Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – Mitt Romney sought to answer lingering questions about his presidential bid and cast himself as the ideal GOP standard-bearer at an appearance before several thousand supporters outside Phoenix on Monday.
Hoping to unite the fractured party and forge ahead to the general election, the GOP candidate touted his conservative credentials and painted his Republican opponents as Washington insiders who could not effectively change the nation's capital.
Without mentioning their names, he alluded to former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as men who had "spent their life entirely in government."
"Congressman Paul was a doctor, then went into government, but the other guys have spent their life entirely in government," Romney said of his Republican opponents. "And in my view it's helpful to have been involved in two businesses, an Olympics and a state, and to run all - and to have a chance to run those as an executive.
"We elected in President Obama someone who had never run anything, who had never been a leader," Romney continued. "We're not going to do that in the Republican party. Let's not nominate someone who hasn't done anything and has not been a leader."
Romney's front-runner status was shaken last week when he lost a trio of states to Santorum, prompting concerns the candidate had not won over the party's conservative base.
But days later, Romney triumphed in two tests, winning Maine's caucuses and coming in first in a straw poll of an influential conservative advocacy group in Washington. Arizona could be another crucial win for the White House hopeful, who is favored to take the state February 28.
Speaking to an enthusiastic audience at his get-out-the-vote rally, Romney criticized President Obama's new budget proposal for costing too much and failing to tackle ballooning spending on entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.
"This president miraculously today with his new budget had nothing to say about making sure that those programs are solvent and permanent," Romney said. "If I'm president, I will save Social Security and Medicare and make sure they do not kill the future generations with excessive taxes."
Romney also emphasized his stance on social issues such as gay marriage while he was governor of Massachusetts, saying he had taken a conservative position in a largely-Democratic state.
In a reminder of the general election to come after Republicans choose a nominee, at one point during Romney's speech the chants of protesters outside the Mesa amphitheater became audible. The group supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants via the so-called Dream Act.
I hope the White House doesn't become an ex-consultant's "House of Lies".
Why isn't the media covering the way Romney stole the primary election in Maine from Ron Paul?
Proves how fickle the Con-men are. It also proves that their only "core values" are winning and keeping control of everything. Next thing you know, they will be pitching for the Democrats. Eventually no-one will let them in.
Too funny ...... unite conservatives??????? Pander to the far right TeaPublicans. Urinate down the backs of the real middle class ........
Will there ever come a dime when dim whitt Romney stops trying to preserve the Bush 2 tax cuts for the top 1-5%ers?
Republicans presidential pretenders will say anything.
Well, here we go again with Romney's promises. At least he will not have the nut Newt to deal with so he may make it this time. Hope he will be more truthful this time and not flip flop and keep the race clean. If he does those things, he will have a chance to pick Rick for his VP. Good luck Mitt.
There is something...odd about this man. I can't put my finger on it. It's just something. Something is not right.
That's a laugh! Romney can't even unite all his positions on the issues.
Last time I looked Obama was doing just fine as a leader. Hell, just as CIC he's gutted Al Quida, picked off some pirates, ended a war as promised...if only for this, steady and proven, he should stay in office. Why change horses when the one you've got is doing just fine, thanks? And oh yeah, domestically he's going just fine too, and we KNOW Mitt would f that up.
Keep in mind Mitt practices voodoo economics-how else is he going to deliver on his promises to (1) eliminate the deficit while (2) NOT raise taxes and (3) not cut defense, and (4) fix the holes, if there are any, in the safety net for the poor? Mitt promises our cake and eats it too!
Come to think of it, all the Republicans do. But Santorum would have all our w'men barefoot and pregnant too.
Mitt the lilly is in freefall in the polls. Ricky Santorum will see the same dirty tricks that Herman Cain saw very soon.
unpatriotic...divisive...mean spirited...without an original thought in his head...he's a uniter all right...
Now it gets interesting....yawn. You have Mitt who is trying really hard to manufacture a make believe President Obama in the gop bubble to direct his ridiculous rhetoric towards (because he could never run against the actual man, and his ACTUAL record – not the make believe one he seemingly creates everyday). And you have Santorum, an absolutist christian who would be the perfect candidate if this were the 13th Century – but it's not. Scary to me on both fronts....and I'm not even American.
good luck with that
Romney care is part of conservative agenda
►Romney seeks to unite conservatives◄
But you have to be a "conservative" but that's his prerogative!!!
Hahaha that romney guy sure is funny.
Wow, Rove is really gonna play the "uniter not a divider" card this year? While Flipper the Elitist Robot certainly is GWB V 2.0 (minus the compassion and public speaking ability) nobody considers him a "uniter" by any stretch of the word. In fact, his so-called "leadership" was about blowing up companies and selling off the pieces, which is kind of the opposite of a "uniter," And there is no evidence Rmoney has any strong leadership skills. Instead, he acts like what a stupid person thinks a leader might act like.
i agree completley i really believe mitt is the only one who can tackle our many problems i also thinks he's the only one who can beat obama we need to unite now
Romney has already united conservatives – against him!
Republicans will accept Romney because he'll be the last man standing, not because they like him. And in the end, his hundreds of millions will not be enough to save him as Obama wins.
The article mentioned that several thousand "supporters" turned out for a Mittens rally. What it didn't mention is that about 95% of the people there were Mormons. Nothing wrong with Mormons, but they worship Mitt. They seem to be the only people in the entire United States who are "enthused" about Mittens. Conservatives–not so much. Independents–not so much. Tea Party–not so much. The only other people who are enthused about Mitt are the corporate raiders and hedge fund owners and lobbyists–who well know that President Mittens will ensure that their profits rise, that they can freely pollute OUR environment, that they can outsource to Asia with no tax consequences, and that their portion of the overall economy will continue to grow.
A Conservative, a Liberal, and a Moderate all walk into a bar. What does the bartender say? "Hello Mittens!"
This thing is STILL going on???
Winning Maine and CPAC is a "triumph?" Suuuuuure it is . . .
Romney would say anything to get elected. Anything.... Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for supporting this clown.
How many times did Romney run for federal office?
Desperate. Clearly, not even Republicans like Romney and he obviously could never beat Obama. He couldn't even beat McCain! The truly sad part is, he's probably the strongest Republican this cycle. Ouch. Obama is beatable, but not by any of these clowns.