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On a verge of Florida win, Romney takes stage in Dunedin with sharp words for Gingrich and Obama

Times photo, Jim Damaske

DUNEDIN -- Mitt Romney appeared before a vast crowd packed into downtown Dunedin this afternoon full of confidence. "With a turnout like this I'm beginning to feel we might win tomorrow, what do you think?" he said.

Romney is pulling away from Newt Gingrich, polls show, but he went at his rival from the outset. "I know the speaker's not real happy. Speaker Gingrich. He's not feeling very excited these days. I know, it's sad. He's been flailing around, trying to go after me for one thing or another. You just watch him and you shake your head. He's been kind of painfully revealing to watch. I think the reason he isn't doing so well is because of those last two debates."

It was a carbon copy of what he told crowds yesterday, leaving out the millions in attack ads that have helped tamp down Gingrich's rise.

In most ways, though, the candidates are offering the same message and the same prescriptions for fixing the economy. Romney derided President Obama repeatedly as naive and unprepared. "I think he is inspired by the social Democrats of Europe and he would change American into an entitlement society."

Romney said his goal was not to "fundamentally transform" the country. "I want to instead to restore the principles that made America the hope of the earth."

Posted by Alex Leary at 3:56:02 pm on January 30, 2012