Newt: 1-on-1 with Romney 'ideal' in S.C.

Newt Gingrich (left) and Mitt Romney

MERRIMACK, N.H. -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he anticipated finishing in the "top three or four" in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and confronting front-runner Mitt Romney head-on in South Carolina.

"The ideal South Carolina fight would be a Georgia conservative vs. a Massachussetts moderate," Gingrich told reporters after a visit to a polling place in Merrimack, N.H.

Gingrich said people expected New Hampshire to be Romney's for the asking but that "I don't think it's going to be much of a fortress."

"This is a guy who has been governor next door. Ran for the U.S. Senate next door. Has bought a house in the state. Has spent five years here. And somewhere around two out of every three Republicans are going to vote no," Gingrich said.

A smiling Gingrich hit three polling places Tuesday to greet voters with his wife, Callista. Previewing a slugfest as the presidential race moves to South Carolina, Gingrich said Romney's leadership at Bain Capital is fair game because Romney has made his business expertise central to his campaign. Gingrich said he has no problem with Bain and Romney making a healthy profit.

"But I do have some real questions if the investor took all the money and the employees took all the losses," he said.

Gingrich has charged that the venture capital firm went into some troubled companies, took money out and left people without jobs.

"If you get back $180 million and workers get an unemployment check. I think there are very severe questions be asked," he said.

On Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Gingrich said he wouldn't press Romney on his comment about instances in which he enjoys firing people. Gingrich said he thought Romney's remark had been taken "out of context" by critics and that it wasn't "well-worded."

Gingrich said his own words on race and food stamps was taken out of context and distorted by the media last week.