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Mitt Romney Wins Michigan

Aired January 15, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The polls closed about an hour ago. CNN is projecting Mitt Romney the winner. He's already made a victory speech.
Tonight on 360: all the angles on the race the former Massachusetts governor bet so heavily on. Romney spent well over $2 million on advertising in his home state, where his father was a popular governor. And it paid off tonight, giving him his first major victory.

We begin with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf is crunching numbers for us.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Anderson.

Let's take a look at the numbers right now. These are the actual numbers that have come in from precincts around Michigan right now. And we will start with the Republicans.

And let me back up. More than half of the precincts have officially reported, 51 percent, and Mitt Romney the winner in this contest, with 39 percent so far, with more than half of the precincts reporting, to John McCain's 30 percent, Mike Huckabee at 16 percent, Ron Paul coming in forth, at least so far, with 6 percent.

If we take a look at the raw numbers coming in -- these are actual numbers -- nearly 200,000 for Mitt Romney -- 191,969, to be exact -- 145,000, almost 146,000, for John McCain, Huckabee down at 78,500, Ron Paul 30,600, Fred Thompson 18,000, Rudy Giuliani only 13,000, Duncan Hunter with about 1,500 -- a big win for Mitt Romney tonight in Michigan.

On the Democratic side, it's really not much of a race at all, no real significance, other than a little bit of a beauty contest. Hillary Clinton, whose name was on the ballot, she's coming in so far with 59 percent. Uncommitted, John Edwards's name, Barack Obama's name not on the ballot, uncommitted only 36 percent, Dennis Kucinich at 4 percent.

There will be no delegates from Michigan going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, at the end of the summer, Michigan being punished, being punished right now, together with Florida, among the Democrats for moving up their primaries before Super Tuesday on February 5.

So, this contest for the Democrats in Michigan not all that significant, though, for the Republicans, very significant indeed.

Anderson, we're going to stay on top of all of these numbers throughout the night -- Anderson.


We have correspondents all over Michigan, also in South Carolina tonight, Nevada, as well as in Florida. We're going to be checking in with all of them over the next two hours.

Right now, let's go to Dana Bash, who is in Southfield, Michigan, in Mitt Romney's headquarters.

Dana, obviously, a lot of jubilation there tonight.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of jubilation, there's no question about it.

It's sort of an odd combination of jubilation and a sense of deep, deep relief, Anderson. One of Mitt Romney's senior advisers just walked up to me and said -- quote -- "It's about time," because, as you know, Mitt Romney has spent millions of dollars, in fact. Just in ads alone, he spent $25 million, far more than any of the Republican rivals, in the early contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

He did -- he placed second there, so this is a state where he really had to win. His advisers fully admitted he had to win in order to remain viable. And it's interesting. When you talk to his advisers, they feel that, after being accused, particularly in the state of Iowa, of being a candidate who simply was not authentic, because he is somebody who perhaps changed positions on key issues to the Republican electorate, like abortion, they say this is a place, his home state of Michigan, where he finally found his voice. He was finally able to be himself with the issues that he was talking about.

And you heard that in his victory speech. The issue that really won him the victory here tonight, the fact that he made the pitch, especially an economically torn and damaged Michigan, that he is somebody who's outside Washington and is the kind of businessman who can fix it.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight proves that you can't tell an American that there's something they just can't do, because Americans can do whatever they set their hearts on.


ROMNEY: And tonight is a victory of optimism over Washington- style pessimism.


ROMNEY: Now, tonight, we are celebrating here in Michigan. I have got to tell you that.


ROMNEY: But guess what they're doing in Washington? They're worrying, because they realize, the lobbyists and the politicians realize, that America now understands that Washington is broken. And we're going to do something about it.



BASH: So, now Mitt Romney has a new lease on his political life, and the question is, what happens now that he has one win, two of his other rivals have separate wins?

What the Romney campaign says is that he's going to go to South Carolina tomorrow. He is going to compete there. But they also are at this point delegate counting, Anderson. And the other state that is going to be important, believe it or not, for Republicans, just like Democrats, is Nevada.

So, Mitt Romney is actually going to be in Nevada on Friday, because that is already the name of the game. Because it is so diversified, if you will, in terms of the wins, they're going to start looking at gobbling up -- gobbling up delegates. And that's going to be how they're going to try to keep -- keep Mitt Romney's campaign alive, just like you're going to see all of the other candidates try to keep their campaign alive.

COOPER: All right, Dana Bash reporting from Southfield from Mitt Romney headquarters -- Dana, thanks very much.

We're going to check in with some of the other headquarters over the next two hours.

Right now, let's check in with the best political team on television, CNN's John King, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin.

The headline tonight, besides Mitt Romney wins?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Can you be on the best political team on television when you keep saying, I don't know what is going to happen?


COOPER: It's been working so far, so...


KING: We're now back even in more jumble.

Governor Romney has a win. He needed a win. Dana is dead right. More and more people are thinking, this is not going to be solved the old way, which is momentum, win a few early states. Normally... COOPER: The last two weeks mean nothing, basically?

