The Last Word | March 08, 2012
>> the pressure is building on newt gingrich to dropout of the race for the nomination. conservative leader gary bauer who was the most extreme right winger in the republican primary field in 2000 . he said a poll of 200,000 activists shows the vast majority are uniting behind candidate and that's rick santorum . having run myself they felt it can be when you are in the arena and step aside. they made it clear that there is a strong conservative majority in the primaries, but that vote is divided. rick santorum in alabama is asking voters to knock newt gingrich out of the race.
>> if you go out and deliver a conservative victory for us on tuesday, this race will become a two-person race and when it becomes a two-person race for the republican nomination, the conservative will win that nomination. when a conservative wins the nomination, he will defeat barack obama in the general election .
>> a poll of likely alabama primary voters conducted before super tuesday and not including ron paul shows rick santorum leading in alabama with 23%. four points ahead of mitt romney 's 19% and newt gingrich is third with 14%. joining me now is alex wagner from msnbc's now and chris hayes , the host of msnbc's up with chris hayes . and the latest nonevent in campaign news is that the governor, the republican governor of mississippi , phil bryant , i just found out what his name was now is endorsing willard m romney . pack in one more establishment endorsement and that ought to put him over the top .
>> no way. no way. i think it calls for him to get out are ludicrous.
>> the calls for gingrich to get out?
>> the calls for gingrich and the calls for --
>> what is calling for santorum to get out. that's right.
>> they are making a case it's all about mitt romney .
>> ron paul is the only one who is happy with everybody just staying where they are.
>> ron paul will --
>> not ever stop running. look, why not let this thing play out. if you are a conservative voter and not particularly happy, mitt romney is kind of getting with the emphasis on kind of getting to be a better candidate as the time goes on. they will rewire software, but i think he could come out at the end of the next two weeks as a stronger candidate. that is good for the party. no way is rick santorum getting out. for newt gingrich , it's all about ego. all about how much money he can call for.
>> before we hear from the political strategist chris hayes , we will hear from rush limbaugh who seems to be leaning towards santorum on the who should stay in and get out. let's listen to what rush said today about santorum .
>> obviously the american people want a leader they can trust and who will carry their message. fear and anger, whatever, all the way to november. now, if you watch the debates, it's pretty clear that santorum appears to know romney care pretty well. understands the intricacies. he is out telling people that romney carries a liability. if romney doesn't find a way to deal with it to the satisfaction of conservatives he will take him to the nomination. convention. what have you. what santorum is learning is that he's got a theme now. simple. all these got to do. not a multifacetted message, but one or two things. one is freedom and obama care. it's resonating.
>> santorum seems to have discovered something we reported on the show. romney has been lying about never having been in favor of a federal individual mandate in health care . he was and we have the videotape. santorum is on to that.
>> i think that santorum has been attacking consistently romney care for the duration. can i say one thing about this rush limbaugh quote? i was reading it and he said who will carry the message, fear, anger all the way to november, that's what he was saying the republican message is. he is saying they need someone to carry -- rush limbaugh said they need someone to carry the message of fear and anger. that is on message and gets the problem that romney has. he is incapable of connecting viscerally with the message of fear and anger that rush limbaugh and the conservative base of feeling and want to see reflected in their candidate. when you look at how angry rick santorum gets not just when he talks about barack obama but romney or satan or birth control, that's a guy who can reflect fear and anger.
>> i don't agree that he has been hitting mitt romney that hard. people unearthed the footage from a program called "meet the press" on a channel called abc and another called cbs. finally there numerous articles written. romney was basically going to get a free pass on something that is to the republican party at this point. supporting the bones of obama care in his own home state.
>> any time he forced to explain it, he doesn't have an explanation.
>> he has a simple technique to lie and say i wasn't in favor of it outside of massachusetts. your point about rush coming out with the it's about fear and anger, joe biden said something today, i never have seen a time in my lifetime when republicans haven't tried to hide the ball. that's what you expect them to do. when they said they were compassionate conservatives and we care about health care , they are not hiding the ball anymore at all. this is going to be the darkest choice the american public will make in a long time. i have been rooting for the santorum candidacy because i want to see a stark choice. i want to see hard core republican conservatism on a debate stage against president obama . is santorum and the process pushing romney into adopting hard core conservative positions anyway so he will have to deal with them. she on the debate.
>> this is the shifting of the magnetic polls. romney said he will veto the dream act and the hatred being spewed because he is alien etting the social conterve tichl. the fiscal policy is almost draconian and increases the budget by millions or trillions. this is having an effect on the romney candidacy. he will get to the general and will be able to pivot and everyone will forget about that. i have faith that that's not true.
>> romney avoided taking a shot at rush limbaugh when it was easy to do. he hasn't gotten gratitude from rush. let's listen about what happens to the republican nominee if this process continues.
>> the longer this goes on, the longer obama can't attack our nominee because we don't have one. you heard him salivating over what they have waiting for romney . the longer obama is delayed with the media from attacking the better. i also happen to agree with the notion that the longer this thing goes on and the longer it takes for the realization to sink in that conservatism is what will be the deciding factor whether we win or lose. that's good too.
>> conservatism is the deciding factor is not an argument for romney .
>> not at all. i think what's fascinating, it's interesting to see rush spin this. this is good for the party to go on. i think a lot of people have been trying to think about this in 2008 . there was a lot of worrying and concern that the duration would be in the party. it's important to zero in. someone can offer you two amazing meals and you can't choose between them because they are both so delicious or two piles of dog food , neither of which you want to chow down on. it looks to the outsider who is not seeing them identical. they cannot choose. we are clearly --
>> dog foot and cat food .
>> we are dealing with that situation. there is an institutional identity crisis and it's unclear that that is going to produce a strong out come.
>> as long as they fight the obama campaign is allowed to do purely positive presentations of the president. there is a campaign film by tom hanks . take a look at this.
>> how do we understand this president? and his time in office? do we look at the day's headlines or do we remember what we as a country have been through?
>> what was described in that meeting was an economic crisis beyond anything anybody had imagined.
>> our time of standing pat and protecting narrow interest and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed.
>> entire national security apparatus was in that room and now we had to make a decision. go or not go.
>> as he walked out of the room, he is all alone. this is his decision. nobody is standing there with him. .
>> if it feels like academy award stuff, it is. the academy award winning directionor put that together. that's what you get to do if republicans are screaming and yelling at each other.
>> you know as well, the film is an incredibly powerful media. it's amazing how powerful.
>> a little music.
>> a little music.
>> tom hanks .
>> and the soft lighting.
>> it's not just that. the "new york times" has a cover story talking about the sort of back cave of digital and social networking analysis that team obama is doing. facebook logs and behavioral patterns . some of this is a violation of privacy.
>> there is nothing false there. this is the real drama he faced.
>> i think one of the challenges they faced throughout the duration for his term is the fact that it sounds at a certain point tin-eared to keep talking about how bad things were and could have been, but it is the fact of the matter. the strongest thing they did in terms of the emergency management of the country at a moment of peril was to avoid the worst possible eventuality. that's clearly something that is a difficult thing to sell, but they are finding ways to sell that.
>> the vocabulary of documentary allows you to do that. it's past tense.
>> and it takes on a tone with tom hanks and the music.
>> it's much easier to make that case when it looks like things are better now. that has been the condition. the underlying condition that has been hard for them to make in the economic case. the actual you are better off now and you know people who are reentering the labor force , that's been the harder thing to do. now that that's there, you can go back and hammer home more on that.
>> thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, joe