tonight. >> good evening. it's a big night for mitt romney. let's take a look at tonight's results romney way ahead in the lead. listen to a tough talking mitt romney. >> so tonight was a primary. but november is the general election. and we're going to face a defining decision as a people. our choice will not be about party or even personality. this election will be about principle. our economic freedom will be on the ballot.
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i'm running for president because i have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. >> so mitt romney rolls in illinois. a crucial win for him. here to talk about it is cnn's top team. >> i think a pretty significant night for mitt romney. in the general context, are we nearing the tipping point? >> yes, i think it's a very present day for mitt romney. it's not over yet for all practical purposes. i think it's becoming a two-man race. we'll see what happens in the early april contest of wisconsin, maryland, the district of columbia. then there are some big states that are still out there
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including texas and new york and california and new jersey, pennsylvania, the home state of rick santorum. so there's still a long way to go. but i think for all practical purposes, mitt romney has a very impressive delegate lead. but it's not necessarily over with by any means. >> john king, i thought that he stroke a note much more presidential and much more actually like his early speeches after early primary wins when he focused on president obama and on the economy and not on squabbling with the other contestants, mainly about social issues for which he seemed pretty ill fitted to debate with them about. >> and the key question, piers is can he keep that confidence? that's a sign of his confidence that he will be the nominee. this roller coaster has knocked him off of several occasions. you heard him say tonight not only focused on president obama, this is our movement, our cause. he's trying to rally conservatives in future states
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to say hey, even if i'm not your first choice, it's time. it's time for the party to come together. >> yes, there's still an opportunity. but the only way for a santorum or a gingrich if he can come back from the dead for a fourth or fifth time is to start beating governor romney. illinois was one of those opportunities tonight and governor romney is winning big. it is impossible to take away his delegate lead unless you start beating him up here and not just beating him. you have to beat him big to make up the delegate math. this is a big, convincing thumping for governor romney tonight. >> it is. and david, it's got to be a point when you look at all of these numbers, the sheer amount of money that mitt romney is throwing at this. he's got more delegates than anybody else combined. he's won more states than all of them combined.
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when you get to that kind of sttistical level of the analysis, it's nearly game over. i can't quite understand why people aren't saying game over? >> because we've had so many twists and turns in this campaign. it's been the most unpredictable, volatile campaign we've seen in some years. it could still. you could still have some upsets along the way. i think this is nearly over, you know, because this was a one time in a big state where santorum had a clean, one-on-one shot and he lost decisively. and the western post pointed out something very interesting. it's tweeting that mitt romney, every state where there are more than 50% evangelicals, he's lost. and every state when there are less than 50% evangelicals, he has won. now, there are some states ahead, like louisiana just ahead where there's more than 50% of the republican vote would be evangelical. but most of the states, they have less than 50% evangelical. >> here's the problem for the republican party. this was supposed to be the year of the outsider.
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this was supposed to -- which mitt romney says he is. but this was supposed to be the year when the person whose turn it was to become the nominee was not going to become the nominee. this was the year anti-establishment, rise of the tea party -- these are the voters who, for example, the tea partiers went for mitt romney who are uncomfortable with mitt romney. they don't like him. they don't trust him on issues like health care, evangelicals are skeptical about him. they say this isn't the person we thought we're going to wind up with. so it's going to take them a little bit of time this is why this race will probably continue. to me, the big question is going to be will rick santorum be able to win his home state of pennsylvania.
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that comes up on april 24th. if i had place a bet, i'd bet mitt romney is going to spend an awful lot of money in pennsylvania. >> does it matter if the republican party loved mitt romney or not? the economy is going do be his area of specialty. why does tea matter if they don't really love him? >> well, it does matter, but it's not the only thing that matters. ideally in politics, your base loves you and your base hates the other guy. and that leads to landslide elections. >> i think he's probably not that threatening to bring back into the republican category.
