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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Mitt Romney Wins in the District of Columbia
Aired April 3, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Thanks, Wolf. Good evening, welcome to a special primary of edition of "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."
A crucial night for Mitt Romney, there may finally be a turning point in this epic and some might a eternal Republican race. The polls are close in Wisconsin with 42 delegates in stake. I want to bring back Wolf Blitzer now with breaking news. Bring us up to speed on exactly where we are right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the polls in Wisconsin, Piers, as you know, they have now closed, but we are not, repeat not able to make a projection yet based on the exit poll information that's been coming in.
We're going to wait to get some official numbers coming in before we can make a projection in Wisconsin. As soon as we get those official numbers, we'll weigh it and certain precincts with the exit poll information and share that with the viewers.
As soon as we know, our viewers will know as well. In the state of Maryland, we did project that Mitt Romney is the winner. We're still waiting for official numbers to come in from the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia, we have not yet -- we didn't have the exit polls in Washington, D.C., and as a result we do not, we do not have the official numbers yet from D.C. But here are the top lines in Wisconsin.
These are the exit poll numbers that we had going in. Not enough to make a projection but we'll share these numbers with you. Forty- three percent for Mitt Romney, 35 percent for Rick Santorum, 11 percent for Ron Paul, only 6 percent for Newt Gingrich. These are the exit poll numbers. So it looks like it's going to be a good night in Wisconsin for Mitt Romney, but once again, we are not yet able to make a projection, Piers.
Let's give it a little time for some more official numbers to come in. Once they come in based on those numbers and these exit poll numbers, we'll be in a better position to make a projection.
MORGAN: And Wolf, you're making this all sound as exciting as you always do but you are a master of this process. Are we at the end game? I mean if Mitt Romney was to win all three tonight, this is pretty much game over, isn't it?
BLITZER: Not necessarily. It's almost game over. Pennsylvania, April 23rd, that -- if Santorum loses his home state, then it's game over. If he wins in Pennsylvania, you know, Mitt Romney still won't be at that 1,144 delegate number that he needs to officially sew up the nomination. And in May there are some states like Texas, for example, Kentucky, Arkansas, where Santorum presumably has an advantage, so he'll continue.
A lot of the establishment Republicans, a lot of the pundits, think it's game over. Let's see what the voters have to say. So I don't think Santorum, even if he loses in Wisconsin, is going to drop out tomorrow. I think he will continue for a few more weeks, at least until Pennsylvania. But if he loses in Pennsylvania, then I think it is game over.
MORGAN: I mean, Wolf, is one of the reasons this has gone on as long as it has so far the fact that states like New York, California and others have all gone later than normal, and carried on the delegate sweep, and so actually it's slightly skewed this time around compared to last time and so no one can really be 100 percent sure?
BLITZER: Yes, well, New York and California almost certainly when they have their contests will go for Mitt Romney. Those are huge states. Texas may go for Santorum. So there's still some ways -- and look, there's no doubt that Mitt Romney has a tremendous advantage over Rick Santorum right now. A tremendous advantage. He is in the driver's seat. A lot of people think he's the presumptive nominee.
You know, let's see what happens in Pennsylvania. But there's no doubting that as you correctly point out California and New York state, the two largest states, they have a clear advantage for Mitt Romney. Texas may have a little bit of an advantage for Rick Santorum. So the game will continue. Let's see what happens.
MORGAN: Let's go to Tom Foreman.
Tom, take me to your magic wall. It's all about the delegates, as always. Mitt Romney obviously count to be ahead. How significant will tonight be in terms of delegate count?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Piers, it's been this incremental process that we've been through quite some time here where you keep adding it. You get 42 delegates here. As you move through these other states, you're going to get more and more people who's just going to add into the equation and it will make some difference.
I do want to point out something about the delegate count, though, that I think is really important consider in all of this. If you look at a state like Maryland, for example, here where Rick Santorum seems to be doing OK out here in Garrett County, it's the only place he seems to be doing well.
Here's the problem. If I bring in a look at -- the delegate -- the way it's broken down by congressional district, which is partially how you decide this, here's the problem. Even if you did well in this county but it spanned as this one is by a congressional district that goes further, you may not even get a share of the delegates. If you could have won the district, you would have. But winning a county, if you're trumped by this one and this one, and this one, by the way, has considerably more people in it that this one, if that happens, then you don't even get a share of the delegates. And one of the real secrets to staying in the game here is always getting a share. You've always got to have a part of what's out there if you want to stay in the game -- Piers.
MORGAN: Thanks, Tom.
I want to bring back Wolf here along with the rest of the CNN political team. We got Gloria Borger, David Gergen and Ari Fleischer.
And let me go to David Gergen. You are probably the only one that is an even more experienced than Wolf. How are you looking at this race now? I mean it's been thrilling, it's been up and down, rollercoaster, but right now if I was in Vegas, every dollar I've got is going on Romney, isn't it?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, absolutely. I think we've reached a turning point in this race actually a few weeks ago, but we're going to play it out, Piers. And look, there's a mathematical chance, there's a theoretical chance Rick Santorum could catch fire. But you know after the -- after the big primaries that are coming up in a couple of weeks, you know, even if he wins Pennsylvania, Romney is going to sweep everything else. At that point Santorum would have to win, what, maybe 70 percent of the delegates remaining in order to do it. That's not going to happen.
MORGAN: I mean you can't really blame Santorum, can you, because he's -- I'll stop there. We're going to go straight to Wolf. Breaking news. I think we can now call D.C. -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Piers, stand by. We've got news to report to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
And you are absolutely correct. We now project that Mitt Romney is the winner in the District of Columbia. He wins the Republican presidential primary in Washington, D.C. Earlier we projected he is the winner in the state of Maryland as well. Still waiting for the official numbers to start coming in from the state of Wisconsin. So far two for two for Mitt Romney. Both expected Maryland and D.C.
Important delegates now going to the Mitt Romney camp. We'll see what happens in Wisconsin. We're getting the official numbers coming in and, Piers, as you saw, the exit polls giving an advantage, slight advantage, seven points or so, to Mitt Romney in Wisconsin, but we'll see some of the official numbers from key precincts and then we'll be in a better position to make a projection.
But Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, can add two more contests to his win column, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
MORGAN: Wolf, thanks very much. Back to David Gergen.
David, what I was about to say to you was, I can't blame Rick Santorum. He's come from nowhere. You know he was the guy nobody gave a chance to. He's fought a fantastic battle from Iowa onwards. He's really put the hard yards in. And there is an argument that says having him snapping at Mitt Romney's heels for a little bit longer will toughen up Mitt Romney for the real battle ahead with Barack Obama.
At what point, though, does Rick Santorum staying in the race along with the others start to damage the party?
GERGEN: Well, he has won 11 contests, you have to give him credit for that. It's 11 more than anybody thought he would win. Ari Fleischer has been arguing for some time that he's earned his way to Pennsylvania, his home state. I think that's right. So he'll have a chance to compete there.
And frankly, Piers, I think if he wins Pennsylvania, he will win back his dignity in his own state. At that point I think there's a -- there is a very powerful argument, rather than going on to Texas and going on and on, to let this gracefully come to a close. And let the Republicans get themselves in battle gear for the election, because President Obama is coming straight at them. You know, and he gave a rip-roaring speech today and clearly, you know, he knows where he's going. And he's got a lead right now and he wants to keep Mitt Romney pinned down. Mitt Romney has got to -- he's got to take it up the cajoles against President Obama, not against Rick Santorum.
MORGAN: Let's go to Ari Fleischer. I mean, Ari, if you're Barack Obama here, today he came out --
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not.
MORGAN: -- and for the first time really addressed Mitt Romney. Right, obviously you're not Barack Obama, you're massively more handsome and intelligent.
GERGEN: A lot more hair, too, right?
MORGAN: However -- however.
MORGAN: And should be -- should be president. Let's get the whole hog here. But let's just assume for a moment you are Barack Obama. And you're looking at this race. Do you want this over? I mean the fact that he flirted with Mitt Romney's name today in his speech means he pretty well is sure now Romney is the guy. But do you want it over or is it to your advantage they carry on squabbling with each other for another month or so?
FLEISCHER: I think if you're the Democrats, if you're the Obama campaign, you're loving this. The longer it goes on, the less Republicans are unified and saying return to the corner. Our focus now is on defeating President Obama. It's all the exit polls show. Republicans are overwhelmingly motivated to defeat President Obama. They want to stretch this out.
Republicans have not put their best foot forward in this primary. And I will make the case. In 2008 the Democratic primary lifted up both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Their favorable/unfavorable rose throughout the primary. That is not happening in the Republicans this year.
The other big issue Republicans have got to address is the decline and support among women. This is a vexing problem for Republicans. I think Mitt Romney, who didn't really play a significant role in it, it was mostly some of the issues Rick Santorum introduced, have got to figure out how to get that back. But it's going to be a fight for the agenda. And if the agenda is about contraception and issues like that, Republicans are in big trouble.
If the agenda is deficits, and debt and jobs and energy, Republicans have a very good chance. Mitt Romney has a very good chance to defeat Barack Obama.
MORGAN: Let me go to Gloria Borger. Gloria, you're a woman.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's talk about women. Right.
MORGAN: This gender issue. Yes, let's talk about women with the woman of the panel. How does Mitt Romney get back the female vote? There's no doubt that him having to squabble it out on social issues.
