Romney says 1 million GOP voters prove his appeal

By the Associated Press | March 14, 2012 | 3:27 PM EDT

Activist associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement perform a skit wearing Mitt Romney masks dressed as grim reapers during a demonstration outside a luxury midtown hotel, Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in New York. Several hundred protesters walked around the Waldorf Astoria on Wednesday behind a black urn they said represented "job cremation" during a fundraiser for Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney says he's won a million more votes than either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. And he says that proves he's got wide appeal that can defeat President Barack Obama in the fall.

Romney finished behind both men in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night. But he told Fox News that his GOP primary wins across the country prove his appeal to independents, tea partyers, women and across income groups.

A multimillionaire who often has trailed among low-income voters, Romney said: "You can't win a million more votes than anyone else in this race just by appealing to high-income Americans."

As for criticism from Gingrich, who lags in the race, Romney answered with a taunt: "If I'm a weak front-runner what does that make Newt Gingrich?"