After nearly 11 months of roller coaster-style primaries, Governor Mitt Romney finally got his solo performance with a projected victory in five states during Wednesday’s primary: Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York and even Pennsylvania, home state of Romney's major rival, Rick Santorum, who bowed out of the race two weeks ago, clearing the way for Romney’s nomination.
Although Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and still in the race (although the former Speaker of the House's daughter did say he might reassess his standing), and Romney has yet to gather the 1144 delegates needed for nomination, but the rest of the primaries are a mere formality and the big show of general elections is on. Unfortunately, as he enters head-to-head fight against the incumbent President, Romney will have little room to focus his campaign on more positive ads.
The Republican Party will attempt to consolidate its base and try to pacify most reluctant conservatives. When Former presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann was asked by Fox News whether Romney is a conservative, she addressed the answer to the voters: "He had a clean sweep tonight, it's pretty strong endorsement."
After Romney announced his own victory during a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, Romney’s next step was, unsurprisingly, to attack President Obama. "Americans have always been eternal optimists", Romney said. "But over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership…to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight."
Romney assured the crowd that President Obama "will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid. People are hurting in America.”
The Democrats venomously noted the "absolutely abysmal showing from the state’s Republican voters at the polls," with the Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz warning in her statement that Romney “spoke about building a ‘better America,’ but in fact, under Mitt Romney America would go back to the failed policies of the past. President Obama inherited an economy that was on the brink; thanks to his strong leadership, he prevented us from sinking into a second great depression, and has begun to turn things around.”
At this point, Barack Obama is leading in national polls, but Romney will soon have a far more united party. Monthly jobs reports, the Supreme Court decision on Obama's healthcare reform, possible foreign policy land mines - these might become turning points for the race. And in between, there will be plenty of sideshows with every gaffe, each aide's incautious tweet becoming part of the media circus.
Welcome to the general elections.
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