tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 7, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EST
well, it is 1:00 a.m. in the east and the race in ohio is over. mitt romney an apparent winner after a close race that has taken all night. that is the race that we will be tracking throughout the night. romney winning a slim victory over rick santorum in ohio. in tennessee, rick santorum is the projected winner of the tennessee republican primary, and rick santorum also the projected winner oklahoma, and also the projected winner the north dakota caucuses. in the idaho caucuses, mitt romney won a decisive victory. in massachusetts, mitt romney is the winner. nbc news has allocated all of that state's delegates to romney, the former governor. newt gingrich is the projected winner in his home state of georgia and the two man race by the way, romney is the projected winner over ron paul, and newt
gingrich and rick santorum did not make it on to the ballot. and timely in the green mountain state, mitt romney is the projected winner. and howard fineman, i love to get this from you, because you are a bottom line guy, and reporting all night. in addition to the bottom line where it looks like santorum had a good night winning three of this coming in where it looked like impressive wins and close loss up there in ohio, what else happened tonight? >> well, what happened tonight, chris, is that the notion that this is a long, long struggle was reinforced rather than ended. this was yet another chance for mitt romney to say, look, this is effectively over. we can wrap it up fairly quickly now. but the results don't prove
that. even though mitt romney had a very good night in terms of the delegates and the decent to very good night, rick santorum managed to slip the punch. he slipped the knockout punch. he did it by winning those three states in diverse area, and by taking it to the wire in ohio. even though he was outspent nine or ten-to-one, and even though he messed up many features of the campaign in the message. so, it is a little like groundhog day, chris, we keep waking up every wednesday morning to the same story which is that there is a weak front-runner who doesn't make a solid connection to the base of his own party, and who nevertheless stays in the lead in a weak position, and in two main challengers who are hurting each other, but are remaining in the race because they are closer to especially rick santorum, closer to the heart of the modern conservative,
faith-based, tea party-based republican party. let me say a couple of things. first, the notion that the santorum campaign is going to mount a big campaign to drive newt gingrich out of the race is silly, at least based on talking to the top santorum people in the last hour or so, they say it is not going the happen, partly, because it is unrealistic. newt gingrich is not going the get out of the race before the southern primaries next week, and he may not get out at all. but, but that is sort of the bottom line at this moment. >> if you look at the numbers that mitt romney has been able to get in the deep south states starting in south carolina, and across to oklahoma and tennessee today, it looks like he never can get above 28%. does that ceiling on mitt romney's ability to do well, his performance in the south allow santorum to still be both of them, both he and newt gingrich, if gingrich stays in -- in other
words, is there still an opportunity next week for rick santorum to win in alabama and mississippi even with newt still in the race? >> well, yes, i think so. i think that what it shows, chris, look, the modern republican party as you know was built out of the south. it is built on and out of the south. >> sure. >> and, and mitt romney has very little if any connection to it. he won in virginia by default because the other guys weren't in the race, and only ron paul was in the race. and mitt romney did not win the northern part of florida and he has to show that he can touch the southern base, but i don't see him doing it. by the way, one thing that rick santorum did in ohio that put romney on the heels a little bit was to get at the health care issue at a way that had not gotten traction before, and the reason that the health care issue is so deadly for mitt romney with the base is that it goes both at the tea party fear of big government, and is secular fear of big government,
and the religious base of the party that is worried about the health care bill imposing values on religious people in terms of how they must behave. if rick santorum can drive that seam, he will stay alive. i agree with what you said in the last hour, chris, which is fundamentally that mitt romney is probably going to be the republican nominee. one fascinating thing that emerged tonight is that really the romney campaign is now saying that, look, we are not sure we are going to wrap up and acquire the number of delegates we need for the majority by the end of the election season. that was a sort of admission that they floated out there earlier tonight, which is really kind of interesting news. they hadn't been saying that before. now they are trying to admit that in advance, and they have a big event tomorrow in boston, chris, where the top romney people are going to sit down with the reporters and go through the delegate numbers and go through them all to try to
show that they, the romney campaign, is inevitable, but i don't believe they will pound the table and say, we will get the delegates that we need by june. they probably aren't. >> and howard, i believe in the romney strategy, and as much as i don't like it, it works. he gets to be the president in a rocky time in which a lot of the ethnic and historic factors make me believe that he can beat president obama in one-on-one. he can do well in the debates and win one or two of them and look strong enough and provide this kind of all-american homegrown thing he is selling. i saw him selling it tonight. i know it is in many ways dirty the way he is doing it, but selling that he is the american candidate against, guess who? and it is subtle and effective.
