The day after an embarrassing defeat in a trio of early voting states, Mitt Romney painted his GOP rivals as standard bearers of a Republican party that “lost its way” in recent years in Washington.

The GOP candidate, faced with a pair of doggedly persistent opponents in former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, point”I think a lot of us feel that the Republican party lost its way in the past,” Romney said, making reference to the tea party movement, which he said was fueled by a frustration with over-spending in Washington. “Republicans spent too much money, borrowed too much money, earmarked too much, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have to be held accountable.”

Romney said he was the only Republican candidate who could satisfy voters’ desire for change in the nation’s capital, charging his rivals had “acted like Democrats” by spending too many federal dollars.ed to both men’s experience in the nation’s capital as a disqualifying factor.

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