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Mitt Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona

Aired February 28, 2012 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: That would be eight delegates just from those districts.

You see this area here? There are a half-dozen congressional districts, major population centers there. Governor Romney, it looks like, will pick up the six congressional districts that are right in here. The upper peninsula, this is about one district up here. This will be a fierce fight for the district up here. You see Governor Romney doing well here, Senator Santorum well up here.

We are going to have to go through all of the precincts in the upper peninsula district, the number one district up there. There are a couple more districts in here that you can see the battles for going out.

I want to blank this. I'm going to show our voters a bit of a little cheat sheet we had our guys make up, our magic wall team. I'm going to lay this in over the state. These are the new congressional districts. If you lay it in over the state, as you see, I told you this is all one district, up top here, the northern part of the state.

You see a pretty fierce battle there, Romney here, Santorum up here. We will have to count the votes. This one may take a while. Again I told you one, two, three, four districts right here. A lot of purple. Santorum looks like he's on his way to winning in the newly drawn districts, one, two, three, four. This one down here at the bottom of the state, it looks like a fierce battle, except for the fact you see where that dot is, that's a population center.

Governor Romney winning in the population center would have the edge down here. And you can't see them in because these districts are all around the urban area of Detroit, so I'm going to pull the map out of the way, one more before I go. You see right up here, in what is called the thumb of Michigan, there's a congressional district right there, looks like a pretty big battle for that. Let's move that out of the way again.

And here, though, Wolf, when you're going district by district, 14 at play, a half dozen of them right here, Santorum is winning the west, Romney winning the Detroit area. We will break it down as we go. Right now, very hard, very hard for me to see any way for Santorum to make the up.

But we will keep counting the votes.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. He's up by, what, 22,000 votes. Going to be hard for Santorum to make it up. But we will see, still 38 percent of the vote outstanding.

Let's go to Candy Crowley right now. She's over at Romney headquarters with a special guest -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, thank you so much for joining us.

I want to first start out with what we're hearing from Oakland County, the biggest has more Republicans than any other county, correct?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes. It's our largest county, and very Republican, and it's a great county. Those results coming in strong for Governor Romney is a good sign.

CROWLEY: We had him at about -- the last I checked, 49 percent Romney, 31 percent Santorum. Is that enough to pull him over -- pull Romney, who you support, over in this state?

SNYDER: Well, I wouldn't have that as a final conclusion, but it's a very positive indicator.

And things are going well. Governor Romney is the right candidate. I'm proud to support him, and it's great to have the primary here in Michigan. We're the comeback story in the country. We were down for a decade, and the things we're doing here is what needs to show up in Washington, balance a budget, deal with your deficits and move forward and create jobs.

And Governor Romney is the right guy.

CROWLEY: But, Governor, it shouldn't have been this hard for Mitt Romney. Why was it?

SNYDER: Well, the primary season is very competitive. You go from state to state. And he was back in the polls until he had a chance to campaign here.

And once he got actively campaigning, you saw the result. He continually moved up in the polls and hopefully we will see a win tonight. I believe we will.

CROWLEY: And you predicted on Sunday that he would win Michigan. Are you still firm in that, willing to take all bets?

SNYDER: Well, again, I'm not a betting man, but I believe he will win. I'm a problem-solver.

CROWLEY: The fact is that, you know, he talked a lot about his Michigan roots. You know Governor Romney, his father still a big name in Michigan. And yet this has been a pull for him, where you see that people are going to look at this and say he should have won bigger if he wins at all.

SNYDER: Well, I wouldn't read into that. Again, it's a very competitive race in so many states. Michigan is a very diverse state, and I think this is a good state for him to win. It's kind of icing on the cake.

He's from here, but the real reason people are voting for him are jobs and the kids and their future. That's what Michigan citizens really care about, is more and better jobs and a brighter future for our kids. We're doing that in Michigan. We had a big deficit. We had, you know, to balance our budget, pay down liabilities. We did it.

He did it successfully back in Massachusetts. We need that skill set in Washington. And I believe that's what the voters are responding to.

CROWLEY: You also had a Democratic president who was willing to loan money to the auto industry to get them back on their feet. It was very successful.

You, if you get your way, are going to have a candidate -- well, even if it's Rick Santorum -- who opposed this auto bailout. Isn't Michigan almost a done deal for Democrats in the fall?

SNYDER: Not at all.

And this is what I have said continually, because I represent the citizens of Michigan. I think I have a good feel, that we shouldn't armchair quarterback that issue. It's great to see the auto industry successful. It's a huge thing for Michigan.

But as a practical matter, our citizens are really looking and wanting an answer to the question about what is going to create jobs today and tomorrow for them and their kids. So the dialogue needs to move to what's going on today and what's going on tomorrow, as opposed to what happened in the past.

CROWLEY: You have in the past talked about being in favor of this open primary, where Democrats can come and vote for a Republican if they want.

