Romney to S.C. voters: Follow N.H. voters

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Manchester, N.H., after winning the New Hampshire primary, Jan. 10, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
1 of 3 | Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Manchester, N.H., after winning the New Hampshire primary, Jan. 10, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney asked South Carolina Republicans to sweep him to victory as New Hampshire GOP voters did so he can win the GOP nomination and then the White House.

Barack Obama is "a failed president," Romney said at a victory party at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester Tuesday after winning the state's primary with nearly 40 percent of the vote.


"We are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time," the former Massachusetts governor told supporters, referring again and again to Obama, but not acknowledging any of his Republican opponents by name.

A record 250,000 voters were projected to have turned out for the primary on an unseasonably warm winter day, New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan told CNN.

Romney was the first Republican, other than a sitting president, to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul of Texas finished second with almost 23 percent.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who staked his entire campaign on New Hampshire, placed a distant third with just under 17 percent, largely on the strength of the votes of independents and moderates, but pledged to fight on.


Paul told CNN he expected his finish would lead to a money influx. Referring to Romney, he told cheering supporters "he certainly had a clear-cut victory, but we're nibbling at his heels," giving a chuckle as the crowd chanted "President Paul."

Huntsman told supporters in Manchester: "I'd say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen. Hello, South Carolina."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- who ratcheted up his criticism of Romney in New Hampshire and promised to dial it up even further in South Carolina, near his home state of Georgia -- came in fourth Tuesday with 9.4 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who finished a mere eight votes behind Romney in Iowa a week earlier, was fifth in New Hampshire with 9.3 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who all but abandoned the state to focus on South Carolina, finished at the back of the pack with 0.7 percent.

Gingrich and Santorum delivered speeches at the same time Tuesday evening, not conceding defeat, but arguing the race was only beginning.

Asked on CNN whether South Carolina's Jan. 21 primary was make-or-break for his campaign, Gingrich said: "I think it is. ... We're going to go all out to win South Carolina."


A Gingrich-backing independent group received a $5 million donation from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson. Most of that money is expected to be spent on South Carolina TV campaign ads.

The South Carolina primary is widely seen as a turning point in GOP presidential campaigns. Its primary voters have voted for the candidate who has gone on to win the Republican nomination in every presidential race since 1980.

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