Romney tight-lipped on big day
January 19th, 2012
01:04 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney tight-lipped on big day

(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 or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

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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.

Also see:

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

Filed under: Mitt Romney • President Obama • South Carolina
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens, you lie!

    January 19, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Thomas

    "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

    This is why I wont vote for Romney , he believes his own lies , and overlooks his past truths .

    January 19, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Stephen in Bedford, Texas

    Romney said he didn't make very much money on speaking engagements. Since when is $375,000 not very much money for giving speaches at a time when people who were supporting families on less than 35K were losing their jobs. This clown is so out of touch ET, the little alien from outer space, was more connected the common person than Romney.

    January 19, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I know how jobs come. They don't come because of Washington. They come in some cases in spite of Washington," Romney said."

    I might end up watching tonight's debate after all...

    January 19, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Sharon

    haha - Its funny when you call Mitt Mittens

    January 19, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Romney... always being polite and diplomatic, even to somebody that has been mean and nasty to him. Pure class.

    January 19, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    Doesn't want to say something un-scripted.....stupid....again?

    January 19, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. drewood27

    Ahh I can't wait until Romney is up against Obama after the unemployment rate has fallen below 8%.

    "Yeah well, those jobs had nothing to do with your policies! They just came back on their own in spite of them!"

    Real convincing message, Mittens.

    January 19, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |

    Why wait until April? Show us your axes from the past 10 years. Do you have something to hide Willard?? BTW, you live in Fantasyland if you think you're going to e the next POTUS.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 19, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. susan

    by April, Romney would manage to massage the tax return.
    Why April, why not now?

    January 19, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Debra from Georgia

    It is you Romney who lives in a fantasy land. President Obama live in a land where he has created over 3.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate is going down .

    January 19, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Really?

    The right wing is a joke. How can you not nominate the smartest guy? I want to be a republican, but these weirdos make it hard to.

    January 19, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Russ

    Oh Mittens is such a comedian. If anyone is living in a fantasy land it's Mitt. First, thinking he'll get the nomination, Second if he does get it that he'll beat Obama and Thrid if he does get the nomination and beats Obama, that he can get any of his ignorant self serving flip flopping ideas passed into law. Sorry Mitt, it ain't going to happen.

    January 19, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair


    "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

    This is why I wont vote for Romney , he believes his own lies , and overlooks his past truths .
    Kind of a stretch there, Thomas. Mitt was just being cordial... similar to when the winning coach of the super bowl or world series speaks nicely about the losing opponent. Everyone knows Mitt and Perry had some heated moments in the debates and really didn't care for each other in the least.

    January 19, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Charlie Seemann

    So now it's Mittens or the Newtosaurus?

    January 19, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. michael

    romny is spineless. he is afraid to offend which is why he will LOSE to the president. while he is desperate to be liked he will do just the opposite

    January 19, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Alabama Liberal

    While Romney actually has a chance of beating Obama and Newt has virtually zero, I hope Romney trounces Gingrich. I'm sick of Newt already. He sounded less like a president or statesman in the last debate and more like a loud mouth talk radio host.

    January 19, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Florida Joe

    Remember when George Bush Sr went to a supermarket and didn't know what a bar code scanner was? We thought he was out of touch with average Americans.........This CLOWN Mitt makes $375,000 for speaches in a year and calls it "not much".....NOW THAT IS OUT OF TOUCH.....Oh yeah he's just an average guy like one of us, scarred of a PINK SLIP...........Don't think so Mitt......And I wonder how may average Americans have millions in off shore accounts.....Yep Average Guy

    January 19, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Arun

    What a joke of a party. The party that wants to get rid of voting rights for minorities and the elderly claim it is because of voting fraud is the same party that can't count the votes in their own election!!

    January 19, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mitt Romney living in Fantasyland past 64 years

    January 19, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Ken Andrews

    Offshore Bank accounts are for the purpose of avoiding U.S. Income Taxes. Where is the "OUTRAGE" from the Tea Party that was so upset with taxes last summer?????

    January 19, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Igwe

    I Love how Mitt is focused on the future not the past and how how he did not use any back fire to mr PERRY thats being meek and gentleman ! he deserves a win!

    January 19, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. curious

    If Romney wins the nomination, and he probably will, he will not do so with the heart of the republican party behind him.

    January 19, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. CR

    More likely he's tight-lipped due to the revelations regarding his offshore investments in the Cayman Islands (ABC and Wall Street Journal covering) amounting at least in the 10's of millions. Drip, drip, drip,...

    January 19, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. JT

    Sometimes I don't even think the media looks at the political calender. Romney won't lose a contest in February, and will basically wrap this up on Super Tuesday as Gingrich is not even on the ballot in his home state. If by some miracle this gets to April Romney will wrap this up in New York or California. This isn't about winning for Gingrich. This is about saving face.

    January 19, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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