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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/03/12

Guests: Steve Kornacki, John Harwood, Stephanie Cutter, Dan Bice

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thanks my friend. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. This hour we do have results from the Republican primaries in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland. Polls in both of those places closed an hour ago at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. In Maryland, NBC projects that Mitt Romney is the winner by a significant margin over Rick Santorum. At this point In Maryland, we`ve got 9 percent vote in. Mr. Romney with 53 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum with 27 percent of the vote. And Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, well behind. In Washington, D.C., as well, NBC News can project Mitt Romney as the winner. As you know, Mr. Santorum did not even bother putting his name on the ballot in D.C. Mr. Romney, zero percent. He`s nevertheless projected as the winner. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul behind him. Again, Rick Santorum not an option for District of Columbia Republican voters today. And in Wisconsin, polls have just closed now at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. NBC News is characterizing the race in Wisconsin as too early to call but with Mitt Romney leading Rick Santorum. Again, the call right now in Wisconsin, it is too early to call. The Wisconsin Republican primary is 100 years old today. Actually, yesterday it`s 100 years old. The first time Wisconsin ever had a primary was April 2nd, 1912, 100 years ago. Wisconsin Republicans picked Fighting Bob La Follette over Teddy Roosevelt that year, three-to-one. Over the years, Wisconsin Republicans picked Fighting Bob, the great progressive, anti-corporate power, small d democracy, union rights-fighting man. They picked him four times in the state`s Republican primary. They picked a guy named George Norris twice. In 1944, they picked General Douglas McArthur to be president. Hey, why not? It was not until Wisconsin Republicans had been picking presidential nominees for 44 years, it was not until it will mid-1950s that Wisconsin Republicans actually picked somebody that went onto win the nomination, when they picked Eisenhower, who was running unopposed. Wisconsin Republicans are independent minded. They go their own way or at least they go their own way when the race isn`t already decided by the time the race gets to Wisconsin. But for the past 30 years or so, the Republican nomination contest has mostly already been decided by the time Wisconsin Republicans got to vote. And that`s the question of the day today. Is that the case again? Is the Mitt Romney nomination a foregone conclusion, or is there still some life to any of the other possibilities particularly to Rick Santorum? One of the things that`s always interesting to watch on these election nights is where the candidates physically are. It sells you what their expectations are for the night`s results in a way. So, with D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin voting today, Ron Paul is doing a town hall meeting in Chico, California. Yes, OK. Rick Santorum is in Mars, Pennsylvania. Newt Gingrich is nowhere. He has no events scheduled for this evening. And Mitt Romney is in Wisconsin. He`s in Milwaukee, which might mean that he expects to win Wisconsin. That said, two of the states that border Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa did both go Rick Santorum`s way earlier this year. It`s also worth noting that Maryland shares a long border with Rick Santorum`s home state of Pennsylvania, which Rick Santorum said yesterday he guarantees he will win. Despite its neighboring state status, Mr. Santorum did not bother campaigning in Maryland before today for even a single day of campaigning. Mr. Romney won Maryland today without even much having to try. But Rick Santorum does not want to be thought of as out of this race. He has been priming the pump for days now, trying to inure his supporters and the media to a certain case to tonight`s inevitable losses. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We knew that April would be a very tough month for us. I mean, this is a series of states that, you know, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut and D.C. and Maryland -- these are not conservative states. And we have some states that we know we can run well in. Wisconsin is one that we can think run well. And Pennsylvania we know we can win. We also know that the month of May is rich with delegates and are strong states for us -- states like Texas and Arkansas and Kentucky and Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina. Those are the states we know we can get this right back to where it is right now, which is a lot closer than what Mitt Romney and the pundits are spinning. This is a very close race. And by the end of May, we expect this race to be close to even. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is a very close race by the end of May we`ll be close to even. Rick Santorum would like you to know he`s in this race until the end, or at least he`s there through May. And he thinks he`s going to have a great May. But he rightfully points out that in May, no matter how well things for him before then, in May, Mitt Romney may have some trouble. Mitt Romney may face some states that may make this year`s long slog of Romney inevitability even longer and sloggier, provided he still has some people to compete with after tonight. To understand more about tonight`s results and what about what`s next for these candidates, we bring in John Harwood, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and "New York Times" political writer, and Steve Kornacki, political writer for and an MSNBC contributor. Thanks for both being here. Appreciate it. Steve, let