Dem Spin: Romney Won Big in NH, But 'Fell Far Short of Meeting Expectations'

By Susan Jones | January 11, 2012 | 5:24 AM EST

er Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he campaigns on primary election day outside of a polling station at Webster School in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

( - It's on to South Carolina for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who easily won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday with 39 percent of the vote to Ron Paul's 23 percent and Jon Huntsman's 17 percent. (Gingrich and Santorum were way back at around 9 percent each.)

Although Romney has now won in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats continue to paint him as a loser whose "candidacy is unraveling."

“Mitt Romney may have won in New Hampshire tonight, but he can't run from the fact that his support was rapidly eroding before any vote was even cast," said Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday night.

The Florida Democrat noted that at one point, Romney had a nearly 30 percent lead over the rest of the Republican field in New Hampshire: "But tonight he fell far short of meeting expectations – especially in a state where he’s a part-time resident, which is next door to his home state of Massachusetts."

In her statement, Schultz described the New Hampshire primary as a "significant setback" for Romney's campaign and presidential ambitions:

"[T]he premise of his candidacy is unraveling," Schultz said, adding that Romney leaves New Hampshire "wounded by a series of episodes that made it clear to voters – both in New Hampshire and for those watching across the country – that he is completely out of touch with the concerns of America’s working and middle-class families."

Democrats have seized on Romney's comment that he likes "being able to fire people who provide services to me." Romney was talking about giving people a choice of health insurance plans, but Democrats have taken the comment out of context to make him look callous.

They also are challenging his claim to be a job creator, when in the course of reorganizing failing companies, his venture capital firm laid off workers.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Romney addressed critics of his business record:

"President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him," Romney said. Romney called it a "mistake for our party and for our nation," and he said the United States "already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy."