Eric Cantor: Romney "did what he had to"


(CBS News) - On the morning after 10 states voted in the Republican presidential nominating contest, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives came out swinging in support of Mitt Romney.

On "CBS This Morning," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor rejected claims that the former Massachusetts governor lacked the ability to excite the Republican base and seal the nomination. Cantor said Romney had a successful Super Tuesday by winning six of the 10 states and picking up a majority of the delegates, and he predicted that he will be the Republican nominee.

"Mitt Romney did what he had to do last night," Cantor said.

Romney handily won Cantor's state of Virginia, though he and Rep. Ron Paul were the only candidates on the ballot. He also easily won his home state of Massachusetts, neighboring Vermont, Idaho and Alaska. Romney also squeaked out a win in the crucial general election battleground state of Ohio.

But Romney's close wins in key states like Ohio and his inability to capture southern states (except Florida) continues to plague the candidate.

Full CBS coverage of Super Tuesday.

However, the Virginia congressman, who endorsed Romney earlier this week, said Romney's winding road to the nomination is becoming a little clearer.

"You're seeing an increasing flow towards Mitt Romney," Cantor said, pointing to his economic experience and organizational strength.

Full coverage: Election 2012

"The reason voters are going to elect him is because he is the only candidate in the race who has a plan to turn the economy around."

Cantor defended Romney's economic chops both against his Republican opponents and against the president.

"He's the only individual in the race, including the president, who has a record of creating jobs," Cantor said.

As for the long, bitter primary, which former first lady Barbara Bush called the "worst she's ever seen," Cantor disagreed. He said it shows that the Republican Party is "a robust party with many ideas."

Cantor also hit the president over Iran, an issue of growing concern as the international community tries to thwart Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon. President Obama has tried to convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the White House earlier this week, to delay a possible pre-emptive strike in order to give sanctions and diplomacy more time work. Sources have said Netanyahu hasn't made a decision on striking Iran, but he has signaled his impatience with diplomatic efforts.

Mr. Obama's push for further diplomacy has come under fire from his potential Republican rivals, who argue the president hasn't been as fully supportive of Israel as he should.

Cantor dismissed a statement by Mr. Obama during a news conference Tuesday where he criticized "the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war."

Cantor rejected anyone is talking about war casually. "I don't think anybody downplays the gravity of sending our men and women into harms way," Cantor said.

To see the Cantor interview, which was conducted by "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Charlie Rose and Erica Hill, click on the video in the player above.