Romney hits morning shows, armed with talking points about Obama’s billions

Dylan Stableford
The Ticket

Fresh off his double-digit victory in Tuesday's Florida Republican primary, a chipper Mitt Romney hit the morning talk-show circuit on Wednesday, appearing on the "Today" show, "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning," "Fox and Friends" and CNN's "Starting Point" via satellite from Tampa.

With Newt Gingrich vowing to stay in the race until the Republican Convention--and to continue his attack on the frontrunner--Romney dismissed the notion that a long campaign would hurt his chances in a general election against Barack Obama.

During his interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Romney tried to position himself as a defender of the middle class--something Obama has gotten a head start on.

"I'm in this race because I care about Americans," Romney said. "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," he continued. "They're doing just fine.  I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I'll continue to take that message across the nation."

O'Brien pushed back, saying that many Americans "would say that sounds odd," but Romney stood by his statement. "My focus is on middle income Americans, retirees living on social security, people who cannot find work, folks who have kids that are getting ready to go to college." You can watch video of the exchange above.

During his other morning-show hits, Romney stuck to less controversial talking points.

"The attacks that have come from him have probably toughened us up and helped us learn how to respond," Romney told Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning." "Clearly, what Barack Obama comes with will be a lot more money, even more vitriol than what we faced so far, but we're prepared."

"I think what you're seeing now from Speaker Gingrich is just a precursor of what you'll see from President Obama," Romney told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "GMA." Perhaps what we're getting now inoculates us, or at least prepares us, for what will come down the road. No question that Barack Obama's billion dollar machine will organize the most vitriolic, spiteful campaign in American history and we're going to have to be ready for that."

Romney trotted out the "billion" line to O'Brien as well: "I know that if I'm the nominee, Barack Obama is going to spend almost a billion dollars attacking me. So you might as well get it out there now.  Learn how to respond, and make sure that we're able to get back to the real issue people care about when the time of the general election comes around."

The former Massachusetts governor said the same to Matt Lauer on "Today": "I think the back and forth and even the attacks have been helpful because what's going to come from Barack Obama will be the same, just a heck of a lot more of it."

During his interview with Lauer, Romney seemed to confirm a rumor he'll seek the endorsement of Rep. Michele Bachmann.

"I would like all the endorsements I can possibly get," he said. "By the way, any question about the support of conservatives, I think, was cleared up last night in Florida. People who call themselves conservative and very conservative overwhelmingly supported my campaign. Tea partiers supported my campaign. I hope I can convince people in Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado. I have to get a lot of support from many in my party.

Still, he added on ABC: "I'm feeling pretty good today, obviously."

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