DERRY, N.H. – In an early morning rally just outside Manchester, Mitt Romney asked New Hampshire voters to deliver him a greater margin of victory than Iowans did, receiving an enthusiastic response from a crowd of hundreds that filled a school’s gymnasium.
“Fresh from that landslide in Iowa, maybe can we double that number?” Romney asked the crowd, who cheered in response. “You know instead of an 8 point margin maybe 16? I sure hope so I wanna win.”
“Let me tell you don’t get too confident with those poll numbers,” Romney cautioned. “I’ve watched poll numbers come and go things change very quickly its very fluid. I need to make sure you guys get your friends to go out and you vote as well.”
Joining Romney on stage was South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who Romney has campaigned with over the past few days in the south.
Haley urged the crowd to send Romney to the South Carolina primary with a victory – and a big one.
“Get excited New Hampshire because this is what I need, we don’t just need a win in New Hampshire, we need a landslide in New Hampshire,” said Haley. “Let me tell you why we need the landslide, because guess where he’s going next? He’s going to South Carolina.”
“Mitt Romney’s going to win South Carolina, by the way,” she said. “But let’s make it a little bit easier for him and let’s get out and go tell ten people to get out.”
“This is history in the making, all eyes are on New Hampshire they’re all watching you and they’re watching you to see how strong of a support you’re going to send him to South Carolina with,” she said.
“You take him of him here in N.H., I’ll take care of him in S.C., and let him take care of us when he gets to the White House,” said Haley, evoking screams from the crowd, huddled around a raised stage where the politicians were perched.
Joined by his wife Ann and his eldest son Tagg and several of his grandchildren, Romney handed the microphone to his wife, who quickly joked, “You never know when he gives me the microphone, look out!”
“We feel energized by being in this state, we love this state, as you know we have a summer home here, we know how beautiful this state is and we want to keep it a secret but it might not be if he’s the next president of the United States so I apologize for that,” said Ann Romney, referencing the family’s lakeside estate in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Romney spent more than 20 minutes shaking hands and dolling out autographs to supporters, handed more than once the latest issue of Time Magazine, which bears his photograph and the headline, “So you like me now?”
In December the magazine published an issue with Romney’s image and the headline, “Why don’t they like me?”
Signing the glossies, Romney quipped, “They got it right this time!”