MORGAN: And appear to be anti-all these female issues like contraception and so on has damaged him with women.
MORGAN: How does he turn that tide back in his favor?
BORGER: Well, first of all, as we've all said before, he needs to use Ann Romney an awful lot more because she's his greatest character witness. But aside from that, when you look at the polling of women, women are economic voters. Women care an awful lot about health care. Also being caretakers largely in their families.
So for example, if the Supreme Court were to overturn health care reform, then I think it would be incumbent upon Mitt Romney, presuming he's the nominee, to come out with his own specific plan for how he would reform the health care system and make sure, for example, the people with pre-existing conditions are covered, that older children can stay on their parents' policies without a health care mandate.
Women will listen to the arguments about health care. They will listen to arguments about how he's going to make the economy better, how he's going to reduce unemployment, how he's going to help minimum wage earners, because women are minimum wage earners, and so I think he has to take a turn to that economic argument and take the president on directly on the health care issue. I think that could be very lucrative for him.
GERGEN: Yes, Piers?
MORGAN: Gloria Borger, thank you. We're going to take a short break. We'll be back to the panel afterwards, although we are awaiting speeches any time from Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, so we may be going straight to them. We'll be back in a few moments.
MORGAN: We're going straight live to Rick Santorum who's about to make his speech after losing two so far of the three states tonight.
SANTORUM: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It is great to be home. Thank you.
I'm here with Karen and the kids and the people behind us, that's just -- that's not all of Karen's family but most of it. Karen is -- Karen and her -- Karen's parents had 11 children and umpteen nieces and nephews that we have and it's -- it's just great to be here with -- with friends and family. And we have now reached the point where it's halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been -- have been selected. And who's ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?
It is -- it is great to be here in Southwestern Pennsylvania where -- where I grew up in a -- in a steel town about 20 miles north -- northeast of here in this same county, Butler, Pennsylvania. How about a shout out for Butler?
And this area -- this area like that town and like the people in it, forged steel to build this country, to help win world wars and not just have we built the country and forged steel to win wars, we've forged people with strong values and a strong commitment to what made America great. OK you can applaud that too.
I can always be interrupted for applause, don't worry about that. This is -- this why we came here. This is why we wanted to come back to west -- Southwestern Pennsylvania to -- to kick off the second half. This is a -- a part of the country, Pennsylvania that well, it's where America started. Not only did we forge steel in this state, we forged liberty in this state.
(APPLAUSE) The symbol of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, where that document that those who have been following me about on the campaign trail have been seeing, this document both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence forged right here in Pennsylvania. And there's no place where those values are more instilled than in this great commonwealth. Ladies and gentleman...
This great commonwealth has given a tremendous amount to our country. If you look at just the history of our -- of our great state, not only the Declaration and the Constitution created here, but we won key battles. Washington's crossing -- Washington crossing the Delaware to save the revolution. That plan was hatched up here in Pennsylvania. Some in the other camps in this race have said that all of the significant people have spoken in this race so far. See, General Washington knew that in fact not all the significant are those elites in society. Those who are the generals and the ranked officers, but in fact what General Washington understood, some of the best ideas, some of the best plans, in fact what has made this country great is that we have listened to real significant voices of every day Americans. And he did. And that's why he crossed the Delaware, surprised the Hessians and turned the tide of the revolution. Ladies and gentleman, Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard and we're going to go out and campaign here and across this nation to make sure that their voices are heard in the next few months.
We know who we are here in Pennsylvania. We know who we are. We know the stock that we are made of. We've contributed a lot. Great deeds have occurred here. Great Pennsylvanians have contributed. I know, I had the privilege of representing this state in the Senate for 12 years and this community here in Southwestern Pennsylvania for four.
I went to every one of those counties every year, all 67 and I understand the greatness of the people of this state. And I understand how important this race is here in Pennsylvania. This is called the Keystone State for a reason. We are in fact the keystone. We're the -- we're the place upon which our country was built and great things continue to happen here. Great things like in manufacturing and oil and gas production here in Pennsylvania that is turning our economy around and creating opportunities for us to grow our economy. Not just here in Pennsylvania, but because of lower natural gas prices we're seeing manufacturing and other businesses come back in spite of the crushing burden that Barack Obama and his administration has put on our economy.
SANTORUM: We need someone who understands what liberty is all about. Someone who's going to go out and fight to make sure that the biggest and most crushing burden that this administration has put on us, one that was debated just last week in the United States Supreme Court about government taking control of your health and of course as a result, of your very life. And dictating to you - dictating to you what you will do, how much you will pay, what insurance you will get. And even what the practice of your faith will be dictated by the federal government.
