03/12/2012 05:55 pm ET

Mitt Romney: You Think I'm A Weak Front-Runner? McCain Lost 19 States

Mitt Romney's assertion that he is not the historically weak front-runner that his critics allege produced an awkward line during an interview with the Paul Finebaum Radio Network on WJOX Monday afternoon.

"When Newt Gingrich said I'm the weakest front-runner since the 1920s," said Romney. "I guess I'd have to have him go back and look at just four years ago when Senator McCain and Mike Huckabee and I were all running. He may forget that Senator McCain lost, I think, 19 states in the process. It's just the nature of the process. And by the way, if I'm a weak front-runner, what does that make Newt?: (emphasis, ours) 

It's mathematically true that Romney is doing better than McCain when it comes to winning the percentage of the vote in the states that have held elections both in 2008 and 2012. But McCain did have much stronger competition and there was no talk then, as there is now, of a brokered party convention. 

The awkwardness, of course, comes from the fact that the McCain is now one of Romney's most ubiquitous and vocal supporters. He may not have signed up for being this type of talking point when he agreed to be a surrogate.