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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 13, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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certainly it's not believable if you're a conservative voter animated by these issues when you look at the statements that governor romney's made in the past. >> msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, senior strategist for mccain/palin '08. thanks for your time. great to have you here on nights like this. >> you bet you. our coverage of the primaries continues right now with lawrence o'donnell on "the last word." good evening, lawrence. i'm handing off to you at an exciting moment. >> you are indeed, rachel. it's so exciting. i need you to run across the hall. i've got an empty bar stool here if you can make it. are you going home right now or can you sneak over? >> no, i'm taking off my microphone right now. >> okay. we have breaking news tonight. rick santorum wins alabama. and republicans are having a three-way in mississippi. >> it is a deep pride primary day down in dixie. >> it's southern super tuesday. >> the battle for the deepest of the deep red southern states,
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mississippi and alabama. >> we thought super tuesday was going to give some finality to this race, and it didn't. >> this is a race that has been going on and on and on. >> this is going to go way, way, way into the spring. >> you can't win the nomination if you don't win the south. >> they can't get the folks going down there. >> mitt romney is still struggling with his blue-collar roots. >> my father never graduated from college. he apprenticed as a laugh-and-plaster carpenter. >> his blue-collar roots don't exist. >> he's been back and forth, back and forth. >> he flip-flops. >> he has been eating grits and saying y'all. >> i'm learning to say y'all. morning, y'all. i like grits. i got started right this morning with biscuits and cheesy grits. >> grits. >> cheesy grits strategy isn't working. >> clearly not a good ad-lib campaigner. >> he, of course, was with jeff foxworthy. >> we've got a guy i think you know pretty darn well, he's got this show called "blue collar comedy." >> mitt is the right guy for the job. >> if you're a multimillionaire entertainer supporting the
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candidacy of a wealthy financier from massachusetts, you might no longer be a redneck. polls closed in mississippi and alabama two hours ago. and now at 10:00 on the east coast, nbc news projects rick santorum as the winner in alabama. and rick santorum is leading in mississippi with newt gingrich and mitt romney trailing. nbc news categorizes that race as a three-man race that is too close to call. rick santorum is leading gingrich and romney, but it remains too close to call at this hour in mississippi. joining me now is nbc news political director and host of "the daily rundown," chuck todd. chuck, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> lawrence, how are you, sir? we've got a barn burner in mississippi. >> tell us about it. >> well, here i want to pull it
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up because i want to show you, you know, obviously and let's not pretend that twitter doesn't exist and there wasn't a lot of chatter out there in the innertubes that indicated romney was doing well in all the exit polls. but we know the raw vote's a different story, and santorum has held a lead most of the night as the raw vote has come in. and let me just tell you the story a little bit, go to the county map here. and at least explain why it's happened. now, these greene countys here, this is the jackson media market. we expected romney to win them, but i can tell you in looking at the vote total, they're not the numbers he expected to have in those three big countys around jackson, he expected to be over 45% in those places. he's not cracked 45% once. the biggest reason, though, that romney seems to be underperforming what they thought they were going to do is in the biloxi area where it's a dead heat. harrison county technically right now we've got it green because romney is leading that county. there's still more vote to be counted. one point separates all three, but that tells you the story. here's one of the other larger
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sort of less rural parts of mississippi where romney, we know, does well in the more urban areas, was supposed to do well, and that explains why romney appears to be underperforming, his exit poll. and by the way, lawrence, remember we talked about this last week a little bit? something going on where santorum, and we think -- there's a couple things we think's going on here. one is the santorum vote is a working-class vote. we've been telling you that. we know that he does very well among those who earn less than $100,000 in household income. those folks appear to be voting late. as the waves of exit polls come in and the way this works, a lot of times what gets leaked to the media are the first two waves. it gets leaked around onto the internet and twitter is the first two waves. santorum, it happened in ohio, michigan and now it appears to be happening again here in mississippi. he does better in this third wave, and what that means is he's also just got the later voters. and lawrence, you know from
