MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney, the steady, long-presumed man to beat in the GOP race for the nomination, admitted on Monday he's not at the top anymore -- and instead considers Newt Gingrich the front-runner.
Asked during an event in New Hampshire if the former House speaker is the front-runner, Romney replied bluntly: “He is right now.”
Romney also thinks the race to secure the nomination could go well into summer, perhaps as long as the California primary June 5, Politico
The nomination “is not going to be decided in just a couple of contests” and “could go for months and months.”
“You see how dramatically the numbers have moved and how quickly they have over the last year?” he replied Monday during a video interview at a French-Canadian diner, Chez Vachon.
“It’s a very fluid electorate. I think I’ll get the nomination. I can’t predict when. … I’ve got — what? — five or six more months to go to make that a reality.”
Romney also wouldn't bite on questions about stepping up attacks on Gingrich.
“You said that our voters wanted red meat and that they therefore need a person who will give that red meat. I’m saying … that’s not who I am, and that’s not going to be successful in the final analysis. … “If … they want language that’s so incendiary that it really excites them, then some can offer that in a primary. And you can be assured that they’ll lose in the general. Because the people who decide elections, the people in the middle — by the way, people who last time voted for Barack Obama — do not want to have a president elected based on red meat.
“I’m not going to say outrageous things that can be used to hang [a GOP opponent] down the road. … In my view, [primary voters] want someone who is willing to be a responsible leader, that brings America together as opposed to dividing America. … I am what I am. I don’t tend to say outrageous things about other people that I don’t believe in order to win political points.”
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