Former Governor Romney said today, this is mischief, this is sort of trying to cheat. Do you think that?

SNYDER: Well, again, I have been a supporter of the open primary, and I still am, because in the best world it's the open tent approach. You literally give people the opportunity to vote for the candidate they believe in.

But they're voting for that person because they believe they're the best person. Unfortunately, there is a side that is not as positive, that isn't a good thing, and that's literally where people are sort of using their vote to vote for somebody they really don't like to cause trouble with someone else.

CROWLEY: Not the first time that's happened in Michigan, though.

SNYDER: Yes. But in a relative sense, more often it works to the positive of allowing people to look at a broader base of candidates, and, again, vote for who they think is the best person.

So, overall, it's a positive, but it doesn't help when people try to encourage that kind of behavior, because that's not a great use of democracy.

CROWLEY: Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

Your people and my people are all saying wrap, so I think we have to.

Thanks so much -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much. Thank the governor for us as well, Candy.

I want to go quickly to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jim Acosta is over at Rick Santorum headquarters.

We're getting ready to hear from Rick Santorum momentarily, but you're getting some new information. What are you hearing, Jim?


I just want to pass along something I picked up earlier this evening from John Brabender. He's a senior strategist for the Rick Santorum campaign. He basically acknowledged some of the problems that Rick Santorum has over the last several days, going down those rabbit holes, as Gloria described them, talking about how President Obama wants to indoctrinate college students in liberalism, saying he wanted to throw up after hearing John F. Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state.

If you look at that banner behind me, it talks about made in America. They're going to be getting back to Senator Santorum's plans for fixing the manufacturing sector in this economy. That's what they want to pivot to in the coming days heading into Super Tuesday, Wolf.

Just want to tell you, a few moments ago, they were playing the music from "The Natural" in this room. That's old the Robert Redford movie about the baseball player who comes back late in his life to win the big one. You will remember, at the end of the movie, he smacks the baseball into the stadium lights to win the game.

I think what you're going to hear from a lot of Republicans over the next few days is that perhaps Rick Santorum hit a foul ball here in Michigan with that robo-call and straying from his economic message. It's been a tough several days for the Santorum campaign and that acknowledgement from John Brabender earlier this evening I think is an indication they know that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: They filmed that movie "The Natural" in War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York. I remember it well.

Thanks very much, Jim Acosta. We're going to get ready to hear from Rick Santorum momentarily. Mitt Romney will be speaking. We will have live coverage, Anderson, of all of that, so a lot still to come.

And, remember, once we hear from these candidates, we have this focus group, Republicans in Columbus, Ohio. That's where they're voting on Super Tuesday one week from today. And they're going to be showing us what they like and what they don't like so much with these two candidates, these two front-runners.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Gloria, David, what do you think went wrong for Rick Santorum in the last week?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it has to do with what Jim Acosta was just talking about, which John Brabender, a top adviser to Santorum, all but admitted, which is that I think he took some detours he didn't need to take.

He was trying very much hard to be the cultural conservative, to appeal to those evangelical voters who are very important in the state of Michigan. And as John pointed out, he's winning some of those areas. But what he did was he forfeited his populist message as a result. He didn't continue to talk about it, and his populist economic message is really what has driven him so far to succeed in the primaries.

So he tried to kind of nuance it and combine them, except he didn't do that very well. He seemed to focus more on the values issues, and in a time when the economy is really hurting, I think voters want to hear more about the economy. He lost a lot of fiscal conservatives he could have won.


BORGER: That, too.


COOPER: We heard you say that I think on debate night as well.

GERGEN: Yes, exactly. It was the first time he had ever been on top.

And what happened? Romney and Ron Paul both went after him, and they had a pincer movement against him, and they drove him into talking about earmarks and his congressional record, turning him into a legislator. And here when he came into Michigan, he not only had that, coming off a bad debate night.

When you're a front-runner, the press is really going to go look at your record. His record has never been unearthed before, and so a lot of these issues that he had to defend came up from things he had said in the past about Satan threatening the United States, about how he almost threw up after President John Kennedy's speech on religion.

He just wasn't -- he wasn't ready for a lot of that.

COOPER: And Rick Santorum is about to speak. And let's listen.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow. A month ago, they didn't knew who we are, but they do now.


What a -- what an absolutely great night. I am so thankful, so thankful to so many people here tonight. First and foremost, I just have to say, to the people of Michigan, you know, we came into the backyard of one of my opponents, in a race that everyone said, well, just ignore, you have really no chance here. And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is: I love you back. Thank you.


I also -- thank you -- I also -- as I said, you're getting to know me.

UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTER: We love you, baby. We love you.

SANTORUM: Well, thank you.


SANTORUM: Not necessarily exactly through the mediums that I want you to get to know me, but, you know, we have an opportunity tonight to tell you a little bit more about who Rick Santorum is. I want to thank the folks up here on this stage behind me, my wife, Karen, and my family, who's represented here by Elizabeth and John, and at home, the rest of the family, Daniel, and Sarah Maria, and Peter and Patrick, and our little Bella. I want to thank them for standing behind me, not just figuratively, but literally every day of this campaign. So thank them very, very much.