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and then it turns on how many people are just so disappointed in president obama, think that he failed, think that he promised to keep unemployment above 8%, failed. said he cut the deficit in half. how many people turned against the president because of those let downs in president obama? that's all the stew, that's all the mix that makes up the people's voter behavior. but mitt romney has that lack of love. that's one of the reasons why i think in the republican primary you've seen so many other people pass him. they haven't found plan a. it looks like this party is starting to settle on plan b. >> let me just bring you back in here. newt gingrich made a slightly cheerily statement when she refused resolutely again to congratulate mitt romney. but they also point republicans candidate bois relies on out spending his opponents 7-1. i don't get this argument that
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he has too much money? that he's raised too much cash. that is normally, unless i'm mistaken, a positive. isn't it? it shows that they've got good planning. >> yeah, because you'd think the republicans want somebody who can combi out there and raise a lot of cash who's got a very subs stantive organization so that in a general election -- an incumbent president who's going to have hundreds of millions of dollars and all of the perks of being the incumbent president you'd want somebody who's able to raise a lot of cash. so you make a good point, piers. >> we can see likely victories for mitt romney, rick santorum and or possibly gingrich or ronne paul. >> well, the next one you see is
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the illinois primary. that tends to be a santorum. piers, then we come up here in wisconsin, district of columbia and maryland. i just switched that. that's the one that's a big question mark. is favored in maryland and the district of columbia. and then delaware, new york, pennsylvania, rhode island. that will be the big battleground. that's april 24th. those other states are viewed as big romney states. that could be a defining night for the man who is now the number one challenger but an increasingly distant second to mitt romney. >> we are looking at needing a political tsunami to erupt for one of these other guys to knock off mitt romney. something exstroud nair has to happen. >> yes, just going through that list of states, romney is going to win most of those.
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of course we're going to focus on pennsylvania. but think of the fact that new york state is not in play. connecticut is not in play. new jersey is probably not in play. those are all romney states. california doesn't seem to be in play. that's why i think you're right to say nobody wants to say right now, game over because it's been so unpredictable and so volatile. but we're darn close. >> let's talk love. >> any time. any time. >> you look like to me the first to have this conversation. let's just talk love. how does mitt romney, if he wins the nomination, make his own party and the vote that comes with it love him enough to drive barack obama out of the white house? >> i think it's about hate, not love. i think it's about hating bar obama. and i think the republican voters who are the least enthusiastic about mitt romney who don't love him, who are not
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passionate about him at all are passionate about defeating the president of the united states. so that could drive their enthusiasm. and that's what he's going to have to depend on. he has to -- he has to really gym them up and say this is really why you have to vote. i'm your only hope right now. >> and obama is a brilliant campaigner. it's going to be very tough. >> which is why, in the end, it's going to come down to these two men on a debate stage. >> yeah. >> i think you're right. >> gloria, david, thank you very much. john and wolf, thank you very much. coming up next, reaction from mitt romney's jubilant campaign.
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very happy mitt romney. but is tonight's win big enough to help him nail down the nomination? that's the question, senior advisor to mitt romney. eric, a big win, a big night. there's no denying that. but we've had a few of these. and then the oxygen, something gets sucked out of the balloon. how significant do you guys think tonight is for your campaign? >> well, it's 21 states now, piers that governor romney has won. 21 states and territories. he has half the delegates he needs to secure the nomination. if you look at the math and if you understand how delegates are allocated and you understand the upcoming contests on the calendar, there really is no opportunity for mitt romney's opponents at this point to make up the ground that they need to
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make up to overtake him in the delegate count. so we feel very confident. >> newt gingrich has come out with a soon to be cheerily statement tonight saying that basically you can't have a nominee that out spends his rivals 7-1. i didn't quite understand why you couldn't? i must say. it seems to me that the one thing you have to concede about mitt romney, whether you agree with him or not, is that he has run the best campaign. he has the most money. he has the best infrastructure. he has the biggest staff. i don't see that as a legitimate, credible stick to beat him with. skbl well, i think you're right there, piers. you really need three things for a winning campaign. you geed a good message, of course. but you also need a strong organization and, of course, the third thing you need is the resources to run a competitive race. and mitt has though resources. for people to cline is like a
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basketball team complaining that their opponents are too tall. i mean, that's part of the game. you have to play tall people when you play basketball. and if you're going to beat mitt romney, you've got to come with a strong organization and you have to be well resources. and i think in some cases, we've seen with our opponents they don't have the ability to organize effectively. we saw tonight that in illinois, there were four congressional districts where rick santorum was unable to get his name on the ballot. we have the d.c. primary coming up on april third. he's not on the ballot there, either. rick santorum and newt gingrich were left off the ballot entirely in virginia. he was going to position himself above the other contestants and