me start with you. Tonight, at least in Maryland and Washington, so far, a good night for Mr. Romney. He is leading in Wisconsin. It`s too early to call there. Rick Santorum is talking about May, is talking about future contests. And that is in part to say, I`m not leaving, don`t call for me to get out of the race. But does he have a point that he might actually do well in May? And if the race is still seen as being alive then that Mitt Romney might have some trouble? STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Yes. I mean, the question is, if he does, will it add up to anything? I mean, the reason he could have trouble in May is because there`s been a resistance to Mitt Romney in this process that has been demographically specific and it has been persistent. I mean, it basically boils down to this: if you look at that state -- if you look at the Republican voting universe, in any given state, whether it`s a primary or caucus, if that voting universe is 50 percent or more composed of evangelical Christians, Romney has not been able to win it. If it`s less than 20 percent evangelical Christians, he has not managed to lose it yet. So if you look at those two realities, that`s pretty much why he`s the inevitable nominee. But nothing in Maryland, nothing in the district of Columbia and nothing in Wisconsin is going to change that because the numbers are going to be well under 50 on all those states. But if you heard that list that Rick Santorum rattled off there, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, if you look at those states in May, chances are the Republican universes substantially over 50 percent evangelical Christians. So, the question is, you know, the nature of the evangelical opposition to Mitt Romney, is that something unique to him. Is it the Mormon factor? Some say is it he used to be pro-choice. They don`t really trust him on abortion. Whatever you think it is, if that sticks, even if the party treats him as the inevitable nominee, even if Obama treats him as the inevitable nominee, we could have a spectacle of going into May and into June where the inevitable nominee losses six, seven, eight, nine states, something like that. MADDOW: Is the Romney campaign worried about that or would they be right to worried about that? Is there prime interest right now in locking it up, making the other candidates go away? Do they think that the continued presence of Rick Santorum is doing them any harm? JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Yes, because they want to focus on the general election. President Obama gave a forceful speech today, attacking the Ryan-Romney budget. The Romney campaign knows that they`re on track to win. As Steve indicated, yes, can Rick Santorum win primaries in May? Absolutely he can win primaries in May. Can he stop Mitt Romney from getting the nomination? You know, his chances of that are about as good add winning the next lottery. So, what Romney`s campaign is hoping is that if they get a win in Wisconsin tonight, sweep Wisconsin, that there will be a moment of reflection and reassessment on the part of Rick Santorum, and he may decide not to go to Pennsylvania. It`s very hard to imagine that because I talked to Santorum campaign this afternoon. They said you`re going to hear a battle cry for Pennsylvania in Rick Santorum`s speech tonight. He`s going to lay out the rationale for fighting on there. He thinks that would be an event even if he loses on April the 24th that would kick start him going into these more favorable states in May. But, you know, Josh Putnam of Davidson College, who`s one of the best students of delegates election said if you just take the demographic performance of the candidates so far, apply that to the rest of the field, and presume they both share on the same track we`ve been going on, Mitt Romney is going to get to the end of the primaries with 1,122 pledged delegates. That`s even if you assume he gets none of the super, automatic delegates, none of the unbound, unpledged delegates like from Iowa where he split the vote with Santorum, it`s just very, very difficult to see at this point a realistic case for anyone but Mitt Romney winning this. MADDOW: And because Pennsylvania is looming, and I do think it`s important that Pennsylvania is where Rick Santorum is tonight -- I mean, if you put yourself in Rick Santorum`s shoes and you think what it is he`s staying in for, what he`s competing for. Obviously, he`s joining his newfound rule. It`s a very high profile person in the party. I think he probably thinks it`s going to help his issues. I think he probably thinks it`s going to help his career, which wasn`t going much of anywhere, after having lost his seat in the Senate by 18 points in Pennsylvania. The only way he can go back to not just zero but maybe even less than zero is if he goes back to Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania looks at him again and says no, Rick, no. If Pennsylvania votes Rick down, he`s worst off when he started this thing when he was only the guy who lost his home state once. If he loses it twice, isn`t that disaster for him? HARWOOD: Well, that`s -- the hope for the Romney campaign is he will have a flash of recognition and fear that that could happen. MADDOW: Yes. HARWOOD: I see no evidence of it. It`s very hard for candidates once they have invested their blood, sweat and tears in a campaign, the way Santorum has and he has become, as you just eluded, he`s become a bigger guy in this process, a more prominent conservative, a national figure. But it`s difficult for them to accept the idea that they are not going to win. The prospect of an embarrassment like that is something that might make a difference. He doesn`t see it. MADDOW: How do you see that playing? KORNACKI: Yes, there`s only one candidate in the modern era who has won primaries and caucus then gone on and lost his home state. That was Jerry Brown in California in 1992. The