I want to -- I want to tell you about more specifically about three people, first, someone who's not here that I haven't publicly thanked yet, and I feel like I have been remiss at doing so. And that's someone who I know is watching, too. And that's my 93-year-old mom.


I'm sure she's feeling very proud. One of her first jobs was in Saginaw, Michigan. And she was very, very excited that I was coming back here to -- to Michigan. But my mom's in a very -- well, unusual person for her time. She's someone who -- who did get a college education in the -- in the 1930s, and was a nurse, and got a graduate's degree, even, as a nurse, and worked full time. And when she married my dad, they worked together at the Veterans Administration. That's where they met, right after the war. And later on, they were -- they had me and the rest of the family, my brother and sister, and my mom continued to work. She worked all of my childhood years. She balanced time, as my dad did, working different schedules, and she was a very unusual person at that time. She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband.

I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about how to balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment.

You know, that's probably one of the reasons that I ended up marrying the person I married here, Karen, someone...


... someone who's as strong as they get, someone who is -- I met when were we -- when she was just about to start the practice of law and I was doing the same. I recruited her, in more ways than one, to my law firm.


Karen was a professional, worked a nurse for nine years, and then after that, she -- she -- we got married, and she walked away. And she decided to stay home and raise her children, but she didn't quit working, obviously. Raising seven children is a lot of work, but she found time also to be an author of two books, those books about -- really went to the heart of the family and something that she knows a lot about.

She, too, has been that rock that has been beside me and has been a great example of how it's important to balance that work and family and do so committed to making sure that you're the best at both that you can be.

And now I'm proud that I have a daughter here in Elizabeth who is a great part of our campaign. She goes out on her own and campaigns, and the feedback I get is, "You stay home; just send Elizabeth out. You'll do just fine."


So we've been -- I have been very, very blessed, very blessed with great role models for me, as someone who goes out and tries to do the job I'm doing right now, to balance the rigors of running a campaign and trying to maintain a good and strong family.

We all have to do that as Americans. We all have that responsibility, to make both work and work as well as we can, and it's getting harder out here in America. It's getting harder for people to make ends meet, because we have a government that is crushing us every single day with more taxes, more regulations, and the idea that they know better than you how to run your life. That ultimately is about what this race is about. It goes down to the very nature of who we are as Americans. Are we a country that believes in big government? Do we believe in the smart and elite in this country to manage us? Or do you believe in free people and a free economy and building a great America from the bottom up? What do you say?


Well, we've put together a plan, and we announced it here in Michigan, our first 100 days and what we're going to do, our freedom agenda, as to how we're going to get this country turned around. And the first thing we talked about is what's on the minds of a lot of people right now, and that is the rising energy costs in this country.

We can put millions of Americans -- and that's under-scoring -- millions of Americans back to work if we would unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of -- of our energy sector of our economy. We can drive down prices, decrease our dependency on foreign oil. We can do it all, but we have a president who says no. We have a president who, when the opportunity to open up federal lands for mining and oil and gas drilling, says no. We have a president who's -- we have an opportunity to open up offshore, he says no, deepwater, he says no, Alaska, he says no, build a pipeline, he says no.

We need a president who says yes to the American people and energy production.


It's not...


SANTORUM: That's right. It's not just the consumer that's affected by it, but it's many communities across this country, rural communities that have been struggling. You look at where the population loss is in this country. You look at where the unemployment rate's its highest. It's in areas where the government has shut down and made it virtually impossible for us to use our natural resources, to be able to get to that oil, to get to that coal, to get to that timber, whatever the case may be.

Bureaucrats in Washington don't care about flyover country and those sparsely populated areas that provide us the resources upon which we live. I was in one of those areas just a couple weeks ago, in the Bakken in northwestern North Dakota, and I went to a little town of Tioga, North Dakota.

I will tell you how small Tioga, North Dakota, is.

BLITZER: All right, we're going to interrupt Senator Rick Santorum for a very important bulletin.

CNN can now project that Mitt Romney is the winner, the winner of the Michigan primary. Mitt Romney will win the Michigan primary based on the actual vote that has already been counted, as well as the exit poll information we have. Mitt Romney, the winner, the second win he has today. Earlier, we projected he's the winner of Arizona.

Now we project he's the winner of Michigan as well. Let's take a look at the vote right now, where it stands. And we will explain why we can make this projection. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, wins in Michigan -- 71 percent of the vote has been counted.

He has almost 300,000 votes to 266,000 or so for Rick Santorum. He's ahead by almost 30,000 votes, 41 percent for Romney, 37 percent for Santorum. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich way behind, 12 percent for Ron Paul, 7 percent for Newt Gingrich.

