January 16th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney: Delegates more important than wins

BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) - The morning after his first major primary victory, Republican Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of wins, saying the GOP contest this year was a delegate race.

“I’m not looking for gold stars on my forehead like I was in first grade. I want delegates. I’m pleased that I’ve been able to get delegates,” he said.

“The fact that I came in second in a couple of primaries, I know some people think that’s a devastating thing. Actually, I got delegates,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “And I’m looking to rack up the delegates I need to win the convention.”

The former Massachusetts governor said John McCain was the “clear frontrunner” in South Carolina, and that it would be a big surprise if the Arizona senator failed to win – despite recent polls that show him running just a few points ahead of second-place Mike Huckabee in the state. “This is a state I expect Sen. McCain has pretty well wrapped up,” said Romney.

He also said his campaign – which has spent record sums on television advertising in several early contests – would base its ad decisions on those of his opponents: “if somebody else is spending massively it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put a few drops in that bucket.”

The Romney campaign briefly went dark in South Carolina, as he focused his efforts almost entirely on winning the vote in his home state of Michigan. “I’m going to spend time here to try to strengthen my position,” Romney told reporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, but said Nevada and Florida would also be priorities.

Romney will be spending time later this week in Nevada, whose significant Mormon minority may give him a bit of an edge heading into the Republican caucuses this Saturday, with 31 delegates at stake, not counting the state’s three superdelegates.

- CNN’s Shirley Zilberstein and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Mitt Romney • South Carolina primary
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Mario

    Go Mitt!

    January 16, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Nomad

    I've been listening, Mitt!!! I hear ya. I'm no prodigy in math (balance my bank account okay) – but sounds right to me!!! GO MITT!!! Let's pick up Nevada!

    January 16, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Daniel

    Thanks CNN for finally giving Mitt some decent coverage. I guess for some people they need to win two states and get a clear majority of delagates for them to get some attention.

    January 16, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Mike

    For the first time, Romney didn't flip on that one and he is so right. No wonder Clinton win didn't matter no matter how uncooth uncivilized she is by leaving her name on the ballot. I am voting on Obama because he does what is right all the time and would make a fine president!

    January 16, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. David, Kansas City Mo

    This is one of the reasons I am voting for Romney. Brilliance and humility.

    January 16, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Confused in CT

    Romney's comment re: importance of delegates makes sense to me.

    So why is it that McCain supposedly "skyrocketed" to front-runner status when he won NH but had fewer total delegates than Romney? And now that Romney has won the most states (WY, MI) and delegates, he is not a front-runner and the GOP race is muddled?

    January 16, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. JR - Northern California

    Mitt is on a ROLL! He already has DOUBLE the number of delegates of any other candidate and I believe he is going to win this thing. No one is better suited right now to take this country where it needs to go.

    January 16, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Eric

    Nice to see CNN drop a Mormon comment about Nevada, like Mitt can't win unless he is from there or there are lots of Mormons or something. We saw after how many Evangelicals voted for Huckabee in Michigan.

    January 16, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. ben

    MITT ROMNEY would make an excellent used car salesman

    January 16, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Romanna Remor

    Although from far away (Brazil), I'm following US primaries and I was surprised with the importance people and press were giving to whom is first. I always thought the number of delegates mattered most, in the end. Thus, I think Romney is, so far, a very strong candidate.

    Romanna Remor, Florianópolis – Brazil

    January 16, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. whatsitToyou

    Confused in CT
    You are not the only one who is confused by this..Romney has been ahead in delegates for quite awile, and now has double what the others have, how is that muddled, how is he not the frontrunner? McCain wins New Hampshire and that rockets him to frontrunner? Interesting indeed! Gotta love CNN!

    January 16, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Marti, San Diego CA

    Amen to Eric! I still shake my head at most articles written by CNN. You can't talk about NV without a Mormon comment. How come that didn't seem important when Rudy was winning NV by a landslide?

    Also, how is it that Mitt has been ahead in delegates since the second race and you've never heard of him as the front runner although as soon as McCain wins with a bunch of Democrat and Indy votes in NH (a tiny, tiny state–with the same or fewer delegates than WY) all of a sudden McCain is the clear front runner and soon to be crowned nominee? Doesn't any of that strike you as odd and biased?

    Here's a tip – get more of your TV journalists to write more of the articles. They're still biased (except Schneider, generally) but much less so.

    January 16, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Sidney

    Ya ditto to Eric's comment. Now lets count exactly how many times CNN has mentioned McCains, Thompson, Ron Paul or for that matter anyones religious affiliation.I for one would sure like to have this not be about religion , gender,race the best hair or the most money but rather policy. Do the public a big favor and just report the news CNN !!!!!

    January 16, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. AJ, IL

    Go Mitt Go! Run Mitt Run!