We need someone in this race who can go out and make the clarion call for liberty. Someone who has stood tall and opposed government run health care at any level, state or federal. Who can go out and make the case of what Barack Obama is doing, which even Justice Stevens, which is what ObamaCare does and what his agenda of government control of health care and his attempt to get Cap and Trade, where he's going dictate how you -- energy -- how much energy, not just health care, but how much energy you're going to use.
That this is a fundamental change in the relationship between the people and their government. Ladies and gentleman if we're going to win this race, we can't have little differences between our nominee and President Obama. We have to have clear contrasting colors. In the last 120 years...
In the last 120 years, we've had one time where the Republican Party has defeated an incumbent Democrat for president. One time. Time and time again the Republican establishment and aristocracy have shoved down the throats of the Republican Party and people across this country, moderate Republicans. Because of course we have to win by getting people in the middle. There's one person who understood, we don't win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.
Not only do we know who we are here in Pennsylvania and what we stand for, but you know who I am. You're going to hear a lot of things being thrown as has happened in all the other states where we've seen a whole bunch of negative campaigning. We've gone out across this country. And with the most improbable of odds, and with limited resources except one in which we've had incredible resources, and that's human resources. The people of this country have stood up and followed because they've seen someone who has a clear positive vision. Someone whose convictions are also forged in steel, not on an Etch-A-Sketch.
So you'll be seeing the negative ads and you'll be here getting the robo-calls and all the other things thrown at us. But you know me. You know how hard I work. You know how strongly I believe the things that -- the values of Southwestern Pennsylvania have instilled in me. You know that I come from a steel town from immigrant parents. Grandfather worked in the mines. Someone who lived in government housing on a V.A. grounds and saw the great sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, serving them as they served our country. You know me. They'll say all the things, that I'm someone who doesn't stand up for what I believe in. You know me. (APPLAUSE)
And so I ask you over the next three weeks, this isn't halftime, no marching bands. We're hitting the field. The clock starts tonight. We've got three weeks to go out here in Pennsylvania and win this state and after winning this state, the field looks a little different in May. I remind everybody the one time that we did win in the last 120 years, the Republican Party had the courage to go out and nominate someone who all the experts and all the pundits and all the media -- all the Republican establishment said couldn't win. He was too conservative.
He lost almost every early primary. He only won one until May. One primary till May. Everybody told him to get out of the race. This was back in 1976. They said, get out of the race, we need a moderate. In 1976, Ronald Reagan didn't get out of the race. He was able to stand tall in May, win the state of Texas, which we have every intention of doing.
He took that race the entire way to the convention and he fell short. And in the fall Republicans fell short because we nominated another moderate who couldn't galvanize our party and bring those votes to our side to get the kind of change that we needed in America. And then four years later, they fought him again. We need another moderate. We have to defeat this Democratic incumbent. And this time the Republican establishment lost. Let's not make the mistake of 1976 again. Let's bypass that error and move straight to 1980. And let's defeat a Democratic incumbent. And you can help me here in Pennsylvania. Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Rick Santorum talking in Pennsylvania just moments ago. The fat lady certainly hasn't sung yet in this race. When we come back, more from team Santorum.
MORGAN: You're looking live at Romney headquarters in Milwaukee. We're waiting for the candidate to speak any moment. He's won two already, D.C. and Maryland. We're waiting for Wisconsin any moment. That is expected.
Let's go to Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, we're expecting Wisconsin to come any moment now, looking pretty good to Romney. Isn't it?
BLITZER: Yes, looking pretty good. Let's take a look at the official votes, though, right now. Six percent of the vote is in. Let's show our viewers what's going on. These are official numbers.
Romney ahead, but only slightly, by 151 votes; 11,470 for Romney, 11,319 for Santorum; 41 percent to 40 percent. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, Piers, way, way behind.
These votes, though, we're told, coming in from some of the rural areas, not necessarily the urban areas like Milwaukee, for example. The exit polls showed a much more significant Romney lead.
Once again, we'll wait for some more official votes to come in before we'll make a projection, but it's looking like a good night in Wisconsin for Romney. I assume that's why Romney, the Republican presidential front runner, is going to be speaking shortly, Piers.
MORGAN: And if it is three for none tonight, Wolf, where does that leave us in this race? I mean, a combative speech by Rick Santorum. And he's making some pretty valid points. You know, he may well win Texas. But Texas only has a certain number of delegates, doesn't it?
This is all about delegates. And if Romney keeps winning state after state and building up those delegates, he's going to be unstoppable, isn't he?
BLITZER: Yes, he's going to have to get 70 or 80 percent of the delegates in all the states. It's a good line that Santorum has, a sports analogy. You know what, we're at halftime right now. Romney had a good first half. But you know what's more important, the second half. Let's see what happens. I'm a come-from-behind kind of guy. I'm going to have a great second half.