A huge win. He needed this win badly in Michigan. If he would have lost in Michigan, the state where he was born, the state where his father served as governor, it would have been a disaster, a disaster in his bid for Republican presidential nomination. But he does get this win in Michigan.

He won't get all of the delegates because, in Michigan, in Michigan there are -- in Michigan there are proportioned delegates that are awarded. He will get all 29 delegates in Arizona, Mitt Romney, a huge win for him in Arizona, an important win, a critical win in Michigan. It sets the stage for Super Tuesday, next Tuesday, Super Tuesday, when there will be 10 contests. He will get a lot of political momentum out of this.

Let's go to Dana Bash. She's in Pontiac, Michigan, right now.

You have got some new information coming in on why we can project Mitt Romney wins in Michigan -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I got an e-mail from a source familiar with the phone call, that Rick Santorum called Mitt Romney before Senator Santorum went out to speak, and officially conceded the state of Michigan.

So they certainly knew very well inside the Santorum campaign that it was over before he went out. It was obvious from the numbers as we were getting them in, but it's now official between the candidates that Rick Santorum has called to concede, told Mitt Romney effectively congratulations on winning your home state.

BLITZER: A big, very important, critical win for Mitt Romney.

Let's go over to John King right now.

We said several minutes ago, John, that it was nearly impossible for Rick Santorum to make about the nearly 30,000-vote deficit, and now we have projected it will be impossible for him to do so.

KING: We still need to see how the delegates break down congressional district by congressional district.

Wolf, a win is a win. There will be a debate about Governor Romney's margin. Should he have had a bigger margin in the state where he was born? But as you look at the numbers tonight, as we call the win tonight, Dorothy said this in a movie a long time ago, and Mitt Romney should be saying it tonight. There's no place like home.

The reason I mean that is that when to come to Oakland County, this is where Dana is tonight and where Mitt Romney lived as a child. He's winning this county by well in excess of his statewide margin. He's winning this county by almost 30,000 votes, 25,000 votes there. Mitt Romney needs those votes, because if you pull out of Oakland County and you elsewhere in the state, you essentially have a tie.

He also lived for a short time in Detroit as a young child. He's winning Wayne County by a big margin as well. The places Mitt Romney lived as a child in Detroit, Wayne County in Michigan, then out in the suburbs of Bloomfield Hills here in Oakland County, he's winning huge.

If you look at the rest of the state, he's also winning in the areas right around there. There are a half-dozen congressional districts right in this little strip down here because of the population centers, Governor Romney is going to win those congressional districts. There are three right here in the western part of the state. Senator Santorum is going to win those.

There are some fights under way for some other C.D.s, some newly drawn congressional districts. This up here is one of them from here up, and it looks like a pretty tight battle here because these are small counties. We will have to watch that come in. There's another one here, and there's another one in the middle here that Santorum will probably win, but we need to count that up.

But if you look at the statewide totals, and if you pull out to the map now, because of Oakland County, because of Detroit, Romney will win Michigan, and he wins Arizona tonight, and he's leading in Wyoming. We won't get the official results there until tomorrow night. There's still some of that vote out. I think they're up to about 83 percent. You see that there.

But by the end of the night tonight, Governor Romney will have six wins, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Maine, and New Hampshire. By tomorrow night, it looks like he will have seven. We will count delegates. But heading into Super Tuesday, he can at least claim some momentum. People will debate the margins, Wolf, but as they say in politics and most other sports, a win is a win.

BLITZER: They certainly do.

I want to go back to Senator Santorum. He's still speaking. Remember, the squiggly lines at the bottom, those are Republicans in Columbus, Ohio. They like certain things, they don't like certain things. These are undecided Republicans, but maybe they will be making up their minds soon. We will be checking in with them as well.

Here is Senator Santorum.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) SANTORUM: We've got a -- a great conservative track record on not just health care, but on taking on the big problems that confront this country, the deficit, huge, expanding, exploding debt in this country. Someone has been an advocate ever since I was in politics for a balanced budget amendment, fought tooth and nail to get it passed, came within one vote, but have never given up trying to fight.

We will work to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but in the meantime, we will do something that no one else has ever successfully done -- but I did -- and that is we will go out and we will end entitlement programs on the federal level, give them back to the states, and cut them dramatically to save money.


People said we couldn't do it. We did it. I was the author of welfare reform, welfare reform, which ended a federal entitlement, cut the program, capped it, gave it back to the states, like we need to do with Medicaid and food stamps and a whole host of other programs that are already run by the state and have no business according to -- remember that document, what's it called, oh, yeah, it's the U.S. Constitution. That's it, right?


We need to get those programs back to the states. We need to save the federal government money. And, more importantly, welfare didn't just save money, didn't just cut the rolls, but it saved lives. It put people back to work. It brought people out of poverty. It gave them something that dependency doesn't give: hope. And that's what America is all about, giving opportunity and hope.


