Clinton, Iowa (CNN) - As he visited an overflow room at his third packed event in Iowa in two days, Mitt Romney proclaimed himself a little dazzled by the turnout.
"What a crowd! What a welcome!" he exclaimed. "I'm delighted to be here and see your enthusiasm."
He even answered a shouted complaint by a man frustrated Romney had not headed directly to the deli where he had been slated to speak 30 minutes earlier.
"You're late and you're in the wrong room!" the man shouted as Romney was being introduced.
"In fact there are more people that showed up to this event than we expected so we're going to be in two places," the GOP candidate responded after his introduction. "So we'll be over there across the street in just a second."
The large turnout at Romney's Iowa events - hundreds of voters waited outside two venues that were filled to capacity - seemed to contradict the candidate's effort to downplay expectations in a state where he has been noticeably absent for much of the fall.
In fact, a new CNN/ORC/Time poll has Romney on top of the field and up five points since early December. But the race is close, and within the poll's sampling error.
Speaking at a press availability Wednesday afternoon, Romney cited the fluidity in the Republican field in Iowa and would not speculate on possible outcomes of the upcoming caucus.
"I don't know where it's all going to end up," he said. "I'm not predicting a win here."
But the candidate was clearly feeling confident as the Jan. 3 voting date ticked closer.
"I can't join the expectations game, but I can tell you that I feel pretty good about the support I'm receiving here in Iowa and New Hampshire, for that matter," the GOP candidate told members of the media in Clinton. "It looks like we're going to be off to a good start."
Though he had taken a swipe at Ron Paul over his Iran policy earlier in the day, Romney reacted amiably when asked if he could support the Texas congressman were he to become the GOP nominee.
"I disagree with Ron Paul on a number of issues. I'm sure he disagrees with me on a number of issues and that's part of what goes on in a campaign," Romney said. "But relative to President Obama, I like Ron Paul."
Newt Gingrich told Wolf Blitzer Tuesday he would not support Paul in a general election contest.
Instead of going after his GOP opponents at his Iowa events, Romney has largely embraced the stance of a confident front-runner and kept his focus on President Barack Obama.
"As to how I stack up against the other folks, gosh, there are seven or eight other folks on the stage," he told the media in Clinton. "I can't imagine trying to go after each one of them. Let's focus on the person who really is the target of our effort, and that's what I'm doing."