That's the line he has. It sounds good to those of us like you and me and a lot of our viewers who are sports fans. But you know what, we'll see what he can do. I'm anxious to see what he can do in Pennsylvania, his home state, coming up April 24th.
MORGAN: Is he also thinking, do you think, Wolf -- this might be rather cynical of me to say this, but is he also thinking, you know what, in politics, anything can happen. And if I just hang on in there and I win the odd state, maybe I'll win Texas, win here, pick up delegates here and there, you never know. You never know in politics, anything could happen.
If I'm still in the race, I've got a chance.
BLITZER: Yeah, I think that's an element of it. Although my sense is that's more of an element for, for example, Newt Gingrich staying in this race than Rick Santorum. My own sense is Rick Santorum is going to the Ronald Reagan playbook of 1976, when Ronald Reagan went to the convention against an incumbent Republican president, Gerald Ford. There were ballots, and he lost at the convention.
But you know what happened? Four years later, he got the Republican nomination, went on to beat Jimmy Carter and became president of the United States. That's why I think we hear so much of Rick Santorum talking about Ronald Reagan, because he's looking ahead, in my mind, already to 2016. If Romney gets the nomination this time and loses to President Obama, I think Santorum will certainly start spending as much time as he can over the next four years to try once again.
MORGAN: Well, we'll go now to John Brabender, who is, of course, the senior aide to Rick Santorum. John, what do you make here tonight? You've lost three to nothing, but a spirited speech from Rick Santorum tonight. How are you feeling?
JOHN BRABENDER, SENIOR ADVISER TO SANTORUM CAMPAIGN: Well, look, we knew that these -- we were playing on sort of Mitt Romney's turf, if you will. And we think that things dramatically change now. We get to go to our home state. Mitt Romney has already had multiple home states because of how many homes he has, but now we get to go to Pennsylvania where it's Rick Santorum territory.
That leads us potentially into May, which could be a great, great month for Rick Santorum the way that the states line up. As we mentioned before, Texas becomes critical. Texas has a whole boat load of delegates. My belief is if Rick Santorum can win Pennsylvania and he can Texas, I believe he will be the GOP nominee for the Republicans.
MORGAN: What did you make of Wolf Blitzer's assessment there, that a lot of Reagan talk in Rick's speech tonight? I tell you what, John, hold it there. I'm going to Wolf Blitzer who has breaking news for us. Wolf, to you.
BLITZER: Piers, the moment that Mitt Romney has been waiting for, we're ready to make a projection right now.
And as you've been saying, three for three for Mitt Romney tonight. We can now project that Mitt Romney is the winner in the state of Wisconsin. Earlier, we projected a win in the District of Columbia and a win in Maryland. Three for three for Mitt Romney tonight. He wins in Wisconsin.
Forty two total delegates at stake in this primary. A big night for Mitt Romney. You saw the exit poll numbers. He was ahead by about seven points. The official numbers show it tighter right now. But based on the exit poll numbers, Piers, as well as the official numbers that are coming in right now, we can now project that Mitt Romney will carry Wisconsin.
So the race continues. The race continues to April 24th, when Pennsylvania is coming up. It's going to be a huge night on that Tuesday. Piers?
MORGAN: Thanks a lot, Wolf. We'll go back to John Brabender, the senior campaign adviser to Rick Santorum. There we have it, it's official. Three for nothing. In sporting parlance, you've got your butts kicked tonight. But you make a good point, as did -- as did the senator. There is still plenty of time to play for, right?
BRABENDER: Absolutely. Let's remember one other thing too: in Wisconsin, a lot of the delegates are going to be proportioned by how you did in different congressional districts. So Rick Santorum, more than likely, will still walk out of there with significant delegates.
As we said, this is halftime. People have a right to have a voice of who they're going to support in this nomination. Last time, the Republicans ended it in March. The Democrats didn't end until June. And then the Democrats united and had a big win in November.
I believe that that will happen for the Republicans this time as well.
MORGAN: I'm going to go to Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to Newt Gingrich. Kellyanne, the one night you've barely heard tonight is Newt Gingrich. That isn't good today. He's had another poor night. And I guess more worryingly, he just isn't part of the debate really anymore.
It's all about Santorum and Romney. How do you feel about that in the Gingrich camp?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO GINGRICH CAMPAIGN: Well, we're glad that you're giving us a voice and a platform tonight, Piers. Thank you for that.
MORGAN: Always my pleasure.
CONWAY: I want to congratulate Governor Romney and certainly Senator Santorum and really all four who are still in the race. I disagree with the fact that Newt is not part of the conversation. Today, again, the president called out Newt by name. He wanted to distort the facts to fit his narrative.