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electives, guess what, working-class folks vote late. they vote after work. how about that, right? >> those people who can't get to the polls till 6:00 p.m., break for santorum. yeah, we heard those early exits. and we were caution, as we always are, don't make anything of it. and there's a possibility of underreporting in a variety of directions on these things. >> right. >> how late do you think we're going to be here, chuck, for mississippi? >> well, you know, our guys think we could wait till the very, very end. i mean, right now our models show only about a point separating first and second, but we can tell you as the raw votes come in, santorum has done better and better in the models, and various models showed various things about -- and romney's number, you know, he was certainly in some of the modeling, that included a lot of the precinct data, had romney ahead. that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. but by the way, just to show you, remember, we were talking about this earlier today. we were talking about it earlier this week. about how all these southern
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states have looked very similar, that look like mississippi and alabama looked a lot like oklahoma, tennessee, south carolina and georgia, places where romney didn't do well. and we're seeing it's the same thing. he's, you know, under 30% here. look at this in alabama. under 30% among folks who make less than $100,000. well, that's 75% of the folks in alabama. just barely over 30% in mississippi and frankly i think those numbers will get revised down as we see the actual vote totals come in. with white evangelicals, we're seeing how romney, again, is closer to that 28% number which, of course, white evangelical makes up -- it was over 80% of the vote in mississippi, nearly 75%, 80% of the vote in alabama. again, though, look at the raw vote total in alabama right now. i believe we're sitting at romney with 28%. the exact number he got in south carolina. the exact number he got in oklahoma. the exact number he got in tennessee. he's sitting at 28% there in am
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ba b alabama. so maybe the haley barbour machine is worth all of two points in mississippi. >> stand by. joining me now, msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, former mccain/palin senior adviser and senior strategist of the 2004 bush/cheney campaign. also, national affairs editor for "new york" magazine and analyst john heilman and the host of "the rachel maddow show," rachel maddow has run across the hall. >> tah-dah! >> chuck fod todd is calling it barn burner in mississippi. i, of course, am calling it a three-way. based on everything you've just heard -- you want to take a breath? >> no, the fact that you were calling it a three-way -- >> you just called it a three-way. >> -- is breathtaking enough. but then that nighttime is the right time for santorum on top of that is turning out to be an overwhelming thing for deep south coverage. one thing, mississippi which, again, still too close to call, even though mitt romney's fate eventually in mississippi is not yet determined, he is beating
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newt gingrich in mississippi among white evangelicals by one point in terms of the exits. even if -- no matter what happens tonight, the story looks like it's too complicated to generali generalize about for the night. >> steve had submittschmidt, yo vote for gingrich is a vote for romney. is that what we're seeing tonight, in effect? >> well, sure. i think newt gingrich is coming to the point in the campaign where after showing a lot of resiliency, getting very far in the process, there's some tough decisions ahead. he said his campaign is based on a southern strategy. he's already lost one of those southern states. he certainly has to win mississippi as a functional matter. his candidacy really depends on the largess of one very rich donor. if that rich donor pulls the plug, the campaign will be out of money and won't be able to go forward. but i think as a logical matter
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going forward, he's just at the point of the campaign where this is really now going to become a two-person race. >> john heilman, how can we really declare the largest vote getter in a three-way a winner? because two-thirds of that state will have voted against the so-called winner. >> well, it is a curious mathematical and in your case there's like triple entrendres going on there. >> do you know what he's talking about? >> there's nothing more uncomfortable than talking about newt gingrich in a three-way for sure. >> with two very handsome men. >> i think steve is making the right point. >> one very handsome man. >> i'm curious which one. >> romney is the handsome. >> i don't know, taste. >> yeah, taste. >> your mileage varies. >> i'm no expert, sorry. >> i think steve's making the right point. if newt gingrich doesn't win mississippi, there's going to be an extraordinary amount of pressure for him to drop out of the race.