KING: They don't mean nothing.

But, essentially, what they have done is, they have drained everybody's bank accounts. And we're back at go. And we're back at the start line. And, so, can somebody win South Carolina and Florida? If somebody can win those two states back to back, a Southern state and a big state that matters in a general election, then the psychology will change again.

But if we continue on with this jumble, then what matters? Resources. McCain is on fumes. Fred Thompson is almost out of money. Huckabee doesn't have much money. Rudy has some money, but not a lot. And Mitt Romney can keep writing checks, if he wants to. If he keeps winning, he will keep going to resources.

So, South Carolina and Florida are now going to decide a lot about where this race heads. And South Carolina comes first, so look for four very tough days there.

COOPER: Yes. Does this give new life, though, to Rudy Giuliani's strategy of Florida?



COOPER: Nobody knows anything anymore.


BORGER: I think, if you sort of take a step back and look what we're living through, this is clearly a Republican Party that is searching for someone to replace George Bush and someone to take the Reagan mantle, and they haven't found anyone.

If you look at the polls during this entire campaign, you can see that this has been a Republican electorate that hasn't been very enthusiastic about the candidates that they have got. And, so, they can't decide.

And each of these fellows, they are running on different platforms completely. You have Huckabee who's a populist running against John McCain, who is running on the war on terror. They're all over the place. And I think so are the Republican voters right now.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I think you can't overstate what a bitter, bitter pill this is for John McCain tonight.

In 20000, he won this state against a very strong candidate, George W. Bush. And McCain got 56 percent of the vote. Tonight, he's getting 30 percent of the vote. He's down 26 percent. That is a disaster for him. COOPER: So, what did he do wrong? Did Mitt Romney -- as the economy has become the number-one issue, certainly in Michigan, with the highest unemployment rate in the nation, and bad mortgage, debt crisis there, did voters just respond to Mitt Romney's message more on the economy?

KING: Mitt Romney changed his message dramatically from how he ran in Iowa and even how he ran until very late in New Hampshire. And, yes, his roots and his resume..


COOPER: Wait. Did you say Mitt Romney changed?


KING: I did say that.


KING: His roots and his resume mattered a lot.

But John McCain did not perform as well among Republicans as he did back in 2000. And the Democrats and independents did not vote in any numbers this time, which was his big margin last time.

There's a bit of local politics that played into his big win in 2000 that will confuse people if we get into it in any great detail. But the Republican governor at the time in 2000 was John Engler, who promised George W. Bush he would win the state.

And Democrats saw mischief. Their contest doesn't mean much, so a lot of Democrats flooded in just to mess with their governor, if you will. And that helped McCain quite a bit, a local Michigan political story. But it doesn't matter. You're always judged by the record. He did win it eight years ago. He's being trounced tonight.

COOPER: So, what was Mitt Romney's re-tacking? What was the new emphasis on, Washington is broken, I'm a fix-it kind of guy?

KING: I can fix the economy here. I know the automotive industry because my dad worked in it. I grew up in it. And I will go to Washington and I will help you -- almost sounded activist for a Republican. I will go to Washington and I will do things to help you.


KING: Some of it is easing regulations, which is a Republican thing, but other parts were, we will spend more money if necessary on research and development, a much more activist "I get Michigan."

And the state has lost jobs. It is bleeding every single year, the highest unemployment rate in the country. So, it was a very targeted message. Now he has the energy. The question is, when he goes South, will he be about fighting and changing Washington? Remember, Washington still has a Republican president. And he has to go compete in some places that are Republicans. Can he be as change as he moves into more Republican environments?

COOPER: What happened to the Democrats and the independents who were supposed to help out John McCain?

BORGER: Well, they didn't -- well, obviously, the Democrats didn't have a race going on. So, there was very little impetus to go out and actually vote for uncommitted.

COOPER: But there was some talk among Democrats of going back and actually voting for a Republican.

BORGER: Yes, there was. But the weather was bad. And McCain didn't turn out the independents the way he wanted to.

You know, Mitt Romney ran for the president of Michigan in this race. It was a local race as a state legislator: I am going to help you keep your jobs -- very local, very home.

John McCain ran for president. He talked about global warming. He had been for fuel efficiency standards. You know, that's a tough thing to say in Detroit, right?

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: So, he was running a bit of a different campaign, talking about job retraining, saying: You know, you are going to lose your jobs. I'm not going to tell you you're not going to lose your jobs.

And, in the end, the message just didn't work.

COOPER: So, what does John McCain do? If the economy remains the number-one issue in South Carolina, in Florida, if it continues, what does John McCain do?

TOOBIN: Well, I think he's got to go back to his military roots. South Carolina is a state that loves the military, big presence there. And his Navy background should be helpful to him, although we have to remember, again, in 2000, he lost an angry, bitter race to George Bush there.

I think he's probably better positioned now. He's now seen as a more conservative senator than he was in 2000, because he is a more conservative senator than he was. But he's just got to go back there and start winning primaries again.

