GILBERT, S.C. — After joking for weeks about winning Iowa by a "landslide" eight-vote margin, Mitt Romney on Friday continued to opt for humor in publicly acknowledging his defeat in the state for the first time.
At a rally in Gilbert, Romney spoke about his favorite line from "America the Beautiful": " ’Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.’ When I was in Iowa, I joked that the corn counted as an amber wave of grain. That may account for my slim defeat there. I used to say that accounted for a … win, but I had to change my rhetoric in the last couple of days.”
Iowa officials announced on Thursday that Rick Santorum had actually received more votes in the state than Romney, as had been originally projected. Santorum led by 34 votes, according to a recount of the Jan. 3 state caucus results, with data from 8 precincts missing and never to be certified.
After Thursday night's GOP debate, Romney senior adviser Stuart Stevens did not lay blame on anyone for the change in results.
"You don’t want to be disrespectful of [the Iowa GOP] because I think they've played it extraordinarily straight, and just kind of called it like it is,” Stevens said. “But it's just one of these amazing moments in politics."
Romney called Santorum after the Iowa result was announced. Though the Romney campaign has contended it was not a formal concession call, Stevens said, "He felt that the right thing to do was to be gracious and to call Senator Santorum and to say, 'Look, you know, you've got more votes, they're not going to be counting any more votes. We call it — looks like you won.' "