(CNN) – Chased by reporters for a comment on the news that Rick Perry has dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney offered only a few words of praise for the Texas Governor.
"Governor Perry. Terrific guy. Terrific conservative. Been a great governor. Been great in the race. We're gonna miss him on the stage," Romney said referring to tonight's CNN Debate in Charleston.
Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker
Romney appeared determined to avoid making any remarks on the day's other major development, that he did not win the Iowa caucuses after all.
Iowa GOP officials announced Thursday Rick Santorum had a 34 vote lead in the contest after there certification was completed. But they note that several precincts were unable to be certified making the full actual results unlikely to ever be known.
At an event just outside his campaign headquarters in Charleston, Romney was asked repeatedly by reporters for his take on the Iowa results. The former Massachusetts governor blew past the press and left the event without making any remarks on the caucuses.
Early this morning, the Romney campaign released a statement declaring the caucuses a "virtual tie." A few hours later, the Santorum campaign issued its own press release with the headline: "Santorum wins Iowa."
In his remarks to the small crowd gathered outside his Charleston office, Romney made no mention of either Perry's departure nor the Iowa results.
Instead he focused his attention on President Obama and his main rival in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich.
Romney poked fun at the President's event at Walt Disney World today. "He's going to be in Fantasyland and it's obviously appropriate because he's been living in a sort of Fantasyland these last few years," Romney said.
He then directed a jab at Gingrich, saying the President "may bump into Speaker Gingrich down there in Fantasyland." Romney said Gingrich's claim that he created jobs while in Congress shows he fails to understand how the economy works.
Technically the president is speaking in the Main Street USA area of the park, not Fantasyland.
"I know how jobs come. They don't come because of Washington. They come in some cases in spite of Washington," Romney said.
Romney was joined on stage with three of his top surrogates, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
In a lighter moment at the event, Romney led the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday for Haley who turns 40 today.
Later on, a protester interrupted Romney's remarks, asking him when he would release his tax returns.
"April," Romney answered.
FIRST ON CNN: Perry dropping out of GOP race
Polls: South Carolina primary tightening hours before crucial debate
Gingrich as compares Romney's 'desperate' attacks to 2008 campaign
Romney the establishment, Santorum the 'rebel,' ad says
Repubs – always the crybaby victim.
Looks like Flipper the Elitist Robot will be doing a lot explaining soon about is work as an "independent director" for his namesake's company (Marriott). More dirty dealing coming to a media outlet near you!
The comments from all the people on here that are jealous of Romney and his success make for an entertaining read. It would not matter who it is, any successful person would get the same commentary from such quality individuals.
I wish he'd stay "tight-lipped" enough to be mute.
"Iowa GOP officials announced Thursday Rick Santorum had a 34 vote lead in the contest after there certification was completed. "
Come on, does ANYONE read these before they go up? Sheesh, who opened the window and let the standards out?
The rotten Republican party smells like victory for the Democrat party.
"The comments from all the people on here that are jealous of Romney and his success make for an entertaining read."
Epic fail on your lame mindreading attempts. Most people are not jealous of Flipper the Elitist Robot. We are appalled, however, at his callous indifference to all who are not parasitic vulture capitalists like him. There are plenty of capitalists to like, and who are liked. Flipper simply isn't one them. Jealousy has nothing to do with it.
@Sniffit, you are too funny! Keep on writing!
@souptwins – do we have to spell out to you? It is more important that Willard (his real first name) release previous tax returns, you know he is going to cook the books on the 2011 tax returns, don't you? Agree with you, JANE!
@Natalie, agree about the phony jeans! As soon as Willard loses the general, he will then LOSE the borrowed jeans! Too funny! So now we have it, the "top" 2 Repub candidates, Willard Mitt and Leroy Newton, great names, huh!! Pass the popcorn!!
"Romney, tight lipped." Matches the sphincter.
He's tight lipped because he's saving his next big brain-f##t comment to come out in the debate
@Truth and nothing but the "truth:"
So Willard has "class," simply because he didn't say anything negative about Perry? What did you expect, he's the ultimate panderer! I like what Ed Schultz said yesterday on his show, that Willard is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with our tax codes! So you must be part of the 1 percent, it doesn't bother you that Willard has been sheltering millions overseas, correct? I say his poll numbers begin to go down, when ppl get smart about the real Willard. And another thing, he has got to be the biggest liar ever onstage at a debate. Everything he says is an outright lie! So here's hoping that Santorum's poll numbers go back up, so that the president can wipe the floor with him! LOL.
We'll see how things shape up with that sleaze Perry limping back to Texas.
I want to know what happened to the votes in 8 precincts in Iowa. Everyone is saying that the true winner in Iowa will never be known because of the missing votes in 8 precincts but nobody is telling how and why. Is this going to happen in the general election also?
Its easy to see how many of the uneducated read this rabble.
They all spew nonsense and obama-love while the rest make reasonable remarks.
Thank goodness Mitt will be seeing this through to the end. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.
I guess this means that if Mitt does get the nomination, he will not accuse Obama of not creating new jobs... because that will come back to smack him in the face. With the announcement of jobless claims being at a 4 yr low, he wouldn't have a foot to stand on if he decided to blame Obama for lack of jobs. But hey, he can always fall back on his... we should have let GM go bankrupt... oh wait, they are now profitable and paid back half the loan in two years time. oops.
Obama was at Disneyland promoting tourism in the United States, making it easier for foreign vistors to come to the states... creating new jobs throughout the country.... Romeny was in South Carolina promoting himself and reminding us all that it is cheaper to outsource the jobs to China... and he will be happy to let Bain buy up all these US businesses and close them down.
"I`m just an old line Moderate Republican who cannot abide with any of these candidates– They have just moved too damn far to the right for me."
As an old Texan myself, one who supported the compassionate conservative Barry Goldwater, you might come to the realization that you're more of a conservative Democrat. We were raised to be bigots, but we can open our eyes, grow and learn to appreciate a fine man like President Obama. Just because we are old, white Texans we're not obligated to vote for the hateful fools the Republicans are offering.