>> and subtle as a train wreck. i was in stubenville over the weekend where rick santorum set up tonight tonight, and i talked to the voters and the parishioners at the st. peter's church with si right across the street from where santorum was, and they were all for rick santorum the people i spoke with, people with big families and traditional catholics and the old school. they said they were for santorum, and i said, yeah, but if santorum doesn't make it, will they support romney if he the nominee, and every one of the people in the parishioners in st. peter's said they will support him, because no way, and no way under the sun that any of those people would ever vote for president barack obama. >> and bob woodward said the same thing on my sunday show, and he said watch the 30% or 40% out of there and some of them haters and bedrock conservatives are ready to back it regardless who the nominee is. >> and this is going to be close. and thank you, howard.
and i get the sense that it is not going to be charismatic or exciting but numerical. >> and howard said clearly, this is a groundhog day and mitt romney using the language himself and he said tomorrow we wake up and start again. just a day ago when we were with romney campaign in ohio, he said help me get the nomination and lock it up on super tuesday so i can organize against barack obama, but again, they have to continue to focus on rick santorum, and i'll be in the meeting with some of the senior advisers in the romney campaign tomorrow as they try to lay out the math for us, and they say that math is momentum, and delegates win nominations, and races win headlines. they go the ohio, and go 5 of 10 if they don't win alaska later this evening as well, but the headline may be lost obviously
so late in the night, it is the time of the night when contacts turn into glasses because most of the guys hustled home. and chris, it is amazing how quickly the strategists disappeared from the room as soon as mitt romney was done with the remarks of several hours from now, and frankly, they come to turn around to the reporters in the back of the room and try to spin, but they ran upstairs to get in front of the televisions and the computers to see what the numbers look like, and as they go forward they are well aware of the challenge with the march through the south which has great appeal for newt gingrich and rick santorum and one of the senior advisers said earlier, weer were down 10 or 11 points in the bellwether and state of ohio a week ago and we look like we are in good shape now and tracking ahead and we believe slightly ahead, and if that is the case, that is the expectation and i must conclude being with romney from akron to
zainsville, and running into the santorum folks, they said they will vote for anybody but barack obama. so those people when romney or if romney is the nominee, feels confident they will come around. >> and in the civil war being a battle winner, and keep winning the battles and you win the war. peter alexander, thank you for joining us from the romney headquarters, and now we go the ron mott from the santorum headquarters. and the cruel expression is close but no cigar, correct? >> well, close but no cigar, chris. with this basketball court behind me, sometimes when you have a close defeat, those are more painful than the full ones, and that is clear for rick santorum, but he left here tuesday night with three victories, chris, and that is big, because it would have stung lot more if he were shut out of the victory column. he has a couple of golds here and hand full of silvers. so it is a mixed bag and gives
them a ticket to ride down south. and now the question that howard talked about is this notion of whether newt gingrich will bow out of the race, and some of the campaign officials were essentially doing the job to start that conversation, and they are not necessarily going to go to newt gingrich, and request that he drop out of the race, but at least the conversation down in jackson, mississippi, and birmingham, alabama, and the states where this race is headed will start talking about how to consolidate the conservative vote. we have been reporting since many of the media outlets have been reporting that maybe the santorum folks would try to send a word to newt gingrich to bow out of the race, and that they are going to go down there no matter what and try to win those two states. so we may have a different conversation here, chris, next tuesday if rick santorum can go into newt gingrich's backyard two states away from the home state of georgia and pull out victories there could change everything. >> and it seems that he has to win in alabama with romney and
