From NBC/NJ's Erin McPike
ST PETERSBURG, FL -- Romney made the cable news rounds this morning at site of last night's YouTube debate here.
From his appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, it became even clearer that Romney considers his two biggest threats to be the two candidates he was sandwiched between last night: Giuliani and Huckabee. In his interview with the Morning Joe team, Romney criticized the two candidates on a range of issues, including immigration, spending, their records, and tactics. But McCain and Thompson never came up.
At the top of the interview, discussing the immigration scuffle with Giuliani that kicked off the debate, Romney used his own situation -- which Giuliani called his "sanctuary mansion" -- to emphasize his call for an employee verification system. He reiterated that he didn't know some of the workers hired by the group he contracted to work on his lawn were illegal immigrants.
Romney's answer on torture was a source of chatter in the spin room on site last night, but he said again this morning that the issue is something to be considered "in private." As for the Middle East talks, he revealed that his expectations "are modest."
And although Romney has seemed hesitant to engage some of his rivals in head-on combat until recently, he said that he anticipates "more give and take" in the upcoming debates. As for his rivals last night, "they got as good as they gave."