COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told supporters Saturday night that he's going to compete for every vote in every state after Newt Gingrich beat him in the South Carolina primary.
"It was an exciting day for us and I just want to say thanks to everybody that helped," Romney said. "I want to congratulate, of course, speaker Gingrich and my fellow Republicans at a hard fought campaign here in South Carolina. We're now three contests into a long primary season. This is a hard fight, because there's so much worth fighting for."
Referring to criticism of his business experience, Romney said, "When my opponents attack success and free enterprise, they're not only attacking me, they're attacking every person who dreams of a better future. He's attacking you."
Romney went onto say that his campaign had fought very hard in South Carolina and that he will "keep fighting for every single vote and compete in every single state."
Romney also criticized Gingrich without naming him, saying his opponent was joining in on a frontal assault on free enterprise when he castigated Romney's time at a private equity firm.
Romney also said his party couldn't choose someone who has never run a business or has never run a state.
It was a preview of the next week as the race turns to Florida, with the stakes even higher than they were in South Carolina.