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A look at key moments in the SC primary

By Jack Gillum

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21 2012 8:01 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, embraces son Matt during his South Carolina primary election night rally Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Columbia, S.C.

David Goldman, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Some notable moments from Saturday's South Carolina presidential primary:

Fixing for a fight:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told supporters Saturday to get ready for a long battle ahead.

Romney took sharp aim at President Barack Obama, as well as his GOP rivals' criticism of his time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded.

"If Republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success and disparaging conservative values, then they're not going to be fit to be our nominee," he said.

Romney finished No. 2 behind Gingrich, having placed first in the New Hampshire primary.

Haley's short coattails:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is riding a wave of popularity. But that wasn't enough to help Romney, whom she endorsed in the primary.

Exit polls found two-thirds of Saturday's voters approved the way Haley is handling her job as governor, including nearly three-quarters of tea party supporters. But Romney won over only about 3 in 10 of those who approved of her job performance.

Gingrich, for his part, won support from about 4 in 10 Haley supporters.

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'Occupy' Santorum:

Even the "Occupy Wall Street" movement had its moment Saturday.

During Rick Santorum's speech, the former Pennsylvania senator pledged to work to help Americans achieve their potential. But one Occupy protester interrupted him with a jeer: "Unless you're gay. Occupy!" Santorum has long been criticized by gay-rights groups for his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Other Occupy protesters tried to draw focus as Santorum shook hands with supporters after his speech. Santorum's aides and volunteers grabbed the protesters and hauled them from the ballroom at the Citadel.

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Internet devilry:

Some of South Carolina's notorious 11th-hour shenanigans emerged in a race known at times for its nastiness.

On Saturday, fake email reports — later denounced by Gingrich and his campaign — spread on the Internet about Gingrich and his ex-wife Marianne.

State Attorney Gen. Alan Wilson ordered a preliminary review of the phony messages to see if any laws had been broken.

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Late to the party:

Few things could stop Gingrich Saturday night — except for a traffic accident.

Campaigning up to the very end, Gingrich ran through five campaign stops on primary day. That included his last at a burger restaurant in Laurens, about an hour northwest of Columbia, where his victory celebration was to take place.

But an accident on the highway delayed Gingrich's bus, making him late to greet supporters.

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