>> yes. >> and there was a comparison to david and goliath, and of course in the biblical war, david won, but tonight david lost, and not as good a story in ohio. >> well, it is not as good a story, but an interesting story. i think it was a terrible night for mitt romney, chris, because we did look at the night looking at a possible night where he could not clinch it obviously, but he could steal some momentum, and he could start to look inevitable if he had a big win in ohio, and took tennessee which people were saying was possible, so for him to walk away with this and to continue the conversation with michael from earlier, when people compare this race to barack obama and compare, and people say, hey, he is putting up the delegates and doing what obama did, and sneaks in and out and get the delegates and that is all that matters. that is really not true. obama did that and it was
awesome and awesome campaign, but he was also turning out 75,000 people to hear him speak, because there was so much energy and passion and love, and he was doing both things, and romney may have the ability to just gut it out and have a death march where he does collect the most delegates, but there's no, there's no fire. there's no love for sure so it is a dangerous comparison to look at 2008. it is not alike at all. >> and are we looking at the death march, michael? what are we looking at? i think that there is a difference and there was a thrill up the leg, and some of the people had the sensational speeches of barack obama starting in 2004. >> i don't doubt it. >> and i don't know if anybody has had a physical reaction to romney's speech except maybe you. have you had a physical reaction to a romney speech? >> no, i have not. >> so it is all cerebral. >> i was looking down at the math and joan has a couple of
good points and to mark halprin's point, romney is running into a math problem, because only eight winner-take-all states left in the process. he's got a numbers game that he has to match and tonight having split the states the way he did makes getting that nomination sewed up before june close to impossible. so there's going to be to joan's point, much more of the personal sell, and he has to now recalculate the steps through the south. he is going to have the figure out where he can pick off or pick up one of these states in the south to sort of stem the blood flow away from his campaign and put that energy back into it. >> and under the party rules can a candidate like newt gingrich who comes in third or a candidate like ron paul in the first ballot give their delegate his or her delegates to the
front-runner, can they do that? >> no, because the delegates in the first wave is some 1,700, maybe 1,100 are bound delegates, and bound to the folks coming into the convention to that first ballot, and you can't come in and say, here are mine. that is a later stage in the process. >> what would happen if he tried? >> oh, you can't. i mean the rules just don't permit it. you can't do it. those delegates are bound. you have to vote the way you were, you lined up on primary might. >> and so how can you win if you don't get a majority? you have to have a majority? >> well, rounds off voting. it does not stop after the first round, so if no one has the majority in the first round coming into this thing, and if you don't have the 1,144, then you are negotiating like heck between now and the convention to get as close as you can, and you will have to suffer through --
>> and in terminology, you have to get the number? >> suffer through the first round with the low number p and having negotiated to the number, you get it to the second or the third round. and it is very hard, and michael, you are the expert on mitt romney winning this thing clean right? >> yes. and howard fineman and mark halprin said it earlier. and thank you, michael. >> and no mo romney, i did say that. and thank you, michael. and thank you, joan. and joining us is how we see this things running through the convention, and we will look at how this works starting next tuesday all of the way in. we will be right back.
