The Lessons Mitt Romney Said He Learned In Florida

Image credit: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

Mitt Romney said he learned a few lessons that helped him turn a devastating loss in South Carolina into a decisive victory in Florida.

"What I learned about myself is when things get tough you put your head down, you work very hard, you do the job necessary to get your message out there and, if you succeed so much the better," he told me on "GMA."

Romney didn't pay attention to the ups and downs of his campaign, he said, adding that it's "not the end of the world" if people don't support him.

"I have a good life with my family and my wife.  I don't have to win, I just want to win and I want to win because I care about my country," he said.

The former Massachusetts governor credited his Sunshine state win to last week's debate performances and the distinctions between him and Newt Gingrich.

"It was a chance to see both of us, to talk about our respective visions for the future, the country, and fortunately I was able to connect with the people here and get the kind of support I needed," he said. "I understand that I was able to get more votes here in Florida than has ever been accomplished here before, so I'm feeling pretty good this morning."

But Florida did do some damage. About 92% of the ads in the state were negative and Romney's favorability rating increased from 31% in September to 49% this month, according to our most recent poll.

"Well I think what you're seeing now from Speaker Gingrich is just a precursor of what you'll see from President Obama. Perhaps what we're getting now inoculates us, or at least prepares us, for what will come down the road," Romney said. "No question that Barack Obama's billion dollar machine will organize the most vitriolic, spiteful campaign in American history and we're going to have to be ready for that."

Every Republican who has won the Florida primary has gone onto clinch the nomination. So can anything stop Romney?

"Well I'm sure Speaker Gingrich and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have some ideas.  But I'm feeling pretty good today, obviously," he said.

- George Stephanopoulos