The president reminded us all today, Piers, why Newt Gingrich is staying in this race. He'd have a very dangerous second term. He's bullying the Supreme Court, accusing them of unprecedented action and judicial activism if they dare overturn as unconstitutional his unconstitutional health care plan.
I think he was absent the first day of law school when we all learned Marbury versus Madison. And the president also today went right after the Paul Ryan Budget and attacked Mitt Romney by name. So the president is in campaign mode. I think it's really important that everybody who's still in this race has a voice out there.
Piers, Newt has made it very clear that he's still competing for delegates, but that he also recognizes that we need to elevate this petty campaign into a national conversation. He wants to make sure all 170,000 people who have donated to his campaign and the millions of people who have voted for someone other than the so-called front runner will have a voice at the convention.
Piers, I'm looking at CNN's exit polling, I notice that among voters who made up their mind in Wisconsin in the last couple of days, Mitt Romney got 45 percent of the vote. What's keeping the other 55? This is after he got big endorsements from Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.
CONWAY: More than a majority are saying no to him.
MORGAN: Let me jump in, Kellyanne. Let me put a difficult question to you, because there's got to be a point where if you want to be a bona fide, a traditional conservative candidate to seriously challenge Mitt Romney, given how far Rick Santorum has pulled away from Newt Gingrich in all the recent polling, isn't it time perhaps for Newt Gingrich to consider what may have been unthinkable a few weeks ago, to actually put all his support around Rick Santorum, to guarantee there is a straight fight between moderate Romney and a conservative Santorum?
Wouldn't that be better for the party?
CONWAY: Well, two things. They have actually had a one-on-one fight now for a while. We didn't compete very heavily in Wisconsin. We didn't compete in Illinois. We didn't compete in Ohio. We just have had to pick and choose the states in which we compete because we don't have the same money as Governor Romney and certainly not the same mendacity to use that money.
But the point is that we -- conservatives are -- there is a critical mass of conservatives who are telling the CNN pollsters in these exit polls and are telling Governor Romney, we just -- we're just not that into you as conservatives yet. And I think that you already see a unification of conservatives.
On the one hand, you've got Sarah Palin and Governor Perry and Herman Cain and Rick Santorum and certainly Newt Gingrich sort of coalescing conservatives all across the country. And then you've got the front runner.
Let me just repeat what both Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich have said. This is really important, Piers. If Mitt Romney or anyone were to earn 1,144 delegates outright, they would -- these gentlemen would support him as the nominee. In fact, we'd all be there to help him. I'll be first in line.
MORGAN: Kellyanne, let me jump in again.
CONWAY: But he's not there.
MORGAN: We have to take -- OK, Kellyanne, we must take a short break. We'll be coming back after this break. We may be going straight to Mitt Romney. He's about to make a speech, a victory speech. He's had a big night. He's won all three states. We'll find out in a moment when he'll be ready to speak.
MORGAN: We're looking at live pictures from Governor Mitt Romney's HQ in Milwaukee. He's had a thumpingly good night tonight. He's won all three states, in D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin and will be making a victorious speech any moment now. Until then, I'm going to be joined by Bob Ehrlich. He's the chairman of Mitt Romney's Maryland campaign. He's also the former governor of that state, and the author of "Turn this Car Around, the Roadmap to Restoring America."
Bob Ehrlich, a great night for you, a great night for Governor Romney. What is the map ahead for the Romney campaign?
BOB EHRLICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: You know what, it's to pile up delegates. It's to pile up wins. It's to cut the burn rate a little bit on the spending. And it's to get -- to use a sports analogy, get the JV season over and call the equipment manager, get everybody back on the same team for the general election.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Hello, and thank you, Wisconsin.
MORGAN: Let me ask you this: at what point do you think other candidates should pull out of this race?
EHRLICH: You know, Piers, it's not my call. It's not Governor Romney's call. It's their call. I'm not -- I think it always sounds weak when you say that guy has to get out and threaten folks. It sounds weak. And Governor Romney is strong.
I do think, however, when you think about it -- and Wolf was talking about the math -- once the math begins to be so tough, so difficult, the fund-raising dries up, the delegates aren't there, you really have to think about why I'm in this race.
MORGAN: Obviously Governor Romney has got a problem in the polling with women. Not entirely surprising given that the social issue debates that have been raging in the Republican party have been pretty negatively received. How does he rebuild trust in the female vote?
EHRLICH: I think that's more a function of the Santorum campaign, quite frankly, and the Democrats using some of Senator Santorum's verbiage to their electoral advantage, to their partisan advantage.
I think when the general election -- again, when you have one on one general election and they see, again are reminded of Governor Romney's real views, that gender gap will dissipate rather quickly.
