tv John King USA CNN February 28, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
coaches routinely get doused with entire coolers of gatorade? the waiter who showered germany's chancellor told the newspaper he was still reliving the incident in slow motion, like that carlton beer commercial. but chancellor merkel, there are worse things than beer that you can suddenly find dripping down your back. at least when your kid does this to you, it isn't cold. jeanne moos, cnn. new york. . -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com two presidential battle ground on the line right now.
>> and the two frontrunners in a bitter duel with a lot to prove and a lot to lose. >> tonight mitt romney's toughest test since rick santorum's surge. >> if you want a fiscal conservative, you can't vote for rick santorum because he's not. >> does the word "hypocrisy" come to mind? >> it's a two-state showdown with one frontrunner trying to avoid an embarrassing defeat. >> governor romney is discovering you cannot take your home state for granted. >> will romney prove his staying power or will he suffer a crippling setback in michigan or arizona? it's america's choice. santorum climbed his way to the top. now he wants to win a valuable prize. the state where romney was born and raised. >> it's laughable that governor romney suggests that i am not a conservative. >> romney is waging a fierce battle, in two states that should have been shoes in. >> senator santorum hasn't been
as carefully viewed by the american public as have the others. >> the two leaders struggling to erase voters' doubts, fighting each other and underdogs who are ready to pounce. >> those others who are at the top now doesn't mean they're going to stay there. >> this is the wildest, strange est primary process. >> will there be a split decision or will one candidate take it all? >> who's authentic? who's believable? >> my team is the people of michigan and of america and i'm going to fight for you. >> the momentum keeps shifting. controversies keep coming. and tonight kicks off a blockbuster round of contest that is could change everything. welcome to the cnn election center this special edition of
"john king usa." a watershed night in the presidential campaign. voting under way right now in michigan and arizona. 59 delegates are at stake in two states that should have been easy targets for mitt romney. instead he's in a fierce fight against his main rival, rick santorum. as always wolf blitzer, anderson cooper joining us here every step of the evening. >> if romney were to lose one or both battle grounds at stake tonight, the republican race for the white house could be more up in the air than ever. anderson, it's been remarkable how the battle between these two guys has been going. because it really is close. >> this month has been a remarkable month for rick santorum. romney heading into the round of voting tonight with four victories in new hampshire, florida, nevada and maine. santorum also won four contests, iowa, missouri, colorado and minnesota. we are not for getting newt gingrich and ron paul. but it's been a while since gingrich had his one victory in
south carolina. and ron paul still searching for that big one, john. anderson we're going to look now at our early exit polls, michigan and arizona. let's focus on michigan. one of the big questions there, it's an open primary. rick santorum has been openly calling the homes of democrats saying come out and vote for me. democrats said they don't mind if democrats go out and cause mischief in the republican primary. let's take a look at the electorate in michigan tonight. number one we are seeing -- this is a republican primary. moderate or liberal. in the voters in michigan today, 40% are describing themselves as moderate or liberal. 30% as somewhat conservative. 30% as very conservative. so 60% are conservative or what. but this is a number. we'll watch throughout the night. 40% anderson say they're moderate or libl. who are they? let's take a closer look at the electorate in michigan. 59% 6 in 10 identify themselves as republicans. that's a low number. it was 68% in 2008 in the primary there. 10% of the voters in the state
of michigan tonight, remember that number 10% describe themselves as democrats. that's up from 7% four years ago and 31% describe themselves as independents. that's also up from four years. one other quick look at who's voting in michigan tonight. 14%. 14% say yes, they are union members. now we tend to identify union members with the democratic party. however, while the democratic percentage is up this year, that 14%, wolf, that's identical to the republican primary four years ago. so one of the things we'll watch tonight, how much influence are democrats having on this republican race in the state of michigan. >> it's going to be a fascinating moment. we'll see what happens on that front. john, thanks very much. it's going to be an exciting night i can assure you of that. let's check in with our correspondents at the frontrunner's headquarters. candy first at romney headquarters. i should have said candy crowley in case there was any doubt which candy we were talking to. but tell us how we got to this point. >> reporter: listen, as the romney campaign looks back, i remember vividly coming out of
florida a big win for mitt romney and talking to some of his strategists. they said, you know, i said, what are you worried about? they said, rick santorum, really. he's particularly good in some of these caucus states, but we're watching him. then after nevada a caucus state obviously mitt romney won that. they were a little more bullish about their chances. but still had their eye on rick santorum. what they did not expect is that the message would go off the economy -- remember this is how mitt romney got in. i'm a business guy. i know how to create jobs. they thought his resume' perfectly fitted this year. but in the past three weeks, what we've seen is a dynamic where the social issues have come forward. and that is not terra firma for mitt romney. not where he feels comfortable or can collect a lot of conservative votes. he want to get back on the economic message. he was doing that even this morning. >> i happen to think that people across the country want someone