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if santorum does hold on and win mississippi, we'll have a very interesting thing. it's too early to call. and there are people who at this network who are much deeper in the numbers than me. but if you look at the way romney has performed on the coast where there's 100% of the vote in there, he only won by 200 votes. that was a place he needed to win bigger than that. in the north part of mississippi in the memphis suburbs, he's won that entire congressional district up there. it's not clear to me that just looking at those numbers, that it's obvious that romney is going to be able to pull ahead and come back and win this. and if that happens, you know, the narrative is going to be all about santorum having done what he needed to do to stay in this race and stay viable. a lot of pressure on gingrich to get out. and although romney was supposed to lose these states earlier tonight, obviously those people had a lot of expectations about being able to pull one of these off and effectively again the narrative race. >> people are losing patience with newt gingrich. the ever-patient chris matthews tonight was saying he wants gingrich out of the race because
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he wants to see that one-on-one boxing match. i've been demanding a one-on-one with santorum and romney because i want to see a real hardcore conservative debating with the practice being republican. then i really want to see the hardcore conservative get the nomination and take that debate to president obama and see hardcore conservativism crushed, if something would happen to it in the general election. >> in newt gingrich wins mississippi, is there a case he needs to get out of the race? if he loses either of these states will effectively take so much wind out of the sails that he was going to ride to the nomination, ride all the way to tampa, is going to make people disinterested in him if he stays in the race. he's no longer going to be able to strip votes from rick santorum. but if i were newt gingrich and i were running on vanity and casino money at this point and really enjoying the bump in the book and dvd sales and national attention and all the tv time and all the bookings on fox and all of this stuff, i'm not sure
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that if i won mississippi, i wouldn't fight to stay in. i'm not sure i'd listen to anybody. >> steve schmidt, it is not within our experience to watch a republican candidate struggling along, and as rachel put it, running on casino money. so inside the back rooms of these campaigns, who makes what phone call to whom in gingrich world to try to plead with him and make some sense to him about why he should step out and let rick santorum go at romney? >> those calls won't happen tonight, lawrence. they'll happen over the next couple of days. he'll start to hear from longtime supporters, donors. callista will start to hear from longtime supporters and donors. and the staff will certainly begin to have conversations amongst themselves. and then ultimately with speaker gingrich who says there's just not a path forward. you had a great run. you were bankrupted. your entire staff quit.
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you came back twice. you made it deep into the process. you have been a candidate that's contributed a lot to the dynamic in the race right now, but you're not going to be the nominee. and when a candidate stays in the race too long, when they have no chance to win, they really start to get diminished. and i suspect newt gingrich isn't going to go down that path. i'll look for a graceful exit. if he can't win both of these states, it's tough to see how he was able to put together the southern strategy he's talked about is necessary to put together. >> you know, lawrence, to your point about the phone calls that will get made, almost as interesting as the calls to the gingrich campaign will be the calls that go out from the republican establishment to sheldon attelson. that's a discussion that's been going on. >> isn't romney going to call him and say, stay in there, i need this three-way to continue? >> certainly i'm sure those calls will be made for sure. going back to south carolina and florida, there was some discussion about eric cantor being an emissary from, quoted,
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establishment from attelson to stop putting money into the suicidal campaign. i think those calls will escalate tonight a lot especially if gingrich doesn't win mississippi. >> two quick factors on that. we don't know that sheldon doesn't want to been at this time from gingrich staying in the race. he said he doesn't like santorum and he does like romney. he may think he's doing romney the most effective thing he could be doing to help romney. >> as of tonight he is. >> as of tonight he is. it should also be noted sheldon has just been hit with a multizillion lawsuit by gaming interests in macau. >> we've all been hit by gaming interests in macau. >> it would be as much of a great thought experiment as if i were newt gingrich. >> i watched the thought bubble go over his head when you said if i were newt gingrich. >> i think of myself as gingrich
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all the time, but that's private. even for a guy as wealthy as he is, it's got to be his numbers making him think about how much money he's wasting right now. >> is it possible that newt gingrich isn't professional enough anymore to analyze the outcome of a situation like this the way he would have and the way rational politicians who think they have a future would analyze these kinds of results? >> anything is possible, but he's been in the game for a long time. and i'd be highly surprised that once the conventional wisdom around this race becomes clear even among supporters of his that there's not a path forward, then i think you'll see him look for a grateful exit. but it's been an unpredictable year. who knows how it's going to go? i do think, lawrence, one of the interesting things here is the extent to which mitt romney has been drawn into playing rick santorum's game. when he starts to try to go to rick santorum's right and say the definition of a real
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conservative is with regard to your votes on planned parenthood, you're playing on rick santorum's turf. i think it undermines romney's core message in a number of different places in the electorate. but you look at that argument that started to break out here over the last couple of days. i think that's not a great sign for mitt romney. he remains in good position on the delegate side of this. but from a momentum argument and being able to say that i'm the inevitable candidate, let's start locking this down and closing it down, he's away from being there still. >> rachinerachel, are you comin at midnight? >> they're going to have to pry me out of here with a crowbar. >> rachel maddow, john heilman, steve schmidt and chuck todd, thank you all for joining me tonight. next, i'll talk to the gingrich campaign. the santorum campaign will be here, too. we'll talk about where they go from here and if there's any hope for the gingrich campaign. and later, rush limbaugh actually went back to work today even though his sponsors did not
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go back on his show. and in "the rewrite" tonight, if you are born romney, you are born rich, and you are born with a knack for saying the wrong thing. what mitt romney's son said in hawaii about president obama. that's coming up.