    You are not fooling me Mitt. You know that Huckabee has a good chance to win South Carolina as well. If Huckabee wins, McCain starts to fade away and Mitt knows he can take down Huckabee.

    The Republican presidential contest this year reminds of a WWF wrestling event, Royal Rumble, evenbody gets to get in and swing.

    January 16, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    Confused in CT,

    The reason he is not considered the "front-runner" even though he has the most delegates is because the number of delegates you have to have to win the nomination is around 1100. Mitt only has 36, which is about 3% of the total amount he'll need. Now, he still is clearly on top, but come Super Tuesday, who knows!!

    I think he will do great in this election and am looking forward to checking his name on the box here in california!

    Romney '08!!

    January 16, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Py

    Nevada! I Hate to blow smoke up you skirt, but Romney hates gambling and all that Nevada money stands for. Do you really think he will work for you? No he will not! As far as the immigrants, his beliefs did not even admit there were any other race but white into there doors untill the late 60's years! I hope he enjoys his win because that will be his last! We can only Pray!!

    January 16, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. chase

    I agree. He would pretty much make a great anything because he's the man! I just can't wait to see how bad he beats McCain and Huckabee when Democrats and independents can't vote!

    January 16, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. K Wilkinson

    Romney has the Republican base and he should.

    Huckabee is a Liberal using his socially conservative views to cover the rest of the not so conservative ones.

    McCain has had YEARS to make a difference in Washington and the only thing he fought for was amnesty for millions of illegals! No thanks McCain. Your time is up!

    Romney is a moderate conservative across the board. He is smart on the economy, opposes amnesty, is pro-family, pro military, and is intelligent enough to handle the war.

    Romney is the candidate for me!

    January 16, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Chad

    Romney won and has been at the top of every primary, because he is the only well-rounded conservative with a chance on winning the presidency. Here’s why:
    He has more executive experience than any candidate.
    He is a strong social conservative.
    He has vision for change
    He can turn around other mistakes made prior to his taking the Job. (Bain Capital, Olympics, MA. Huge deficit, Big Dig Fiasco, and he'll do the same in Iraq)
    Huckabee is a nice guy... so is Jimmy Carter
    Mccain is a great american but he continually pals around with Kennedy, Lieberman, Feingold etc..
    Be Smart. Look at the Facts.

    Mitt ROCKS

    January 16, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Lori

    The nomination is determined by the number of delegates, and Romney has twice as many as the next guy. It's the media that focuses on the wins. Go Romney 2008!

    January 16, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. JarodOlsen, Asheville, NC

    Yes ben, Mitt would make an excellent used car salesman, but then again, anything he sets his mind too he excels at it. Using the car analogy, yes, he would excel, and in ten years would own most of the dealerships in the US.

    You've earned by vote Mitt!

    Best of luck to all the candidates in the Primaries.

    January 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. pam Eugene OR

    I will vote for Mitt if Hillary gets the nod from the Democrats. I am not sure why some people are so hateful about him. Is his religion that disturbing?

    January 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Rodney Mattson

    The only comment that I have is this it is O.K for all the GOP canidates to use their Christian faith in there campaign if they so choose with no repracautions but if Govenor Romney even mentioned his faith he would be hung out to dry. Mitt Romneys faith should not be a concern After Govenor Romneys Faith speech, just so happens he is the only one that was forced to do this. CNN needs to give Mitt Romney the free press exposure as they do for all the others. If being married 3 to 4 times, 2 canidates GOP, atleast 1 GOP canidate has committed adultery numerous times and last but not least saying that all evangelical christians are obligated to vote for me in which Gov. Huck said at one of his campaign speeches than by all means vote for those canidates. If you want a qualified individual who has the smarts and and the knowledge to handle the stress of our president then Govenor Romney is the only qualified GOP canidate to be elected for the GOP nomination.

    January 16, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. Bob

    The truth is, if you simply look at the facts, Mitt Romney has been a failure at everything he has tried to do and is leaving burned bridge after burned bridge behind him. The fact is that he could not have been reelected as Mass governor had he tried; in fact they nearly threw him out on his ear (impeachment threats). He keeps on running away leaving messes for others to clean up, but nobody bothers to spend 10 minutes looking it up! In the Bush mold, her gives the good speeches his writers write, and then turns around, works only for the rich, and leaves everyone wondering what went wrong. GO MCCAIN!

    January 16, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    It's so obvious that people who have been willing to LISTEN to candidates and not the MEDIA, are figuring out that Mitt Romney IS the best candidate for the Presidency. He can reach across the party lines, is brilliant with fantastic plans on how to unite us and ignite our economy. He has more integrity than all the other candidates combined (except for Obama) and isn't too old, as McCain and Thompson are.

    Go Mitt, keep working hard, as you have your whole life. Don't look down, don't look back. We're supporting you all the way!!!!!!!!!!

    If you're bad mouthing him, you obviously don't have an open mind and that's your problem to fix.

    January 16, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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