- (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is closing in on officially clinching the race to become his party's presidential nominee after securing five new sweeping victories in Northeastern primary states.
Romney scored easy victories on Tuesday, all through Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New York. The closest race was in the state of Delaware, where one of his remaining rivals, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, campaigned heavily in recent weeks, but even there Romney won by 56.5 percent compared to 27.1 percent of the votes Gingrich received.
The former Massachusetts governor has been seen as the presumptive winner of the GOP race ever since his closest rival, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign two weeks ago. His only remaining challengers are Texas congressman Ron Paul and Gingrich, although the latter has given strong indications that he will suspend his run next week.
Romney is still short of the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination, the LA Times reported, but it is expected he will receive enough votes to officially be declared the GOP choice within the next few weeks.
He will then take on President Barack Obama at the general presidential election in November, although the former governor has already made Obama his prime target, aiming attacks at him on several occasions.
"After the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama? ... We have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership," Romney said at his election-night party at an event in New Hampshire. "To all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I've met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance … hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight."
The president's team has stated it is ready for the challenge, however, and has fired back at Romney's remarks.
"The fact is a better title for Gov. Romney's speech tonight, [rather] than 'A Better America,' should have been 'Back to the Future,' because he's proposing the same economic policies that got us into the economic crisis in the first place," said Obama 2012 press secretary Ben LaBolt on CNN's Piers Morgan directly after Romney's speech.