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you can watch rachel's run across the hall from her set to my set to do this show on our blog. later tonight we'll have that video posted in the very "last word" section of our blog. newt gingrich's daughter and rick santorum's communications director are going to join me next. they're going to tell us what's next for their campaigns. what they think the results mean for them. and later in "the rewrite," romney men are known for exactly two things, money and saying wicked, weird stuff. what mitt romney's son said about president obama. that's tonight's "rewrite."
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rick santorum is the projected winner in alabama tonight. but we are still watching a too-close-to-call three-way race in mississippi with republican presidential candidates there tonight. joining me, jackie gingrich-cushman. jackie, thank you for returning to the show tonight. what do you think the results mean tonight for the gingrich campaign? >> first of all, thanks for having me on. i always love coming on your show. secondly, what these results mean is that we're still very strong. we're looking forward to your
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point, the final results in these states because there's still a lot of votes are out, and we're interested to see how they finally end up. a couple things, we're moving on to illinois and louisiana. we know that as of louisiana, that's literally halfway through the primary season. and at this time, nobody in this race has the number of delegates, the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. we're looking forward to moving to louisiana, taking a little halftime break and then moving on to the convention in tampa. >> jackie, i don't know if you could hear what steve schmidt was saying in the earlier segment about your dad, but there's been a lot of talk tonight about when does newt gingrich drop out. and has there been any conversations within the campaign tonight about your dad thinking this could be the end of the road? >> i think it's very interesting when the only republican presidential candidate that's driving the national conversation is my father, newt gingrich, and people are
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wondering when he drops out. if you look what's happened in the last week when president obama is now talking about energy prices, gas prices, you look at the secretary of energy today that said gosh, i made a mistake, and he's stepping back from the higher increases. the only candidate that we have as republicans that's driving the national conversation the way we want is speaker newt gingrich, is my father. he is not going to drop out. he's not interested in that. he is here as a citizen to do what's best for his country, and he's looking forward to moving on. >> jackie, say what you will about driving the conversation, rick santorum's certainly doing a lot of that, too. but your dad, newt gingrich, is not winning. winning is more important than driving the conversation, and especially in the assuccumulati of delegates. steve schmidt, our republican analyst, says that he sees a vote for newt gingrich at this point as a vote for romney. because as you see tonight, mitt romney can't manage more than
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about one-third of the vote at best in these southern states. >> well, i would say the exact same thing. a vote for senator santorum is a vote that could have gone to newt gingrich. and the fact is, let's just look at these two candidates. when you look at these two candidates' records, when my father was speaker, they balanced the budget for four straight years. they reformed welfare, cut taxes and spending. when senator santorum was in senate leadership, he was the third highest ranking senator. he lost very badly in his home state. and during that time, they left our government with $1.7 trillion in debt. there's a big contrast between the records of these gentlemen, and i think the american people and the republicans -- in fact, a poll yesterday said republicans are not yet ready to narrow this down. they need to understand the different backgrounds of these candidates, what they've done on the record. clearly when you look at the record, my father is the only candidate that can debate and beat president barack obama. >> but jackie, as you see this going forward, do you disagree with the math that everybody else looks at when they look at
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these three candidates, and everyone is saying, if romney was up against just one of them, he would be consistently losing? and instead, he manages to squeak out wins because there are these two conservatives who are more conservative than romney in the race? do you deny that math in the gingrich campaign? >> well, a couple things. if you heard governor romney yesterday, he actually claimed that he was more fiscally conservative than senator santorum. i'm not going to make that judgment. i'm just repeating what i heard. i think voters should go look at the records. secondly, if you look at the math, it's how the american people are voting. in the end, again, the math is, you need 1,144 delegates. and they need to be bound delegates because if you win unbound delegates, they can move. so it's very complicated process. and my bet is if you went to three different outlets and got three different pictures of where people are today, you'd get three different numbers for the canned dates. but in the end, you cannot secure the nomination until
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there are 1,144 dell gals. >> jackie gingrich cushman, no one does a better job speaking for their candidate. >> thank you so much for having me on. we are expected to hear rick santorum come to speak. he'll be at the microphone any minute now. we'll take a break now, and we will come back to the rick santorum speech. also coming up, rush limbaugh went back to work today, but he didn't say anything, not a word, that will make advertisers come back to his show. and in "the rewrite" tonight, another chapter of weird stuff romney says, but this time it's matt romney who tried to say good things about his father in hawaii yesterday but ended up saying something about president obama that the campaign will never let him say again. that's in "the rewrite."