KING: South Carolina has always been an establishment Republican state. George H.W. Bush needs a win in 1988. He gets it there. George Bush needs a win in 2000. He gets it there.

Will the people who didn't like McCain eight years ago who have signed up with him now, will they work as hard for him, as fiercely for him over the next four days as they did for the Bush organization? And that's where most of them have come from. Will they put it on the line for John McCain in a state when all of them are doubting him right now?

If you have a private conversation with them, they needed him to win Michigan. They will tell you that. He's getting trounced in Michigan tonight. They all have their doubts. Will they put those doubts aside and work over the next four days?

BORGER: And I will tell you, the interesting thing, in looking at these exit polls from Michigan, is that, while McCain won among veterans, he didn't win overwhelmingly among veterans. And I wonder whether that's going to bode for South Carolina in any way, because that's a very, very important vote to him there.

KING: And the man we're not talking about tonight, Fred Thompson, will have an impact on the South Carolina vote.


KING: Probably won't win the state, but he will have an impact there.

COOPER: All right. And we will talk about him a little bit later on in these two hours.

You can get all the results of tonight's election at You can tune in to there, log on to that any time.

A lot more coverage ahead, two hours of coverage, and then a live edition of "LARRY KING" starting at midnight Eastern.

We will be right back with more election coverage from Michigan.



MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight proves that you can't tell an American that there's something they just can't do, because Americans can do whatever they set their hearts on.





ROMNEY: I have a couple of questions for you. Is Washington, D.C., broken?


ROMNEY: Can it be fixed?


ROMNEY: Are we the team that's going to get the job done?



ROMNEY: All right, let's take this campaign to South Carolina and Nevada and Florida and all over the country. Let's take it all the way to the White House.



COOPER: Obviously, Mitt Romney's victory speech a short time ago.

CNN's Bill Schneider has been crunching the numbers, looking at the exit polls, trying to figure who voted and why they voted. Michigan was an open primary. Any registered voter could vote today. Obviously, John McCain was hoping to get a lot of Democrats and independents voting for him. That obviously did not work. Mitt Romney is the projected winner of tonight.

Let's check in with Bill, who has actually been crunching the numbers.

Bill, so who did vote and why?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's take a look at why Romney won.

Well, he carried Republican voters. Take a look at the way Republicans voted in this Republican primary. John McCain only got 27 percent of the vote among voters who call themselves Republicans. Now, you may say, well, duh, it was a Republican primary. Weren't they all Republicans?

But, as Anderson just said, no. Independents and Democrats can vote in Michigan's Republican primary. Some did. How did the independents vote in this race? Let's take a look at their vote. They voted for John McCain, which is 35 percent, over Mitt Romney.

McCain edged out Romney, just as he did among independents in 2000. But, this time, independents were only a quarter of the vote. Last time, independents and Democrats were a majority of the vote. They didn't show up nearly in as large numbers as they did eight years ago.

The biggest problem that John McCain faced was among the base of the Republican Party, people who call themselves conservatives. Most of the voters call themselves conservatives. And, as you can see, Mitt Romney beat John McCain among self-described conservatives by nearly 2-1. McCain has had problems. He has picked fights with conservatives over campaign finance reform, gun laws, tax cuts and most recently immigration. And it looks like conservatives have not forgotten those battles -- Anderson.

COOPER: Bill, what about evangelical voters?

SCHNEIDER: Oh, this is very important. Evangelical voters were 38 percent of the voters in Michigan. Huckabee was supposed to have a base among those voters. But take a look at this.

Romney is a Mormon. Huckabee is a Southern Baptist preacher. Romney beat Huckabee. The later figures have now come out. Romney has edged out Mike Huckabee among born-again or evangelical voters in Michigan 34 percent to 29 percent. that's a remarkable result. McCain is running third among those evangelicals.

That says some important things there, that they were willing to vote, by a narrow margin, for a Mormon candidate, Mitt Romney, in Michigan.

COOPER: We're going to continue to check in with Bill Schneider throughout this evening, and particularly looking even at how Democrats and African-American Democrats voted., Some interesting numbers Bill is going to show us on that coming up next.

Right now, we continue with John King, Gloria Borger, and Jeff Toobin.

What does that tell you, that Mitt Romney edged out Mike Huckabee among evangelicals and born-again Christians?

KING: It tells you Northern evangelicals are different than Southern Baptist evangelicals. So, let's watch in South Carolina and see if those numbers hold up. I suspect Governor Huckabee, at least in early polling, is doing much better among Southern Baptists than he is among Northern evangelicals.

I know everyone is going to say, well, what about Iowa? It's a caucus state. He worked a very smaller -- much smaller universe of people very heard. This is a fascinating thing going on now. And the Romney name, obviously, it's a brand name in Michigan and it's well known.

I think the bigger -- one of the big lessons tonight that we should remember is that McCain had no money to spend in Michigan back in the summer, when his campaign was struggling. Romney kept at it. So, organization also does matter in primary states, putting the money in, and putting the resources...