All of our economic plan is based on a very simple concept, based on what's worked for America from its very founding. I wave this Constitution at every speech, and I talk about it being the operator's manual of America. It's how America works. It's the "how" of America. But there's another document equally important, which is the "why" of America, and that's the Declaration of Independence. And in that declaration is these words, "We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights."

That -- that phrase was the most transformation phrase ever written in a government document. That phrase said that we are going to be a country with limited government and believing in free people to be able to form families, and communities, and churches, and educational institutions, and hospitals, and be able to build a great and just society, a free society from the bottom up.

That's how America works best, from the bottom up. And that's the solutions that we're going to propose for America, the bottom up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) The men and women who signed that Declaration of Independence wrote this final phrase: We pledge to each other -- we pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.

When they signed that document, they had very little hope, real hope, of actually succeeding in a revolution against the British. The British were the most powerful army in the world and the navy in the world. They were ruled by highly educated, noble people. The uniforms were crisp and stiff. They looked good.



SANTORUM: But their rulers ruled them from on high, didn't listen to them as they fought the Revolutionary War. Our leaders were different. George Washington, the signature leader of America, was different. He understood that the greatness of this new country was to have leaders who understood that, in spite of their breeding and education, they didn't have all the answers, that they could trust the people, that ragtag group of people who stepped forward to volunteer to create freedom in this land.

And they believed General Washington believed in them. In fact, some of his boldest moves came not from him or his generals, but from the ranks. That's how America's freedom was won, leaders believing in the people that they led against those who just thought all the answers resided in those in charge.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is what made America free, and that is what will make America free in the future. Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.


BLITZER: All right, so there you heard Rick Santorum.

We did learn from Dana Bash that he has already called Mitt Romney to congratulate Mitt Romney on his wins tonight. We projected that Mitt Romney is the winner both in Arizona as well as in Michigan, important wins for Mitt Romney.

He's getting ready to speak momentarily himself. We will have live coverage of Mitt Romney speaking to his supporters. That's coming up momentarily, a very, very important night for Mitt Romney, Anderson. He needed Michigan. He needed Michigan desperately, and he wins Michigan.

COOPER: He certainly did.

Let's about -- a little bit talk about Rick Santorum, about what he just said and what this means moving into Super Tuesday.

Did it sound like he's trying to now recalibrate already, particularly at the top of the speech, talking about his mom, talking about women in his life? BORGER: Right. I think he is trying to recalibrate.

If you look at the exit polls, he did not win with women this evening. That's clearly something he's got to shore up. I think he's going to go back and start talking about his economic message again, particularly in the state of Ohio, which is a state he would clearly like to win on Super Tuesday.

And I think Mitt Romney needs to find somewhere conservative to win on Super Tuesday, because he's still not winning with the most conservative voters in the Republican Party. So he's got to try and seal that deal with them on Super Tuesday.

COOPER: But, still, it is a very good night for Mitt Romney.

BORGER: Of course. Of course.

GERGEN: Oh, yes.

And it's very -- and, actually in many ways -- we have said for some time, it's easy to see how Mitt Romney can lose this. It's very hard to see how any one of the rivals can win it. And I think that's proving out now for Santorum.

I mean, his bubble burst tonight with these double losses. Can he remain competitive? Yes. But I think it now comes down to Ohio. He has to win Ohio, and he hasn't yet faced an onslaught of advertising from Romney, which will now come in Ohio. The Romney organization will come into play. And Santorum has a lead there. That could easily disappear on him.

COOPER: They're essentially warming up the crowd right now for Governor Romney. We'll, of course, bring you what Romney says live. When you heard Rick Santorum today, I mean, I heard a couple of you saying he's kind of re-attacking and recalibrating.

BEGALA: As Gloria points out, he lost women generally, working women by nine points. That could have been -- that's probably was the deciding factor in this primary.

So what does he do? He begins by telling this wonderful, evocative story about his mother, how she went to college. Why, just the other day, he said people who want to go to -- want to send their kids to college are snobs.

She worked outside the home, even when she was raising Rick. He in the past denigrated, some thought, working moms. He talked about his wife being educated, as well. I mean, he was definitely -- maybe kind of overtly, trying to manage the damage.

COOPER: And Ann Romney is about to introduce her husband, as she has done now for many nights on these primary nights. Let's listen in, again, reaching out to women.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: As usual, I have a long list of thank-yous, and I'm going to see if you're all going to behave and listen to this list without cheering in between. We'll see if you can get this right.

Thank you to our honorary Michigan chairman, Governor Rick Schneider, who you just saw. Lieutenant Governor Brian Kelly, and to our campaign co-chairs Attorney General Bill Schuette, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Speaker Keith Bulger (ph). I also want to thank our finance chairs -- by the way, this really is helpful -- the finance chairs David Fischer and John Refolta (ph).

And we have a big family here in Michigan, and we'd like to thank them. Scott Romney, Lynn Keenan, Ronna Romney, Ronna Romney McDaniel, and other members of the Romney and Davies family -- by the way, my family -- across the state.

