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Romney tells SC voters he's 'pro-life' candidate

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, signs a baseball mitt as he campaigns at Cherokee Trike and More in Greer, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. At rear is South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Jr. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, signs a baseball mitt as he campaigns at Cherokee Trike and More in Greer, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. At rear is South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Jr. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is insisting he's "pro-life" and questions his Republican presidential campaign rivals are raising about his reversal of positions on this issue are expected.

Answering questions from reporters at a campaign event in South Carolina Thursday, Romney also said, "I understand there are some attack ads coming my way" on his evolving abortion views.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been hammering away at Romney's claim to conservative credentials, and Gingrich said Thursday he intends to emphasize Romney's views on social issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage in the days leading up to South Carolina's Jan. 21 primary.

Romney also is defending his record as a venture capitalist, repeating his contention that the company he ran was set up to save businesses where possible, although he's admitted that in private business, these efforts aren't always fruitful.

Romney came to South Carolina Wednesday as the unmistakable front-runner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.