Washington, Jan 20 : White House contender Newt Gingrich has warned of turning his popularity into a surprise victory in the South Carolina's Republican presidential primary.
Romney's camp has lowered expectations that he could wrap up the race early after Gingrich overtook Romney in opinion polls following an impressive debate performance, where he dismissed discussion of his decade-old marital failings as "despicable".
"I said from the very beginning that South Carolina is an uphill battle for a guy from Massachusetts," The Telegraph quoted Romney, as saying.
Romney's chief strategist Stuart Stevens claimed it is "ridiculous" to describe a potential loss in socially conservative South Carolina as a blow to Romney, who is a relative moderate.
Gingrich stressed that his personal account was fabricated but blamed "the elite media" for protecting "protecting Barack Obama" instead of allowing Republicans to put across their viewpoint on being confronted on his personal life.
"I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. Condemning the "destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media. I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate," Gingrich had said.
"Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine," he added.
Gingrich's strong showing in the debate, which comes after Romney won the Iowa Caucus, has opened the doors for the White House bid to be a close contest between Romney and Gingrich. (ANI)