U.S. Republican Party presidential candidates have intensified their verbal attacks on front-runner Mitt Romney, ahead of the January 10 primary in New Hampshire.
Appearing on January 8 in the Republicans' second televised debate in 10 hours, former House Of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich charged that Romney would "have a very hard time getting elected" in a campaign against President Barack Obama, and accused Romney of purveying what he called "pious baloney."
In his remarks, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, defended himself as "a solid conservative" and emphasized his earlier career in private business, apart from his work as a politician.
"People have watched over me during my term as governor and saw that I was a solid conservative and that I brought important change to Massachusetts. They recognized that I cut taxes 19 times, balanced the budget every one of the four years that I was governor," Romney said.
"I happen to believe that if we want to replace a lifetime politician like Barack Obama, who had no experience leading anything, you have to choose someone who has not been a lifelong politician," he added, "who has not spent his entire career in Washington and instead he has proven time and again he can lead."
Romney narrowly won last week's Iowa caucuses, just edging out former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Six candidates remain in the contest to win the Republican nomination to challenge Obama in November's election.
compiled from agency reports