- (Photo: Reuters/Denis Poroy)
Mitt Romney will no longer be called the "presumptive" GOP presidential nominee after Tuesday's Texas primary, which will enable him to secure the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the official title.
While Texas has 155 delegates to offer, the former Massachusetts governor requires just 60 more to reach the threshold, according to The Associated Press tally.
After a long roller coaster ride with other GOP candidates threatening his nomination, Romney's campaign will now focus on defeating President Barack Obama in November. Most Republicans are now rallying behind the candidate.
A day before the big day in Texas, Romney promised to maintain a U.S. military "with no comparable power anywhere in the world," apparently to draw contrasts with Obama, who is in favor of reducing the size of the military.
Addressing a crowd of 5,000 at a Memorial Day service at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in San Diego, Calif., on Monday, Romney said, "We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow in the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world."
Romney also released a new web video titled "Thank You" to mark the Memorial Day. In the video, he praises veterans and pledges to "keep America strong, and worthy of the great sacrifice of America's veterans."
A new Gallup poll showed Monday that U.S. veterans, about 13 percent of the adult population and consisting mostly of older men, support Romney over Obama for president by 58 percent to 34 percent, while nonveterans give Obama a four-percentage-point edge.
Neither Obama nor Romney served in the military.
"Veterans in the U.S. today are mostly male and two-thirds are aged 50 or older," Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport writes. "In a population that is currently evenly split in its preferences for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for president, veterans stand out for their 24-point preference for Romney. About a fourth of men are veterans, and it is their strong skew toward Romney that essentially creates the GOP candidate's leading position among men today."
Some in the party believe Romney now needs to connect with the average Americans more than anything else.
"He doesn't need to make a hardcore ideological argument, but he does need to connect with these people in a way that is lasting and sustained," Fox News quoted GOP pollster Adam Geller as saying. Romney, he added, should "tell his story."
Geller said the GOP candidate needed to do a much better job of connecting with the "frustrated middle class" and especially America's decisive political middle.
Romney tweeted last week saying what he would do as president on day one: "deficit reductions, stand up to China [in trade], and repeal job-killing regulations."