who understands the economy. that's what i know. that's in my wheel house. i understand how the economy works. i'm running against a guy in this state who's an economic lightweight. he doesn't understand how the economy works, never having had a real job in the private sector, he doesn't know what it takes to create real jobs in the private sector. and i do. and i want to use that experience not to convince democrats to vote against me but to convince republicans, independents and democrats to vote for me. >> the economy, the economy, jobs and jobs. this is where mitt romney wants to take the conversation back. he thinks it helps him with those conservatives and even those very conservatives that have been going to rick santorum, because he's also keeping an eye out on those voters who say the primary thing here is for us to win in november. those generally in past elections have been proven to be mitt romney people. they are hoping that combination of trying to refigure the message and get it back on track and the number of folks saying that number one in their heart is someone to beat president
obama will keep him on track here in michigan. but as you know, everything we saw going into this race at any rate said it was a toss up here, wolf. >> all the polls showed that. candy, thanks very much. he called santorum an economic light weight. let's go to santorum headquarters. jim acosta standing by over there. over the past couple, three days there's been what some are calling a little political mischief going on. santorum supporters actually going out and trying to recruit democrats to vote for him. what's going on? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. i just caught up with the senior strategist for the santorum campaign, john braybender a few moments ago. he was saying they were basically microtargeting the way he put iteration putting reagan in this state. robo calls encouraging democrats to cross over in this primary and cast their ballots for rick santorum. i had a chance to catch up with the former pennsylvania senator earlier today. he was cruising some diners for
some votes but acknowledged he was cooking up some mischief. he basically told me, wolf, he's trying to appeal to conservative democrats that he'd like to have in his camp come this fall. here's what he had to say. >> even though the romney campaign says it was a dirty trick, what's your response to that? >> i see. so when he goes out and recruits 53% of the voters in new hampshire that are not republicans that's okay. an when he goes out and recruits folks who aren't republicans that's all right. who aren't going to be the decisive votes in the election. but when i go out and have a message of growth and opportunity instead of running negative ads or running robo calls with my voice from four years ago, that's not a dirty trick? and i didn't complain about it. i don't complain. you know what? i'm a big guy. >> reporter: so rick santorum says he's a big guy, he can take the heat. just to put a couple of those comments he made into context, he talked about 53% of people in new hampshire not being republican voters in that new hampshire primary voting for mitt romney. according to our cnn exit polling it was actually 51%.
so i want to correct that for the record. voters who are not republicans who voted for mitt romney in that primary. the romney campaign has fired back very sharply on that front saying that no, they won among republicans in that primary. so a little bit of relitigating that new hampshire primary. one last thing, i talked to john braybender senior strategist for the santorum campaign about the mitt romney complaint earlier today that if rick santorum wins this race it will be tainted because democrats crossed over and helped him win. he says that sounds like the comments of a sore looser, wolf? >> jim acosta at grand rapids waiting at the santorum head quarters. anderson, enormously high stakes tonight for these candidates. >> a lot of big states indeed. let's get some words from our strategist, political contributors on the democratic side and republican as well. tonight, paul, what are you expecting? >> >> who'd have thought that michigan would even be close? if you'd looked at this a year ago you'd say romney is the son of the very popular beloved
three-term former governor and he's fighting for his life. >> does santorum's talk about social issues help him in michigan? >> i don't think so. i think romney is right voters want to hear about the economy. we'll see how the results come in. i thought that was a distraction. i thought santorum was better when he talked about his grandfather was a coal miner and democratic roots. >> i agree with paul. even the fact we're talking about if romney wins tonight is a loss for him, both tonight as well as in the general. i think that what he has had to do in order to make sure he wins michigan is going to be indicative of a party with tunnel vision, meaning that they are so focused on the small particulars of the pieces they need to get to win the nomination that we're going to be losing the key coalitions for the general election. >> the same question i asked paul, do you think it helps him or hurts him in michigan talking about the social issues? >> i think it ultimately hurt him because he's not expanding his base of voters either. >> both democrats say it hurts.
