MIAMI -- Pressed by reporters to respond to yesterday's Democratic National Committee ad that attacked him as a flip-flopper, Mitt Romney today said he thought one thing was clear: Democrats did not want to see him as President Obama's general-election opponent next year.
"I don't know what they're afraid of. They don't want to see me as the nominee. That's for sure," Romney said. "It shows that they're awfully afraid of facing me in the general election. They want to throw the primary process to anybody but me. So bring it on. We're ready for them."
The remarks were Romney's first on the ad, which brewed up a back-and-forth storm yesterday between the former Massachusetts governor's campaign and the DNC.
Romney said he thought of the ad as a compliment, and he doubled-down on the message his campaign has endeavored to drive in the last week: President Obama doesn't want to talk about the economy.
"I think it's quite a compliment that they decided to try and throw the primary to anybody but me. But you know what -- I'm in a great position to take on the president," Romney said. "He does not want to face someone who can talk about the economy, who can talk about the failure of his record, and if you create jobs for America like I can..."
The remarks came at the end of a short campaign stop in a Cochita Foods warehouse here, where Romney appeared to accept the endorsements of three major South Florida political players: Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
All three endorsers praised Romney's economic bona fides, and touched on foreign policy -- both in English and in Spanish. While Romney himself did not test his Spanish with the crowd, he brought along some backup: His youngest son Craig, who did his Mormon missionary work in Chile, briefly addressed the audience in Spanish before returning to English to praise his father.
And while Romney tailored some of his speech to the South Florida audience, one hot-button issue here was noticeably absent from the discussion: immigration. Romney's three new endorsers were among only eight House Republicans to support the federal DREAM Act, which Romney opposes.
Asked about this discrepancy after the event, Ros-Lehtinen said she was fine having some differences of opinion with Romney, and that the economy was the most important issue in deciding whom she would back.
"Nobody's perfect," she added.