TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney said Wednesday he is concerned about the middle class but not the very poor or rich as he claimed victory in the Florida primary.
"I'm in this race because I care about Americans," Romney told CNN in an interview. "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans right now who are struggling and I'll continue to take that message across the nation."
Romney cited food stamps, housing vouchers and other benefits in explaining his lack of concern for the poor.
His victory in Florida gives the former Massachusetts governor front-runner status in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney took 46 percent of the votes in the winner-take-all race to 32 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 13 percent for former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and 7 percent for Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
Romney's campaign requested Secret Service protection for the candidate and the agency said it will be supplied within days, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Florida is the first large state to hold a primary. Gingrich suggested the results there turned the contest into a "two-person race."
"As has been said long ago, politics ain't beanbags," Romney said. "We're battling to become the nominee. He's going to do it the way he thinks is best. I'm going to do it the way I think is best. So far my process has given me a good start. I know we're going to go on. But I'm feeling pretty good at this point."