Scottsdale, Arizona (CNN) - With the Republican primary fight comfortably in his rear view mirror, Mitt Romney made an appeal for party unity Friday in a speech to GOP leaders from around the country.
While Romney was careful not to declare himself the nominee in his remarks to a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Arizona – “We haven’t won yet,” he quipped – his remarks betrayed an unmistakable confidence.
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He spoke about the GOP race in past tense, praising all of his opponents, current and former, by name.
“Let me also commend the people who had the courage to run for president on our side of the aisle this year,” Romney said. “Some still running, some have gotten out of the race, but each contributed to the process. Each of them campaigned in an aggressive and dynamic way to spread our message of conservatism, and each is going to play a vital role in making sure that we win in November.”
Romney devoted most of his speech to attacking President Barack Obama’s record and vowing to chart a very different course as president.
“We have to make sure that we get off this road where more and more people are stuck into poverty, where it’s tougher and tougher to be in the middle class, where gasoline prices go higher and higher, where the unions are driving what’s happening in our schools,” he said. “This is a very difficult road we’re on. It’s time we’re going to get off it.”
Romney might not have the nomination officially sewn up, but the loud ovation that greeted him was a hint that GOP leaders were ready to join him for the fight.
“I thought it was a winning message,” said Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney, whose party rules forbid him from endorsing candidates. “He was well received today by the members of the committee and I think a message like that will enable us to defeat Obama in the fall.”
Prior to the speech, over 100 RNC members signed pledges to support Romney as “superdelegates” to the Republican National Convention in August. Many of them posed for pictures with the candidate in a photo line.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who clashed fiercely with Romney during the 2008 Republican race but is supporting him in 2012, spoke before Romney and said the GOP is unified behind him.
“I am so gratified to see our party come together into a solid team that is going to elect him President of the United States,” he said.
He sharply criticized Obama with what he called “straight talk,” calling the economy “broken” and saying U.S. relations with Israel have “never been worse.”
McCain dismissed Democratic claims that Arizona, with its large Hispanic population, will vote for Obama in November. But he said the general election will be hard fought.
“I believe we are going to be up late on election night,” McCain said.
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Look America, I am King Bishop Romney & We need to finally unite together. Here is my 2012 slogan, EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS. Got It??? Yes Bishop Romney.
Yes, time to get down to the REAL job of replacing the divisive class war socialist in the Whitehouse with somebody who can get this country moving forward again. Voting for 4 more years of Obama is voting to make the USA another Greece.
“I thought it was a winning message,” said Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney, "
What, no background violins? Major disappointment CNN.....
"“I believe we are going to be up late on election night,” McCain said."
Yeah, crying into your pillows.
Kar Rove and the Koch spent the money required to steam-roll over the others. Fat-cats win and the Tea Party hasn't got enough sense to know they're being used.
Dude, you're a fraud and a liar. The mormon thing is the least of your worries. No one is going to vote for a guy who changes his mind like he changes his clothes. Is there anything you stand for??
John McCain has little faith in Romney. Instead of picking Mitt Romney as his running mate in 2008 McCain chose Sarah Palin and when asked why he stated; "Sarah Palin was the most qualified". What does that say about how John McCain really feels about Mitt Romney when he believes that Sarah Palin is more qualified than Mitt Romney?
Party unity,marching into Poland .u
As a proud Republican, I too value unity. It's time to stand behind our president and oppose those who favor outsourcing American jobs and have made a fortune doing so.
this is not what you said about Mitt in 2008 Sen McCain...so why the change of heart now?
bring it on dufos
The GOP is so desperate that they have elected official in ARIZONA OF ALL PLACES, saying Romney must get the LATINO VOTE...............HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Bishop Romney will be with Rubio in a few days. ILl bet you ten thosand bucks the Jack Mormon is on the Bishop ticket. Mormon & Jack Mormon, Nomineee & VP Nomineee Thats Heavy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You'll be ordered to sign a pledge to buy food if you vote or Robmey. That's the way they did it in Germany in the late 1930's. Beware - they march in wearing the cross and carrying a flag, and carrying aMORMON bible - they baptised Hitler to make him one of their own. Look it up.
Don't fall for the devil's trick America, we are not to be controlled by these puppet masters. The news media along with the political process is trying to hype the candidates up as if the election is as simple as a sporting event. 1 for this side and 2 for the other side, 3 for this side and still 2 for the other side. How quickly minds changes from one hour to the next. Stand your ground America. todays candidate is that same candidate from yesterday and will be still the same tomorrow. Romney will always be Romney (core-less, fake and forever trying to Etch-A-Sketch his way out and in) Obama will always be progressive favoring and implementing social reform promoting new liberal ideas establishing a relatively progressive government favoring and promoting change through innovation.
Wanting the party to fall in line is kind of pathetic.
What do they think we are, lemmings?
Getting more desperate everyday.
Unite behind the flip-flop and change everything everytime.
What, nothin grey here? its the truth, Baptist, no, Tabby Nackle, No, Prodestant, No Catholic, no Tabby Nackle, no etc, etc
Wait a minute, are you saying that my lying, two faced, should have gone to jail for the S&L crisis senator is now FOR Rmoney?
The guy that picked Mooselini as the better qualified person in 2008 over Mitty now says Mitty is THE ONE?
Pick one of your 8 houses and come home John, retire with Kyl.
Republicans know what they need to do. Rally with Mitt Romney and win. Watch how it is done. I would not be surprised to see twice the number of voters and electoral votes for Romney compared to Obama. Republicans are excited for 2012 and Independents will get on board to get Washington back to working for the national interests. Enough of the Obama political scheming and gamesmanship. We need someone to manage the federal government.
Yep... All those 1%ers want to party together... Think they can buy enough votes this time around to win the election?
vote for the king of outsoursing-vote romney
Yes sir we are in for a tough election. Its never been more defined in my 35yrs as a voter. Had the party really put up a viable candidate. I would say let me give this candidate a serious look. But your party has failed to do so. What really upsets me is we have a President and have had him for almost four years and instead of accepting
what the majority of voters wanted. This party has since Jan 20 2009 has done everything un-american to obstruct his administraion. I could see if you found the President to a man who commits act of moral turpitude
Romney is following in McCain's footsteps. All they did was criticise President Obama on everything but had no new ideas of their own. Everyone wants to know what does Romney stand for? What will he do to improve things instead of only saying he will improve things? We know how he will cut programs , how will he create jobs?