>> well, mitt romney escaped with the slim victory in ohio tonight, and apparent winner after a very close race there. and steve schmidt with us here in new york. and steve, you are the expert on this thing, and how do you see it going right now? >> mitt romney keeps winning and with each win he drives the narrative that he is a weak candidate and we spent a lot of time talking about the comparisons between 2008 and 2012. when barack obama became the de
facto nominee in june, the favorable and unfavorable ratio was 51-28, and he was popular. today the "wall street journal" report, mitt romney is 28-39, and rick santorum is 24-39, and the fact is that both candidates have flipped upside down on the favorable ratio, and weakening as this goes on. >> and if romney gets to the convention and has to do some manipulations and deal making to win it on the second or the third ballot, anything to give away with the nomination being this weak or give away the vice presidency to someone he does not want or agree to a platform on the fed to get ron paul with him, or some humiliating steps? >> well, it is the law of unintended consequences, and we heard chairman steel talk about how they wanted more grass roots to get involved and it may be
that the rule changes decided in the backroom where the voters are disenfranchised and the nomination is decided on a bunch of deals that take place under darkness. >> and let's talk about the lds factor, and mormon factor, and we talk about how faith is driving the voting, and okay, you look at the positive part of idaho, nevada, and arizona and they haven't gotten to utah, so people are to some extent voting religion. >> yes, and howard fineman wrote a great column about this earlier in the week and talked about it today, and you have 75% of the electorate saying that voting for somebody who shares my religion is important to them. it is a major issue particularly in the southern states. >> and i think it is time for mitt romney to find himself that he has not done it positively. we agree on that. msnbc's coverage of super
nbc news can project that the apparent winner of the republican presidential primary in ohio is mitt romney. this has been as close as it could possibly be over the course of most of tonight where we have seen mr. romney pulling out ahead over the last hour or so, and mitt romney now the apparent winner in ohio which means that tonight has been a big night for rick santorum. it has also been a good night for mitt romney. mitt romney winning in idaho. winning in virginia where only he and ron paul were on the ballot winning his home state of massachusetts in vermont and squeaking one out in ohio. these are the of all states won throughout the country up to and including tonight. you are seeing some streaky patterns there, and in terms of regional favorability for these candidates, but right now, it is still a good night for rick santorum. had mitt romney lost ohio to mr. santorum, i think that it would have been seen as a spectacular night for rick santorum. the states that he won the night
included north dakota, tennessee and oklahoma, but in the end, not ohio despite having been close all night. this has been a heck of a night. super tuesday tonight, and we are waiting for some of the results from alaska. which, you never know, might end up being definitive at any point. >> and sarah palin voted for newt. >> did she? >> sarah palin voted for newt so anybody who tells newt to get out, she will be all worked up about that. >> well, mitt romney owes thank you letters to newt gingrich and ron paul without whom he could not have won ohio. >> and no question that going for ward a vote for newt gingrich is a vote for mitt romney. so it is wise for the santorum campaign to start articulating that and see how much pressure they can bring, because they don't have much of a path with gingrich in in the race. >> how do you do that? where does the pressure come from? >> well, make a public argument that they have been resonant to make, and as long as he is in the race, it is a vote for mitt romney, and make it loudly and
see where the chips fall. >> what can you offer a guy like newt gingrich? what does a guy like newt gingrich want? he likes to be on tv for really long times to give speeches when he has won his home state. >> and he likes to -- >> together, we will take down mitt romney. >> and together. and you put him in the cabinet? >> where would you put him and trust him? >> he can't get confirmed. don't talk cabinet. it is impossible. >> you could put him inside of the actual cabinet and make him think it is the cabinet. >> and drill lease. >> and what is dynamic is the fact that mitt romney thought he was the same guy than before tonight, which is that mitt romney still sort of looks like the nominee and still sort of winning more delegates than anybody else, but has some problems with core parts of the republican constituency, and neither rick santorum nor newt gingrich can be viable as long as they are in the race, and so
the dynamic is whether rick santorum and newt gingrich can whittle down to one. >> and the romney strategy as we all agree from the beginning, is the recognition of the roller derby, your job is to stay on the course when everybody is off of it. under the theory that with the economy still being rocky, whoever the republican nominee is come november or come the fall when you begin the season really head-to-head will have roughly a 50-50 shot, an therefore you want to get there. >> yes. >> because once you get there, and i was with bob woodward the other day, and he will argue that all of the santorum back flow, and the hatred vote and the far-right religious vote will come to you inevitably out of antipathy for the president, and you will get the percentage, many of them haters who will come, so all you have to to is to get into the boxing ring with the president, and debate well and try to win back the center. that is the argument he has followed all along, get there. and he is going to get there in the worst way and the question
