02/28/2012 10:50 pm ET

Rachel Maddow: Thaddeus McCotter's Disagreement With Mitt Romney's Auto Bailout Stance Represents 'Ongoing Problem' (VIDEO)

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Rachel Maddow marveled at Representative Thaddeus McCotter, a Romney supporter who disagreed with his candidate's opposition to the auto bailout, on Tuesday night.

McCotter, who had hoped to win the nomination himself, had endorsed Romney after dropping out of the race in September 2011. Romney won the primary, but in the lead-up to the results, McCotter voiced his disagreement with Romney on a key Michigan issue.

Maddow pointed to Romney's recent editorial blasting the auto bailout, and asked McCotter to comment on the implications for the candidate's favorability.

She noted that McCotter had been "supportive of the auto bailout." She asked him whether the Republicans would benefit from focusing on social issues, because the Republican stance on the economy would be hurt the party's nominee.

McCotter stressed that that the economy would be the top priority for voters. "Any candidate that goes forward has to talk about the economy, and has to be able to put forward a message that's going to resonate with the voters," he said.

Ed Schultz further challenged Romney's opposition to the bailout. "The bottom line here on the automobile loan is that jobs were saved... and Mitt Romney is out there parceling the method on how it was done," he said. "Is about method or is it about jobs?"

McCotter appeared to err against Romney, underlining the importance of jobs and the dire need for the auto bailout. He said one of the core issues was "the deindustrialization of America that would have even hastened had those companies been allowed to seize up, go into bankruptcy and put hard-working men and women... high and dry."

He praised the vision of the Republicans who supported the bailout, which excluded Romney. "I think some far-sighted Republicans... understand that it was not simply a dollars and sense issue," he remarked.

Maddow found his remarks, which she called the third top news item of the hour, delightfully ironic.

"We just spent ten minutes talking with one of the top Romney surrogates in Michigan about how wrong Mitt Romney was on the auto bailout," she said, laughing. "Thus, summarizing the ongoing problem among the people who are supposed to be or at least pretending to be the most enthusiastic Mitt Romney supporters in the country."