U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a Greenville Republican and tea party icon, thinks Mitt Romney will win South Carolina.

DeMint, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor four years ago but is staying on the sidelines this year, said Romney's victory speech Tuesday after the New Hampshire primary touched on 'a lot of hot buttons,' such as balancing the budget.

DeMint also suggested he was turned off by other Republican candidates' criticism of Romney's past work as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital. "Frankly, I'm a little concerned about the few Republicans who have criticized some of what I consider free market principles here," DeMint said.

DeMint said he was concerned that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, whom he didn't name, were trashing Romney for his success at Bain. "I certainly don't like Republicans criticizing one of our own and sounding like Democrats," DeMint said.

Palmetto politicians endorse Romney

GOP front-runner Mitt Romney picked up endorsements from S.C. elected officials Wednesday, including Greenville Mayor Knox White, S.C. House Speaker Pro Tempore Jay Lucas and former U.S. Rep. Henry Brown of Hanahan.

"Mitt Romney has demonstrated throughout his life that he has the values South Carolinians are looking for in our next commander in chief," said state Sen. Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, who also endorsed the former Massachusetts governor.

Buffett offers to match GOP debt-cutting gifts

OMAHA, Neb. -- Billionaire Warren Buffett said Wednesday he's willing to match any contributions that Republican members of Congress make to help reduce the national debt.

Buffett told Time magazine about his offer in a conversation about why he's optimistic about the nation's future.

Buffett, who is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was criticized by Republicans last year for his suggestion that Congress increase taxes on the "mega-rich" like himself.

Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, suggested Buffett just donate money to help the nation balance its books instead of asking to pay higher taxes.

Obama pledges change will come

CHICAGO -- President Barack Obama told supporters that the change he promised back in 2008 can still come if they renew their energy and work even harder this time around.

Speaking to a hometown crowd in Chicago a day after Mitt Romney sailed to victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary, Obama sought to ready his backers for the fight ahead leading to Election Day in November. Said the president: "You can't give up."

Obama never specifically mentioned New Hampshire or Romney. But he told supporters at the first of three evening fundraisers that the election would present a clear choice.

Santorum won't have shot at 9 Ohio delegates

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum won't have a chance to vie for some of Ohio's national convention delegates.

The state's top election official said Wednesday that the former Pennsylvania senator won't appear on the ballot at the district level in three congressional districts in the battleground state. That means nine of Ohio's 66 delegates are off the table for him.

Ohio has a Republican primary system that requires people to vote twice. So while Santorum's name won't appear at the district level, voters could still choose to award him at-large delegates.