interesting thing I`d say about Pennsylvania is this -- all the pressure is on Santorum because, A, he`s putting it on himself now, and, B, because it`s his home state. But think about the demographic stuff we`re talking about here with evangelical Christians, if it wasn`t Rick Santorum`s home state, this would be a must win for him. On paper, this is not a Santorum state. So, there`s a psychologically devastating, you know, impact if you lose your home state. But I still could see if this evangelical resistance to Romney really is just absolute, I could see still him losing Pennsylvania, him or anybody who`s not named Mitt Romney, winning eight states in May and June. MADDOW: Right. Even if Rick Santorum has no chance of putting together the delegates to even complicate Romney`s nomination does still end up hurting Mitt Romney as a nominee by simply embarrassing him in all of those all the way to Tampa. Steve Kornacki, John Harwood -- thank you both for being here. It`s nice to have you here on election night. Thanks. All right. We are awaiting a speech from Rick Santorum. As I said, Rick Santorum is not in Wisconsin or in Maryland or in D.C. tonight. He`s in home state of Pennsylvania. We`ll bring you that speech live when it happens. At this point right now, in Wisconsin, NBC News is calling this race too early to call, but with Mitt Romney leading. Mr. Romney has already won tonight in Maryland and Washington, D.C. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Happy election night. NBC News has projected Mitt Romney as the winner in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland. In Wisconsin, with just 1 percent of the vote in which is essentially zip -- right now, these are the current results. The projection on the race is that it`s too early to call in Wisconsin, but that Mitt Romney is in the lead. Rick Santorum is in his home state of Pennsylvania speaking right now to his supporters. Let gees let`s go to it live. SANTORUM: It`s great to be here with friends and family. And we have now reached the point where it`s halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been selected. And who is ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half? (APPLAUSE) 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? (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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... (APPLAUSE) 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 Hessian`s 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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... (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. MADDOW: Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaking in his home state. I believe in his home district where he represented -- part of the district that he represented when he was in the House of Representatives. Speaking to supporters there tonight, Mr. Santorum making the decision not to be in any of the states that were voting tonight. He`s not in Wisconsin or Maryland. He was not on the ballot in Washington. NBC has projected Mitt Romney as the winner in both Washington and in Maryland right now. Wisconsin is still too close to call. It`s interesting, though, hearing Mr. Santorum`s decisions in his speech. He is in part talking about President Obama, talking about, for example, the issue of health reform. Going back -- wherever he talks about health reform, he goes directly to the issue of access to contraception. Mr. Santorum has gone at the media very hard, saying you`re always saying that I`m talking about contraception all the time. You guys are the one bringing it up. He`s always the one bringing it up. Tonight, the first thing that he went to and, in fact, the only argument that he made against health reform was a contraception-related argument. But in going after Mr. Romney, at the end there, you heard Mr. Santorum, I think, probably in one of the best phrased portions of this rather ad-hoc speech, comparing himself to Ronald Reagan in 1976, when Ronald Reagan fought a losing primary campaign against Gerald Ford. He`s implicitly comparing Mitt Romney to Gerald Ford who, of course, lost that election in the general to Jimmy Carter, after he had been challenged in the primary by Ronald Reagan. It is one thing to call yourself Ronald Reagan. It`s another thing to call somebody else Gerald Ford as an insult. I imagine that they may not endear Mr. Santorum to a lot of the Republican establishment that is so far been behind Mitt Romney anyway. I thought interesting also is a choice of words and the way that Mr. Santorum talked about what he sees himself as being up against. He not only talked about the Republican establishment as being behind Mitt Romney. He talked about it as the Republican establishment and aristocracy. Not to put too fine a point on it. Again, at this hour, NBC has projected that in Washington, D.C., where Rick Santorum was not on the ballot, Mitt Romney is the winner of that contest. NBC News has also projected that in Maryland, Mitt Romney is the winner of that contest. In Wisconsin, we have very few results in so far. NBC is projecting the Wisconsin race as too early to call but with Mitt Romney in the lead. Right now, too early to call again in Wisconsin. You can see our vote totals are very low. We`ve only got 5 percent in. We`ll be watching this throughout the night as they vote totals continue to come in. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: What you`re looking at here is the Romney campaign headquarters tonight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We`re expecting Governor Romney to be speaking to his supporters there. But before he speaks, he`s due to be introduced by Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, of course, is the author of the House Republican budget which passed the House last week, with about I think 10 Republican defections and no Democratic votes at all. That Republican budget, Paul Ryan`s plan, which Mitt Romney, the Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination, has embraced as tightly as anybody can embrace anything -- was the subject of a speech today by President Obama. President Obama just excoriating that budget and the ideas in it today in a speech before editors and reporters from the "Associated Press". I think we got a clip of that here. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan horse, disguised as deficit reduction plans. It is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism. It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who`s willing to work for it. By gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that`s built to last, education and training, research and development, our infrastructure. It is a prescription for decline. This is now the party`s governing platform. This is what they are running home. One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. He said that he`s very supportive of this new budget. He even called it marvelous -- which is a word you don`t often hear when it comes to describing a budget. It`s a word you don`t often hear generally. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Joining us now is Stephanie Cutter. She`s a deputy campaign manager of President Obama`s re-election effort. She was formerly deputy communications director in the Clinton White House. Stephanie Cutter, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate your time. STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thanks, Rachel. Good to be here. MADDOW: We are awaiting a speech from Governor Romney tonight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He will be introduced by Paul Ryan. He and Paul Ryan have been joined at the hip the last few days of campaigning in Wisconsin for the Republican primary there today. Why did the president focus on the House Republican budget and name Mitt Romney personally in this speech today? Does he see Mitt Romney`s policy essentially as being what Paul Ryan has prescribed? CUTTER: Well, yes because Mitt Romney said that his policy is what Ryan described. He`s been campaigning with Ryan over the past week, traveling around Wisconsin saying that one of the first things he`d do as president is to pass the Ryan budget. So, I think it was absolutely appropriate to mention him today and to talk about the consequences of Ryan`s policies, Romney`s policies, the Ryan-Romney budget on seniors, the middle class, and our ability to grow this economy. MADDOW: What was the allegation that it was thinly veiled social Darwinism about? When I think about social Darwinism, I think about letting the weak die and letting the strong survive. Is that what the president was saying? CUTTER: Well, you know, look at what the budget does. It ends Medicare as we know. It`s basically is the largest cut in Medicaid we`ve have seen. It makes the middle class and seniors pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: Stephanie, I have to interrupt you for a moment. I`m sorry. I never interrupt except for this one thing I have to interrupt for. We have call in this race. NBC News can now project that the Republican primary in Wisconsin has been won by former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. Again, Mitt Romney the projected winner in Wisconsin, and in Maryland and in Washington, D.C. tonight, only 10 percent in, but Mitt Romney has been called the projected winner. We`re still joined by Stephanie Cutter who is the deputy campaign manager. Stephanie, I do apologize for interrupting you. That`s the one really important thing I have to do that for. But continue what you were saying about the social Darwinism allegation and why that`s -- that`s a very harsh critique. You think that`s warranted for the House Republican budget and Mitt Romney`s embrace of it. CUTTER: Well, it`s harsh critique but it`s accurate critique. It`s the trickle-down theory that we have tried over the last decade that didn`t work. You know, in the last decade, we had the lowest job growth that we have seen in half a century. We saw the middle class squeeze and the wealthiest get wealthier. So, that`s not how you build an economy that`s meant to last. That`s now how you build a competitive economy with a strong middle class, with a secure middle class. So, that`s what the president was talking about in terms of social Darwinism, let the top -- the wealthiest Americans continue to get ahead while the middle class get squeezed. You know, look at the impact of the Ryan budget, not just from, you know, the Obama administration or this campaign -- by independent experts. It would kick hundreds of thousands of kids off of Head Start -- kids off of Head Start. It`s the largest cut in history on Medicaid, which means people would be kicked out of nursing homes. So, that`s what we mean by social Darwinism, it`s not how you build a strong economy. It`s not balanced approach to reducing our deficit and it`s not an approach that the American people support. MADDOW: Stephanie, let me ask you about one last sort of strategic issue that I think I saw in the speech but I`m in the sure if I`m seeing it right. And when President Obama I think name checked six different Republican presidents in this speech. He talked about how a lot of the things that he`s criticized now he`s called socialists for now are things that Republicans not that long ago embraced as their own ideas, things like the individual mandate, things like cap and trade, all of which started on the Republican side of the aisle. In doing that, in name-checking Republican presidents and talking about how Republicans have been willing to abandon their own ideas now that President Obama supports those idea, I felt like he was not just criticizing Republicans but sort of trying to peel off Republican voters who may think of themselves as consistent on policy, who may think of themselves as being sort of practically oriented, peeling off