Just a day ahead of Tuesday’s critical Southern contests in Mississippi and Alabama, Mitt Romney responded Monday morning to criticism from rivals that he is a weak frontrunner who is losing among the Republican Party's more conservative wing.
On Fox News's Fox and Friends, Romney responded to charges by Rick Santorum over the weekend that Romney can’t close the deal, despite establishment support and a vast financial advantage. Romney said the contests so far have shown that he can draw far more Republican support than Santorum.
“We’re closing the deal. State by state, delegate by delegate,” Romney said. “We’re winning this and I expect we’re going to get the nomination.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said over the weekend that most conservative voters, what he called “the base of the party,” oppose the former Massachusetts governor. But Romney pointed to exit polls in Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan and Arizona as proof that he is in fact winning “commandingly” among conservatives.
“If I’m a weak frontrunner, what does that make Newt Gingrich?” Romney asked. “Because I’m well ahead of him.”
Romney also noted that both Gingrich and Santorum have spent their lives in Washington, and he argues that voters want someone from outside the establishment to win the nomination.
“Ultimately I believe I’m going to become the nominee, and the reason is we want someone who can beat Barack Obama,” Romney said.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who endorsed Romney over the weekend, also appeared on Fox and Friends on Romney’s behalf. Foxworthy will campaign with Romney in Alabama and Mississippi Monday.
“Mitt is the right guy for the job,” Foxworthy said. “It’s time to get united behind one candidate, the candidate that I believe has the best chance of beating Barack Obama in the fall.”