COOPER: And, in the last several days, Romney pulled out money from South Carolina and everywhere else and put it back into Michigan.

KING: Put in Florida -- so, he put in resources. He had a good organization to begin with. He put in the resources. And the margin of the victory, which is what has to sting the McCain camp the most, is due to Romney's better organization and the dedication of the resources.

COOPER: What is the organization like moving forward, though, in South Carolina for Mitt Romney?

BORGER: Well, I think he's going have to open his checkbook again perhaps, Al Gore this will help him raise money, obviously.

McCain is the fellow in real trouble here, because his campaign was running on fumes, and he needed this win in Michigan to get people to continue to give him money. And, so, this is a real problem for him.

Mitt Romney can write a check. But he's got to win. He's got to do very well, because you do have Rudy Giuliani hanging out there. And...

TOOBIN: I would just like to vote point out what Rudy Giuliani's vote total is tonight.


TOOBIN: Three percent in a state where he, at least superficially, should do pretty well. It's a Northern, industrialized state, a lot of Catholics, a lot of Italians.

COOPER: It was interesting. We heard Steve Forbes, one of his co-chairs, earlier on "LARRY KING," saying, well, you know, we weren't playing there. We're happy with tonight.

But there's no way they're happy with tonight.

TOOBIN: Happy with tonight?

KING: Capital S-P-I-N.



BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: But one of the things about every candidate that has won the Democratic or Republican nomination since 1980, they have competed in every state.

You can't just skip states. Now, you don't have to win every state, but you have to compete. And Rudy Giuliani is apparently running to be president of about 44 states. You have to run to be president of 50.

BORGER: It's kind of like doing a drop-by in a presidential race. You just don't kind of drop by and say, well, I think I will win from now on. I mean, I think that's their plan, and they're sticking to it. But, obviously...


COOPER: At a certain point, you think it has a snowball effect, that arrives in Florida not having won anything, and his name is not even in the mix?



And chaos is good for him, don't get me wrong, because the fact that this seems to be wide open is good for Rudy Giuliani.

KING: Chaos keeps him alive.


KING: But he's bleeding, too.

Sometimes, second place is OK. You see moral victories, maybe a little bit of fund-raising viability. One guy won tonight. Second place didn't mean anything tonight. Third place doesn't mean much tonight. One guy won, Mitt Romney.

He will get more money. He will get the attention. The race has gone -- every time somebody wins, they go up in the polls. Rudy Giuliani -- Jeff is right. That's an embarrassing number. And look at the national polls. McCain actually was winning in the national polls this week. We will see if that changes.

Giuliani keeps going down. And he's not even winning in Florida anymore. The polls are very close there showing either McCain, Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani in a close race. But the trend line for Rudy Giuliani is this way, even his own resources. He's still better than most of the other candidates, having some money left. But his trend line is going that way. And that's not what you need in politics.

BORGER: Can I just say, in the national polls, our national poll in mid-December, Rudy Giuliani was numero uno.

TOOBIN: And, today, he's at 3 percent. That is a precipitous, precipitous fall.

COOPER: When we come back, we're going to look at what the candidates face in Nevada -- coming up, more of our special coverage on 360.

We will be right back.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now it's South Carolina's turn to decide.

I have long admired -- I have long admired the deep patriotism of the people of this state. So many, so many of your sons and daughters risk their lives today to keep the rest of us safe, as so many South Carolinians are done in past wars. I am humbled by their example, but proud to claim that their cause is my cause.


COOPER: John McCain earlier this evening, obviously, a bitter defeat for him in the state of Michigan, a state he won back in 2000.

Interestingly enough, he did not actually complete that speech on television. He was actually knocked off the air by the winner, Mitt Romney, who came out to speak at about the same time. Most of the networks covered Mitt Romney's speech.

As you can see, Romney 39 percent, with 66 percent of the precincts reporting, to John McCain's 30 percent.

We're going to talk about what comes ahead now, what lays down the road in the next calendar month, in the month of January, a lot happening before Super Tuesday.

John King is covering it all -- John.

KING: Quite a bit.

And this is where we are tonight. Anderson, as you know, Michigan has voted tonight. And it is Romney country. Worth noting, before we look at what's coming next, normally, momentum decides these things. Somebody wins two of the first three, and they become the nominee. This is my sixth. It's never gone like this one is going.

But here's worth noting again: Only a tiny sliver of the delegates that you need to win the nomination have been decided. This is the Democrats. This is the Republicans. That dark little bit there is what Michigan decided tonight for the Republicans.

So, where do we go from here? It's the 15th of January. Well, we move on. You heard Senator McCain just talking about it. This is South Carolina on Saturday, over here, the Nevada caucuses, more important for the Democrats, although Republicans looking for delegates, too. That seems pretty easy to control there.

COOPER: And South Carolina on Saturday is just for the Republicans?

KING: Just for the Republicans. The Democrats...

COOPER: Why the Democrats the week later?

