Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to â€œhold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.â€
â€œAs I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who canâ€™t get a job, the soldiers who return home to an unemployment line, it breaks my heart,â€ he said. â€œThis does not have to be. It is the result of failed leadership and of a faulty vision.â€
â€œGovernment is at the center of his vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it cannot take and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy,â€ he said.
He added that if the presidentâ€™s hard-won health care law is fully installed, â€œgovernment will continue to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.â€
By contrast, he said, â€œI see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parentsâ€¦â€
Romney was eager to leave the nominating campaign behind.
â€œAfter 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and not a few long nights, I can say with confidence â€” and gratitude â€” that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility,â€ he said.
Romney posed a series of rhetorical questions designed to lead voters to his side.
â€œIs it easier to make ends meet? Is it earlier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement?â€ he asked.
â€œAre you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?â€
At each question, his partisan audience shouted, â€œNo.â€