Ron Paul shrugs off electability concerns

(CBS News) -- After a second-place finish in New Hampshire's Republican primary Tuesday, Texas Rep. Ron Paul dismissed concerns that he's not a candidate that conservatives can coalesce around to take on frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Romney handily won the Granite State by a margin of tens of thousands of votes over Paul, but the Texas congressman, who finished third in last week's Iowa caucuses, showed no sign of backing down as the nomination race heads to South Carolina.

"I've been electable," said Paul. "I've won 12 elections already, and we're doing quite well now. It's amazing that I do so much better than those other candidates that are all electable. They're all in fourth, fifth and sixth place, but they're all electable, but I come in second or third, and all of the sudden people say, 'Oh, he's not electable.' I don't know how that adds up."

Paul described the dilemma anti-Romney Republicans face in uniting behind one candidate as "a big problem," adding that the GOP has drifted from his brand of conservatism.

"There's a lot of confusion on how you define conservative," said Paul. "I define conservative as for less government, less spending and balanced budgets, but ... in recent history the Republican Party has drifted over to saying conservative means you cut spending and maybe interference in the market, but ... the more money you spend overseas, the more conservative you are. That doesn't even add up, doesn't make sense."

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