KING: They decided to wait. It's just the parties schedule the primaries there. And the Democrats -- the Republicans urged the Democrats to go on the same day. The Democrats decided to wait. So, you have South Carolina for the Republicans on Saturday, the Nevada caucuses. Then, that's a debate we have in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That's for the Democrats. Then you come down here, this is the Democratic primary you just mentioned in South Carolina.

This is a day that will be huge for Rudy Giuliani, to prove whether this strategy of waiting and waiting and waiting is worth it, see if the winner in South Carolina can build momentum there.

If not, well, then it gets interesting. We have a few more debates, the Republicans on CNN and the Democrats on CNN at the end of the month out in California all setting up this.



KING: And this is wow. In a word, this is wow.

You have 20-something states, Democrat and Republican contests. It costs a lot of money to be on TV in New York, out here in Illinois, out here in California, most -- so, you have, who does what here?

Romney likes it out here. This is where McCain is from. Rudy Giuliani has spent a lot of time counting on up here in New England. If you have a jumble, and this goes on, no one has the money to play everywhere on television.

So, you will try to get free media, but then you will see candidates. If you do not have a winner in South Carolina and Florida who takes the momentum in the Republican race, you're going to see candidates cherry-picking, and it will become a true a delegate hunt. And we have never seen that in modern times.

COOPER: It's going to be interesting, John King.


COOPER: We will have more with John coming up.

First, let's check in right now with CNN's Gary Tuchman. He joins us now from Los Angeles with a 360 bulletin -- Gary.


A deadly attack aimed at Americans in Beirut -- a bomb planted in a U.S. Embassy vehicle exploded, killing three bystanders; 21 others, including a U.S. citizen, were injured.

In North Carolina, a break in the search for a Marine accused of murder. The truck belonging to Cesar Armando Laurean was found outside a motel. Laurean is suspected of killing Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child.

In San Francisco, the 911 tapes of the tiger attack have been released. On the tapes, one of the men mauled pleads for help. The tiger killed one man.

And another bad day on Wall Street -- the Dow took a nosedive, dropping 277 points. At the same time, the mortgage crisis took a bite out of Citigroup. It reported a loss of nearly $10 billion.

Easy to see why the economy is a big issue in this election -- Anderson.

COOPER: No doubt about that, Gary. Thanks.

Up next on this special edition of 360, we're going to check what bloggers are saying about Romney's win, a lot of talk on the Internet.

John McCain did not keep the momentum after New Hampshire, what that means for his campaign.

We will have a live report from his headquarters -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: And you're looking at Mitt Romney earlier this evening, celebrating his victory in Michigan, pulling a major victory in Michigan tonight, his win celebrated by some unexpected groups, liberal bloggers for one.

Joining me now is CNN Internet correspondent Abbi Tatton.

Abbi, what are you reading online?

ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, first of all we just got the victory e-mail sent out by the Romney camp, already celebrating right out of the gate there on the Web site, celebrating the victory win, as well.

But it's not just there, as you said. Take a look at Daily Kos. This is a big liberal blog here. "We win, we win in Michigan." This is what's been going on this site for the last few days. Markos Moulitsas, who runs the site Daily Kos, said to the Democrats that read his site, "If you're in Michigan, you should vote for Romney, because the Michigan primaries for the Democrats means little. So what we want to do is keep Romney in the race, keep his money in the race and that means Republicans will keep attacking each other and this is better for Democrats."

There's even been a YouTube video questioning this online. Here's some mixed reactions when this was posted on the site. But it's got a lot of buzz online in the last few days. Now there's a Romney win, and now they're celebrating over at the site.

But we're looking at the exit polls that show that there wasn't a big influx of Democratic voters into this -- into this race. About 7 percent, our exit polls show, of the Republican primary voters identified themselves as Democrats, and amongst those 7 percent, the first choice was for John McCain, much as it was in 2000. So even though they're celebrating the victory, can't claim too much of it, but they're still happy, these Democrats, that he's still in the race. As I said, it's about his money. And they think, if the Republicans keep on drawing out the nominating process and attacking each other, that's all the time that they won't be attacking Democrats -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Abbi Tatton, thanks very much.

Let's go to the best political team on television: John King, Gloria Borger, Jeff.

Jeff, do you -- John, you were kind of shaking your head during Abbi's report.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's fun, and it's great mischief.

COOPER: I'll be telling Democrats in Michigan to vote for McCain.

KING: The Democrats to somehow muddle in Republican politics. Not vote for McCain this time but vote for Romney to keep -- to keep it going.

And, sure, the longer the Republican race goes on, the more resources are spent, Republican on Republican combat. But ask Bill Clinton or ask George W. Bush, both of whom won pretty early in the process. But they would tell you that getting knocked down once or twice actually makes you a stronger candidate.

So it's good mischief at this point. It is -- it's hard for me to think that the Republicans won't have plenty of time to turn on the Democrats, and the Democrats won't find plenty of time to turn on the Republicans. And if the Democrats try to have fun in the Republican primary, they've got a pretty interesting one of their own.

