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Mitt Romney: Attacks Make Me Stronger

First Posted: 02/29/2012 8:16 pm Updated: 03/01/2012 7:37 am

Mitt Romney said Wednesday that attacks from within the Republican Party will toughen him for the general election, disagreeing slightly with his surrogate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"If you get attacked by someone, it doesn’t make you better off," Romney told Fox News in an interview set to air Wednesday evening. "It toughens you up and there are two sides to that -- one we have exposed a lot of the attacks, I am sure the Obama people will pick up on them and run with it themselves, but I think I’m tougher as a result of this. I think the other guys are as well. We’ll come united once this is all over, and we are going to get behind our nominee.”

McCain said on Sunday that the GOP campaign, and in particular the debates, could be hurting the party's presidential candidates in the long haul.

"I think these continuing debates, and the tenor of the debates, which have turned into mud wrestling, have certainly raised the unfavorables of the candidate," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't have any doubt about that."

Romney agreed with McCain that super PACs may extend the primary process, giving more chances for the candidates to go after each other instead of President Barack Obama.

"I think the process is going to go on longer as a result of the super PAC dollars that are going to come in," Romney told Fox News. "But I recognize it down the road we are going to get attacked by a billion-dollar Obama machine and some respects this toughens us up a bit, and gets the attacks out there."

Romney went into his own attack when discussing the Rick Santorum campaign robocalls to Democrats in Michigan ahead of the Tuesday primary there. The Romney campaign hammered on the calls Wednesday, insisting Santorum wanted liberal Democrats to vote to skew results.

"They got the news from Michael Moore to Barack Obama's team to [say] 'Go play mischief in the Republican Party. Vote against Mitt Romney and try to give this to Rick Santorum,'" Romney said. "They don’t want to face me in the fall. They would rather face Rick Santorum, so they came in large numbers and voted for Rick. I think that was a huge mistake on his part. Republicans saw right through that."

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Filed by Elise Foley  |