Romney dismisses Palin claim he’s not ‘conservative enough’

Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his conservative bona fides following doubts expressed by Sarah Palin.

The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate told Fox News Sunday that she is "not convinced" of Romney's conservative instincts, indicating he might not be conservative "enough" for her.

"I don't think that the majority of GOP and Independent voters are convinced, and that is why you don't see Romney get over that hump," she said.

"I'm not quite sure what she'd be referring to," Romney responded Wednesday, also on Fox News. "I'm pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, I believe in the Second Amendment. As governor, I balanced the budget, every year in office. Put in place a $2 million rainy-day fund. Cut taxes 19 times."

Palin clarified later in Wednesday's show that it's difficult to objectively evaluate a candidate's "conservative quotient." She said she believes she represents the majority of conservatives, though, in questioning whether Romney's first instinct would be the conservative one.

"A lot of us are not yet convinced that not just he, but any of the candidates yet, will be the one who will be that contrast to Obama," she said.

Palin added it's a "good sign" that Romney has become more conservative as he's gotten older.

Romney acknowledged on the show that his positions have become more conservative over time.

"Living a life tends to make you more conservative," he said. "If you've been in the business world, you can't help but be conservative, because if you don't balance the budget in business, you go out of business."

Romney, the only candidate who has retained consistently high support in most polls throughout the campaign, went on to dismiss indications that Santorum might be overtaking his status as front-runner for the GOP nomination, saying his competition has changed many times over the course of the race.

"It's been a two-man race many times," Romney told Fox News. "It was me versus Michele Bachmann, then me versus Tim Pawlenty, then I was up against Herman Cain, then Rick Perry, then Newt Gingrich, now it seems like Rick Santorum. You never know. Newt Gingrich could run back in, Ron Paul could cut him out. Time will tell."

He also said that it was a "little early" to speculate on the possibility of teaming up with Santorum or another candidate to win.

"I think it's always possible to have people come together in our party," he said.