Mitt Romney: My Opponents' Bain Attacks 'Fell Flat'

Image credit: Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Fresh off a win in the New Hampshire primary Mitt Romney brushed aside criticism from his Republican opponents and said their argument against his record at Bain won't work in South Carolina.

"I think their argument fell flat here in New Hampshire.  They tried it very hard, ran ads here, were up and down the state campaigning, and people in the state here said, 'look, we want a guy who spent some time in the private sector, not someone who spent their entire life in Washington.'  So I think it's working for my benefit," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have criticized Romney's record as head of the venture capital company. Perry called firms such as Bain "vultures" who "leave the skeleton" behind - a message that will be tough for Romney to overcome in South Carolina where unemployment stands at 10 %.

It's also an argument the Obama campaign is laying out. Last night Vice President Biden's said Romney "thinks it's more important for the stockholders and the shareholders and the investors and the venture capital guys to do well than for those employees to be part of the bargain."

Romney told me he'll deal with that line of attack straight on.

"The Vice President and the President, for instance, oversaw General Motors and Chrysler and what did they do?  They came in and closed factories, closed dealerships, laid people off. They did it to try and save the business and every time we had a reduction in employment it was designed to try and make the business more successful and, ultimately,  to grow it," he told me. "And tens of thousands of jobs created by virtue of the work we were doing.  I'm pretty proud of that record."

But Mitt Romney was careful not to appear overconfident coming off last night's decisive victory and would not say if he expects to win South Carolina or the nomination.  He pointed out that he came in fourth in the Palmetto state in 2008 and called this year "an uphill battle."

"I'm hopeful I will be [the nominee.] I'm going to do everything in my power to become that nominee.  I think to post up against Barack Obama it is essential to have a record of credibility on the economy, and the economy is what I know, it's what I've done all my life and that's why I think I'm the best guy to go up against him," Romney said.

- George Stephanopoulos