I also must recognize our national committee members, Saul Anuzis and Holly Hughes. And our congressmen -- this is a list. Let me see if I can get through this: Dave Camp, Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, Thad McCotter, Bill Huizenga, Dan Benishek, Tim Walberg.

And thank you to our wonderful surrogate, Donald Trump, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Governor Bob McDonald, Governor Chris Christie. And your famous Oakland County sheriff that you love, let's see -- Brooks, Brooks Patterson. How could I forget Brooks?

Representative Eric Nesbitt; former state rep Rocky Raczkowski; professor Gary Wolfron, and Attorney General Mike Cox.

Listen, this list has been so helpful. I'm sorry to keep going. To our state team, Lori Wortz and Bob Macomber.

And finally, thank you, Kid Rock.

The last week, I have been going, along with Mitt, my son Tagg, too, we've been going up and down the state, all over, from the tip of the Mitt -- I know, I better be careful. But what we have seen, what we have seen out there has broken my heart. I love Michigan. I love Michigan.


A. ROMNEY: I grew up drinking Vernors and listening to Tiger baseball.

And what we saw when we went across Michigan were families that were hurting, people that were out of jobs, and then there's something else, and they're so concerned about their children, and why it is, because of the debt that we're going to give to our children, and we have had it.

Washington, here we come. We are going to take back America, and we're going to let this guy do it.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow, what a night. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now, first -- first...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

ROMNEY: OK, first thank you, as the first state would call it, thank you, Arizona. Great victory in Arizona tonight. And thank you, Michigan. What a win. This is a big night. Thank you, guys.

You know, a week ago, it was just a week ago the pundits and the pollsters, they were ready to count us out, but across Michigan and Arizona, I kept on meeting moms and dads and students and grandparents, and they were concerned about what is happening to this great country of ours. And I was confident that we could come together today and take a giant step toward a brighter future.

So tonight, their efforts have brought our cause a great victory, and we celebrate with people across these states. Thank you.

Now tonight is also particularly special for me, because this is the place where I was born. This is the place where I was raised. My mom and dad lived many years here and loved this great state, and I know that Michiganders in this room, we consider you all family. Thank you so much for your help.

And in this room are the people who knocked on the doors and made the calls and went to the polls, and it made an enormous difference. We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that's all that counts.

And by the way, in Arizona, special thank you to Governor Jan Brewer there and Senator John McCain. They were tireless, particularly John McCain. He's been all over the country helping. What a hero. Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Governor. They're out there. We've got two sons out there that are celebrating with them. The great thing about having so many in the family, we can cover almost every race.

So Super Tuesday will be stretched, but we're going to find a way. Our campaign, as you know, is about restoring the promise of America. Last week, I unveiled a very bold economic plan that's going to jump-start the economy and it's going to get Michiganders back to work. It's going to get Americans more jobs they're crying out for, and we're going to have less debt and smaller government. And I'm going to deliver on more jobs, less debt, and smaller government. We're going to hear that day in and day out: More jobs, less debt, smaller government.

You know, there are a lot of people who were saying that, if you're running for office, you really can't speak honestly to the American people. Well, we did, and I will. And because this is a decisive moment, I believe this is a time that requires real leadership in our country.

Times are tough. We need leaders who will live with integrity, who have the courage to tell the truth and have the experience to get our economy back on track. That's the kind of leader I aspire to be. That's the kind of leader I will be if I'm president of the United States.

Our campaign -- our campaign is about more than just replacing a president. It's about restoring America's promise. From generation to generation, Americans have always known that the future would be brighter and better. Americans have always believed in a tomorrow full of possibility and prosperity. That's what it means to be the land of opportunity.

In America, you know that if you worked hard, you could build a better life. If you teach your kids the right kind of values and help them make the right choices in life, you know their future will be prosperous and secure. And that deep confidence of a better tomorrow is a basic promise of America.

Today, that promise is being threatened by a faltering economy and a failed presidency. Four years ago, we warned that the precedency was no place for on-the-job training. Well, today we have the economy to prove it, all right.

This president, by the way, he likes to remind us that he inherited an economy that was in crisis. But he doesn't like to remind us that he also inherited a Democrat Congress. He had majorities in both the House and the Senate. He was free to pursue any policy he pleased.

Did he fix the economy? No.




ROMNEY: Did he tackle the housing crisis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Did he get America back to work?




ROMNEY: Instead he put us on a path toward debt and deficits and decline. It's time to get off that path and get back on the path of American prosperity.

Now, these days when he's not spending our money or infringing on our rights, he's busy running for re-election. He believes -- did you hear this? He believes he ranks among the top four president in American history. Did you hear that? I'd find a different spot for him.

He thinks he deserves a second term. He says we can't wait, to which I say, "Oh, yes we can." Today, we're -- we're $15 trillion in debt, and real unemployment stands at 15 percent. You've heard that old saying about, I need a vacation from my vacation. Well, we need to have a recovery from this so-called recovery.

