April 20th, 2012
05:19 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney and McCain call for party unity

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.

Also see:

Romney releases March fundraising figures

Paul campaign touts campaign cash

RNC looks to Facebook for political edge

Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • RNC
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Rick from Florida.

    Or the lack of moral turpertude. But he has proven time and time again to be a Patriot. I always have beleived in our polictical system and always will. Every four years we get to vote for a President and Gov. Every 2 years house and senate reps. If you dont like the majorities choice. All you have to do is vote. But think about this when you do. You dont pick a candidate on his or her talking points. You vote for what you believe in. My neighbor who hasnt voted and is at the age of almost 30 asked me what is the difference between a dem and a repub. I said to him God willing your house never catches fire. But if it did. A democrat would come to you and say is there anything i can do for you. A republican will ask you if you have insurance.

    April 20, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Jane

    Can someone who can translate regular person English to rich white guy English please explain to Mr. Romney that the Presidency of our country is something to be earned, and respected and approached humbly, and not some struggling business to be bought out and dismantled, with some Kristal and cigars in the boardroom afterwards????

    April 20, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    P.U.M.A. It's like the germans in the 1930's - join or be ousted and punished. What has happened to the GOP?

    April 20, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    PUMA....Party Unity My A*****

    April 20, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Blue Collar Worker

    Two losers trying to lead a party in shambles. McCain is so bitter since he lost in 2008. Romney will lose the election because he thinks running for President is a game and treats it like a corporate takeover. If elected Romney will be another Richard Nixon. You can not run the government like a corporation because you will be impeached and indicted.

    April 20, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Romney seems to be feeling pretty smug but wait until November when he loses by a landslide. He won't be so smug then!

    April 20, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney still needs the blessings from the Tea Party faction, conservative Southern Baptists/evangelical Protestants, and Rush Limbaugh.

    April 20, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    (Because McCain's judgement can be truste – ha ha ha ha ha). By the way $ara - McCain ate dog in Viet Nam. And he wasn't 6 or 7 years old. SUCK THAT UP.

    April 20, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  9. Anita

    Even McCain knows Mendacious Mitt can't win! What a pathetic farce.

    April 20, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Become a Doctor! Go to prison.

    April 20, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Imagine that. The man who started the hate war in 2008 and kept quiet while lies were told about the President now wants to keep the party from disintegrating?
    mccain you and schmidt and culvahouse opened Pandora's box to let evil out. You can't put it back.
    A rethug at some convention said it best, can't remember the exact quote but he thought he was being clever and informative and instead reminded everyone of what a freakin' flip flopper the flip flopper is. . . . it went something like . . . . .whether you are a liberal or a conservative at one time or another you agreed with the candidate.

    April 20, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    I feel Mr. Romney is a good man but, to get the Republican nomination, has been forced to move so far into "crazyville" to appeal to the Tea Party and the far-Right religious zelots that it is hard to know just what he does stand for. When Gov. of Mass, he was a reasonable, clear-thinking, middle-of-the-road politican but that person has been lost in the dust and has been forced to become something he is not. As I listened to the R candidates speak to and about each other, I knew it was impossible for me to support any Republican regardless of who came out the winner. The best and only man for the presidency is the man that now sits in the White House, Barack Obama, and he most certainley has my vote.

    April 20, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. the dogs of war

    Lol I love the leftist 'our president' crowd. You know, the 'its PRESIDENT Obammy, have some respect!' Someone remind me, where was the respect for the office and the 'my president' crowd from 2000 to 2008 while the democrats were forcing the banks to hand out sub prime loans? Oh thats right. They were handing out flyers calling the sitting president satan.

    April 20, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. normajean @ verizon ,com

    I'm hoping the WOMEN of this country are aware and interested in Mitt Romney pulling out all stops to get to Washington!!! I also hope that the WOMEN have noticed that he is planning to use his "WAR ON WOMEN" to get him there. By cutting some expenses and telling us { as husbands and fathers did for years} what we can do and what we can't...he plans and HAS STATED man times publicly , that he will put "Planned Parenthood" out of business and will overturn OBAMACARE ...That.doesn't leave women much of a chance to take care of their health does it.??? The women who are uninsured and have been getting help will no longer recieve it.THE ONE THING ROMNEY IS FORGETTING IS THAT WOMEN ALSO VOTE!!!!! THE WOMEN ARE GOING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES BY VOTING AGAINST HIM..! If we all get out there and vote...he can't take our health care away from us!!! This is important to EVERY family!!!Women...get out there and vote.We know how to save our health!!!!!DON'T FORGET!!!!

    April 20, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  15. Liska

    Romney, McCain (even though he hated Romules in 08') Nugent, Blunt, Walker, Ryan, Rove, Koch...BAD COMPANY and bad for USA. BHO 2012 Landslide ELizabeth Warren 2016 2024

    April 20, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  16. WhereIsPalin

    “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,” said the man who infected us with the Palin Plague.

    April 21, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  17. Nobodies Pon

    Mitt first if you want to unite your party. Present one sound piece of policy that is all yours. Oh I forgot you do its called Obamacare

    April 21, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    GOP is defunct, gone And no sane idiots in it. Obama2012.

    April 21, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
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