LIVONIA, Mich. - Acknowledging that he has made mistakes in his campaign, Mitt Romney vowed that he would not "light his hair on fire" just to rally the conservative base, even if it means not winning the GOP nomination.
"You know it's very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments," said Romney. "We've seen throughout the campaign that if you're willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you're going to jump up in the polls. You know, I'm not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am."
"I'm putting myself out there because I think I can do a better job getting America back on track. I think this president has taken us in a very dangerous direction and that we've gotta get him out of the White House but I'm not willing to say anything to get that nod," Romney said, holding his first press conference in nearly three weeks at his campaign headquarters.
"Right now it looks like too close to call," Romney said about the race in Michigan, which has him neck-in-neck with former Sen. Rick Santorum. "I don't think the pollsters know what's going to happen. I don't think we really can be 100 percent sure as to what'll happen."
"I think the hardest thing about predicting what's going to happen today is whether Sen. Santorum's effort to call Democrat households and tell them to come out and vote against Mitt Romney is going to be successful or not," said Romney, referring to the Santorum campaign's purchase of robo-calls asking Democrats to head to the polls and vote for the former Pennsylvania senator. "I think Republicans have to recognize there's a real effort to kidnap our primary process. And if we want Republicans to nominate the Republican who takes on Barack Obama, I need Republicans to get out and vote and say no to the dirty tricks of a desperate campaign."
"I'm very pleased with the campaign, its organization," said Romney. "The candidate sometimes makes some mistakes and so I'm trying to do better and work harder and make sure that we get our message across."
In the past week alone, Romney has come under fire for his comments. Following a major economic speech, Romney listed the number of cars he owns and over the weekend, Romney made and off-the-cuff remark about knowing lots of NASCAR team owners.
But Romney declined to elaborate on the mistakes.
"Oh, I can't imagine you would have a hard time coming up with anything," he said. "Never repeat your mistakes."
When a reporter asked again whether he realizes how these types of comments hurt his campaign, Romney responded frankly.
"Yes. Next question?"