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also to make the economy the plank of his campaign. he's been definitely distracted, as they all have, it seems to me, but this obsession with social issues. do you accept that your campaign tonight seem today be realigning itself back to where it began? >> well, i think we've stayed on back to april of 2011. we think this race is going to be a referendum on president obama's handling or mishandling. if you look at the exit polls from illinois, you'll see that voters there ranked economy the number one issue on their minds, which makes inexplicable some of the things we saw and heard from rick santorum over the past few days. he said that the economy is not his number one issue. he said that the president and his policies can't really have an effect on the economy. and then yesterday, of course,
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he made the statement that the unemployment rate doesn't really matter to him. well, these are all things that matter to mitt romney. he does believe that the president and his policies can have an effect. we've been talking about barack obama and his failures on the domestic front for some time. we're going to continue to do that right through the fall campaign. >> it was roughly this stage last time. is it time for at least some of the contestants here left in the republican race to pull out, do you think? >> well, that's a personal decision. and each candidate is going to have to weigh that on their own. i appreciate and understand all that goes into a campaign. there's a lot of emotion involved. a lot of hard work. a lot of tears involved in a campaign. so this is not an easy decision to make. but four years ago, mitt romney found himself in a similar situation. mitt romney decided to step aside.
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he said that he wanted to give john mccain the opportunity to rally the party behind him and build a strong campaign for the fall. so newt, ron paul, all good, decent americans. i'm confident that at the end of the day, they're going to make the right decision for themselves, for their country and for their party. >> there's no doubt that your man has had a big night tonight. but he's also had a long, hard battle on this campaign. perhaps harder than he would have predicted the start if he was honest. one of the reasons is that people don't think he's really resonated with the working class, also with the south in particular. what will he do about his areas of weakness now to really cement this nomination? >> one of the biggest problems
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that we're facing as a country is high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, high health care costs. and i think they look at mitt romney and they look at his experience and qualifications, also the four years he spent as governor and they see a person who has the cpacity to lead on all the positions of the day. so we feel that the person who's having trouble connecting, that the thing that voters find unexciting is this bad economy. he's beating them on a margin of error on these national polls that we see.
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so we look forward to resetting the race, as we get into the general. and we think it will be a good debate between barack obama and mitt romney. >> beings you're all in so much good moods, how about giving me your man for another interview? >> i'm sure we can discuss that. he's been on your show before, pierce. and i'm sure we'll be back. >> i look forward to it. thank you very much for your time. >> thank you, piers. >> when we come back, a defiant center promising to stay in the race. i'll talk to one of his top advisors next. i am loving this greek yogurt.
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we don't need a manager. we need somebody that's going to pull up government by the roots and throw it out and do something to liberate the private sector in america. that's what we need. >> losing illinois, but as confident as ever. it's clear he's in the hunt until the end. the senior campaign advisor for rick santorum. welcome back, john. what are your thoughts after tonight? >> thank you for having me, piers.
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you have to look at this as a long process. last week, we won kansas, we won alabama, we won mississippi. we knew that governor romney would eventually win again. and so now we're moving onto louisiana and, after that, we're only going to be at halftime. i would suppose you would say romney is putting real clear water. is it time for some of the others, not necessarily your man, but some of them to drop out? >> well, let me put it this way. i do think that it is important that the conservative whipping of the republican party, the tea part of the republican party, do unify and get behind one candidate. and i think rick santorum is that candidate. >> let's have some one-on-one
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debates between rick santorum and romney. i think that is the right process. >> i want to play you a clip of yesterday dropping a little bit of a gap. let's watch this and discuss it afterwards. >> we need a candidate who's going to be a fighter for freedom. who's going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race. i don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. it doesn't matter to me. my campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. >> now, whichever way you spin that, i guess that bold statement, i don't care what unemployment rate is going to be was a clumsy use of phrase. it also followed a few other clumsy phrases that have come out. the implication be from some people who like your man. he's getting a bit tired of campaign and he's losing that slight edge that you need at the crucial edge that we're now at. what do you say to that?
