Fresh off a double-digit victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, Mitt Romney agreed that the best news may be that none of the other Republican candidates have dropped out of the race.
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It prevents a consolidation of support for any one challenger to Romney, who, after winning in Iowa and New Hampshire, has formed a coalition of moderate and conservative voters.
“You’re probably right that the more candidates there are, perhaps the better at this stage,’’ Romney told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Wednesday. “I’ve got an uphill climb in South Carolina ahead of me, but it could not have worked out better than last night. That was about as big a gift as the people of New Hampshire could give us.’’Video: Romney cruises to victory in NH (on this page)
“If you can’t handle the relatively modest heat coming from Republicans candidates now, you’d be in real trouble going up against President Obama, and his decision to put aside the federal campaign election figures and instead put in a billion dollars of attack effort,’’ Romney said. “I’ve got to be able to handle this, or I won’t be able to handle President Obama, so this is a good warm-up.’’
Romney was "very pleased" at having won 42 percent of self-described conservatives in New Hampshire, as Ron Paul came in a distant second among that segment. Many of his challengers, he said, have turned their backs on conservative principles.
“I think it’s something we expected to come from President Obama, but we didn’t expect that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would become the witnesses for his prosecution, if you will, and I don’t think it’s helped them,’’ Romney said. “For them to be attacking free enterprise and suggest that people should have a limit to how much they can make and their success is something the Democrats have talked about for years. It’s not something that’s comfortable with conservatives.’’Video: Todd, Gregory look ahead to S. Carolina (on this page)
Romney also labeled Obama “a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy’’ when it comes to the nation's class divide and that his attacks on Wall Street will result in campaign failure.
“I think it’s about envy,’’ he said. “I think it’s about class warfare. I think when you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing American based on 99 percent vs. one percent, and those people who have been most successful would be in the one percent, you’ve opened a whole new wave of approach in this country, which is entirely inconsistent with the notion of one nation under God.
“Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach, and I think it will fail.’’
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