COOPER: Mike Huckabee, can he -- I mean, Mitt Romney outdrew evangelical vote tonight. Where does he stand moving forward in South Carolina?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he goes -- he goes after that same evangelical vote. He also has a very -- a populist economic message, which has some resonance among voters out there, who now say that the economy is their No. 1 issue.

But, Anderson, I want to tell you something. I just got an e- mail from somebody in the Romney campaign. And they're saying, if you look at the -- at the Michigan results tonight, where there was effectively no Democratic primary, they say look to South Carolina. There's not going to be a Democratic primary the same day there either, and that's going to hurt John McCain, because where does he draw his votes from? He draws his votes from disaffected Democrats. And so they're kind of hoping for history to repeat itself.

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's -- but that's a pretty good argument by the Romney people, I think. I don't think it's just fun. I think Romney has done -- I mean, McCain has done well in states where independents can and do participate. In a very conservative state with only Republicans voting, that's tough for McCain.

KING: There are three candidates who will have a very hard time explaining the rationale to stay in the Republican race if they don't win South Carolina. Senator McCain, Governor Huckabee and Senator Thompson who's going down there and say this is his last stand anyway.

All of them, what will either of them say, each of them say if they do not win South Carolina? What do they say Saturday night about, "Here is my rationale for continuing in this race"?

TOOBIN: McCain -- I wouldn't put McCain in that group. I think McCain goes on, no matter what.

KING: He'll go on. He has no money. He's on fumes right now. He can pay for ads in South Carolina for three more days, but then they're on fume. As long as it's jumbled, and as long as there are debates scheduled, and as long as you can free media (ph), candidates will stay in the race and go on.

But what is the rationale? Politics is about elect me because I'm a proven vote getter. McCain has a great rationale for a general election, saying, "I can get the votes from Democrats and independents." The problem is to have a chance to get those votes he has to be the Republican nominee.

COOPER: In a race where Iraq is no longer the No. 1 issue, can John McCain give a rationale for why he should be running?

BORGER: Yes, I think -- look, his message is not -- is not the economic message, clearly. I mean, that was proven tonight. He's not as comfortable on those issues.

COOPER: But does he now have to make that his message?

BORGER: Well, he does. He has to -- certainly, he has to refine that message and come up with a stronger economic agenda. But, you know, as the old saying goes, overnight is a lifetime in politics, Anderson, anything can happen, even in four days.

And the terror -- terrorism message, the war on terror message, that's a message that Rudy Giuliani is also trying to sell. So if it doesn't work for John McCain, will it work for Rudy Giuliani?

TOOBIN: I would also just make the argument that, you know, if you look back at who wins Republican nominations, it's almost always the best-known Republican, the successor, you know, whether it's George Herbert Walker Bush or Reagan or George -- or Bob Dole or George W. Bush.

John McCain came into this campaign as the successor. And he's still there. There's no one else who has taken over this race. He hasn't won every primary. But I still think he's far from being on the verge of dropping -- you know, of losing out. I still think he's the guy to beat.

COOPER: I want to check in with Mary Snow, who's been traveling with the McCain campaign.

Mary, the scene where you are now?

Obviously, we're having some trouble. Mary, can you hear me?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Anderson. Yes, sorry about that.

Yes, they're packing up, tearing down and moving on. And that's really been the scene here at the McCain headquarters. Even before the polls closed in Michigan, John McCain had left the state and headed here to South Carolina, the campaign saying, "We're managing the clock. We need to be on the ground."

John McCain came out tonight to a group of supporters, and he congratulated Mitt Romney. They've had a contentious relationship. But he also kind of played Romney's victory down by saying he was the native son of Michigan.

And -- but he said he's now gearing up for the next big fight, a fight that is really going to make a big difference to him in four days. Here's a little bit of what he had to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, my friends, he congratulate another candidate's campaign, but tomorrow we get up and fight. Now it's your turn, South Carolina. We're going to fight for your votes; we're going to win this primary and the nomination of our party; and we're going to be proud of the way we do it.


SNOW: You know, Anderson, part of that fight, John McCain was derailed here in 2000 when he became the subject of negative attacks. And this time around, his campaign has developed what they call a truth squad.

And before tonight's party here, there was a conference call by the campaign, talking about a mailer that went out that was trying to discredit him when he was fighting in Vietnam, suggesting that he had turned his back on fellow POW's.

His supporters came out and said it's absolutely false, but they felt it's important to come out and talk about these things, to debunk them. And they are vowing to take apart each and every one of these attacks. But certainly, it kind of sets the tone for what could be a very rough few days here in South Carolina in a very heated race.

COOPER: Mary, have you heard anything from anyone in the McCain camp about what happened earlier, where McCain was making his speech and then basically mitt Romney comes on the air and knocks him off the air, because everyone, obviously, is going to be covering the winner's speech of the primary. That doesn't seem to have been an accident.

