Romney takes big leap to nomination
04 April 2012, 11:07
Milwaukee - Mitt Romney made a big leap toward winning the Republican US
presidential nomination with a clean sweep of three primaries on
Tuesday that handed a stinging defeat to chief rival Rick Santorum.
victories in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, DC will increase
appeals from Republican party leaders for Santorum to quit so that
Romney can gird for a difficult fight against President Barack Obama in
the November 6 election.
In his victory speech in Milwaukee,
Romney ignored Santorum and gave voters a sense of what the general
election campaign will be like, sharply criticising Obama for his
handling of the US economy and high gasoline prices.
enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One,
surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you what a
great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little
out of touch," Romney said.
In a clear sign that Obama sees
Romney as his chief obstacle to re-election, the president singled him
out by name and criticised him in a speech with a sharp partisan tone on
‘Lights out for Santorum’
The trio of
defeats puts conservative Santorum's campaign in serious trouble. He is
badly trailing Romney in both delegates and fundraising.
"I think it's lights out for Santorum," said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.
"He can run a sideshow campaign for the next couple of months, but the spotlight is shining on Romney."
a former Senator, vowed to stay in the race at least until April 24
when his home state of Pennsylvania votes and where he is hanging on to a
lead in the polls over Romney.
That date looms as a potentially
decisive one, with Romney likely to win five states that hold contests
then and planning a big challenge to Santorum in Pennsylvania.
victories widened Romney's lead over Santorum in delegates to an
estimated 640-264, according to CNN. Romney now has more than half of
the 1 144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination at the Republican
convention in August.
‘Not moving to the middle’
Santorum wants to win enough delegates to deny his opponent an outright victory before the convention in Tampa.
ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong
second half?" Santorum said to cheers in a speech after Tuesday's
"This isn't half time. We're hitting the field. The clock starts tonight."
don't win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the
middle to move to us and move this country forward," Santorum said.
High fuel prices
Quinnipiac University poll showed Santorum ahead of Romney in
Pennsylvania by 41% to 35%, but the former private equity executive's
campaign and its allies are likely to spend big on negative ads against
Santorum in the coming weeks.
Obama hit out at Romney on Tuesday
for backing a controversial Republican budget plan authored by a key
Wisconsin backer of Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan.
"He said that
he's very supportive of this new budget and he even called it
'marvellous', which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to
describing a budget," Obama said in a speech.
Romney fired back
that Obama was trying to deflect blame for high fuel prices that are
hitting American wallets hard and could make Obama's re-election tougher
"So the president put an ad out yesterday [Monday],
talking about gasoline prices and how high they are. And guess who he
blamed? Me!" Romney said in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
I'm president I can take responsibility for things I might have done
wrong. But this president doesn't want to take responsibility for his