Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - Saying he felt good about his chances in Florida, Mitt Romney shrugged off a vow by his rival Newt Gingrich to stay in the race until the GOP convention in August.
On Saturday, Gingrich told reporters in Port St. Lucie that he would take his presidential campaign "all the way to the convention," and his spokesman added Monday the campaign saw a path forward thanks to the party's complicated system of amassing delegates.
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"That's usually an indication that you think you're going to lose," Romney told reporters on his campaign charter Monday. "When you say 'I'm going to go on no matter what happens,' that's usually not a good sign."
Romney added that "everybody has the right to stay as long as they'd like" but said he was hopeful he could rack up enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
The GOP candidate, who ventured into the back of the campaign charter plane to serve birthday cake to a reporter and then flung bags of chips at the cluster of journalists that immediately formed around him, said he felt encouraged by the audiences in Florida.
"In South Carolina the crowds were good, but you could sense that it wasn't going our way," he said. "Here the crowds are good, and you can sense it's coming our way. It's getting better and better every day."
Gingrich stunned the political world by pulling off a double digit win in South Carolina's primary, but has faltered recently in Florida.
Regardless of his increasingly strong position, the Romney campaign signaled they would not be caught off-guard again by another embarrassing defeat.
"You're not going to see Mitt Romney go into cruise control after Florida, no matter what happens in Florida," said senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.
Romney pointed to one state he said could be an "uphill" challenge for him.
"Nevada has a strong tea party component that I'd like to connect with and get support from tea parties," he told reporters.
The day after Florida's Tuesday primary Romney will make a stop in Minnesota, another early voting state, before continuing onto Nevada.
He appeared to be in a strong position heading that state's caucus, where voters will weigh in Feb. 4.
After taking a few questions, Romney grabbed a bag of chips and told reporters: "now, onto the Cheetos" as he headed back to his seat.