MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney favors keeping New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status, he expressed his enthusiasm Thursday for Michigan's early primary date.
"Now, I got to admit, I'm happy that Michigan has jumped up, because I was born and raised there, and my dad was governor there. I love the automobile industry. Michigan's success is personal to me," he said. "I want to see the state succeed, and so it doesn't bother me that they are upping it."
Last month, Michigan enacted a law moving its presidential primary to January 15, in violation of both national Republican and Democratic party rules.
When asked whether he would be able to carry his current home state of Massachusetts in the general election, Romney admitted it would be a challenge.
"I have never told anyone I'd carry Massachusetts. I thought that was one of the last states I'd be likely to carry in a presidential race. I'll make a real effort, and I think I got a shot, but it's a very liberal state, and, frankly, my message connects with the other
forty-nine states better than it does with Massachusetts."
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla