ATLANTA -- Mitt Romney fired back against Mike Huckabee over the former Arkansas governor's accusation that Mitt Romney has engaged in "voter suppression" in arguing that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for John McCain.
"I don't think he's chosen the right word," Romney said at a press conference after speaking to hundreds of enthusiastic supporters at a rally here. "It's not voter suppression. I want people to vote, but I want them to vote for me. That's sort of the nature of politics, as I understand it."
In recent days, Romney has avoided responding to Huckabee's barrage of attacks, as the former Massachusetts governor seeks to portray the nomination fight as a two-man race between himself and McCain. But in his remarks this afternoon, Romney hit back hard.
"First a couple of rules in politics," he said. "One: no whining. And number two: you get them to vote for you and so I want them not to vote for Mike Huckabee and not to vote for John McCain and to vote for me … that's not voter suppression. That's known as politics."
Romney was flanked by former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn. — a prominent conservative advocate who endorsed Romney last week. Santorum stepped to the microphone to make his own case about why Romney is the only choice for voters who want a conservative candidate as the Republican nominee.
"The reason I got in this race is I wanted to make sure a conservative got elected," Santorum said. "I've been saying for a year that it isn't John McCain. I think more and more people are coming to that conclusion — that it's not John McCain. The alternative — the only alternative — to stop the McCain 'Twisted Talk Express' is Mitt Romney."