You know, as a nation, we've survived a Great Depression. We've weathered two world wars. We've made it through tough times, and we've not come all this way to give up now. We still believe in the hope, in the dream, and the promise of America. We know our future is better and brighter than these troubled times.

That unwavering conviction guides our campaign and this effort. It's rallied millions of people to our cause, and it's a message we're going to take to every corner of the country, from Ohio and Idaho to Georgia and Tennessee.

We've seen enough of this president over the last four years to know that we don't need another five years of President Obama because he thinks he's unchecked by the Constitution. He's unresponsive to the will of the people, and in a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election. If there's one thing we can't afford, it's four more years of Barack Obama with nothing to answer to, so we're going to get him out of office and get him back home where he belongs.

Now you saw his budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt! Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt! Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt! Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

ROMNEY: You saw the budget, he put it out. It foreshadows exactly what we're going to see ahead if he's the president: run-away spending, record debt. They were just the warm-up act. For an encore, he wants to raise taxes on job creators and small businesses and families. And we are not going to let him do it.

In this campaign, I'm offering a real choice and a very different direction. I have a plan that will restore America's promise through more jobs and less debt and smaller government. President Obama is making the federal government bigger, more burdensome and loaded. I'll make it smaller and simpler. And it's about time for that to happen.

He raised the national debt. I will cut cap and balance the budget. He passed Obama care. I would appeal Obama care. He lost our AAA credit rating. I'll restore our AAA credit rating. He rejected the Keystone Pipeline. I'll get us the oil from Canada we deserve.

And by the way -- by the way, I'm going to open up our lands for development so we can finally get the energy in this country that we need at a price we can afford.

Look, when it -- when it comes to the economy, my highest priority will be worrying about your job, not worrying about how to save my own. This president -- this president wants to raise your taxes. I'm going to cut them. That's going to start with an across- the-board 20 percent cut for every American. I'll also repeal the alternative minimum tax, and we will abolish, finally, the death tax.

And you know, he's now proposed raising taxes on small businesses and job creators. I'm going to lower those taxes. I'll also lower the corporate rate to larger businesses to 25 percent, make the R&D tax cut permanent to foster innovation. And I'm going to end the repatriation tax to return investment back to our shores. There's a lot of money offshore going to come back to America.

Let's finally have a tax plan that puts Americans back to work. And I have it, and we'll get it in place.

Now, you know he also proposes to raise taxes on savings and investment. And if I'm the president, I'm going to help middle-class families save and invest tax free. Yes, good, I agree. Yes, great. It's about time.

And he also has an extraordinary gap in his policy proposals. Do you realize after saying Medicare and Social Security were in trouble, he has yet to offer a single serious proposal for saving Medicare and Social Security? I have a plan to save them both. And unlike him, I have the courage to put my plan on the table for people to see.

Look, what this campaign is about, what my plans are about are creating jobs and raising wages for the American people. They're going to strengthen our entitlement programs for the next generation and they will not add to our deficit, but we will finally balance America's budget.

Now, beyond -- beyond having a plan to get our citizens back to work, I have the experience to get our economy back on track. I spent 25 years in business. I was also the steward of the Olympics and the leader of a state. I cut taxes 19 times. I turned a budget shortfall into a surplus. I know how government can kill jobs, and yes, I know how it can help create jobs. And I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity. We'll get the job done.

It's a critical time in America. It's our time for choosing, and this time, we've got to get the choice right. I said it before, and I firmly believe it, that this campaign is about saving the soul of America. This election -- this election comes down to two very different visions of America. It's a choice between becoming a nation of and by Washington or remaining a nation of and by a free people. A choice between an entitlement society and the land of opportunity. A choice between squandering America's promise and restoring that promise for future generations.

If you want to make the election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you'll join us. If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour and not the destiny for America, I need your support.

I'm asking for you to get out and vote, and I'm asking for you, by the way, to go on and pledge your support in every way possible. I'm -- I'm asking you to join the fight for the freedom, to insure that tomorrow will be better than today.

This election, let's restore America's promise. Let's fight for this country we love. We've got work ahead. We're going to do that work. We're going to take back America. America is the greatest nation in the history of the earth. We're going to keep it that way.

Thank you, guys. You're the best.

God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

BLITZER: Very happy and very relieved Mitt Romney. He's the winner in Arizona and in Michigan, as well, the state where he was born. He needed this win in Michigan. He wins. You see him there with Ann Romney, his wife, and some members of his family. Very, very relieved. Very happy that he managed to pull it off. Relatively close, but still a significant win for Mitt Romney. He gets the popular vote.

We'll see how the delegate count, the 30 delegates in Michigan has. It will eventually break down. He gets all 29 in Arizona. A significant win. We've been watching what's going on in Wyoming. Official results will come in tomorrow from Wyoming. The caucuses has been going on several days now. He's ahead in Wyoming, as well.

