- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Fresh off his win in New Hampshire, making former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney two-for-two in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign on Wednesday said he had raised $24 million in the final three months of 2011 and had $19 million in cash on hand.

That’s Mr. Romney’s best quarter so far in this campaign, and it comes as he is trying to project an air of inevitability about his nomination heading into South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary.

Mitt Romney’s growing financial support is representative of the growing momentum for our campaign,” said Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romney’s finance director.

All told, Mr. Romney raised $56 million in 2011. President Obama and the Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, were on pace to raise more than $200 million in 2011.

Mr. Romney argues he’s the Republican best able to compete with the president’s formidable fundraising machine.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign said last week it had raised $13 million in the final quarter of 2011, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said his fundraising was “embarrassing” in the last quarter, but said he raised $1 million in the first day after his near-win in Iowa’s caucuses.

Other Republicans argue the campaign is not about money.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has emerged as the chief attacker of Mr. Romney, said in South Carolina on Wednesday that nobody will be able to compete with the $1 billion in campaign funding Mr. Obama could raise.

Mr. Gingrich said he wants to harness the power of the press and challenge Mr. Obama to go head-to-head repeatedly, and said he’ll follow the president around the country to demand debates.

“I am prepared to challenge the president to seven three-hour debates in the Lincoln-Douglas tradition,” he said in Rock Hill, “and I am prepared to allow the president to use a teleprompter as part of it.”

“I believe I can tell the truth better without a teleprompter than he can fake it with a teleprompter,” Mr. Gingrich said.