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rick santorum is the projected winner in the alabama republican presidential primary tonight. it is still too close to call in mississippi. we're expecting to hear from rick santorum soon. he will be speaking to his supporters tonight. we will be back with more live election coverage. it looks like we can't take our break now because rick santorum is entering the room in lafayette, louisiana, where he is tonight in the sweater vest without a tie. oh, no, that was one of the kids. okay. there's rick santorum dressed
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like a presidential candidate. there was a sweater vest up there somewhere. but there he is. >> one more thing, and you will all appreciate it, but you know, we have to do this for somebody like rick santorum. i heard him talk, and he talks kind of funny. so when i heard that, now, you know, he thinks we talk funny, but that's how it works in south louisiana. so because of that, i decided he deserves the right to be an honorary cajun. so tonight -- thank you. thank you for being in lafayette. >> we did it again.
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thank you all very much. first and foremost, as we continue this campaign and continue to work hard, i just want to thank everybody. i want to thank everybody. i get this question all the time. what do people say to you when you get around and you meet all the people we've been meeting as we've crisscrossed this country. and the most common thing i hear from people, and i know i'm not alone, is people come up and say, "i'm praying for you." i just want to thank you for that. i want to thank god for giving us the strength every day to go out there and to be clear in our message and our vision for this country. and that's what this race has been about. people have said, you know, you're being outspent, you know, everybody's talking about, you know, all the math and all the things that this race is
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inevitable. well, for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for it being inevitable. this is a grass-roots campaign for president. who would have ever thought in the age of media that we have in this country today that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in, day out? i want to thank the people of kansas over the weekend. we would not be here today -- i said when i was in wichita, and i know i did really well in wichita because my wife, karen, spoke at that caucus. the first couple times i got this from some reporters who were doing interviews with me
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and karen, it was funny. now it's becoming a little bit annoying. they keep telling me, well, after the interview, you know, you should speak less and let karen speak more. you'd do better. but she has been an amazing asset to this campaign, but more importantly, she is an amazing gift to me and to these children. john, daniel, sara marie, peter and patrick who are here behind me, this team up here on this stage has just delivered time and time again for me in my life. i just want to thank them again publicly for all that they're doing for us. my daughter, elizabeth, is in hawaii. tough duty, i know. but she's in hawaii. and so we're counting on elizabeth to surprise them all out there with the results
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tonight when you wake up in the morning, and we'll see how well my daughter did. thank you, sweetie, for the sacrifice. and, of course, i always have to say hello to my little sweetheart. i know she's watching me at home. my little 3 1/2-year-old, bella, bless you. i love you. this campaign is about ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. sort of like america. sort of like america, going out there and exceeding expectations, going out there defying the odds because we believe in something that's bigger than ourselves. that's what america's always been about. it's not been about self. it's been about serving. it's been about giving and trying to do something for someone who needs help more than you do yourself. and i looked around at the crowds that we had in alabama and mississippi.