MORGAN: Does Governor Romney want to get stuck into Barack Obama right now? Is he fed up with waiting. He's obviously had a go before a few years ago. He's back in there now. He's clearly the front runner. Everyone assumes he's going to win. Is he champing at the bit to get in?
EHRLICH: Yes, I think a little bit. Obviously, no doubt about it, this campaign was built for the long haul. But quite frankly, there's a great philosophical divide. It's what you want. You want a great contrast in a presidential election.
It's going to be a big, big-time race. Obamacare, immigration, energy, taxes, spending, deficits -- they have very profound differences on these issues. So I like philosophical differences between the candidates. It's what the people have a right to expect. They're going to get it come November.
MORGAN: Tell me about Mitt Romney's mood at the moment. How is he feeling himself, do you think?
EHRLICH: You know what, I was with him last week, as you know. He's here in Maryland. I asked him, you don't look tired. I've been through statewide campaigns. You've got to look worse, Mitt. He looks good. He's confident. Look, quite frankly, I'm a person who believes that this prolonged campaign has helped him. It's made him a better debater, made him a better candidate. The burn rate obviously on the dollars is the downside. But clearly he's a sharp candidate. He has to be against President Obama, who's a great debater and all that, tough candidate.
But Mitt Romney is there. And he has the skill set not only to compete but to win. He has the skill set, I believe, that the country is looking for, particularly when it comes to creating private sector jobs.
MORGAN: I mean, nobody disputes he's an intelligent man and has been a very successful businessman. What they say is that there seems to be a slight disconnect still between Governor Romney and the average American in the street. Because he's so wealthy, so successful, he keeps making repeated silly little mistakes which kind of lends succor to the argument that he's slightly out of touch.
Does he accept that? And what do you think, as one of his friends, he needs to do to stop making those kind of mistakes?
EHRLICH: The media tends to play the Etch-a-Sketch stuff. It's the collateral issue of the day. But if you have a kid who's 22 years old, with 150,000 dollars in debt, and it's a smart kid, and that kid's sitting at home and can't get the job he or she needs, you don't really care about the Etch-a-Sketch or two Cadillacs compared to one Cadillac, all that stuff.
The press loves it. It's a 24/7 feeding frenzy. You know that. It helps pay your salary. And I'm not criticizing you. But it is what it is these days. When it comes down to general election, however, again, clear philosophical differences on Keystone, on ANWR, on energy independence, on taxes, on spending, on deficits.
This is the stuff that really counts. But I do believe, Piers, ultimately this election is about who is best for my kid to secure that job. Who do I trust best to create private sector jobs in this country today? Who has done it? Who understands the private sector economy better? The president or Mitt Romney?
If that's the paradigm, if that's the question people ask themselves, I'm pretty confident that he'll prevail on election day.
MORGAN: Governor, I'm going to have to leave it there. Thank you very much indeed. We're going to go straight now to Milwaukee where Governor Romney is about to make his victory speech.
ROMNEY: Thank you. Congressman Ryan, he's a great leader, wonderful speaker, but he's not going to take Ann's place, I'm going to tell you that.
Thank you for providing the thank yous this evening, Congressman. Thank you all -- also to Senator Johnson and Congressman Sensenbrenner, appreciate their being here, the participation they've had in this process and thank you to Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. We won them all.
This -- this really has been quite a night. We -- we won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America. And here in the heartland, you know you're not going to find Americans with bigger hearts than the people of Wisconsin.
You know, but as I've been traveling across the state, I've -- I've visited with far too many whose hearts are filled with anxiety about their future.
So many good and decent people seem to be running harder just to stay in place. And -- and for many, no matter how hard they -- they're running, every day it seems to put them a little further behind. It's that way across so much of America, too much of America. Under this president's watch, more Americans have lost their jobs than during any other period since the Depression.
Millions have lost their homes. A record number of Americans are now living in poverty. And the most vulnerable are the ones that have been hurt the most. Thirty percent of single moms are now living in poverty.
New business startups -- and that's normally where we get job growth after a recession -- new business startups are down to the lowest level in 30 years. And of course, you know our national debt is at a record high. And when you drive home tonight and you stop by the gas station, just take a look at the prices. And then ask yourself, four more years of that?
And that's why it's important to understand one extraordinary fact about this election: President Obama thinks he is doing a good job. I'm not kidding. He actually thinks he is doing a great job. He thinks he's doing an historically great job, like Abraham Lincoln and LBJ and FDR, and no, he did not say this on "Saturday Night Live," all righty?
It's enough -- it's enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers, telling you that you're great and you are doing a great job, It's enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch with that, and that's what's happened.
This campaign is going to deal with many complicated issues. But there is a basic choice that we're going to face. The president has pledged to transform America. And he's spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of a opportunity society led by free people and free enterprises.