ari fleischer? >> arizona votes as well. mitt romney is going to take all the votes in arizona because it's basically uncontested, all the votes are winner takes all. as far as michigan i think it was a small net for rick santorum that energize add small part of the electorate that wouldn't have shown up, put him in contention with mitt romney's state. beyond michigan it's a problem. if he becomes the general election candidate he's going to have to address his issue with women and suburban voters. >> i think it's a small net plus. he can't afford a lot more small net pluses for rick santorum. at best it's a horse race. >> how much is that about his performance in the last debate? >> i think a lot was his performance in the last debate because it has echoed the campaign. the campaign has been about social issues. santorum has been defending himself on social issues as opposed to, hey, the economy is on fire. can anybody put the fire out? that's what he he should have been talking about. >> he was pointing at reporters
and saying you guys keep asking me about social issues. >> there's a rule, though. reporters get to ask whatever they want. candidates actually get to give the answers. he has run a disciplined campaign, that's one of your jobs to help steer your boat and not let the news media do it for you. it's one of the tests of being president. >> i used to stand add a podium and have to take questions from reporters. and there's no question that the things i say, the things rick santorum says lead to questions. so when he brought up social issues in the manner in which he brought it up, provocative way challenging the president's theology, he invited this on himself. >> his focus on social issues i think will help to get democrats out to vote for him for sure. >> he sets this fire and then he says you're complaining about the heat. he says that president kennedy's speech to the greater minnis tear yal association made him want to throw up. >> now he says he regrets that. >> mild nausea. he said if we send our kids to college we're snobs. crazy stuff. >> beginning of this race when
people thought mitt romney might not be a strong candidate. oh, my heavens, rick perry is going to come in and be this great conservative hope. the guy who has turned into that now, rick perry, is rick santorum. and he has become that conservative threat to romney. >> it's going to be fascinating tonight. we'll be watching, john. anderson, michigan is so close the winner could be determined by that's right, democrats. mitt romney says rick santorum is using dirty tricks against him. reaction from the campaign and fresh information from our exit polls about how many democrats are voting in what is supposed to be michigan's republican primary. intelligence that is helping business rethink how to do business. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ in here, machines have a voice... ♪ [ male announcer ] in here, medical history follows you... even when you're away from home. it's the at&t network -- a network of possibilities, creating and integrating solutions, helping business, and the world...work. rethink possible. helping business, and the world...work. there's another way litter box dust:e
welcome back to our continued coverage. going to be a very bbig night. want to find out when we may be able to make some sort of projection about who is going to win tonight, both in the state of michigan and also in arizona. mark, do we have any idea what kind of timetable we're looking at? >> we've had pretty late nights so far in season. let's start with arizona. no earlier than 10:00 tonight would be the earliest. >> 10:00 eastern time. >> 10:00 eastern time. that we could actually make a prediction. the reason why is that the polls in arizona close at 9:00 eastern time.
the state will not release its data until 10:00 eastern time. so that's out west. here in michigan which we're really focusing on right now because it's the state that everyone this mitt romney has to win, it's different. the poll closing times are broken up between central and eastern time. no earlier than 9:00 eastern time could we possibly call this race. if you look at early polling, it is so tight right now this could be a very late night. >> in terms of exit poll information what kind of timetable for that? >> we're starting to get poll information now. it's early numbers right now and comes in waves. we're starting to look at data right now. it helps us build the narrative right now but doesn't give the whole story. >> when we make that projection we do it based on some of the exit polls as well as votes tallied. >> we create the, it poll data and real vote, tie it all up put it back in a big knot.