All of this sets the stage for next Tuesday, Super Tuesday. Ten contests will take place next Tuesday, including the key battleground state of Ohio.

Right now, Santorum is slightly ahead in most of the polls in Ohio. We'll see if he gets some momentum, Mitt Romney, out of these two wins. Maybe three wins if we include Wyoming tomorrow. We'll stand by for that. We'll see what happens.

You can see the vote right now in Michigan: 85 percent of the vote in, Mitt Romney with 41 percent to 38 percent for Santorum; 12 percent for Ron Paul; 7 percent for Newt Gingrich.

Ohio, we're going to be speaking with voters in Ohio. They were watching all this, what they liked, what they didn't like. We're going to Ohio when we come back.


COOPER: And welcome back. We JUST heard from Governor Mitt Romney. Very happy tonight. A very energized Mitt Romney, speaking to supporters in Michigan after winning both the state of Michigan and also Arizona.

Let's look forward to next Super Tuesday. Obviously, this gives good momentum for Mitt Romney going into that. BEGALA: But he still just barely won in his home state. Mitt Romney winning closely in his home state like Charlie Sheen barely winning a primary in a Hooters. OK. He's going to win and it's not going to give you a lot of momentum, but I think the Armageddon of Super Tuesday is Ohio. That's where I think it's all going to come to.

Gingrich will make a huge stand here in Georgia and he -- I don't know -- may or may not win, but Ohio, another blue-collar state, industrial economy, Santorum will have appeal, and where Romney won't have the legacy and the family and the establishment.

COOPER: If you look at people who earned less than $100,000, a lot of that support went to Santorum; over $100,000 went to Romney.

BEGALA: The only income group that Romney got a majority of is the people who made over $200,000, the highest income we tested -- CNN tested in its exit polls. In all the primaries, that's been consistent. Romney has done very well with upper incomes, not as well with lower incomes and middle incomes.

CARDONA: This, I think, remains one of his biggest vulnerabilities, especially going into Super Tuesday in a state like Ohio, to Gloria's point. The Midwest is going to be critically important, not just for these primaries, but especially for the general election.

I'll go back to something I was arguing with Alex. Which is right now Mitt Romney is not the guy that voters look to, to say this guy understands what I'm going through. Middle-class voters, working- class voters, this is not somebody you go into the voting booth and say, "Wow, this guy really understands my problems. He gets me."

Right now, President Obama is that person. Going into the general election, that's why he's got that advantage, and Mitt Romney has got to focus on how he communicates that message. Santorum is doing a much better job of doing that than Mitt Romney is.

FLEISCHER: Let me look ahead with some specificity about Super Tuesday. Ten states, and I think Mitt Romney goes in, three of them in the bag -- Massachusetts and Virginia, where of course, nobody is on the ballot except him and Ron Paul.

Then you have Ron Paul is going to do very well in Alaska and North Dakota caucuses. I think those two states will probably go to Ron Paul.

So that really leaves five battlegrounds. Paul could get Idaho, too. That's a caucuses. So that could make it five or four, if it isn't Idaho.

Here are the four, though: Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Georgia. Those are really the four states that Super Tuesday are going to come down to. But if Romney walks in with three of the ten in the bag, which he will, he just keeps accruing delegates. And he's kind of the Energizer bunny in this thing. Unless he stops, he just keeps going as a delegate hunter.

CASTELLANOS: I think this would be a good time where a political pro might advise Romney, everything you've got, all the chips you've got on the table. You just fought off a mortal threat in Michigan. You've got Georgia. You've got Ohio on the table coming up. Borrow all of the money you can, raise everything you can, empty the bank account. Everything you can, put it in the states and try to win it.

And interestingly, shut it down now, early, before he continues to bleed in the process.

The second thing we learned tonight, which I think I heard Ann Romney say was a secret weapon. I think I heard her say, "This week I've been all over the state, up and down to the tip of the Mitt." Well, this explains all the children. The secret weapon, I guess.

COOPER: CNN after dark here.

CASTELLANOS: I never heard the tip of the Mitt before. But anywho.

By the way, Mitt Romney seems to do very well in those parts of Michigan where they make cars, where people actually grind out steel and put wheels on them and shove them out the door. So it turns out that all of this, you know, he's disconnected with the people, we didn't see so much of that.

But you know who else he beat in Michigan tonight? Barack Obama, who went into Michigan after Mitt Romney. I think Ohio is a key battleground state. It will be -- it will be Michigan light.

CARDONA: Let's keep in mind that he won Michigan four years ago by almost ten points. OK? Tonight...

CASTELLANOS: He'll get more votes tonight.

CARDONA: ... more voters voted for somebody other than Romney, other than the favorite son in his home state.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Our coverage continues. A lot more going on here. We're going to continue on through the midnight hour and then Piers Morgan takes over coverage. We'll be right back.