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>> i think what it really is is rick is an authentic candidate who doesn't use a tell prompter and says things where the meaning doesn't come through. he thinks it's a terrible mistake for this company if we have a beelith who thinks that the only thing that matters about the united states of america is what the labor statistic is in a one-month period. sure that's important. jobs are important. but america is bigger than that. it's a concept. when you look at iran, who's going to stop them if it isn't america. there are so many big issues. to say we need somebody like mitt romney who should be a labor secretary, we need a president who knows how to lead. >> the next six weeks, if it all goes according to the best expectations in your plan.
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>> first of all, louisiana is key, which is saturday. then we move into places like maryland and wisconsin. particularly wisconsin, the senator can do particularly well. and there will be parts of maryland that he'll do very well. and then we basically take a three-week halftime. let everybody rest a little bit. and then we go back for the second half of this contest. this thing is going to go for quite -- you have huge states, pennsylvania, texas, california and certainly all of them should have a say of who the republican nominee is. >> is it healthy for this battle to continue raging for another two, three months, possibly? or would it be better for the party if it got resolved quicker
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and you can get stuck into barack obama before the economy continues to improve to the extent by he has a real opponent, hey, look what i've been up to while you've been squabbling. >> the great unifier in this whole campaign is barack obama. regardless of who the nominee is, all of us will rally, all will be there. >> they agreed on the big wall street bail outs. romney doesn't have any foreign policy experience so we take that off against obama. cap and trade, we take that off. what we need is a candidate that can contrast with obama. that's why if you saw the poll that came out this week, rick santorum is actually doing better against obama than mitt romney. >> i mean, your man has to win
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70% now of the delegates remaining in football terms, he's got everything to play for. >> romney has to win almost half of all of the delegates, as well. >> it's going to be very difficult. >> john,thank you for your time, as always. >> thank you, and always a pleasure being here. >> newt gingrich had a disappointing finish. how long will he stay in the race? i'll ask one of his top men. uncover stronger, younger looking skin. [ female announcer ] new aveeno skin strengthening body cream helps transform dry, thinning skin, by strengthening its moisture barrier, for improved texture and elasticity in 2 weeks.
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>> i honestly believe i am the one candidate that can beat barack obama. that's why we're campaigning so hard. we really believe defeating obama is central to the future of our country. >> a big victory. another defeat for newt gingrich. the pressure is mounting to drop out. patrick milsapps. patrick, thanks for joining me. a lot of heat coming on your man to possibly stand aside, through his weight behind rick santorum or mitt romney. how do you respond to that heat
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>> well, i'm sitting here in baton rouge and i wish that advice would have been given to les miles. if les miles would have taken that advice, my georgia bulldogs would have won the sec championship. instead, they came back in the second half and won the whole thing. louisiana is halftime. i think we learned three things this week, very interesting points. number one, i think we all can agree that no presidential candidate should sunbathe in public. i think that's universal. >> yeah, i'll agree with that. >> the second one, and this is more important, is rick santorum is not the candidate that he has sold himself to be. he's basically had two chances at basically a head-to-head at mitt romney in both puerto rico and illinois. and he's lost miserably.
