msnbc | March 21, 2012
>>> governor jeb bush has finally decided to back mitt romney in the race to face president obama . bush has been on the sidelines, as you know, in this nomination fight for months, unwilling to link his name to a candidate, while rumors of a late entry swirled through the republican party . obviously that puts that to rest. this comes on the heels of a big victory for romney in illinois. this endorsement is an enormous shot of momentum for a campaign desperate to win the hearts and minds of conservative voters. let's start with alice stort. she is the national press secretary for the santorum presidential campaign . alice , great to have you with me. i want to talk to you about your candidate in a second. but i want to get your reaction to jeb bush throwing his weight behind mitt romney . this has to be a relief of sorts but also a disappointment for your campaign.
>> well, i appreciate the opportunity to come on the show, thomas. congratulations to the romney camp for yet another endorsement. that's great for him. jeb bush and the bush family certainly have been supportive of romney . but as far as our campaign, we're doing this without the big name endorsements, without the establishment endorsement. rick is out there to get the endorsement of the american people . and he's doing very well doing that. it's not all about the endorsements from the people who represent the establishment. it's about going door to door , person to person, and that's what rick's doing. that's the important thing here. he's in louisiana right now launching off the big campaign effort there. we're expecting to do very well in louisiana . and that's what it's about, it's about winning over, as you said, the hearts and minds . it's about win over the hearts and minds of the people of this country, the conservatives. rick's the true conservative in this race. he's doing that despite the fact that he's been outspent. we were outspent 21 to 1 in the shilg chicago area . but given the fact that mitt romney has the name id and the money manage, he should be talking away with every state. but he's not energizing the base, not rallying conservatives, not rallying the tea party groups. he's the one that had the advantage here. but he's not winning over the hearts and minds of americans and rick santorum is.
>> is this a relief that jeb bush is not going to be entering this race?
>> that's not a factor. it's not something that we've considered. rick is running his own race. he's doing very well --
>> you're not concerned about late entry after a candidate like jeb bush , people out there on the right said they wanted someone like him to throw his hat into the ring to give a contender to president obama . he'd have the power.
>> rick's running his own race. what we're expecting to happen in short order is this is going to be a two-man race between mitt romney and rick santorum . what's going to happen is the real conservative , rick santorum , will come to the forefront. we're urging conservatives and tea party groups to rally behind the conservative candidate in rick santorum because we need someone like him that will fight for limited government and reduce spending, not someone like mitt romney who is the prototype for obamacare. who stood for cap and trade and supported the wall street bailouts. those issues will be taken off the table if we elect mitt romney . we can't do that. we need someone like rick santorum who will fight for reduced spending and limited government . he will do that.
>> alice , coming off of last night in illinois and now getting this jeb bush endorsement, the romney camp seems to have a lot of momentum moving forward, as you say, there's still a long way to go. however, it could start this parade of other voices coming out to urge your candidate to drop out of the race and newt gingrich was first to lead this charge. take a listen to him last night.
>> governor romney had a pretty good day today. i think he took a step towards clearly proving he was the front-runner. senator santorum did not have a particularly good day. this is the third time now he's tried out an industrial midwestern union state and not succeeded.
>> alice , granted, newt has his own campaign issues. but talking about how your candidate is doing and like he brings up, in those industrial states and talking about the financial disparity between the santorum campaign and the romney campaign, do you guys have the momentum to take this all the way to tampa like you want?
>> we certainly do. we're at the halfway point. this is the halftime of this long process. no one has gotten near the 1,144 required delegates. we are on tapped to do that. we've got our own map. you have to consider the fact that if this does go to an open convention , rick's got the advantage. the convention is going to have more conservative -leaning people as opposed to the regular primary voters. and that will sway in his favor. we've got many unbound delegates out there. those will go to the conservative candidate in rick santorum . we're optimistic. we're a far cry from this -- anyone receiving 1,144. we feel that we'll give mitt romney last night. but as he gave us mississippi and alabama last week, we're looking ahead. we're doing well in louisiana . we've got rick's home state this pennsylvania coming up on our primary calendar. we're encouraged. this is a marathon, not a sprint. we're going to continue to do what he's been doing. get out there and reminding people he's the conservative candidate. heck not afford to elect a moderate to go against barack obama . we can't do that. mitt romney in particular, coming bon the anniversary of obamacare, we wouldn't have obamacare as we know it if it were not for mitt romney . he wrote the prototype for that and he advocated for it being on the national level. we have him in part to thank for having obamacare. we need to make sure that people understand that and rally behind rick santorum who is going to repeal and replace obamacare.
>> alice stort, great to have you on with us this