is will events come his direction to give him a shot to win. they might. we may have a spike in unemployment rate because of higher gas prices and slower growth, and if that happens, he will be in the ring, and somebody said each candidate, and did you say each has 47%? yes. and that is where we are at again. >> friday we will find out that the private sector has added jobs for two straight years, and that number is coming. another plank on the horizon is that the labor union will be aggressive here in the next month taking out a lot of radio ads in the midwest really working over the republicans on the highway bill. they want to have this passed. and now you are going to start seeing, you know, the wage earners get involve and put pressure on santorum, i think to step up and say, hey, this is the right thing to do. we have infrastructure problems in the country. if he wants to support the wage
earners the way that mike dewine has been saying and also last week on the broadcast, this is the perfect opportunity. where is romney going to be on this? this is a great issue for the president. it is a slam dunk for him, and he wants it and middle-classers want it and wage earners want it and this is the next big fight when it comes to wage earners. >> but the fight of mitt romney is that you are a big spending guy to rick santorum, and trying to underscore that people like him for being the more conservative guy, and romney has gone after him, by it has not stuck, and that might help him stick. >> well, on the highway bill is they are on the blount amendment. that is where they are for jobs. >> and that is another thing that you have to deal with is outside of the partisan politics to impact the general is that you are going to have, and i think that this is why santorum went there is that you will have
the supreme court looking at the affordable health care act, and if they go against it, it could energize the president's base. and they are scheduled an october hearing on affirmative action, so you have a lot of things playing between now and november that could really energize a base for the president that has nothing to do with what goes on in the ring as you say. >> and here is a problem though. we have alabama and mississippi and kansas and missouri coming upment with know in missouri with the weird non-contest, santorum won, and kansas is rick santorum territory, and if newt gingrich is persuaded to get out before alabama and mississippi and rick santorum wins alabama, mississippi, kansas, and missouri, who knows what will happen in hawaii. and say that happens, are we in a position to where we are talking about rick santorum as the nominee and mitt romney as the vice president? how do you reassure? how do you reassure party elites and the centrist mass of americans that you know what,
actually, you are not just the man on dog guy, and you are not the guy who can't be googled or the guy who lost by 18 points for being a social conservative that they took mr. charisma bob casey over you and you will have the competent vice president financial guy with and the guy you can patch it up with. you could be a statesman. >> well, that could happen. >> and if -- >> and i think that newt gingrich would be a good guy on the ticket. >> we, it is then "island of the misfit toys." >> and he would be the modern day alternative to dick cheney. >> oh, no. >> and you have to focus on the competence issue, and you are focusing on newt's inable to get on the ticket in his own state, virginia. and failure of rick santorum to get delegates slated where he will win well, and this
competence thing is working as boring and nonphilosophical as he is, and i would say pathetic as he is, when he imports people like trump and limbaugh, romney has the strength and call it the lds mormon confidence and the capitalist strength, and he does not screw up on that stuff. it is infrastructure and ability to proceed ahead and move the plow forward. i believe he will be the nominee, and even with the scenario next week, in the end he could put it together, and santorum -- somebody called him rag tag tonight. he has a rag tag operation. >> who will you bet on? with newt out, and if newt gets out -- >> i think that santorum can beat romney? >> well, i think that if newt gets out, it gives santorum a whole new momentum. >> but won't he blow it again. >> you think he will win the next five states? >> well, not only win the next
five states, don't underestimate romney's ability to blow it. if you end up with a one-on-one race which the media will love, and conservatives will love, this guy can be the nominee. i am telling you that the real story tomorrow is will gingrich get out. that is what you are going to hear. >> and gingrich had not been in today, santorum would have won georgia and ohio, which is the biggest catch of the night. >> you are not convincing me. >> if gingrich was not in there. >> and the fellow we had on the night, did he look like a campaign manager and chief strategist? >> well, you know, chris, this is why it is interesting. if he can get this close to ohio with no infrastructure and -- this guy has more -- >> and until. >> -- and up to 2:00 in the morning to win. >> and i am saying they could meet somewhere and that is the santorum campaign.