Republican- identified Americans from a Republican Party that no longer seems so practical, that no longer seems so wedded to pragmatic policy. Is that the aim of campaign in are you trying to appeal to Republican voters? CUTTER: Well, I think that the president was pointing out basic facts that the Republican Party is out of touch with mainstream America. There used to be mainstream sector of the Republican Party that no longer exists. We`ve seen it throughout this primary contest. Look how far Mitt Romney has run to the right. Look how far right positions he`s taken, including calling himself severely conservative, the ideal Tea Party candidate. All to try to win his party`s nomination, that the mainstream Republican Party that we used to know that would come together and support things like cap and trade, that supported individual mandate because it was the right thing to do to reduce our cost and bring everybody into our health care system. Those people no longer exist. They`re not running the party in Washington and they`re certainly not running for president. MADDOW: Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Obama`s reelection campaign, joining us from Chicago. Stephanie, thanks very much for talking with us tonight. It`s nice to have you here. CUTTER: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. We are expecting to hear from Mitt Romney very shortly. Mitt Romney is going to be introduced by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. But the big news for tonight is that NBC News has projected Mitt Romney to be the winner not only in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland but also in Wisconsin. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In Milwaukee, Wisconsin right now in Romney headquarters, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is speaking to Romney supporters and introducing the governor. Let`s listen. REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: -- to deliver all those electoral votes for Mitt Romney tonight. (APPLAUSE) RYAN: Here in Wisconsin, I want to thank Senator Ron Johnson. (APPLAUSE) I want to thank my good friend, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. (APPLAUSE) And I want to thank the Romney Co-Chairs here in Wisconsin, Senator Alberta Darling and Ted Kanavas. (APPLAUSE) Thank you for all your hard work. I also want to thank my good buddy Mark Green for what he`s done for this campaign tonight. (APPLAUSE) You know, we all know that President Obama cannot run on his record. We know that he can`t run on his broken promises. And after the 2010 election, when the voters told him to go a different direction, to change course, did he moderate? Did he do that? No. He doubled down on his partisan agenda. So, if he can`t run on his record and if he won`t change course, then what does he have left? You know, we found out today he is going to try to divide us in order to distract us. You know, I seem to remember him saying that he was going to be a uniter, not a divider. Frankly I think this is one of the worst of his broken promises. We don`t need a campaigner in chief. We need a commander in chief. We need a leader that America deserves. (APPLAUSE) The presidency is bigger than this. He was supposed to be bigger than this. We need solutions, not excuses. We need a president who takes the lead, not who -- one who spreads the blame. We need someone who appeals to our dreams and our aspirations, not to our fears and our anxieties. MADDOW: Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin serving as the warm up act tonight for Mitt Romney who is due to address his supporters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin having been projected to be the winner of the Wisconsin primary tonight, as well as in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Honestly, had Congressman Ryan been making any news there I would have stuck into him but once he got into the string of bumper stickers, I decided we would go for some substance to Dan Bice, who`s a political writer for "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" who`s standing by. Dan, it`s great to have you with us. DAN BICE, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Thanks. MADDOW: Dan, I know you`ve been covering this primary today in Wisconsin and also the recall, the forthcoming recall in Wisconsin, the recall of the governor there. Does it seem that the Walker recall has, I guess, overshadowed this Republican primary in the state? Which seems like a bigger deal in the state. BICE: In the state, it certainly seems like the recall is the more important one. And actually, both of the candidates had said that it`s odd, this is the first state they have come to where they played second fiddle. But all of these elections are very much connected. The Romney campaign has created a very large and elaborate infrastructure here, which I`m sure Walker`s team will try to use for the recall in June and it`s true that if Walker loses, there`s almost no way that Romney is going to win the state. So, everyone realizes how interconnected these things are. MADDOW: Dan Bice, from "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" -- stand by. We`re going to going to dip into Mitt Romney`s comments like in Milwaukee right now. Thanks. Hold on. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Congressman Ryan, he`s a great leader, wonderful speaker, but he`s not going to take Ann`s place, I got to tell you that. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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? I agree. (LAUGHTER) 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? (LAUGHTER) 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. (LAUGHTER) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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. (APPLAUSE) 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-- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END