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Romney's Wednesday TV blitz

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NASHUA, NH--GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney made the rounds of the morning news shows on Wednesday, taking a victory lap after back-to-back Iowa/New Hampshire presidential vote wins.

As the Republican primary contest turns to South Carolina, Romney told CNN's Soledad O'Brien, he expects stepped up hits from rival Newt Gingrich.

"I know that Speaker Gingrich is going to try and throw everything he can at me. He tried here in New Hampshire. It didn't work. Conservatives and evangelicals got behind me in record numbers," said Romney.

Romney highlighted those two voter segments because they are expected to be influential in the South Carolina vote.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Governor Romney joins us right now. He's in New Hampshire as well. It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us.

Last time we spoke after Iowa you had just squeaked, but today you're really celebrating quite a big win. In your comments to the crowd that had come to see and support you, you focused immediately on President Obama. Is that the strategy now, it's all about Obama and you're not going to worry about the other Republicans who are in the race with you?

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, of course, I pay attention to the fact that there are plenty of other people who want the chance to go up against President Obama. And I have a long way to go before I get the nomination, if I'm lucky enough to get it.

But I really think we're best off focusing on the failures of this president, and in my case I want to demonstrate that I have the capacity to make America once again a great place for opportunity, for rising incomes, for job growth. I think that's what people want to hear. They want to understand how we're going lead the country. And that's what I'm going to be talking about.

O'BRIEN: How much are you going to have to talk about abortion with Newt Gingrich running these new ads? And he is mad and he is funded and he has said he's comfortable in South Carolina where he knows how to run a race there. He wants to focus on your record on abortion. Are you worried about that?

ROMNEY: Not worried in the slightest. Like Ronald Reagan before me, many years ago I changed from being pro-choice to pro-life. I'm pleased with having been a solid pro-life governor. The Massachusetts Citizens for Life have written a letters describing my pro-life record as the Massachusetts governor. I know that Speaker Gingrich is going to try and throw everything he can at me. He tried here in New Hampshire. It didn't work. Conservatives and evangelicals got behind me in record numbers.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about Bain Capital. I know that's a question you've been answering a lot. But get the sense that it's not a conversation that's going to go away. I want to play a little bit of what Rick Perry, who came in with one percent of the vote so maybe he's not considered a big competitor about you. But this is what he said about you yesterday.


RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a real difference between a venture capitalist and a vulture capitalist. Venture capitalists are good. They go in and inject their capital, they create jobs. Bain Capital, on the other hand, it appears to me were vulture capitalists all too often.

And I don't get confused for a minute that Barack Obama and his team wouldn't attack Mitt Romney on that during a general election if he makes it that way. So if nothing else, we're going doing Mitt a favor by exposing him early on so he can figure out how to defend that or, more importantly and better from my perspective, he's not the nominee to begin with.


O'BRIEN: Well, there's a lot to talk about right there. OK, he calls you a vulture capitalist. It's true that this conversation keeps coming back. You haven't really been able to clear the Bain Capital conversation off the table. So, one, are you a vulture capitalist? Is this going to be a big challenge for you to confront that kind of label from Governor Perry. And, number two, he says, but I'm doing him a favor by bringing it up now. Is that true?

ROMNEY: Actually it's been brought up every time I've run, whether by Senator O'Brien in my race for governor that I won last time around four years ago it was brought up and everybody from the "New York Times" to the "Wall Street Journal" had taken a look.

And I understand that President Obama is going to try and put free enterprise on trial. But, you know, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich are going to be the witnesses for the prosecution. I'm not worried about that. They can take it as they like. But you saw last night that that approach didn't work very well for either Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich.

And so we'll take it to the next level. They'll find new attacks. I think in the final analysis people want someone who can lead the country back to strength with good jobs and rising incomes and all these attacks I think will fall entirely flat as they did last night.

O'BRIEN: Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is chair of the DNC, as you well know. We had her sitting down having breakfast with us as this morning, joining our panel, and we would love to have you, too. And one of the things she said is this was not a victory, and we asked her to explain herself. This is what she said.


DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think Mitt Romney was at 39 percent. This is ostensibly his home state. He's got a family home here. He was governor of the state next door. So to not crack 40 percent in a primary that you should have droves of Republicans coming to the polls to vote for you, that's a problem. He's here as a -- he came out of this primary now as a wounded candidate.


O'BRIEN: I get it, that her job, governor, is to spin, spin, spin, spin, spin. But doesn't she have a point about this is a place where you have lived and that number, while very good, is not 60 percent or 70 percent?


ROMNEY: You know, the president unopposed only got 80 percent last night. So, you know, I feel sorry for Debbie Wasserman Shultz. She's got to stand up for the president's record. That is pretty bad. You've got almost two million people that have lost their jobs under this president. You've got median income that has dropped 10 percent over the last few years. You've got 24 million people out of work or stopped looking for work.

This is a -- this is a failed presidency. People know that. They're going to do their very best to attack whoever the Republican Party puts forward. But in the final analysis they can't defend their record and it's because of the president's failure that he's going to be replaced, at least in my view.

O'BRIEN: Governor Mitt Romney joining us this morning. Nice to see, you sir. Thanks for talking with us. We appreciate it. and congratulations on your win last night.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 11, 2012 8:02 AM.

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