Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Mitt Romney said he's learned his lesson from a stinging loss in South Carolina.
"If you're attacked, I'm not going to just sit back," he told reporters in Tampa on Tuesday, repeating a refrain he's used regularly recently. "I'm going to fight back and fight back hard."
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He immediately hammered that lesson home, unleashing a string of harsh attacks on his rival Newt Gingrich. He accused the former House speaker of whining and of making attacks on Romney that were "painfully revealing" and "really quite sad."
The press conference capped off 10 days in Florida in which Romney dropped the above-the-fray approach he had used throughout the campaign, and instead repeatedly jabbed Gingrich himself.
But while Romney chalked up his South Carolina loss to being "vastly out-spent" on attack ads, he ignored the fact that Gingrich was the candidate out-spent in that state's primary.
The Republican candidate said Tuesday he believed independent voters would not be turned off by the bruising GOP primary, saying many voters are determined to see a new president in office.
"It would be wonderful if campaigns were all nothing but positive, but that's certainly not the reality," Romney said, pointing to a billion dollars he said President Barack Obama was prepared to use against him.
Romney was also asked at his press conference to outline his plan to turn around the housing market.
The GOP candidate declined to offer many specifics, but said he would "get the economy going," get people back to work and avoid what he called a mistake by Obama.
"Don't do what President Obama did, which is to stop the process of foreclosure," he said, adding state attorneys general should prosecute those committing fraud. "But the idea of trying to stop the foreclosure process kept it from occurring, kept the market from bottoming and recovering. You have to let the market work and let home values recover as a result of that."
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what I find strange is how some people can come to PT and complain that it has a liberal bias yet they keep coming here and complaining that it has a liberal bias. Just saying......
I will not vote for Romney or any Republican. Obama/Biden 2012
Better yet, he get his illegal gardener to self deport himself.
Get real Romney, money is not going to buy this election.
You can't say things and not mean it. You're a flip flop flip flopper.
I hope Newt does eventually beat you. He is looking like the better candidate.
Romney is just another Massachusetts elitist who thinks he’s better than everybody else. To make things worse, he’s a religious zealot. New England is an entirely different culture from the rest of the US. I couldn’t stand that part of the country when I was up there. This country will continue to have major political problems until a normal person with a normal job and a normal income is elected president.
What is going on that he needs to fight back? There is no one that is going to catch him. Paul and Santorum won't catch Romney in any way. Gingrich is going to be so far back after Florida and the contests in Febuary that March is going to break him.
I am hoping to see Mitt pull out all the stops. In 2012 Republicans need to run up the score by taking the Administration and the Senate and keeping the House. This is the most direct route for America's recovery. Put it in overdrive. We have had enough with the liberal economic experiments and need to change direction decisively.
He just learned NOW how to rebut and defend yourself? How can he be trusted as Commander in Chief?
Romney just re-confirms on a daily basis my decision not to vote (R) in November.
Mitt Romney let Sen. Santorum slap him around like a kid cuaght with his hand in the cookie jar during the last CNN debate.
" We have had enough with the liberal economic experiments and need to change direction decisively."
Could not agree more, Four, so lets start by throwing out the most worthless House in history and keep the Mormon aristocrat and his offshore accounts out.