Romney savours Super Tuesday wins
Boston - Mitt Romney assured his supporters
he would eventually earn the 2012 Republican nomination, as he savoured Super
Tuesday victories and savaged Barack Obama's "failed" presidency.
The former Massachusetts governor received a
hometown hero's welcome from supporters who cheered his multiple victories,
capped with a knife-edged win in Ohio, the grand prize of the 10-state bonanza.
Romney, fighting to solidify his frontrunner
status in the Republican Party race to determine who faces Obama in the
November elections, spent days campaigning in Ohio, but he made no mention of
the state during his speech, which came before CNN called the state contest in
Instead, he tore into Obama, to the delight
of some 1 000 cheering supporters united in their conviction that Romney is the
Republican most capable of ousting the Democratic incumbent from the White
"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 amid deafening chants of "USA, USA" and
"We need Mitt."
"You have not failed. You have a
president that has failed you, and that's going to change," he said to
roars of applause.
"This campaign is not about a name on
the ballot. It's about saving the soul of America."
Super Tuesday not a great success for Romney
Romney said that as president he would
"get our economy back on track and get our citizens back to work. And
unlike President Obama, I actually have the experience to deliver on that
Romney won Massachusetts by a landslide, and
took Vermont and Virginia as well, according to early results, but Rick
Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota, while former House speaker
Newt Gingrich took Georgia.
"There are three states tonight under
our belt and counting," Romney told supporters in a ballroom in the Westin
Hotel in Boston, with his wife Ann beaming proudly at his side.
"We will get more before this night is
over. We're on our way," he said.
"I'm not going to let you down. I'm
going to get this nomination."
Indeed, later in the night he added to his
delegate count, with TV networks calling Idaho for Romney.
Romney brought the diehard supporters, the
huge American flags, the rock music and the rousing political rhetoric
befitting a Super Tuesday victory bash, he left the ballroom unsure if he had
won the night's biggest prize.
More than a few supporters had a sinking
feeling as they looked up at jumbo screens earlier in the evening and saw
Santorum ahead in Ohio.
"Nooo," nurse Antonia Alen cried at
the screen, her hand covering her mouth.
"This country is going down and down.
The economy here is terrible, and Romney is an expert in the economy. He has to
win," she said.
Later in the night Romney clawed back from
his Ohio deficit, then took a 0.6% lead with some 95% of districts reporting.
CNN called the race in his favour at 00:30 (05:30 GMT) on Wednesday.
But even with the Ohio win, some experts said
Super Tuesday should not be seen as a great success for Romney.
"I wish I could say that this is a
better night for Mitt Romney," Republican political campaign consultant
Brad Marston told AFP.
"Who knows how the final numbers come
down," but "I don't think he takes a lot of momentum out of
tonight," Marston said. He added, however, that ultimately Romney will end
up "at the top of the ticket."
Ron Kaufman, a Republican National Committee
member and Romney backer, said he isn't worried about whether Romney can
inspire conservatives in November.
"Primaries are always contact sports.
None was more nasty than the Democratic primary four years ago," he told
AFP, referring to the months-long slog between Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Campaign a long slog
"We have the most votes, the most
delegates, the most states. So tell me who is having trouble connecting. It's
Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul."
Romney, who turns 65 next week, acknowledged
earlier on Tuesday that the campaign has been a long slog, saying he'll enjoy
finally spending a night in his own bed.
"Tomorrow, we wake up and we start
again. And the next day, we'll do the same," he told his supporters.
"And so we'll go day by day, step by
step, door by door, heart to heart. There will be good days, there will be bad
days," he added.
"But on November 6th, we're going to
stand united. Not only having won an election, but having saved a future."