>> 9:00 possibly michigan, no earlier than 10:00 eastern time arizona. >> in arizona. but michigan could be later than arizona. who knows? >> john, a lot to watch for tonight. a lot to watch for. we're going to look at arizona but most of the attention has been on michigan. it's one of the largest, big industrial state. a lot of economic pain over the last decade. what are we looking for tonight as we watch republicans voting in michigan? let's look at some of the important demographics. tea party support. we want to see who's getting the tea party vote. the darker the area the higher percentage of tea party supporters. you see some tea party support north of detroit in the suburban, blue-collar, rural areas in the south and western part of the state. also up here in the upper peninsula. evangelical voters you see again the darker the area the higher percentage of evangelical voters. you watch all that play out. if you're rick santorum you want to do well in these conservative rural areas and down here where we see higher pockets of evangelical support. we'll watch for that tonight. one of the things visually if you want to get a look at the
state, this is one of the few states you will go to in this cycle where the unemployment rate has actually gone down a bit. this is 2009 unemployment, the darker the area the higher the unemployment rate. well let me bring this one back up now and show you the current unemployment rate. not quite as dark down in here. again still in painful economic times. but michigan for the longest time was the highest unemployment by state in the country. nevada now has that distension. that distinction. remember. this remember bush v. gore, the conversation about the electoral college? it is possible tonight that one candidate wins the popular vote state-wide but doesn't get the majority of the delegates. why? in arizona you win the state you get all the delegates. in michigan the delegates are awarded by congressional district. two delegates for each of the 14 congressional districts. we have to go race by race district by district. 14 congressional districts in the state. a half dozen right down in here. a lot of these congressional districts at play tonight are held by democrats.
in the detroit area particularly, democratic seats, not a lot of republican voters. that's one of the places we will see if there's what i'll call democratic mischief in the republican primary. even as the votes come in tonight remember, if one candidate opens up a lead in the state-wide vote that doesn't mean that same candidate will get the bulk of the delegates. we have to work through maps, county by county, congressional district by congressional district to figure that out. rick santorum and mitt romney are accusing each other of cheap shots, dirty tricks. we'll take a look at both campaigns over the last 48 hours. and a democrat tells us why he decided to vote in the republican presidential primary today in michigan. >> announcer: this is the day. the day that we say to the world of identity thieves "enough." we're lifelock, and we believe you have the right to live free from the fear of identity theft. our pledge to you? as long as there are identity thieves, we'll be there. we're lifelock. and we offer the most comprehensive identity theft
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welcome back to our special coverage, america's choice 2012. we're waiting for the results of republican presidential primaries. in arizona and michigan. arizona a closed primary. in michigan they don't have party registration. anyone can vote in the open primary. we're seeing the impact of that as democrats decide to try to influence the republican race. this is michigan 2012 in the republican presidential primary today, 10% of those voting, 1 in 10 voters say they are democrats. that's up from 7% four years ago in 2008. and we know this from our exit poll data. half of those who identify themselves as democrats say they are voting for rick santorum. there's been a lot of talk of
potential mischief in this campaign. democrats trying to support rick santorum that undermine and embarrass mitt romney in his home state. dana bash is standing by out in the state of michigan. she's been exploring this controversy all day long. dana, is there a good sense the democrats are doing this for mischief to hurt romney or do they actually like santorum? >> reporter: a definitely for mischief. democrats i talked to admit that left and right. and it is to hurt mitt romney, not because they like rick santorum. i happen to have a democrat here, bruce felt, who is one of those democrats. bruce, you did not vote here but you voted nearby here and you're a democrat. >> correct. >> who did you vote for? >> i voted for rick santorum. >> what's the reason? >> i think he's by far the weakest candidate. mitt romney has done a lot of harm writing his editorial letting michigan go bankrupt. we want mitt romney to go bankrupt.