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and i just have to tell you, i was so encouraged. all the polls were showing us, you know, trailing. and they kept coming out. and they kept saying, we believe in you. we're going to go out and we're going to work hard, and we're going to make the difference. so i just want to say first to the people of alabama, you made a great difference, and i thank you very, very much for your support. i don't think there was a single poll that had me anywhere close to winning mississippi. not one. and yet i knew when i was traveling around on, whether it was all the way up in tupelo or all the way down in gulfport, the folks that i met and the passion in their heart, they understood how important this race is for themselves and their families and for the future of our country. and i end all my speech by talking about the declaration of independence and how we have to
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pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, our sacred honor. every generation does, in order to maintain the great freedom, the great torch that has been given to every generation of americans. and the people of this country, the folks who are out there who are affected when gas prices go up, the quality of their life is affected with a government that is irresponsible and irresponsive to the needs of average people. particularly when it comes to gas prices in this country. i'm here in lafayette, louisiana, tonight. i wanted to be here because of
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them. this is the heart of the oil and gas industry on the gulf coast. and this administration almost put this town under with the moratoriums, the delays in permitting that are getting worse and worse and worse. and as a result, the ability for the men and women who go out and drill these wells and service these wells, to go out and earn an income and more importantly for them to get that oil and gas into the shores so we can use it here in this country. we're seeing gas prices at what are projected to be historic highs. and this yet this president almost put this whole region out of business because of the extreme environmental policies of this administration. and we wanted to be here in lafayette to say to average folks who are struggling right now because of those energy prices, we will put this town and this region back to work so
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you can go back to work and have a better quality of life. i finally just want to say to the people of mississippi, i just can't thank you enough. i don't know, we've been out here a few minutes. i don't know whether the race is called or not, but i can tell you this. what the folks down there did in spite of all the odds, all the money being spent, all the establishment, all the establishment, being on the other side of this race, you stood with a guy comes from the grandson of a coal miner in a steel town in western pennsylvania, but you knew, shared your values, and was going to go out and work for you to make sure that this country was free and safe and prosperous based on believing in free
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people and free markets and free economy and, of course, the integrity of the family and the centrality of faith in our lives. bless you. thank you. now -- now, missouri is next. we did well in the primary.
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we hope to do even better in the caucuses this weekend and, of course, next week, next week, we'll come back here, and we expect a huge win here in cajun country. we will compete everywhere. we will compete everywhere. the time is now. for conservatives to pull together. the time is now to make sure, to make sure that we have the best chance to win this election and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against barack obama who can take him on on every issue.
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if louisiana, missouri, illinois and yes, puerto rico, which we are heading to tonight, i might add, and we're going to spend two days campaigning in puerto rico. because we want to make sure that everybody knows we're campaigning everywhere there are delegates because we are going to win this nomination before that convention. those states do their part starting right here in louisiana, if you folks do your part and you help us like the folks in alabama and hopefully the folks in mississippi did -- we did?
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you do your job. you do your job next week. we will nominate a conservative. and if we nominate a conservative, we will defeat barack obama and set this country back on the right track. thank you. god bless. thank you. thank you. >> that was rick santorum, triumphally addressing his supporters in lafayette, louisiana, tonight, which is the next place they will be counting votes. he has won. he is the projected winner in alabama. and he is running a very, very close race in mississippi. we're going to take a look at our big board here on where the numbers stand in mississippi. rick santorum is now with 96% in at 33%, newt gingrich is at 31%.
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mitt romney at 30%. ron ball way out of it at 4%. joining me now, karen finney, msnbc political analyst, and mark thompson, sirius xm radio host. karen, what do you see in these results tonight? >> well, this woman vote really hurts me. i've got to say. you heard me say that. i mean, a couple of things. it's not surprising given how conserve -- >> let me -- i think the number you're referring to, we have an exit poll of alabama republicans showing that working women went for rick santorum in a big way. 49%. and that may very well be how he won this thing. >> it may very well be indeed. and that's why i say it's a little painful because i'm wondering if those women really heard the full message that yes, there's the economy, but if you've got to worry about your basic health care, how are you then going to be able to do what you need to do in terms of having a job, paying your rent, taking care of your kids?
