Atlanta (CNN) - The day after an embarrassing defeat in a trio of early voting states, Mitt Romney painted his GOP rivals as standard bearers of a Republican party that "lost its way" in recent years in Washington.
The GOP candidate, faced with a pair of doggedly persistent opponents in former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, pointed to both men's experience in the nation's capital as a disqualifying factor.
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"I think a lot of us feel that the Republican party lost its way in the past," Romney said, making reference to the tea party movement, which he said was fueled by a frustration with over-spending in Washington. "Republicans spent too much money, borrowed too much money, earmarked too much, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have to be held accountable."
Romney said he was the only Republican candidate who could satisfy voters' desire for change in the nation's capital, charging his rivals had "acted like Democrats" by spending too many federal dollars.
"In this race, I'm the only guy that hasn't spent time in Washington," he told reporters on an airport tarmac in Atlanta. "And Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich, they are the very Republicans who acted like Democrats. And when Republicans act like Democrats, they lose."
The proof, he said, was evident in both men's records. Santorum lost his seat in a double-digit defeat in Pennsylvania, while Romney said Gingrich "had to resign" his post as House speaker.
Romney was speaking to the press corps covering his campaign for the first time in week after his stunning losses to Santorum in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado Tuesday night.
He insisted throughout the "long process" of the GOP primary campaign, he would accumulate enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Asked whether the Tuesday losses meant Romney had not won over the conservative bloc so crucial to his success, Romney said his wins in Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire proved he had conservative support.
The former Massachusetts governor also fought back against charges from both his Democratic and Republican opponents on his stance on mandating emergency contraception in Massachusetts.
Romney said he had "fought to remove" a law that required all hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to women who were raped.
"I have steadfastly tried to honor and respect religious conscience," he said.
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@Hammerer – In your dreams! There is not one person running that stands a chance of beating Obama in 2012. Not only will President Obama get another term, but the Congress and Senate will have a Democratic majority as well. People are not fools. We gave the tea party their chance and it only caused more problems and halted our government from accomplishing anything. Do you see the numbers of people turning out at the caucuses and primaries? Pathetic. That's because the majority of Americans have already decided they are going to vote the President in for another four years so they are bypassing this circus being put on by the Republicans. The large turn out in November will be for Democrats. WE are taking OUR country back!!
This guy just does not get it, he hates on everyone....
Want some credibility, Rom-money? Bash Bush.
Remember back in old times when Republican candidates had decency and a soul... 1996 seems like a forgotten era.
Flipper the Elitist Robot is getting so desperate he's changing his campaign story to say his father (a former auto exec and presidential candidate) was a "carpenter." If that's not funny enough, wait til his numbers tank some more. At that point he'll probably be claiming his mother was a virgin in a desperate plea for votes from the phony "christians."
I understand the disgust with politicians and Washington DC, but since when is lack of experience a job qualifications? We need someone WITH experience who is also willing to resist the money-pressures. Mitt is not that guy.
This guy just makes it up as he goes along... and he seems to have no problem telling whopper after whopper
Isn't that exactly what he said to Perry, or was it Newt: "I have tos ay whatever it is that is going to get me elected". I remember this from the first couple of debates.
This man would be a boring joke if there wasn't the remote possibility that he and his friends could buy him the presidency (syntax).
"In this race, I'm the only guy that hasn't spent time in Washington"
Mitt, that is because you couldn't get enough people to vote for you to spend time in Washington!!! Guess what? That will still hold true this year too!!! Obama 2012!!!
The whole bunch need to just disappear.
One writer is critical of Romney's five sons "who avoided the military". Ridiculous. The draft is not on. We now have an all-volunteer military. SO how does one avoid and skip out on the military. Most of these faultfinders point their fingers in the wrong direction.
Not a fan of Mitt. But i am wondering if his daughter was a victim ( being raped) if Mr Mitt would allow her to keep the child
Your comment are absolutey BALONEY DOWN RIGHT RIDICLOUS... I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR YOUR STUPIDITY. ITS OVER LIVE WITH IT
Romeny will be the nominee and will beat Obama. Newt is just making things worse by staying in the race. Shame on him.
There is absolutely nothing genuine about this man, he is fake in every way,
I agree with Mitt Romney. His rivals are just trying to make themselves famous. Republicans are going to have to come together to beat Obama.
A few years ago the GOP called Obama an "elitist" running on a baseless platform of change. And now look who they're going to nominate!
What happened to the focus on jobs, jobs, jobs? Seems like a lot of GOP focus on birth control lately, which frankly should be available to all and no one's business but your own.
The flip flop criticism is the most overused and worn out accusation out there. We have Newt who has flip flopped from an adulterer to a devout husband, Obama who has flip flopped on super pacs, we have Santorum flip flopping from excessive spending in congress to alledged tight wad. Romney is the one who was NOT in Washington DC, these two clown were. By the way Mormons do not teach people get a planet after this life; total BS.
Mr. Romney....Do you realize that 2% of american voters think that your first name is "Mittens?" Something to think about, Willard. (Who names their kid "Willard," anyway?) Anyway, your sounding a little desperate. The sad fact, Willard, is that people don't personally like you and cannot relate to you. You're like a cut out piece of cardboard with a string that you pull that tells people what they want to hear. You're not going to be able to buy the Presidency....so get over it.
I will never forget this cult asking me to join the Lds in St George, I said no problem, I join if you get a black Elder, needless to say, that was the end of that conversation, They really are wierd racist!
The fact that anybody would vote for the likes of anybody like Rick Santorum shows just how stupid people can be and last night a lot of people proved it at the polls! Who in their right mind wants a war with Iran? No wonder this country finds itself in the straights that it's in! It's the idiotic voter who'll bring this country to it's knees!!!
I use to have a much higher regard for Mitt Romney, but he has changed my mind completely over these past few months.
No one is demanding that the birth control benefit be used only that if you choose insurance will pay for it.
Okay, we get it, Mitt.....you weren't in Washington, but you will literally do or say anything if you think it will help you get elected. Not many find that admirable.
I find claiming "I have no Washington experience" as an asset amusing. In business, Romney would want to hire people with relevant experience, but in government it is a bad thing? So Romney, with no experience in national issues, international issues, or dealing with the Federal legislature, with its members' incredibly broad range of issues and goals, is magically the best suited to deal with national issues, international issues, and the Federal legislature?
This is rich. Romney has always known the way. He knew the way to create the individual mandate and now knows the way to repeal it. He knew the way to be pro-choice and now he knows the way to be pro-life. He knew that people were causing climate change and knows that he doesn't know what is causing it. He knew that there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrates and now knows there should be no path. He hasn't lost his way. He has always known where he's going, but it just keeps changing.
I think he should devorce Ann and marry the ding bat BACHMANN , oh, thats right he can have multiple wifes being a morman cult member. We can have two first ladies!!!