>> rick santorum winning is the best strategy for your candidate winning, barack obama. >> absolutely. >> when it comes to the issues i'm guessing rick santorum isn't necessarily along the lines of where you zblooef absolutely not. rick santorum is so far to the right, if he were to be elected by some fluke he would take this country back to the 18th century. >> people look at this and say, some people even democrats i talked to say give me a break. it is just wrong for a democrat to go and vote for somebody that they vehemently disagree with. >> that's their opinion. and they're welcome to have their opinion. but i think it's the right thing to do strategically. i think it's perfectly fine for democrats. they're charging the taxpayers of the state of michigan $10 million for this primary and we're entitled to take part in it and vote for who we think will be the weakest candidate and give our candidate a chance in november. >> how did you feel after voting for rick santorum? >> a little dirty. i went home and took a shower and i felt fine. >> appreciate you talking to us. we'll see, john, if bruce's
story is widespread enough that it really does make a difference. but i can tell you in talking to many democrats today, including the chairman of this party here who of course does not officially condone this but is kind of winking and nodding saying i'm not going to necessarily try to stop it, they say that this wouldn't be an issue, democrats wouldn't even be able to have an impact, if mitt romney weren't as weak as he is right now and if this wasn't such a close race with rick santorum. as you well know, this state has a history of crossover voting. if you look back to 2000, i know ari fleischer is over there, george bush did not win here because democrats crossed over to vote for john mccain to try to hurt the then frontrunner george bush. >> michigan has a history of mischief voting. 10% of our voters in today's primary, the republican presidential primary in the state of michigan describe themselves as democrats. we know half of that 10% voted for rick santorum. the question anderson later into the night, how close is the race? if it's not that close might not matter. in a very close race it is possible the democratic
crossover voters, you just heard that man right there saying he enjoyed what he did but he needed a shower after could potentially have an impact on the state of michigan tonight on a very important night, anderson, in our presidential nominating process. >> let's talk to our analysts. do you think it could make a difference? >> if it's a close race anything can make a difference. i think what's so funny about the gentleman that dana was interviewing he made it clear he doesn't like rick santorum. when you talk to the santorum campaign who has done robo calls trying to get these democrats out to vote, they call them reagan democrats. he did not sound like a reagan democrat to me. he sounded like somebody who just wanted today make some trouble for mitt romney. >> there are polls going. we actually have one of the robo calls. this is not from the santorum campaign, this is from a democratic group. let's listen in. >> okay. >> on tuesday, join democrats who are going to send a loud message to massachusetts mitt romney by voting for rick santorum for president. this call is supported by hard-working democratic men and
women and paid for by rick santorum for president. >> some of the calls have pointed out that mitt romney, while he voted against -- while he was opposed to the detroit bailout he voted for the bailout of wall street and how unfair that is. and that's part of the santorum speak to get these democrats out. >> that was from obviously from the santorum folks. >> i don't think we know yet, anderson, whether it's going to make that much of a difference. it could as gloria said if this is a very close race tip it. the harder question is, would this taint a victory by rick santorum? and it would be very unusual i think for a candidate to have made these kind of robo calls. i have a hard time saying it would taint the victory. i have a hard time saying this is a dirty trick in particular. >> it's out in the open. >> it's out in the open. and this is legit. >> this is the way the system works. >> some justification, i paid the taxes. i was asked to pay. you may not like the rules but those are the rules. that's what's happening here in
michigan. these are the rules. democrats can cross over. >> ari fleischer, do you as john king mentioned experienced this first hand when your candidate was up against john mccain. >> it was miserable. >> is this dirty tricks? >> no, it's not dirty tricks. it is how you win races. rick santorum has a history of trying to get democrat toss turn out for him. but i do remember in 2000, the republican primary had only 48% republican participation in it. it was 17% democrat participation anytime because john mccain drew those democrats out and the independents, too. but the numbers this year, i think that there's going to be anecdotal reports. you're going to have some liberal mischief of people came in to do it. but 7% of the voters who turned out in 2007 were democrat. looks like 10% this year. it's not a big difference especially when you consider hillary and barack obama were on the ballot in 2008. so 7% when there was a huge other race going on now 10% with
not another race going on? it's not a lot. >> it doesn't take much to tilt a tight race. when you look at for example tea party voters in the exit polls, you would think that people who oppose the tea party wouldn't be voting for rick santorum. guess what? they are. so there's some democrats who have snuck into the electorate tonight. and we'll have to see how many there are and do they make a difference? ann arbor, for example, young people who think politics is something that happens on the john stewart show, right? they just go out and have fun voting against mitt romney and maybe tilt. >> this is a sign that the obama white house, the democrats are more scared of me than they are of rick santorum, mitt romney says. >> i think they're less scared of him every day. he just performs so badly. he's a serious guy. very likely to wind up being the nominee. but this whole -- i just think this is overblown. you remember when senator clinton and senator obama were running. there was this operation mischief or project mischief? >> chaos.
