Philadelphia (CNN) – The seated statue of Benjamin Franklin towered over Mitt Romney in the marbled rotunda but the White House hopeful stood tall as he reflected on becoming the Republican presidential nominee.
“Yeah there are challenges and there are days that you get beat up in the newspaper and you don’t worry about it because you don’t read them – ha ha,” Romney said at a Tax Day Tea Summit, hosted by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association.
Acknowledging the unrelenting news cycle of his second White House run, Romney signaled his campaign was transitioning from primary election mode facing GOP opponents to the general election against his sole Democratic opponent President Barack Obama.
“This campaign is just getting going. It’s going to be fun,” he told hundreds gathered at the Franklin Institute on Tuesday night.
Romney spoke out against one of Obama's signature economic initiatives, known as The Buffett Rule, which would have required anyone earning more than $1 million to pay a minimum tax rate of 30%.
"His big idea now is this Buffet Rule, which is – someone calculated by the way, that the taxes he would raise from his Buffet Rule would pay for 11 hours – would pay for 11 hours of the government, alright? This is not exactly a grand idea. This is a man who is out of ideas, he's out of excuses and in 2012 we're going to make sure he gets put out of office," Romney said as the audience stood up and chanted his first name.
He did not acknowledge the news from Capitol Hill, which occurred less than an hour before he appeared in Philadelphia, where Senate Republicans blocked the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to allow the Senate to open debate.
With 10 months of campaigning behind him, Romney remained optimistic despite a tough slog ahead.
"I had not expected to have the great privilege of doing this and I find myself having the time of my life,” he said.