After slim Iowa win, Romney seeks a big NH victory

January 5, 2012 - 4:07 AM

BRETWOOD, N.H. (AP) — After pocketing the endorsement of former rival John McCain, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is seeking to lock down support in New Hampshire while preparing to woo voters in the conservative bellwether of South Carolina.

Romney's latest top rival, Rick Santorum, is facing renewed scrutiny of his record after a surprise showing in Iowa's caucuses.

The newly recast Republican field finds Romney reaching for a decisive victory in New Hampshire to solidify his status as the putative front-runner. But his rivals are working to block that effort.

One is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who skipped the Iowa caucuses and tells voters he can "smell success" in New Hampshire.

Another, Newt Gingrich, is bluntly dismissing Romney's efforts to cast himself as the most electable challenger to President Barack Obama.