>> chaos. it was a hugely fat radio guy, i can't think of his name right now. the big fat blow hard on the radio who was pushing this. >> paul begale. >> it's nothing now. it's all a bunch of gas and hot air. >> you don't think it matters? >> it doesn't matter at all. tiny slice. if you win the republicans in michigan you're going to win in michigan. >> i do have to say my brother who is a democrat and lives in new york city sent me an e-mail saying he went to michigan today to vote for rick santorum. >> and it's a good story. clearly this is something that the progressives in michigan are running with. it's on the front page of the free press. the radio stations are run with it. i do think that some young people could do it, some labor folks could do it who are mad at romney for the betrayal on the rescue. so who knows? in a tight race it very well could make a difference. >> the big stories are detroit. and does that bailing out detroit or not bailing it out, does that say something about mitt romney and his strength, elitism? is mitt romney gone too upscale,
detached himself, or in fact in the general election against another elite candidate, barack obama, would it make any difference at all? there are some big stories out there to watch tonight. >> and we'll talk about the bailout plays in this primary and how it's going to play in the general election, two very different stories indeed. john, take it away. anderson, you have the conversation there, the bailout, the economy, jobs. that has been the defining story in michigan. yet rick santorum in recent days not hesitating to talk about some of the other and very sensitive issues from religion to contraception. help him tonight or will it backfire? the state of michigan owes a lot to american taxpayers. we're going to look at the politics of the detroit auto bailout in this campaign. stay with us. the this at&t 4g network is fast.
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michigan a critical contest tonight in the republican nominating process. woe know it will be a big battle ground state in november. the economy has been the number one issue there. let's look at what's on the mind of republican voters tonight as they vote in the primary. economy is the top issue. 54% of voters in the republican presidential primary in michigan say the economy is issue number one. a subset of that has been the u.s. auto industry. all of the republican candidates for president opposed the auto bailout, opposed it. started under george w. bush, ack accelerated under president obama. a majority disproved. 43% of the voters actually approved of the auto bailout.
on this day of the gop primary in michigan, president obama the incumbent took one of his toughest swipes yet at the republicans who would like to take his job. he did anytime front of an audience with a lot of influence in the stay of michigan. the united auto workers. a not so gentle swipe at mitt romney and those who opposed the auto bailout. >> now they're saying, we were right all along. or you've got folks saying, well, the real problem is, what we really disagreed with was the workers. they all made out like bandits. saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. really? i mean, even by the standards of this town that's a load of you know what. [ cheers and applause ] >> you know, about 700,000
retirees had to make sacrifices on their healthcare benefits that they had earned. a lot of you saw hours reduced or pay or wages scaled back. you gave up some of your rights as workers. promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry. it's workers, their families. you want to talk about sacrifice? you made sacrifices. [ cheers and applause ] >> this wasn't an easy thing to do. let me tell you, i keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. you want to talk about values? hard work. that's a value. looking out for one another. that's a value. the idea that we're all in it together and i'm my brother's keeper and sister's keeper. that's a value. [ cheers and applause ]
>> they're out there -- they're out there talking about you like you're some special interest that needs to be beaten down. since when are hard-working men and women who are putting in a hard day's work every day, since when are they special interests? since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing? i remember my old friend ted kennedy, he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive? >> let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin with more on the president's strategy. jess, a feisty president there, a more personal tone questioning not just the positions but the values of the republican candidates. is this more of a departure from the president? he seems to be getting a bit more feisty. >> reporter: a very high octane