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but you know, we'll deal with that should he become the nominee. one of the things i would say is it's not surprising, having just spent a little time in alabama and how conservative alabama is, that rick santorum would do so well because he is very conservative. i mean, he speaks their language in a way, you know, i don't care how many times mitt romney talks about cheesy grits, he's just never going to get that. that being said, romney at third place, he can still make an argument certainly -- i mean, he came in third. he was relatively close to newt gingrich. so he can still make the case that, hey, i won out west. i've won in the northeast. i did okay in the south. it's not the strong argument i think he was hoping for, but it's not bad for him. >> mark thompson, you've just come from the south last week. i thought i was hearing rick santorum trying to sound a little southern. there was a moment there he was talking about romney spent a whole lot of money. i heard him say that. sounding pennsylvania wasn't good enough for him. he wanted to sound a little bit
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southern. but is anything surprising to you in this result so far? >> no, not at all. when rick santorum first announced he was running for president, in his announcement speech, he was criticizing president obama for saying america wasn't as great as it was until there were programs like medicare and social security. but in that criticism, he said directly to the president, he said, mr. president, america was great before 1965. i called that out as a coded message. i go to selma every year. 1965 is a sacred year in the history of this country, and a never-forgotten year in terms of the history of alabama. when he said that, i knew exactly who he was speaking to in that coded language. so i'm not surprised at all that he won alabama. what is amazing to me is that not only the 49% of working women go with santorum, but karen, it looks like all women went with santorum. 37% of women, the majority of men went with gingrich. so one of the great questions, the great mysteries i wasn't to
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have answered when i get to the pearly gates is not only where socks go in the dryer and why women are republicans and why people vote against their own interests. >> these are women republicans we're talking about which is a minority of women in america. most women in america are not republicans. you have a massive independent bloc. and so is there anything you see in these results that indicate some kind of strength that santorum can take outside of this region? >> you know, certainly if he can continue to do well among conservative women, that certainly will be helpful to him. thank god there are nonconservative women in the majority of the country. and the largest voting bloc that supported barack obama, black women. plenty of those in the south. plenty of those in alabama. and we remember 1965, too. but yeah, i think certainly the other thing that santorum has, the other numbers that were sort of interesting was this idea that electability was not the key factor. and that's kind of been his argument all along is that if he could just get gingrich out,
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then you've really got a two-man race. and so he doesn't have to make that i'm the most electable argument. he's just got to make the argument like hey, i need a fair shot at romney. so i thought that was pretty interesting. it will certainly help his argument going forward. >> mark, before we go to break, another code that i'm wondering about, when he started trashing jfk, that sounded very strange to me because jfk has an 85% approval rating in this country now. but is that -- was that also coded for the south, for these states? >> i believe so. i think much of what he said has been coded for the south including what he said about us. i'm a blah man. he says these things, and it gets that message over, and it gets him responses. in terms of whether he can carry it outside of the south, i think that's what rush limbaugh is trying to find out for him. the kinds of things that rush limbaugh has been saying, whether or not that's still going to have some type of appeal to the kind of women voted for him remains to be seen. >> msnbc political analyst karen
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finney and mark thompson, the host of "make it plain" on serious xm radio, thank you both for joining me tonight. it is still too close to call in mississippi. coming up, more of our coverage as we await final results in mississippi.
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we now have a projected winner in mississippi. nbc news now projects that rick santorum will win in mississippi. that makes two wins for rick santorum tonight. first alabama. now mississippi. we have 96% of the vote in at this point. rick santorum, the projected winner with 33% of the vote followed by newt gingrich with 31% of the vote. and then mitt romney at 30% of
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the vote. rick santorum's down at 4% of the vote, not a factor tonight. again, rick santorum, the winner, sweeping alabama and mississippi tonight. joining me now, "washington post" political columnist dana mi millbank and salon.com writer steve pornacky. steve, tell us what this means. this was not the outcome people were looking for tonight. >> no. the interesting thing is we can look at these results, and we say obviously it's moment us for santorum that he wins both of these, but imagine if newt gingrich hadn't been in this race tonight. not only would santorum have won these two states, he would have won them in runaways. i think now you're going to have obviously an enormous amount of pressure from the santorum campaign on newt gingrich to get out. i think that pressure's going to extend to conservative leaders. and i think that's going to sort of rub off on republican voters from this point forward. i think even if newt doesn't get out of the race in response to
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these results tonight, i think his standing in subsequent states is going to drop markedly. so there it was. you saw in santorum's speech there, he talked about louisiana. obviously, i think there's going to be a sort of heavy expectation he'll win that state. but it's after louisiana. the next big test in this race now is going to be illinois. and you look at how this race has gone so far. he's say illinois is somewhat consistent with michigan and ohio, a state with not quite evangelical christian enough, enough sort of blue areas where romney's run well, where on paper you'd think romney would be able to win. but the wild card is we might have what we've been talking about for more than a year, that one-on-one race between mitt romney and the default conservative rick santorum and we can test the degree of resistance on the right to mitt romney being the nominee. >> dana milbank, it may be romney had the best internal polls, and that's why he's hiding out in manhattan raising money with rich republicans
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rather than being anywhere near a microphone to make what would be concession speeches for two states. >> right. that's true, lawrence. i mean, i suppose you can step back and look at it and say, this was the tight race that everybody expected. but the order of finish means something. and had mitt romney actually prevailed in one or both of these contests, he would have been able to say, okay, let's move on. i'm the presumptive nominee. clearly this has eluded him once again. i think the story is really more about newt gingrich at this point because they have demonstrated clearly that there is enough of a basis for resisting romney in this party. the question for newt gingrich, is it going to be about ego? is it going to be about getting a conservative nominee? the gingrich race all along has been about ego. one expects that will continue, and he is certainly being mitt romney's best friend in this competition. >> chuck todd is back with us.
