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. Jake

    Mitt Romney, still spewing whatever he thinks someone wants to hear!

    January 19, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    Who live in Fantasyland ?

    Go to Wikipedia look for Mitt Romney residence : Belmont , Massachusetts, Wolfeboro New Hampshire and San Diego California

    January 19, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Ken Andrews

    curious: There is no "heart" in the Republican Party. Compassion is not in their dictionary.

    January 19, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. xxixpines

    You can always tell when Willard Mitt Romney lies.

    His lips move

    January 19, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Peace

    I hope the tax returns issue will come up again during the debate tonight. Mitt can not fool people around and let them vote for him blindly, without knowing how much he made and how much he paid as taxes.

    January 19, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Hair bear

    Romney has played right into there hands! They don't really want him as the nominee. Flip flopping around on those taxes is gonna do him in! Along with telling tells about job creation. Romney needs to seek the black vote! They already hate Newt and Paul! If not he looses!

    January 19, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. HowardB

    I don't know about you, but I want the smartest, most patriotic, and best leader our country can get, and in my opinion, that man is Romney. He made a lot of money because he's smart and has proven that he can surround himself with smart people. The SLC Olympic games were set to loose more money than any other games, and Romney came in and made them profitable. Massachusetts had a $3 Billion budget deficit and Romney managed the turn around of that state's finances. He's the man to get the United States back to work and growing again.

    January 19, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Willard-If jobs don't come out of Washington, then how are you going to create jobs if you get to Washington-Can't have both as a truth -Do you even know what your truth is-or are you on the 3 sides of truth??

    January 19, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Marty, FL

    Romney insults efforts in Central Florida while President Obama is here promoting his plans to improve tourism and help our local economy.

    In case Romney forgot, we tend to decide elections here and sorry, will not be voting for Mitt.

    January 19, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |

    Hiding money in the Cayman's Willard? Say it isn't so. Isn't that what money launderers do?

    January 19, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. westward

    Why, Mitt? Because your attorneys warned you not to open your mouth? Does it have anything to do with Bain being investigated by the FBI? How much money did you off shore to avoid paying taxes over the years anyway?

    January 19, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Joe Fraser

    Romney, shows how uninformed he his. the keystone oil pipeline would leak oil and pollute ground water in the great state of Nebraska. We would not have a state without this water. Instead of shipping oil across the entire country to refine in Texas why not build a refinery in North Dakota. Shorter pipeline less spills DUH!!!!

    January 19, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

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

    Yes, we Flipper the Elitist Robot is known for his polite and diplomatic statements in the face of criticism, like "corporations are people too, my friend!".

    January 19, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. andrew

    ROMNEY 2012! We support you all the way. We need your leadership, business know-how, and enthusiasm in the White House as soon as possible.

    January 19, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. give it to me straight

    Soon there will only be 3...

    January 19, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Mitt Flippy= GOP

    Not too happy Conservaties will be plitting votes much long hey Mitt? lol

    January 19, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. souptwins

    People keep calling for his tax forms but I think April is reasonable. I can't do my taxes yet for 2011, why should he be expected to? We already know he has a lot of investment income and pays about 15% income tax. Do you want someone who's lost money on their investments and been a poor money manager leading the country? We've already had that.
    Don't understand the conservative arm of the GOP supporting Gingrich when he was run out of the Speaker seat on ethics violations, sanctioned by his own party and has no moral bearings.

    January 19, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "We're gonna miss him on the stage,"

    Subtext: "Beause standing next to that vacant-eyed nitwit who couldn't even remember his scripted talking point attacks on Obama made our own craptastic nonsense pandering blather sound all the better."

    January 19, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Sirned

    Will the real Mitt please stand up? No one really knows anything about this man. All we see is a scripted and carefully organized corporate advertisement of Republican ideas with Mitt as their spokesman....kind of like a Tide commercial...

    January 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Alex

    Romney does think Main Street USA is Fantasyland – now it's in the record.

    January 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. ShawnDH

    Ewwww. If Perry is a "terrific conservative" then it's truly an idiotic and deranged political philosophy. Of course this is coming from Flip Flop Mittens, but still. Yuck.

    January 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Thomas

    @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.

    Fair is Fair ,
    Your analogy of comparing Romney to a winning coach of the super bowl or world series is absurd, Unles you consider
    the responsabilaty of the President and game .

    It would be nice if Mitt and persons such as yourself could be as cordial and respectful to Obama.

    I'll ask you again , why do you hate Obama so much ?

    January 19, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Jane

    @souptwins: "April is reasonable"?? I'm sure it's reasonable to Mr. Romney; it gives him and his accountan team plenty of time to doctor the forms so they look all nicey nice and he doesn't need to show his past forms, which show the truth.

    January 19, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. GI Joe

    Take a drink every time he says "It's my turn, It's my turn".

    Hillarious, like a pre-school kid.

    January 19, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Joseph Smith

    Mitt can't swear with his outside voice, so he has to use his inside voice...thus the radio silence.

    January 19, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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