>> well, the chief strategist there, he is a low profile in washington, but he is a talented guy. he has won a lot of races. he is the santorum guy, and i they he has done a great job on the wits without a lot of resources running it. but as you look ahead, it is rick santorum not going to pass mitt romney on the delegate count. there's no scenario where mitt romney is going to go into the convention even if he does not have the delegates necessary to be nominated where they nominate the person with less delegates. there is a hypothetical scenario where they go into be the convention and none of them have enough delegates to be nominated and someone else is nominated, but absent someone else nominated it is one of the people running, and that is the person who has won to most delegates, and that is going to be clearly mitt romney. >> i should interject in the ohio congressional race with marcy kaptur, it was a democratic primary where she
beat dennis kucinich, and the redistricting to eliminate one of the progressive democrats, and dennis kucinich was eliminateded, and you want to know who the republican nominee was? >> who? >> joe the plumber, and samuel wurzelbacher will be running against marcy kaptur in 109 which is exciting. >> and that is who rush limbaugh was defending when he went up to the president and said that the media is picking on him. >> how did joe the plumber affect your campaign in late 2008. >> i remember in october when we were on a bus with lindsey graham, and john mccain and i, and joe the plumber boarded the campaign bus with the official biographer, and i knew we had crossed another line of surrealiality on the mccain bus. and in a serious way in that moment where president obama went to joe the plumber and
said, look, we have to spread the wealth around, and that in that one sense by his own hand, he advanced issue that we were trying to talk about unsuccessfully for a long time in the campaign. it was a little sign of life late in the campaign after the global economy had collapsed and we were being massively outspent, and in the middle of two of them. one won, one lost. and you know, in a losing campaign of a presidential side of the late stage where the walls really begin to feel like they are collapsing on you. it was a little bit of an anecdote. >> could you have had more electoral traction on that if you had not pick up the mascot for that, for whom we will all be forever grateful. >> and the media age for all that comes with it, and this guy is there and everyone globs on him, and it is a circus. look, it is a republican -- >> and who gives out the appellations, anyway?
billy the kid? joe the plumber? >> i want to know who is the first person -- >> remember the fisherman who found elan? >> dalripple. >> and remember when joe was around, but he was not around. >> and he was at the next stop. more of a premonition. >> and joe could not be with us. >> and mitt romney the apparent winner in ohio after a long path to that result. coverage of super tuesday continues. stay with us.
o-tie-o, but that did not work well at this time of the night. and too close to call ohio primary has been won by mitt romney. rick santorum tonight winning in oklahoma and tennessee and in north dakota. this has been a big and interesting night in terms of what happens moving forward in the race. after santorum's campaign said it is time for conservatives and tea party activists to urge newt gingrich to exit the race, in order to consolidate conservative support, in order to consolidate around one non-mitt romney kandb di si and main -- candidacy, a newt gingrich aide has responded saying that rick santorum does
not understand he is splitting the moderate vote with romney. >> cute. cute. >> and that is definitely -- >> we will be the judges of this. and we have decided gingrich campaign that you are the campaign that should drop out to consolidate the anti-romney vote. >> it is all good for the party. >> having seen both of the guys on the stump, i will say that although on paper and in erps the of the delegates and the states won, rick santorum looks like the guy with the mojo, newt gingrich is better on the stump. i understand that rick santorum has populism and economic message nit that is appealing in a krosover way, and having seen them both and my personal opinion of having been there, newt gingrich can move people and inspire people, and make people stand up on their chairs to clap, and he says things that does not help him, but he is more connected. >> i think that newt is a negative force. >> but he can be negative in a way that moves people. and he can move people negatively who hate the president. >> and he not only looks like the devil, but he does look like
