He is the methodical tortoise of the Republican field, and well aware conservative South Carolina could prove the defining test.
Mitt Romney has worked hard to overcome skeptics in South Carolina.
So a few moments into his remarks at the Main Street Deli in tiny Anderson, South Carolina, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney draws a distinction.
“Of the four major Republican candidates for president, there is only one in favor of the federal amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman,” Romney tells the gathering. “And that is me.”
A year ago, the obstacles to Romney were many, especially here: He’s a Mormon, he’s from Massachusetts, and he’s a onetime supporter of abortion rights facing skepticism his conversion to abortion opponent is heartfelt — and not a political calculation.
“I think Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” Romney told reporters after a stop this week at a Christian adoption agency in Greenville.
Seventeen visits and 32 days of campaigning in South Carolina have helped move Romney from nowhere into contention. Recent polls suggest a three-way pack at the top of the field here — former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and Romney.
That Romney is competitive here impresses people like Spartanburg County Republican Chairman Rick Beltram, who credits Romney with patiently and methodically answering his skeptics and addressing his vulnerabilities.
“If you look at how he has performed in the last six months versus all other candidates, he has made amazing progress going forward,” Beltram said.