updated 4/5/2012 12:45:32 PM ET 2012-04-05T16:45:32

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 Salon.com 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

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