the devil, and he has a maniacal look, and diabolical look, and he is a menacing force in politics in america. in the time he came to congress, he created a environment of hostility in the congress that never have recovered from. and he would do evil things like say keep your spouse back in the district and come the washington alone to become a pure politician. just created a terrible environment. he gets all into the social life and everything. >> that is why the beltway and the establishment dislikes newt gingrich so much, and they will try to exploit him as a candidate when they want, but that is not the regular person's perspective on him. because they want to hear from the presidential candidate what is wrong with barack obama and what could be right about the
country, and gingrich tells a better story than santorum. >> when you talk to people who know mitt romney intimately they all say the same thing. this is a great guy and we wish that the people of the country could know mitt romney the way that we do, that he could convey publicly what he does in private. all of the people who have worked with newt gingrich closely and intimately and privately say he shouldn't be president. >> are you describing george w. bush? >> and it is across the board. so i think that like you would look at that map where you is all of the states that have been won or lost, and it looks like a risk board and newt gingrich is surrounded. so i think that if, you know, you look at the race and looking at it going ahead, there is no chance that newt gingrich is the nominee of the party and very little oxygen left for him in the race. if they have any plausible chance for rick santorum to make a case for the nominee of the party, then gingrich has to get
out. >> i go back to the original point. you have a candidate who leads now in the delegate count. he is an air of negatiity surrounding him that he is not strong enough, but he has won florida and arizona and michigan and ohio, and he leads in the delegate count and pretty good real estate out in the western portions of the states. and as chuck todd said, the rest of the month will be rough for him especially if gingrich gets
out, because that is really going to grease the skids for santorum. but this is, who would have thought that a candidate would have gotten those states plus virginia the way he got it, and still have four people in the race? >> yeah. >> and we have not mentioned ron paul tonight who has yet to win a state. what is his program? where he is going? >> let me --
>> he was supposed to do well in the caucus states and get for the delegates, and he has not done it. >> let me bring mark into this, and mark, on this point of whether or not either newt gingrich or rick santorum has to get out of the race in order for there to be a possibility of a non-romney candidacy, is that the focus moving forward? you are the guy with the thumb on the pulse of the beltway here to mix the metaphors, because that is the central question on the the table right now. >> well, not right now. if you look at at the exit polls and the calendar this month and look at tennessee and oklahoma. the results were almost identical at least based on the returns so far. santorum with 35, 34 or 37% of the vote, and he won decidedly with gingrich getting 34% of the vote. so in the upcoming states in the
same region of the country that santorum has won in. he has won in the midwest and the south, and you have kansas, and you've got mo m and you have mississippi and you have got alabama. now the romney strategy is to go for delegates, so he has to play there, and he cannot avoid playing in every state now. he goes there for delegate, and can he add to the lead? he comes out potentially with four losses in four republican states, important republican states which he can win i believe right now with gingrich in the race. after those states as we move the april, he can't do it. gingrich has to get out at that point, but he might well, despite the defiance now, if he continues the lose in southern states, in missouri, in kansas, i think that at that point, he may well get out, and then santorum has to elevate the game and become a better speaker. he has to have more organization and raise money off of the victories. if he does that, he goes tone tough places like illinois, but one-on-one with ron paul in and based one-on-one against romney, he can do it. gingrich does not have to get out right away based on the ability to win the two southern states with gingrich in there. but after that, he cannot do it without gingrich leaving the race. >> thank you, mark halperin, for that. if gingrich stays in and romney loses the states with the non-romney vote divided between gingrich and rick santorum, that is even worse for romney than to lose it to a solo candidate. >> and you know, romney to a southern state can't get above 28%, so obviously the two can mix up the vote, and one of them can win. >> msnbc's coverage of super tuesday continues just after this, and again though, the big news out of super tuesday out of this past hour is that the state of ohio is going to mitt romney after a very long night, and very closely fought race with rick santorum. stay with us. we will be right back.