Romney returns to SC, to begin presidential campaign

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Mitt Romney made his first campaign stop of the 2012 race in South Carolina.

Romney speaking to a group of small business owners at Meetze Plumbing in Irmo.

"We TMve sampled the opinions of people in this state today and as I look at the polls, people in this state aren TMt devoted to only voting for someone from the south, they TMre willing to consider a guy from Massachusetts as well," says Mitt Romney, GOP presidential hopeful.

Romney told voters as president he wants to start dealing with Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

He ran for the 2008 GOP nomination and spent considerable time and money competing in South Carolina only to bail from the state days before primary voting began when it became clear he would lose big. Romney couldn't convince Christian evangelicals and other social conservatives in the Bible Belt state to look beyond their skepticism over his Mormon faith and doubts over his reversals on policy.

The former Massachusetts governor says he's taking a different approach to the first-in-the-South primary state in his second presidential run.

"The final analysis is a message that connects with the people here and I think that message will be how to create jobs and how to make our prospects better for ourselves and our kids," says Romney.

His team says he'll focus heavily on the economy this time. He's been laying the groundwork in South Carolina for a 2012 bid for more than a year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)