SNOW: Yes, it doesn't. And nobody was really talking about it, but you know, he was really geared up to come out here very early on tonight. So it's clear that his campaign wanted to get this over, done with, get his message out there, and move on to South Carolina.

COOPER: All right, Mary Snow reporting from the McCain camp. Mary, thanks very much.

You can obviously check out more of -- our coverage continues 24 hours a day online, What is it, We also have slash lots of things. So anyway,

We're going to have Glenn Beck joining us and Roland Martin, as well, as well as the best political team on television. We'll be right back.



MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have said if you're going to vote for me, don't let anything keep you from it. If you're not going to vote for me, don't even show up. If you know somebody who's not going to vote for me, let the air out of their tires Saturday.

You know, a lot of these politicians will say, "Now, it doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you vote." You'll never hear me say that, because it matters who you vote for.


COOPER: Mike Huckabee there, talking earlier tonight.

There are some big contests before Super Tuesday, of course. Perhaps the most important, certainly for Mike Huckabee, the South Carolina primaries. And it's in South Carolina where the race is, in some ways, all about race.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The true slags (ph) are out in the racially heated war of words between Obama and Clinton. A few charges are still being flung and denied.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: How race got into this thing is because Obama said race.

FOREMAN: But both camps seem to have concluded they have too much to lose if racial tensions define their contest, especially in South Carolina. Half of the Democrats there are African-American, and they are split between Clinton and Obama, with John Edwards, who won the state last time, barely getting a nod from African-Americans. Obama is rising because more black voters know about him now and because he won a lot of white votes up north, according to the Voter Education Project's Jim Feldman.

JIM FELDER, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT: And so here, people began the focus and said, "Well, listen, if he can win in a state like Iowa and come in close in New Hampshire, then maybe I ought to give him a second look and maybe he can pull this thing off after all."

FOREMAN: Black Americans, however, helped Bill Clinton into the White House, Hillary Clinton into the Senate, and the couple remains popular in African-American communities. So some influential black leaders are saying she is more electable and will do more for minorities.

(on camera) Against that backdrop, it's easy to see why both sides want to tread gently on the issue of race. Clinton cannot afford to chase away her older, traditional black supporters. Obama cannot afford to turn off his younger, nontraditionally white backers.

(voice-over) And the party cannot afford to alienate all the new interest Obama is generating.

At the University of South Carolina, Blease Graham.

BLEASE GRAHAM, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: He's attracting a new generation of voters, and that has to party building. And that has, in certain ways, to define the future of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, if not other parts of the country.

FOREMAN: So like most ceasefires that work, everyone has something to gain from this one, at least for now. Or until the next shot is fired.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, to talk about how race is or is not playing out in this game, we're joined by CNN's Glenn Beck and Roland Martin as well, a CNN contributor.

Glenn, what seems depressing about having this whole conversation is that Barack Obama was a candidate, at least in Iowa, who seemed to transcend race.


COOPER: And now here we are once again, talking about race.

BECK: I don't know if any American is really talking about race, though. I don't care. Haven't we gotten to the point yet where it doesn't matter if you're a woman, a man, a white person, a black person?

COOPER: Do you think we have?

BECK: I hope we have. I think we have. You know, I don't know anybody who says they won't vote for somebody because they're a woman, they won't vote for somebody because they're African-American, they won't vote for somebody because they're a Mormon. I don't know those people. I don't want to know those people.

COOPER: But that -- those are often the kind of things people don't say, but that's not what people do...

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I've gotten the e-mails. I mean, I'm gotten e-mails from people who said, "I am not going to vote for a black candidate. I am not going to vote for a woman. I'm not going to vote for a Mormon."

BECK: Does that -- does that matter?

MARTIN: It does matter because at least they are actually being honest about how they feel. You know, look, when it's no different when you talk about, you know, you have black friends. You were honest on television when you said, "Look, I don't want to say the wrong thing." You were honest.

A lot of people are not being honest when they talk about something. But most of this goes on in the media. And we are here talking about African-American voters making up nearly 50 percent of voters in South Carolina. Who's the other 50? They're white voters.

And so we might want to examine how Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are going to do among those voters, because they also matter in South Carolina. And so that's going to be a critical voting block. Sure, African-Americans are important. But white voters are also important. We are ignoring them. No one's talking to them; no one's polling them.

BECK: Why don't we just talk to people? Why don't we just talk to people, Americans? Let's stop talking to Republican and Democrats and liberals and conservatives and independents and black and white and male and female and children and everything else. Let's just talk to Americans.

MARTIN: Well, we do, but there are voting patterns that are based upon that. The reality is, when Huckabee goes to South Carolina, he's going to be talking to evangelicals. When McCain goes to South Carolina.

BECK: To win the country, you have to be bigger than race.

MARTIN: But that's the general election. When you're running in a primary, you're running against niche groups. McCain is going to be targeting military voters.

It's no different on the Democratic side. Who has Hillary been targeting? She's been targeting low income to middle income. Obama has been targeting more higher educated and the young. COOPER: Glenn, you seem to be talking about the way things should be or you want things to be. Roland seems to be talking about more the way things, he thinks the way things are.