speech by the president today, john. but also a departure as you say because you'll recall he said he wasn't going to get involved in electoral politics until they picked a nominee on the other side. and without naming any one candidate, the president really took aim at mitt romney in this speech. and he said, you know, some folks say let detroit go bankrupt. that was the title of an op ed mitt romney wrote at one point. then he really tore into some of the republican positions on the bailout. so without naming any one candidate, he clearly waded into gop primary politics here on the very same day of the michigan primary, john. >> jess, the president then senator obama had 57% of the vote in michigan back in 2001, butted his head, tough economic times. do the democrats, do they have evidence that using the bailout against the republicans will help keep a state that should be tough for the president just because of the state of the economy in his court this time? >> reporter: they're feeling increasingly cheered now, john, that michigan is moving more and more into their corner. one piece of evidence is there is a new merit nbc poll that
showed that 63% of registered voters in michigan believe that the bailout was a good idea, and that includes 61% of registered independents believe that it was a good idea. so while as you showed most registered republicans who are voting today don't agree with the president's position, the majority of those key swing voters that he'll need to win in order to clinch that state are on the president's side in this one. and so they're feeling a little bit more cheered. that together with the improving employment numbers in that state are making them feel a little better about michigan, which is really a must win for the president looking ahead to november. >> our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. jess, thanks. as you look ahead to november, anderson, we know the economy will be issue number one which is what makes tonight so important. michigan a key laboratory. this argument will be made across america. but the republican who emerges victorious tonight whether he can sell his economic themes will go a long way in whether that republican can then defeat
president obama come november. >> yeah. and very interesting to hear how the bailout is viewed differently among independents and also obviously among democrats for the general election. that bailout really does play differently in those different groups. >> it really does, anderson. and this bailout -- bailouts in general are such a political third rail. let's take a look at the auto bailout here in michigan and exactly what happened. bailout by the numbers. numbers don't lie. so let's just look at exactly what happened here. here's the total amount of money that went into the auto industry. about $80 billion vis-a-vis taxpayer money and the government loan programs. gmac is now allied bank. may be familiar with it if you're watching. obviously chrysler got money. we all know ford did not. but the bulk of it, $51 billion wednesday to g.m. and a few suppliers. let's take a look at g.m. here's how much money we put into g.m., $51 billion. here's how much money g.m. has paid back in cash and taxpayers have gotten back. about $24 billion. so you can see this balance. $24 billion that taxpayers still want. this depends on one thing. we the taxpayers own about 32%
of g.m. so when you look at where it trades every day on the stock market, that's where it's going to determine if taxpayers ever get their money back. today this is where g.m. shares closed. $26.14 a share. any guess, anderson, on how much higher it has to go to be in the money? >> how much. >> a lot higher. we have to go at least double that. analysts are saying $59. most analysts are saying 59 to 60. a long way to go to still make money on g.m. >> more than double. jessica also referenced unemployment numbers. still high in the state of michigan but improving. >> improving. that's one of the things we're seeing at g.m. g.m. has been hiring again, you've been seeing a real improvement in the auto industry. people that support the auto bailout point to that that signs it worked. in the state of michigan, 8.5% unemployment rate. still a lot of issues. it's a manufacturing heavy state no matter what you see. i wanted today highlight one specific state.
ontonegan county. 13.7%. now a paper company had a factory there. what happens in a lot of these counties, you have one factory that's really what employment in the county is relying on. in 2009 that factory closed. at one point unemployment in this county was north of 21%. you say it's down to 13.7. that must be good? not really. because what's happened is a lot of people left the state. a lot of people have not come back into the workforce so they're not counted as unemployed. so a lot of the employment improvement in michigan is a little bit of a false story, even though to be fair you have seen some real immovement in auto manufacturing. >> fascinating to look at it county by county. republicans in one of the ultimate battle ground states, we'll hear from undecided gop voters in ohio and john king's going to show us how the 69 delegates at stake tonight could make a big difference in the presidential race. be right back. all i could do was worry ! specialists, lots of doctors, lots of advice... and my hands were full.
