Mitt Romney has outspent Newt Gingrich on negative advertising in every state, starting in Iowa, and was the first to go negative every time.

Yet Romney, with absolute conviction, continues to say that the reason he lost South Carolina was that he was outspent by Newt, which is not true.

Last night on Hannity, Romney took the false line about being outspent in South Carolina to a new level, claiming that he lost because he stayed positive and failed to respond to attacks on him (video, at 6:20)(embed added):

Romney:  … The mistake I made in South Carolina was just focusing all of my effort on Barack Obama.   And at the same time my opponents were going after me and hitting me pretty hard and I was standing above the fray, focusing on…

Hannity:  That doesn’t work.

Romney:  You know what it didn’t work.  So we came to Florida and I said you know, enough is enough.  If you’re going to attack me I’m going to respond, and I’m going to answer the attacks with truth.  And if you don’t like that why that’s just the way it’s going to be.

It’s just not true. It’s not even close to true. It’s not even on the same planet as true.

Romney started attacking Newt in South Carolina even before the New Hampshire primary.

Romney outspent Newt (including SuperPAC spending) 2-1 in South Carolina.  As reported by ABC News:

According to sources tracking media buys during the South Carolina primary, Romney and his allies, which include two super PACs, purchased more than $4.6 million of television airtime during the run-up to the state’s Jan. 21 primary. The two pro-Romney super PACs, Restore Our Future and Citizens for a Working America, chipped in millions.

By comparison, the Gingrich campaign and a pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future, spent more than of $2.2 million in the state.

Romney also ran attack ads against Rick Santorum.

Watch the video.  Romney says what he says with absolute seriousness and righteous indignation.

Nothing short of incredible.  But purposeful.  Romney has received a lot of negative attention for his over-the-top negative campaign in Florida, where he outspent Newt 5-1, including running ads featuring Nancy Pelosi blackmailing Newt, and false attempts to deny Newt’s role in the Reagan years.

It’s deflection.  Romney playing victim, someone who attacked only because attacked.  But it’s completely false.