Reporting from Columbia, S.C. — Conceding his loss in South Carolina -- where he finished a disappointing fourth place four years ago -- Mitt Romney told supporters in Columbia that the Republican race was “getting to be even more interesting” and that the competition was only making "our campaign better.”
“We’re now three contests into a long primary season,” he said. “This is a hard fight because there’s so much worth fighting for. We’ve still got a long way to go and a lot more work to do. And tomorrow we are going to move on to Florida. It’s a state that has suffered terribly under the failed policies of President Obama.”
“We need Mitt! We need Mitt!” the crowd chanted.
Romney congratulated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on his victory but quickly pivoted to an argument that Republicans should not put up a nominee against Obama who has "never run a business and never run a state." He also faulted Gingrich for joining Obama in the criticism of his private sector experience at a private equity firm – which he described as an attack on freedom and free enterprise.
“We cannot defeat [Obama] with a candidate who has joined that very assault on free enterprise,” he said. “When my opponents attack success and free enterprise, they‘re not only attacking me, they’re attacking every person who dreams of a better future. I will support you. I will help you have a better future.”