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i mean, puerto rico was a blow out and mitt romney is right at 50% in illinois. if you remember the first quarter, we always kept mitt romney at 30%. so i think what you're seeing is mitt romney's time in the sun is over. and you'll see the speaker come back for the third time and press on. the final thing that we learned this week was while mitt romney and santorum were calling each other names and were using talking points about drilling and energy, a debate started. and it didn't start between candidates and the republican party. it was started by the president of the united states who started addressing speaker gingrich directly. and so while the other two candidates in the primary have been cowarding away from any
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further debate, the president of the united states has started to engage us. and, really, at the end of the day, that's what this race is all about. so we look forward to the second half. >> it seemed a rather cheerily statement, i thought. i mean, as usual, no credit to mitt romney for winning. a lot of sniping. including the fact that republicans can't nominate a candidate who relies on out spending his opponent 7-1. i would have thought that's a very good selling point. he's about to face barack obama with billions of dollars in a war chest. don't you need somebody who's gotten infrastructure and equally large sums of cash to take on the president? it seems a very strange stick. >> well, the problem with that is i think the point that's being made and i can guarantee
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you he said that very cheerfully when he said it, is that with the reverse role, with obama having 7-1 money against romney, romney is not going to be able to rely solely on slick ads and making up statements about his opponents. he's actually going to come up with a message that is delivering hope and opportunity and support to america. and i think the point being made is that, you know, one of your earlier guests, at this point, has had the most organized, best operated campaign. i may have to disagree with you. a campaign that spends $20 million against one candidate and still has three opponents in the race, i'm not so sure that's the best-run campaign you can see out there. the fact that we're going into halftime and there's foreign people in the race and i consider newt gingrich a very viable candidate.
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i doubt the premise that up until this point, mitt romney has run the best campaign. >> well, i wish you all the very best with your continued campaign. thank you very much for joining me. >> thank you, piers. thanks for having me. >> when we come back, what tonight's results will mean for the rest of the race. dad, why are you getting that? is there a prize in there? oh, there's a prize, all right. [ male announcer ] inside every box of cheerios are those great-tasting little o's made from carefully selected oats that can help lower cholesterol. is it a superhero? kinda. ♪
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after years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops and income and historic highs in gas prices, a president who doesn't hesitate to use all the means necessary to force through obama care in the american public but leaves from behind in the world. it's time to say these words. this word. enough. we've had enough. >> mitt romney winning in illinois tonight and winning big. does this mean he has the momentum to stop santorum and get that nomination? let's bring in a particularly super duper panel tonight. ben smith and his chief amy holmes. carol with the equation. my god, they have never had a longer panel. >> it's a big win for mitt romney. a lot of the cnn experts saying
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this could be a bit of a game-changing night. >> it could be and it stacks up also with michigan and ohio and getting those central stage where santorum did badly. and if you look at the delegate count, you have that inevitability argument where romney has more than twice santorum in the delegate count. and he has more than santorum and gingrich put together. >> but he's got all the delegates. where's the love? >> i mean, it's just not there. in fact, what happened in illinois wasn't so much that people came to love him. but the people don't live in ill now. >> that's sot of what happened everywhere. >> he did that majority of people who support the tea party and he got somewhat conservative voters and moderates, which, by the way, is quite a nice profile. >> yeah, mike, let's talk money for a moment.
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newt is just trying to whack him with this as if it's a weakness. he's got all of this money and is still only winning by twice as miasm as anybody else. i don't see it that way. to me, whoever wins the nomination has got to be well-funded enough to take on a rampant president, hasn't it? >> no, that's right. the romney campaign that figures that between them and the national party, they'll have to raise $850 million against obama. rick santorum would have to get 80%. newt gingrich have to come out of this deep cave and would have to get 90 knighthood of all of the delegates left. it's a new way to make this inevitability argument saying there's no're way.
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>> we are talking comeback, a sort of lazarus proportions. having said that, newt gingrich was dead in the summer. literally, he was about 10 feet under. and then he stormed back. is it completely unthinkable that one of these guys could, yet, make a stunning comeback? gr for me, it's too early. we still have a few more states to go. louisiana and wisconsin, those are going to look like wins for santorum. he's leading in the polling. that's not going to win any campaigns. and it's certainly not going to encourage more people to invest if his campaigns. so, at this point, i think even lazarus is being general rusts. i just don't think he can come back from this. >> carol, let's talk about rick santorum. he's dropped a few clangers in the last couple of weeks. no question with that. he's been stumbling with phrases that are really graded with people. >> i think he's lost a lot of momentum.
