TILTON, N.H. - Mitt Romney is not taking his surging poll numbers for granted, warning a room full of voters this evening that his lead could "disappear overnight."
"People in New Hampshire expect you to work hard, to earn it," said Romney at a spaghetti dinner in Tilton, just 35 miles outside Manchester. "And we're in a real battle right now. I know some pollsters say I'm doing real well. Let me tell you, those polls, they can just disappear overnight."
"What you say to a pollster is a bit like going on a date," said Romney. "It's like well, I might try this but you know, getting married, that's something else. So we need to make sure you're working real hard and will keep working real hard."
A new NBC/Marist poll released tonight showed Romney in a commanding lead in the Granite State - a full 20 points above Ron Paul and 29 ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Taking a few questions from voters, with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at his side, Romney was asked whether the GOP candidates will ever be able to "come together to get Obama out of the White House." The voter remarked that he had seen Gingrich speak yesterday and was glad he had not said anything negative about Romney.
"If I'm not the nominee, I'll be supporting the nominee and working hard for the nominee," Romney responded. "And by the way, I know that in the process of the primary, in the primary process, we'll be going after each other. As someone said long ago, politics ain't bean bags. We'll be going back and forth, and when this is all over we ought to be able to hug. "
"We'll put our bruised egos and bruised feelings aside and come back and do what's the right thing for our nation," said Romney.
A slightly awkward moment occurred when a voter asked Romney whether he'd give up one of his "four houses" to help middle-class Americans.
"That's an idea, O.K., well, let's see, I don't have four houses, that's number one, although it's a good idea. The best way I can help middle-income Americans is to become president of United States and cut taxes," Romney responded.
Romney has three houses - one in La Jolla, Cal., another in Belmont, Mass., and a third in Wolfeboro, N.H.