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we want to go out to tom forman in columbus, ohio, and he is with a group of voters and as you know, tom, a week from now, ohio is part of super tuesday, and tell us about the voters in columbus, the state capital have on their minds. >> well, wolf, it is one of the states that every election cycle is a big, big deal, and we have great group of republican voters here who are undecided. and am i correct? >> yes. >> and yes, undecided republican
voters, and we are going to be tracking their reaction to what is happening tonight with what the candidates have to say. how many of you are very conservative? pretty good crowd there. put your hands down, if you would. and how many of you say that you are tea party supporters? again a pretty good crowd. how many of you would say that you are moderate conservatives? get your hands way up high so we can see you. so you can see, wolf, we have a interesting mix of folks here, and what they are going to be doing the night is to be using devices like this, and we have done it before, a perception analyzer and dialing back and forth and producing the numbers as the candidates speak so that we can measure the reaction of the entire group to what is going inhere. that information has been coming from our location here in ohio state university feeding back to the experts from southern methodist university who are analyzing all of the data through the evening, wolf, keeping track of precisely what thes are saying and just
as importantly how strongly they feel that way, and as you said, wolf, big deal state here for what is happening not only for the republicans, but for the overall races that can be decisive state, and tracking the movements throughout the evening to see what people have to say and passing them right on the you there, wolf. >> and quickly, tom, these are not necessarily undecided republicans. some of them have made up their mind and some of them are romney supporters and santorum supporters and is that right? >> no sh, no. these are undecided voters and some of them may be leaning one way or another, but let me ask quickly. any of you leaning toward mitt romney you think? one in the back. toward rick santorum? little bit, but by and large, still undecided. this is the whole point here, these are the folks up for grabs, and these are the folks that the candidates really want the reach, and regoing to be tracking it all evening to see if they are reaching them.
we will see if their mind changes. >> and we will be seeing if their minds change at the end of the evening as we hear the four candidates speak out. and ask them quickly if they had a vote at this second, who would they vote among the four candidates to establish a baseline. >> okay. a question from wolf here. put your hands way up high. if you had to vote at this moment, how many of you would vote for mitt romney? okay. we have one, two -- six. how many of you would vote for rick santorum? one, two, three -- 11. how many for newt gingrich. that is one, two, three, four -- 7. >> how many for ron paul? one, two -- well, wolf, this is a fairly not even divided, but there are some weight behind every candidate, and nobody is here with no votes or only one
or two, so it is going to be interesting to see how it shakes out through the evening wolf. >> it is going to be interesting with the baseline and i love that they will tell us what parts of the four speeches they like or don't like and we will be watching the squiggly lines at the bottom of the screen. tom forman in columbus, ohio. if this turns out to be a lengthy night, and guess what, i suspect it will be, because there is a dispute over delegates. is newt gingrich rooting for one of the opponents to be the big winner tonight? stand by for my interview with the former house speaker who is taking his hopes on super tuesday. all energy development comes with some risk, but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air -
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about an hour away from getting the first votes in the two big contests tonight, michigan and arizona. let's get the state of the play so far. remember that mitt romney has won four states here in new england and florida and nevada. rick santorum has won four states, and his are purple. and newt gingrich is south carolina and michigan and also we will get preliminary reports in the wyoming caucuses, and it is not just wins, but the waey o win is the delegates. senator romney needs 144, but we are still early. and santorum and paul are virtually a tie with gingrich, and they believe it will go high. and michigan and arizona tonight, if we have a model with
governor romney winning both states and senator santorum getting some of the delegates in michigan and perhaps gingrich or paul picking one or two, arizona is winner take all, and assume that if senator santorum wins, he will pass newt gingrich and pull into second place so that the proportional representation of michigan is the key tonight. the winner of arizona, we would be stunned if it is not governor romney. and here, it is all done by congressional district. i want to come back to other map to show you what i am talking about. you can win michigan and carry the state and not get the most delegate, because was there are 14 congressional districts and two delegates for each district and those are awarded on a case by case district and those we will watch tonight, and a lot of congressional districts that are democratic districts and especially around detroit, and we will be looking for the mischief in the democratic vote, so it is possible that mittny could win stateside and santorum pick up