BECK: I think Roland is talking about the game of politics. To me...

MARTIN: Actually, the reality of politics.

BECK: No, the game of politics. What is so frustrating to me and most -- I think most Americans, we are sick and tired of people jamming this crap out of Washington down our throats. We want something to be fixed. Everybody. It's universal. Everybody is saying they want change.

Most people don't know what change they want. But the one change that they do know they want is they want the games to stop.

Every time we talk about race, we stop talking about the economy. Every time we talk about if you were going to elect a Mormon, we stop talking about the war. We must address these gigantic issues. They're the biggest issues the country has ever placed, and what we're doing is playing a game.

MARTIN: No, we're not, Glenn. When we talk about race, you also have an opportunity to talk about how is it that you have various demographics, where you have in terms of higher income, higher incomes between blacks and whites. We can talk about also unemployment.

BECK: This is the kind of game FDR...

MARTIN: No, Glenn. It's called stats (ph).

BECK: ... started to play where we started...

MARTIN: It's called stats (ph).

BECK: ... where we started ripping each other apart by class. Let's stop ripping each other apart.

COOPER: You say they're talking about the economy. Even when you talk about an issue like that, it affects different groups differently. And so isn't it OK to talk about how the economy affects middle-class voters, how it affects...?

BECK: Absolutely. But -- but you have to look at it, that the -- as the tide rises, all ships rise. We need to look at this. Let's stop -- because usually what it is, is those damn rich people haven't paid their fair share. Well, I would like one politician to tell me what the fair share is for rich people. Give me an actual number.

MARTIN: That's -- I think Warren Buffett is saying -- he's saying it's ridiculous that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Look, the bottom line is here, there are different issues based upon region. A lot of times it also is based upon class; it's based upon gender. And so it's not coming out of Washington. OK. It's also coming out South Carolina and Florida. It's coming out of different places.

BECK: You look at the Republicans right now. There is one candidate out there, I believe, that has a unifying message. And it is being proven by two wins and two second-place finishes.

In all of the states, everybody is either No. 1, No. 4 -- you know, No. 5 or No. 2. He's been No. 1 or No. 2 each time. There's something there.


BECK: Romney. There is something there about his message that at least you're always No. 2 or No. 1.

MARTIN: Yes, but also -- Glenn, when you go to the politics of it, McCain, did he actually win in Iowa? No, but he wins New Hampshire. Everybody is choosing where their strengths are.

Romney was -- Romney put a ton of money into Iowa, didn't win. He was -- he was a governor of the border state, New Hampshire, and didn't win. His win tonight was critical, because he was born from there.

The bottom line is you've had three primaries. You've had three different winners. And so on the Republican side, it's a lot of disarray that's going on.

BECK: On both sides. We must find somebody that can unite the country. I don't know who that is yet, but we must come together as Americans. Period.

MARTIN: That's why we have the primary, because the primary is going to tell us who actually can be that person.

COOPER: Just about everybody we have elected in recent years has said that they are a uniter, not a divider.

BECK: What they do is they run a divisive campaign and tear us apart on race and class. We must stop.

MARTIN: And also ideology.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Interesting discussion between Glenn Beck and Roland Martin.

We're going to be in South Carolina next week. Wolf Blitzer hosts a debate, co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. That's Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern. We're going to follow that with a 360 special report on race and politics. We'll have Glenn Beck -- Glenn Beck back and Roland Martin, as well, if they'd like to be.

Soledad O'Brien is going to join me with a look at some of the racial issues that may affect how America votes. That's coming up at 11 p.m. on Monday night, as well.

Up next, though, tonight is a new candidate about to join the race for the White House? We're talking about the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. We'll talk about him. We have some new details on his story next.


COOPER: More on Mitt Romney's big win tonight in Michigan. Coming up, CNN's Gary Tuchman joins us again from Los Angeles with a look at the other day's headlines, a "360 Bulleting" -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, hello again. Some voters are hoping another face joins the race for '08. His name, Michael Bloomberg. A petition drive is underway to get New York City's mayor to run for president. For now, Bloomberg calls the idea, quote, "ridiculous." But stay tuned, folks.

In Oregon, a safe ending to a harrowing high altitude adventure. Two climbers were rescued from Mt. Hood after being trapped during white-out conditions. They spent last night on the mountain.

And for investors, more fears of the "R" word. Concern over consumer spending, disappointing results from Citigroup and poor retail numbers sent the Dow down 277 points. One analyst said the market is making a decisive shift toward recession. The analyst, Anderson, is a bearer of bad news.

COOPER: Certainly so. Obviously, a lot of -- the economy on a lot of voters' minds tonight. Gary, thanks.

The other big political story tonight, the Democratic presidential candidate facing off in Las Vegas. We'll have highlights from the debate coming up.


COOPER: Also ahead, victory in Michigan. What Romney's win means for the tight GOP race. Analysis from the best political team on television when 360 continues.