Mitt Romney on Rick Santorum: He Focused on Iowa, I’m Running A National Campaign

Jan 4, 2012 7:28am
gty iowa mitt romney dm 120104 wblog Mitt Romney on Rick Santorum: He Focused on Iowa, Im Running A National Campaign

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The winner of last night’s Iowa caucuses dismissed the runner-up, Rick Santorum, as someone who doesn’t have the organization to win the nomination or the right experience to create jobs as president.

“We have very different backgrounds. I spent my life, the first 25 years in the private sector. I know a great deal about how jobs are created, how they come and how they go, and I think Rick has spent most of life in the governmental sector. Nothing wrong with that experience, but it’s very different I think if you want to get the economy going again,” Mitt Romney told me on “GMA.”

Romney only beat Santorum by eight votes, and he outspent the former Pennsylvania senator by a 50 to 1 margin on television ads – something the former Massachusetts governor said was because he’s focusing his efforts on a national campaign.

“Rick has focused his effort, and I think in a wise way, entirely on Iowa. I’ve been campaigning in other states, putting together the kind organization which I believe will get me the 1150 delegate I need. So let me tell you I’m going to take every win I can possibly get and get every delegate I can possibly get,” he said.

The voters of Iowa showed that Romney has won their minds, but not their hearts. According to the entrance polls the very conservative vote fell to Santorum, while Romney won perhaps the more pragmatic vote of who is the person to defeat Obama.

“I think people have to hear me more and more, see my record as the Massachusetts governor and remember that I ran four years ago and that Mike Huckabee and I were the conservative choices in that campaign.  We got beaten by a very strong campaigner in John McCain but I’ll just have to get my message across the country,” Romney said.

Santorum is Romney’s prime opponent “at this stage,” he said. But heading into New Hampshire former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has also promised a tough challenge, taking out a full page ad in the Union Leader calling Romney a “timid Massachusetts moderate” and a “liar” on CBS yesterday.

I asked Romney if the term “liar” was out of bounds.

“It’s pretty heated rhetoric obviously.  I think he’s just really angry, disappointed.  I mean, he was leading in the polls here by a pretty wide margin.  One of the things I feel good about is having come from way behind just a few weeks ago to come to a point where we’re in a virtual tie for the finish,” he said.

As for whether Romney will stick by his previous prediction of winning the Republican nomination?

“I sure plan on winning the nomination.  It’s no sure thing. I can’t predict how that will happen but I think if I do my job, if my team is able to do a good job, why, we ought to be able to post pretty well against President Obama down the road,” he said.

George Stephanopoulos

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