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and i don't think he learned anything about the social issues. you know, first it was the birth control issue. this week, it was the porn issue. he's really gotten off issue here. but as some of the other panelists said, this is a momentum gain and we're talking about a great thumping win. but next week, when we get to louisiana, we'll be talking about how santorum won the louisiana and everyone will be back on the santorum band wagon. >> it's all been, like, fantastic, santorum, brilliant romney. and, actually, here we are with mitt romney, the store of the narrative. mitt romney should be the run away front runner. but, for some reason, he hasn't got there yet. >> yeah, i think we would have seen that through line in terms of the narrative. but i think carol has been quite consistent.
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>> yes, as have evangelicals and their support for santorum and the moderates in support for mitt romney. >> he won the married women's vote. again, when you look at that coalition that mitt romney has put together, he could very persuasively argue that that is the profile of the american voting public. >> let's take a break. i want to come back and talk about women. women, women, women. that should get you all going. greetings from the windy city of chicago.
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mitt romney tonight after a big one on the list, bringing back our star panel. ben, i teased women there. and what i meant was how important is this female vote now for both rick santorum and for mitt romney? and the reason i ask you, there's so much attention that's been on social issues which directly affect women, whether it's abortion, contraception, whatever it may be. a lot of women may wonder what the hell is going on. >> there's two very different things. rick santorum is seen as being -- the white house would like to paint him as a lunatic.
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he's done quite well. illinois is a more moderate state. but across the board, i think republican women have been voting for santorum. i think what the white house has been trying to do is to taint the whole party by association with the social issues santorum is very devoted to and to kind of tie those to romney going for the general election. >> i know there's been a mistake to keep beating that drum because he made his point early on. he got ahold. but, a shully, overtime, he begins to grate with people. come on, nobody cares about abortion and contraception when you've got 9% jobless figures in the country. and this is just one of the places santorum blew it. especially in michigan. michigan is where he made the dumb comment about kennedy where
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he talked about snobs and college. if he could have just gotten a couple more points in michigan, it would have changed the rates. now he's really in a tough place and you can see the comforts of that romney campaign. he's starting to draw the lines for the fall. talk about the economy, even though it's better, the country isn't where it should be. we're going to see -- where as we're going to see santorum in the next couple days, still on romney trying to argue with the anniversary of obama health care, trying to argue that both obama and romney are the authors of health care reform. so he's going after romney where as romney is going after obama. >> if you're mitt romney, you just want to talk about economy, jobs, your track record, bring back the olympics that you saved for the nation. you want to keep hitting the stuff that you're good at, don't you? >> i want to make up the point that it's really easy,
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especially if you're considered the moderate republican in the primary. it's really easy to be super confident in a state like illinois. you don't get conservative until you go pretty far south in illinois and maybe closer to the metro east. it's really easy to be confident in a state like illinois. women voters, especially after south carolina with the fluff with his wife, they were going to santorum, but i'm noticing that some more and more conservatives and more and more women are starting to at least, with the past couple of contests, colessing a little bit about romney. i'm not certain if that's a huge trend just yet. but, yeah, it's definitely the fat lady is warming up. i know a lot of people have said it. i think we're down to a two-man race now. >> carol, let's see. your fellow panelists have observed mitt romney from the start of this race. how are you going to get other maybe republicans to come out and fancy him, too, with the same ferver that you do?
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>> well, piers, first of all, i don't think it matters. i think you could have curious george up there and everyone is going to vote for curious george because it's all about bidding obama. so i think that that's -- that that's really the big issue. that that's the driving force here. everybody is rallying around beating barack obama. the one thing, though, that i do think is going to change this is that when mitt romney does become the nominee and he picks a vice presidential candidate, he could have somebody like marko rubio that sparks a lot of excitement and where there's this smoke become fire. and i think that's when people really start colessing behind him. >> or he could commit suicide and bring in a version of sarah palin, which seems like a good idea at the time. >> piers, that i was just about to applaud you for asking the men about the women's vote and the women about economics. >> exactly. well, that's the kd