COLUMBIA, S.C. — Mitt Romney struck a non-conciliatory note in his South Carolina concession speech, mentioning Newt Gingrich only once by name but blasting his attacks on Romney’s private-sector record.

After thanking Gingrich and the other candidates for a “hard-fought” campaign, Romney went hard after South Carolina’s primary winner.


“We cannot defeat the president with a candidate who has joined that very assault on free enterprise,” he said. “When my opponents attack success and free enterprise… they’re attacking you.”

Speaking to a less than capacity crowd, Romney kept on the drumbeat against Gingrich. 

“The Republican Party doesn’t demonize prosperity, we celebrate success in our party,” he said.

Opponents have tried to paint Romney as an out-of-touch elitist and Gingrich has attacked him for laying off workers while he was in the private sector.

“If Republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success and disparaging conservative values then they’re not going to be fit to be our nominee,” Romney said.

The former Massachusetts governor also stressed a long campaign. 

“We’re just three contests into a long primary season,” he said. “We’ve still got a long way to go and a lot of work to do and tomorrow we’re going to move on to Florida.”