Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that he will continue negative campaigning into the general election, telling reporters in Tampa that he will “fight and fight back hard” when attacked by other candidates, reports the Huffington Post.
“I understand, of course, that it would be wonderful if campaigns were all nothing but positive, but that’s certainly not the reality,” he said.
He admitted that the campaign made a decision after South Carolina to shift from a positive tone to a negative one, a change that was clear in the speech he made after he lost the primary there. Romney said on Tuesday that he was outspent by Gingrich and out-debated in South Carolina, adding that he was hurt by the recount in Iowa, where his win was revoked and given to Rick Santorum, and by Rick Perry’s endorsement of Gingrich.
“If we’re successful here [in Florida], it will be pretty clear that when attacked, you have to respond, and you can’t let charges go unanswered,” he said.
Since Gingrich went negative first, Romney said he had no qualms about fighting back.
“He really can’t whine about negative campaigning when he launched a very negative campaign in South Carolina,” Romney said of Gingrich.
Looking ahead, Romney said that Obama has the funding to run many attack ads in the general election, and in response, he will use the same tactics that he used in Florida.