After securing victories in three of the six states already called on Tuesday night, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney focused squarely on President Obama and avoided criticizing his Republican rivals during a 15-minute victory speech at his Massachusetts campaign headquarters.
“To the millions of Americans who look around and can only see jobs they can't get and bills they can't pay, I have a message,” Romney said. “You have not failed. You have a president that’s failed you.”
The four remaining Super Tuesday contests had not yet been called. The marquee race in Ohio was still tight, with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania clinging to a slight lead, when Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, spoke. Romney had won Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, while Santorum also had racked up three wins, in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
Romney’s concentration on Obama marked a return to the above-the-fray posture he had assumed during much of the year leading up to the primaries, before former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Santorum started picking up primary victories by appealing to frustrated conservatives.
In his remarks, Romney nodded to tried-and-true conservative rallying cries -- American exceptionalism, the importance of respecting the Constitution, and “saving the soul of America.”
He was introduced by his wife, Ann Romney, who alluded to the recent controversy over insurance coverage for contraception and took a subtle dig at Santorum, whose objection to coverage for contraception alienated some women voters. “Women care about jobs,” she said.
“We know the guy who knows how to fix all that,” she said. “The reason I’m here, and the reason I’m behind Mitt, and the reason I’m fighting so hard and out there, is I believe he is the only person who can turn America [around].”
Romney himself closed on an optimistic note and a variation on former President Reagan’s famed “Morning in America” slogan.
“We know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times,” Romney said. “We have been knocked down. We’ve been tested. But … our greatest days are ahead of us, thanks to the American people.”