(APPLAUSE) And you know, the different visions we have I think are a product of the different lives we've led, the life experiences, the values we have. When he was a community organizer and communities were hurt by plant closings, his reaction was to turn to the government for help. He saw free enterprise as the villain and government as the solution.
He never seemed to grasp the very basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money. So today, when the president attacks business, and when his policies make it more difficult for business to grow and prosper, he's also attacking the very communities he had wanted to help. Or at least that's how it works when America is working.
But under Barack Obama, America hasn't been working. The ironic tragedy is that the community organizer who wanted to help those that were hurt by a plant closing became the president on whose watch more jobs have been lost any time since the Great Depression.
In Barack Obama's government-centered society, the government has to do more because the economy is doomed to do less, because when you attack business and you vilify success, you are going to have less business and less success.
And then, of course, the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment insurance because you've guaranteed there will be millions more unemployed. In Barack Obama's government-centered society, tax increases not only become a necessity, but also a desired tool for social justice.
In that world of shrinking means, there is a finite amount of money. And as someone once famously said, you need to have some taxes to spread the wealth around.
In Barack Obama's government-centered society, government spending always increases because, well, why not? There's always someone who's entitled to something more and who's willing to vote for anyone who will give them something more.
Now, by the way, we know where that kind of -- you know, that transformation of a -- of a free society into a government-centered society leads, because there are other nations that have followed that path. And it leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt and stagnant wages. This is beginning to sound familiar, isn't it?
I don't want to transform America. I want to restore to America the economic values of freedom and opportunity and limited government that has made us the powerhouse of the world.
(APPLAUSE) It's opportunity. It's opportunity, not a check from government -- it's opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans. Now I am not naive enough to believe that free enterprise is a solution to all of our problems. But nor am I naive enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces for good this world has ever known.
Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better than all the programs of government combined.
If we become one of those societies that attack success, why not come as certain there will be a lot less success? And that's not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, had the right values, took some risks, that there was an opportunity to build a better life for your family and for your next generation.
This means that government has to be smaller and have strict limits placed on its power. ObamaCare violates both those principles, and I will get rid of it.
Taxes have to be as low as possible and in line with those of the competing nations around the world, designed to foster innovation and growth, that's why I will cut marginal taxes across the board. I want to create good jobs in this country. Let's get the taxes down for employers.
Now we, of course, understand in a free market that regulations are necessary and critical, but they have to be continuously updated, streamlined, modernized, and regulators have to see their job not just as cracking down on the bad guys but also as protecting economic freedom and promoting enterprise and fostering job creation. Washington has to become an ally of business, not the opposition of business.
Now workers should have the right to join unions. But unions should not be forced upon workers. And unions should not have the power to take money our of their members' paychecks to buy the support of politicians that are favored by the union bosses.
You know, out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but in everything they do, they show they don't like business very much. But the economy, of course, is simply the product of all the businesses of the nation added together. So it's a bit like saying you like an omelet, but you don't like eggs.
(LAUGHTER) You know, to build a strong economy that provides good jobs and rising wages and that reduces poverty, we have to build successful businesses of every kind imaginable. And President Obama has been attacking successful businesses of every kind imaginable.
We have always been a country of dreamers, where dreamers can have dreams, where one dream helps launch another. And if those dreamers are rewarded with prosperity, we view that as a reason that other may be encouraged to dream big as well.
Now these last few years have been difficult, made a lot worse by the mistakes and failures of the president's leadership. But if the hill before is a little steeper, we've always been a nation of big steppers.
In this last year, I've been all over the country, from student unions to kitchen tables, from factory breakrooms to boardrooms. And I've heard frustration and anger, but rarely hopelessness. A lot of Americans have given up on the president. But they haven't thought about giving up, not on themselves, not on each other, and not on America.
We have a duty -- we have a duty placed upon our shoulders by the founders of the nation, a sacred duty to restore the promise of America, and we will do it. And we will do it because we believe in America.
Tonight, I'm asking the good people of Pennsylvania, and New York, Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut to join me. Join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger.
Help wanted signs can get dusted off and put in the front yard and we can start again. And this time we're going to get it right. We will stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.
Together, we will build the greatest America we've ever known, where prosperity is grown and shared, not limited and divided, an America that guarantees that ours is the door that innovation and greatness always knocks on first.
There was a time not so long ago when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world had. We're Americans. That meant something different to each of us, but something special to all of us.
We knew it without question -- so did the people in the rest of the world -- those days are coming back. That's our destiny. So join me, walk together, take another step every day until November 6th. We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans.
God bless this country. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thanks, you guys. Thanks for the victory in Wisconsin and Maryland and District of Columbia. Thanks, you guys. Thank you.