Mitt Romney is using his victory in New Hampshire to re-launch his attacks against President Obama, billing himself as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.
In a victory speech Tuesday, Romney condemned the "misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years," and recounted his familiar list of problems that he says Obama has failed to solve, including high unemployment, a massive deficit, a decline in optimism and severe economic problems for the middle class.
"The president has run out of ideas," Romney said to an enthusiastic crowd in Manchester. "Now he's running out of excuses." Romney also said 2012 will be "the year he runs out of time."
Romney supporters in Iowa had used a barrage of television ads to attack former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leading up the Jan. 3 caucuses, and the negative commercials decimated Gingrich's popularity. The critics called Gingrich an unreliable conservative and a hypocrite.
Romney himself has mostly attacked Obama, both in Iowa and New Hampshire.
This pattern will probably continue in South Carolina, where the next primary is scheduled for Jan. 21. A pro-Romney political action committee will go negative against other GOP candidates, campaign sources say, but Romney himself will try to remain above the intra-party battle and focus on the president.
It's an effort to have it both ways, but it has worked before and Romney advisers believe it will work again.