Soledad O'Brien's CNN show is suffering some pretty horrific ratings, and yet she still had the gall to ask Rick Santorum's communications director why the candidate won't drop out of the presidential race.
The quarterly numbers for O'Brien's morning show Starting Point were the lowest in more than a decade at CNN for that time slot, in fact. She averaged less than 100,000 viewers per day from the age 25-54 crowd. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
O'Brien still played hardball with Santorum's aide over the candidate's flagging delegate numbers and the increasing number of prominent endorsements of GOP front runner Mitt Romney.
"Why doesn't he get out? Remind me," she flatly asked communications director Hogan Gidley.
Gidley reminded her that the race is only halfway over. But O'Brien followed up by reading the delegate count. "How do you consistently maintain that you have the strongest candidate when there's so much evidence to the contrary?" she grilled Gidley.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 2 on Starting Point at 7:39 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Final phases, coalescing. Yesterday, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson added his name to the list of people who, in fact, were supporting Mitt Romney and his endorsement that means he joins the former President George H.W. Bush and his son the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and as you saw there, Congressman Ryan, Senator Rubio, among many others.
Let's get right to Hogan Gidley. He is the communications director for Rick Santorum's presidential campaign. Nice to see you. You heard those words "final phase, wrapping up, coalescing," none of that can be done as long as Senator Santorum is in the race. Why doesn't he get out? Remind me.
HOGAN GIDLEY, communications director, Santorum Campaign: Well because this is a – we still have a long way to go, Soledad. This is only halfway through the process. Wisconsin starts the second half. There are still a lot more votes out there to be counted. And look, why would we want to not allow the rest of the country to have their say and voice their vote? It's a little premature, a little bit ridiculous to be talking about getting out of this race.
Mitt Romney doesn't even have half way to where he needs to be at 1,144. So there's a long way to go and there are a lot of states still out there, a lot of votes to be had. Rick Santorum's done extremely well. We've won 11 states so far, just a couple shy of Mitt Romney's and we're going to keep pushing this thing out until someone gets to that number because, you know, I think the people deserve it. I think everyone wants to have their voice heard and their vote cast.
O'BRIEN: You just said that Governor Romney hasn't even gotten half way and then you said Senator Santorum is really running well, which he's so much further behind the governor that I would just sort of beg to disagree with you on that.
If you look at Wisconsin, right? The next race coming up, there are three. We've got Wisconsin. We've got Maryland and we've got Washington, D.C. Look at the polls. Let's throw those up there. Mitt Romney polling at 40 percent, Rick Santorum is polling at 30 percent – 33 percent, sorry, behind him, and then you have Ron Paul at 11 percent and Newt Gingrich at 8 percent.
If you look at the delegate count, Mitt Romney at 571, Rick Santorum at 264, Gingrich and Paul sort of rounding out that list. How do you consistently maintain that you have the strongest candidate when there's so much evidence to the contrary?
GIDLEY: Well, I mean look, after all these states and all this money that Mitt Romney's spent, you got to remember, he did this just a few years ago. And two-thirds of the conservative vote don't want Mitt Romney to be the nominee.