Campaigning in Mississippi on Wednesday, Mitt Romney attempted to win over local voters by invoking a beloved regional delicacy.
The former Massachusetts governor said during a speech in Pascagoula, Miss., that he is turning into an "unofficial Southerner." He also joked, "I'm learning to say 'y'all' and I like grits. Strange things are happening to me."
Romney has thus far struggled to win over southern Republicans. He lost the South Carolina and Georgia GOP primaries to Newt Gingrich and the Tennessee primary to Rick Santorum. He is expected to struggle once more in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, which will be held on March 13.
Even Romney himself has admitted that the South constitutes an "away game" for his campaign, which has relied mostly on well-educated, wealthier voters in urban areas and rich suburbs. Non-college graduates in the South, meanwhile, have tended to favor Santorum, who is seen by many as more of a true conservative than Romney.
But as Politico reports, Romney isn't giving up on endearing himself to Southerners. In fact, he doubled down on his newfound love of grits the day after the original endorsement. Appearing at a rally with Mississippi's governor, Romney told the crowd, "I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits. I’ll tell you! Delicious."
Even if the good ol' boy schtick doesn't quite stick -- and signs abound that it won't -- there's good news for Romney: The South is looking less like a must-win region than in primaries past.