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chuck, what did it for rick santorum in mississippi? >> look, i think one of the problems -- and i apologize, somebody was talking in my ear in the middle of your question, so i'll admit that. hit me one more time with the question. >> what was it for rick santorum in mississippi? did they turn out to be mirror images? >> they're mirror images. i think what it was, the small difference here as far as the romney team was concerned and why they believed that they did have a shot in mississippi -- first of all, this is a close race, okay? so it was margin of error. but what they believed was that they were going to do better in some of the what comprises urban areas in mississippi. and he carried counties around jackson. and he carried biloxi and the gulfport area, but he did it by the narrowest of margins. by the way, he didn't do so hot -- romney did not do well in the memphis suburbs county, particularly the bigest, desoto.
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he underperred where there should have been more establishment republican support. suburbs of memphis. jackson area. the capitol, and then down on the gulf coast. those are areas where there are wealthier republicans. and that's where he should have overperformed, and he underperformed in those areas. so that's simply where he didn't do it. santorum just did as well and gingrich, for to matter, they did exactly what we thought, this was split the more conservative vote. there is a businessman chamber of commerce vote that is somewhere between i'd argue 33% and 40% in both states, and romney underperformed that number, and that's the key. if you look at this pattern of southern states, 28% in south carolina for romney, 20% in -- i believe it was 26% in georgia, 28% in tennessee, 28% in alabama, 30% in mississippi. so haley barbour's team was worth two points. >> chuck, we're seeing on a
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split screen that callista gingrich is getting close to introducing newt gingrich to speech. i may have to cut you off at any moment to hear the speaker speak. >> that's fine. >> i assume tomorrow, chuck, from the santorum campaign we're going to be hearing a very loud version of what steve schmidt started saying last week in our election coverage here which is a vote for gingrich is a vote for romney. >> oh, it absolutely is, especially when you look at the states that gingrich has won. he's only won two states now. and he's still only won two states. and it's simply georgia and the state to its east, couldn't even win. that's it. there's the gut ginewt gingrich. that's where he is the republican nominee of those two states, and that is it. couldn't add on alabama and tennessee, the states that touch georgia. so that, i think, says a lot, number one. number two, do keep this in mind -- >> chuck, we're going to get to number two tomorrow in "the daily rundown" or later tonight.
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speaker gingrich is about to address the troops. >> let me thank all of you for your very, very hard work and all the work you did. i particularly want to thank jeba wagner who has been tireless in crisscrossing the state. and i'm delighted he and maryland are with us tonight, and we congratulate them on their 54th anniversary. and it's just wonderful to have them here with us. i also want to thank michael ciamara who helped us put together a wonderful campaign here in alabama. it's been quite an evening. first i want to say i congratulate rick santorum on a great campaign. he has won a victory in both states, and he's worked very hard to achieve it. i know how much he has put into this campaign, he and his entire family, over the last year. and i congratulate him on a positive evening and a positive result. i'd also point out that because this is proportional representation, we're going to leave alabama and mississippi
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with a substantial number of delegates increasing our total going towards tampa. and we are very grateful to you because you made that outcome possible. and with your help, we're going to take a much bigger delegation than we had yesterday, so thank you very much for that. i emphasize going to tampa because one of the things tonight proved is that the elite media's effort to convince the nation that mitt romney is inevitable just collapsed. the fact is -- the fact is in both states, the conservative candidates got nearly 70% of the vote. and if you're the front-runner -- if you're the front-runner and you keep coming in third, you're not much of a front-runner.
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and frankly, i do not believe that a massachusetts moderate who created romneycare as the forerunner of obamneycare is going to be in any position to win any debates this fall, and that's part of the reason i insist on staying in this race. we need someone that can go toe to toe with barack obama and debate him and win the debates decisively. now, i will always remember -- >> anywhere, anytime. >> that's exactly right, anywhere, anytime. i will always remember campaigning in mississippi and alabama because it was here in the last week that the issue of gasoline and energy was crystallized. and while we're having -- we haven't always gotten our message across in terms of getting as many votes as we'd like, we clearly

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